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Chinese Religion

An Anthology of Sources

Edited by Deborah Sommer

Publication Date - February 1995

ISBN: 9780195088953

400 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


For centuries, westerners have referred to China's numerous traditions of spiritual expression as "religious"--a word born of western thought that cannot completely characterize the passionate writing that fills the pages of this pathbreaking anthology.
The first of its kind in well over thirty years, this text offers the student of Chinese ritual and cosmology the broadest range of primary sources from antiquity to the modern era. Readings are arranged chronologically and cover such concepts as Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and even communism. A large number of the selections concern the role of the female in Chinese religion, and are either by or about women. Through invocations, poetry, drama, philosophical texts, religious treatises, and modern fiction, students hear the voices of numerous Chinese masters expounding on the movements and traditions that inspired them: the mysterious Tao-te ching of Lao Tzu, cloaked in the mists of deepest antiquity; the Analects of stately, reverent Confucius; "Nailing a Stick into Empty Space," from The Recorded Conversations of Ch'an Master I-hsuan, and many others, including the work of Mencius, Pan Chao, Han Shan, Chang Tsai, Wang Yang-ming, Lu Hsun, and Mao Tse-tung. Fully one third of the translations are new, and each reading is preceded by an introduction that explains its importance and salient features. Complete with a helpful chronology of dynasties and list of possible video sources, this remarkable volume collects under one cover the most significant and influential works of China's dynamic spiritual tradition, making a fundamental contribution to courses in Chinese religion, literature, and history.


"The selections...represent a broader range of Chinese religious expressions than most. Classics are well represented, with some delightful surprises. Exactly what many who use primary texts in the classroom need."--Religious Studies Review

"An excellent anthology which should become a 'standard' collection. The introductions to the different sections are especially readable."--William Shealy, Virginia Wesleyan College

"An excellent cross-section of original materials, greatly improving on earlier anthologies."--William Powell, University of California at Santa Barbara

"Covers unusual, important, and interesting Chinese writings, and the student is provided with writings not included in most Chinese anthologies."--Candice Blocker, Ohio University

"Well written and documented. It is a good textbook for beginning students. The contents from Shang to Ching (1200 B.C. - 1911 A.D.) are excellent, concise and inclusive."--Samuel Tang, Golden Gate Baptist Seminary

Table of Contents

    I. SHANG (1200-1059 BCE) AND CHOU (1059-249 BCE) DYNASTIES
    from The Book of Changes ; from The Book of History Inscriptions from Ritual Bronzes; from The Book of Odes , The Tso Chuan , The Rites of Chou , The Book of Rites , The Analects of Confucius; Mo Tzu; Mencius; Hsun Tzu; The Tao de Ching of Lao Tzu; Chuang Tzu; The Songs of the South
    II. HAN (202 BCE-220 CE) AND WEI (220-264 CE) DYNASTIES
    from: Wan Fu's Discourses of a Recluse , Pan Chao's Perfected Woman; The Unattainable Goddess
    The Buddhist Pure Land: Scripture of the Pure Land ; from: The Lotus Sutra ; The Heart Sutra ; The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti ; Meditations on the Body: The Secret Instructions of the Holy Lord on the Scripture of Great Peace ; Alchemical Recipes for Immortality: from The Book of the Master Who Embraces Simplicity
    IV. SUI (581-618 CE) AND T' ANG (618-907) DYNASTIES
    The Mind-to-Mind Transmission of the Dharma: Selections from the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch ; Nailing a Stick into Empty Space: from the Recording Conversations of Ch' an Master I-hsuan ; Poems of Han Shan; The Writings of Han Hu; The Poetry of Po Chu-yi
    V. SUNG (960-1279) AND YUAN (1279-1369) DYNASTIES
    The Great Ultimate of Chou Tun-yi; The Writings of Chang Tsai, Chu Hsi; Ch' en Ch' un's Learning of the Way; "Master Ch' ung-yang's Fifteen Precepts for Establishing the Teaching"; from Seven Taoist Masters ; from Chang Boils the Sea
    VI. MING DYNASTY (1368-1644)
    The Writings of Wang Yang-ming; Poetry of the Spirit; from Monkey: Folk Novel of China
    VII. CH'ING DYNASTY (1644-1911)
    Tales of the Supernatural; Confession of a Ghost; The Story of the Stone
    VIII. MODERN ERA (1911-)
    Lu Xun's Critique of Tradition; Chang T' ien-i's "The Bulwark"; from the writings of Mao-Tse Tung; on the Cult of Mao; The Revival of the Spiritual Tradition: The God of Theater; from Ling Chung, "The Fall of Moon Lady"; from Master Sheng-yen's Faith in Mind ; Buddhism Comes to America: from The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
    Notes/Chronology of Dynasties/Additional Sources/Video Sources/Bibliography/Glossary