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Friday, September 25, 2015

Early Daoist Dietary Practices: Examining Ways to Health and Longevity

Author: 
Shawn Arthur

Publisher:
Lexington Books

Publication Year:
2015 (paperback)




Abstract:
Much as the modern Western world is concerned with diets, health, and anti-aging remedies, many early medieval Chinese Daoists also actively sought to improve their health and increase their longevity through specialized ascetic dietary practices. Focusing on a fifth-century manual of herbal-based, immortality-oriented recipes—the Lingbao Wufuxu 靈寶五符序 (The Preface to the Five Lingbao Talismans of Numinous Treasure)—Shawn Arthur investigates the diets, their ingredients, and their expected range of natural and supernatural benefits. Analyzing the ways that early Daoists systematically synthesized religion, Chinese medicine, and cosmological correlative logic, this study offers new understandings of important Daoist ideas regarding the body’s composition and mutability, health and disease, grain avoidance (bigu 避穀) diets, the parasitic Three Worms, interacting with the spirit realm, and immortality. This work also employs a range of cross-disciplinary scientific and medical research to analyze the healing properties of Daoist self-cultivation diets and to consider some natural explanations for better understanding Daoist asceticism and its underlying world view.

Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: The Wufuxu’s Recipe Structure and Content
Chapter 3: Dietary Regimens: From Herbs to Qi
Chapter 4: Healing and Improving the Physical Body
Chapter 5: Beyond Physical Health: The Wufuxu’s Extraordinary Claims
Chapter 6: Daoist Grain Avoidance Today
Chapter 7: The Wufuxu’s Ingredients and Fasting
Chapter 8: Analyzing Dietary Ideals and Practices
Chapter 9: Conclusion


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