Taoism and sexual arts in medieval China

Authors
Citation
Fs. Lin, Taoism and sexual arts in medieval China, B INST H PH, 72, 2001, pp. 233-300
Citations number
26
Language
CHINESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
History
Journal title
BULLETIN OF THE INSTITUTE OF HISTORY AND PHILOLOGY ACADEMIA SINICA
ISSN journal
1012-4195 → ACNP
Volume
72
Year of publication
2001
Part
2
Pages
233 - 300
Database
ISI
SICI code
1012-4195(200106)72:<233:TASAIM>2.0.ZU;2-7
Abstract
Early Taoism inherited the Han (206 BC-220 AD) legacy of sexual art. The co ntent and concept of most ancient texts concerning sexuality were transmitt ed by Taoists to later generations. Many of these texts deal with technique s of sexual intercourse in order to cure diseases, nourish life, extend one 's life span and reach immortality. These texts also instruct the principle s and methods for conceiving a good child. Some of them mention the ways to integrate sexual activity and religious ritual to ward off calamities and become an immortal. In addition, these texts provide medical recipes for tr eating difficulties and illnesses caused by sexual intercourse. Early Taois t texts, however, express three different attitudes towards the practice of sexual arts. Some Taoists wholly accepted the sexual arts and practiced th em diligently. Others denounced sexual arts, rejected its practice complete ly. Some religious Taoists accepted it partially, but maintained that one s hould practice the sexual arts with one's spouse. In general, early religio us Taoist attitudes towards sexual arts practice varied from sect to sect, even from individual to individual. It is a fact, at any rate, that some Ta oists and Taoist sects regarded sexual arts as an essential part of Taoist practices. The key principle of Taoist sexual arts is the so-called huan-ch ing pu-nao (making the Essence return to restore the brain), emphasizing th e function of healing and nourishing life, but neglecting the function of c onceiving a child or giving pleasure.