Conference on Daoism

Me in 2001 with Baby BasketOn Saturday I made it to the last session of this conference on Quanzhen Daoism, which was exciting. Unfortunately I didn't get any of the papers in advance so I'm just reading them now.

David A. Palmer and an old friend of mine Elijah Siegler are collaborating on an interesting project investigating the relationship between Daoism in America and Daoism in China. Unfortunately the paper is in draft form with a request not to cite or circulate, so I'm not going to talk about it, but it seems like a good time to link to my own "American Daoist, Tours China" article. This is really just a bunch of emails I sent out to friends in 2001 before I had even heard the word "blog" but if you can stomach the jarring transitions and feeble use of paragraphs, I do explore some of the same questions these scholars are asking.

David A. Palmer has a book I'm dying to read and review, but If you want to pick it up before I review it, here it is: Qigong Fever.

I met Terry Kleeman whose book Great Perfecton deals with the multi-ethnic origins of Daoism. It is a difficult read, but if juicy footnotes make you hot, you'll love it.

I also talked with Paul R. Katz whose book Images of the Immortal deals with Lu Dongbin and the founding of Quanzhen Daoism. When I read this book my particular interest was in his thorough exploration of the on-again off-again relationship of Quanzhen (Perfect Realization) to Zhengyi (Orthodox Daoism).

Professor Katz immediately picked up on my interest in the links between martial arts and ritual performance, exorcism and social organization. He recommend three books, so I have some serious reading to do. He also has a new book out called When Valleys Turned Blood Red: The Ta-pa-ni Incident in Colonial Taiwan.

Lastly I've gotten some requests for references backing up my claims about rhythm and music in my videos African Bagua and African Bagua 2. So I plan to write a few blogs on Daoism Martial Arts and Music. Let me just say up front that I stand by the claims I make, but if you want to understand why I make the claims I do, the place to start is reading all the major writers of the 100 Schools who wrote on music during the Warring States Era (400-200 BCE), starting with Xunzi, Mozi, and Hanfeizi.  Laozi, Zhuangzi, Confucius and Mencius also all comment on music and its place in society.  There isn't one book to read.  The major writers on Daoist ritual all have chapters on music.  As someone who came to Daoism and Martial arts with a dancer's ear, I've listened for references to music all along and slowly put together my ideas.