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Self, Praxis, Experience

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explains how best to conceptualize personhood, transformative praxis and mystical experience, especially as these categories pertain to religious traditions in general and Quanzhen Daoism in particular. Such theoretical reflection and clarification is employed as an interpretative framework to understand the religious system which was early Quanzhen Daoism. Theoretically speaking, conceptions of self are ubiquitous.The chapter focuses primarily on Quanzhen views of self, emphasizing historical, philosophical, and psychological concerns. Every enduring religious tradition emphasizes specific training regimens, that is, specific praxis-based systems that dedicated adherents practice. In their most comprehensive, integrated, and developed expressions, training regimens are the province of a religious elite. Higher-level religious training involves awareness and attentiveness; advanced religious praxis involves a transformative aspiration and a soteriological orientation. Mysticism involves experience of a trans-human reality, an interaction between an individual and/or communal subject and a sacred dimension.

Keywords: mystical experience; Quanzhen Daoism; transformative praxis



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