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Tao, The Great Luminant

By Morgan, Even

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Book Id: WPLBN0003467878
Format Type: PDF eBook :
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Reproduction Date: 2014

Title: Tao, The Great Luminant  
Author: Morgan, Even
Language: English
Subject: Sacred Texts, Taoism, Mythology
Collections: Sacred Texts
Publication Date:
Publisher: Internet Sacred Text Archive (ISTA)


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Even, M. (1933). Tao, The Great Luminant. Retrieved from

Description: The Huai Nan Tzu is a sprawling, encyclopedic work of Chinese thought that was compiled late in the second century B.C.E. under the auspices of Liu An, the prince of Huai Nan. Liu An was a great patron of the arts and philosophy and was the paternal uncle of the Han emperor, Wu. He had gathered many of the major lights of the Chinese literati of the time to his court and he presented the book to his nephew as a gift upon Wu's ascension to the imperial throne in the hopes that it would provide him with suitable instruction upon the proper rule of the empire. Liu An, however, and his book, were working against the swelling tide of imperial centralization, and he was eventually put to death for his pains. This book, like most of the books labeled as 'Taoist', shows the great difficulty associated with that classification. It is actually one of the earlier examples that we have of the philosophy that became known as 'Huang-Lao', after Huang Ti, the mythical Yellow Emperor, and Lao Tzu, the great patron of all things Taoist. Huang-Lao philosophy is usually concerned with government and with exerting imperial control in an almost laissez-faire fashion. It is quite practical and unequivocally opposed to the concern with rites and 'traditions' that became known as Confucianism, the ideology that came to dominate the Han empire soon after Liu An's death. It is not at all quietistic, and the anarchical philosophy of Chuang Tzu has no place in this book. The Huai Nan Tzu also has no patience for what later became known as religious Taoism, the eclectic assortment of legends, rituals, alchemy, and physical and mental exercises aimed at conferring immortality upon its practicioners.


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