East Asian Languages and Cultures | The Daoist Body
E160 | 1479 | Bokenkamp


This course fulfills the College of Arts and Sciences "Topics" requirement.

Daoism [also spelled "Taoism"] is commonly known as the "religion of
immortality."  This is because the express goal of Daoism is to teach its
followers to merge bodily with the Dao, the basic life-force of the
universe, and thus become xian [often translated "immortals"].   But of
course Daoists did die.   Modern scholars of the religion, unable to locate
any clear expression in Daoist texts concerning the immortality of the
soul, are thus presented with a puzzle.  Given that traditional Chinese
civilization was in all other ways extremely practical, how could such an
apparently irrational, death-denying, religion ever have arisen there?  In
this course, we shall examine traditional Chinese views of the body through
Daoist scriptures, images, stories, and meditations in an attempt to
discover what the attainment of xianhood meant in flesh and blood, as well
as spiritual, terms to early Chinese Daoists.  Requirements for the course
include several short papers on assigned readings and a final paper of five
pages in length.  Credit given for only one of EALC E160 and COAS E103 on
this topic.

Credit given for only one of EALC E160 and COAS E103 on this topic.