"The Xiaodao lun" ("Laughing at the Dao") is an important document
of the debates among Buddhists and Daoists in sixth-century China.
These debates contributed to the process of cultural adaptation of
Buddhism, which had to accommodate itself to the worldview of the
Confucian elite, the Chinese sense of ethnic superiority, and
China's indigenous religion of Daoism. Written by the Daoist
renegade Zhen Luan in the year 570, the text aims to expose
inconsistencies in Daoist doctrine, cosmology, ritual, and
religious practice. In a complete and fully annotated translation
of the Xiaodao lun based closely on the work of Japanese scholars,
Livia Kohn places the work within the context of the debates and
exposes the political schemes behind the apparently religious
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