5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Good Collection of Essays on the Subject,
This review is from: Taoist Meditation and Longevity Techniques (Michigan Monographs in Chinese Studies) (Paperback)
This book is a good collection of essays from an academic publisher (University of Michigan) edited by Livia Kohn, a recognized expert in the field of Taoist studies. While it makes no effort to be a "how-to" book on Taoist meditation, the book possesses a wealth of information that could be useful to any serious student of meditation, traditional Chinese medicine, or Chinese religion. The essays are filled with clear and defining discussions on a wide variety of topics by experts in the field, including Livia Kohn and the Isabelle Robinet.
A careful reading of the book yields information on alchemy, the Chinese understanding of mind-body relations, human anthropology, cosmology, esoteric and exoteric textual analysis, ethics and self-cultivation. Several essays include diagrams and translations of important texts, and though the reader will find Chinese characters throughout the book, paranthetical translations or inclusive explanations aid the general reader in deciphering technical information and unfamiliar concepts. Though academic in its character and style, the reader does not need to be an expert in the field to gain insights from this book. I used much of the information from the essays to open additional venues for research. A good index and reference sections for further reading accompany each essay.
I include here the table of contents:
1. Yoshinobu Sakade: "Longevity Techniques in Japan: Ancient Sources and Contemporary Studies"
2. Hidemi Ishida: "Body and Mind: The Chinese Perspective"
3. Akira Akahori: "Drug Taking and Immortality"
4. Toshiaki Yamada: "Longevity Techniques and the Compilation of the 'Lingbao wufuxu'"
5. Livia Kohn: "Gaurding the One: Concentrative Meditation in Taoism"
6. Isabelle Robinet: "Visualization and Ecstatic Flight in Shangqing Taoism"
7. Livia Kohn: "Taoist Insight Meditation: The Tang Practice of 'Neiguan'"
8. Catherine Despeux: "Gymnastics: The Ancient Tradition"
9. Ute Englehardt: "Qi for Life: Longevity in the Tang"
10. Isabelle Robinet: "Original Contributions of 'Neidan' to Taoism and Chinese Thought"
11. Kunio Miura: "The Revival of Qi: Qigong in Contemporary China"
I would say that if your reading in Taoism has advanced past the many general introductory books available on the subject (eg. John Blofeld'sTaoism: The Road to Immortality, an old favorite of mine), this book should be the next item on your reading list. If you seek a "how-to" presentation of this material, Charles Luk's Taoist Yoga: Alchemy & Immortality may prove helpful.
This book is highly recommended.