Cultivating Perfection

Mysticism and Self-transformation in Early Quanzhen Daoism


This important work focuses on early Quanzhen (Complete Perfection) Daoism, a twelfth-century Daoist religious movement and subsequent monastic order. Emphasis in this first study to approach Quanzhen from a comparative religious studies perspective is placed on the complex interplay among views of self, specific training regimens, and the types of experiences that were expected to follow from dedicated praxis. On the basis of historical contextualization and textual analysis it is demonstrated that in its formative and incipient organized phases Quanzhen was a Daoist religious community consisting of a few renunciants dedicated to religious praxis. The study proper is followed by a complete annotated translation of a text attributed to the founder, which represents one of only two early Quanzhen texts translated to date. Subsequent appendices address issues of dating and contents of the early textual corpus as well as technical Quanzhen religious terminology.
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Biographical Note

Louis Komjathy Ph.D. in Religious Studies, Boston University, is Assistant Professor of Religion at Pacific Lutheran University and Research Associate of the Institute of Religion, Science, and Social Studies (Shandong University, PRC). He also serves as Co-director of the Center for Daoist Studies and Co-chair of the Daoist Studies Consultation of the American Academy of Religion. He has previously published Title Index to Daoist Collections (Three Pines Press, 2002).


Specialists and general readers interested in Daoism and Chinese religion, scholars of comparative mysticism, as well as anyone interested in Daoist religious praxis.

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