A History of Religious Ideas: From Gautama Buddha to the by Mircea Eliade

By Mircea Eliade

In quantity 2 of this enormous paintings, Mircea Eliade keeps his magisterial growth throughout the background of spiritual rules. The religions of historical China, Brahmanism and Hinduism, Buddha and his contemporaries, Roman faith, Celtic and German religions, Judaism, the Hellenistic interval, the Iranian syntheses, and the start of Christianity—all are encompassed during this quantity.

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See R. A. " 18 THE RELIGIONS OF ANCIENT CHINA of culture. 41 The importance of the Yang-Yin pair of contraries is due to the fact that it not only served as the universal model of classification but, in addition, was developed into a cosmology that, on the one hand, systematized and validated numerous corporal techniques and spiritual disciplines and, on the other hand, inspired increasingly strict and systematic philosophical speculation. As we have seen (§ 127), the symbolism of polarity and alternation is abundantly illustrated in the iconography of the Shangperiod bronzes.

Granet, La pensee chinoise. pp. 117 ff. , p. 135). Hence the universe reveals itself to be constituted by a series of antithetical forms that alternate cyclically. There is perfect symmetry between the cosmic rhythms, governed by the interaction of the yang and the yin, and the complementary alternation of the activities of the two sexes. And since a feminine nature has been attributed to everything that is yin and a masculine nature to everything that is yang, the theme of the hierogamy reveals a cosmic as well as a religious dimension.

See Kaltenmark, Le Liesien Tchouan, pp. 271, 146-47, etc. 104. Rolf Stein, "Jardins en miniature d'Extrame-Orient," p. 54. See also Granet, La pensee chinoise, pp. 357 ff. The Taoists and aLchemy 41 The K'un-liin mountain has two stories: an upright cone surmounted by an inverted cone. lOS In other words, it has the shape ofa gourd,just like the alchemist's furnace and the secret region of the brain. As for the "chaotic" state realized by meditation and indispensable for the alchemical operation, it is comparable to the materia prima, the massa.

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