Russell Kirkland
Macalester College

Although the sovereignty of the Sung ruling house was proclaimed in 960 by
T'ai-tsu, it was his brother and successor, T'ai-tsung, who presided over the
consolidation of the reunification. Almost immediately after ascending the throne in
976, T'ai-tsung initiated a massive bibliographic project, the compilation of historical
and literary anthologies. The first of those to be completed was the T'ai-p'ing kuang-
chi(Extended Accounts of the Reign of Grand Tranquillity; commissioned in 977,
completed in 978).

It is well-known that the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chiwas designed to complement the
T'ai-p'ing yü-lan(Imperial Digest of the Reign of Grand Tranquillity), which was not
completed until 983. But beyond these facts, relatively little is known about the
precise intentions that shaped the compilation of the Extended Accounts. In what
follows, I hope to shed light on the nature of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chiby drawing
attention to patterns that illustrate the values and goals that motivated the work's
compilation. Toward that end, I shall (1) survey the overall structure and contents of
the work; (2) analyze in depth one segment of the text the biography of a T'ang
wonder-worker; and (3) suggest how the anthology might be interpreted in light of the
personal and political concerns of the Sung emperor T'ai-tsung.

The T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi in Modern Scholarship

The T'ai-p'ing kuang-chiis generally noted for its stories about unusual people
and strange phenomena. In addition, students of early Chinese fiction often draw
upon it as a principal source. In fact, the anthology as a whole was once described by
J. R. Hightower as simply a "large collection of post-Han fiction."1I believe,
however, that a careful analysis of the text's contents renders such a judgment fairly

On one level, one must certainly raise the issue of the criteria by which a given
narrative ought to be characterized as "fiction" (an issue that certainly cannot be
fully aired here). Suffice it to say that the modern categories of "history" and
"fiction" (in China as well as in the West) are problematic when applied to many
forms of premodern Chinese prose. Indeed, since the days of Ssu-ma Ch'ien, Chinese
historians (like their Graeco-Roman counterparts) had been in the habit of filling out
their historical accounts with colorful speeches and anecdotes, which, by modern
standards, had little claim to historical authenticity. Such writers were not, on that
account, "bad historians." Rather, the conception of the nature of the historian's task
was simply broader in those days than it came to be in later ages.2The evolution of
the notion of "fiction" as a literary product distinct from "history" was a slow and
laborious one in China; it was only really in Sung times that critics began to

articulate a formal distinction between the two, and many writers continued to ignore
such niceties for centuries thereafter.

The issue here is whether the contents of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chiare properly
to be interpreted as fiction, as marginalia to "reality," and if so, in what sense. Since
the work as a whole is an anthology, the fundamental issue is not so much thegenre
of the materials found within the collection, but rather the intentions that led to the
compilation of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi, particularly in relation to its sister-work, the
T'ai-p'ing yü-lan. Those intentions are far from self-evident. Teng Ssu-yü and
Knight Biggerstaff once said of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi, "This encyclopedia was
compiled to make available a large amount of useful information not generally
included in orthodox writings."3Such is assuredly the case. But key questions
remain: (1) what, precisely, was the original thinking involved in the construction and
use of categories like "orthodox writings," and (2) why were certain large bodies of
"useful information" not "generally included" within it?

The late Edward Schafer once addressed that issue as follows:

It is clear that the compilers [of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi] did not, as is
widely believed, relegate excerpted texts to this collection because they
regarded them as unreliable or apocryphal . . ., but rather because
they believed them to be trivial, unedifying, superficial, superstitious, or
conducive to unprincipled attitudes. The chief criterion of selection was
morality rather than truth.4

Schafer's assessment would seem to clarify that of Teng and Biggerstaff,ifwe

were to read certain specific jumoral sentiments into their rather ambiguous term
"orthodox writings." But the term "orthodox" can also carry a quite different weight:
the term is often used to refer merely to what is sanctioned by tradition, to what is so
thoroughly ingrained in conventional practice that it is given little careful or creative
thought. What one person might define as "morally proper" might well strike another
person as "unjustifiably hidebound," especially during periods of cultural change or
transition. And I intend to argue that it is in precisely this sense that the T'ai-p'ing
kuang-chiis ultimately to be distinguished from the T'ai-p'ing yü-lan. The T'ai-p'ing
yü-lanbecame the early Sung repository for those materials that were judged readily
assimilable to the traditional Chinese bibliographic categories-classics, histories,
philosophical works, and belles-lettres. The T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi, for its part,also
contains material found in "standard" texts (such as some of the dynastic histories).
But more often, its contents were derived from earlier collections of a different type,
from "source materials which were considered informal (yeh-shih[unofficial histories],
ch'uan-ch'i[tales], and hsiao-shuo. . .)."5With all due respect to Professor Schafer,
it seems to me that the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chiwas differentiated from the T'ai-p'ing yü-
lannot upon the basis of judgments concerning moral propriety, but rather upon the
basis of tone and orientation. The T'ai-p'ing yü-lanconforms to-and perpetuates- the
conventionalized patterns of jubibliography. The T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi, however,
features a much wider range of materials, materials that ignored -- or even challenged
-- those conventionalized patterns. And it is, I believe, in this fact that we can begin
to perceive the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chifor what it was originally intended to be an

attempt on the part of its patron to recontextualize our historical and cultural
consciousness, and possibly even to reshape our understanding of life itself.

Regarding its companion work, theT'ai-p'ing yü-lan, John W. Haeger has said
that "a careful study of what it includes and excludes could reveal a lot about the
contemporary state of Chinese culture, about the priorities and values of tenth-
century scholars, and even about the structure of medieval knowledge."6The same
can certainly be said of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi. One can, of course, seek insight into
the intentions of the editors by considering three factors: (1) their selection of
materials to be included in the collection; (2) their organization of those materials; and
(3) their manipulation of individual entries their modification of source materials to
bring them into conformance with the overriding concept of the purpose of their work.
But I wish here to propose that we may legitimately seek insight not only into the
minds of the anthology'seditors, but also into the mind of their imperialpatron. Both
of the T'ai-p'inganthologies (as well as the Wen-yuan ying-hua) were compiled at the
order of Sung T'ai-tsung. I propose that careful analysis of the structure and
contents of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chireveals a coherent vision of the world, a vision
that encompassed T'ai-tsung's own vision of his reign, and expressed the ideals that
informed his hopes and expectations for the newly emerging dynasty. I intend to
show that the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chiexpresses in form and content what it, and its
sisterwork, the T'ai-p'ing yü-lan, express in their titles: "the aspiration to achieve a
golden age of civil peace."7The fact that each collection bears within its title T'ai-
tsung's chosen nien-haois far from coincidental. In fact, I submit that a careful
examination of the contents of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chidiscloses the contours of T'ai-
tsung's own vision of his empire: a world of T'ai-p'ing -- a universal harmony in which
all things find their proper place and work together, creating a holistic unity in
harmony with the higher forces of the cosmos. And I propose that T'ai-tsung's
intention in ordering a universal anthology like the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chiwas, in effect
if not in intention, a revival of the ideals that had, much earlier, inspired a similar
project in Han times the primal Taoist scripture, theT'ai-p'ing ching.

The Contents and Structure of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi

In 1980, Edward Schafer, to whom we owe so much of our insight into medieval
China, published a brief but informative little work entitled, "The Table of Contents of
theT'ai-p'ing kuang-chi."8At first glance, Schafer's window into the world of the T'ai-
p'ing kuang-chireveals what we have come to expect: chapters are devoted to ghosts
and spirits (chüan 280-81); omens and portents (chüan 135-45); uncanny things, both
manmade and natural (chüan368-417), and, most colorfully, perhaps, those
unpredictable transdimensional beings known popularly as "foxes" (chüan447-55).
Yet, a more thorough examination of the work's contents demonstrates that its
architects were actually concerned with deeper issues, with the very nature of human
life and human culture. In fact, when examined closely, the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi
reveals subtle patterns that serve as a sophisticated model of the world not the
mundane world that we usually assume ourselves to inhabit, but rather a world that
is as wondrous as it is orderly, a comprehensive, multi-dimensional cosmos in which
the strange is a logical and necessary complement to the familiar and the mundane.

If such a perspective on life seems reminiscent of Taoist values, it is hardly
surprising that the opening chapters of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chiare devoted to lives of
male and female "immortals" (hsien: chüan1-70), "Taoist" arts (chüan71-75), and
masters of unusual practices (fang-shih: chüan76-80). And yet, as Schafer notes,
the subsequent thirty-five chapters dwell primarily upon Buddhist themes: sections
99-101 present "anecdotal evidence of the truth of Buddhist teachings and the reality
of the eternal world," while sections 102-34 concern "divine (esp. Buddhist) reactions
to human deeds."9But still, the remainder of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chimakes clear
that its originators' chief interest was not in religious matters at all, at least not in
any strict sense: subsequent sections treat such standard juconcerns as
incorruptible officials (chüan165), provincial and capital examinations (chüan178-
84), "scholarly behavior" (ju-hsing: chüan202), varieties of script (chüan206-09), and
relations with friends (chüan235). Eight chapters are even devoted to martial
exploits (chüan18990). Thus, the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chipresents the wen and wuof
human life as interlocking realities that complement and complete each other, just as
it presents Buddhist and Taoist ideals as complementing and completing both each
other and the more worldly concerns of the jutradition.

Upon careful analysis, it becomes clear that an overriding theme of the T'ai-
p'ing kuang-chiis that one needs to be aware of the wholeness of life the strange as
well as the mundane, the perverted as well as the proper, the sacred as well as the
shabby, the natural and supernatural as well as the human. The moral is that we
must accept and appreciate all the facets of reality, not just those with which we are
familiar or comfortable. We must accept all things as they are, and seek to achieve
a comprehensive perspectivein which all things are properly balanced.

This assessment of the import of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chiemerges logically, not
just from the contents and organization of the work as a whole, but also from within
specific sections of the text. I present as an example the anthology's entry on the
T'ang dynasty thaumaturge Yeh Fa-shan (631-720).

Holistic Synthesis in the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi
Biography of Yeh Fa-shan

Elsewhere, I have analyzed the life of Yeh Fa-shan as it appears in T'ang and
Five Dynasties sources, from an imperial epitaph issued under the seal of T'ang
Hsüan-tsung down to the "official" biography of Yeh contained in the Chiu T'ang shu.10
All of those materials even the Chiu T'ang shuaccount present him first and
foremost as a wonder-worker. During the course of his remarkable career, Yeh
reportedly controlled spirits, roamed to mythical lands, and met divine beings. But
what became his actual stock-in-trade was heroic thaumaturgy: he performed
countless amazing deeds to rescue others from every variety of danger -- death,
disease, demonic possession, political intrigue, and the depredations of unprincipled
sorcerers. The T'ang and Five Dynasties sources demonstrate that while his exploits
were quite extraordinary, and in some cases truly bizarre, they were actually
treasured by his contemporaries, and were commemorated for centuries by
emperors, ministers, and official historians alike. As odd as it might seem to modern
observers, Yeh Fa-shan was clearly an object not merely of curiosity, but truly of
admiration and respect on the part of all members of society,especiallythe elite.


During the T'ang and Five Dynasties, there was common sentiment that, wondrous
though people like Yeh were, they actually play a key role in life, for they remind us
vividly of the importance of the deeper realities of our lives.


Such being the case, it is little wonder that Yeh Fa-shan attracted the
attention of the editors of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi. They read and utilized tales of his
deeds preserved in such earlier wonder-tale collections as the Huan-hsi chihof Chiang
Fang (9th cent.) and the Hsien-chuan shih-iof Tu Kuang-t'ing (850-933). But they
also drew upon more sober historical sources, as well as upon the aretalogical account
issued in the name of T'ang Hsüan-tsung.11The result was a new depiction of Yeh
that is remarkable for its inclusiveness: the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chinot only incorporates
virtually everything that had ever been written about Yeh, but it also interposes
weighty moral and political concerns with stories that may, at first glance, seem
intended only to stimulate the reader's wonder. What results is difficult to classify as
either biography or hagiography: it is, in our terms, a hybrid, in which the ordinary
and the extraordinary are interwoven as though no boundary exists -- or should be
imagined to exist. I will translate and analyze the bulk of that account here for the
light that it seems to shed upon some of the underlying themes of the T'ai-p'ing
kuang-chias a whole.12

The opening lines read as follows:

Yeh Fa-shan, styled Tao-yüan, originally came from the Yeh
district of Nan-yang. Today [the family] resides in the Sung-yang
district of Ch'u-chou . For four generations, they cultivated the Tao.
They all rescued creatures and aided people through secret
accomplishment (yin-kung), unseen deeds (mi-hsing), and the art of
compulsion and evocation [of spirits].

These remarks go back to a comment in T'ang Hsüan-tsung's epitaph, in which

the emperor remarked that Yeh's father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had all
been "practiced in my Tao." Tu Kuang-t'ing had elaborated, crediting Yeh's forefathers
with "divine skills (shen-shu), cultivation (she-yang), and ascent to Perfection (teng-
chen)."13But the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chipassage is the first to claim that Yeh's
forebears had practiced theurgy (the art of compelling spirits), though Yeh himself
had frequently been represented in such terms in earlier accounts. What is most
distinctive about this passage is the statement that the Yeh clan had "all rescued
creatures and aided people through secret accomplishment and unseen deeds."
Though it is not yet generally recognized, that ideal of aiding others without anyone's
knowledge was highly valued in medieval Taoism.14The T'ai-p'ing kuang-chihere
clearly embraces the idea that our lives actually extend into the unseen, and that we
must live in full awareness of that fact.

Yeh's paternity having been addressed, the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chibalances the
picture by turning to his maternal heritage (the first account of Yeh's life to do so):
"[Yeh's] mother, née Liu, was napping during the daytime when she dreamt that a
shooting star entered her mouth. She swallowed it and became pregnant, and after
fifteen months she gave birth to [him]." The motif of impregnation through swallowing
is an ancient and enduring one in Chinese culture.15The report of the fifteen-month

gestation period clearly implies that both Yeh and his mother were quite
extraordinary, and induces the reader to associate him with other great figures (like
"Lao-tzu"), for whom such wondrous births had traditionally been reported.

A rather unusual feature of the traditions about Yeh is that they include
childhood events. For instance, the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chireproduces the following
story verbatim from Chiang Fang's Huan-hsi chih:

At age seven, [Yeh] sank into the [Yangtze] river, and did not
return for three years. When his father and mother asked him why, he
said, "The Blue Lad [a great deity who dwelt in the Eastern Sea] took
me to drink of a nebulous broth, so I stayed a short while, that's all."16
He also said that the Blue Lad had led him into an audience with the
Most High. The Most High had nodded, and retained him.

The first two lines derive ultimately from Hsüan-tsung's epitaph for Yeh. It is

clear from this passage that Yeh, while not a divinity himself, was conceived as
having been naturally adept at making his way to the realms where such beings
dwell. Moreover, as in most analogousch'uan-ch'itales, the divinities are said to
have treated their visitor as an honored guest. The implication of such tales is that
such realms are easily accessible, at least to certain special people. While the reader
himself may or may not ever undergo such a remarkable journey, he learns here, at
least, that the boundary between the divine and human spheres is actually quite
permeable, and that people who manage to gain entrance to the divine realm may
expect divine approval. The importance of these facts for our appreciation of the
T'ai-p'ing kuang-chishould eventually become more clear.

The next passage in Yeh's biography provides us (again, for the first time) with
a profile of Yeh as a person-his appearance, temperament, and lifestyle:

As a young man, his body grew to [a height of] nine feet, and
there were [marks of] yin-yangand the five forces (wu-hsing) on his
brow. His temperament was affable and pure. He did not consume
meat or acrid foods. He always dwelt in solitude in dark chambers.
Sometimes he wandered among forests and marshes; sometimes he
visited clouds and springs.

Obviously, all of these cliched idealizations are intended to evoke a certain

image, rather than to provide an accurate depiction of Yeh as a historical person.
But then again, such features were actually quite typical of Chinese historical
biography, and had been so ever since the days of Ssu-ma Ch'ien.17

The subsequent passages extend the image of Yeh as a very special person,
who transcended "normal" human limitations:

After he returned from the offices of the immortals, he already
possessed the skill of putting [spirits] to work. Thereafter, he entered
the Mao-yu mountains to dwell there. His gate was near the mountain.
[There happened to be] a great boulder in the roadway, and everyone


made a circuitous detour in order to pass it. The Master cast a
talisman to raise the stone, and in an instant it had flown away. The
road was thereupon level and smooth, and everyone was amazed.
He regularly roamed to Mt. Po-ma in Kua-tstang. There, within a
stone chamber, he [once] met three divinities, all [bedecked] in
embroidered robes and jeweled headpieces. They bespoke the Master,
saying, "We have received from the Most High a mandate to impart to
you secret instructions. You were originally the Great Ultimate Purple-
Rarity Immortal Minister of the Left (t'ai-chi tzu-wei tso-hsien-ch'ing).18
Because you were not diligent in copying the registers, you were
banished to the mortal world. You must perform acts of merit, help
others, and assist the nation. When your merit is fulfilled, you should
return to your former duties. [We therefore] direct that the formulae of
the Orthodox Unity and the Triad and Pentad (cheng-i san-wu) be
imparted to you. Moreover, you should apply yourself diligently to the
task of transformation by rendering aid." Having completed their
address, they departed.
From this point, [Yeh] eradicated strange goblins and
exterminated ominous sprites wherever he went. He made it his
intention to save people.


Save for a few new lines, this entire passage is reproduced from the Huan-hsi

chih.19The most important element is the annunciation at Mt. Po-ma, in which Yeh
learns that he is a "banished immortal" (che-hsien), sent to earth to redeem himself
by acts of selfless altruism.2 0This concept which recurs throughout the biography of
Yeh later becomes a central theme of a later depiction of Yeh, in Chang Tao-t'ung's
T'ang Yeh chen jen chuan(comp. by 1240).21We shall later see the importance that
the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chibiography of Yeh places upon the ideal of "assisting the

The subsequent passage interpolates a biographical note about another
character, whose life has much in common with that of our protagonist:

[Fa-shan's] great-uncle [Yeh] Ching-neng possessed great divine
skills. During the period of [T'ang] Kao-tsung, he entered the Han-lin
[Academy], and became Rector for Sons of the Officers of State (kuo-
tzu chi-chiu). When Empress Wu administered the state, he traveled
south and died.

Yeh Ching-neng himself, though never mentioned in any of the earlier accounts

of Fa-shan's life, becomes a major figure in other texts and seems at times to have
been confused with Fa-shan.22Suffice it here to note that the contents and tone of
this passage are decidedly consistent with those of the standard Chinese historical
biography: we find the subject being commended to us for reasons that are ultimately
political, not thaumaturgieal. The same can be said for the following passage about
Fa-shan himself:

Previously, Kao-tsung summoned the Master to come to the
capital and pay respects to the high officials. [Yeh, however,] did not


go. [Rather, he] begged leave to be ordained as a Taoist priest, and
came and went within the palace.


At first glance, this pericope resembles the many sober biographies of Taoistic

T'ang figures who were summoned to court to bestow luster upon the throne.23The
report that Yeh petitioned for permission to take ordination seems plausible:
contemporaries like the poet Wu Yün and the statesman Ho Chih-chang did
likewise.24 But one is still at a loss to comprehend why T'ang Kao-tsung should have
given Yeh the run of the palace: to this point in the story, Yeh had performed no
service that might seem to justify such an indulgence. This passage is, doubtless, a
clumsy abridgment of a parallel passage in Tu Kuang-t'ing's Tao-chiao ling-yen chi.25

The following passage doesdepict Yeh as rendering yeoman service to the ruler
and his court: "When [the emperor] wished to proclaim his accomplishments at the
Central Marchmount [i.e., Mt. Sung], many among his retinue became ill. [Yeh]
healed all the illnesses with one comprehensive incantation." This passage seems odd,
because it seems to be a condensation of a more striking anecdote in Tu's Tao-chiao
ling-yen chi, subsequently incorporated into the Chiu T'ang shubiography of Yeh:

At the time, there was an imperial procession to the Eastern
Capital [657].26Fa-shan constructed a fiery altar at the Ling-k'ung
abbey, and initiated a great chiaoritual. The gentlemen and ladies in
the city all went and observed it. Suddenly, several tens of persons
rushed to throw themselves into the fire. The crowd was greatly
alarmed, and rescued them, then released them. Moreover, they were
unharmed. Fa-shan said, "These people all have a demonic illness,
which will be put to rest by my formulae (fa)." When it was
investigated, it was actually so. [Yeh] strove assiduously on their
behalf, and their illnesses were all healed.

Perhaps it should be noted that such events are hardly representative of

mainstream T'ang Taoism. But in any event, as in the case of the preceding
passage, the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi's laconic version of the episode loses much of the
impact of the original report. The editor seems less interested here in either
transmitting history or inspiring awe than in preserving some reference (however
vague) to all of Yeh's diverse activities. The overriding concern of the T'ai-p'ing
kuang-chiwas comprehensiveness, not comprehensibility (a point to which I shall
later return).

The subsequent passage is more focused, and gives crystalline expression to
the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi'semphasis upon depicting a world in universal balance:

Those in the two capitals who received the registers of the Tao
[from Yeh]--civilian and military, Han and foreign, male and female,
children and youths--numbered more than a thousand persons. All the
gold and silk that he received [was used] to restore temples and abbeys.
He sympathized ungrudgingly with orphans and the poor. After a while,
he took his leave to return to Sung-yang, rescuing innumerable persons
in the places through which he passed.

It is this key passage unprecedented in any of the earlier accounts of Yeh's life
that seems to epitomize the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi'sideal of comprehensive synthesis.
The essential goal of the passage seems neither historical nor hagiographic. Rather,
it seems to advance a fundamental human ideal: all people regardless of age, gender,
vocation, or even ethnicity -- were accepted into Yeh's religious world. Moreover, the
underlying motive in all his deeds is revealed to have been altruistic: his humanitarian
sentiments were concretized in philanthropic activities that blessed not only religious
institutions (and thus society as a whole), but also the lives of individuals in need, as
the following passages further demonstrate:

The wife of Chang Wei of Shu-ch'uan died and came to life again,
and they once more became husband and wife.27The Master realized
[what had happened], and said, "This is the affliction of 'seduction by a
corpse.' If it is not dispelled, Chang will die!" [So] the Master cast a
talisman, and [the revivified corpse] changed into a black wraith.
The daughter of Grand Secretary Yao Ch'ung was already dead.28
His affectionate remembrance was very profound. Casting a talisman,
[Yeh] raised her.
There was often a great monster in the Ch'ien-t'ang River.29At
times it would injure people and sink boats, and travelers were
distressed. [Yeh] cast a talisman into the river, caused a spirit to
behead [the creature], and eradicated the menace.
The extent of his arcane accomplishments is fully particularized
in his basic biography.

The first two stories are derived from the Huan-hsi chih. The final line,

however, seems to reflect a passage in Tu Kuang-t'ing's Hsien-chuan shih-i. In
neither text, however, could it refer to Yeh's biography in the Chiu T'ang shu, for the
latter did not yet exist in Tu's day, and it certainly does not catalogue Yeh's "arcane
accomplishments" in the way that Chiang Fang, Tu Kuang-t'ing, and the T'ai-p'ing
kuang-chiitself do.30More pertinent, perhaps, is the observation that the T'ai-p'ing
kuang-chibiography of Yeh is hardly a digest of selected exploits: on the contrary,
every account of Yeh's wondrous deeds ever recorded in any previous text is
incorporated into the T'ai-p'ing account in some form. The T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi's
perspective on Yeh and on the world-- may be unfocused, but it is never selective or
partial: it presents, without any discrimination, a comprehensive picture of a world in
perfect balance, a world in which all elements are not only significant, but somehow
profoundly interrelated.

The biography of Yeh confirms this understanding repeatedly, as in the next
passage, in which Yeh is said to have "traversed the four seas and the six directions,
the famous mountains and the crypt-heavens (tung-t'ien)." Here we see Yeh as
someone who traverses and symbolically links the entire earthly world, as well as the
heavenly domains beneath the sacred mountains.31 Taking this line in conjunction
with the earlier revelation that Yeh was really a heavenly official doing penance here
in the mortal realm, it becomes clear that the compilers of this account wish their
readers to understand Yeh as someone who somehow unites the entire cosmos--the
world above, the world below, and every corner of the world of men, from imperial


court to the most distant bourne of the empire. Subsequent passages the tone and
contents of which are otherwise quite disparate--continue to relate Yeh's travels
from one sacred mountain to another, and even to the legendary isle of P'eng-lai.


Finally, Yeh's spiritual mastery of the subcelestial world becomes so potent
that "[the Empress Wu] Tse-t'ien summoned him to come to the holy capital, and
asked him to present imperial insignia at all the famous marchmounts."32Here Yeh
is employed by the ruler as a spiritual intercessor, who links capital and throne to the
holy mountains that had traditionally marked the pales of her domain. Thus, in the
T'ai-p'ing kuang-chibiography of Yeh, we see a man who, in humble obedience to
established political authority, unifies the cosmos. He becomes the weaver of a vast
web that spans every corner of the world and unites all its inhabitants--"civilian and
military, Han and foreign, male and female, children and youth" tying them together
and linking them to heaven through the sacred pivot of the imperial throne. And the
motivation for him to weave that web originates with no earthly individual neither
Yeh himself nor even the reigning dynast. Rather, Yeh's web is woven in response to
the will of Heaven, as the following passage makes clear:

In the fourth year of ching-lung--a hsin-haiyear--on the ninth
day of the third month [1 April 711?],33the three divinities [that he had
encountered at] Kua-ts'ang again descended, and transmitted a
mandate from the Most High:
'You must assist our Jui-tsung and the Sage-Emperor of k'ai-
yuan[i.e. Hsüan-tsung]. You may not neglect your charge by
concealing your traces among the mountain peaks.'
Having concluded their speech, they departed. At the time, the
two emperors [mentioned in the proclamation] had not yet ascended the
throne, and yet [the divinities] knew in advance the temple name [of Jui-
tsung] and the reign-title [of Hsüan-tsung].
In the eighth month of the same year, there was in fact a
summons for [Yeh] to enter the capital. After he arrived, [the revolt of]
Empress Wei was pacified, and the successor, Jui-tsung, was
enthroned.34When Hsüan-tsung inherited the imperial dignity and
ascended the throne, the Master [i.e., Yeh] was in the Superior Capital,
aiding and supporting the Sage Ruler. When Hsüan-tsung succeeded to
the throne, all the fortunes and circumstances [of the day] had to be
reported in a memorial. [Once,] T'u-fan [i.e., Tibet] sent an emissary to
present a precious box, with a note saying, "Would your majesty please
open [the box] personally, without letting others know the secret?"
Everyone in the audience remained silent. Only Fa-shan said,"This is
an inauspicious box. I beseech your majesty not to open it. It is fitting
to have the [T'u-]fan ambassador open it himself." Hsüan-tsung followed
this [advice], and had the [T'u-] fan ambassador open it himself. Within
the box was a crossbow, which went off and struck the [T'u-]fan
ambassador dead. [It was] just as Fa-shan had said.
All at once, [Yeh] received [the titles of] Yin-ch'ing kuang-lu tai-fu,
President of the Court of Diplomatic Relations, Duke of Yüeh, and abbot
of the Ching-lung abbey. His grandfather, [Kuo-]chung--[who had been]
versed in numerology, brilliant in invocation [of spirits], and

accomplished among the rivers and lakes-- was granted the title of 'The
Elder Who Possesses the Tao' (Yu-tao hsien-sheng); he has his own
biography. [Fa-shan's] father, Hui-ming, was enfeoffed as Prefect of
Hsi-chou. The Master requested that his old home in Sung-yang be
made into a [Taoist] abbey, which was granted the name of [Abbey of]
Pure Harmony. The emperor ordered the preparation of a stele
inscribed with a text, in order to glorify [Yeh's] native village.

These events certainly pertain to the genre of historical biography, and are in

fact summarized in the Chiu T'ang shu. Similarly, the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi'snecrology
for Yeh is quite in line with official biographies, though rather more colorful than most:

The following year, on the twenty-seventh day of the first month
[10 March 720], there were suddenly several hundred cloudy cranes.
They came north in rows, and alighted at the old mountain. They flew
about for three days. [Moreover,] auspicious clouds in five colors
covered his residence.

Here, on the eve of Yeh's imminent translation, we encounter unusual

phenomena, as, indeed, are commonly encountered in many T'ang accounts of the
passing of extraordinary Taoists.35But within the context of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi,
these phenomena should not be casually dismissed as clichédtopoiof
Taoist hagiography. The world bodied forth in the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chiis a
comprehensive cosmos, in which no phenomena are insignificant, and no phenomena
are unrelated. The appearance of the cloudy cranes here can be read as a token of
the extension of Yeh's web of wondrous benevolence into the ranks of all living things.
Like many T'ang Taoist texts, the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chidoes not restrict its
perspective to the human sphere: after all, it devotes seventy-seven chapters to
stories of remarkable flora and fauna.36Similarly, the present passage reveals Yeh's
comprehensive synthesis as having permeated all of life, so his passing was naturally
marked by wondrous signs from the theriomorphic domain, as represented by that
most apt of sacred beings, the crane.37

Nor must we overlook the significance of the iridescent clouds that
accompanied the cranes' arrival. As Yeh's translation progressed, such signs
persisted and multiplied:

In this year--keng-shen--on the chia-shenday--the third day of
the sixth month [12 July 720]--[Yeh] announced his transformation at
the Ching-lung abbey in the Superior Capital. His disciples Chi Ch'i wu
and Yin Yin observed the descent of a Perfected Immortal, but kept it
secret and said nothing.38On the twenty-first day [30 July], [the
emperor] decreed that [Yeh] be granted [the rank of] Chin-tzu kuang-lu
tai-fu, and [the post of, Governor General of Yüeh-chou. His age was
107 sui.[At that time,] the hall in which [Yeh] dwelt [was filled with] the
intense aroma of an unusual fragrance, and the teaming strains of the
music of immortals. [Then,] there was a blue mist arising directly to the
heavens, [until] at last the sun was almost blocked out.

The Master had requested [that his body] be returned to his
native village for burial. It was ordered that his nephew [Yeh] Chung-
jung, the Superior Administrator for Jun-chou , be ordained as a Taoist
priest.39 With the supervision and assistance of the Commissioner of
the Palace Interior, [Yeh] was buried at Sung-yang. It was decreed that
[the authorities of] Ch'ü-chou, Wu-chou, and Kua-chou should aid in the
burial, providing the necessities. On the day of the departure for the
place of interment, the officials, by imperial order, wore garments of
plain white silk and sacrificed to the spirit of the road, sending [Yeh]
beyond the gates of the nation.40

At first blush, this passage might seem to confound biography with

hagiography: precise dating, everyday realities, and official acts are interlarded with
events of a highly extraordinary nature. Here, Yeh's transformation is an event that
we do not merely read of; we are led to experience it, with the fullness and immediacy
of direct sensory experience: remarkable sounds, sights, and fragrances render Yeh's
translation an event that involves the reader's life in its multi-sensory amplitude.
Furthermore, that experience is linked here to one's respect for imperial authority,
one's implicit connectedness to all persons and all other living things, one's due
awareness of administrative realities, one's familial connections, one's ties with
religious institutions, and even one's subtle relationships with celestial beings.

In sum, the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi'slife of Yeh Fa-shan is almost perfectly well-
rounded. After the obligatory opening formula, it touches upon Yeh's ancestry, birth,
childhood, adolescence, and maturity; his appearance, lifestyle, and temperament; his
relations with a series of dynasts; his performance of wonders at court, in the city,
and in the provinces; and finally, his death and burial. It is difficult to think of an
aspect of a person's life that is not touched upon here in some manner. It is also
interesting to note that the editors did not blush to exploit both sober administrative
documents and free-wheeling hagiographical accounts. Nor, in fact, did they even feel
it necessary to modify the style of either type of material in an artificial effort to
harmonize them. Nonetheless, the reader has no real occasion to stumble: while the
content of the account veers unexpectedly at times, the style remains oddly
consistent, so the resulting presentation comes across as multifaceted, not
incoherent. The magnitude of that achievement seems all the greater when one
considers that the editors seem to have been concerned to incorporate virtually
everything ever theretofore written about the life and exploits of Yeh Fa-shan.

Sung T'ai-tsung: The Man and His Vision

The reign of Sung T'ai-tsu was monopolized by the wars of unification, which
were only in fact completed in 979, during the reign of his successor. It is true that
T'ai-tsung, for his part, "continued the policies of his brother, seeking above all to
unify the country."41But the unification that T'ai-tsung sought was far more than
the military and political control that had preoccupied his predecessor. T'ai-tsung's
early training had emphasized literature, and his duties during T'ai-tsu's reign had
been to guard the palace and govern the capital while his brother was leading the fight
in the field. Hence, T'ai-tsung's primary concern was the preservation and expansion
of order and stability. Even before Wu-yüeh and the Northern Han had been

"pacified," T'ai-tsung had turned his mind toward the ideals and principles that
informed his concept of his role as the ruler of a newly unified land. His aim, like his
brother's, may have been the restoration of a state characterized by unity and order.
But to T'ai-tsung, trained as he was in classical ideals, the unity and order of a nation
at peace seem to have been interpreted as resulting primarily from the presence of a
sagely ruler, a ruler who unified Heaven and Earth. Such ideals were, of course,
ultimately classical, but they had been constantly revitalized and reemphasized,
especially during the glory days of Han and T'ang times. Rulers of those ages, and
their image-makers, continually worked to present the current regime assagely-- as
conforming to, and promoting, the grand and noble patterns that were inherent in
Heaven and Earth, and that had been embodied by sagely rulers of earlier days. As
Peter K. Bol has recently argued,

Heaven and antiquity or 'heaven and man,' the natural realm in
which heaven-and earth brought things into being and the historical
realm in which humans created institutions, came to stand for the idea
of a civilization that combined the two, a civilization based on both the
models of the ancients and the manifest patterns of the natural order.42

There is evidence to suggest that Sung T'ai-tsung was anxious to embrace and

re-express that vision, reconstituting civilization as he reconstituted the state. It is
certainly true, as Bol observes, that when T'ai-tsung initiated such anthologies as the
T'ai-p'ing yü-lan and the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi, he "was investing in the symbolic value
of the compilation projects."43It is also true that "[the] great court compilation
projects . . . showed that the Sung had inherited the responsibility for the cultural
tradition and had succeeded to the Han and T'ang...."44But I would argue that the
projects reflected a much more specific concept on the part of Sung T'ai-tsung, a
specific vision of what his reign represented. That is, the creation of such works
reflected an attempt to re-create in the emerging dynasty the utopian condition
known classically as t'ai-p'ing, "Grand Tranquillity."This term denoted the ideal
state of the world that had existed in high antiquity and that could again be brought
about by a sage ruler.... [It] was not limited to human society but denoted a cosmic
harmony.... It was a state in which all the concentric spheres of the organic Chinese
universe, which contained nature as well as society, were perfectly attuned,
communicated with each other in a balanced rhythm of timeliness, and brought
maximum fulfillment to each living being.45

T'ai-tsung's first nien-hao, t'ai-p'ing hsing-kuo, clearly demonstrates that he
saw his restoration of the nation in terms of that utopian vision. And it is indicative
that one of his first acts as emperor even before he completed the political
reunification--was to order the compilation of great anthologies "to spread civilization
throughout the empire," two of which he graced with his great utopian nien-hao.46

Within theT'ai-p'ing kuang-chi, we are able to see the contours of T'ai-tsung's
vision of his reign, his concept of what the world is like when it is well and truly in
order. As Bol notes, "the Sung projects aimed at being comprehensive, providing all
the cultural tradition had to offer on everything important to know about heaven-and-
earth and, especially, human affairs."47 But if we may judge from the title, format,
and contents of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi, T'ai-tsung envisioned his new empire as a

restoration of universal harmony, a harmony in which all elements of life and all
dimensions of being are meaningfully and inextricably interrelated. Perhaps T'ai-
tsung fancied himself as playing the role of the T'ang dynasts in the days of Yeh Fa-
shan sagely men and women who reigned over a holistically balanced universe. And if
the materials in the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chitruly do reflect the breadth and depth of T'ai-
tsung's own vision, he would seem to have been one of the great visionaries of Chinese
imperial history.

When, for instance, the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chipresents the life of someone like
Yeh Fa-shan, it endeavors to do much more than report the events that occurred in
one individual's life. Rather, it works to remind the reader of the interconnectedness
of all the facets of reality. It reminds us above all of the principle that the ultimate
context of our lives transcends all mundane concerns, and all of our ordinary concepts
of human limitation. After all, the opening sections of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chilimn
the lives of the immortals men and women whose lives, like Yeh's, transcend the
boundaries that we usually take for granted. In comparison to the lives of those
transcendent beings, people who take such "boundaries" for granted actually live in
an artificially circumscribed world, like Chuang-tzu's proverbial frog in the well. Like
Chuang-tzu, the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chisuggests that such shortsighted people
essentially misconstrue the basic nature of reality: they impoverish themselves and
others by persisting in narrow and restrictive understandings of reality, which
actually falsify the true reality of the world by ignoring and even obscuring the
interrelatedness of things.

In a sense, then, the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chican be interpreted as an attempt to
rectify the historiographic and cultural imbalance that had begun during the Han
dynasty. In Han times, men of accomplishment began to be differentiated: those who
specialized in scholarship and administration (the ju) came to be distinguished from
and even in some ways opposed to--those who specialized in seeing and working with
the subtler realities of life (the fang-shih, to whom the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chidevotes
chüan76-80). But through its contents, style, and organization, the T'ai-p'ing kuang-
chisuggests that such an artificial dichotomy actually subverted and nearly
destroyed a healthy and proper awareness of the underlying unity of life. It is true
that, from Han times on, some officials continued to submit evidence of wondrous
events, and argued for their sociopolitical importance, entreating rulers to heed the
necessity for reconciling government and society with the deeper forces at work in the
universe. Indeed, the Taoist religion evolved from just such an effort.48 I propose that
it is by no coincidence that the title of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chicorresponds to the
generic name employed for the materials collected in that effort, the T'ai-p'ing ching.49
The T'ai-p'ing kuang-chican be interpreted not merely as a counterpart to the T'ai-
p'ing yü-lan, but actually as an attempt by Sung T'ai-tsung to revivify the holistic
vision embodied in the ancient T'ai-p'ing ching, and to reunite it with the ju-ified
historiographic tradition by shattering the restricted visions which had long since
governed the latter. In a sense, the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi(and indeed, the T'ai-p'ing yü-
lan) can be seen as the emperor's attempt to return to what he perceived as the
cultural unity of the early Han:in that age, the historians were "Taoistic" men like
Ssu-ma T'an, and the juwere men like Tung Chung-shu, who, while serving as chief
minister and establishing an imperial academy with a Confucian curriculum, also

worked to comprehend the subtle interworkings of heaven, earth, and man by
analyzing the subtle interplay of yin, yang, and the five forces.

In another sense, the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chiis a quintessentially Taoist work.
Like Chuang-tzu, and, indeed, most of the Taoist tradition, the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi
endeavors to expand our perceptions of reality, to subvert false and harmful
"common sense," to open our eyes to wonders and marvels. It makes that effort not
for the sake of titillation or amusement, but, like Chuang-tzu and Lao-tzu alike, in
order to help readers regain the rich and unified sense of life that we all experience as
children, before we "learn" that human life is relentlessly colorless, disjointed, and

The T'ai-p'ing kuang-chiis thus not merely a collection of fiction or the work of
eccentric personalities who were fixated upon the bizarre. Nor, in fact, were its
contents considered "trivial" or "conducive to unprincipled attitudes." Rather, the
compilers of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chiwere driven by the holistic vision of Sung T'ai-
tsung, a ruler who sought to rekindle an ancient appreciation for the richness of the
world of which we are a part, and to be seen as the Sage Ruler in whom that wondrous
cosmos finds its central leadership.


1 J. R. Hightower, Topics in Chinese Literature(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard
University Press, 1956), 75.

20ne might note that in Europe, as well as in China, terms employed for
"history" in the strict sense (historia, histoire, Geschichte) were traditionally used for
what we would now tend to consider stories with little claim to "historicity."

3Ssu-yü Teng and Knight Biggerstaff, An Annotated Bibliography of Selected
Chinese Reference Works, 3rd ed. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press,
1971), 125.

4Edward H. Schafer, "T'ai-p'ing kung-chi," in A Sung Bibliography, ed. Yves
Hervouet (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1978), 341-42.

5William H. Nienhauser, Jr., "T'ai-p'ing kung-chi," in The Indiana Companion
to Traditional Chinese Literature, ed. William H. Nienhauser, Jr. et al. (Bloomington:
Indiana University Press, 1986), 744-45.

6John Winthrop Haeger, "The Significance of Confusion: The Origins of the T'ai-
p'ing Yü-lan," Journal of the American Oriental Society88 (1968): 401-410, at 401.

7Wm. T. DeBary, East Asian Civilization: A Dialogue in Five Stages
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988), 46.

8Edward H. Schafer, "The Table of Contents of theT'ai-p'ing kung-chi,"
Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews2 (1980): 258-63.

9Schafer, "Table of Contents," 258.

10"Tales of Thaumaturgy: T'ang Accounts of the Wonder-Worker Yeh Fashan,"

Monumenta Serica40 (1992): 47-86.

11An editor's note informs us that the materials in the T'ai-p'ing kung-chi's life
of Yeh Fa-shan were extracted from the Chi-i chiand the Hsien-chuan shih-i.The
Chi-i chiwas a T'ang text by Hsüeh Yung-jo. See E. D. Edwards, Chinese Prose
Literature of the T'ang Period (London:Probsthain, 1937-38), 2:229-37. Though that
work is preserved in the T'ang-tai ts'ung-shu, materials on Yeh are not present in the
existing text.

12The biography of Yeh appears in the T'ai-p'ing kung-chi(Peking: Jen-min
wen-hsüeh ch'u-pan-she, 1959), 216.170-74.

13See Kirkland, "Tales of Thaumaturgy," 69-71.

14See Russell Kirkland, "The Roots of Altmism in the Taoist Tradition," Journal

of the American Academy of Religion54 (1986): 59-77; and "Huang Ling-wei: A Taoist
Priestess in T'ang China," Journal of Chinese Religions19 (1991): 47-73.

15Ssu-ma Ch'ien reports that the progenitor of the Shang dynasty was
conceived when his mother swallowed the falling egg of a black bird. See Shih chi
(Peking: Chung-hua shu-chü, 1959), 5.173. Many centuries later, in 1635, a
representative of the Hurka (a Tungusic people of Manchuria) reported a very similar
ancestral tradition to the Ch'ing court; see Matsumura Jun, "The Ancestral Legend of
the Manchu Imperial House," in The Proceedings of the Fourth East Asian Altaistic
Conference (Tainan: National Ch'eng-kung University, Dept. of History, 1973), 192-

16For the Blue Lad and his domain, see Edward H. Schafer, Mirages on the Sea
of Time: The Taoist Poetry of Ts'ao T'ang(Berkeley: University of California Press,
1985), 108-21; and Paul W. Kroll, "In the Halls of the Azure Lad," Journal of the
American Oriental Society105 (1985): 75-94.

17See, for instance, Denis Twitchett, "Chinese Biographical Writing," in
Historians of China and Japan, eds. W. G. Beasley and E. G. Pulleyblank (London:
Oxford University Press, 1961), 95-114; Herbert Franke, "Some Remarks on the
Interpretation of Chinese Dynastic Histories," Oriens3 (1950):113-22; and P.
Ryckmans, "A New Interpretation of the Term Lieh-chuanas used in the Shih-chi,"
Papers on Far Eastern History5 (1972): 135-47.

18The term "immortal minister" was a title employed by Ling-pao writers in
their depiction of the celestial hierarchy. See, for instance, the text translated in
Stephen R. Bokenkamp, "Sources of the Ling-pao Scriptures," in Tantric and Taoist
Studies in Honour of R. A. Stein, ed. Michel Strickmann (Brussels: Institut des


Hautes Études Chinoises, 1983), 2:439. I suspect that both this term and that
of"immortal prince" were invented by the Ling-pao founder Ko Ch'ao-fu in order to
make the byname of his ancestor Ko Hsüan (i.e., Ko hsien-kung) appear to have been
a glorious rank bestowed upon him by the Most High.


19See Kirkland, "Tales of Thaumaturgy," 60-62.

20For the concept of "banished immortals," see Kirkland, "Huang Ling wei," 68,

and Miyakawa Hisayuki, "Takusen ko," Toho shu kyo33-34 (1969): 1-15.

21For analyses of the biography of Yeh in Chang's work (HY 778), see Judith M.
Boltz, A Survey of Taoist Literature: Tenth to Seventeenth Centuries(Berkeley:
University of California Institute of East Asian Studies, 1987), 96-97; and Kirkland,
"Taoists of the High T'ang: An Inquiry into the Perceived Significance of Eminent
Taoists in Medieval Chinese Society" (Ph.D. diss., Indiana University, 1986), 135-39,
389-402. Chang's biography of Yeh is translated in Kirkland, "Taoists of the High
T'ang," 417-30.

22See Alfredo Cadonna, Il Taoista di sua Maesta(Venezia: Cafoscarina, 1984).

23These matters are the subject of my study, Taoist and Dynast: Political

Dimensions of Taoism in T'ang China(in progress).

24See Kirkland, "From Imperial Tutor to Taoist Priest: Ho Chih-chang at the
T'ang Court," Journal of`Asian History23 (1989): 101-33; and the discussion of Wu in
Taoist and Dynast.

25"During the hsien-chingperiod [656-661], Kao-tsung summoned [Yeh] into the
Taoist precincts within the palace (nei tao-ch'ang). [The emperor's] solicitude and
deference were extraordinary."

26For more on this passage and the events described, see Kirkland, "Tales of
Thawnaturgy," 70-72.

27I have located no information as to the identity of Chang Wei.

28For the career of Yao Ch'ung (651-721), see Denis C. Twitchett, ed.,

Cambridge History of China, III, Sui and T'ang China(Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1979), 337-39, 345-48.

29This anecdote apparently alludes to the unruly draconic character in the
famous ch'uan-ch'itale, "The Dragon-King's Daughter," by Li Ch'ao-wei (fl. 759); see
Edwards, Chinese Prose Literature, 2:86-94.

30See "Tales of Thaumaturgy," 73-74.

31Medieval Taoist writings abound with references to "crypt-heavens" (tung-

t'ien) located beneath virtually all the sacred mountains. Schafer describes them as
"microcosms, accessible normally only through the tortuous and terrifying extensions


of limestone grottoes . . ."; Edward H. Schafer, Mao Shan in T'ang Times, 2nd ed.
(Boulder, Colorado: Society for the Study of Chinese Religions, 1989), 3. See further
Édouard Chavannes, "Le Jet des Dragons," Mémoires concernant l'Asia Orientale
(Paris: L'Academie des inscriptions et belles-lettres, 1919), 3:53-220.


32These ritual activities, common in T'ang times, are the subjects of
Chavannes, "Le Jet des Dragons."

33The reign-title ching-lungwas retained for the first six months of 710/11, but
that was a keng-hsüyear. Hsin-haioccurred the following year, which was officially
the second year of theching-yünreign.

34From 705-7lO, Empress Wei (Chung-tsung's wife) had dominated the court.

35See, for instance, the accounts of the transformation of Huang Ling-wei, in

Kirkland, "Huang Ling-wei," and those pertaining to Li Han-kuang in Kirkland, "The
Last Taoist Grand Master at the T'ang Imperial Court: Li Han-kuang and T'ang
Hsüan-tsung," T'ang Studies4 (1986): 43-67.

360n T'ang expressions of Taoist solicitude toward non-human life, see Kirkland,
"The Roots of Altruism," 72-74.

370n the crane, and its symbolic associations in Chinese culture, see the
illuminating study by Edward Schafer, "The Cranes of Mao-shan," in Strickmann, ed.,
Tantric and Taoist Studies, 2:372-93.

38I have located no further information pertainrog to Chi Ch'i-wu. Yin Yin, son
of a noted academician, became Imperial Remonstrant-Counselor and Chi-hsien
academician in 737. See Hsin T'ang shu(Peking: Chung-hua shu-chü, 1975),
200.5703. See further Charles David Benn, Taoism as Ideology in the Reign of
Emperor Hsüan-tsung(712-755) (Ph.D. dies., University of Michigan, 1977), 116- 18.

39This person is otherwise unknown.

40From this pornt, the text of the T'ai-p'ing kung-chibiography reverts to

episodes reproduced from Tu Kuang-t'ing's Hsien-chuan shih-i.

41Sung Ch'ang-lien and Miyazaki Ichisada, "T'ai-tsung," in Sung Biographies,
ed. Herbert Franke (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1976), 2:992.

42Peter K. Bol, "This Culture of Ours": Intellectual Transitions in Fang and
Sung China(Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992), 1-2.

4 3Bol,"This Culture of Ours,"153.

44Bol, "This Culture of Ours,"152.

45Anna Seidel, "T'ai-p'ing," in The Encyclopedia of Religion(New York:

Macmillan, 1987), 14:250. For a further discussion of these ideas, see Timoteus


Pokora, "On the Origin of the Notions T'ai-p'ing and Ta-t'ung in Chinese Philosophy,"
Archiv Orientalni29 (1961): 448-54.


46The quotation is from the Sung hui-yao, ch'ung-ju, 5.1, cited by Haeger, "The
Significance of Confusion," 401.

47Bol, "This Culture of Ours,"152-53.

48See, for instance, Kirkland, "The Roots of Altruism," 60-64.

490n the T'ai-p'ing ching, see Barbara Kandel, Taiping jing(Hamburg:

Gesellschaft für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens, 1979); and Max Kaltenmark,
"The Ideology of the T'ai-p'ing ching," in Facets of Taoism:Essays in Chinese Religion,
eds. Holmes Welch and Anna Seidel (New Haven and London: Yale University Press,
1979). The best edition of the T'ai-p'ing chingis Wang Ming , T'ai-p'ing ching ho-
chiao(Peking:Chung-hua shu-chü, 1979).