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Document Type(s):Journal Article
Article/Chapter Title:The Roots of Altruism in the Taoist Tradition
Journal Title:Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Author(s):Kirkland, Russell
Date of Publication:1986
Annotation:Recognizing that Taoism has been traditionally branded in the West as an egocentric and individualistic philosophico-religious tradition, Kirkland uncovers the altruistic elements of early and medieval Taoism. He draws on the T’ai-p’ing (Grand Tranquility) text, and discusses concepts like wu-wei and the Taoist salvific figure, Celestial Master. In addition to providing a history of the soteriological value of altruism, Kirkland discusses the social commitment to altruism espoused by the T’ang dynasty and demonstrated by Yeh Fa-Shan, a wonder-worker who perceived his altruism as an activity in the natural order of things ordained by Heaven.
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