chapter  6
Filial piety and “authentic parents” in religious Daoism
ByMUGITANI KUNIO
Pages 12

The concept of xiao (filial piety) in Chinese culture has a long history. The concern with procreation and ancestor worship reaches deep into the ancient Chinese past. The family emerges as the organizing principle of society, and the resultant ethics of filial piety, especially in its Confucian form, becomes a defining feature of Chinese identity. While the Confucian ethical worldview permeates every level of Chinese life and culture, critical challenges do arise occasionally. The first major challenge occurred with the introduction of Buddhism into China. During the period of the Six Dynasties (third to sixth centuries), the Buddhist call to join the sangha and to lead a celibate life became a serious point of contention. Another critical current surfaced in religious Daoism, which from the third century attempted to formulate a doctrinal response to the dominant Confucian xiao worldview. In this chapter, I focus on this development in early medieval religious Daoist history.1