Teaching Chinese Mysticism

Livia Kohn

in Teaching Mysticism

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199751198
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918782 | DOI:

Series: AAR Teaching Religious Studies Series

Teaching Chinese Mysticism

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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

Chapter.  9715 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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