The principle of interconnectedness pervades the worldviews of the Daoist and Buddhist religions originating from India and China. It is fitting that the traditions themselves are historically and textually interconnected in a way that finds traditions intermingling by borrowing teachings and practices and combining them into unique syncretisms. The often syncretic nature of religion is nowhere more apparent than in Han-period Daoist scriptures. Daoism is by no means a monolithic entity, and its many schools vary greatly in text and practice.
[...] And yet, the Celestial Masters succeed to this day even while Buddhism has long been accepted as an additionally legitimate Chinese religious practice. Perhaps such desperate distinctions between traditions are evidence of the theory that partitions can only be made at the institutional level, while less clear divisions exist in common religious practice. Works Cited: Bokenkamp, Stephen. Early Daoist Scriptures. Berkeley, CA: UCal. Press Robinet, Isabelle. Taoism: Growth of a Religion. Stanford, California: Stanford Press Williams, Paul. Mahayana Buddhism. New York: Routledge Press Stephen Bokenkamp, Early Daoist Scriptures (Berkeley, CA: U. Cal. [...]
[...] Once this meridian location is mastered by the practitioner, the Sage promises that the dualities of existence and non-existence will be conquered. In this context, the use of the word nirvana for a center of energy in the body is an appropriate example of the combination of Buddhist philosophy with Daoist worldview that is present in the Shangqing. The attainment of nirvana, according to the Madhyamaka philosopher Nagarjuna, the . calming of all verbal differentiations.” This expression of the Buddha's middle way is echoed in the Shangqing Sage's exhortation to attain nirvana (described in a Daoist metaphor for bodily alchemy), and thus transcend the duality of birth and death. [...]
[...] The interiorization of Daoist practice is also apparent in the Celestial Masters text of Inner Explanations. An element common to the worldview of both Shangqing and Celestial Masters schools is the deification of stars in constellations; the means by which one attains contact with such celestial deities differs in each school. The Celestial Heavens of the Inner Explanations are attainable as states of meditative concentration. In this way the progressively higher celestial levels are similar to the Zen Buddhist categorization of the progressively more profound levels of concentration (dhyanas). [...]
[...] Press, 1997) Bokenkamp Bokenkamp, 187-8. Bokenkamp Paul Williams. Mahayana Buddhism. Routledge Press, 1989) 118. Bokenkamp Isabelle Robinet. Taoism: Growth of a Religion. (Stanford, California: Stanford Press, 1997.) 130. Bokenkamp Robinet (concerning the salvific intent of the Shangqing) and 71 (concerning the Dao of Great Peace). [...]
[...] The Purple Texts in particular must stand out as a unique blend of Daoist and Buddhist ideas that are not representative, according to Robinet, of the general Shangqing worldview. The Sage Lord of the Purple Texts is an example of the perfected man (zhenren) who has attained such status by following the practical prescriptions contained within the text itself. Rather than being an avatar of the Dao and a manifestation of Laozi, the sage is a mortal who transcended by practicing the techniques of the Purple Texts. [...]
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