Opening Rhetorical Spaces in the Early Celestial Masters Daoism Tradition (70764)

Session Information: Religion, Spirituality
Session Chair: Sara Neswald

Monday, 29 May 2023 13:30
Session: Session 2
Room: Room A (Live Stream)
Presentation Type:Live-Stream Presentation

In early imperial China, a fledgling indigenous religion (Celestial Masters/Zhengyi Daoism) encountered a foreign invader (Buddhism). The young religion was heavily influenced by concepts and narratives of the invader, yet was not overcome. Instead, Celestial Masters Daoism has managed to maintain its foothold in Chinese culture and continues to flourish even to this day. In early imperial China, the two religious systems rooted themselves into the culture in two different manners: The first was to seek influence on high, infiltrating and influencing culture in the courts of kings, emperors and nobles; the other path was to go low, penetrating into the hearts and homes of local peoples in their villages and homes and serving the needs of communities and families. This paper investigates two scriptures that spoke to local communities and addressed the needs of these individuals struggling to keep their homes and their communities afloat. The first of these is The Kingly Mystery Scripture for the Multiplication of Silkworms spoken by Taishang (太上說利益蠶王妙經Taishang shuo liyi canwang miaojing, DZ365); the second, The Mysterious Scripture on the Enhancement of Cattle spoken by Taishang (太上說牛廣 妙經 Taishang shuo niuguang miaojing). This paper takes an intimate look at scriptures, their narrative format and intended audience/s and how these elements help to open new rhetorical spaces and lived orthodoxies within the social dynamics of early imperial China.

Sara Neswald, Soochow University, Taiwan

About the Presenter(s)
Professor Sara Neswald is a University Assistant Professor/Lecturer at Soochow University in Taiwan

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00