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(hereafter, DDJ) is divided into 81 “chapters” consisting of slightly over 5,000 Chinese characters, depending on which text is used.
The text is well known for its creativity and skillful use of language.1) What evidence is there for beliefs and practices later associated with the kind of Daoism recognized by Sima Qian prior to the formation of the two classical texts?
But they also practid meditative stillness and emptiness to gain knowledge, engaged in physical exercises to increase the flow of inner energy (qi), studied nature for diet and remedy to foster longevity, practiced rituals related to their view that reality had many layers and forms with whom/which humans could interact, wrote talismans and practiced divination, engaged in spellbinding of “ghosts,” led small communities, and advised rulers on all these subjects.
Recent scholarship is moving toward a consensus that the persons who developed and collected the teachings of the DDJ played some role in advising civil administration, but they may also have been practitioners of ritual arts and what we would call religious rites.
The ruler is a shadowy presence, never standing out (chs.
When the ruler’s work is done, the people say they are content (ch.
The way to this state is not the result of a withdrawal from life.
With regard to the first question, Isabelle Robinet thinks that the classical texts are only the most lasting evidence of a movement she associates with a set of writings and practices associated with the practiced techniques of longevity and used diet and meditative stillness anto create a way of life that attracted disciples and resulted in wisdom teachings..
Among the most controversial of the teachings in the DDJ are those directly associated with rulers.So, Daoism was a retroactive grouping of ideas and writings which were already at least one to two centuries old, and which may or may not have been ancestral to various post-classical religious movements, all self-identified as , but accepts contemporary Daoists' assertion of continuity between classical and post-classical, "philosophical" and "religious" movements and texts.But the hybrid nature of Daoism is not a reason to discount the importance of Daoist thought.This text is a collection of stories and remembered as well as imaginary conversations.There are two major source issues to be considered when forming a position on the origins of Daoism..