Daoism by Paula R. Hartz, Joanne O'Brien, Martin Palmer

By Paula R. Hartz, Joanne O'Brien, Martin Palmer

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Strong emperors, unless they were very secure and tolerant, tended to take a dim view of an A Daoist temple on a wooded hillside in the Philippines. Daoism grew out of the natural environment, linking into the cycles of nature and the need to live in harmony with the earth. 38 DAOISM The Growth and Spread of Daoism 39 Teacher and students practising martial arts in the United States. Daoists had a reputation for rebelliousness. They saw no conflict between their philosophy and fighting— there was almost always a war being waged in China, either internally or against invaders.

Alchemists set about trying to find the speThe Origins and Early History of Daoism 35 cific formula for immortality. No alchemist ever found it, but emperors and kings never stopped desiring it and the alchemists never stopped pursuing it. The path to immortality was a long and complicated process. It was necessary to achieve total physical and spiritual harmony through meditation, diet, exercise, breath control, the use of herbs, and other special practices. All disease had to be eliminat- fooD TEChnoLogy L iu An’s court may have included hun dreds of scientists who worked as alchemists and by chance made discoveries that furthered both science and medicine.

As a result of Kublai Khan’s decree Daoist literature dating back more than 10 centuries was destroyed. Daoism, however, could not be wiped out; instead it went underground. All across China Daoism’s followers saved what literature they could, and what they could not save they kept alive in the oral tradition. Revolts in South China and Mongolia weakened the rule of Kublai Khan. In 1368 a leader named Zhu Yuanzhang drove the Mongols out of Peking (now Beijing) and seized power, establishing the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).

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