November 29, 2007 at 9:56 pm #26432
Sogang University, Seoul, Korea
Morning and Evening Services of the Quanzhen Order
During the summer of 2001 I directed a research tour of Daoist monasteries with nine graduate students. The first monastery that we visited was White Cloud Monastery (Baiyunguan, 白雲觀) in Beijing, China, the center of the Order of Complete Perfection (Quanzhenjiao, 全眞敎) where we attended their morning service (gongke) which was about forty minutes in duration. They proudly presented us with a few copies of their prayer book, newly printed in January, 2000 at Baiyunguan Monastery. Since I could follow their prayers very closely, not only did I understood the general meaning of their service, my heart was also moved by the fact that the Daoist masters are praying every day for all those who are sick, troubled, and alienated. Actually the scope of their prayers is wide enough to embrace the whole of humanity and the entire universe. While listening to the initially slow chanting accompanied by various bronze and wooden gongs which sounded faster as their prayers progressed, one word that came to my mind was the “Mother of the Myriad Things” in the Laozi. I myself as a Catholic Sister who prays in common twice a day with a similar vision probably was able to appreciate the importance of the Daoist Daily Prayer Book more deeply. I was not surprised when I found out that according to their pure rule (qinggui, 淸規) the absence from daily morning and evening prayer service is the first article to receive the punishment of kneeling until one incense stick is consumed completely.1
Fortunately during the same research tour I was able to attend again the Daoist morning and evening services in the Heavenly Master Cave Monastery (Tianshidong, 天師洞) in the Blue Castle Mountain (qingchengshan, 靑城山) of Sichuan province. Using the ritual prayer book that I received as a gift at Baiyunguan I followed their evening and early morning services, which lasted about a half of an hour each. When the female Daoist masters at Tianshidong saw my long yellow book, the one published at Baiyunguan, they informed me that they are using the same prayer book. They also told me that the Complete Perfection Order (全眞敎) throughout China is using the same text.
However, during another two weeks research tour in the summer of 2002, I found out that the Daoist masters in Changsha, Honan province, were using a slightly different version of the prayer book from that of the White Cloud Monastery. A Daoist master, Ma Yongqi (馬勇奇), who represents the Daoist Association in that area told me that the Daoist masters in the South are using the text printed in Wudangshan (武當山) monastery.2 He was very helpful in presenting to me the version they are using and pointing out a few differences between the two texts. Later, when I compared the two texts carefully, there were some variations of words and a few additions in the southern version in the category of the baogao(寶誥) of the immortals, such as the “Warning of the True Valiant One?(眞武誥) and the “Warning of the Holy Emperor of the South Mountain? (南岳聖帝誥). It seems to me that it is in the area of the Warnings of the Immortals that the regional legend and cultural differences can enter in the Gongke tradition of the Daoist masters of the Quanzhen Order. I will discuss this further when I analyze the structure of the Daoist Morning and Evening Gongke.
The reasons that I decided to study the Gongke of the Quanzhen Order are threefold. First of all, it is the officially recognized prayer book which is accepted and used daily by the largest Daoist Order which accounts for about 70 to 80 percent of the total of Daoist masters.3 In other words, if we comprehend the content of this prayer book and its aspirations, we can grasp the core of the Daoist spirituality prevalent today. In the preface of the Baiyunguan text it is clearly stated that the Gongke is the door through which one enters the world of the Dao; the direct path to become an immortal, and the very steps by which one ascends to the world of the immortals. Secondly, it displays the self-identity of the Quanzhen Daoist masters who emphasized from the founding period both interior cultivation and external works for people. Also, they daringly tried to synthesize the best teachings of the three religions, Daoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. In this tiny prayer book of some 70 pages their main insights and unique synthesis of the Quanzhen Order are summarized very well. Thirdly, this Morning and Evening Prayer Book contains the whole history of Daoism as a reservoir of ancient Chinese popular culture and its mythic imagery in a nutshell. It uses the age old images of “nine heavens?, “nine headed lion?, “five colored cloud?, “sweet dew of the Western Mother? etc., which we first encountered in the Songs of the South, and the Classics of Mountains and Oceans in the Warring States Period. Not only these ancient images, but the important cultivation methods of the Supreme Purity Sect (Shangqing pai 上淸派) and the ritual symbols of the Heavenly Master Sect (Zhengyi pai 正一派) are incorporated and interpreted within their synthetic vision.
The history of the formation of this Quanzhen Gongke is not found even in the official commentary published by the Chinese Daoist Academy in October, 2000.4 Because of scarcity of materials on the transmission of the Gongke, one can only draw a general sketch of how the Daoist tradition of petitions and prayers of repentance has grown gradually from the initial handwritten letters to heaven, earth, and water (三官手書) of the Heavenly Master Sect (Tianshi dao 天師道) in the second and third century.5 During the Six Dynasties the Daoist ritual practices were formulated with a Buddhist influence,6 and through visual meditation on the inner deities and recitations of the canons the Shangqing masters have developed a new path of returning to the Dao. It is generally recognized that it was during the Tang dynasty that the Daoist Gongke? started, incorporating both Confucian sacrificial rites with music and regular Buddhist chanting, which was established already during the Six Dynasties. The Daoist Master Du Guangting (杜光庭) edited a ritual text (太上黃籙齋儀) which was chanted three times a day: in the morning, during the day and in the evening.7 It is Du Guangting who was also widely known for writing the memorial petitions to the Daoist deities (qingci, 靑詞), which, I think, is closely related with Daoist Gongke.8 This study, however, is not a historical one, but a phenomenological and hermeneutical understanding of the daily official prayers of the Quanzhen Daoist masters.
I. The Analysis of the Structure of the Gongke
In order to make clear the implied meaning and significance of the daily Gongke of the Quanzhen Order, I will first analyze the basic structure of the morning and evening services. Then I will point out the fundamental commonality and some interesting differences between the morning and evening rites, which indicate a slight distinction of their function in the life of the monastery.
a. PREPARATION : The ascent to the immortal world by “walking in the void”(buxu) and purifying of mind, mouth, body, heaven and earth. Incense to the Heavenly Worthy of Purity and Stillness.
b. RECITATION OF CANONS : Chanting four canonical writings given by the Three Pure Ones (sanqing) which teaches how to cultivate the purity of heart and life energy, i.e. two dimensions of inner practice.
c. WARNINGS (baogao) : Twelve precious warnings of, and hymns to the immortals, the Three Pure Ones, the Stars, Yin and yang, and the founders of the Quanzhen Order.
d. PETITIONS : The repentance of sins which Qiu Changchun made for disciples, and 21 or 12 petitions which conclude with a wish to become the immortals.
e. CLOSING : Finishes the morning service, chanting “taking refuge in the Three Pure Ones” represented in the form of the Dao, Canon, and the Teacher. Some additional prayers for long life follow.
a. PREPARATION : The ascent to the immortal world by “walking in the void” and request the Heavenly Worthy of Deliverance from Suffering for the sake of all the suffering lonely souls.
b. RECITATION OF CANONS : Three canonical writings by the Three Pure Ones with an emphasis on delivering the dead from hell and driving away the evil energy from the body.
c. WARNINGS (baogao) : Eleven precious warnings of, and? hymns to the immortals who are the mother of the dipper, heaven-earth- water, north star, the deliverer of the dead.
d. PETITIONS : Twelve petitions and ten items of prayers for good weather, elimination of all famines, and that all their merits will be transferred to the four seas.
e. CLOSING : Finish the evening service, chanting “taking refuge in the Three Pure Ones” and offering the concluding prayers for the deliverance of all the suffering. A few additional prayers for ancestors and lonely souls.
If we compare the above five items, it is clear that the general sequence of the morning and evening services is the same, but the central focus is different. While the morning prayers are for the living, the evening prayers are mainly for the dead. Therefore, every day the Daoist masters of Quanzhen monastery pray for the wellbeing of all living and dead men and women, animals, plants, and forests.9
Another point that we can observe is that even though Morning and Evening services are an entity in themselves they are continuous and do make a whole together. In the morning the Daoist masters read, the purification zhu (呪) for their mind, the mouth, the body, the land and the entire universe. Then they read the first canon, the Canon of Purity and Stillness (淸靜經) which is believed to have been delivered by Laozi.10 The author of this canon is not known, but it contains the teachings of Laozi chapters 1 and 25 that “It is capable of being the mother of the world, but I know not its name so I style it ‘the Way’.” The idea of Laozi chapters 38 and 81 “a person of the highest virtue does not cling to the virtue” and “the way of the sage does not contend” forms the central theme of this canon. Since this canon teaches how purity and stillness gradually introduce a person into the path of true Dao, this canon occupies the central position in the morning service. Of course purity of mind and stillness of physical energy have been the central themes for Quanzhen masters from the founding period in twelfth century.
If the canons of the morning service focus on self-cultivation (內功 or 內日用) of the Daoist masters in its dual dimensions of spiritual (性功) and physical practices (命功), the canons of the evening services center around outside practices (外行 or 外日用), delivering all suffering people and the lonely dead souls. In the third canon of the evening service Laozi spreads out the light of primary energy whereby the true nature of heaven and hell is revealed. Even though it is because of their own sins that they suffer in hell, Laozi has pity on the sinners and provided this canon for them. The canon is like a boat of mercy in the ocean of life and death. The popular character of the evening service is fully demonstrated when we see the character of the immortals whose lives are narrated. First, the Mother of the Dipper (斗姥) delivers all the sentient beings from hardship; the North Star causes all the evil powers to surrender; the popular immortal L? Dongbin (呂洞賓) drives away all the ghosts with his sword; the deity of thunder (雷神/靈官) brings down the rain and heals the sick with medicine.
In a word, the morning service takes care of inner cultivation, while the evening service concentrates on the works of mercy as the outreaching works of the Quanzhen masters. The daily Gongke, therefore, summarizes and represents the entire cultivation and orientation of the Quanzhen Order. The Daoist masters, both men and women, chant their morning liturgy in common as a symbol of their life as a pilgrims who continuously ascend to the world of the immortals. After spending the entire day for the people, they come together to chant their evening service to transfer all their merits for the suffering people, both living and dead.
II. Incorporation of Three Religions and Synthesis of Daoist Spiritual Tradition
Wang Chongyang, the founder of the Quanzhen Order, stated clearly that his teaching unified basic elements of the Three Religions (三敎合一). He encouraged his followers to read not only the Daodejing and the Qingjingjing but the Prajnaparamita Sutra (般若經) and the Xiaojing (孝經) as well. Therefore, it is natural to find various elements of the Three Religions in this official prayer book of the Quanzhen Order. From Buddhism many technical terms were borrowed and used without any explanation, such as birth-death (輪回), liberation from rebirth (解脫), the five aggregates (五蘊), the six sense organs (六根), mara (魔), mental afflictions (煩惱), karma (業) and the transference of merits (回向).11 It is clear, however, that these Buddhist terms are incorporated into the Daoist path toward becoming immortals and ultimate unity with the Dao.
The importance of the thunder deity who is invoked both in the morning service (12th baogao) and in the evening service (9th baogao), may have come from Buddhism, for the thunder deity in ancient Chinese literature was never prominent. The Thunder deity was not included in the “Nine Songs? ritualized by the shamans in the South. Indra, the Hindu thunder deity in India was very popular as the guardian against the evil powers and for taking down barriers in the way. Within Buddhist circles, Indra was thought of as the highest Heavenly Emperor (帝釋) who watches over all the transmigrating world and thus was identified with the Highest Deity(上帝) in ancient China. In the Daoist Gongke, the thunder deity (雷祖) is considered to be stationed by the command of the Three Pure Ones at the top of the ninth heaven. His duty is to conquer all the evil spirits. Thus the thunder deity with red face and red mustache holding a golden whip is well incorporated within the Daoist spiritual hierarchy.
Both the Daoist morning and evening services finish with a threefold chanting: “taking refuge in the Three Pure Ones” (三皈依) whose representations are the Dao, the Canon, and the Teacher. According to the Buddhist ritual text (釋門儀範) the Buddhist Sangha complete their morning and evening rituals (朝夕誦呪文) with the formula of “taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha” repeating it three times. The fact that both the Quanzhen daily Gongke and Buddhist daily rituals are concluded with a similar formula of taking refuge in the Three Pure Ones or the Three Jewels cannot be accidental. Not only the fact that founder of Quanzhen Order made it a policy to combine the teachings from the three religions, but also his adoption of the celibate life style for the Quanzhen masters itself probably was inspired by Buddhist counterparts. Once the celibate form of life and the consequential community way of living in the Daoist monastery were accepted, the daily communal services became indispensable. The daily communal Gongke is a public symbol of their cultivation, while the inner alchemy (neidan 內丹) remains a private, hidden cultivation, even though its importance is greater because it causes the transformation of the human body into that of immortals.? Whenever I asked about their neidan practice of the Daoist masters, their answer was always same. “It is done privately under the direction of a teacher.”
Another Buddhist influence strongly felt in the evening service of the Quanzhen Order are two interesting figures: One is the immortal who delivers the suffering souls from hell and the other is the Lady immortal, the Mother of the Dipper (斗姥元君). The name of the first immortal in the Baiyunguan text is “the Great One, the Heavenly Worthy who is Deliverer of the Suffering” (太乙救苦天尊); in the Wudangshan text the name of his baogao is “the warning of Blue-Green Flower” (靑華誥), the immortal who presides over the east and symbolizes the life of Spring. This immortal acquired an immense capacity of mercy which is comparable to the Buddhist Boddhisattva Dizang (地藏). He is said to have vowed to deliver all the suffering dead and so his manifold appearances revive even desiccated bones.12 The Mother of the Dipper is also comparable to the Buddhist Mother of the Seven million Buddhas, Zhunti (准提) Boddhisattva who takes away all sins. Chinese Buddhism and Daoism responded to the? popular desires of people within their own systems.
The Confucian elements in the Daoist Gongke are less conspicuous than the Buddhist ones. The Daoist masters’ concern for those who suffer and for the dead is generally inclusive, but there is a special feeling of care for the wellbeing of ancestors. The eleventh baogao of the evening service is the “paying back the benefits” (報恩誥). Here the Daoist masters petition that the living parents may enjoy blessing and a long life and that ancestors may quickly attain the immortal world. Concern for the deliverance of ancestors is not unique in the Quanzhen Order, for it is already stated repeatedly in the Shangqing canons such as Tadongzhenjing (大洞眞經) of the Six Dynasties that if one reads the canon ten thousands times, seven generations of ancestors will be delivered from hell. Like the Buddhist monks and nuns, the Daoist masters reaffirmed that the cultivation of a celibate lifestyle itself is the best form of filial piety.13
It is most natural that the official Gongke of the Quanzhen Order, the last greatest reformed branch of Daoism, succeeds and synthesizes the whole history of the Daoist spiritual tradition. Zhang Daoling who began the first Daoist sect in the second century is recognized as the ancestral heavenly master (祖天師)14, and Ge Xuan (葛玄) and Xinyinjing (心印經) of the Lingbao Sect occupy a notable position in the fourth canon of the morning service.15 The notion of the mouth-deity (口神), the tongue-deity (舌神), the teeth-deity (齒神) and the Nine True Ones (九眞) of the brain etc., and the visualizing? meditation on these inner deities as the primary energy of the Dao residing in the human body which is highly developed in the Shangqing Sect, is incorporated as a part of neidan. The climax of this visual meditation, the “return of the whirl wind? (回風), is interpreted as the completion of minggong (命功).16 The concept of mara (魔) as the tempter or the barrier on the way of the immortal is also carried over from the Shangqing Sect.17
The popular Daoist ethic which is represented in the Treatise on Response and Retribution (Taishang Ganyingpian, 太上感應篇) can be found in various parts of the morning and evening Gongke.18 The importance of the founder and his seven disciples, called the ‘Seven Perfect Ones’ (七眞), can be easily observed by the ‘Precious Warnings of the Seven Perfect Ones’ in the morning service and the short biographies presented at the end of the evening Gongke in the Baiyunguan text (pp. 76-89). The Northern Five ancestors (北五祖) and the Southern Five Ancestors (南五祖) are not forgotten, allotting a separate baogao to each category in the morning service. Qiu Changchun (丘長春), however, occupies a special place in the Quanzhen Gongke as the teacher of neidan par excellence in the evening Gongke, and as the author of the confessions which begin “we repent.”
We went against the wish of our parents and insulted them. We wrongly betrayed our rulers and teachers. We were disrespectful to Heaven, Earth and the Spirits. We blamed the wind and railed at the rain. We did not believe in sin, blessing and retribution. We clouded the right principle and deceived the mind. Finally we received the reward for them and transmigrated over and over, suffering afflictions unceasingly. All were derived from the error of one thought ?And so we are calming our thought and aspire for a clear pure heart. We return to the Holy True Ones and following them we truly beg to repent. Please pity on our foolishness, forgive our sins and misgivings, release karmic grudge and remit all the mara?s barriers.19
The sins listed here are moral ones, such as avarice, jealousy, cursing, murder, sexual misconduct, violence toward parents and superiors as well as religious ones through a lack of respect towards heaven and earth and the immortals, cursing or laughing at the wind and rain, etc. It is interesting that the “Edited Sayings of the Danyang Perfect One” (丹陽眞人語錄) reports that the founder Wang Chongyang was angered at his disciples on a few occasions. Once a disciple said that they were not willing to go to their own villages to beg. When Wang Chongyang realized that disciple was still too proud to beg, he beat him so hard at night that he even thought about leaving him. On another occasion, one disciple picked up a sales contract for the donkey that had dropped on the road. When the teacher found this out, he was angry at his young disciple who still did not give up the desire for worldly treasure and slapped his face many times.20 Occasions of this sort may have caused Qiu Changchun to compose a confessional list for repentance. But this fact cannot be confirmed and the commentary on the Gongke explains that Qiu wrote this in order to warn his disciples.
Another list that we should observe are the twenty-one petitions and twelve further petitions of the morning service, and the list of ten petitions in the evening service. These formal petitions exhibit general wishes and intentions towards life of the Daoist masters. We see the forerunner of these petitions in the qingci (靑詞) of the Chiao (醮) ritual of traditional Daoism.21 Just like the qingci summarized the intention of the ritual in the form of a memorial to the heavenly worthies, these lists of petitions directly show what the Daoist masters were asking through their daily prayers in common. The petitions begin with a prayer for peace and prosperity for society in general and proceed to the wellbeing of all living beings – including animals, insects, forests, and the lonely, dead souls of men and women. The petitions end with a wish for even distribution of benefits and the hope they may attain the Dao through hearing the canons and ascend to the world of the immortals.22 We may say that this is the Daoist soteriology with its unique vision of wellbeing as equality, freedom, and eternal life.
In this Daoist Gongke, the unity of the Daoist masters with the Dao is symbolized in their initial prayer melody called ‘buxuyun’ (步虛韻), which accompanies the ‘walking in the void.'(步虛). This performance is the well known final ritual act of the Zhengyi (正一) Daoist masters during their several day ritual of renewal of the primary energy.23 This performance of the ritual by walking around the main altar as if the chief priest is walking up to the heaven through the empty cloud of the dipper, is the ritual climax showing the unity of the master with the Dao. Interestingly enough, the Quanzhen masters chant this ?walking in the void? at the beginning of the morning and evening services. They do not perform it, but just chant slowly along with the melody named after this ritual. It seems to me that the Quanzhen masters start with the culminating ritual of the Zhengyi sect by presenting themselves immediately to the world of the immortals by the purifying invocations of their bodies, heaven and earth. It is the heavenly power of the canons and the warning speeches of the immortals by which they communicate with the spiritual world for the sake of the entire humanity and universe. One can feel a solemn dignity in the Quanzhen Gongke.
III. Reinterpretation of Ancient Chinese Mythic Images
The Quanzhen morning and evening prayers contain many colorful images such as the body of an immortal flying up into the purple cloud, the five emperors riding the whirl wind, the nine-headed lion who sits beside the immortal who delivers a precious speech, and the Eastern Prince(東王公) and the Mother of the Western Kingdom (西王母).24 These images have a long history from the Classic of Mountains and Oceans (山海經) and the Songs of the South (楚辭) in the Warring States period. The commentary to the Gongke acknowledges this fact stating that in the Shanhaijing “there is a god who has nine heads, a human face, and the body of a bird, and his name is called the nine-headed phoenix.”25 It is the Classics of Mountains and Oceans where the gods of the mountains are pictured mysteriously with various combinations of human and animal forms. The highest God (帝), even though devoid of any particular form, had his city here below on the mountain of Kunlun with nine layers of boundaries. Both the heavens and the nether worlds were divided into nine layers and ordinary people could not approach those places because each gate was guarded by fierce animals. In a word, the number nine was a symbol of mystery and perfection that one cannot reach without a special command from heaven.
Gongke uses the same mythic imageries, but the? meaning has changed. In Shanhaijing? it was shamans who went up temporarily to attain medicine, but in Quanzhen Order every Daoist master aspires to go up to the world of Immortals for good. The nine layers of heaven are not closed, but rather inviting people by bestowing the canons, the revelation from the immortals. It is in the Songs of the South, the oldest ritual songs of the shaman in East Asia, where is recorded the ‘Nine Songs'(九歌), where the Great One (太一) whose ritual temple was located in the east, not only receives the sacrifices from the hands of the shaman, but also orders the shaman to find the wandering souls of the dead by the ritual of “Calling Back the Soul” (招魂). Actually both the “Nine Songs” and the “Calling Back of the Soul” are to give peace and security to the dead souls of the country whether killed during the war or in periods of unrest or by a grudge. Definitely there is a continuation of the theme from these ancient ritual songs and the Quanzhen morning and the evening chanting, but one can observe that there is also a clear development of the notion that it is the Daoist masters themselves who benefit these dead souls by their cultivations of neigong(內功) and waigong (外功).
Actually the recitation of morning and evening services themselves is conceived as an effective way of deliverance. There is an intriguing combination of self-power (自力) and other-power (他力) in this area of deliverance. In a way the Daoist masters’ prayer to the Three Pure Ones and other immortals for the deliverance of the dead souls recognizes that they depend upon the immeasurable merits (不可思議功德) of all the Heavenly worthies, but at the same time it is they themselves who deliver the entire universe by their cultivation of the primary energy.26 Daoism attractively maintains a tension between the personal and transpersonal concepts of the Dao; its manifold manifestations as personal deities/immortals and the nameless void coexist as a creative tension between self-deliverance and salvation by grace. Dancing through the two areas without sticking to one probably possesses the key to the truth of deliverance.
I have attempted to show the basic structure of the daily Gongke of the Quanzhen Order which includes the majority of contemporary Daoist masters. This structure as a whole shows the primary canons which are daily recited and historical figures in Chinese Daoist history who are remembered as models and spiritual masters for the present generation. Even though they consciously try to encompass the total history of Daoism, there is no doubt that it is the seven disciples of Wang Chongyang and especially Qiu Changchun who are dearest to the present Quanzhen Masters. When I heard their Gongke for the first time at Baiyunguan, Beijing, in the summer of 2001, it was chanted in the shrine-hall of the Seven Perfect Ones.27 The fact that their short biographies are printed at the back of their daily prayer book does say that in fact, every Daoist master of Quanzhen Order aspires to become like them through inner and outer cultivation. After two hours’ interview, when I asked a Daoist Master of the Quanzhen Order, Ma Yongqi, “Do you want to be an immortal (神仙)?” he answered without hesitation, “Yes, of course!” I felt that I had asked an unnecessary question, because it was so obvious. But as a scholar who is not within that tradition, I wanted to confirm what I had read in books.
At the beginning of their Gongke, they walk right into the world of the immortals through the chanting of the “walking in the void.? Then they hear the holy teachings of the Three Pure Ones and reflect on the holy lives of the immortals who have gone through human life as they are doing now. After hearing the canons and the reflections on the immortals, the Daoist masters arise to praise their worthy cultivations and determine to follow in their footsteps, trusting their immeasurable merits. Their cultivation, however, includes not only themselves, but all living beings, both the living and the dead.
The influence of other religions, especially that of Buddhism is obvious and so recognized by Quanzhen’s theory of the unity of the three religions. It seems to me, however, that Buddhist influence on the Daoist daily morning and evening services is more formal and on the level of providing inspiration as we have seen in the case of ‘taking refuge to the Three Pure Ones’ and enforcing the saving capacity of the immortal who delivers all the suffering dead from hell. In their core aspirations and dual paths of cultivation they follow Wang Chongyang and the Seven Perfect Ones. Of course, one can argue that in their cultivation of nature (性功) the Buddhist influence is great, but even in it the Daoist thinkers are indebted in their theorization more than in actual practice.28 In the matter of the practice of spiritual cultivation the Chan Buddhists were formerly indebted to the Daoist “fasting of mind” (心齋) and “sitting in forgetfulness? (坐忘) as portrayed in the inner chapters of Zhuangzi. In other words, there has been a mutual learning and a giving of inspiration in the area of spiritual cultivation between the followers of Buddhism and Daoism in China. The relationship between the Quanzhen Daoists and the Confucians are more subtle and interpenetrating because they shared common ethical values such as filial piety toward their ancestors, even though the Daoist preserved more of the ancient popular culture with its mythic images and a wide open concern for the entire universe and the lonely dead souls without blood ties.
Finally, I would like to point out that the Daoist morning and evening services are official symbolic acts of cultivation, impling both inner and outer dimensions (性命雙修) which the Quanzhen founders emphasized so clearly. We have seen how the morning prayers signify the inner cultivation (內功) of the Daoist masters themselves, while the evening prayers are directed for the outer cultivation (外功) by delivering all the suffering beings from their agony. Through their daily petitions the Daoist masters embrace the whole world and bless it for its peace and wellbeing. They want to ascend to the immortal world of the Dao with the entire universe. Through their common ritual prayer, the Quanzhen Daoist Masters manifest what they individually practice in a hidden way with the direction of a teacher in their unique neidan (內丹).
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1 Daojiao yu chuantong wenhua (Daoism and Traditional Culture), Beijing, 1992, p. 328. Other violations which receive 跪香 are disrespect during the liturgy and those who fight each other.
2 Wu dangshan daojiao yinyue yanjiu (Studies on the Daoist Music of Wudangshan) by Cao Benye and Puting Qiang, Taibei, 1993, p. 31. The authors say that they have seen two versions of the Quanzhen Gongke. One was printed in Baiyunguan, Beijing (玄門日誦早晩功課經, 1987) and the other Taishang Quanzhen Gonke (太上全眞早晩壇功課經) without a place of printing. The latter might have been a southern version. Also it is in Mudangshan monastery where the True Valiant One (眞武) is especially honored. The South Mountain (南岳) is where the legendary foundress Lady Wei (魏夫人) of the Sangqing Sect, which flourished in the South, resides as an immortal.
3 Chong yang gong yu quanzhendao (Chongyang Monastery and Complete Perfection Order) by Wang Xiping and Chen Fayong, Shanxi, 1999, pp. 206-8. The authors report that the Quanzhen monasteries occupied two thirds of all Daoist temples in 1985 and that 88 were the Quanzhen masters out of 111 representatives gathered for the fifth Daoist Congress of 1992 in Beijing. Li Yangzheng wrote that among the Daoist masters attending Chines Daoist Academy in 1990 Quanzhen masters occupy 70% and Zhengyi 30% (Contemporary Chinese Daoism, Beijing, 1993, p. 107).
4 Xuanmen risong zaowan gongkejingzhu (Commentary to the Mysterious Gate Daily Morning and Evening Services), Beijing, 2000. The general editor, Min Zhiting, wrote a one page explanation of how this commentary of 267 pages was written. The seven Quanzhen masters shared the work of writing different parts of the commentary and stated clearly that it is not conclusive commentary, but needs to be complemented through further study. This commentary was a great help for this study, for I could gain an insiders’ point of view.
5 Daojiao xinyang, shenxian yu yishi (Daoist Faith, the Immortals and Rituals), Zheng Suchun, Taibei, 2002, p. 253. Tsuchiya Masaaki wrote that confession of sins and awareness of self were very important in Taiping dao and how this rite has developed in the fifth and sixth century (“Confession of Sins and Awareness of Self in the Taiping Jing, Daoist Identity: History, Lineage, and Ritual, ed. By Livia Kohn and Harold D. Roth, 2002, pp. 39-57).
6 Daojiao yu chuantong wonhua, p. 327. The author states that the Daoist rules of life are not derived from the Buddhist rules, but came from ancient Chinese fasting regulation before the sacrifices. He emphasizes that the Daoist only imitated some of articles and formal structure from Buddhism. The Buddhist Morning and Evening Rites(朝夕誦呪) contain purification chanting, recitation of sutras summarized, confessions and petitions to the Bodhisattvas. The formal structures of the Buddhist morning and evening chanting and the Daoist ones are similar.
7 Wu dangshan daojiao yinyue yanjiu, p. 29.
8 Bu gang ta dou – daojiao jiliyidian (Waking to the North Polestar Stepping the Dipper – The Daoist Liturgical Ritual), Sichuan, 1994, pp. 173-195. Petitions were beginning to be called as qingci from Tang Dynasty. Even though both are prayers and hymns to the Dao and Daoist immortals, qingci is read during the Chiao ritual, while gongke is daily prayers.
9 The Evening Prayer of Quanzhen Gongke, Baiyunguan edition, pp. 50-51 and the Commentary, pp. 69-73.
10 The Commentary to Gongke, p. 42. The commentator defines 「淸爲元, 靜爲氣, 經爲法」and explains that this canon transmitted orally by Xiwangmu was first written down by 葛玄(p. 58).
11 Gongke, Baiyunguan edition, Morning Services, p. 27, 48, 56, 65, 66, 67,90; Evening Services, p. 17, 19, 80, etc.
12 Gongke, Baiyunguan edition, Evening Services, p. 45 and the Commentary, p. 254.
13 Gongke, Evening Service, p. 11 and the Commentary, p. 260. About petitions for ancestors, refer p. 49.
14 The “Baogao of Zhang Daoling” was not included in Zhou Gaode’s Daojiao wenhua yu shenghuo (Daoist Culture and Life), Beijing, 1999, p.83. The author mentions only nine baogao without that of Zhang Daoling and Wenchang (文昌) in 1999. This means that the inclusion of the Baogao of Zhang Daoling is quite recent as the Quanzhen Order is beginning to encompass the representative role of the Zhengyi Sect as well.
15 Gongke, Baiyunguan edition, Morning Service, p. 21.
16 The Commentary to Gongke states that this canon shows the cultivation method of minggong (命功) (p. 87).
17? Gongke, Baiyunguan editon, Morning Service, p. 3, 36 and the Commentary, p. 87.
18 Gongke, Baiyunguan editon, Morning Service, p. 65 and
19 「逆辱父母, 悖負君師, 不敬天地神祗, 呵風罵雨. 不信罪福因果, 昧理欺心, 遂致報對昇沉, 輪迴展轉, 受諸苦惱, 無有休停. 皆由一念之差. ? 是故思沉淪, 苦發淸淨心, 皈奉聖眞, 特求懺悔, 槩憐愚昧. 原赦罪愆, 解釋報冤, 蠲消魔障.」Gonke, Baiyunguan edition, Morning Service, pp. 66-67. 呵⍸罵雨 and a few ideas are found exactly the same in 太上感應篇 (Treatise on Response and Retribution by Lao Tzu, trans. by D.T Suzuki ＆ Paul Carus, Open court, 1950, p. 60). But the aspirations of Gongke are clear and directed.
20The Saying of Danyang zhenren yulu(丹陽眞人語錄) 『正統道藏』book, 40, fasc. 12-13.
21 Kristofer Schipper, “Verncular and Classical Ritual in Taoism,” Journal of Asian Studies 45, no. 1, November, 1985,p. 31, pp. 46-48.
22 Gongke, Baiyunguan editon, Morning Service, pp. 69-73 and Wudangshan edition, p. 30, where this list of petitions are to be repeated three times. But the recent Baiyunguan edition indicates to repeat only twice. We can observe that the prayers are getting simplified.
23 Michael Saso, The Teaching of Taoist Master Chuang, 1978, p.223 ; Isabelle Robinet, Taoist Meditation, 1993, p. 31. Robinet explains the efficacy of recitation of the canon and that of sound which is charged with power; Wudangshan daojiao yinyu yanjiu illustrates the history of walking in the void melody (步虛韻) in pp. 234-235.
24 Gongke, Baiyunguan edition, Morning Service, pp. 3, 24 ; Evening Service, pp. 60, 64, 67.
25 The Commentary to Gongke, p. 153. The Commentator adds that here this is the name of the seat of the thunder deity.
26 The effect of reciting the canon of Purity and Stillness is illustrated as the immortals come to protect and all disasters disappear while both body and mind are so spiritualized that a person becomes one with the Dao and ascends to heaven (Gongke, Morning Service, pp. 23-24). At the same time in the evening service where the inner visual meditation is portrayed, the commentary states that deliverance actually happens by one’s own effort (p. 191).
27 Yoshitoyo Yoshioka wrote that it was in the shrine-Hall of Seven Perfect Ones that he heard the morning service at Baiyunguan at 6:30 a.m. in the year of 1940. The Daoist canons he mentioned for Gongke are the same as in the version printed in 2000. (“Taoist monastic life” in Facets of Taoism, 1979, p. 244.)
28 Zhang Guangbao (張廣保) stated that various schools derived from the Seven Perfect Ones exhibit different degrees of Buddhist influence, but the schools who kept their identity seem to survive. 『金元全眞道內丹心性論』 三聯書店, 1995, pp. 80, 120).
URL of this webpage: http://www.daoiststudies.org/papers.kim.phpDecember 2, 2007 at 4:34 am #26433
Thanks, useful reference. My china dream trips will usually encounter these chantings. This is the path of Ritual Tao. As is mentioned, neidangong is usually considered more powerful and important.
This analysis reveals the deep debts that Complete Perfection owes to Buddhist asceticism (celibacy) and religoius structure for its community (monasteries, as opposed to Taoist mountain lineage adepts living in pairs or alone in the mountains, or later in the “cave of their mind” in cities.
Itis these buddhist elements that repel me from Quanzhen – I don’t believe focusing on sin or deliverance from (buddhist) hells is helpful or contained within the early Taoist teachings. And the adepts I’ve met in China are all sexually suppresed and guilt ridden – they are practicing to avoid going to hell! Welcome to the catholic or baptist church…..:)
There are elements in the service I do like, but these i have already incorporated into my neidan/inner alchemy practice.
The short summary:
1. Open yourself to the Supeme Mystery (wuji). You enter the Unknown, the inner space of your core channel, which precedes and therefoe is uncontrolled by your heart mind (xin).
2. Invite support from the Tao Immortals and the Beings of all Directions and Dimensions (most powerfully done with harmonic toning). other guides/particular beings or forces migiht be invoked, depending on the nature of the meditation.
3. Do the particular practice in yin, yang, or wu wei mode, as you feel inspired/guided.
4. At the end, radiate via the Inner Smile the essence of whatever has been transmuted to all beings (note: there is no such thing as a “dead” being, even though some are ancestral). Thank the beings/forces who supported the meditation.
This is a lot simpler than spending an hour a day chanting (I used to chant for two hours a day). Chanting is powerful, but it doesn’t last, too post-natal…..it fades if you stop doing it, imho. Why I teach listening to the inner sound current, much more wu wei….
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