意象飛翔: 《上清大洞真經》所述之存思修煉

Translated title of the contribution: Imagery in Flight: The Meditative Discourse in Realized Scripture on the Great Grotto of the School of Highest Clarity

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Abstract

This essay is a comparative study of Daoist meditation and literary theory. A certain theoretical framework and a mechanism of “imagery” in literary studies are observed in the Highest Clarity school’s meditation, technically termed “retentive contemplation” (cunsi; Stephen R. Bokenkamp’s translation), as outlined in Realized Scripture on the Great Grotto of the School of Highest Clarity, the school’s seminal canon that was revealed in fourth-century China. The essay explores the theory and functionality of cunsi, and analyses the characteristics of its image-based meditative discourse. In light of relevant Western and Chinese literary theory on “image” and “imagery,” the essay draws a comparison between the course of cunsi meditation and that of literary creation. The mechanism of cunsi offers the most useful clue to an in-depth understanding of the unique literary presentation in the verse, a predominant form of writing in the Scripture.
The essay comprises seven sections. The first and last ones are, respectively, “Intro- duction” and “Conclusion.” Section 2 is a textual study of the Scripture. It addresses, clarifies, and solves some textual problems surrounding the Scripture, such as inter- polations and contamination, and discusses the characteristics of the literary forms in which the scripture contents are presented. Section 3 is a historical survey and study of two forms of representation, viz., picture and writing, in cunsi meditation. It also elucidates the origin and structure of “internal scene” and “external scene,” a pair of Chinese concepts loosely comparable with “microcosm” and “macrocosm” in the Western worldview. Section 4 analyses the specific features of the image-based meditative discourse in cunsi practice. The principal feature of cunsi is “visualization,” during the course of which a “world of images” is built by “mental images.” Section 5 is an explanation of cunsi meditative method in the presentation of writing and illustrations in the Scripture. It analyses the form and characteristics of the imagery by looking into the vehicle it takes during its course of conveyance and manifestation. Section 6 is an attempt to read the Scripture from a literary perspective. The unique poetic style, it is argued, is a result of the esoteric conceptions of “imagery” and “sensuous precinct” in the Scripture’s meditative discourse.
Translated title of the contributionImagery in Flight: The Meditative Discourse in Realized Scripture on the Great Grotto of the School of Highest Clarity
Original languageChinese (Traditional)
Pages (from-to)217-248
Number of pages32
Journal中國文化研究所學報
Issue number53
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

User-Defined Keywords

  • 意象
  • 形象
  • 《上清大洞真經》
  • 存思
  • 形象思維
  • 境界
  • imagery
  • image
  • Realized Scripture on the Great Grotto of the School of Highest Clarity
  • retentive contemplation
  • image-based meditative discourse
  • sensuous precinct

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