By Robert Ford Campany, Ge Hong
In past due classical and early medieval China, ascetics strove to turn into transcendents--deathless beings with supernormal powers. Practitioners constructed dietetic, alchemical, meditative, gymnastic, sexual, and medicinal disciplines (some of that are nonetheless practiced at the present time) to ideal themselves and hence go beyond dying. Narratives in their achievements circulated largely. Ge Hong (283-343 c.e.) accumulated and preserved lots of their tales in his Traditions of Divine Transcendents, affording us a window onto this outstanding reaction to human mortality.Robert Ford Campany's groundbreaking and punctiliously researched textual content deals the 1st entire, serious translation and remark for this significant chinese language spiritual paintings, even as setting up a style for reconstructing misplaced texts from medieval China. transparent, exacting, and annotated, the interpretation contains over 100 full of life, attractive narratives of people deemed to have fought loss of life and gained. also, To stay so long as Heaven and Earth systematically introduces the chinese language quest for transcendence, illuminating a poorly understood culture that used to be a tremendous resource of Daoist faith and a huge social, cultural, and spiritual phenomenon in its personal correct.
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Extra resources for To Live as Long as Heaven and Earth: A Translation and Study of Ge Hong's Traditions of Divine Transcendents (Taoist Classics, 2)
In part 2 of this book I present the first translation of Traditions that is complete, text-critical, and fully annotated, along with a commentary. 18 A decade ago Anna Seidel remarked how valuable a careful, annotated translation of Traditions would be for scholarship on Daoist religion,19 but perhaps it is necessary to detail some reasons why one might think so. ”20 These were understandable reactions to many scholars’ tendency at the time to ignore Daoist scriptures and to focus on Ge Hong’s Inner Chapters because of their availability in a (quite imperfect) translation.
In most cases, however, the adept’s total program of ingestion consisted essentially of a negative and a positive aspect—of foods to be avoided and of other substances to be substituted for them. Avoidances Some texts of methods esteemed by Ge Hong list foods not to be eaten during the preparation and carefully timed consumption of medicinal compounds. 12 By far the most common dietary avoidance mentioned in Traditions, Inner Chapters, and texts of the Grand Purity patrimony, however, was “grains” (gu B)—the entire class of cereals, the staple food group of the Chinese diet.
But I have not been content to let the text simply speak for itself. It bristles with references to a wealth of figures, terms, and techniques significant for the history of Chinese religions—and significant, I would insist, for understanding what the text means to say—and I have tried where possible to explain such references, or at least to register my best guesses in di‹cult cases, in a lengthy series of annotations. To most of the hagiographies I have also added “Comments,” shorter or longer as seemed called for by the material; these point out connections both outside and within the text of Traditions and indicate details in the story that strike me as important.