Dao and Time: Personal Cultivation and Spiritual Transformation

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13th International Conference on Daoist Studies


Los Angeles


20-23 June, 2019


Time is a major factor, if not the major factor, of human life. It is key to everything we do, in one way or another ruling our lives, determining our choices, and setting our goals. From a broader perspective, it appears in at least ten distinct dimensions, including most importantly cosmic time as apparent in the evolution of the universe since the Big Bang and described in astrophysics; biological time manifest in the evolution of humanity and the transformations living beings undergo in the course of life; and human time, obvious in life cycles (from womb to tomb). IT is relevant for education, professional development, medicine, and spiritual transformation.

        Measured by the movement of the stars and planets as well as various mechanical devices such as water and pendulum clocks and, more recently, quartz and atomic time keepers, time also plays a key role in history, described either in cycles of recurring patterns such as dynasties or in a linear mode, focusing on progress and an ultimate goal of human development. It is a key factor in philosophy with its discussions of ultimate truth and the relationship of space and existence to time, such as, for example, Heidegger’s major work Being and Time, and plays a key role in psychology, not only but strongly in terms of Jungian synchronicity. In addition, spiritual seekers discuss time in terms of eternity versus infinity and set course for the attainment of immortality; meditation practitioners learn to slow time down or ecstatically travel into faster, otherworldly realms; while diviners and fortune-tellers calculate a person’s fate and determine his best course of actions on the basis of various indicators that suggest the most auspicious constellations of temporal circumstances.

      This year’s conference, in close proximity to the 17th Triannial Conference of the International Society for the Study of Time (at Loyola Marymount University, June 23-29, 2019; see www.studyoftime.org), will focus on Daoist conceptions and applications of time in all different dimensions, but with a particular focus on personal cultivation and spiritual transformation.

Keynote speakers:

Paul Harris, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles

Lisa Raphals, University of California, Riverside

Herve Louchouarn, Instituto Daoista para la Salud, Guernavaca, Mexico



Chairs: Brady Chin, Yo San University; Robin Wang, Loyola Marymount University; Livia Kohn, Boston University; Sharon Small, East China Normal University

Sponsors: Yo San University for Traditional Chinese Medicine, Daesoon Academy of Sciences, Three Pines Press

Standing Committee:

USA: Liu Xun, Robin R. Wang; China: Chen Xia, Liou Tong-Miin, Thomas Michael; France: Adeline Herrou, Georges Favraud, Karine Martin; Germany: Friederike Assandri, Elisabeth Friedrichs



After arrival in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 20, the conference begins at 8 am on Friday with registration, followed at 9 am by an opening ceremony and keynote speeches. It ends at 1:30 pm on Sunday, June 23, after a closing session. There are nine 1¾-hour sessions plus a banquet on Friday evening. Languages are English and Chinese.

Panels: Three 25-minute or four 20-minute individual paper presentations on the panel theme, followed by the discussant’s 5-minute comments and 20 minutes of open discussion (1¾ hours). In all cases, an effort will be made to join Chinese and Western representatives. PPTs should be bilingual. Some translation will be provided.

Workshops: Emphasis on the experience of Daoist cultivation, martial arts (taiji quan), and forms of Daoist medicine (1¾ hours). The room will not have tables, chairs, or PPT equipment. It is specifically for practical experience.

Artistic: Several 50-minute sessions will be dedicated to musical performnances, video documentaries, exhibitions, and discussions of fine art.

Note: The triannial conference of the International Society for the Study of Time commences at 4 pm that same Sunday at Loyola Marymount University, a few miles away (http://www.studyoftime.org).


General: send information (name, email, institution, paper title [or "no paper"]) to <daoconf@gmail.com>

Alternatively, enter your informaton into this Google Docs link:  


In China: send information (name, email, institution, paper title [or "no paper"]) to WeChat, ID: ssysmall12

Paper/workshop/artistic proposals: send abstract in no more than 200 English words or 300 Chinese characters to <daoconf@gmail.com>



US $85, payable via PayPal to <daoconf@gmail.com>

RMB 580, contact Sharon Small for sending it inside China (ssysmall12@gmail.com)



Abstracts due:    February 15, 2019

Program on website:  April 1, 2019

NOTE: Presentation slots are few, and papers will be reviewed and selected. Those focusing on time-related issues will be given preference. You will receive notification no later than the end of February. Acceptance comes with a formal invitation letter for funding and visa applications.



A limited number of work-study scholarships are available to scholars within 3 years of completing the Ph.D. (before or after). They cover approximately half of housing and airfare in addition to a waiver of conference fees and require attendance of the entire conference as well as a few hours of work to help with registration and other organizational tasks.

      Send your application to <daoconf@gmail.com>. Include name, institution, academic supervisor, title of dissertation, date of completion, as well as paper title and abstract, preferably on a topic related to time. Funds run out, so apply early. The final, last, and ultimate deadline is February 1, 2019.



There will be a limited number of tables available to distribute flyers or pamphlets and sell books, CDs, and other materials. This service is $25 per 8-foot table plus 2 chairs, payable via PayPal at the time of registration. Contact <daoconf@gmail.com>.