Taming the Wild Horse

An Annotated Translation of the Daoist Horse Training Pictures

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Louis Komjathy
  • New York, NY: 
    Columbia University Press
    , March
     2017.
     264 pages.
     $65.00.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9780231181266.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.

Description

In thirteenth-century China, a Daoist monk named Gao Daokuan (1195-1277) composed a series of illustrated poems and accompanying verse commentary known as the Daoist Horse Taming Pictures. In this annotated translation and study, Louis Komjathy argues that this virtually unknown text offers unique insights into the transformative effects of Daoist contemplative practice. Taming the Wild Horse examines Gao's illustrated poems in terms of monasticism and contemplative practice, as well as the multivalent meaning of the "horse" in traditional Chinese culture and the consequences for both human and nonhuman animals.

The Horse Taming Pictures consist of twelve poems, ten of which are equine-centered. They develop the metaphor of a "wild" or "untamed" horse to represent ordinary consciousness, which must be reined in and harnessed through sustained self-cultivation, especially meditation. The compositions describe stages on the Daoist contemplative path. Komjathy provides opportunities for reflection on contemplative practice in general and Daoist meditation in particular, which may lead to a transpersonal way of perceiving and being.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Louis Komjathy is associate professor of Chinese religions and comparative religious studies at the University of San Diego. He is the author of Cultivating Perfection: Mysticism and Self-transformation in Early Quanzhen Daoism (2007), The Way of Complete Perfection: A Quanzhen Daoist Anthology (2013), The Daoist Tradition: An Introduction (2013), and Daoism: A Guide for the Perplexed (2014), and the editor of Contemplative Literature: A Comparative Sourcebook on Meditation and Contemplative Prayer (2015).

Add New Comment

Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.

Log in to post comments