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Foundational Practices

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Chapter Summary

The early Quanzhen adherents committed themselves to specific training regimens in order to complete alchemical transformation, in order to become embodiments of the Dao and transcend the limitations of mortality. This chapter discusses some of the most central methods practiced and advocated by the early Quanzhen adepts. There was clearly an ethical dimension of early Quanzhen religious praxis. One aspect of this involved virtuous deeds and the accumulation of merit. Quanzhen hagiographies and prefaces to the poetry anthologies inform us that most of the early adepts spent some time in seclusion, in solitary religious praxis. Wang Chongyang suggests that solitary ascetic training, intends to purify body and mind. The early Quanzhen adepts embraced a renunciant orientation. This involved ascetic commitments, a way of life rooted in abandoning everything that inhibits one's alignment with the Dao and one's process of self-transformation, and specific forms of ascetic discipline.

Keywords: ascetic commitments; Quanzhen adherents; self-transformation; solitary religious praxis



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