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Tao te Ching

(187 words)

Author(s): Reiter, Florian C.
[German Version] (or Dao de Ching), “The Book of the Tao and Its Virtue,” a key text of literary Taoism. The work is also known under the name of its putative author Lao Tsu; it was probably composed during the Period of the Warring States (481–221 bce). Two chapters with 81 aphorisms describe the concept of the Tao at length. An extensive commentary literature began to emerge in the 2nd century bce. The Heshang Gong commentary (2nd cent. bce) introduced the religious Taoist interpretation of the text, which concentrates on the physical and spiritual nature of human being…

Canon

(4,367 words)

Author(s): Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria | Schindler, Alfred | Huizing, Klaas | Troianos, Spyros N. | Felmy, Karl Christian | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Church History – III. Fundamental Theology – IV. Orthodox Law – V. Eastern Poetry – VI. Islam – VII. Buddhism – VIII. Taoism I. History of Religion The canon can be defined as a complex process of selection of documents regarded as authoritative; from the totality of the extant written tradition, documents are set apart according to certain criteria as holy or inspired (Inspiration/Theopneustia). Although the concept of the canon as a normative collection…

Temple

(9,630 words)

Author(s): Maier, Bernhard | Berlejung, Angelika | Steimle, Christopher | Bieberstein, Klaus | Zellentin, Holger | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies The English word temple derives from Latin templum. In the technical vocabulary of religious studies, it is more specialized than sanctuary, shrine, cult site, or place of worship. The usage of the originally Latin term beyond the sphere of classical antiquity is well established, particularly for structures that appear comparable in regard to their architectural form (monumentality, stone construction) or religious function (dwelling place of a god or goddess). But this usage does not reflect a precise defi-¶ nition it is based primarily …

Tao

(179 words)

Author(s): Reiter, Florian C.
[German Version] (or Dao) is a central concept of Chinese philosophy and religion. Its basic meaning is “way” or “path”; Confucius used it in the sense of “right way” and “order.” As the way or order of the universe, in the literature of Taoism the word came to denote a fundamental abstract concept, defined neither temporally, spatially, nor personally. The Tao te Ching (“Book of the Tao and Its Virtue”) explains it as the epitome of the ultimate ground and being of all entities and their natural concord. Since the 2nd century ce, religious Taoism has revered its author Lao Tsu as the …

Neidan

(429 words)

Author(s): Reiter, Florian C.
[German Version] Internal alchemy ( neidan) is seen as a further development of external alchemy (III; waidan) ¶ and forms an integral part of religious Taoism. In the periods preceding the common era, but also later, external alchemy was linked to costly experiments in search of the medicine of immortality. Emperors of the early and following periods (Qin Shihuangdi), as well as the upper echelons of society, were interested and involved. Preparation and consumption of the drugs not only required essences that w…

Taoism

(4,368 words)

Author(s): Seiwert, Hubert | Reiter, Florian C.
[German Version] I. History Philosophical Taoism (Daoism) is associated with names from the history of China’s traditional literature such as Lao Tsu (Tao te Ching) and Zhuangzi. Their influence can be seen in belles lettres and in philological and philosophical commentaries. The situation of religious Taoism (“Celestial Master” Taoism: Tianshidao or Cheng Yi Taoism), which first appeared as a religion in China in the 2nd century ce, is quite different. Its history falls into three periods: (1) the formative period, 2nd–6th centuries; (2) the period of consoli…

Cheng Yi Taoism

(436 words)

Author(s): Reiter, Florian C.
[German Version] (Cheng-i). Cheng Yi, “orthodoxy and unity” (“Master of Heaven”/“Five Bushels of Rice” Taoism) is the generic term for religious Taoism. In the 2nd century ce, the deified Lao Tsu (Taishang Laojun) installed the former official Chang Tao Ling as “Master of Heaven,” who thus acquired, in addition to the “contractual authority over orthodoxy and unity,” the power to subjugate demons and the authority to guide humanity in religious matters. Priority was given to the healing of ill…

Taiping

(1,345 words)

Author(s): Reiter, Florian C. | Jansen, Thomas | Wagner, Rudolf G.
[German Version] I. Taoism Taiping signifies “Great Peace,” “General Prosperity,” and “Universal Harmony.” The Book of Universal Harmony ( Taiping Jing) reflects the ideology of the militarily organized Taiping movement (2nd cent. ce) under the leadership of the self-appointed “generals” Zhang ¶ Jue (or Zhang Jiao; d. 184) and his two brothers. The deified Lao Tsu (Taishang Laojun) is said to have revealed the original title Taiping qingling shu to a certain Gan (or Yu) Ji in Shandong (Langye). The wars of the late Han Dynasty, the hardships suffered by the popu…

Quanzhen-Taoism

(522 words)

Author(s): Reiter, Florian C.
[German Version] “Complete integrity” or “complete realization” ( quanzhen; Quanzhen-Taoism) is the name of a Taoist school (Taoism) that arose during the 12th century in Shandong Province. The school’s founder was Wang Zhe (1112–1170) from Shensi, who is also known as “Double Yang” (Chongyang). His disciples, the “Seven Perfected Beings,” formed the first generation of the Quanzhen patriarchs: Ma Danyang (1123–1183), Tan Chuduan (1123–1185), Qiu Changchun (1148–1227), Wang Chuyi (1142–1217), Liu Chuxua…