ABOUT THIS BOOK
Over the past few decades, Daoism has become a recognizable part of Western “alternative” spiritual life. Now, that Westernized version of Daoism is going full circle, traveling back from America and Europe to influence Daoism in China.
Dream Trippers draws on more than a decade of ethnographic work with Daoist monks and Western seekers to trace the spread of Westernized Daoism in contemporary China. David A. Palmer and Elijah Siegler take us into the daily life of the monastic community atop the mountain of Huashan and explore its relationship to the socialist state. They follow the international circuit of Daoist "energy tourism," which connects a number of sites throughout China, and examine the controversies around Western scholars who become practitioners and promoters of Daoism. Throughout are lively portrayals of encounters among the book’s various characters—Chinese hermits and monks, Western seekers, and scholar-practitioners—as they interact with each other in obtuse, often humorous, and yet sometimes enlightening and transformative ways. Dream Trippers untangles the anxieties, confusions, and ambiguities that arise as Chinese and American practitioners balance cosmological attunement and radical spiritual individualism in their search for authenticity in a globalized world.