To Ransom Destiny: The Daoist Search For Deliverance In Medieval China
Franciscus Verellen, Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient
November 16, 2016 · 4:30 pm—6:00 pm EST · 202 Jones Hall
East Asian Studies Program
A Daoist destiny was mortgaged from birth – by guilt inherited from the past, debts owed to one’s parents, and the initial endowment of vitality. To live meant to inexorably augment the original burden.
Accumulated liabilities accounted for suffering, disease, and ill fortune met with in this world. They presaged a diminished life span and an adverse afterlife. To ransom destiny was to make amends for liabilities incurred through a person’s own fault or by exposure to external malignant forces. The questions this talk addresses are: what was the nature of the liabilities weighing in the balance of human destiny? Which measures were envisaged to obtain deliverance or improve an unfavorable outcome? How did constituencies of collective destiny form? Who were the agents of the redemptive process and what were their roles?