Download A History of Religious Ideas: From Gautama Buddha to the by Mircea Eliade PDF

By Mircea Eliade

In quantity 2 of this enormous paintings, Mircea Eliade keeps his magisterial development during the background of non secular rules. The religions of old China, Brahmanism and Hinduism, Buddha and his contemporaries, Roman faith, Celtic and German religions, Judaism, the Hellenistic interval, the Iranian syntheses, and the beginning of Christianity—all are encompassed during this quantity.

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It is simply a matter of strengthening certain essences. Hence the importance of cinnabar, due less to its red color (the color of blood, the vital principle) than to the fact that, exposed to fire, cinnabar produces mercury. Hence it contains, in hidden form, the mystery of regeneration through death (for burning symbolizes death). It follows that cinnabar can insure the perpetual regeneration of the human body and, in the last analysis, can procure immortality. The great alchemist Ko Hung (283-343) writes that ten pills of a mixture of cinnabar and honey, taken in the course of a year, make white hair become black and lost teeth grow again; if one goes on for longer than a year, one obtains immortality.

87. See Maspero, "Les procedes," pp. ; Eliade, Yoga, pp. 53 ff. We may add that the "deep and silent" breathing of ecstasy resembled the breathing of animals during hibernation, and it is known that, for the Chinese, the fullness and spontaneity of animal life constituted the supreme example of an existence in perfect harmony with the cosmos. 88. Preface to the treatise "Oral Formulas for Embryonic Respiration," trans. Maspero, in "Les procedes," p. 198. 89. On the Taoist pantheon dwelling in the human body, see Maspero, Le taoi'sme, pp.

45). 66. Another passage presents the Tao as "an imperceptible, indiscernible being" that "contains iIi its bosom" images, beings, fecund essences, and spiritual essences (chap. 21). 67. The expression Obscure Female "suggests the mysterious fecundity of the Tao at the same time that it is connected with the idea of the valley or cavity in the mountain" (Kaltenmark, p. 51). " 30 THE RELIGIONS OF ANCIENT CHINA "weakness," humility, nonresistance. "Know masculinity, but prefer feminiRity: you will be the ravine of the world.

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