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The Contemplative Foundations of Classical Daoism
The Contemplative Foundations of Classical Daoism
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Harold D. Roth - Author
SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 572 pages
Release Date: May 2021
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-8271-2

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Brings early Daoist writings into conversation with contemporary contemplative studies.

In The Contemplative Foundations of Classical Daoism, Harold D. Roth explores the origins and nature of the Daoist tradition, arguing that its creators and innovators were not abstract philosophers but, rather, mystics engaged in self-exploration and self-cultivation, which in turn provided the insights embodied in such famed works as the Daodejing and Zhuangzi. In this compilation of essays and chapters representing nearly thirty years of scholarship, Roth examines the historical and intellectual origins of Daoism and demonstrates how this distinctive philosophy emerged directly from practices that were essentially contemplative in nature.

In the first part of the book, Roth applies text-critical methods to derive the hidden contemplative dimensions of classical Daoism. In the second part, he applies a “contemplative hermeneutic” to explore the relationship between contemplative practices and classical Daoist philosophy and, in so doing, brings early Daoist writings into conversation with contemporary contemplative studies. To this he adds an introduction in which he reflects on the arc and influence on the field of early Chinese thought of this rich vein of scholarship and an afterword in which he applies both interpretive methods to the vexing question of the authorship of the Inner Chapters of the Zhuangzi. The Contemplative Foundations of Classical Daoism brings to fruition the cumulative investigations and observations of a leading figure in the emerging field of contemplative studies as they pertain to a core component of early Chinese thought.

Harold D. Roth is Professor of Religious Studies and East Asian Studies and the Founder and Director of the Contemplative Studies Program at Brown University. His books include The Textual History of the Huai-nan Tzu; Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism; Daoist Identity: History, Lineage, and Ritual (coedited with Livia Kohn); The Huainanzi: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Government in Early Han China and The Essential Huainanzi (cotranslated and edited with John S. Major, Sarah A. Queen, and Andrew Seth Meyer).

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Table of Contents

List of Tables


Part I: Contemplative Foundations and Textual Methods

1. Psychology and Self-Cultivation in Early Daoistic Thought

2. Who Compiled the Zhuangzi 莊子?

3. Redaction Criticism and the Early History of Daoism

4. Evidence for Stages of Meditation in Early Daoism

5. The Yellow Emperor's Guru: A Narrative Analysis from Zhuangzi 莊子 11

6. Revisiting Angus C. Graham's Scholarship on the Zhuangzi 莊子

7. Daoist Inner Cultivation Thought and the Textual Structure of the Huainanzi 淮南子

Part II: Contemplative Foundations and Philosophical Contexts

8. The Laozi 老子 in the Context of Early Daoist Mystical Praxis

9. Bimodal Mystical Experience in the "Qi wu lun" 齊物論 of Zhuangzi 莊子

10. Nature and Self-Cultivation in Huainanzi's 淮南子 "Yuan Dao" 原道 (Originating in the Way)

11. The Classical Daoist Concept of Li 理 (Pattern) and Early Chinese Cosmology

12. Cognitive Attunement in the Zhuangzi 莊子

13. Against Cognitive Imperialism: A Call for a Non-Ethnocentric Approach to Cognitive Science and Religious Studies

Afterword: The "Contemplative Hermeneutic" and the Problem of Zhuangzi's Inner Chapters

Appendix 1: The Chapters of the Zhuangzi
Appendix 2: The Chapters of the Huainanzi

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