By Mircea Eliade
In quantity 2 of this enormous paintings, Mircea Eliade maintains his magisterial growth during the heritage of spiritual rules. The religions of historical China, Brahmanism and Hinduism, Buddha and his contemporaries, Roman faith, Celtic and German religions, Judaism, the Hellenistic interval, the Iranian syntheses, and the start of Christianity—all are encompassed during this quantity.
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Additional info for A History of Religious Ideas: From Gautama Buddha to the Triumph of Christianity
57 From this point of view, Confucius' method can be compared with the doctrines and techniques by which Lao Tzu and the Taoists held that they could recover 56. This aspect has been well brought out by Herbert Fingarette in his Confucius: The Secular as Sacred. 57. A similar effort is visible in Tantrism, in the Cabala, and in certain Zen practices. Lao Tzu and Taoism 25 the original spontaneity. Confucius' originality consists in his having pursued the "transmutation" of the gestures and conduct indispensable to a complex and highly hierarchized society into spontaneous rituals.
38 THE RELIGIONS OF ANCIENT CHINA tury before Christ. It is generally agreed to regard Tsu Yen, a contemporary of Mencius, as the "founder" of alchemy. 95 Chinese alchemy, as an autonomous discipline, is a compound of (1) the traditional cosmological beliefs; (2) the myths concerning the elixir of immortality and the Holy Immortals; and (3) the techniques whose goal was not only the prolongation of life but bliss and spiritual spontaneity. These three elementsprinciples, myths, and techniques-were part of the cultural inheritance from protohistory, and it would be a mistake to believe that the date of the earliest documents that attest to them also tells us their age.
But it explains, simply and humorously, the incompatibility between these two great religious personages. " But to live shunning public life and scorning honors was precisely the opposite of the ideal of the "superior man" advocated by Confucius. Lao Tzu's "hidden and anonymous" existence explains the lack of any authentic information concerning his biography. According to tradition he was for a time archivist at the Chou court, but, discouraged by the decadence of the royal house, he gave up his position and set off for the West.
A History of Religious Ideas: From Gautama Buddha to the Triumph of Christianity by Mircea Eliade