Chapter

Taoists, Local Gods, and the Transformation of Wang Wen-ch'ing

Robert Hymes

in Way and Byway

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780520207585
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520935136 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520207585.003.0006
Taoists, Local Gods, and the Transformation of Wang Wen-ch'ing

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This chapter investigates the combination or alternation of the two models in Taoists' own self-representations, discussing Wang Wen-ch'ing as Taoist practitioner and as local god. In Yü Chi's account, Wang's special character is inborn, but it grows through contact with others as special as he. The records of Wang that come directly from Household Talk and Chao Taoi's biography reveal Wang as a celestial official in regular communication with both superiors and underlings, and treat his acts as exercises of delegated power commanded or authorized by a celestial court and emperor. Almost all elements of the representation of the Three Immortals in the Hua-kai texts are at least available in Taoist practitioners' own habits of self-representation. To treat Immortals like the Hua-kai Three as embodiments of locality and of a power that modeled in ideal form the local gentleman's own real and wished-for power, only two changes were necessary.

Keywords: Wang Wen-ch'ing; Taoists; Household Talk; Chao Taoi; Three Immortals; Hua-kai; locality; power

Chapter.  12459 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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