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Kristofer Schipper worked as a student in Paris with Max Kaltenmark and Rolf Stein. He was trained as an historian of religion and as a cultural anthropologist. After eight years of research at the Institute of Ethnology Academia Sinica, he became professor of Chinese religions at the School for Advanced Study in Religion Sciences (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes) at the Sorbonne, Paris. He directs the Taoist Documentation Center of the EPHE, the Tao-tsang Project of the European Science Foundation and the Peking Temple Project of the CNRS and the Dutch Academy of Sciences. He is editor of the journal Sanjiao wenxian. Since 1992 he is professor of Chinese History at the University of Leiden (Holland).

 

 

Abstract of paper given at Taoism and Ecology conference:
Taoist Ecology: The Inner Transformation

This presentation will stress that there is more to the issue of Taoism and ecology than just general principles and ideas about human beings and nature. In Taoism there are concrete ecological rules and also practical experiences to support these rules. The Tianshi Tao (celestial masters) laid down explicit and important ecological rules, and we can see how and why they were laid down and in what context. These same principles prevailed from late antiquity to the early middle ages, as seen in Tang texts. The social setting was the peasant society of Sichuan and probably of other areas. The ecosystems that were prevalent in that part of China allow us to understand to some degree how all of these traditions were put into practice. This presentation will try to link these ecological prescriptions to the "inner landscape" and look at the question of how the representation of the body informs the way Taoism approaches the environment.

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