Riding the Wind with Liezi: New Perspectives on the Daoist Classic edited by Ronnie Littlejohn and Jeffrey Dippmann (review)

Riding the Wind with Liezi: New Perspectives on the Daoist Classic edited by Ronnie Littlejohn... 4­Wing-cheuk Chan, "Review ofYang Zebo,An Examination of Mou Zongsan's Three-foldTypology,"Dao: An International Journal of Comparative Philosophy 9(2010):133­136. 5­JasonClower,The Unlikely Buddhologist: Tiantai Buddhism in Mou Zongsan's New Confucianism(Leiden:Brill,2010). Riding the Wind with Liezi: New Perspectives on the Daoist Classic.EditedbyRonnie LittlejohnandJeffreyDippmann.Albany:StateUniversityofNewYorkPress,2011. Pp.viii+264.Hardcover$75.00,isbn978-1-4384-3455-1. ReviewedbyYuet Keung Lo NationalUniversityofSingapore yklo2009@gmail.com TheLieziisoneofthelesser-knownDaoistclassicsintheWesteventhoughEnglish translations of the text are not lacking. Scholarly studies are scarce, and thus the publicationofRiding the Wind with Liezi: New Perspectives on the Daoist Classic, editedbyRonnieLittlejohnandJeffreyDippmann,shouldbecelebrated.Thisnew anthologycontainsRogerAmes'helpfulintroductionandtwelveessaysbyscholars whoaremostlytrainedinphilosophyandreligion.Theessaysaregroupedunderthe threeheadingsof"TheLieziText,""InterpretiveEssays,"and"ApplyingtheTeachings oftheLiezi,"but,strictlyspeaking,onlythecontributionsofT.H.Barrett,Ronnie Littlejohn,andJeffreyDippmann(thelastpresentedunder"InterpretiveEssays")deal withthetextualissuesoftheLiezi.Barrettprovidesarichlydetailedhistoryofhow theclassicwasreadinthefirstthousandyearssinceitscompositionwhilethelatter two offer different interpretations of those parts of the Liezi valorizing magico- religiouspracticespromotedinthesectarianDaoismthatwaspopularinearlymedievalChina. The remaining nine essays explore a fairly consistent and well-known core of Daoist teachings concerning cosmology and its concomitant spiritual cultivation, wheretheselfisviewedbothasanautonomouslocusoftransformativepraxisand anadaptiveagentwithinanaturalandsocialcontextthatitinevitablyimplicatesand confronts.LittlesurprisethatthecharacteristicDaoistideasofqi(vitalenergy),wuwei (nonaction),andziran(spontaneity)appearinvirtuallyalloftheseessayswithvarying emphases,ifonlyindifferentwaysofexpressionsuchas"unselfconsciousness"(P.J. Ivanhoe's"TheThemeofUnselfconsciousnessintheLiezi")and"effortlessaction"(Erin M.Cline's"HowtoFishLikeaDaoist").Manyoftheessaysarecomparativeinnature ("IstheLiezianEncheiridion?"byMaySim;"TheThat-Beyond-WhichofthePristine Dao"byThomasMichael;"I,Robot:SelfasMachineintheLiezi"byJeffreyL.Richey; "DancingwithYinyang:TheArtofEmergence"byRobinR.Wang;and"WhenButterfliesChangeintoBirds:LifeandDeathintheLiezi"byDavidJones).These,along withthethreetextualstudies,perhapsjustifythesubtitleoftheanthology. MostofthephilosophicalessayseffectivelyannotatetheLieziwithwell-known ideas,suchasqi,ziran,andwuwei,inDaoist(or,broadly,Chinese)thoughtandin PhilosophyEast&WestVolume63,Number4October2013686­689 ©2013byUniversityofHawai`iPress somecasesWesternphilosophyandscience,appealingtoconceptssuchasdeterminism,God,Truth,andevolution.Astheyare,theycouldeasilyimpressthereader thatthisoft-neglectedclassicisindeedlittlemorethanaderivationofearlyDaoist philosophy; the Liezi, then, is merely a convenient platform for rehashing typical Daoistideasand appearstoofferlittlethatisoriginalinitself.DavidJonesbaldlyand repeatedlyadmitsthattheLieziisnodifferentfromotherDaoistclassicsexceptthat itarticulatestheircommonteachingsmoreexplicitlyoraccessibly.Butthisraisesan importantquestion:whatisuniqueabouttheLieziasaDaoistphilosophicaltext? Theanthologydoesnotprovideananswer. Infact,whatsomeoftheessaysarguetobeuniquetotheLiezi actuallycomes fromtheZhuangzi.Forinstance,Jones,relyingonakeypassageinchapter1ofthe Liezi,contendsthattheclassic"placestherelationshipbetweenlifeanddeathinthe moregeneralcontextofauniversalevolutionaryframework"(pp.141­142).While hisargumentissound,itwouldholdequallywellifhisreferencestotheLieziare replacedwithtextselectionsfromtheZhuangzi.ThesingularLiezi passagethatsubstantiateshisargumenton"evolution"alsoappearsinchapter18oftheZhuangzi (withdifferencesthatmaydeserveacarefulexamination),acriticalfactthathedoes notacknowledge.Similarly,onthebasisofthefirsttwoparagraphsinchapter1of theLiezi,Michaelarguesthatthe"pristinedao"wasconceptualizedasthedivine sourceofallthingsandsomethingineffableandunfathomablethatchallengesthe limitsofhumanthought.Thispurportedlyrepresents"anextensionandexploration" oftheLaozi,Zhuangzi,andHuainanzi(p.108). Insofarasthediscussionsofarisconcerned,Michael'sclaimisvalid.Butinhis analysisheessentiallyattributesLiezi'sformulationofthe"pristinedao"bytracingit inbroadoutlinestotheLaozi (chapter42inparticular),whereitissaidthat"Dao givesbirthtoOne,OnegivesbirthtoTwo,TwogivesbirthtoThree,andThreegives birthtothemyriadthings."Whilethisiscertainlydefensibleforthesakeofconvenience, Michael fails to see that the Liezi's cosmogony derives directly from the Zhuangzi.Inchapter18Zhuangziconcretelyspecifiesthecosmogonicprocessof evolutionfromprimordialchaos(manghu,avariantofhunlun usedinthe LiezipassageMichaelcites)toqi,fromqitoform,fromformtolife,andfromlife to death.This four-stage process matches perfectly with Liezi's formulation rom --f SupremeSimplicity(manghuintheZhuangzi)toSupremeOrigin(qi),fromSupreme Origin to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

Riding the Wind with Liezi: New Perspectives on the Daoist Classic edited by Ronnie Littlejohn and Jeffrey Dippmann (review)

Philosophy East and West, Volume 63 (4) – Oct 23, 2013

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4­Wing-cheuk Chan, "Review ofYang Zebo,An Examination of Mou Zongsan's Three-foldTypology,"Dao: An International Journal of Comparative Philosophy 9(2010):133­136. 5­JasonClower,The Unlikely Buddhologist: Tiantai Buddhism in Mou Zongsan's New Confucianism(Leiden:Brill,2010). Riding the Wind with Liezi: New Perspectives on the Daoist Classic.EditedbyRonnie LittlejohnandJeffreyDippmann.Albany:StateUniversityofNewYorkPress,2011. Pp.viii+264.Hardcover$75.00,isbn978-1-4384-3455-1. ReviewedbyYuet Keung Lo NationalUniversityofSingapore yklo2009@gmail.com TheLieziisoneofthelesser-knownDaoistclassicsintheWesteventhoughEnglish translations of the text are not lacking. Scholarly studies are scarce, and thus the publicationofRiding the Wind with Liezi: New Perspectives on the Daoist Classic, editedbyRonnieLittlejohnandJeffreyDippmann,shouldbecelebrated.Thisnew anthologycontainsRogerAmes'helpfulintroductionandtwelveessaysbyscholars whoaremostlytrainedinphilosophyandreligion.Theessaysaregroupedunderthe threeheadingsof"TheLieziText,""InterpretiveEssays,"and"ApplyingtheTeachings oftheLiezi,"but,strictlyspeaking,onlythecontributionsofT.H.Barrett,Ronnie Littlejohn,andJeffreyDippmann(thelastpresentedunder"InterpretiveEssays")deal withthetextualissuesoftheLiezi.Barrettprovidesarichlydetailedhistoryofhow theclassicwasreadinthefirstthousandyearssinceitscompositionwhilethelatter two offer different interpretations of those parts of the Liezi valorizing magico- religiouspracticespromotedinthesectarianDaoismthatwaspopularinearlymedievalChina. The remaining nine essays explore a fairly consistent and well-known core of Daoist teachings concerning cosmology and its concomitant spiritual cultivation, wheretheselfisviewedbothasanautonomouslocusoftransformativepraxisand anadaptiveagentwithinanaturalandsocialcontextthatitinevitablyimplicatesand confronts.LittlesurprisethatthecharacteristicDaoistideasofqi(vitalenergy),wuwei (nonaction),andziran(spontaneity)appearinvirtuallyalloftheseessayswithvarying emphases,ifonlyindifferentwaysofexpressionsuchas"unselfconsciousness"(P.J. Ivanhoe's"TheThemeofUnselfconsciousnessintheLiezi")and"effortlessaction"(Erin M.Cline's"HowtoFishLikeaDaoist").Manyoftheessaysarecomparativeinnature ("IstheLiezianEncheiridion?"byMaySim;"TheThat-Beyond-WhichofthePristine Dao"byThomasMichael;"I,Robot:SelfasMachineintheLiezi"byJeffreyL.Richey; "DancingwithYinyang:TheArtofEmergence"byRobinR.Wang;and"WhenButterfliesChangeintoBirds:LifeandDeathintheLiezi"byDavidJones).These,along withthethreetextualstudies,perhapsjustifythesubtitleoftheanthology. MostofthephilosophicalessayseffectivelyannotatetheLieziwithwell-known ideas,suchasqi,ziran,andwuwei,inDaoist(or,broadly,Chinese)thoughtandin PhilosophyEast&WestVolume63,Number4October2013686­689 ©2013byUniversityofHawai`iPress somecasesWesternphilosophyandscience,appealingtoconceptssuchasdeterminism,God,Truth,andevolution.Astheyare,theycouldeasilyimpressthereader thatthisoft-neglectedclassicisindeedlittlemorethanaderivationofearlyDaoist philosophy; the Liezi, then, is merely a convenient platform for rehashing typical Daoistideasand appearstoofferlittlethatisoriginalinitself.DavidJonesbaldlyand repeatedlyadmitsthattheLieziisnodifferentfromotherDaoistclassicsexceptthat itarticulatestheircommonteachingsmoreexplicitlyoraccessibly.Butthisraisesan importantquestion:whatisuniqueabouttheLieziasaDaoistphilosophicaltext? Theanthologydoesnotprovideananswer. Infact,whatsomeoftheessaysarguetobeuniquetotheLiezi actuallycomes fromtheZhuangzi.Forinstance,Jones,relyingonakeypassageinchapter1ofthe Liezi,contendsthattheclassic"placestherelationshipbetweenlifeanddeathinthe moregeneralcontextofauniversalevolutionaryframework"(pp.141­142).While hisargumentissound,itwouldholdequallywellifhisreferencestotheLieziare replacedwithtextselectionsfromtheZhuangzi.ThesingularLiezi passagethatsubstantiateshisargumenton"evolution"alsoappearsinchapter18oftheZhuangzi (withdifferencesthatmaydeserveacarefulexamination),acriticalfactthathedoes notacknowledge.Similarly,onthebasisofthefirsttwoparagraphsinchapter1of theLiezi,Michaelarguesthatthe"pristinedao"wasconceptualizedasthedivine sourceofallthingsandsomethingineffableandunfathomablethatchallengesthe limitsofhumanthought.Thispurportedlyrepresents"anextensionandexploration" oftheLaozi,Zhuangzi,andHuainanzi(p.108). Insofarasthediscussionsofarisconcerned,Michael'sclaimisvalid.Butinhis analysisheessentiallyattributesLiezi'sformulationofthe"pristinedao"bytracingit inbroadoutlinestotheLaozi (chapter42inparticular),whereitissaidthat"Dao givesbirthtoOne,OnegivesbirthtoTwo,TwogivesbirthtoThree,andThreegives birthtothemyriadthings."Whilethisiscertainlydefensibleforthesakeofconvenience, Michael fails to see that the Liezi's cosmogony derives directly from the Zhuangzi.Inchapter18Zhuangziconcretelyspecifiesthecosmogonicprocessof evolutionfromprimordialchaos(manghu,avariantofhunlun usedinthe LiezipassageMichaelcites)toqi,fromqitoform,fromformtolife,andfromlife to death.This four-stage process matches perfectly with Liezi's formulation rom --f SupremeSimplicity(manghuintheZhuangzi)toSupremeOrigin(qi),fromSupreme Origin to

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Published: Oct 23, 2013

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