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Making TranscendentsAscetics and Social Memory in Early Medieval China$
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Robert Ford Campany

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833336

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833336.001.0001

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Adepts and Their Communities

Adepts and Their Communities

(p.151) Chapter 6 Adepts and Their Communities
Making Transcendents

Robert Ford Campany

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter describes adepts in relation to their communities. Many practitioners of transcendence arts, for all their alleged secrecy and social disengagement, were visible, talked-about public figures. They attracted large audiences even, or especially, when they tried to remain secluded, just as other noted recluses in early medieval China drew attention by conspicuously vacating normal social relations and official roles. In addition, many self-cultivators, far from (or in alternation with) hiding in mountain caves or chambers of quietude, performed vivid wonders and told marvelous tales to crowds of onlookers. These actions showed that transcendence-seekers’ withdrawal from normal patterns of interaction did not constitute the absence of any relation to a society.

Keywords:   adepts, transcendence arts, public figures, medieval China, social relations, transcendence-seekers, communities

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