Warp, Weft, and Way

Chinese and Comparative Philosophy 中國哲學與比較哲學

Barnwell on Classical Daoism, part 4.2

Friend of the blog, Scott Barnwell, has posted part 4.2 of his work on whether there really was such a thing as classical Daoism, over on his Baopu blog. Here’s a snippet. Feel free to comment here or there.

In what follows I will often translate Tian as “the heavens” to specify the referent as the sky above, including the sun, moon, stars and planets and sometimes as “Nature” to widen the referent to include the earth and imply the natural, dynamic forces at work in the universe.

We may now ask, who (or what) was believed to have created the heavens and earth? An excavated text called the “Chu Silk Manuscript” (Chu Boshu 楚帛書) contains the earliest evidence of a myth involving Baoxi 雹戲 (a.k.a. Fuxi 伏羲) and Nüwa女媧, who, in a time described as “indistinct and dark”(夢夢墨墨), gave birth to four children, who helped separate above and below (上下), that is, the heavens and the earth. Eventually, after thousands of years had passed the sun and moon were somehow born. Later[9] myths tell of Nüwa creating living things (out of already existing materials); for example, the late-Han Shuowen Jiezi 說文解字 records that (Nü)Wa was an “ancient female deity that transformed (=made) the myriad things” (古之神聖女,化萬物者也).

Aside from this text, it would appear that some of the authors of the Laozi and Zhuangzi were the first to attempt a “non-mythological” answer…

January 22, 2013 Posted by | Cosmology, Daoism, Taoism | no comments

Saltveit’s new project: Taoish.org

Friend of the blog, Mark Saltveit, writes:

Hello.  I have a new project that may be interesting to readers of WW&W: http://www.taoish.org, a place for irreverent spirituality.  My focus is on manifestations of contemplative religion/philosophy in the modern West, primarily Daoism of course but not limited to that.

My current post might be especially interesting to your followers: an analysis of one line of chapter 10 of the Daodejing by Steve Bokenkamp of Arizona State. http://www.realchange.org/taoish/mirror-mirrormirror/

(Earlier, I reposted his classic 1993 Daoism FAQ, which is pretty fun.  http://www.realchange.org/taoish/authoritative-answers-to-questions-about-taoism/ )

January 22, 2013 Posted by | Daoism, Taoism | 2 comments