- 総合政策論叢 (ISSN:13463829)
- vol.1, pp.149-170, 2001-03-31
The aim of this paper is to explain the complex mental structure of Shenxian theory (神仙節) in Taoism (道教) using spiritual historical analysis. Originally the primitive cult of immortality was seen in inland beliefs such as the Kunlun myth(崑崙神話). However, after f the Warring States Period in the middle of 4th century B. C., Haixian belief(海仙信仰) (e.g. the Legend of Penglai 蓬莱伝説) originated from countries in coastal areas, such as Qi (斉) and Chu(楚), and those beliefs became assimilated. Later, the Shenxian theory was supported by alchemy which was the high technology at that time and absorbed ancient Chinese folk beliefs, the Taoist school (道家) metaphysical views of nature alchemists' delusion of grandeur in the universe, tradition of techniques to attain Yangshenshu (養生術) since the Qin'Han(秦漢) dynasties, and outcomes of folk medicine. Then the eminent scholar GeHong (葛洪) in Eastern Jin(東晋) systematized and established the Shenxian theory. The Shenxian theory established by GeHong has theoretical and rationalistic tendencies. Especially the empirical and realistic thonght (that Shenxian is not innate but attained through trainings) and mundane spirit (seen in Dixian theory (地仙説) that Shenxian does not ascend heaven but stayed in this world for a long time) reflect the rationalistic and utilitarian values of traditional Chinese culture. From this perspective cultural characteristics of Taoism can be understood. The Shenxian belief(神仙信仰) for immortals was just a fantasy, but in that approach we see the Chinese active attitude toward nature. The theoretical foundation of Shenxian theory formed by GeHong was influenced by this anti-fatalistic natural philosophy. Compared with the Confucian (儒家) tradition, which is characterized by neglect of technology, awe of Heaven's will, respect for the teachings of ancestors and primary emphasis on texts the Shenxian theory in Taoism is unique.