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Old 11-18-2011, 03:40 AM   #137
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: a crooked, creaky manse built on a blasted heath
Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
If I recall Taoism was sort of a tangential creed having a cultural position similar to mendicants in the West and dervishes in Islam. A Taoist priest might get an invitation from an Emperor but wouldn't become a court priest.

My memory could be wrong though.
It turns out that a number of emperors were promoters of Taoist literature, rituals, science/magic, and so on. Elites read religious texts along with other important writings.
Note that some Taoist texts eventually become classics that prospective officals are required to study, as part of the civil service exams.

There were also periods of control/supression of some forms of Taoism.

I think it's important to remember that the Chinese folk religion is a fusion of ancient indigenous belief systems, Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. This mix developed over a long period of time, of course.

I would caution against confusing syncretism and pluralism with irreligion.

This is hardly a scholary source, but since I know you use wiki:
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