Daoism: The Daoist Religious Community
DAOISM: THE DAOIST RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY
There is no trace in the historical records of any organized Daoist community before the Latter Han dynasty (25–220 ce). Among the various politico-religious movements that sprang up during the second century as the dynasty went into decline, the most famous are the Way of the Heavenly Masters (Tianshi Dao) and the Way of Great Peace (Tai ping Dao). Although the historical evidence linking these two groups is slim, both clearly aimed at the total transformation of society and the establishment of a Daoist utopia; both were founded by people surnamed Zhang, probably because the Zhang clan was thought to be descended from the Yellow Emperor, who, together with Laozi, was revered in Han Daoism as the divine source of Daoist teachings; both organized the faithful into cosmologically determined units; and both considered sickness a sign of sin and therefore prescribed confession as a prerequisite for healing.
At least partly inspired by a Tai ping jing (Scripture of great peace), presented to the throne during the reign of the emperor Shun (r. 126–145 ce), the Way of Great Peace was founded by three brothers who called themselves the generals of the lords, respectively, of Heaven, Earth, and Man. In addition to healing by means of confession and "symbol-water" (fu-shui ), they and their subordinates spread the message that a new era, the era of Yellow Heaven, was about to begin. Having organized their adherents, known as the Yellow Turbans, into thirty-six military regions (fang ) covering eight of the twelve provinces of the empire (all of eastern China), they rose in revolt in the first year of a new sixty-year cycle, a jiazi year (184 ce). It took government forces a full ten months to crush the revolt.
The Way of the Heavenly Masters was founded, according to the mid-third century Zhengi fawen Tianshi jiao-jie k'o-jing (Scripture of the rules and Teachings of the Heavenly Masters, a Text of the Method of Orthodox Unity), by Zhang Daoling. He is there said to have received, in the year 142, from the Newly Manifested Lord Lao (Xinzhu Laojun), the "Way of the Covenant of Orthodox Unity with the Powers" (zhengyi mengwei dao). He set up twenty-four "governances" (zhi ) and "divided and spread the energies of the mysterious (celestial), the original (terrestrial), and the beginning (the Way) in order to govern the people." The earliest list of these governances appears in the late sixth-century Wushang biyao (Essentials of the supreme secrets): it places all but one of the governances in what is now Sichuan province and clearly confirms that the movement started in the western part of that province.
According to the dynastic histories, Zhang Daoling was succeeded by his son Heng, and Heng by his son Lu. Zhang Lu controlled northeastern Szezhuan for over thirty years, until he surrendered in 215 to Cao Cao, future founder of the Wei dynasty (220–264). Cao Cao gave him the title "General Who Controls the South" (zhennan jiangjun ), enfeoffed him, and married his son Pengzu to Lu's daughter. It was probably at this time that the last of the twenty-four governances was located in the capital city of Luoyang and that the Way of Orthodox Unity (Zhengyi Mengwei Dao) became the dominant religion in the state of Wei. It remains to this day the most important form of religious Daoism.
Six Dynasties Period
The dynastic histories note that the adherents of Zhang Daoling were called "rice rebels" because a tax of five bushels of rice was levied on initiates. Throughout the Period of Disunion (220–589), the nickname Way of the Five Bushels of Rice (Wudoumi Dao) continued to be applied to the "church" of the Heavenly Masters. Its original organization consisted of a hierarchy of laypeople called "demon soldiers" (guizu ), low-level priests called "demon clerks" (guili ), higher-level priests called "libationers" (jijiu ), and chief priests called "head libationers." Each of the libationers was in charge of an "inn of equity" (yishe ). Said to be like the postal relay stations of the Han government, these inns were open to travelers, and free "meat and rice of equity" were supplied them.
That the "church" had in fact virtually supplanted the state may be seen from the fact that justice was administered by the libationers. Minor infractions were punished by the obligation to repair the routes between the inns: the word dao means "way, route," and free circulation of goods, persons, and ideas was considered essential to a society built on Daoist principles.
The basic institutions and attitudes of the movement all reveal its utopian character. Perhaps most striking in this regard is the equal treatment accorded to men and women—both could become libationers—and to Chinese and tribal populations. There were, as a result, a large number of these tribal people among the adepts of the Heavenly Masters. The various titles given the leaders of the movement, and in particular that of libationer, were taken from the Han system of local administration, where they referred to individuals selected locally for their moral qualities and their wisdom. The hierarchy envisaged was one that was communally oriented and merit based. Although the position of Heavenly Master was in later times a hereditary one, it is not certain that this was true at first; until as late as the Five Dynasties period (907–960) there are many references to heavenly masters of surnames other than Zhang.
In addition to running the inns of equity, the libationers were charged with the task of explaining the Laozi (Dao de jing ) to the faithful. Part of a commentary on the Laozi, the Xiang'er zhu, found in the Dunhuang caves at the beginning of this century, is generally attributed to Zhang Lu. The commentary insists above all on the moral conduct of the faithful: "Who practices the Dao and does not infringe the commandments will be profound as the Dao itself; Heaven and Earth are like the Dao, kind to the good, unkind to the wicked; therefore people must accumulate good works so that their spirit can communicate with Heaven."
The "demon clerks"—so called, no doubt, because they had direct charge of the "demon soldiers"—had as their chief task the recitation of prayers for the sick. After the sick person had first meditated on his sins in a "quiet room" (jingshi ), the demon clerk would write down the person's name and the purpose of his confession. He drew up this "handwritten document for the Three Officers" in three copies, one to be sent to each of these governors of Heaven, Earth, and the Waters. It was for this service that the faithful contributed five bushels of rice, as well as the paper and brush for preparing the documents.
An early Daoist text, the Tai-zhen ke (Regulations of the most perfect) states that every household should set up a meditation room and place the list of the names of its members in five bushels filled with "faith-rice" (xinmi ). Every year, at the beginning of the tenth month, all the faithful were to gather at the governance of the Heavenly Master himself and contribute their faith-rice to the Heavenly Granary. They would then go in to pay their respects to the Heavenly Master and listen to an explanation of the rituals, ordinances, and commandments. The family registers of all the faithful were to be brought up to date at this time, that is, births, deaths, and marriages were to be recorded, so that the centrally held registers agreed with the family registers.
Similar gatherings were held in the first and seventh months, the former to determine, according to their respective merits, the advancement of the officers of the movement, the latter that of the laypeople. On each of these three "days of meeting" (huiri ), linked respectively to the Three Officers (San Guan) of Heaven, Earth, and the Waters, a "memorial stating the merit [of each and all] was sent up." These days of meeting, especially the grand assembly of the tenth month, are clearly the origin of the community Offerings (jiao ), which continue to constitute, to this day, the most elevated service performed by Daoist priests at the request of temple communities.
Progress in this vast meritocracy was marked by the graded transmission of a whole series of commandments and registers. According to the Regulations of the Most Perfect, the first series of commandments was transmitted to seven-year-old children. Starting at the age of eight, they could receive a register with the name and description of one general on it, then the register of ten generals at age twenty. Next came the registers of seventy-five generals, of which there were two, a feminine (yin ) one giving control over seventy-five immortals (xian ), and a masculine (yang ) one, to which were attached the same number of potentates (ling ). The Regulations state simply that these two registers are to be transmitted successively to the same person. It is probable, however, that the second transmission occurred only after successful accomplishment of the rites of sexual union called "mingling the energies" (heqi ), for the reform-minded Heavenly Master Kou Qianzhi (d. 448), in forbidding the practice of these rites by other than married couples in his New Regulations, refers explicitly to the "registers of male and female officers."
These registers gave the names and physical descriptions of these generals and the armies of immortal and spiritual officers under their command. The role of these armies was to guard and protect the adept, just as the gods of the popular pantheon, who are also often called generals, were supposed to do. The adept who received further registers was called a "Daoist who distributes his energies" (sanqi Taoshi ), that is, one who had moved beyond self-protection to saving others: a priest.
In general, each additional register increased the adept's power over the invisible world of the spirits and added thereby to his understanding of the Covenant of Orthodox Unity with the Powers. To enter the Way of the Heavenly Masters meant to worship only those powers enrolled, like the adepts themselves, on official registers and to cease to worship the "gods of ordinary people" (sushen ). According to the Xiang'er commentary, "the Way is most venerable, it is subtle and hidden, it has no face nor form; one can only follow its commandments, not know or see it." The ultimate goal was to know this invisible way, to "hold on" to its mysterious—"orthodox"—Unity. This required forswearing all contact with the multiple "heterodox cults" (yinsi ) current among the people. Throughout the Period of Disunion and, in somewhat diluted form, down to the present day, Orthodox Unity Daoists have been, like the Confucians, implacable opponents of these cults.
This well-formed, cosmologically comprehensive ecclesiastical organization survived, more or less intact and with appropriate modifications, through the Tang dynasty (618–907). One of the reasons for its survival was its readiness to come to terms, in the manner of Zhang Lu, with the state. The Scripture of the Teachings of the Heavenly Master cited above explicitly criticizes the Yellow Turbans as a "perverse way" (Xiedao ) responsible for the death of millions. The same text states that the Dao, that is, Lord Lao, had often in the past appeared as the "teacher of kings and emperors." But after his "new manifestation" in the year 142, he would appear no more, for "Lord Lao had then bestowed on Zhang Daoling the position of Heavenly Master." Now, in the year 255, the Heavenly Master urges the faithful to obey the "pure government of the Wei."
The power and the appropriateness of this conception in the context of the Confucian state may be seen from the fact that in 442 the emperor Taiwu (r. 424–452) of the Northern Wei (386–535) became the first of a long line of emperors to "receive registers" (shoulu ), that is, to receive a Daoist initiation that was tantamount to ecclesiastical (divine) investiture. Emperors—especially, but not exclusively, those favorable to Daoism—perpetuated this practice until the end of the Northern Song dynasty (960–1126).
The man who thus invested the emperor Taiwu was Kou Qianzhi. In 425, Kou was named Heavenly Master and his New Regulations, partly of Buddhist inspiration, was promulgated throughout the realm. In 431, in what may be considered a forerunner of the system of officially sponsored abbeys (guan ) begun under the Tang and continued through the Qing (1644–1911), altars (tan ) were set up and priests assigned to officiate on them in every province.
It is also noteworthy that the first great persecution of Buddhism occurred under the reign of the emperor Taiwu: inspired by Kou's Confucian friend, Cui Hao (381–450), and with Kou's reluctant cooperation, a decree promulgated in the year 444 attacked, in the same breath, the "heterodox cults," with their mediums and sorcerers, and Buddhism. Although the proscription of Buddhism that followed in the year 446 was rescinded by a new emperor in 454, these events proved to be the opening round of a long competition for imperial favor. In southern China, in 517, the emperor Wu (r. 502–549) of the Liang dynasty (502–557) abolished all Daoist temples and ordered the return of Daoist priests to the laity. In the year 574, after a series of debates between representatives of the "three teachings" (sanjiao )—Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism—the emperor Wu (r. 560–578) of the Northern Zhou dynasty (557–581) proscribed Buddhism and made Daoism the state religion. Daoists were later instrumental in bringing about the suppression of Buddhism by the Tang emperor Wuzong (r. 841–847) in the year 845 and its reduction to subordinate status by the emperors Huizung (r. 1101–1126) of the Northern Song dynasty, in 1119, and Taizu (r. 1206–1229) of the Yuan dynasty, starting in 1224.
The most telling arguments used in these various conflicts were, on the Buddhist side, that the only authentic Daoist works were those of its philosophers, the Laozi and the Zhuangzi and, on the Daoist side, that Buddhism was a foreign religion suitable only for barbarians. The court debates themselves often focused on a Daoist text called the Huahu jing (Scripture of the conversion of the barbarians). The idea that Laozi, at the end of his life, had gone into the western regions beyond China and there transformed himself into the Buddha in order to convert the barbarians is first attested in a memorial presented to the throne in the year 166 by one Xiang Kai. At that time, Buddhism was still perceived in China as a form of Daoism, and so the legend was useful, even complimentary to the Buddhists. But by the time the libationer Wang Fou wrote the first known (now lost) version of the Huahu jing around the year 300, Buddhism had become an entirely autonomous force in Chinese life, and the compliment had turned into a polemic slur.
The Daoists rarely won the court debates, and the Huahu jing was regularly proscribed over the centuries, starting in 668 with its suppression by Tang Gaozong (r. 650–684). But before the work disappeared definitively from circulation, after Yuan Shizu (r. 1260–1295) ordered all copies burned in 1281, it had served for nearly a millennium as a means of conveying a central Daoist conviction, based on many a passage in the Laozi, that the Dao embraced all things, large and small, high and low, Chinese and barbarian. To the Daoists it followed logically that "Daoism"—the "teaching of the Way" (daojiao )—included within itself all other teachings.
Outrageous from the Buddhist point of view, Daoist universalism was most attractive to Chinese emperors. The emperor Wu of the Northern Zhou dynasty, for example, began the decree in which he ordered the foundation of the Abbey for Communicating with the Way (Tongdao Guan) a mere eleven days after proscribing Buddhism as follows: "The supreme Way is vast and profound: it envelops both being and nonbeing; it informs highest heaven and darkest hell." According to Buddhist sources, the people appointed to staff this state abbey were all "enthusiasts of the Laozi and the Zhuangzi and proponents of the unity of the Three Teachings."
Another expression of Daoist universalism constantly attacked by the Buddhists was its regular "fabrication" of new texts by plagiarizing Buddhist sūtras. This criticism applied especially to the Lingbao ("numinous treasure") scriptures that began to appear in southeastern China in the 390s. The most important of these texts, the Wuliang duren jing (Scripture of universal salvation), may be described as pure "Mahāyāna Daoism." From start to finish, it has the flavor of a Buddhist scripture, but the revealed words come from the mouth, not of the Buddha, the "World-honored One" (Shizun ), but from that of the "Heaven-honored One of the Primordial Beginning" (Yuanshi Tianzun), that is, the Dao. These texts also take over Buddhist notions of karmic retribution and introduce Buddhist-inspired rituals for the dead.
Some twenty years prior to the appearance of the first Lingbao texts, another group of texts had been revealed in the same part of China that was to play an extremely important role in the court Daoism of the Tang dynasty. Owing little to Buddhism, this new Shangqing ("high purity") literature completely transformed the methods of the traditional, eremetic Daoism of the South—alchemy, gymnastics, diet, visualization, and sexual practices—by incorporating them into a complex system revealed in ecstatic prose and poetry by a kind of automatic writing during séances. Recitation of these sacred texts and visualization of the spirits described in them became the high roads to spiritual realization in this movement.
The milieu in which these revelations occurred was that of the southern aristocracy, a group that recently had been supplanted by émigrés fleeing North China after the barbarian capture of the capital city of Luoyang in 311. These émigrés, who founded the Eastern Jin dynasty (317–420), with its capital in Jiankang (modern Nanking), brought with them the Way of the Heavenly Masters, and many Southerners—among them the father and uncle of Xu Mi (303–373), one of the main recipients of the new revelations—had adopted the Northerners' religion. Wei Huazun (d. 334) herself, the "teacher in the beyond" of the inspired calligrapher of the revealed texts, one Yang Xi (330–?), had been, during her life on earth, a libationer. Xu Mi continued to employ his father's libationer, Li Tung. One of the "real persons" (zhenren ) who was revealing to Xu the new methods for spiritual (as opposed to physical) rites of union criticized Xu for his excessive use of the old methods of the Heavenly Masters: "The method for mingling the energies is not practiced by the Real Persons; it is an inferior Way that destroys the orthodox energies of the real vapors." Also, illness was attributed not to sin and consequent attacks by demons, but to physiological causes, and massages and drugs were therefore prescribed instead of the confession of sins. The demons of the Shangqing texts are those forces that try to keep the adept from achieving the level of concentration necessary for the spiritual union with a divine spouse, which alone can lead to "realization" (immortality).
It was probably a second- or third-generation practitioner of the new techniques of realization who first classified Daoist literature into the "three caverns" (sandong ). Traditionally, it is Lu Xiujing (406–477) who is credited with this hierarchical classification, which places Shangqing texts first, Lingbao second, and Sanhuang (Three Sovereigns) last. The Sanhuang scriptures, of which only small portions survive, represent the talismanic, exorcistic literature of popular Daoism. It may be that they represent the tradition of the Yellow Turbans, for the Three Sovereigns are those of Heaven, Earth, and Man, whose lords the brothers Zhang served as generals.
Heavenly Master texts are conspicuously absent from this classification, but it may well be that they were felt by Lu, who is one of the most important liturgists in Daoist history, to be unnecessary: not only would he have shared, as a practitioner of Shangqing methods, the dim views of the sexual rites of the Heavenly Masters, but also, and more importantly, he had incorporated the basic Heavenly Master liturgy into the Lingbao texts, which he himself had edited. The Three Caverns thus constituted a complete and self-contained canon of exorcistic, liturgical, and meditational texts: together, they met every religious need, from that of a sick peasant requiring an exorcism to that of the refined aristocrat seeking sublime spiritual union.
The idea of this tripartite division was no doubt inspired by the Buddhist Tripiṭaka, but whereas the division of the latter was generic, that of the Daoist was practical. Correspondingly graded registers, moreover, were created to accompany initiation into each successive level of texts. Five separate rituals of transmission were included in the original Wushang biyao (compiled c. 580 at imperial behest): progressive initiation into the texts of the Three Caverns was preceded by the transmission of ten commandments (against murder, robbery, adultery, etc.) and of the Laozi.
The addition of these two rituals of initiation was a clear sign that the idea of the Three Caverns, however coherent ideologically, was too far removed from the reality of Daoist practice to survive without major modifications. The other ritual chapters in the Wushang biyao provided further evidence of this: nine of ten chapters were taken directly from the texts of the Three Caverns, but one, the "mud and soot fast" (tutan zhai ), a ritual of confession, required an officiant who was at once a "libationer belonging to a diocese of the Heavenly Masters" and a "ritual master of the Three Caverns." This situation was remedied, probably in the early Tang period, by adding the Four Supplements (gsifu ) to the Three Caverns. In the resulting initiation hierarchy, Orthodox Unity texts occupied, appropriately, the bottom of the seven rungs: emperors interested in Daoism invited Shangqing masters to court and received their registers, but the typical country priest required no more than the registers of Orthodox Unity—and the skills they implied. The remaining three of the Four Supplements also incorporated older Daoist traditions: alchemy, the Scripture of Great Peace, and the Laozi.
The Tang dynasty saw the development of the more or less definitive forms not only of the Daoist canon, but also of Daoist messianism and monasticism. Closely related to its utopianism, Daoist messianism always had an intensely political character. In the second-century Laozi bianhua jing (Scripture of the transformations of Laozi), Laozi puts himself forward as the messianic leader. But during the Period of Disunion, it was usually a "descendant" of Laozi, the Perfect Lord (zhenjun ) Li Hung, who excited the messianic hopes of the people. Thus Kou Qianzhi, in his Laojun yinsong jiejing (Scripture of the recitation of the prescriptions of Lord Lao), complains that many false prophets "attack the orthodox Dao and deceive the common people. All they have to say is, 'Lord Lao should reign, Li Hung ought to manifest himself.'" Li Hung messianism even appears in the Shangqing scriptures: according to the Shangqing housheng daojun liji (Shangqing biography of the Latter-day Saint and Lord of the Way), Li Hung will appear in a jen-renchen year (the twenty-ninth year of the sixty-year cycle, possibly 392) to establish a new world populated by the chosen and governed directly by the Latter-day Saint.
The centuries-old conflict between this popular Daoist messianism and the Heavenly Master tendency—seen in the careers of both Zhang Lu and Kou Qianzhi—to opt for the role of spiritual advisor to the emperor, found its perfect resolution in the Tang dynasty when, at last, not Li Hung himself, but another family of the same surname as Laozi, Li, came to power. This advent, moreover, is said to have been predicted toward the end of the Sui dynasty (589–618) by one Ji Hui, a Daoist who had entered the Abbey for Communication with the Way at the beginning of the Sui dynasty: "A descendant of the Lord Lao is about to rule the world, and our teaching will prosper." No sooner had Tang Gaozu (r. 618–627) come to power than he asked Ji Hui to celebrate an Offering to pray for divine benediction on the dynasty. He then ordered the complete rebuilding of the Lou Guan (Tower Abbey) and, in 620, changed its name to Zungsheng Guan (Abbey of the Holy Ancestor). In 625, after holding a debate between representatives of the "three teachings," Gaozu ranked them in the order Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism.
Tower Abbey occupied the site where Laozi was said to have revealed the Laozi to the keeper of the pass, Yin Xie, before disappearing into the western regions. Daoist sources make it out to have been a center for the cult of Laozi already in the time of Qing Shihuang (r. 221–209 bce) and describe it as an important northern Daoist center throughout the Period of Disunion. In the Tang dynasty it became a dynastic cult center. In 679 its abbot, Yin Wencao (d. 688) compiled, on the order of the emperor, the Sheng Ji (Annals of the saint) in ten volumes. Judging on the basis of its Song-dynasty successor, the Hunyuan sheng ji (Annals of the saint of the womb), this was a "salvation history" of Daoism, presented as the successive divine interventions of Lord Lao in human history. In 741, after the emperor Xuanzong (r. 713–756) had encountered his divine ancestor in a dream, a statue corresponding to the face he had seen in his dream was found near the Abbey of the Holy Ancestor. The emperor had the statue set up in the inner palace for his own worship. He then ordered that similar statues be cast and sent to all the state-sponsored abbeys in the country, declared a general amnesty, and had an inscribed tablet set up at the Zongsheng Guan to commemorate these events.
The first network of Daoist buildings was that associated with the twenty-four governances of Heavenly Master Daoism in the second century. The first state-sponsored Daoist abbey in history is generally thought to be the Chongxu Guan (House for the Veneration of the Void) founded in 467 by the emperor Ming of the Liu Song (420–479) for Lu Xiujing. But it was not until 666, after performing the feng-shan ritual of celestial investiture on Taishan, that the Tang emperor Gaozong (r. 649–683) decreed the creation of a system of state-sponsored Daoist (and Buddhist) monasteries in each of the prefectures—there were over three hundred—in the empire. This dual system was perpetuated under all successive dynasties, until the fall of the empire in 1911.
It is generally assumed, with good reason, that these and other non-state abbeys were populated by monks and nuns. First, people who entered these institutions were said, like their Buddhist counterparts, to have "left the family" (chujia ). Second, from the mid-sixth to the mid-eighth century, a new type of Lingbao scripture, clearly designed for monastic living was very much in vogue: the vocabulary and long-winded style of these texts is that of Buddhist scholastics; repeatedly, they recommend such Buddhist virtues as charity and compassion and such Buddhist practices as scripture-copying, recitation, and preaching; above all, they explicitly recommend celibacy. The Taishang icheng Haikong zhizang jing (The reservoir of wisdom of sea-void, a scripture of the unique vehicle of the Most High), after speaking in derogatory manner of Orthodox Unity Daoists, affirms that only those who "leave the family" can liberate themselves from all attachments and achieve enlightenment. Preaching is important in this ekayāna ("unique vehicle") Daoism because it frees people from doubt and ignorance.
Other texts in this group, however, such as the Yuanyang jing (Scripture of the primordial Yang) suggest that these Buddhist practices are but a preparation for more traditional Daoist ones, among which it names the rites of sexual union. Indeed, Daoist monks and nuns often lived in the same community and are known to have practiced these rites: they had "left their families," but Daoist commandments forbade only concupiscence, not intercourse. On the contrary, carefully regulated sexual intercourse was one of the oldest of Daoist roads to immortality, said to have been practiced by Laozi himself.
State support entailed state control. The emperor Xuanzong introduced registration of Buddhist and Daoist monks and nuns and restriction of their movement. He set limits on the size of monastic communities and on their land holdings. He ordered all monks who had not received official ordination certificates to pass an exam. A commissioner was appointed for each religion to ensure that these various ordinances were respected. Specific ritual services were also required of these state clergy: both Buddhists and Daoists were to perform services for the deceased of the imperial family on the anniversaries of their deaths; Daoists also celebrated rituals for the prosperity of the state on the three "days of origin" (the fifteenth day of the first, seventh, and tenth months) and on the emperor's birthday. This latter was made a three-day national holiday, to be celebrated with feasting throughout the empire.
Xuanzong favored Daoism in still other ways: he inaugurated imperial use of a ritual known as "throwing the dragon and the prayer slips" (tou longjian ), its aim was to report dynastic merit to the Three Officers and to pray for personal immortality. In 731, upon the suggestion of the Shangqing patriarch Sima Chengzhen (647–735), sanctuaries dedicated to the Daoist Perfect Lords of the Five Sacred Peaks were set up on these mountains and Daoist priests selected to staff them. In early 742 the emperor ordered all Daoist temples in the empire to copy the Benji jing (Scripture of the original term) throughout the coming year. At the end of the year he issued a second decree attributing the good harvest to the merit thus obtained. In 748 he added to the Daoist monastic network a system of shrines on all forty-six mountains that had "cave-heavens" (tongtian ). He also ordered the establishment of abbeys on the various sites where famous Daoists of the past had "obtained the Way." Between two and five Daoists were appointed for each of these new shrines and abbeys.
Xuanzong also went to considerable lengths in giving institutional form to the special relationship between the ruling house and its divine ancestor: in 737 he placed the Daoist clergy under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Imperial Clan; in 741 he ordered the creation of temples for the worship of Laozi in the two capitals (Chang'an and Luoyang) and in each prefecture, as well as a parallel network of Daoist academies and examinations. The imperial ancestral tablets were henceforth to be kept in the temple dedicated to Laozi in Chang'an, and statues of the imperial ancestors were set up in the Taiqing Gong (Palace of Grand Purity), which had been built in Pozhou, Laozi's birthplace. In the mid-740s Xuanzong had his own image set up next to that of Laozi in the Taiqing Gong in Chang'an, and later added those of his chief ministers as well. A first imperial commentary on the Laozi was published in 732, a second in 735, and in 745 the Laozi was declared superior to the Confucian classics. Among Xuanzong's successors—at least five of whom died of elixir poisoning in their Daoist-inspired quest for immortality—only Wuzong (r. 840–846) found anything to add to Xuanzong's ideological edifice: he made Laozi's birthday a three-day national holiday.
Five Dynasties, Song, and Yuan Periods
Later dynasties naturally could not make use of this link with Laozi; the Song replaced it with a similar genealogical tie to the equally Daoist Yellow Emperor, but the Tang system of state control and support survived. Registration statistics preserved over the centuries provide interesting insight into the shape and functioning of the system. (See table 1.)
The figures for the year 739 show that even the extravagant patronage of Xuanzong did not suffice to bring the number of Daoist monastic centers on a par with those of the Buddhists. This is not a reflection of the relative popularity of the two religions, but of the fact that lay clergy continued to be the norm among Daoists. A text compiled at imperial behest around 712, the Miaomen youqi (Origins of the school of mystery) distinguishes between hermits and those who "leave the family," on the one hand, and libationers and those who "live at home," on the other. These latter categories, whose chief function is healing, are said to be particularly numerous in Sichuan and the South.
The figures from the eleventh and seventeenth centuries show a marked decline for the Buddhists and remarkable stability for the Daoists. Although Buddhism is generally said to have lost much influence under the last two dynasties, what these figures really demonstrate is the success of the policy
restricting the number of ordinations. Ordination implied exemption from taxation, conscription, and corvée. A Southern Song-dynasty (1127–1260) compilation of the Qing-Yuan period (1195–1201) restricts the number of Daoist novices to one per fifty and of Buddhist to one per hundred of the population as a whole. Qing-dynasty (1644–1911) law allowed monks and nuns of both religions to adopt a single pupil to whom they could transmit their ordination certificate. No religious institution could be founded without imperial permission.
All nineteenth-century observers note that the result of these restrictive policies was a glaring gap between the law and reality. At the beginning of the Qing dynasty, a state census revealed 12,482 monasteries and temples founded with imperial permission and 67,140 without. Already in the eighth century, Zhang Wanfu (fl. 711), in his Shou sandong jingjie falu zheri li (Calendar for the selection of days for the transmission of the registers, prescriptions, and scriptures of the Three Caverns), complains that the Daoists of these areas paid attention neither to the fasts of the official liturgy nor to the proper transmission of ritual knowledge: "Their only interest is in Offerings and sacrifices." Moreover, their "vulgar ways" had become popular of late in the capital cities of Chang'an and Luoyang as well.
These comments of Zhang suggest that, by his time, the aristocratic, meditative Shangqing tradition already was losing ground to more popular forms of Daoism. Other indications of this are the gradual rise of a "Confucian" Daoist movement called the Way of Filial Piety (Xiaodao). First heard of in the seventh century, claiming to have been founded by one Xu Sun (239–292?), it was in fact a local cult whose growth from its base in Hongzhou (Jiangxi) had led to its adoption and absorption by Daoism. This process was to be repeated many times in the future, most notably in the case of a local Fujian cult of two brothers, which was converted by imperial decree in 1417 into a state Daoist cult. The emperor Chengzu (r. 1403–1425) decided on the elevation of these two "perfect lords of boundless grace" (hong'en zhenjun ) after a nagging illness had been cured by a drug prescribed, apparently, by the Fujian temple's medium. The brothers' official titles in the imperial "canon of sacrifices" were lengthened, a second temple built for them in the capital, a special Daoist liturgy created, and, in 1420, a Lingbao scripture produced. It taught the virtues of loyalty to one's superiors, filial piety, charity, and justice, and the emperor had it printed for dissemination on a wide scale in order to repay his debt to the divine brothers.
Another example of the increasing imbrication of popular cults, imperial ideology, and Daoist liturgy occurred at the beginning of the Song dynasty. Between 960 and 994, a commoner by the name of Zhang Shouzhen received a series of revelations on Mount Zhongnan, the site of Tower Abbey. The god, who was an assistant of the Jade Emperor, revealed himself to be the divine protector of the new ruling house and instructed Zhang to find a Daoist master. Having been initiated by a Daoist of Tower Abbey, Zhang received further revelations leading to the establishment of an imperially funded temple in 976, an official title in 981, and, above all, a system of Daoist Offerings that has survived, at least in part, until the present day.
The basic feature of the new system is the grading of Offerings according to the number of "stellar seats" (xingwei )—from 24 to 3,600—used to construct the altar. Divided into nine grades (3 × 3), the upper three altars were reserved for the emperor, the middle three for his ministers, and the lower three for gentry and commoners. The upper three altars had, respectively, 3,600, 2,400, and 1,200 stellar seats, corresponding to the Grand Offerings of All Heaven (Putian ), the Entire Heaven (Zhoutian ), and Net Heaven (luotian ). Perfect expression of the hierarchical universalism common to both Daoist and imperial ideology, this system was adopted as the universal norm in the year 1009 by the emperor Zhenzong (r. 998–1023). It was to remain in official use throughout the Yuan (1279–1368) and perhaps beyond.
A 1,200-seat version, based in part on an official edition of Daoist ritual promulgated under Huizong (r. 1101–1126), has been preserved by Lü Taigu in his Daomen dingzhi (The Daoist system normalized) of 1201: starting from the highest celestial and stellar divinities, the list descends—by way of the celestial officials linked to the texts of the Three Caverns, the perfect lords and immortals of Daoist history and geography, the vast bureaucracy of the Three Officers, and all the governors of hell—to the humblest gods of the soil and agents of the time cycle. Among the Daoist sites for whose lords a seat is reserved are the Five Sacred Peaks, the various "cave-heaven" paradises, and the twenty-four governances; famous Daoists mentioned include Zhang Daoling, Xu Sun, Lu Xiujing, Du Guangting, various patriarchs of the Shangqing lineage, Tan Zuxiao, Jao Tongtian, Zhongli Quan, and Lü Dongpin.
The last two named are semi-legendary Daoist immortals who came to be revered together as the patrons of an important school of neidan (internal elixir alchemy) first heard of in the eleventh century. Dan zixiao (fl. 930) and Jao Tongtian (fl. 994) were the co-founders of the Tianhsin Zhengfa ("orthodox rites of the heart of heaven"), a new form of exorcistic healing based on texts discovered on Mount Hua-kai (Jiangxi province) and attributed to Zhang Daoling himself. The movement spread throughout southern China—the Yao tribes that have since migrated to Thailand still practice these rites today—and by the start of the twelfth century was deemed important enough to merit imperial attention (the oldest extant collection of these rites was presented to the throne by one Yuan Miaozong in 1116).
Du Guangting (850–933) was at once an important Daoist liturgist and one of Daoism's greatest hagiographers. His liturgical compilations draw on both the Lingbao and the Zhengi traditions; his collections of anecdotal literature are a gold mine of information on local cults and popular Daoism. The liturgies may be described as a synthesis of past practice, the stories as a harbinger of future developments: Du's career marks a watershed in the history of Daoism.
Suddenly, the veil is lifted on the world of popular piety—a world of miracles, exorcisms, pilgrimages, and portents—and on the place of Daoism in that world. In his Daojiao lingyan ji (Records of Daoist miracles), for example, Du tells a story about Xu Sun's magic bell: when a military governor tried to remove it from the Daoist abbey where it had been ever since the time of Xu Sun, Xu appeared to the governor in a dream and told him his life was in danger. The governor returned the bell and went to burn incense and confess his fault in the abbey, but his sin was too grave to be pardoned and he died in battle soon afterward.
Another tale recounts how a mysterious visitor, later rumored to have been Zhang Daoling himself, visited the Heavenly Master of the eighteenth generation and repaired the sword used by the first Heavenly Master to "punish and control gods and demons." The sword had been in the family, adds Du, for twenty-one generations. Elsewhere in the same book, in introducing the story of a man who was released from hell because he was wearing a register transmitted to him in the year 868 by the nineteenth-generation Heavenly Master, Du notes that, until the thirteenth-generation descendant of Zhang Daoling, the registers transmitted to the faithful had been made of wood, but "because they were being transmitted on such a vast scale, the thirteenth Heavenly Master could not make them in sufficient numbers and so started using paper and silk instead."
Du no doubt owed his knowledge of such events to his own master, Ying Yijie (810–894), who, at the age of eighteen, had gone to Longhu Shan (Dragon-tiger Mountain) in Jiangxi to be initiated by the eighteenth Heavenly Master. Much later accounts claim that Zhang Sheng, the fourth-generation descendant of Zhang Daoling, had been the first to take up residence on Mount Longhu. The first contemporary trace of a Zhang family in southern China dates to 504, when according to a stele, the twelfth-generation descendant lived in an abbey in what is now Jiangsu. In the mid-eighth century Sima Chengzhen mentions a Zhang living on Mount Longhu. The next reliable witness is Du Guangting. It is therefore impossible to ascertain whether the Zhang family, which apparently lived on this mountain in unbroken succession from at least the mid-eighth century until 1949, was indeed descended from the first Heavenly Master.
What is certain is that, from Du Guangting's time on, the lineage grew steadily more important in Chinese religious life. Already in 1015, the emperor Zhenzong (r. 997–1023) recognized its hereditary rights. By 1097 Mount Longhu had won official recognition as an authorized center for initiation into Daoist practice, along with Mount Mao (Jiangsu) for the Shangqing tradition and Mount Gezao (Jiangxi) for the Lingbao. The thirtieth Heavenly Master (1092–1126) played a prominent role at the court under Huizong, and his reputation for magical powers was already celebrated in a contemporary novel. Full consecration came in the thirty-sixth generation, to Zhang Zongyan (d. 1291): invited to the capital by the emperor Shizu (r. 1260–1295) in 1277, he was commissioned to perform a Grand Offering of the Entire Heaven (2,400 divinities) in the Changchun Gong (Palace of Eternal Spring). Shortly thereafter, he was appointed head of all Daoists in southern China. The emperor Chengzong (r. 1295–1308) decreed in 1295 that Heavenly Master texts for the Offering be used throughout the empire. Finally, under the first Ming emperor, Taizu (r. 1368–1399), the Heavenly Masters were put in charge of all Daoist affairs.
During the Yuan dynasty the control of Daoism in the North was entrusted to the successive leaders of the Quanzhen ("integral perfection") order. One of three major Daoist movements to emerge in the North during the twelfth century, when that part of China was ruled by the foreign Jurchen Jin dynasty (1115–1234), it alone was destined to survive beyond the Yuan. Its founder, Wang Zhe (1112–1170), a native of the same village in Shaanxi as Zhongli Quan, had witnessed, at the age of eighteen, the takeover of his native province by the invading Jurchen. He nonetheless served for a time in the military before deciding to abandon both his career and his family. In 1160, after a period of living in reclusion in Liujiang village, not far from Tower Abbey, two mysterious encounters with Daoist immortals led him to dig a grave, to which he gave the name "tomb of the living dead," and to live in it for three years; having built a thatched hut, he lived next to it for another four. In 1167 he suddenly burned down his hut and left for Shandong to begin proselytizing. According to Wang's hagiographers, the three immortals who appeared to him were Zhongli Quan, Lü Dongpin, and Liu Haichan, all of whom Wang refers to in his writings as his teachers.
Wishing to shock people into enlightenment, which necessarily entailed a complete break of the sort he had made from his own family and career, Wang's methods were apparently uncompromising and even violent. In this manner he selected seven disciples, including one separated couple, to carry on his work. He also established five sanjiao hui ("assemblies of the three teachings") before dying while on his way back to his home in the west. His disciples are portrayed by their hagiographers as ascetics and, in some cases, eccentrics. Qiu Changchun (1148–1227) lived for seven years in a cave. Hao Datong (1140–1212) spent six years under a stone bridge neither moving nor speaking and eating only when people offered him something. For nine years Wang Chui (1142–1217) spent his nights in a cave standing on one foot so as not to fall asleep. Wang is also depicted as a wandering exorcist and healer (herbal medicine was one of the arts that Wang Zhe insisted "those who study the Way must master").
The reputations of the Seven Real Persons (qizhen ), as Wang's disciples came to be known, soon made the movement of Integral Perfection a force to deal with. It attracted lay followers from all levels of society, including the gentry class, to which most of the seven and Wang Zhe had belonged. Their following seems to have been particularly large among women. The emperor Shizong (r. 1161–1190) summoned Wang Chui in 1187, questioned him about the methods for "preserving life and ruling the country," and constructed for him the Xiuzhen Guan (Abbey for the Cultivation of Perfection). In 1197 Wang was involved, together with the Zhengi Daoist Sun Mingdao, in the celebration of a Grand Offering of the Entire Heaven in the Tianchang Guan (Abbey of Celestial Longevity) in the capital. In 1202 the emperor Zhangzong (r. 1190–1208) ordered Wang to perform an Offering in the Palace of Grand Purity in Laozi's birthplace.
But it was Qiu Changchun's three-year westward trek to meet Chinggis Khan in Central Asia that assured the order's future, for when Qiu returned to China in 1223, he did so armed with decrees granting tax and labor exemption to himself and his disciples and control over "all those in the world who leave their families" to him. The result was the rapid growth of the Integral Perfection order and the start of another round of confrontrations with the Buddhists. When Qiu died, the Tianchang Abbey was renamed the Abbey of Eternal Spring (Changchun Guan), in Qiu's honor, and his disciples inherited his position. One of them, Li Zhichang (1193–1273), abbot between 1238 and 1256, precipitated the crisis with the Buddhists by printing and distributing the Laozi bashii huatu (Pictures of the eighty-one transformations of Laozi). One of these transformations, of course, was that into the Buddha. The Buddhists protested and also accused the Daoists of appropriating their temples. Debates were held in 1255, 1258 (the burning of the offending books was ordered, but not carried out), and 1281 (Zhang Zongyan also participated in this debate). After the last confrontation, the Daoist canon was ordered destroyed—an order carried out, at least in part, and the Quanzhen order went into a partial eclipse until the end of Shizu's reign. It was replaced at the court by the Heavenly Masters and their ambassadors.
Strictly speaking, Integral Perfection Daoism taught nothing new. It was a reform movement that sought, in the tradition of Daoist universalism, to synthesize the best in the Three Teachings. Like Chan Buddhism, which Wang Zhe apparently knew fairly well, it preached celibacy and "sitting in meditation" in order to control the "apelike mind and the horselike will"; as in neo-Confucianism, perfect authenticity was prized as the ultimate goal of self-cultivation. But it was eminently Daoist in insisting that both one's "nature" (xing ) and one's "life force" (ming ) had to be nurtured, and in having recourse for the latter to the usual panoply of physiological practices. Quanzhen masters were also frequently renowned adepts of the martial arts, and Wang Zhe himself must have practiced internal alchemy inasmuch as his divine teachers were its patrons.
Zhongli Quan and Lü Dongpin, especially the latter, appear frequently to convert and save people in a number of Yuan operas (zaju ) of clearly Quanzhen inspiration. A temple on the presumed site of Lü Dongpin's house was converted into a Quanzhen abbey toward the end of the Jin dynasty and then, after the abbey had burned down in 1244, rebuilt on a vast scale between 1247 and 1358. The three surviving halls of the resulting Yonglo Gong (Palace of Eternal Joy) are dedicated, respectively, to the Three Pure Ones, Lü Dongpin, and Wang Zhe. The magnificent murals of the latter two halls tell the stories of Lü and Wang and of Wang's conversion by Lü. The murals of the first hall portray many of the same divinities as were listed in Lü Taigo's list of 1201: they are all "going in audience before the Origin" (chaoyuan ), that is, before the Three Pure Ones. The other great surviving monument of Daoist history, the fabulous complex of abbeys and palaces on Mount Wu-tang (Hubei), built by the Ming emperor Chengzu in honor of Pei-ti (Emperor of the North), divine patron of the exorcistic and martial arts, was also a Quanzhen center. Reopened in 1982, it has since been recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Fund. The Tower Abbey was first taken over by the Quanzhen order in 1236, when disciples of Qiu Changchun rebuilt it.
Both the site of Lü Dongpin's house and Mount Wu-tang were important pilgrimage centers from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries on. As such, they reveal an important aspect of Daoism's role in Chinese society in those centuries: Daoists occupied and ran important cult centers and their temples. In particular, the Daoists, together with the Buddhists, inhabited the many sacred mountains of China and took care of the pilgrims who came to them. Several of the more important pilgrimage centers also developed networks of "branch offices"—local centers where the lay-person who lacked the means or the motivation to make a long pilgrimage could nonetheless worship the divinity of his choice. On the Daoist side, the most numerous temples of this kind were those dedicated to Lü Dongpin, the Emperor of the North, and the Emperor of the Eastern Peak. The first two were centers for the practice of divination by selection of slips, which were then interpreted by an attendant. The halls dedicated to Lü Dongpin in most Quanzhen abbeys served simultaneously as temples for the local populace.
The temples of the Eastern Peak (Dongyue Miao), on the contrary, were without exception run by Orthodox Unity Daoists. According to an inscription written by one Zhao Shiyan in 1328 and set up on the grounds of the Temple of the Eastern Peak in Beijing, such temples "first become widespread in the middle of the Song dynasty." By the Yuan dynasty they were to be found in every town of any size, and mediums and their Daoist masters worked in them side by side, the former to contact the souls of the dead and the latter to save them, for the Eastern Peak, the abode of the dead already in Han times, was associated at once with the tribunals of hell and the hope of immortality. Veritable nerve centers of the traditional Chinese religious system, the temples of the Eastern Peak seem to have been singled out for destruction by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976).
It is not known when the original Daoist community organized by the Heavenly Masters disappeared. As early as the third century, leaders of the community were complaining that libationers were increasingly self-appointed or at least not appointed by the hierarchy. The office of libationer, moreover, seems very early on to have become a hereditary one. It is nonetheless fairly certain that laypersons continued to practice the initiatory rites of sexual union as late as the mid-Tang, and Heavenly Master "congregations" must therefore have continued to exist. But by the mid-Song, when the Heavenly Masters themselves began once again to play a political role, it was as hierarchs not, as in the time of Zhang Lu, of an organized lay community, but of all Orthodox Unity priests. Over the centuries, laypersons of means continued to make the pilgrimage to Dragon-Tiger Mountain in order to be invested before death with a "register of immortality," but the main function of the Daoist "pope" was the transmission of registers to priests. By the 1920s and 1930s even the number of such registers had dropped off to from one to three hundred a year, and it was estimated that only one percent of Zhengi priests actually applied for such a register.
This situation was in part due to the fact that the foreign Qing dynasty had terminated the special relationship between the ruling house and the Heavenly Masters. During the Ming dynasty, by contrast, emperors were constantly inviting the Heavenly Master to the capital to perform Offerings, the compilation of the Daozang (Daoist canon) was entrusted to the Heavenly Masters, and several emperors even arranged high marriages for what had in effect become their spiritual counterpart: the emperor controlled the (Confucian) administration; the Heavenly Master had final authority over all gods and demons. He was, in other words, not only the nominal head of all Daoist priests, but also the overseer of all local cults. Throughout the Ming period, the Heavenly Master continued to be associated with imperial campaigns against heterodox cults. At the same time, local Orthodox Unity priests were "infiltrating" local temples—of the Eastern Peak, of the City God (Chenghuang Miao), of the third-century patriot and general Guan Yü (Guanti Miao)—and performing Offerings for the consecration of temples dedicated to gods who, although not "Daoist," had been officially invested by imperially promulgated titles inscribed in the "canon of sacrifices." The collective ceremonies of initiation of original Daoism seem to have survived only among tribal peoples such as the Yao: there, ordination remains a prerequisite for salvation and is therefore extended to the entire community.
The number of Daoist monks—mostly of the Quanzhen order since the Yuan dynasty—never approached that of lay Daoist priests (or Buddhist monks). The monks nonetheless played an important part in shaping Daoist history from the fifth century on. Not only did their leaders have privileged relations with emperors, at least until 1281, they also regularly exchanged visits and poems with the members of the gentry class from which many of them came. Wang Zhe's first convert and eventual successor, for example, Ma Yü (1123–1183), was known locally as Ma panzhou, Ma "half-the-prefecture," because of his extensive land holdings. Also, it was these Daoists who controlled the network of official abbeys first created in the Tang dynasty.
At the beginning of the Qing dynasty, the White Cloud Abbey of Beijing, originally built around the grave of Qiu Changchun became the center of a reinvigorated, imperially recognized Quanzhen lineage. In the 1940s it still had at least nominal control of twenty-three such abbeys throughout the country. Qiu's birthday on the nineteenth day of the first lunar month was one of Beijing's biggest festivals. The only complete copy of the Ming-dynasty Daoist canon to survive to the present is that of the same White Cloud Abbey. It was only natural, therefore, that it was selected by the government in the 1950s as the seat of the National Daoist Association. Among the major abbeys that have been restored since the government began, in the early 1980s, to allow and even encourage the restoration of religious buildings, many are on the 1940s list of twenty-three, and all reopened abbeys send their best novices to Beijing for a six-month training period. Gradually, however Zhengi Daoists have joined the hitherto Quanzhen-dominated national association, and they now perform rituals in their temples as in the past.
Du Guangting; Jiao; Kou Qianzhi; Laozi; Liang Wudi; Lu Xiujing; Millenarianism, article on Chinese Millenarian Movements; Priesthood, article on Daoist Priesthood; Sima Chengzhen; Taiping; Wang Zhe; Worship and Devotional Life, article on Daoist Devotional Life; Zhang Daoling; Zhang Jue; Zhang Lu; Zhenren.
For good general surveys of early Daoism see Daoism Handbook, ed. Livia Kohn (Leiden, 2000): Barbara Hendrischke, "Early Daoist Movements" (chap. 6); Peter Nickerson, "The Southern Celestial Masters" (chap. 10); Livia Kohn, "The Northern Celestial Masters" (chap. 11); Charles Benn, "Daoist Ordination and Zhai Rituals" (chap. 12). Excellent introductions to the ideological content of pre-Tang Heavenly Master Daoism may be found in Anna Seidel's "Das neue Testament des Dao: Lao Tzu und die Entstehung der daoistiszhen Religion am Ende der Han-Zeit," Saeculum 27 (1978): 147–172, and Rolf A. Stein's "Remarques sur les mouvements du daoïsme politico-religieux au deuxième siècle ap. J.-C.," T'oung pao 50 (1963): 1–78. On Daoist rejection of "heterodox cults," see Rolf A. Stein's "Religious Daoism and Popular Religion from the Second to the Seventh Centuries," in Facets of Daoism, edited by Holmes Welch and Anna Seidel (New Haven, 1979), pp. 53–81. On Daoist messianism, see Anna Seidel's "The Image of the Perfect Ruler in Early Daoist Messianism: Laozi and Li Hung," History of Religions 9 (November 1969 and February 1970): 216–247, and Christine Mollier's Une apocalypse taoïste du Ve siècle: Le livre des Incantations divines des grottes abyssales (Paris, 1990). On the early history of zhurch-state relations and the development of Daoist sanction of imperial power, see Anna Seidel's "Imperial Treasures and Daoist Sacraments: Daoist Roots in the Apocrypha," in Tantric and Daoist Studies in Honour of R. A. Stein, edited by Michel Strickmann (Brussels, 1983), vol. 2, pp. 291–371, and Richard B. Mather's "Kou Qianzhi and the Daoist Theocracy at the Northern Wei Court, 425–451," in Facets of Daoism, pp. 103–122. My Wushang biyao: Somme daoïste du sixième siècle (Paris, 1981) describes the ideological content of Daoist universalism under the Northern Zhou dynasty. For the sociological background and early history of Shangqing Daoism, see Michel Strickmann's "The Mao-shan Revelations: Daoism and the Aristocracy," T'oung pao 63 (1977): 1–64. Isabelle Robinet's Méditation daoïste (Paris, 1979) and La révélation du Shangqing dans l'histoire du daoïsme, 2 vols (Paris, 1984), gives thorough surveys of Shangqing practices and their prehistory.
For the Tang dynasty, the best introduction is Timothy Barrett's Daoism under the T'ang: Religion and Empire During the Golden Age of Chinese History (London, 1996). Charles David Benn's "Daoism as Ideology in the Reign of Emperor Xuanzung (712–755)" (Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 1977) gives a detailed study of the period up to the mid-Tang. On the pivotal figure Du Guangting, Franciscus Verellen's Du Guangting (850–933): taoïste de cour à la fin de la Chine médiévale (Paris, 1989) gives an exemplary study of the intertwining of religious and political history. On Huizong, the "emperor as Daoist god," see Michel Strickmann's "The Longest Daoist Scripture," History of Religions 17 (February-May 1978): 331–354. Procédés secrets du Joyau magique. Traité d'alchimie daoïste du onzième siècle, edited and translated by Farzeen Baldrian-Hussein (Paris, 1984) is a translation and study of the main text on internal alchemy in the Zhongli Quan/Lü Dongpin tradition.
A special issue of The Journal of Chinese Religions (no. 29, 2001), edited by Vincent Goossaert and Paul Katz, is entirely devoted to "New Perspectives on Quanzhen Taoism." The Yongle Palace Murals (Beijing, 1985) gives beautiful reproductions of the Yonglo murals. An excellent study is provided by Paul R. Katz in Images of the Immortal: The Cult of Lü Dongbin at the Palace of Eternal Joy (Honolulu, 1999). David Hawkes's "Quanzhen Plays and Quanzhen Masters," Bulletin de l'École Francaise d'Extrême-Orient 69 (1981): 153–170, is a delightful introduction to the subjects named.
On the legislation governing official abbeys, see Werner Eichhorn's Beitrag zur rechtlizhen Stellung des Buddhismus und Daoismus im Song-Staat: Übersetzung der Sektion "Daoismus und Buddhismus" aus dem Qing-Yuan T'iao-Fa Shih-Lei (Leiden, 1968) and J. J. M. de Groot's Sectarianism and Religious Persecution in China, vol. 7 (Amsterdam, 1903), chap. 3.
Excellent introductions to Daoism from the Song through the Qing may be found in Livia Kohn, ed., Daoism Handbook (Leiden, 2000): Lowell Skar, "Ritual Movements, Deity Cults, and the Transformation of Daoism in Song and Yuan Times" (chap. 15); Lowell Skar and Fabrizio Pregadio, "Inner Alchemy (Neidan )" (chap. 16); Pierre-Henry de Bruyn "Daoism in the Ming (1368–1644)" (chap. 20); Monica Esposito, "Daoism in the Qing (1644–1911)" (chap. 21). New light on the role of Tantrism in transforming Daoism's relationship with popular religion may be found in Edward L. Davis, Society and the Supernatural in Song China (Honolulu, 2001).
On Daoism among the Yao, see Jacques Lemoine's richly illustrated Yao Ceremonial Paintings (Atlantic Highlands, N.J., 1982). On Daoism as it functions in modern Chinese society, see my Daoist Ritual in Chinese Society and History (New York, 1987) and Kenneth Dean, Taoist Ritual and Popular Cults of Southeast China (Princeton, 1993).
John Lagerwey (1987)
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