By Mircea Eliade
Publish yr note: initially released in French below the identify Histoire des croyances et des idees religieuses. Vol. 2: De Gautama Bouddha au triomphe du christianisme Payot, Paris, 1978. First released in english in 1982
In quantity 2 of this enormous paintings, Mircea Eliade keeps his magisterial growth throughout the historical past of spiritual principles. The religions of historic China, Brahmanism and Hinduism, Buddha and his contemporaries, Roman faith, Celtic and German religions, Judaism, the Hellenistic interval, the Iranian syntheses, and the start of Christianity—all are encompassed during this quantity.
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Extra info for A History of Religious Ideas, Volume 2: From Gautama Buddha to the Triumph of Christianity
That which has a name is the Mother of the ten thousand beings," says another cosmogonic fragment (chap. 1, lines 3-7). However, the "Mother," which in this passage represents the beginning of the cosmogony, elsewhere designates the Tao itself. "The divinity of the Valley does not die: it is the Obscure Female. "52 The ineffableness of the Tao is also expressed by other epithets, which continue, though at the same time color, the original cosmogonic image, which is Chaos (hun-tun). We list the most important of them: Emptiness (hsu), nothingness (wu), the Great (ta), the One (i),53 We shall return to some of these terms when we analyze Lao Tzu's doctrine, but it is important to mention at this point that the Taoist philosophers, as well as the hermits and adepts in search of long life and immortality, sought to reestablish this paradisal condition, especially the original perfection and spontaneity.
Emptiness, the void, is associated, on the one hand, with the notion of fertility and maternity and, on the other hand, with the absence of sensible qualities (the special modality ofthe Tao). The image ofthe thirty spokes converging toward the emptiness of the hub inspires an especially rich symbolism, evident in "the virtue of the leader who attracts to himself all beings, of the sovereign Unity that gives order to mUltiplicity around it," but also evident in the Taoist who, "when he is empty, that is, purified of passions and desires, is completely inhabited by the Tao" (Kaltenmark, p.
He who best overcomes the enemy is he who never takes the offensive .... This is what I call the virtue of nonviolence. This is what I call equaling Heaven. To equal Heaven was the highest idea of the ancients" (68. 1-2, 7). 28 THE RELIGIONS OF ANCIENT CHINA the unyielding and the strong" (36. 10; cf. 40. 2, "weakness is the function of the Tao"). In short, just like Confucius, who proposes his ideal of the "perfect man" both to sovereigns and to any man wishing to learn, Lao Tzu invites political and military leaders to behave in the manner of Taoists, in other words, to accept the same exemplary model: that of the Tao.