This could be the title of my next project. It is coming into focus. There is more and more evidence pointing to common roots. Tantra and the Golden Elixir? Invulnerability meets extreme vulnerability? The Diamond Body meets the Cloud Body?
There is already a body of research pointing the way.
Start with this wonderful article in Tricycle Magazine Matthew Gindin, “The Buddhist Roots of Tantric Yoga.”
Then read Meir Shahar’s essay “Diamond Body: The Origins of Invulnerability in the Chinese Martial Arts,” in Perfect Bodies: Sports Medicine and Immortality, Edited by Vivienne Lo. London: British Museum, 2012. It makes parallel arguments to the first article, as if they were coordinating to build a single road connecting different cities and planning to meet in the middle. It’s not on the internet, but there are two copies in my Library loan system and it is available here on Amazon.
The essay I wrote with Daniel Mroz “Daoyin Reimagined” for the Journal of Daoist Studies, also carves out some of the rocky parts of this path of inquiry, (available here with all my free reads.)
I did not take this question on directly in my new book, but I did address the transgressive nature of the God Nezha and the Immortal Zhang Sanfeng and their connections to Martial Arts. It is now possible to carve through time in the other direction and show their connections to Tantric Buddhism. The early textual integration of Tantric Buddhism and Daoism has already been pioneered by many scholars, see for example Christine Mollier’s book Face to Face.
New tasks for the Somatic Historian!