Download Chinese Magical Medicine (Asian Religions and Cultures) by Michel Strickmann PDF

By Michel Strickmann

This e-book argues that the main profound and far-reaching results of Buddhism on chinese language tradition happened on the point of perform, in particular in non secular rituals designed to treatment humans of illness, demonic ownership, and undesirable good fortune. this custom would depart its longest enduring imprint at the liturgical culture of Taoism. In targeting spiritual perform, it offers a corrective to standard stories of chinese language faith, which overemphasize metaphysics and spirituality.

A simple obstacle with therapeutic characterizes the full gamut of non secular expression in East Asia. via targeting the medieval improvement of chinese language healing ritual, the writer discovers the germinal center of many still-current rituals around the social and doctrinal frontiers of Buddhism and Taoism, in addition to outdoor the Buddhist or Taoist fold.

The ebook is predicated on shut readings of liturgies written in classical chinese language. the writer describes and interprets a lot of them, analyzes their constitution, and seeks out nonliturgical assets to shed extra gentle at the politics occupied with particular performances. in contrast to the few past stories of comparable rituals, this booklet combines a scholar’s figuring out of the constitution and pursuits of those rites with a fit suspicion of the practitioners’ claims to uniqueness.

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Extra info for Chinese Magical Medicine (Asian Religions and Cultures)

Example text

Yet they received no benefits from alJ this-only disaster. 158 We are already familiar with the Six Heavens as the home of the unhallowed dead and as the repository of "worn-out breath" (ku-ch'i). Now, though, we find the intrusion of the demons and the dead into human affairs to be the result of a process of inexorable historical decline. Maners had not always been so. Once, closer to the beginning of things, there had been purity and simplicity. The living and the dead enjoyed their separate realms, and the boundaries between men and demons were well-defined.

The way was rhus cleared for great Taoists like T'ao Hung-ching to become great scholars of pharmacy. Despite the fact that medicinal drugs, too, could be assimilated into the allinclusive Mao Shan system, the emphasis in healing was still on nonmaterial means. This is exemplified in the Mao Shan scripture that contains the largest number of drug names, the Book of the Devil-Destroyers of Wisdom (Hsiaomo chih-hui ching, HY I333). "Devil-destroyers," we are told, is a kenning for "drugs," and the work's first chapter consists of a long list of pharmaka, classified according to the celestial region with which they are in rapport.

Your child-spirit will run hither and yon, your infant-like spirits will desert their posts. Your corpse will be immersed in a cauldron, boiled in water, and seared by fire. In this case, a deed of murder directly affects the comportment of the body's denizens-and the ultimate punishments that threaten the malefactor are drawn from the stock of Buddhist purgatoriesY"'1 Category ten is something of a grab bag, a coUection of miscellaneous prohibitions. One must not urinate while facing north, or while gazing on the Three Luminaries (sun, moon, stars), nor is it licit to face north while combing one's hair or undressing (for Taoists, north was the most honorable direction, site of the noblest stars).

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