Integrating inner alchemy into late Ming cultural history: A contextualization and annotated translation of "Principles of the Innate Disposition and the Lifespan" ("Xingming Guizhi") (1615)

Submitted by James Miller on Tue, 02/14/2012 - 15:24
James Miller's picture
TitleIntegrating inner alchemy into late Ming cultural history: A contextualization and annotated translation of "Principles of the Innate Disposition and the Lifespan" ("Xingming Guizhi") (1615)
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsBurton-Rose, D.
Corporate AuthorsKleeman, Terry
Academic DepartmentProQuest Dissertations and Theses
Date Published2009
PublisherUniversity of Colorado at Boulder
Place PublishedUnited States -- Colorado
ISBN Number9781109146257
KeywordsAsian literature, History, Religion
Abstract

This thesis provides new perspective on elite and popular culture in late Ming and early Qing China by an in-depth examination of the devotional practices of literati and officials. I do so through a close examination of Principles of the Innate Disposition and the Lifespan (Xingming guizhi ), which was first published in 1615 and has been consistently reprinted down to the present day. Chapter One provides a historical overview of the unfolding of Inner Alchemical traditions and an overview of the contents of Principles , as well as a glimpse into the social context of its initial audience through a discussion of the prefaces and its later publication history down to the present day. Chapter Two discusses the personal cultivation practice of Gao Panlong, a prominent member of the upright Ruist Donglin Faction, contrasting it to the benign attitude toward diverse teachings exhibited by Donglin associate and Principles preface author Zou Yuanbiao. In so doing I aim to recast late Ming intellectual history as a history of praxis , in which mental capabilities of perception and response were predicated upon physically-rooted cultivation techniques. In Chapter Three I survey the history of the male pregnancy motif which plays such a prominent role in the rhetoric and iconography of Principles . Moving from the scriptures that depict early Daoist body gods from at least the 3rd century on to parodic depictions of would be "immortal embryos" in Ming and Qing fiction such as Xiyouji and Liaozhai zhiyi , I argue that a grasp of inner alchemical cultivation practices is necessary to understand late imperial culture. In addition I provide an annotated translation of roughly a fifth of Principles , marking the first appearance in English of this material. Three appendices: translate the entire Table of Contents of Principles ; list editions of Principles ; and identify the numerous works cited in Principles . Taken together this material provides long overdue attention to an important work fast approaching its 400th year of publication. Beyond a narrow textual study, I aim to open a fresh window through which to perceive literati and official culture in a period of relative openness in late imperial China.

URLhttp://search.proquest.com/docview/304866188?accountid=6180