'About the Tao' is a website introducing some of the basic principles of Taoism to an audience presumed to have no prior knowledge. The author briefly discusses the legend of Lao Tzu before tackling some of the issues raised by his work, the Tao Te Ching. There are pages on Taoist imagery, Yin and Yang, the three treasures, sexism, leadership, and further pages comparing Taoism with other belief systems such as Christianity, Buddhism, and secular western philosophy. Each page is illustrated but brief. The site also features a set of 360-degree interactive panoramas of a temple and courtyard. Other sections of the site include: extracts from the Tao (in Chinese and in translation); a buyers' guide to some modern editions; an email newsletter; links to other sites; and a downloads centre. The downloads section consists of a desktop theme, wallpaper, and a Taoist screen saver for the user's computer.
The 'Ancient China' website provides a basic introduction to Chinese history and intellectual culture. Beginning with the prehistoric Yellow River Valley settlements and ending with the fall of the Chou dynasty in 256 BCE, the site describes the major events and developments in Chinese civilisation. There are pages on Chinese philosophy, covering: the Five Classics; Confucius (Kung Fu Tzu); Mencius; Lao Tzu and Taoism; Mo Tzu; and the legalists. Also included are extracts from Confucius's 'The Analects' and selections from the Tao Ching (Book of Changes), along with an abstract of the 'Dream of the Red Chamber'. There is also a short glossary of key terms. Unfortunately, the site appears to have been abandoned before it was complete, and hence some sections listed on the contents page - those on ancient Chinese culture, and the historical atlas - appear not to exist. The extensive links list has also suffered from lack of regular maintenance, with a high proportion of broken links. Nevertheless, the rest of the site forms a useful starting point for those interested in this subject. It is targeted at students about to begin university and first year undergraduates. The site is part of an online courseware unit from Washington State University's 'World Civilizations' project.
This truly superior online collection of citations and bibliographic material has been compiled by Barend J. ter Haar at the University of Leiden. The main introductory page of his Bibliographies on Chinese History and Culture leads to eight different extensive (and usually annotated) bibliographical resources on Chinese society. While this includes references for literacy and education, violence, and protest and dissent, many categories are specifically devoted to religious themes including the Yao religion, Shamanism, and the Falun Gong movement, as well as more general collections on twentieth century religious life and culture in mainland China. The bibliographies are organised in a series of logical sub-divisions, and include details of electronic resources. However, a basic search engine to retrieve references by author or exact subject would be a welcome addition to the site. In any case, undergraduates and academics at all levels who wish to enlarge their knowledge of Chinese secondary sources will find these lists useful, whether they are searching for books or material on the Web. New lecturers may also wish to avail themselves of the Teaching Aids section, which takes the form of an extended annotated exploration of Internet, encyclopaedic and print resources.
The Bibliography of Western Language Publications on Chinese Popular Religion (1995 to present) is an online listing of primarily English journal and book references, addressing a wide variety of geographical and cultural aspects from Oriental belief systems. Compiled by Philip Clart, Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Leipzig, the bibliography started life as a collection of citations taken from his own articles published in the journal 'Minjian zongjiao' (volumes 3-5, 1995-1997). Since then, Clart has continuously added new material to the list of resources to keep it up-to-date. Presently, resources are organised under 20 different subject categories that include topics as diverse as folklore, deities, gender issues, and rituals. These categories include three local studies sections, covering Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the mainland. Separate year-by-year lists are also given for the most recent publications. Unfortunately, the site currently lacks any internal search facility. Despite this, researchers at all levels and in every subset of religious studies in the east are likely to find this resource valuable.
This site, authored and edited by Chad Hansen, contains segments of a wide-ranging interpretation of classical Chinese philosophy that takes Daoism (Taoism) as central to classical Chinese thought. The interpretation turns on a new reading of the Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi that highlights sceptical and relativist themes in his thinking. Hansen's crucial assumption is that Zhuangzi was a philosopher of language. Zhuangzi was deeply engaged with the linguistic insights of the Later Mohists (sometimes called Neo-Mohists or Dialectical Mohists) and the School of Names. This site is a good introduction to Chinese philosophy and offers some interesting interpretative strategies. Hansen is author of, A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought: A philosophical interpretation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).
The Daoist Studies website, maintained and edited by James Miller (Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada), has a specific academic mandate to promote international research, scholarship, and communication about Daoism (also known as Taoism) as both a historical belief and a contemporary living religious system. The website is designed with the academic or researcher in mind, and resources offered include: a bibliography of over 6,000 works, with links to articles where these are available online; details of new books in the area, plus a collection of book reviews; information about conferences and job openings; discussion forums; a short history of Daoism; a research guide; and general Daoism-related news. Users should note that while the majority of the material is in English, a few sections of the site require additional character sets. This is a valuable site for all those working in this field.
Essential readings on Chinese philosophy is an annotated bibliography of mainly printed books intended for use by experienced philosophers seeking a core reading list. The subject headings include: general histories; specialised studies; Neo/Confucianism; Taoism; Mohism; comparative studies; I Ching; Buddhism; and Chinese science. Where available links are made to websites by or about authors. Annotations vary from short statements to more lengthy paragraphs. The author of the site, Bryan Van Norden, is an assistant professor in the Philosophy Department at Vassar College.
The Golden Elixir is an excellent online introduction to Taoism and Chinese Alchemy, maintained by Fabrizio Pregadio, author of reference works on Chinese tradition and religion. The resource is divided into pages on Taoism and Alchemy, each featuring a textual introduction to its subject, short descriptions of Taoist and Chinese Alchemy texts, and short online essays. In addition, the Taoist section of the resource also provides publication details of Pregadio's Encyclopedia of Taoism. Pregadio introduces the main concepts and personalities in Taoism concisely, even though the website does seem to be a vehicle to promote his publishing company, Golden Elixir Press. Subjects covered by the resource include: the roots of Taoism; revelations in Taoism; the human being in Taoism; bibliographies on Taoism and Alchemy; concepts in Taoist Alchemy; and Alchemy, the body and meditation. The website also features a well-maintained links page, and acts as a gateway to reference resources, online texts, and secondary sources on East Asian religions. The Golden Elixir would be of value to first year undergraduates, to contribute to their understanding of Chinese philosophy and belief.
The H-Buddhism Graduate Programs in Asian Philosophy and Religion Web page, which was created in 1997 by Charles Muller, provides an alphabetical list of institutions around the world that offer postgraduate studies in Asian religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism and Taoism. Each entry contains the name and address of the department; a description of the course(s) it offers; and the names of the primary and affiliated instructors and their areas of speciality. There are also links that take visitors to the home pages of the respective institutions. The site is clearly presented and its contents are updated by the H-Buddhism Web team. The resource should be a very useful starting point for those investigating graduate study in this area.
This site is a portal to I Ching resources on the Web. The I Ching, or 'Book of Changes', is an ancient Chinese divination manual and book of wisdom. Since the 1960s, its poetry and symbolism - to say nothing of its strange effectiveness in divination - have gained it a wide following in the West. This site, then, provides readers with access to translations, original Chinese versions of the texts, background information, commentaries, and even software useful for reading electronic texts. The site also offers advice on applying the insights of the I Ching to everyday life.
J.B. Hare established the Internet Sacred Text Archive to make public domain religious and mythological texts available to the interested reader. It brings together material collected by the archive itself with a variety of links from other primary resource sites on the Internet to form one of the largest and far reaching electronic text resources available anywhere. With a somewhat eclectic selection in content, the site includes everything from English translations of the sacred texts of African, Australian, and North American indigenous cultures to Eastern, Neo-Pagan and Occult traditions. Judeo-Christian and Islamic resources are also well represented. The archive is still growing, with new texts added on a regular basis. The need to avoid material which is still in copyright means that many of the translations date from over a hundred years ago, but the variety of resources in translation makes the site invaluable to those lacking extensive foreign language skills who wish to rapidly familiarise themselves with a specific tradition. This site is an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to locate an electronic English-language version of a significant religious text from almost any religious tradition.
Unlike many other resources on religious trends within the United States which focused specifically on the Judeo-Christian tradition, The Pluralism Project, directed by Diana Eck at Harvard University, seeks to consider and evaluate the growing diversity in religious expression found across the nation. A variety of textual resources are made available through this site including: a series of scholarly articles; directories of religious centres; and a series of excellent bibliographies and guidelines for conducting contemporary research on religious denominations, applicable to research on religious pluralism in both North America and Europe. There is a link advertising the project's CD-ROM On Common Ground: World Religions in America, (Second Edition). An interesting sub-set of this project is World Religions in Boston, which describes the variety of religious expression and interaction all within one major American city, and can be downloaded or viewed on the web. Unfortunately, the site lacks any extensive demographic material on religious growth and developments.
Religion Compass (ISSN: 1749-8171) is an online journal dedicated to original peer-reviewed surveys of research and other works from across the discipline. Published by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing and edited by Tamara Sonn, the resource is targeted at teachers, researchers and students of religion, as well as non-specialist scholars. The materials can be browsed according to Authors' names and the following section themes: African Religions; Ancient Near East; Buddhism; Chinese and Japanese Traditions; Christianity; Indian Traditions; Islam; Judaism; New Religions; Native Religions of the Americas; and Theory and Method. Although subscription is needed to access the materials in full, this website makes available their abstract alongside information about the journal's editorial board.
Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History is a major research institute located at the University of San Francisco. The Ricci Institute website has full details of current activities and five major research projects, and also has details of conferences, scholarships, and other scholarly news. The website contains nine issues of Pacific Rim Reports online, offering 15 full-text PDF papers on aspects of Chinese history and culture. There is a searchable online catalogue for the Ricci Institute Library. The website provides a Web link to the Ricci 21st Century Roundtable on the History of Christianity in China website. There are also nine online exhibitions, such as: Through the Moon Gate: Portraits of China, 1950s-1990s; Icons of the Celestial Kingdom; and Mechanics of Heaven: Jesuit Astronomers at the Qing Court, among others.
The Taoism Information Page is a gateway to mainly scholarly English-language resources relating to the study of Taoism, one of the three religions usually associated with China. The other two, namely Buddhism and Confucianism, are also briefly touched on. The gateway is divided into sections which include: Tao Te Ching; Chuang-tzu; I Ching; The Sun-tzu Art of War; Taoism and Martial Arts; and Taoism and Modernity. Each link is accompanied by a brief annotation. The site is an associate site of the Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library and is edited by Gene R. Thursby, Associate Professor, Department of Religion at the University of Florida.
'The Taoist Tradition: A Historical Outline' offers a short chronological account of the major developments in Taoist philosophy. Taoism is a Chinese philosophy that possibly originated as early as the sixth century BCE. It emphasizes living one's life in accordance with the Tao (Dao). As the Tao is said to be the source of all change and creation in nature, action that promotes human flourishing is action that has natural change as its concern. Thus for Taoism, health and longevity are seen as important goals for humanity. This particular document offers short explications of some of the major texts of Taoism such as the Nei-yeh (mid fourth century BCE) and identifies the origins of new movements within Taoism. This resource is of use for those who are just beginning to study Taoism.