ost studies on Daoist polemics have focused on the conflict and competition between Buddhism and Daoism. An equally important and hitherto understudied field of inquiry is the polemics revolving around the early conflicts and competition between different Chinese religious movements commonly labeled, or rather aspiring to the label “Daoist.” This paper examines polemics in early Daoist scriptures concerned with issues of “identity” and “orthodoxy.” Ironically, the use of the label “Daoism” has had a homogenizing effect on our understanding of the internal relations of the various traditions subsumed by it and has smoothed over internal competition with a thin veneer of semantic unity masking the historical competition over just who should rightly be called “Daoist.” The 4th century saw the rise of two distinct forms of Daoism: Shangqing and Lingbao. Rarely in the history of religion have two traditions emerged in such close temporal and geographical proximity to one another. This proximity created fierce competition for patronage and prestige. This article examines the direct, indirect, and camouflaged ways in which the emergent Lingbao tradition sought to assert its superiority over its neighboring Shangqing rival.


Additional Information

pp. 61-87
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.