By Louis Komjathy
Applying a comparative non secular experiences strategy, this publication offers a finished dialogue of early Quanzhen as a Daoist spiritual circulation charactized through asceticism, alchemical transformation, and mystical experiencing. Emphasis is put on the advanced interaction between perspectives of self, spiritual praxis, and spiritual event.
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Additional info for Cultivating Perfection: Mysticism and Self-transformation in Early Quanzhen Daoism
These methods were intended to lead to a shift in ontological condition, a movement from ordinary and habituated being to perfected and transformed being. ” Ultimately soteriological in intent, these techniques of transformation, in the case of early Quanzhen, involved self-rectification and alchemical transformation. Chapter five begins with a discussion of the foundational practices advocated and employed in early Quanzhen Daoism. These foundational practices included ethical rectification and purification, seclusion and meditation enclosure, and ascetic commitments.
In this sense, they can be called “perfected,” but “perfected” cannot be a translation for zhen. Moreover, in the term “Quanzhen,” quan has the verbal sense “to complete” (by recovering). Therefore, “Quanzhen” may be better translated as “Completion of 8 I include the studies of Thomas Cleary (b. 1949) and Eva Wong (b. 1951) because these two individuals and their general-audience books have probably exerted the greatest influence on the popular understanding of Quanzhen Daoism. 9 The articles on Quanzhen were written by Pierre Marsone (École Pratique des Hautes Études), Vincent Goossaert (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), Stephen Eskildsen (University of Tennessee), and Paul Katz (National Central University; Taiwan).
I have great respect and admiration for the Sinological approach, and my understanding of the Daoist tradition would not be what it is if not for the lives and work of the founding members and second- and third-generation scholars. In fact, the present study would probably have remained unwritten if not for earlier Sinological studies of Quanzhen Daoism. 7 7 For a different interpretation of the relationship between Sinology and Daoist Studies see Kirkland 2004. 8 introduction Daoism is a Chinese religious tradition which has been continually modified and transformed for some two thousand years and which is currently being transmitted and adapted to a global context.