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One and ManyA Comparative Study of Plato's Philosophy and Daoism Represented by Ge Hong$
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Ji Zhang

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835545

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835545.001.0001

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Ge Hong’s Doctrine of Immortal Beings

Ge Hong’s Doctrine of Immortal Beings

(p.104) Chapter 6 Ge Hong’s Doctrine of Immortal Beings
One and Many

Ji Zhang

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter talks about Ge Hong's attempt to systematize the Western Han's beliefs in immortality, to defend them against detractors, and to insist on their core value for his tradition. Ge Hong argues that physical immortality is possible and can be attained through the practice of instrumental alchemy; he builds his ethics and political philosophy on the basis of these beliefs. Ge Hong's doctrine of immortal beings insists, on one hand, that suffering and death can be avoided. On the other hand, it forms an ethical platform upon which he presents his religious ethics by defining what life is and how it ought to be lived. The doctrine of immortal beings professes that by preserving the One, the continuity of ontological life, humans are capable of embarking on the journey of return from the many to the One.

Keywords:   immortality, instrumental alchemy, doctrine of immortal beings, Ge Hong, religious ethics, ontological life

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