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Ordinary Human Being

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Chapter Summary

The early Quanzhen adepts made a distinction between the ordinary human being and those engaging in religious training. The four primary Quanzhen views of self may be identified: Self as decaying corpse; Self as psychosomatic process, including osmological affinities and influences; Self as divine endowment and spiritual abode; and Self as alchemical crucible. The first was to be overcome through Quanzhen religious praxis, while the latter three became actualized through dedicated training. This chapter sets the foundation for a larger cross-cultural and comparative perspective. Every transformative technique or training regimen embodies, quite literally, a specific view of self. According to the early Quanzhen adherents, ordinary human beings are habituated, turbid, and self-disrupting entities. The decision to leave the mundane world and embrace a religious way of life, to dedicate oneself to a movement from habituation to self-transformation, was justified in early Quanzhen Daoism.

Keywords: alchemical crucible; decaying corpse; early Quanzhen; human being; psychosomatic process; religious training; spiritual abode



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