Mysticism and Kingship in China: The Heart of Chinese Wisdom

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Overview

In this book, Julia Ching offers a survey of over 4,000 years of Chinese civilization through an examination of the relationship between kingship and mysticism. She investigates the sage-king myth and ideal, arguing that institutions of kingship were bound up with cultivation of trance states and communication with spirits. Over time, the sage-king myth became a model for the actual ruler. As a paradigm, it was also appropriated by private individuals who strove for wisdom without becoming kings. As the Confucian tradition interacted with the Taoist and the Buddhist, the religious character of spiritual and mystical cultivation became more pronounced. But the sage-king idea continued, promoting expectations of benevolent despotism rather than democratization in Chinese civilization.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Ching's study presents a masterful survey of Chinese history and religion." Religious Studies Review

"The most welcome feature of Julia Ching's wide-ranging account of Mysticism and Kingship in China is her frequent and integral use of the tools of comparative religion." Studies in Religion

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Son of heaven: shamanic kingship; 2. Son of heaven: kingship as cosmic paradigm; 3. The moral teacher as sage: philosophy appropriates the paradigm; 4. The metaphysician as sage: philosophy again appropriates the paradigm; 5. The paradigm enshrined: the authority of classics; 6. The mystic as sage: religion appropriates the paradigm; 7. The sage-king as messiah: religion again appropriates the paradigm; 8. All under heaven: political power and the periphery; A Glossary of Sino-Japanese names and terms; Bibliography; Index.
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