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Tales of the Dancing Dragon: Stories of the Tao
by Eva Wong
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159030523X, Paperback)
Here, Taoist practitioner Eva Wong offers a colorful treatment of the history and evolution of Taoism, told through traditional teaching tales. These tales, which Wong first heard as a child growing up in Hong Kong, are gleaned from the local storytellers and the uncensored chronicles known as yeshi—the wild history of China, not monitored by the official imperial scholars and historians. The stories are by turns mysterious and intriguing, passionate and violent, and they are peppered with colorful characters, including hermits, politicians, social activists, revolutionaries, scholars, scientists, and mystics.
Arranged chronologically from prehistory through the early twentieth century, these stories introduce the schools in the Taoist lineages, and capture the defeats and victories of Taoism, its periods of decadence and decay, and its renewal, maturation, and spiritual triumph. Wong puts these stories into context, and shows that Taoism is a dynamic spiritual tradition, constantly changing—and being influenced by—history.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:57 -0400)
General Adult. The title and promotional literature imply that this is a book of folktales. While folklore is certainly an element, Wong (Tales of the Taoist Immortals; Teachings of the Tao ) here offers more a history of Taoism in China as conveyed through mystical legend and intermixed with actual events and people. Arranged chronologically by dynasty, the text traces the fate and development of the Taoist philosophy through periods of ascendance, decay, change, political intrigue, and spiritual renewal, emphasizing both Taoisms effect on history and historys effect on Taoism. The narrative is well written, but as it is best suited to students and researchers, it would have benefited from a few additions: an index and a bibliography, a time line of the dynasties involved, a basic definition of Taoism for the uninitiated, captions and attributions for the black-and-white illustrations (not seen in the review copy), and a less abrupt ending that might give some indication of how Taoism has developed since 12, the end of the Qing dynasty. This book is recommended for comparative religion and Asian studies collections at all levels or where interest warrants.Katherine Koenig, Ellis Sch., Pittsburgh [Page 143].
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