This guide to the spiritual landscape of Taoism not only introduces the important events in the history of Taoism, the sages who wrote the Taoist texts, and the various schools of Taoist thinking, but also gives the reader a feel for what it means to practice Taoism today.
The book is divided into three parts:
- "The History of Taoism" traces the development of the tradition from the shamans of prehistoric China through the classical period (including the teachings of the famous sage Lao-tzu), the beginnings of Taoism as a religion, the rise of mystical and alchemical Taoism, and the synthesis of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.
- "Systems of Taoism" explores magical sects, divination practices, devotional ceremonies, internal alchemy, and the way of right action.
- "Taoist Practices" discusses meditation, techniques of cultivating the body, and rites of purification, ceremony, and talismanic magic.
A comprehensive bibliography for further study completes this valuable reference work.
"Eva Wong, a long-time practitioner of Taoism and a translator of Taoist texts, has written a comprehensive overview of this often misunderstood spiritual tradition. Both diverse and fascinating as a historical profile, this colorful introduction to Taoist tradition and practices, its sages, and the practical application of stillness, are often likened to the mystical Chinese landscape of mountain and mist. Part One details the history of Taoism and the rise of mystical Taoism. It also includes a discussion of the rise of Taoist alchemy and the synthesis of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Part Two discusses the various systems of Taoism that include several of the esoteric Taoist practices. Part Three covers meditation, techniques for strengthening the body, and ceremonial rites."—The Inner Directions Journal
"This book is the first comprehensive introduction to Taoism by a modern practitioner of the tradition itself."—Russell Kirkland, Education About Asia