Chapter

The Body: Health, Nation, and Transcendence

David A. Palmer

in Chinese Religious Life

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199731398
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199914487 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199731398.003.0006
The Body: Health, Nation, and Transcendence

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This chapter discusses the interpretations of illness, health, and body practices in traditional Chinese culture, and their political implications in modern China. It begins with a discussion of the spiritual and nationalist dimensions of Chinese martial arts and qigong, as well as Daoist practices of longevity and immortality. It then considers religious and cosmological explanatory models for illness, such as demonic possession, karmic retribution, and yin-yang imbalances. Finally, it discusses the debates caused by the difficulties and perhaps inherent impossibility of fully removing the religious element from practices of the body such as Chinese medicine and qigong.

Keywords: martial arts; Qigong; cosmology; Chinese medicine; medical anthropology; Daoism; exorcism

Chapter.  8499 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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