Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants

Title

Su Shi's External and Internal Alchemy

Department

Modern Languages & Literatures Department

College

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities

Abstract

Su Shi (1037 1101) was a great scholar-literatus of the Northern Song dynasty, and an influential individual in Chinese history. Known for his beautiful poetry and prose writings, Su was also a central figure in the factional struggle which eventual caused the fall of the Northern Song dynasty (960 1127). Su Shi often described his fascination with the quietude of Buddhist temples in beautiful poems. These writings, along with a rich lore about his friendships with the literate poetry-monks of his time, have contributed to his reputation of being a Buddhist. Although Su Shih frequently engaged in exchanges with Buddhist monks, and Buddhist topics are common in his writings, an examination of his daily life reveals a strong, personal interest in topics of religious Daoism, including visualization and meditation techniques, inner alchemy, and even external alchemy. He even reveals serious considerations of immortality. This paper will examine Su Shis interest and practice of religious Daoism.

Conference Name

66th Annual Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association

Conference Location

Boulder, Colorado

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