Special Issue "“Authority Versus Authenticity”: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference of Daoist Studies"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 December 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Thomas Michael

School of Philosophy, Beijing Normal University, 19 Xinjiekou Outer St, BeiTaiPingZhuang, Haidian Qu, Beijing 100875, China
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Early Chinese Religions; Daoism; Shamanism
Guest Editor
Dr. Xia Chen

Institute of Philosophy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, No.5 Inner Jianguomen St. Dongcheng Qu, Beijing 100732, China
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Daoism, Chinese Philosophy, Chinese Religions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The 12th International Conference of Daoist Studies, “Authority Versus Authenticity,” provides an important occasion for leading international scholars of Daoism to explore the relationship of inner truth in contrast to and conflict with outer circumstances. This is a phenomenon that pervades Daoist religion, philosophy, history, and culture, since the naturalness and integrity that Daoists consistently value often runs up against opposition from more mainstream values, notions, and practices—both without and within the religion and philosophy themselves.

The journal Religions has taken an active interest in the proceedings of the conference, and it will publish selected papers in a special issue dedicated to the theme. The co-guest editors will send a direct invitation to authors of papers that have been judged initially appropriate for consideration, however, if other interested authors would like their work to be considered, we will gladly receive them with all due attention. Authors are requested to submit their finalized papers to us, and when and if they are deemed acceptable for the next step, we will move them forward to the anonymous referees who will put them to the blind peer review process. Accepted manuscripts will be published together in the special issue.

It is with great pleasure that Chen Xia and I have agreed to serve as co-guest editors for this special issue, and we are circulating this CFP to conference participants to request your willingness to work with us in its successful publication. I have great confidence that the special issue will break new ground in contemporary Daoism studies and will have a lasting impact on future directions that the study of Daoism will take.

I sincerely hope that you will consider this CFP and agree to submit your finalized manuscript by the December 1, 2018 deadline.

Dr. Thomas Michael
Dr. Xia Chen
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Daoist Philosophy
  • Religion
  • Practice
  • Art
  • History
  • Politics

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle The Authenticity of Myriad Things in the Zhuangzi
Religions 2019, 10(3), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030218
Received: 14 February 2019 / Accepted: 7 March 2019 / Published: 21 March 2019
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Abstract
A large quantity of past research in philosophical Daoism has been dedicated to the authenticity of “dao”; this essay shifts the focus to the authenticity of the “myriad things 萬物 (wanwu)” in the Zhuangzi. The concept of “myriad [...] Read more.
A large quantity of past research in philosophical Daoism has been dedicated to the authenticity of “dao”; this essay shifts the focus to the authenticity of the “myriad things 萬物 (wanwu)” in the Zhuangzi. The concept of “myriad things”, which later gains paradigmatic importance in Chinese philosophy, was first introduced in the Laozi and developed in the Zhuangzi. Under the collective heading of “myriad”, “myriad things” encompasses all of the variegated existing entities in the empirical world, while also taking into account the individual particularities of each entity without calling forth any singular or set of qualities, or “essence”, that is shared by all individuals. As a concept that safeguards individual particularities, the use of “myriad things” in the Zhuangzi serves to counterargue against the essentialist tendency to treat “humans 人 (ren)” as a collective of moral agents with a singular and identifiable moral essence. By the same token, Daoist thinkers re-interpret the meaning of “heaven 天 (tian)” with “the collective name of the myriad things 萬物之總名”, thus transferring the transcendent meaning belonging to the former as a transcendent moral authority to the myriad variegated principles that are inherent to each existing and transforming individual. The Daoist theoretical frame breaks away from that of “heaven–human” and connects the re-interpreted “heaven” with concepts of “self-so/self-affirm 自然 (ziran)”, “essentials 情 (qing)”, “nature 性 (xing)”, and “potency 德 (de)”. In this respect, “authenticity 真 (zhen)”, as it is warranted by “non-action 無為 (wuwei)”, is proposed as an ultimate state of attainment that is identified with the self-realization of each individual being as herself, over and above the so-called moral goodness and its opposite. Furthermore, the self-realization of the authenticity of the myriad things is seemingly paradoxical in the sense that, from the perspective of the “transformation of the myriad things 萬物之化”, the separation between object and subject both exists and is non-existent. The proposition of “myriad things” opposes the essentialization of human beings, whereas the doctrine of the transformation of the myriad things opposes the belief in fixed essentials in individual entities. The road to realizing “authenticity” as herself is thus a never-ending process for each individual member of the myriad things. Full article
Open AccessArticle Ziran: Authenticity or Authority?
Religions 2019, 10(3), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030207
Received: 26 December 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2019 / Accepted: 14 March 2019 / Published: 18 March 2019
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Abstract
This essay explores the core Daoist concept of ziran (commonly translated as spontaneity, naturalness, or self-so) and its relationship to authenticity and authority. Modern scholarship has often followed the interpretation of Guo Xiang (d. 312) in taking ziran as spontaneous individual authenticity completely [...] Read more.
This essay explores the core Daoist concept of ziran (commonly translated as spontaneity, naturalness, or self-so) and its relationship to authenticity and authority. Modern scholarship has often followed the interpretation of Guo Xiang (d. 312) in taking ziran as spontaneous individual authenticity completely unreliant on any external authority. This form of Daoism emphasizes natural transformations and egalitarian society. Here, the author draws on Heshanggong’s Commentary on the Daodejing to reveal a drastically dissimilar ziran conception based on the authority of the transcendent Way. The logic of this contrasting view of classical Daoism results not only in a vision of hierarchical society, but one where the ultimate state of human ziran becomes immortality. Expanding our sense of the Daodejing, this cosmology of authority helps unearths greater continuity of the text with Daoism’s later religious forms. Full article
Open AccessArticle Lineage Construction of the Southern School from Zhongli Quan to Liu Haichan and Zhang Boduan
Religions 2019, 10(3), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030179
Received: 29 November 2018 / Revised: 31 January 2019 / Accepted: 25 February 2019 / Published: 11 March 2019
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Abstract
Examining relevant Daoist scriptures and records, this article traces the lineage relationship of Zhang Boduan (d. 1082) to his predecessors. His immediate teacher supposedly was Liu Haichan, based on whose teachings he compiled his main work, the Wuzhen pian (Awakening to Perfection). First [...] Read more.
Examining relevant Daoist scriptures and records, this article traces the lineage relationship of Zhang Boduan (d. 1082) to his predecessors. His immediate teacher supposedly was Liu Haichan, based on whose teachings he compiled his main work, the Wuzhen pian (Awakening to Perfection). First outlined by the Song scholar Lu Sicheng, the story was later expanded in various collections of immortals’ biographies. It is well known that the Southern School of internal alchemy (Golden Elixir) was constructed by Bai Yuchan and his disciples in the early 13th century. I show that this centers on the claim that Zhang Boduan, as Bai’s forerunner, received his teachings from Liu Haichan, a line that was then expanded to include the immortals Zhongli Quan and Lü Dongbin. I also suggest that the alchemical teaching of the Zhong-Lü tradition is particularly characterized by its emphasis on the dual cultivation of inner nature and life-destiny, focusing on the key concepts of clarity and stillness as well as nonaction, while centering on the reverted elixir of the golden fluid. The teaching matches the Daode jing (Book of the Dao and Its Virtue) instructions to “empty the mind, fill the belly, weaken the will, and strengthen the bones” (ch. 3). This emphasis may well be the reason the Zhong-Lü tradition superseded the Twofold Mystery school flourishing in the Tang and rose to the fore. Full article
Open AccessArticle Seeing and Hearing in the Laozi and Zhuangzi and the Question of Authority and Authenticity
Religions 2019, 10(3), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030155
Received: 5 January 2019 / Revised: 21 February 2019 / Accepted: 27 February 2019 / Published: 4 March 2019
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Abstract
The present paper investigates the significance of visual and auditory metaphors as used in the main Daoist classics the Laozi 老子 and Zhuangzi 莊子. While both works disparage the role of the senses, they nonetheless employ a large number of metaphors related to [...] Read more.
The present paper investigates the significance of visual and auditory metaphors as used in the main Daoist classics the Laozi 老子 and Zhuangzi 莊子. While both works disparage the role of the senses, they nonetheless employ a large number of metaphors related to the sense experience. It is the contention of the author that examining these metaphors against the backdrop of the main modern theories dealing with characteristics of vision and hearing is crucial for a better understanding of how the authors of both works envisioned the ideal relation between man and the Way (dao 道) as well as their views on authority and authenticity. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Relationship between Authority and Authenticity in the Laozi: Employing Wu無as a Philosophical Framework
Religions 2019, 10(2), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020079
Received: 6 December 2018 / Revised: 21 January 2019 / Accepted: 22 January 2019 / Published: 25 January 2019
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Abstract
Wu 無is one of the most prominent terms in Ancient Daoist philosophy, and perhaps the only term to appear more than Dao in both the Laozi and the Zhuangzi. However, unlike Dao, wu is generally used as an adjective modifying or describing [...] Read more.
Wu 無is one of the most prominent terms in Ancient Daoist philosophy, and perhaps the only term to appear more than Dao in both the Laozi and the Zhuangzi. However, unlike Dao, wu is generally used as an adjective modifying or describing nouns such as “names”, “desires”, “knowledge”, “action”, and so forth. Whereas Dao serves as the utmost principle in both generation and practice, wu becomes one of the central methods to achieve or emulate this ideal. As a term of negation, wu usually indicates the absence of something, as seen in its relation to the term you 有—“to have” or “presence”. From the perspective of generative processes, wu functions as an undefined and undifferentiated cosmic situation from which no beginning can begin but everything can emerge. In the political aspect, wu defines, or rather un-defines the actions (non-coercive action, wuwei無為) that the utmost authority exerts to allow the utmost simplicity and “authenticity” (the zi自constructions) of the people. In this paper, I suggest an understanding of wu as a philosophical framework that places Pre-Qin Daoist thought as a system that both promotes our understanding of the way the world works and offers solutions to particular problems. Wu then is simultaneously metaphysical and concrete, general, and particular. It is what allows the world, the society, and the person to flourish on their own terms. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Dreamer and Their Authenticity in the Zhuangzi
Religions 2019, 10(2), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020075
Received: 20 December 2018 / Revised: 21 January 2019 / Accepted: 21 January 2019 / Published: 23 January 2019
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Abstract
In this paper, I explain the problem of the dreamer in the Zhuangzi. I aim to show that no difference exists between dreaming states and waking states because we have a fluctual relationship with these two stages. In both, “we are dreaming.” [...] Read more.
In this paper, I explain the problem of the dreamer in the Zhuangzi. I aim to show that no difference exists between dreaming states and waking states because we have a fluctual relationship with these two stages. In both, “we are dreaming.” Put another way, from a psychoanalytical point of view, one stage penetrates the other and vice versa. The difference between dreaming and non-dreaming disappears because dreaming is a structural process. Also, from a psychoanalytical perspective, all confirmations and negations about dreams and non-dreams leads to one point: the being, or rather the becoming, of the subject. How does this solve the problem of the True Person/True Human Being (zhenren真人)? Does such a person have dreams or not? Does the True Person sleep without dreams, as we find in the Zhuangzi? From a psychoanalytic perspective, this is not possible. To prove this, I will present few passages from the Zhuangzi and offer a psychoanalytic explanation of them based on Jacques Lacan’s theory of the fantasy and desire. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Conceptualizing the Interaction of Buddhism and Daoism in the Tang Dynasty: Inner Cultivation and Outer Authority in the Daode Jing Commentaries of Cheng Xuanying and Li Rong
Religions 2019, 10(1), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010066
Received: 8 December 2018 / Revised: 3 January 2019 / Accepted: 16 January 2019 / Published: 20 January 2019
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Abstract
This paper takes the different interpretations of one and the same sentences in the Daode jing as “inner cultivation” or “worldly power” respectively, in the commentaries of two closely related early Tang Daoist authors, Cheng Xuanying 成玄英 and Li Rong 李荣, as a [...] Read more.
This paper takes the different interpretations of one and the same sentences in the Daode jing as “inner cultivation” or “worldly power” respectively, in the commentaries of two closely related early Tang Daoist authors, Cheng Xuanying 成玄英 and Li Rong 李荣, as a starting point to approach the question of interaction of Buddhism and Daoism from a new angle. Instead of trying to pinpoint influences, origins, and derivatives, I propose to delineate philosophical discourses that cross the boundaries of the three teachings. Parallel excerpts from both commentaries show how Cheng reads the Daode jing as a guidebook for cultivation, and how Li Rong reads it as a guideline for governing. I argue that the differences could be read as the authors’ participation in different philosophical discourses, and I will show, for the case of Cheng Xuanying, how terminological overlap with contemporary Buddhist authors indicates that Buddhists and Daoists both participated in the discourse on inner cultivation with commentaries to their respective sacred scriptures. Full article
Open AccessArticle Abnormalities and Return: An Exploration of the Concept Fan 反 in the Laozi
Religions 2019, 10(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010032
Received: 3 December 2018 / Revised: 28 December 2018 / Accepted: 30 December 2018 / Published: 5 January 2019
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Abstract
Laozi’s concept of fan 反 has many different interpretations. However, except for the fan character in chapter seventy-eight which says “appropriate language seems contradictory (fan 反)” where it obviously refers to contradictions or opposites (xiangfan 相反), all other appearances of this [...] Read more.
Laozi’s concept of fan 反 has many different interpretations. However, except for the fan character in chapter seventy-eight which says “appropriate language seems contradictory (fan 反)” where it obviously refers to contradictions or opposites (xiangfan 相反), all other appearances of this character should be explained as fan 返 (return). Return does not refer to opposites, nor does it refer to cyclicality. This point is illustrated through three main channels: first, we argue that in the Laozi, the character fan 反 was used as a phonetic loan for fan 返. Second, this paper shows that both fan and fugui 复归mean “return.” The third channel attempts to answer the questions of why and where the Laozi needs to advocate for the principle of return. Full article
Open AccessArticle Some Wondrous Effects of Inner Calm, as Described and Explained in Yu Yan’s Zhouyi cantong qi fahui
Religions 2019, 10(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010031
Received: 29 November 2018 / Revised: 29 December 2018 / Accepted: 30 December 2018 / Published: 4 January 2019
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Abstract
This essay examines what Yu Yan’s Zhouyi cantong qi fahui says about the suspension of breathing and pulse, as well as the extraordinary inner sensations and visions that accompany it. Yu Yan maintains that these things come about by simply bringing body and [...] Read more.
This essay examines what Yu Yan’s Zhouyi cantong qi fahui says about the suspension of breathing and pulse, as well as the extraordinary inner sensations and visions that accompany it. Yu Yan maintains that these things come about by simply bringing body and mind to the depths of stillness; they are not instigated through deliberate procedures such as holding of breath, visualization, incantation, gulping air, swallowing saliva, etc. Through sheer inner calm and single-minded concentration, breathing and pulse are suspended while an inner qi 氣 is generated that surges and circulates the body, bringing forth ravishing sensations and strange visions. Yu Yan explains why the inner qi and the visions come to be generated, and why one should and can disregard the visions. Yu Yan’s descriptions and explanations regarding inner calm and its wondrous effects help shed light on the Neidan (inner alchemy) methods of the major traditions of his time (especially Nanzong and Quanzhen), revealing details that tended to be obscured in abstruse metaphor or reserved for oral transmission. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Big and the Great: A Reconstruction of Zhuangzi’s Philosophy on Transcendence
Religions 2019, 10(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010030
Received: 29 November 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 25 December 2018 / Published: 4 January 2019
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Abstract
This essay attempts to demonstrate the logic of Zhuangzi in his different attitudes toward “debate on big and small” by bringing into discussion the two versions of translation in the English languages, which provide a new approach to analyze the difference in the [...] Read more.
This essay attempts to demonstrate the logic of Zhuangzi in his different attitudes toward “debate on big and small” by bringing into discussion the two versions of translation in the English languages, which provide a new approach to analyze the difference in the controversial commentaries on Zhuangzi. This essay points out that the ideal of “free and easy wandering” is a type of positive pleasure. By means of rational thinking and imagination, one’s searching for the external values is turned into the internal pursuit for wisdom in the transformation of things. Zhuangzi’s theory of transcendence not only provides the subject with multi-perspectives, but also substitutes the self-identity with self-value. Through the interaction between self-awareness and self-reaction, the subject can be unified with the great Dao through purposive activities. However, Guo Xiang’s commentary cancels the necessity of self-cultivation and negates the purposefulness of the subject, which underestimates the value of Zhuangzi’s construction of transcendence. Full article
Open AccessArticle Machine Hearts and Wandering Spirits in Nietzsche and Zhuangzi
Religions 2018, 9(12), 411; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9120411
Received: 7 November 2018 / Revised: 5 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 12 December 2018
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Abstract
Both Nietzsche and Zhuangzi spurn the boundaries of human convention and traditional authority and maintain that the ego-self, based on the internalization of external norms is its unwelcome byproduct. In an attempt to counteract this, these thinkers espouse a wandering approach to existence, [...] Read more.
Both Nietzsche and Zhuangzi spurn the boundaries of human convention and traditional authority and maintain that the ego-self, based on the internalization of external norms is its unwelcome byproduct. In an attempt to counteract this, these thinkers espouse a wandering approach to existence, which would affirm the existence of the variegated and perpetually evolving cosmos and help to undo the often pernicious effects of the objectification of language. Paradoxically, they maintain that a deep connection to other beings and the natural world necessitates a willingness to embrace solitude and also the dissolution of the self. Full article
Open AccessArticle Authority without Authenticity: The Zhuangzi’s Genuine Pretending as Socio-Political Strategy
Religions 2018, 9(12), 398; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9120398
Received: 27 November 2018 / Revised: 2 December 2018 / Accepted: 3 December 2018 / Published: 4 December 2018
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Abstract
In this paper, we present a socio-political reading of the Zhuangzi based in part on a brief review of contemporary Chinese scholarship on the text. We will argue that the approach to dealing with authority in the Zhuangzi can be summarized by the [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present a socio-political reading of the Zhuangzi based in part on a brief review of contemporary Chinese scholarship on the text. We will argue that the approach to dealing with authority in the Zhuangzi can be summarized by the phrase “externally transforming without transforming internally”. When applied to situations where the individual engages with political or social authority, this idea commends the art of retaining a non-conforming and non-committed internal state while, to an extent, conforming to external circumstances and committing to certain actions. In this way the Zhuangzi not only aims at ensuring safety in potentially dangerous encounters with authority, but also the avoidance of “authenticating” authority. Following the language and logic of the Zhuangzi, the emphasis is on “forgetting (wang 忘)”, “losing (sang 桑)”, and “negating (wu 無)” one’s social self, rather than constructing or discovering an “authentic self” that might ultimately only reify authority. We will refer to the Zhuangzi’s strategy in terms of what we call “genuine pretending”. Full article
Open AccessArticle Explorations in Authority in the Daodejing: A Daoist Engagement with Hannah Arendt
Religions 2018, 9(12), 378; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9120378
Received: 22 October 2018 / Revised: 11 November 2018 / Accepted: 19 November 2018 / Published: 22 November 2018
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Abstract
The present study is an attempt to liberate the thought of the Daodejing from the constraints imposed on it by both traditional Confucian exegesis and modern Western sinological methodologies in the effort to engage the thought of the work more directly. Because the [...] Read more.
The present study is an attempt to liberate the thought of the Daodejing from the constraints imposed on it by both traditional Confucian exegesis and modern Western sinological methodologies in the effort to engage the thought of the work more directly. Because the language and thought of the Daodejing are somehow oddly foreign to the Western traditions of analytic philosophy and sinology, this study attempts to make the Daodejing more familiar by recourse to the tradition of continental philosophy, in this case by taking recourse to Hannah Arendt and in particular to her seminal essay on authority. Engaging Arendt’s understanding of authority, this study offers a new look at the thought of the Daodejing by discussing issues that lie at the heart of its political vision, including natural versus political authority, power and coercion, and the relation between authority, tradition, and religion. This study also attempts to situate the fate of the Daodejing’s conception of authority in Chinese political history, and it concludes with a brief look at the contemporary comparative philosophical project that brings the Daodejing into conversation with continental philosophy. Full article
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