The Taiyi shengshui 太一生水 Cosmogony and Its Role in Early Chinese Thought

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The Taiyi shengshui 太一生水 is one of only a few texts in the early Chinese corpus to present a detailed cosmogony, one that traces the beginnings of the cosmos back to a variety of spiritual and natural forces, such as the divinity Taiyi and water. My primary question in this chapter is not to ask what that cosmogony was, but why such a cosmogonic text might have been written in the first place. Why in particular did authors in Warring States China deem it necessary to go all the way back to the very beginning of everything to try to situate their thought and recommendations for human action? By comparing the Taiyi shengshui to various other cosmogonies in the textual tradition, we arrive at interesting insights into both the overarching moral agenda of the text as well as its specific contributions to cosmological thinking in early China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDao Companions to Chinese Philosophy
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameDao Companions to Chinese Philosophy
ISSN (Print)2211-0275
ISSN (Electronic)2542-8780

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • History


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