For centuries, westerners have referred to China's numerous traditions of spiritual expression as "religious"a word born of western thought that cannot completely characterize the passionate writing that fills the pages of this pathbreaking anthology.
The first of its kind in well over thirty years, this text offers the student of Chinese ritual and cosmology the broadest range of primary sources from antiquity to the modern era. Readings are arranged chronologically and cover such concepts as Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and even communism. A large number of the selections concern the role of the female in Chinese religion, and are either by or about women. Through invocations, poetry, drama, philosophical texts, religious treatises, and modern fiction, students hear the voices of numerous Chinese masters expounding on the movements and traditions that inspired them: the mysterious Tao-te ching of Lao Tzu, cloaked in the mists of deepest antiquity; the Analects of stately, reverent Confucius; "Nailing a Stick into Empty Space," from The Recorded Conversations of Ch'an Master I-hsuan, and many others, including the work of Mencius, Pan Chao, Han Shan, Chang Tsai, Wang Yang-ming, Lu Hsun, and Mao Tse-tung. Fully one third of the translations are new, and each reading is preceded by an introduction that explains its importance and salient features. Complete with a helpful chronology of dynasties and list of possible video sources, this remarkable volume collects under one cover the most significant and influential works of China's dynamic spiritual tradition, making a fundamental contribution to courses in Chinese religion, literature, and history.