Dao House...
Later Daoist History
Chapter Seven, Later Daoism
Chapter from Gregory James Smits's (Penn State University, History and Religious Studies) online textbook, Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History, offers an excellent overview of religious Daoism, with great inner links to graphics and texts.
"Today, Daoism as a popular religion is so thoroughly intermixed with Buddhism and local folk religions that it is impossible to separate them.  When guide books for travelers on China or Taiwan speak of 'Daoism,' they usually mean the later developments of Daoism as a popular religion, not the more narrowly-focused early Daoism of the Daodejing and Zhuangzi."
The Spirits of Chinese Religion
Stephen F. Teiser's (Princeton University, Religion) long introduction to the book Religions of China in Practice.  Historical analysis of "the three teachings" - Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism - in the context of "popular religion," kinship, and bureaucracy structures.
"While earlier generations (both Chinese bibliographies and scholars of Chinese religion) have emphasized the distinction between the allegedly pristine philosophy of the 'School of Dao' and the corrupt religion of the 'Teachings of the Dao,' recent scholarship instead emphasizes the complex continuities between them."
Tao of...
Taoism, or the Way
1982 journal article by Judith A. Berling (Graduate Theological Union) on the diversity of Daoism and its compatibility with Confucianism.
"As the Taoist pantheon developed, it came to mirror the imperial bureaucracy in heaven and hell... The gods in heaven acted like and were treated like the officials in the world of men."
Center for Daoist Studies
Notable Daoist scholar Loius Komjathy and Chinese medical practitioner Kate Townsend offer multiple pages on a variety of foundational practices, sacred sites, and personages, plus dozens of downloadable articles and scriptures.
Daoist Culture Database
Huge index to the extensive database of the Taoist Culture and Information Centre, created by the Hong Kong Fung Ying Seen Koon Daoist Centre (Dragon Gate sect of the Complete Perfection lineage).  Contains hundreds of articles on all facets of religious Daoism, including history, sects, scriptures, rituals, immortals, a substantial glossary, and lots more  Note: to access the site, copy and paste the URL (the site does indeed exist, but seems to be blocked by Geocities/Yahoo). If all else fails, link to it through Google.
Mismatched Concepts of Early Medieval Chinese Religious History
Richard Gunde (UCLA, Center for Chinese Studies) summarizes and quotes from a 2004 talk by Victor H. Mair (University of Pennsylvania, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies) on the concept of "religion" in China, and the Buddhist origins of Daoist religion (as opposed to Daoist philosophy).
"If there had been no Buddhism that came to China, there would be no Daoist religion, especially as it has been known for the past 1,800 years or so."
Review of... Taoism: The Enduring Tradition
Eric Sean Nelson (University of Massachusettes - Lowell, Philosophy) critiques Russell Kirkland's (University of Georgia, Religion) 2004 book, which argues that "religious Daoism" has been misrepresented by both Western and Chinese interpreters.
"For Kirkland, belonging to a Daoist heritage, lineage, and tradition constitutes being Daoist such that Daoist indentity and thought cannot be defined by the philosophical and sinological reconstruction of a few 'classics.'"
The Qin and Han Dynasties
Chapter from independent scholar Frank E. Smitha's online World History text includes his take on the beginnings of the Daoist religious cults.
"Zhangling promised his followers a long life and immortality, and he earned the gratitude of local common folk by getting done what the emperor's authorities had failed to do: repair roads and bridges, store grain and distribute bread to the starving... Without acknowledging it, Daoists were rejoining the world of power politics."
Taoism: A Short Introduction
Fabrizio Pregadio's (Stanford University, Religious Studies) recent entry to the New Dictionary of the History of Ideas describes the basic religious features of Daoism.
"...the typically Taoist form of communicating with the gods is by writing.  In Taoist ritual, the priest delivers a 'memorial' (or 'statement,' shu) to the deities to announce that a ceremony will be performed in their honor... The so-called talismans (fu, a word that corresponds almost exactly to Greek symbolon) are traced on paper or other supports, including air, in graphs intelligible to the gods... The talismans have a counterpart in Heaven, and thus serve to identify and authenticate their possessor."
The Civilization of China, Chapter III
The 1911 classic by Herbert A. Giles, from Project Gutenberg.  Chapter 3 speaks of Laozi and Zhuangzi (also Chapter 7), and Daoism is mentioned throughout.  See the Table of Contents here.  (Note: not a reliable reference for a student paper, except perhaps to illustrate the politically incorrect views of an earlier era.)
[on Laozi, from Chapter 3:] "He was a very original thinker, and a number of his sayings have been preserved to us by ancient authors, whom they had reached by tradition; that is to say, the Old Philosopher never put his doctrines into book form.  There is indeed in existence a work which passes under his name, but it is now known to be a forgery and is generally discarded by scholars."
Taoism [The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912]
Henri Cordier's outdated but interesting account of (mainly religious) Daoism.  From Kevin Knight's New Advent site.  (Ditto note in previous entry.)
"Dr. Herbert Giles wrote a sensational article, 'The Remains of Lao Tzu,' to show by various arguments that the 'Tao-teh-king' is a spurious work and that its now spurious portions have been mostly mistranslated.  It was the starting-point of a controversy in which Dr. Chalmers, Dr. Legge, Dr. Edkins, and some other sinologues took part."
The Daoist Religion of China
Book chapter by Tang Yi-jie (Beijing University, Institute for the Study of the Daoist Religion), from the online book Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, Christianity, and Chinese Culture.  The basics, from a mainland Chinese perspective.  See also Tang's long chapter on "The Origin and Characteristics of Daoism," which examines the development of Daoism in the context of the history of religions (with quotes from Marx, Lenin, and Brezhnev).  From the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy site (Washington, DC).
"The sixty-fourth generation Heavenly Teacher is in Taiwan.  His nephew is on the Chinese mainland continuing the tradition as the sixty-fifth generation Heavenly Teacher.  This young Heavenly Teacher, a man in his twenties, came to my home to study Daoist religion."
A General Introduction to Daoism in China
The taoist.org site (China) pulls it all together in plain English.
"Today's Daoist followers belong to either of these two sects [Quanzhen/Zhengyi]... There is no difference in basic beliefs between the two sects, with the only differences lying in their norms and regulations.  Quanzhen Daoism, for example, requires its followers to be vegetarians, remain single and live in temples, while the Zhengyi sect has no such regulations at all."
Glossary of Terms
From the Art Institute of Chicago, a glossary of religious Daoist terms compiled for the "Taoism and the Arts of China" art exhibition that toured in 2000-2001.
The History of Taoism
Russell Kirkland (University of Georgia, Religion) briefly describes texts and movements of "Classical" and "Later" Daoism.  See additional PDFs by Kirkland here.
"Whereas the T'ang rulers, strong and confident, encouraged and patronized strong Taoist leaders, the weaker rulers of Sung times could not afford to do so; the alien rulers of the Yuan and Ch'ing periods sometimes shackled Taoism's leadership.  The succeeding dynasties usually 'recognized' a single group (often Cheng-i, sometimes Lung-men) as the 'official' leaders of Taoism, without regard for what the Taoists of the day believed or practiced."
General Essay on Taoism
Includes an outline of Daoist history and a bibliography of classic texts.  See also their flow chart, with brief descriptions of doctrines, history, symbols, adherents, and headquarters/main center for various sects of religious Daoism.  From the Philtar site of St. Martin's College (England).
"Cheng-I or Heavenly Master and Chuan-Chen became the major Taoist traditions after the end of the thirteenth century.  However, Taoist religious impetus was already waning and the main trends of Taoist philosophical thought were being absorbed into 'New-Confucianism,' whilst the greater part of religious Taoism was absorbed into popular religion."
The Taoist Canon
David K. Jordan (University of California, San Diego, Anthropology) outlines historical and organizational factors of popular Daoist texts.
"All editions of the Taoist Canon include a wide and miscellaneous range of materials, a mix of philosophy (often with speculations about the perfect political system), instructions for preparing an elixir of immortality by manipulating various chemicals (referred to as 'outer alchemy' waidan), guides to meditation (referred to as 'inner alchemy' or neidan), liturgies, charms, and even reprints of the writings of famous non-Taoists."
Cosmic scripts and heavenly scriptures: the holy nature of Taoist texts
A long paper by Stephan Peter Bumbacher (Universities of Berne, Zurich, and Tuebingen), with excerpts from various scriptures.  Fifth-century Daoist scriptures of the "immortals" were in such demand that forgeries flourished.  They were said to cure disease and confer immortality.
"The recipients on the lower end of the hierarchy obtained the scriptures either through direct transmission by immortals or by gifted religious teachers, or the scriptures could be found in mountain caves or, for example, in lacquered boxes buried in the ground.  Alternatively, mediums still nowadays can receive the content of a scripture in trance."
Eight Immortals - Part 1
The Feng Shui Times site offers engaging summaries of the Eight.  Part 2 here.
"A look at Lan Caihe's portrait would immediately leave one guessing the gender of this immortal... The songs he sang were full of implications on the rulers, state, and Mother Earth, but ordinary mortals could not understand them."
The Eight Immortals
1916 work by W. Perceval Yetts, from the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.  Introduction and translation of the Lieh hsien chuan, a classic illustrated "handbook of Taoist mythology."  From J. B. Hare's Internet Sacred Texts Archive.
"'What is it you are cultivating?'  [Ts'ao Kuo-chiu] replied: 'I am cultivating Tao.'  They asked: 'Where is Tao?'  Kuo-chiu pointed up to heaven.  'Where is heaven?' they said.  Kuo-chiu pointed to his heart."
A Gallery of Chinese Immortals
Lionel Giles's Introduction to his 1948 volume of translations of biographies of the Immortals.  From The Phoenix of Immortality site.  [Popup alert]
"The Chinese have taken their immortals very seriously, and a literature of almost incredible bulk has grown up around them.  A comsiderable portion of the huge Taoist Canon consists of works dealing with their lives, teachings, and multifarious activities."
Lu Tung Pin [Lu Dongbin]: a Taoist Immortal
This excerpt from Kwok and O'Brien's The Eight Immortals of Taoism gives a brief history of "the most popular of the Eight."  Includes an inner link to a story from the book involving Lu: "Pai Shih Lang's Drama."
"He is usually shown carrying a large sword, his symbol when the Eight are symbolically represented.  The sword is known as Chan-yao Kuai, the Devil Slayer.  With this sword he is able to capture and tame all evil spirits if he is invoked correctly."
The Quest for Longevity, A Taoist Perspective
Article by Francesco Garri Garripoli (film producer, qigong instructor) on historic and current Daoist practices for achieving "immortality."  From his Wuji Productions website.
"There are dozens, if not hundreds, of accounts throughout history of ancient Taoist sages who lived to be two hundred, three hundred, even four hundred years old... Cheating mortality, the Immortals are believed to be walking the Earth to this day."
Fei Jiang-fang
Short essay by Robert J. Baran (Phoenix) tells the story of one of the immortal "Gourd Elders" and his magical miniature world.
"He was said to have had 'the power of shrinking and collecting in an urn mountains and streams, birds and animals, people, pavillions, terraces and buildings, boats and carriages, trees and rivers.'"
The Taoist Deities
Brief thumbnails of the primary deities of the Daoist pantheon, from Christopher Majka's Yang Style Tai Chi site.
"The San-kuan rule over all things in the three regions of the universe, keep a register of good and evil deeds and award good or bad fortune accordingly.  T'ien-kuan, the Ruler of Heaven, grants happiness.  Ti-kuan, ruler of Earth, grants remission of sins, and Shui-kuan, ruler of Water, averts all evil."
Mountain deities in China
1994 journal article by Terry F. Kleeman (University of Colorado at Boulder, Religious Studies), subtitled "the domestication of the mountain god and the subjugation of the margins," on the evolution of mountain gods from "an amalgam of Daoist and popular beliefs and practices."
"The unifying force in these changes is a tendency toward integration.  The mountainous regions of China were integrated into its cultural space, the gods of these mountains were integrated into the larger pantheon of popular worship, and Daoist transcendents were integrated into a continuous, though hierarchically arrayed, pantheon incorporating all aspects of the divine world--what I call the unified sacred realm."
Inquiry Report on the Chinese Goddesses Hsi Wang Mu and Ma-tsu
Student paper by Laura Zinck (St. Thomas University, New Brunswick, Canada, Religious Studies).
"Cahill (1986) asserts that Hsi Wang Mu had special significance for women who existed outside the traditional Chinese-family based roles of 'the dutiful daughter, obedient wife, and self-sacrificing mother' (p. 188).  The Queen Mother provided two models for women outside traditional roles; women performers, musicians and brothel singers could imitate the model of her celestial attendants, the musically talented and sensual Jade Maidens, and Taoist novices, nuns, and Refined  Masters (i.e., Mistresses) could imitate Hsi Wang Mu herself."
Taoist Literature, Part 1: Through the Tang Dynasty
Long, scholarly essay by Stephen Bokenkamp (Indiana University, Languages) describes various texts of the Celestial Masters tradition.  From the Sweet Briar College server.
"The Perfected appeared to Yang [Yang Hsi, 330-c.386] in midnight visions, dictating to him full-scale scriptures, biographies of the Perfected, and supplementary instruction.  Some of the more earthly forces inspiring Yang may be gauged in the fact that these revealed materials included re-workings of [earlier texts]..."
The 'Three Doctrines Discussions' of Tang China
This 1994 journal article by Mary M. Garrett (Wayne State University, Communications), subtitled "Religious debate as a rhetorical strategy," uses the Tang debates among Daoists, Buddhists, and, to a lesser degree, Confucianists, as a "case study" to illustrate the degeneration of institutionalized debate rituals.
"As often as not, though, the debates revolved around doctrinal claims.  For instance, the emperor Tang Wu Zong (reigned 841-846) proposed the question of whether one could learn to become an immortal, as well as the proposition that 'a large country should be governed as though frying a small fish,' that is, with minimal interference."
Laughing at the Tao: Debates Among Buddhists and Taoists in Medieval China
Book review by Farzeen, Baldrian-Hussein of a translation of a 6th-century text...
"...documenting the struggle for power and influence at court by rival Buddhists and Taoists.  Acrimonious debates between the two began in the third century, when a Taoist named Wang Fou forged a sutra, the Huahu jing [Scripture of the Conversion of the Barbarians], in which Laozi is said to have traveled to the West and there, as the Buddha, convened the 'barbarians' to Buddhism."
The Stone Tablet in the Temple of Lao-Dze
Attributed to Hsieh Tao-Hang of the Sui dynasty (581-618 C.E.).  Translated by James Legge. 
"When he was born, the hair on his head was already white, and he took the designation of 'The Old Boy' (or Laozi)... From the time of Fu-hsi down to that of the Kau dynasty, in uninterrupted succession, dynasty after dynasty, his person appeared, but with changed names."
Celestial Master Taoism: Its Ritual Practice and Continuity of Social Impact
Session 111 from a 1997 Association for Asian Studies conference includes five abstracts on "perhaps the earliest organized Taoist movement."
"One of the most striking features of the Xiang er commentary to the Lao zi is the understanding of the Dao that it articulates.  In this early Celestial Masters commentary, the Dao is understood in broadly anthropomorphic terms.  It is understood to have emotions, desires, to act in human-like ways, and to have a body." [Allen Singleton]
The Texts of Early Heavenly Master Taoism
Franciscus Verellen (Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-Orient and Chinese University of Hong Kong) introduces abstracts of nine presentations from a 2001 conference.
"In sum, the conference provided a forum for in-depth discussion of the religious context to the rise of the Tianshi dao (deification of Laozi, Buddho-Taoist interaction); elements of the movements' founding institutions (terms of the Zhengxi covenant, sacrificial system, sanquan judiciary); the composition and transmission of some of its earliest texts (Tianshi jiao, Laozi Xiang'er zhu); and, finally, liturgical and scriptural factors pertaining to the petition ritual..."
Isabelle Robinet (noted Daoist scholar, 1932-2000) relates the history, precepts, and practices of the "Highest Clarity" branch of religious Daoism.  From The Encyclopedia of Taoism, edited by Fabrizio Pregadio (Stanford, Religious Studies)See also the entries for Tianshi Dao (Celestial Masters), Lingbao, and Quanzhen.
"Claiming to be on a higher level than its forerunners, it consists of a synthesis of the native ecstatic tradition... immortality seekers... Buddhism... old Chinese myths and of the literary tradition represented by the Chuci... This gave the Shangqing texts a remarkable poetic and literary quality, and secured them success among the Chinese intelligentsia."
Introduction to Quanzhen Daoism and the Dragon Gate Tradition
Shi Jing and Shi Dao offer stories of the patriarchs of this sect, which has its headquarters at the White Cloud Temple in Beijing.  From the Britist Taoist Association site.
"...after some years of guidance in internal cultivation, Zhongli perfected the golden elixir, tied his hair in two buns and, calling himself the 'freest tramp under heaven,' began his travels."
The White Cloud Taoist Monastery
Translated by Yanling Johnson, possibly from a tourist brochure.  Lengthy description of the various buildings, statues, and structures of the temple complex in Beijing, including stories of immortals, history, rituals, artwork, inscriptions, documents, and other artifacts.  From the Qigong Association of America site.
"Since its first name, the Tian Chang Monastery to its present name, the White Cloud Monastery, the monastery has survived over 1200 years and has become a treasure house of artifacts.  Even though many of these precious artifacts have been destroyed due to the changing dynasties and past disasters, still, a lot remain."
The Spiritual Treasure of Concentration and Contemplation Sutra
Buddhist-influenced Tang-era text, translated by Akrishi.
"No dislike of noisy places, / not irritated when involved in things, / this is real steadiness of mind."
Thai-Shang Kan Ying Phien, or Lao Zi's Book of Actions and Their Retributions, c.1000 CE
Part of The Internet East Asian History Sourcebook, ed. by Paul Halsall (Fordham University).  James Legge's version.
"He who would seek to become an Immortal of Heaven ought to give the proof of 1300 good deeds; and he who would seek to become an Immortal of Earth should give the proof of three hundred."
The Kan Ying Pien
Frederick Henry Balfour's 1884 rendition of the same text, with additional instructions on reading the text and "Certain Wonderful Verifications" of it.  Additional Daoist texts translated by Balfour here.
"Then Shih-k'o went home, and although he was a poor man he found means to print an edition of the Book of Recompenses and distribute copies among his friends.  By the time he had printed ten pages, his sickness was half-cured; when the work was completed he found himself entirely recovered..."
Yu Shu King, or 'The Classic of the Pivot of Jade.'
Attributed to Hsuan-yang Dze (14th century).  James Legge's rendition, from J. B. Hare's Internet Sacred text Archive.
"The restraints arising from the ether and destiny are the manacles decreed by Heaven.  But if one acquire the True Tao, though stupid, he may become wise; though coarse, he may become fine -- if there only be the decree of fate."
T'ai-Shang Kan-Ying Pi'en, Treatise of the Exalted One on Response and Retribution
A "work of Taoist piety and ethics" from the 15th-16th century, though parts date from antiquity, translated by Teitaro Suzuki and Paul Carus (1906). Presented in segments and quotations, with fables at the end.  Said to be the most popular book on earth, "measured by either the number of copies or the devotion of their readers."
"Those who wish to attain heavenly saintliness, should perform one thousand three hundred good deeds, and those who wish to attain to earthly saintliness should perform three hundred."
The Scripture of Forty-Nine Chapters [excerpts]
..."by Ultra Supreme Emptiness Emperor, the Heavenly Lord," translated by Silfong Chen.  No date or school is given for this "syllabus of Tao-Cultivation," but it subscribes to vegetarianism, asceticism, and reincarnation.  From Alphone's Tao Store site. 
"If you wish to learn my Tao, your mouth should be free from gossips, your Heart should be free from the appearances of others and yourself, and your body should be free from defilements, then you will correspond to the Tao of Non-action."
Catherine Despeux, Immortelles de la Chine ancienne
Book review by Fabrizio Pregadio of the "first book in a Western language entirely devoted to an examination of the place and image of women within Taoism."
"The repeated circulation of the essence in a man's body... brings about the formation of the Pearl of Dew (lu-chu) in his lower Field of the Elixir.  Since this pearl is already present in a woman's inner body, in her case the purpose of the practice is to avoid the degradation of the Pearl and collect it when it is in full brilliance two and a half days before each menstruation, a moment described in some texts as the 'arrival of the monthly messenger' (yueh-hsin)."
Taoist Robe of Descent
Photo and text from The Textile Museum site (Washington, D.C.).
Poul Anderson discusses the history and current use of the jiao salvational ritual.  From The Encyclopecia of Taoism.
"The event may last a week or longer, and invariably involves the whole community in festivities which include, for example, processions in which the statue of the deity is carried through the neighborhood, trance performances of mediums who become possessed by the god, performances by hired theatre troops on temporary stages, and large-scale presentations of offerings to the god in front of the local temple."
Chapter 20 -- Taoist Traditions
From Anne and Tim Liebermann's online journal.  Both teach English in China.  This 2000 entry describes several visits to a Daoist temple, including participation in a Daoist dedication ceremony.
"We talked with an old man ...  In his young adulthood he was a Taoist priest, however, during the Cultural Revolution... he had to stop openly practicing his religion.  All religion was frowned upon at that time and he had many very difficult years."
Taoist Priests and Hopping Vampires
Peter Nepstad, writing for The Illuminated Lantern online magazine, on the genre of Hong Kong "Taoist priest" movies, gives some background on Daoist religious practices, funeral rites, and such "tools of the trade" as:
"The Altar: The Altar is at the core of Taoist magic and ritual.  Different sects set up the altar in different ways, but they all share some characteristics in common: They all hold a sacred lamp of some kind, usually an oil lamp, with a base in the shape of a lotus flower.  This lamp is representative of the light of the Tao within, and of immortality, and should never be extinguished.  (If it is accidentally extinguished, you know something bad is about to happen.)"
In a Beijing Temple, Deities Reawaken
Noted journalist Elisabeth Rosenthal writes of the 13th-14th century Yue Daoist Temple, now restored as a museum.  From the New York Times on the Web site.
"The government intended the restoration to be a tourist site rather than a place of worship, and so it lacks some of the mysticism that is so central to Taoism; there are currently no monks living on the grounds, for example, and so no Taoist liturgies are performed.  Nonetheless, the grounds are generally filled with Chinese who pray, burn incense, and leave offerings to the deities, which lends this 'museum' a spiritual air."
Inside the Tao
"Zoom Viewer" interactive panorama of "the biggest Taoist temple in the Southern Hemisphere" (Ching Chung Taoist Temple, Brisbane, Australia).  Another page shows "a Chinese style courtyard with some really big dragons in it."
Joss House: Taoist Temples of California
Jess O/Brien's (Oakland) blog may have started with California temples, but it now features fabulous captioned photos of Daoist temples from all over the world, as well as talismans and artistic renderings of gods and immortals, especially Zhong Kui, god of literature, and the Dark Lord of the North. 
Northern CA: Weaverville Joss House (Chinese Temple)
The oldest continuously used Chinese temple in California, built in 1874 (now a state park, though still in use).  Photographer/adventurer M. Rosendahl contributed these 31 photos of the temple, inside and out, to the Webshots site. 
Folk Taoism in Southeast Asia
Multi-page text and photos by Tan Wee Cheng ("Finance Professional and nomad," Singapore) of the "hybrid, exuberant mix" of the indigenous shamanistic Daoist culture that spread through Southeast Asia during the last 300 years.
"Many well-educated Chinese Singaporeans see Folk Taoism or associated practices as embarrassment, and something one pretends doesn't exist... [this site] seeks to document, through photos and articles, Folk Taoism as a cultural and anthropological phenomenon, in particular, the rituals of the spirit medium, also known as the Tanki."
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