Hong Kong

Responsable: Franciscus Verellen

École française d'Extrême-Orient
Institute of Chinese Studies
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Shatin, NT, Hong Kong
People's Republic of China
Tel +852 3943 7369
Fax +852 2603 5149 franciscus.verellen@efeo.net

New Publication: Imperiled Destinies
22 APRIL 19
Franciscus Verellen, 
Imperiled Destinies: The Daoist Quest for Deliverance in Medieval China.  
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University AsiaCenter/Harvard University Press, 2019. 

Spanning eight centuries, this book examines the evolution of Daoist beliefs about human liability and redemption and outlines the procedures for rescuing an ill-starred destiny. 

The medieval record portrays a world engulfed by evil, where human existence was mortgaged from birth and burdened by increasing debts and obligations in this world and the next. From the second through the tenth century CE, Daoism emerged as a liturgical organization that engaged vigorously with Buddhism, transforming Chinese thinking about the causes of suffering, the nature of evil, and the aims of liberation. In the fifth century, elements of classical Daoism combined with Indian yoga to interiorize the quest for deliverance. The integrated liturgical order of the Tang encompassed a growing monastic community, lay society, and rituals on behalf of the state. 

Daoist sacraments acted on the unseen world, providing therapeutic relief and ecstatic deliverance from apprehensions of death, disease, and loss. Drawing on prayer texts, liturgical sermons, and experiential narratives, Franciscus Verellen pays close attention to the Daoist vocabulary of redemption, the meaning of sacrifice, and metaphors bridging the visible and invisible realms. An imperiled destiny was freed through ritual debt forgiveness; deliverance came in the forms of healing, purification, release, or emergence from darkness into light.