The Daoist Body

Submitted by James Miller on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 13:02
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The body is the pre-eminent space in which Daoist cultivation takes place, and Daoist cultivation aims to reshape the way in which energy flows within the body. The most popular type of Daoist energy practices is Qigong (Chi-kung) which became popularized in China in the 20th century. All Daoist energy practices, however, rely on an understanding of the body as a sacred space that is infinitely deep.

When watching the following four clips on the body, note down your answers to the following questions. Not every question will be applicable to each clip. Your answers to these questions will be used as the basis for discussion at the end of this section:

  • What is the Daoist body?
  • What language and terminology do the practitioners use to represent these Chinese concepts?
  • What effect do you think these modern representations will have on the tradition itself?
  • Scholars and religious people often talk about a "religious tradition." Can we legitimately distinguish between a "tradition" and a particular representation of a tradition?

In the first clip, Solala Towler explains what he sees as the main difference between Daoism and other forms of cultivation.