Changing Fate in Religious Daoism

June 13-14, 2013

Convenor: Prof. Dr. Terry Kleeman (IKGF Visiting Fellow)

There are many aspects to the concept of fate in Daoism and also many ways to alter fate. Fate can refer to the predispositions inherited at birth through astrological, horary or numerary factors or through the actions of one's ancestors and relatives or one's own previous incarnations. Fate can also indicate the responses of the universal Dao or specific divine manifestations of that Dao like the Three Officers during the course of an individual life to moral conduct, personal cultivation, or ritual activity. Fate determines the length of one's lifespan and the circumstances of one's death as well as the nature of one's posthumous existence. Finally, fate can also be communal or societal, setting forth apocalyptic disasters or utopian delights that supersede individual dispositions and frustrate personal efforts because of larger movements of history or divine judgements of the nature of an age. A variety of ritual, contemplative, and devotional intercessions have been practiced through Daoist history to limit, shape, or alter these forces and aid believing Daoists in amending their fate in favorable ways. This workshop will explore how Daoists conceived of fate and how they responded to it personally and in groups through a temporal span of millennia and across the diverse geographical canvas that constitutes Chinese civilization. It will examine the influence of the living upon the dead as well as the dead upon the living, the judgments of the divine upon the mortal and the entreaties of mortals to the gods, as well as the workings of the Dao throughout the cosmos as the ages of man arise, develop and decline.


Thuesday, June 13, 2013, 9:00 am - 3:45 pm

9:00 a.m Introduction
Thomas Fröhlich (IKGF Deputy Director)/Terry Kleeman (Convenor)
9:30 a.m. Options for Molding ming 'Fate' in the Scripture on Great Peace
Barbara Hendrischke (China Studies Centre, The University of Sydney)
10:30 a.m. Coffee Break
10:45 a.m. The Joining the Pneumas Rite and the Avoidance of Disaster in Celestial Master Daoism
Terry Kleeman (Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Colorado Boulder)
11:45 p.m. Lunch Break
1:30 p.m. Revisiting the Central Scripture of the Nine Perfected 九真中經 Rebirthing the Body to Extend Life in Medieval Daoism
Stephen Bokenkamp (School of International Letters & Cultures, Arizona State University)
2:30 p.m. Coffee Break
2:45 p.m. Sex, Drugs and Destiny in Early Shangqing Daoism
Michael Stanley-Baker (PhD China Centre for Health and Humanity, University College London)
3:45 p.m. End of 1st Day

Friday,June 14, 2013, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

9:30 a.m Destiny, Vital Force, or Existence? Initial Remarks on the Meanings of 'Ming' in Daoist Internal Alchemy
Fabrizio Pregadio (Independent Scholar, Former IKGF Visting Fellow)
10:30 a.m. Coffee Break
10:45 a.m The Sword Scripture
Robert Campany (College of Arts and Science, Vanderbilt University)
11:45 a.m. Lunch Break
1:30 p.m The Rise of Apocalyptic Eschatology in Daoist Scriptures, 17th-19th Centuries
Vincent Goossaert (EPHE; Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités, EPHE-CNRS, Paris)
2:30 p.m. Coffee Break
2:45 p.m Expediting Fate: yinyang Household Daoists of North Shanxi in Modern Times
Stephen Jones (Department of Music, School of Oriental and African Studies, U. of London)
3:45 p.m. Final Discussion
4:30 p.m. End of Workshop


Senatssaal Schloss
Schlossplatz 4, 91054 Erlangen


For more information, please contact Esther-Maria Guggenmos at