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Teaching Mysticism$
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William B. Parsons

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199751198

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199751198.001.0001

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Teaching Chinese Mysticism

Teaching Chinese Mysticism

(p.46) { 3 } Teaching Chinese Mysticism
Teaching Mysticism

Livia Kohn

Oxford University Press

This chapter surveys the topic of Chinese mysticism. Chinese mysticism can be taught on its own, as part of a comprehensive class on Chinese religions and/or Daoism, or within the larger framework of an introduction to mysticism in comparative perspective. In any case, the presentation has to deal with specific concepts and topics; work through major historical periods; and examine issues of terminology, conceptualization, and methodology. As regards topics, this chapter notes that three essential areas stand out: the object of the mystical quest (Dao, deities, heavenly realms, immortality) that leads to a discussion of philosophy, cosmology, and mythology; the subject of the endeavor (body-mind, qi, intention, essence, spirit, internal deities), which brings up problems of traditional psychology and body geography; and the methods of achievement (longevity practices, visualizations, internal energy work), which invites comparative examination of other techniques, such as prayers, forms of meditation, devotion, and the like.

Keywords:   Daoism, Chinese mysticism, qi, body geography, internal deities, longevity practices

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