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Taoist Master Chuang Paperback – August 8, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Sacred Mountain Press; 2nd edition (August 8, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967794803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967794808
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

...classic of modern Taoist studies, providing a rare first-person account of the daily life of a Taoist practitioner in Hsinchu... -- Ian Johnson, Beijing Correspondent, The Wall Street Journal/The Asian Wall St. Journal

Taoist Master Chuang is a must-read for anyone who aspires to a greater understanding of modern, living Taoism. -- Brock Silvers, President - The Taoist Restoration Society

Taoist Master Chuang presents a rare view of Taoist history, philosophy, religion, and ritual, spiced with lively anecdotes... -- Professor Kenneth S. Cohen, Author - The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing

About the Author

Michael Saso, Professor Emeritus at the University of Hawaii, has researched and written about Taoism for over thirty years. An initiated Taoist Zhengyi Sect Priest, he is one of the world's best known Taoist teachers and lecturers. Professor Saso has authored fourteen books and countless articles on a variety of Taoist topics.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 24 customer reviews
This book, on the other hand, has everything to say.
Max
Some of the activities described in this excellent book are astoundingly complex.
Thomas Rainey, PhD
If I had to recommend an additional book, this would be it.
Agamemnon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Wells on September 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have an MA in Taoism, and I'm considering going after my PhD. I've spent lots and lots of time reading through dusty books on Taoism, and I can assure everyone that I think this is one of the best. In an area where translations of the Tao Te Ching abound, this is one of the few works that provides real detail regarding Taoist practice. Instead of philosophy and spiritual fluff, this book really relates what it is like to be a Taoist in the world of dust. Only after reading and re-reading this wonderful book could I really begin to see how Master Chuang captures the heart of Taoism in concrete actions, and how he does this on behalf of his community. Everyone interested in Taoism should read this book!
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Annoying Academic on September 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
I can certainly appreciate the excitement that a lot of readers have expressed about this book--I felt the same way when I read it years ago (the book was first published in 1978 as *The Teachings of Taoist Master Chuang*). But I was schocked to see that the book has been reprinted, because, to put it mildly, it was not very favorable received in academic circles. Now, for many readers, this won't mean a thing, and may in fact be a mark in the book's favor. That's cool. But if you are interested in the history of Daoism, or in good ethnography, then you may want to read an old (and infamous) review article on this book, published in 1980. It's called "History, Anthropology, and Chinese Religion." [Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 40, No. 1. (Jun., 1980), pp. 201-248.] This is an *extremely* harsh review of the book, and in many ways a petty one. But it makes many damning points. For example that Saso gets his history very wrong. But perhaps more importantly, he does some strange things for an ethnographer, like introducing material from the published Daoist canon for Master Chuang to comment on--material that Chuang had never seen. This calls into question just what kind of Daoism Saso is learning, in the book. But, it's an exciting book, it gives some views of Daoism that are valuable, etc. Just FYI, caveat emptor, etc.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Rainey, PhD on January 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
Can I just get in line behind everyone else here? This is a unqiely excellent book. I highly recommend it. There are soooo many books about Daoism, except that almost none have any real relevance to Daoism whatsoever. Here we have a scholar who seems to have a deep understanding of Taoist practice. But this is a book about his training at the hands of a true Daoist Master, so I guess that's to be expected. Nonetheless, this is a real, authentic, detailed view of Taoist practice. Not highflying philosophy or navel-gazing, but real descriptions of real practices. Some of the activities described in this excellent book are astoundingly complex. It's as if someone realized the concept of yin-yang, and kept developing it without cessation for a long, long time. Eventually, detailed practices regarding ritual, spirits, magic, personal transmutation and more arose. This is basically the history of Taoism itself, as reflected in the knowledge of one intensely experienced Master, as told by his spiritual disciple. My only complaint with this book? I wish it were twice as long.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
OK, I was looking for some books on Taoism, and I found "Taoist Master Chuang." I read the other reviews, and decided that I had to read this book for myself. Without doubt I'm glad I did. Master Chuang describes Taoist history in a way that is so much more thorough and succint than in any other book I've read. Now we know how Taoists themselves view Taoist history! And the second half of the book, which deals with Taoist practices like mantra, hand gestures called mudra, magical spells to control spirits, etc., is without peer. This is no theorectical discussion, this is a detailed description of actual practice. It's about time someone wrote this book, and I applaud Michael Saso for doing so.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is simply a tremendous book that everyone who is interested in Taoism should read. Saso, who is not only a Professor of Taoist but is also a legitimate Taoist Priest, describes his training in full detail. He gives real descriptions of rituals, incantations, spirit-controlling spells, etc. Plus you get to know Taoist history as Saso's own master knew it. This sort of information just isn't available anywhere else. If you already have a grounding in basic Taoism and want to know more about higher-level activities, this is one of the only references you'll find.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Brian A. Glennon on October 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
TAOIST MASTER CHUANG (c. 2000) by Michael R. Saso, is a book of Taoist religious ritual and liturgy to control and exorcise evil spirits as practiced by the grade four Cheng-i Meng-wei sect (One Auspicious Alliance) priest, Master Chuang. The author, Professor Michael R. Saso, acted as a "participant/observer" on Taiwan as he recorded the style of magic from the Ch'ing-wei sect (The Heavenly Pilot, a Tantric Taoist order from the Tang Dynasty), from manuals originally in the collection of Wu Ching-ch'un, and as interpreted and practiced by Master Chuang.

The book TAOIST MASTER CHUANG contained the interesting 4th century Mao shan sect (Highest Purity Order of the Yellow Court Canon) rituals of the Tao of the Left black magic (Chapt. 4) and the Orthodox rituals of the Tao of the Right 'Thunder Magic' (Chapt. 5); and instructions of the use of the 'Lu' which is a register of spirit names. The Heterodox Tao of the Left black magic emphasized rituals to summon the six evil chia spirits; while the Orthodox Tao of the Right used 'Thunder Magic' to deflect those spirits. And the ritual of the 'chiao', bringing the priest into direct contact with the Tao itself, was explained to be dependent upon fasting, and a diet of simple foods, whole grains, and vegetables to alter the body's internal alchemy to become receptive to the required ritual. Also included were the drawn Talismans, finger-formed Mudras, and the chanted Mantras of all Ch'ing-wei sect rituals.
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