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Download e-book for kindle: Society and the Supernatural in Song China by Edward L. Davis

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By Edward L. Davis

ISBN-10: 0585479720

ISBN-13: 9780585479729

ISBN-10: 0824823109

ISBN-13: 9780824823108

Society and the Supernatural in track China is without delay a meticulous exam of spirit ownership and exorcism within the 12th and 13th centuries and a social heritage of the entire panoply of China's non secular practices and practitioners in the interim while she used to be poised to dominate the area economic system. even if the track dynasty (960-1276) is usually pointed out with the institution of Confucian orthodoxy, Edward Davis demonstrates the renewed energy of the dynasty's Taoist, Buddhist, and native spiritual traditions. He charts the increase of 1000's of recent temple-cults and the lineages of clerical exorcists and vernacular monks; the more and more aggressive interplay between all practitioners of healing ritual; and the vast social diversity in their buyers and consumers.

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Extra resources for Society and the Supernatural in Song China

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It is clear from numerous studies of the early development of Mahayana Buddhism in China that the term “fashi ” (Skt. 58 None of this really prepares us for the Song-dynasty use of the term “fashi ” to designate a class of lay Daoist practitioners—or even a group of clerical exorcists who looked very much like them. There are, however, antecedents for, if not direct ancestors of, such exorcists. There 34 Society and the Supernatural is, for example, the ancient “Master of [Demonic] Projection” ( fangxiang shi ), who served, and even transformed himself into, a fierce martial deity in order to expel demons from tombs and the imperial court.

The influence of Esoteric Buddhist exorcisms on Daoist Ritual Masters must also be considered. Mantras, mudras, and Tantric iconography and paraphernalia figure prominently in the texts of the new Daoist therapeutic movements of the Song. Many lay Daoist exorcists of the twelfth century, moreover, counted themselves as devotees of Tantric cults, and some of their distinctive ritual practices have antecedents in a set of popular Tantric scriptures composed in China during the eighth and ninth centuries.

A brief review of the place of therapeutic ritual among the early Celestial Masters will allow us to calibrate exactly how much had changed in the intervening millennium. The centrality of illness and its cure to the early Celestial Masters is made eminently clear in the biography of Zhang Lu in the Wei History and its commentary. These passages have been translated many times; here I follow the felicitous rendition of Michel Strickmann: They [the Celestial Masters] taught people to have wholehearted faith, and not to cheat or deceive others.

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Society and the Supernatural in Song China by Edward L. Davis

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