Neither the Heavenly Masters nor, obviously, the Great Purity texts are mentioned. The Pao-p'u-tzu does, however, refer to a number of practices that are very similar to those of the later Mao-shan tradition; and it is this fact that suggests that Mao-shan inherited part of the southern Taoist tradition. One knows, on the other hand, that certain members of the Mao-shan tradition had links with the Heavenly Masters school. Thus, Lady Wei Hua-ts'un was said to have been a "libationer," which was a hierarchical title used by the Heavenly Masters.
Moreover, Buddhist influences can be found in the Great Purity texts.
Given these factors, the Mao-shan movement would appear to be a new synthesis of both northern and southern tendencies. It is a synthesis which presents itself as a new and superior truth since it reveals texts that gave access to the heaven of Great Purity Shang-ch'ing , a realm said to be superior to the heaven of Grand Purity T'ai-ch'ing mentioned in the Pao-p'u-tzu. It established the reign of the "Three Heavens" and put an end to the dispensation of the "six heavens" which only ruled over the hells.
The practices of the Mao-shan tradition are, furthermore, characterized by a distinct "interiorization. Magical techniques were equally sublimated so that, for example, the supernatural powers of the saint, as described in the Pao-p'u-tzu, took on a totally spiritual dimension. In this way, religious terminology was invested with a new significance.
Ritual, which was so important in the Heavenly Masters school, became secondary to the benefits of solitary meditation practiced either in a specially consecrated room or on a mountain. In the fifth century, this new school was propagated within the ranks of the high officials.
At his death in , he bequeathed part of the texts to the Ma family and part to the Tu family, both of whom were priestly families of the Heavenly Masters school. In this way, the new doctrine spread geographically but, for the first time, its textual corpus was divided. At first, certain persons fraudulently acquired copied texts which, according to the school's teaching, were irregularly transmitted and of doubtful efficacy.
To accomplish this end, Wang reworked the texts to make them more accessible. Being quite gifted in the literary arts, he also imaginatively fabricated new texts. In fact, he succeeded so well that later T'ao Hung-ching, wanting to distinguish between the authentic and spurious texts, was only able to judge the merits of a text by seeing the manuscript version and checking its calligraphy. Wang, moreover, enhanced the verisimilitude of his apocryphal works by giving them rifles of Great Purity texts that had been announced in revelation but had "not yet descended to earth.
The apocryphal works were enormously successful and disciples flourished. Wang Ling-ch'i took this opportunity to increase the amount of silk and gold contributions traditionally demanded by a master at the time of a text's transmission. These developments had the result of elevating the social level to which the new doctrine was addressing itself.
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Famous Taoists became interested in these new texts so that, for example, Lu Hsiu-ching started to search for manuscripts and had the Mao-shan scriptures transmitted to him. He combined these texts both with the scriptures of the Ling-pao movement and with the San-huang ching texts connected with Ko Hung's lineage. The first and major division of the canon included the Great Purity texts which placed these writings in the highest rank of the Taoist sacred scriptures. Following these developments, Ku Huan, the renowned author of the I-hsia lun and of a commentary on the Tao-te ching, embarked upon a critical study of the authenticity of the Great Purity texts.
These fifth century events ushered in a new age in the Great Purity movement. Up until this time, individuals possessing transmitted texts were unknown within official history. But from this period on, great Taoist figures took an interest in the Great Purity teaching, emperors ordered copies of the writings for themselves, and monasteries were built for the movement's adepts.
The spiritual influence of the movement was pervasive and extended into the realms of government. T'ao Hung-ching, who was a friend of the Buddhist emperor Wu of the Liang dynasty and held high court positions, was a great figure equally accomplished in classical literature, calligraphy, and pharmacology. Favored with imperial patronage, T'ao was influential enough to have his monastery on Mao-shan protected during the proscription against Taoism in He not only took up Ku Huan's work concerned with the collection and arrangement of the Great Purity texts, but also, following the lead of Lu Hsiu-ching, sought to construct a synthetic classification of the various Taoist movements of his generation.
And he placed the Maoshan movement in the highest rank of traditions. T'ao was succeeded by other great figures among the faithful or patriarchs of the movement. He ended his life by refusing any kind of official position so that he could devote himself to the teachings of his adepts on Mao-shan. A later figure was Ssu-ma Ch'eng-chen , who was a descendant of the imperial family of Chin. He was periodically summoned to court by T'ang emperors who sought his instruction and who had monasteries constructed for him. One of the greatest Chinese poets, Li Po, was both a friend and his disciple. Ssu-ma was succeeded by Li T'an-kuang , who turned once again to the search for the original Maoshan texts so that the alterations and gaps that had entered into the writings could be corrected.
Under imperial orders, he compiled and recopied the scriptures, assisted in this task as it is said by spirits that filled his study. The prestige of these texts was so great that anthologies of the period refer almost exclusively to them. At that time, the movement's major text, the Ta-tung chen-ching, had acquired such a high reputation that each of the other major Taoist schools had its own version. Wei Ch'i, one of the commentators on this text, wrote in that each of the "three mountains," or Taoist centers, possessed a copy.
Despite these developments, the great liturgy of the L'ing-pao school, the Tu-jen ching ta-fa, betrays much borrowing from the Mao-shan textsso that invocations, charms, and sometimes even complete sections on meditation techniques were incorporated. Finally, let us note that an important ritual still practiced today in Taiwan perpetuates the principal themes of the Great Purity texts. Expeditions to the isles of the Immortals. Ch'u-tz'u Taoist and shamanistic tendencies.
Taoism, magic arts, and medicine are mixed up. Chao Weng, necromancer, at the court. Luan Ta: magician enfeoffed as a marquis. The fang-shih, specialists in esoteric sciences, in the imperial workshops. Liu Hsiang : failed alchemical experience. Official mention of a first T'ai-p'ing ching. Disapproved by the literati and heavily mixed up with magic, Taoism spreads among Wang the people and in the emperor's household. Spread of Lao-tzu's teaching reinterpreted Mang's by the lower officials and the village notables.
Later Han A well-developed Taoist mythology already exists arts, hagiographies. Possible date of the Ts'an-t'ung-ch'i, the oldest surviving treatise on alchemy. Dates given by legend for the Taoist saint, Mao Ying, who gave his name to Mao-shah and to the school. First mention of a Buddhist community northern Kiangsu. Beginnings of Buddhism in China: translator An-shih-kao in the capital. Taoism is integrated into official cult divinization of Lao-tzu. Taoist revolt which causes the fall of the dynasty.
Yellow turbans in the Fall of the Han. Constitution of a Taoist state in Szechuan. Szechuan; capital Ch'eng-tu. Wang Pi At the latest: Cheng-i fa-wen, important text of the Heavenly Masters school. Western Chin: China reunited; capital in Lo-yang. Fall of Lo-yang Escape to magic. Mention of many works lost today.
Dynasties South and Sixteen barbarian kingdoms North. Introduction of Mahayana texts to China: Che-ch'ien in Nanking, ; texts interpreted with Taoist terminology. Mao Shan School Birth of Wei Hua-ts'un, founder of the school. Revelations to Lady Wei. From Establishment of Buddhism in China. Dharmaraksa in Chang-an: greatest translator before Kumarajiva.
Fo-t'u-teng c. Birth of Yang Hsi, second patriarch of the school. Death of Lady Wei. Buddha as the reapparition of Lao-tzu. Emperor of Northern Wei encourages alchemical research. In the North, Taoism becomes the state religion: Kou Ch'ien-chih, who received a revelation in , reforms the Heavenly Masters school and becomes an imperial counselor; dies in Favor of Taoists decreases gradually. Li Hung's uprising of Taoist inspiration. Ku Huan's pamphlet against the Buddhists. Lu Hsiu-ching, by imperial order, establishes a first catalogue of Taoist works and attempts a first synthesis of the various currents the three tung.
Expansion of Buddhism in the South and Central China, under patronage of the court and the aristocracy.
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Active center in the Shah mountains; Fa-shen ; Chih-tun , Chuang-tzu specialist. Buddhist center in the North. From on. Buddhist center in Hsiang-yang Tao-an, , in After Center on Mt. Death of Yang Hsi. Copy of the biography of Tzuyang chen-jen dated manuscript which mentions sectarian texts and permits the dating of these texts. The writings of the school Purely Buddhist reformulation of the texts.
Kumarajiva arrives in Chang-an. The doctrine is clearly differentiated from Taoism on the philological and doctrine levels. Tao-sheng c. Constitution of to the East; textual manipulations an organized Buddhist clergy translation of the great treatises on and forgeries start Wang Ling-ch'i. Lu Hsiu-ching , seventh patriarch, summoned by the emperor and becomes his Twist master.
In Shah mountains, a community under leadership of Ku Huan c. CH'I South Proscription of Taoism. Debars on the immortality of the soul. Buddhism is Lu Hsiu-ching returns to court; construction of a monastery for him in almost state religion in Chekiang, where he keeps the manuscripts of the school. Emperor sends an emissary to Lu-shan, who takes away pan of the manuscripts. Sun Yu-yo , eighth patriarch, disciple of Lu Hsiu-ching, teaches in a monastery in the capital; numerous disciples, among whom are great scholars Shen Yo and T'ao Hung-ching.
T'ao Hung-ching , ninth patriarch, retires to Mao-shan. Probable date of Chen-kao. Hung-ming chi, Buddhist anthology by Seng-yu Death of T'ao Hung-ching. The Ching reveals the laws of the world The word ching first designates the "warp in weaving" and, secondly, the "canons" or "scriptures. The Chinese compare the term ching with its homophone meaning "road" and, in this sense, it becomes a synonym for the Tao or the Way. Ching is the track or path that guides, shows, and unveils. The value and sense which the Taoists attribute to their sacred writings can be understood by examining the Chinese conception of writing and written documents.
Chinese philologists have clarified this relationship between writing and divination in China. A few examples will suffice to illustrate this association. The most ancient word signifying a document, ts'e, originally referred to a burke of divination pieces. Moreover, the word wen "graphic" , which signifies "writing" and "literature," etymologically designates a kind of design that was, in particular, associated with the cracks on turtle shells used in divination. During the Han dynasty, the literary archivists were astrologers.
Therefore, the essential function of writing consisted in the establishment of a science of signs concerned with decipherment and interpretation. Knowledge depended on hermeneutics; and writing belonged to an elite which had the power to decipher the world. The term for "configuration" here is li, which means "veins of jade,'' as well as the Normative Principle, the profound structure of the world or of a totality.
The expression "patterns of heaven" also designates the stars, astronomy, and astrology. The configurations of the earth are the mountains and rivers. The mountains on earth are, therefore, what the constellations are in heaven. The configurations of the earth are the solid and dense manifestations of the stars as the emblems of subtle form.
The astral emblems suspended in heaven become mountains when they are deposited on earth. In this way, geomancy corresponds with astrology. The divinatory hexagrams are a kind of precursor to writing. Ts'ang Chieh invented writing when he examined the tracks of birds on the ground, the earthly traces of heavenly messengers. And the demons wept at night since writingas the art of deciphering the world and the fruit of the junction of Heaven and Earth, High and Lowdeclared the power of men over the demonic.
The eight trigrams were taken from the Ho-t'u. And from the Lo-shu came the Hung fan, which is a brief fundamental text that establishes the basis for the Five Agents theory and outlines the grand laws of universal attraction. The Lo-shu and the Ho-t'u complement each other. Originally both of them were either the designs traced on the scales of a dragon and turtle or the wen and li diagrams that were equivalent to the celestial and terrestrial patterns formed by stars and mountains.
Each must be translated into signs and organized in a way that renders it intelligible and manageable. Far away or near, every being is equally an emblem or sign hsiang. Breaths respond to each other by categories and none ever falls short. That is what one calls the Heavenly Writing, or the Celestial Book," announced in the first centuries C. The world is a language that one must hear.
The ching, or celestial books, represent the privileged expression of that language. A number of Taoist ching contain charts that represent the "true form" of a sacred place and give one access to that space. These charts are often accompanied by descriptions which play the same role as the Tables or Registersthat is, they give detailed explanations of paradisal geography and of subtle centers associated with mystical anthropology. As diagrams or maps of roadways, these secret topologies facilitate one's approach to, and progress toward, immortality.
They confide the original form of things and beings. The Citing as the foundation of the world When Lady Tzu-wei appeared to Yang Hsi, one of his first questions to her concerned the origin of the ching. This was a fundamental question to ask since it touched upon the very nature of the Lady's teaching.
Now the ching "in the beginning coexisted with the Original Breath and were produced at the same time as the Original Commencement. Spontaneously born from the Void, they appeared as rays of light that came before the genesis of the world. In these grandiose divine prologues that refer to the time when yin and yang divided and "the five colors started to shoot forth," Yang Hsi received his answer.
In this condition, the stars were immobile, which symbolized the suspension of time and motion and the coming of a new world. Most of the revealed Great Purity books start with a paragraph that affirms their existence before cosmogenesis, tells of their transcription by the heavenly deities, describes the celestial Palaces where they are preserved, and lists the deities who transmitted the scriptures to each other before revealing them to humans. Thus at the end of an era when heaven and earth disappear, the most important ching return to the superior heavens above the world and escape total destruction.
When a new era begins, they will then reappear. When the universe was formed, the chingfollowing the descending inclination of the Origin toward our world or of Heaven toward the earthassumed states that were increasingly solid and less tenuous. As Lady Tzu-wei describes them, they were formed from light and breath and constitute the ancestral root of the sacred Writings. Their later mode is as "books soaring in heaven" and as "cloud seals. The latter are the "divine books. In this form and enclosed in satchels made of gauze and clouds, they are preserved in celestial Palaces or on sacred mountains where they are guarded by jade boys and maidens as well as by dangerously poisonous animals.
In this state they still partake of an unearthly form. They are the "spontaneous books" not yet written by Ts'ang Chieh, the inventor of writing. Their transcription into human writing comes only laterboth in time and in relation to the hierarchy of different stateswhen Heaven made the "traces descend. In their subtle and celestial form, they stayed for thousands of cosmic eras in the heavens where they were transmitted in an uninterrupted chain from deity to deity. This process finally comes to an end when a deity reveals them to a human being. But some of them, even though their titles are known, have not yet been revealed.
They have not yet "gone into the world. They are a "trace" or imprint with a double meaning. Thus just as a trace is not the object itself so also are the ching possessed by humans only a reflection of a divine prototype. Moreover, a trace is a sign that leads to its object and a reflection is that which refers back to its source. In this lies the guiding role of the ching. Present within the vast prelude to the coming into being of the world, the ching are at the center of all teachings and at the foundation of life.
They manifest the Tao. If on Earth no Book existed then the nine territories would be immersed and the five Sacred Peaks would collapse. These Books shine "like moonlight" and are the nourishment for immortality. In the Pi-lo heaven within the trees of the K'ung-ch'ing grove, the True Writings are formed in purple characters.
In this sacred grove, the sound of blowing wind becomes music. And if a bird eats the leaves off the trees in this grove, then written texts appear on its body and whoever is able to obtain its feathers is able to fly. From the origin of the world, they have established the cosmic principles by the very act of bringing forth the sacred Texts. The different states of chaos, which differentiated when the world was born, were also ruled by Masters who brought forth a Book whose "characters radiated a thousand li in all directions.
The Book is therefore the principle of government because it provides knowledge of the foundations of the world. It weaves the coherence of the world. It unveils structure. It is all at the same time: the origin of the world, the track or guide, the mark and sign, the law or profound and immutable structure, and the immanent order. This bondage is accomplished by means of an exact ritual of oath taking.
And it is the ritual oath that makes those who possess the same Wrings members of a sworn society. From this kind of activity, one can also see how secret societies are formed. The improper transmission of a ching is the gravest of transgressions and marks one forever.
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It may result in the definitive loss of all hope for immortality, both for oneself and for one's ancestors and descendants. The improper transmission of sacred writings is, in this sense, equivalent to the mistake of letting one's vital internal energy flow out and completely dissipate into the external world. The Ching: A token of power that certifies and enlists divine protection The nature of the ching can be further explained through their relationship with the pao "sacred jewels" and the fu "dynastic or familial talismans".
At first, these treasures were magic objects such as the fu-ying "auspicious responses" and the jui-ying "jewel responses" which, as talismans and lucky objects, appeared in response to the virtue of a sage king. These objects possessed the power of good omens and confirmed the heavenly mandate ming which the king had received.
In fact, the prototypes of these heavenly "responses'' are the Ho-t'u and the Lo-shu. Afterwards, the magical objects became texts which played a similar role. Thus the first libraries were probably "treasures" pao which contained recipes and instruction designed to insure and preserve pao the life of the states. The Ho-t'u and lo-shu are, in fact, implements of government and that is why they are kept by sovereign families as a pledge and condition of their ruling power.
The term fu, which refers to the magic charms or talismans of the Taoism, originally meant a contract, and the testimonial document, that united two parties. It was a wooden or metal panel divided between the two interested groups. The two halves had to be joined to establish fidelity. Fu is a term that is particularly associated with the word hsin meaning "faith," "credit," and "sincerity. This testimonial object was then called a hsin or "faith.
The fu especially testified to the feudal bond wherein a vassal promises loyalty and the lord pledges himself to reward his vassals for services rendered. In this sense, a lord regularly held feudal assemblies where he "united the fu" ho-fu so as to attest to the contract sworn between himself and his vassals. Later on the fu served as letters of credit, as signs of identification, and as insignia of function. Under Wang Mang in the beginning of the common era, fu were used as tickets of safe passage that were presented at each stage of a journey.
Passwords, passports, or orders of mission are also called hsin-fu or fu-hsin. In the mythical and political history of China, pao and fu are also auspicious objects because they testify to an abundance of power and prestige associated with the special protection of a deity or lord. The fu is the token of a contract by which a donor binds himself to the donee. In this context, the pao gradually took on the meaning of a recipe for government which, in China, refers to a universal knowledge or awareness of the laws of the world.
Taoist ching possess the same characteristics. Ching almost always contain some fu and have themselves the value of fu. But first let us see what ching have in common with the pao as dynastic treasures. Both, in fact, are bestowed by deities to an adept who has merited a revelation. Thus after an adept has given himself up to fervent and continuous religious practices, Heaven is "moved" kan and sends "in response" ying, which is the same term used for the sage king's auspicious objects known as jui-ying or fu-ying immortals to him.
These immortals confer on the adept either a ching or a precious object a pao which may be a talisman, miraculous plant, or potion of immortality for the quest for long life. The Tu-jen ching ta-fa, a great ritual text of the Ling Pao movement, brings to the fore the supreme deity who announces that the ritual will bestow "jade characters" a hallowed expression designating a sacred text which are jui-ling auspicious objects and ying responses. This is due to the universal principle of mutual attraction by similar entities.
Like the protective palladia of a city or state, a ching is the property of a family. In fact, it appears that at the beginning of the Mao-shan movement, the possession of sacred Writings was the appanage of the family. Moreover, the master who transmits the Writing is like a father to his disciple. Everything proceeds as if one were acting as a parent by adoption. He who possesses a ching is, furthermore, certain of divine assistance since jade youths and maidens are charged with protecting both the text and the legitimate owner. They accompany the owner and assist him in the performance of the exercises recommended in the text.
The legitimate possession of a ching can also safeguard the adept against the apocalyptic catastrophes of water and fire that will mark the end of the world. In addition to this, certain texts confer special powers such as the ability to raise the dead. However, these advantages can also give rise to opposite effects. Thus the protection of the jade youths and maidens is matched by their surveillance. They report to heaven the faults committed by the owner of the ching.
And if the owner should improperly divulge the text, the youths and maidens disappear in proportion to the frequency of the transgression. The ching can even disappear of its own accord or be consumed by a celestial fire. Another consideration is that the ching, like the pao, was at first often a diagram or a picture t'u. Only later are these initial figures elaborated upon to become a text. Certain ching are, therefore, essentially talismans around which an explanatory text has developed. There is here an evolution which corresponds to the "fall" or "descent" associated with the teaching of the Tao.
In the beginning, the teaching was spontaneous and then it became spiritualized among the shen-ming or spirits. Gradually the teaching materializedfirst appearing as charts and talismans and then finally as Texts. It binds two parties and also itself exists in two parts. It is, in this sense, a kind of double unity. To receive a ching implies a qualification that is equivalent to a consecration. Indeed, a sacred text can only be transmitted to a qualified disciple who measures up to certain criteria e. What this actually means is that the disciple must manifest the characteristics of a potential immortal.
The acquisition of a text testifies to this quality and gives it prophetic significance. The text ties the revealing divinities to the owner and assures him of rights that will be respected by the divinities. If the text is acquired properly, it testifies to a contract between the divinities and the adept.
It promises the owner an other-worldly rank which he can already take advantage of in this world. This rank as an immortal is awarded when, at death, he will "join the fu together" before the celestial powers. The text is also a token of the help that the deifies give to the adept since, without their assistance, he is unable to join the fu.
To name, ming, is both to order, ming, and to give life, ming. He who knows the names has power over what he names. In this way, the deities who reveal their names give the adept power over them. They give a pledge that obligates them. Knowledge of the deities' names is by itself the proof of a contract and is equivalent to a password. To meditate on these names insures divine protection. For the esoteric Confucianism of the Han, the lu, very much like the ching, were magical writings confirming the emperors in their mandate.
For the Taoists they became written titles that established the adept's place in the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Thus, "to receive a lu" shou-lu is an expression in the Confucian tradition synonymous with "receiving the mandate of heaven.
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Originally a magical writing, the lu becomes equivalent to an enthronement diploma or a badge of rank. Lu are texts inferior in dignity to the ching, but they have the same juridical significance with respect to compelling celestial powers. Let us remember in this context that the ching are also seals "cloud seals". Later, certain diagrams or charms are, in a similar way, called seals yin. This principle of bipartition which defines the nature of sacred writings is brought to light by the ritual of transmission. Thus the master and disciple must fast facing each other.
The disciple's gifts, or tokens of faith, to the master are pairede. Let us note, moreover, that gold and jade, representing yang and yin respectively, are complementary opposites like Heaven and Earth. This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Review : " A valuable addition to scholarship on revolution and regional politics in twentieth-century China Buy New Learn more about this copy.
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