Exorcism in Daoism, 8-11


pp. 137-49 Tam Wai-Lun : “Exorcism and the Pu-an Ritual Specialists”.

p. 137 specialists in jiao (‘communal sacrifice’)

These ... ritual specialists are known by different names in different regions.”

They are called __

in __.

xian-hua (““incense and flower””)

eastern Guan-don

na-mo lao

northern Guan-don

mo-lan xian

western Fu-jian

fo-jiao dao-s^i (“Buddhist Taoists”)

northwest Jian-xi

pp. 137-8 wives of married monks

p. 137

In a Ming encyclopedia (leishu ...) called Shang tang si kao ... by the 16th century Peng Dayi ..., it is said that when monks were married, their wives were called fansao ... or fanglao ... and the monks were known as ‘burning house’ monks (Huozhai seng ...)”.

p. 138

Apparently, married monks were common ... especially in Pangyu, the present Pearl Delta area in Guangdong. In a Song collection of ... called Chicken Ribs Collection (Ji le bian) ... by Zhuang Chuo ... in the 12th century, it is said that in southern Guangdong, ... monks ... were usually rich ... . Ladies, therefore, loved to marry monks. ... In the encyclopedia Tai ping guang ji ..., Li Fang ... (925-996) ..., quoting a Tang work ... by Fang Qianli ... (c. 840), states that ... indigenous people would marry their daughters to the monks”.

pp. 139-40 Hakka & Bendi religious practitioners

p. 139

They are called ‘burning house’ monks, similar to hearth-dwelling Taoists (Huoju daoshi ...) ... . ... they all served the Hakka (the Guest people) community, using a Hakka dialect in their ritual performance.” . “In Wanzai, a county ... adjacent to the Cihua town ..., the ... ritual specialists ... are still called Buddhist Taoists (Fojiao dahoshi ...). They served the Hakka who migrated to the mountain area after the so-called Bendi (the local) had settled in the valley. The Bendi ... would hire Taoists to

p. 140

do all kinds of rituals while the [Hakka] always hired ... Buddhist Taoists ... . ... The Buddhist Taoists classified the jiao rituals they performed into two main categories : the Yin jiao and the Yang jiao, the former were funeral rituals ... . They ... performed ... rituals involving exorcism ... performed by the Pangu school (... ritual specialists worshipping Pangu, the first living being and the creator of all ..., as the main deity). ...

Confucianist rituals (rujiao ...) ... are funeral rituals performed by Lisheng ... ceremonial specialists worshipping Zhu Xi ... (1130-1200) as the main deity.”

p. 141 war against illness-deity

a ritual called ‘Causing illness to recede and saving the good’ (tuibing jiuliang ...) ... procedure as ... : ...

the tuibing ritual overlaps with a popular ritual called ‘Passing through the Gate’ (Guoguan ...) in Fujian” [vide :- “KR”].

Concealing the souls ...

The soul of the child would be first summoned and sealed in a water bowl ... .

Fitting the lock ...

A protective lock ... would be put on ... .

Defeating gods at the temples ...

The ...part of the ritual ... performed at a nearby earth god temple ... is to declare a magic war with the god (doufa ...).”

This ritual would be performed ... when someone, especially a child, was suffering from a strange illness.”

Constructing of the Child’s Identity”


pp. 142, 144 Lu:-s^an ritualism

p. 142

Judging from the altar they set up, the rituals involving exorcism of the Buddhist Taoist in northwest Jiangxi come mainly from the Lu:shan School.”

p. 144

Buddhist Taoist’s initiation ritual ... program consists of Lu:shan rituals”.

pp. 145-6 exorcists in northwest Fu-jian; legends about Pu-an

p. 145

The ritual specialists in northwest Fujian were locally called molan xian who identified themselves as belonging to the Pu’an school (Pu’an jiao ..). ... Pu’an ritual in Fujian is exorcist-based.”

Pu’an’s wife was abducted by an evil spirit. When Pu’an found that the evil spirit had a powerful magical whisk, Pu’an made a fake one and secretly replaced it with the aid of his wife. Hereafter, with the stolen whisk, Pu’an had the magic power ... . ... Pu’an got ... his magic whisk ... accidentally swept ... across his own head leaving himself bald in the middle”.

Pu’an going to cure a plague” : “So many people were sick that P’an used his sword to stab a mountain to make magic water flow out to help cure them. Pu’an then turned his sword into a small one so that he could use it to sprinkle the magic water to the sick. Today all Pu’an ritual masters would equip themselves

p. 146

with a small wooden sword called ‘waterweeds’ (shuicao ...) for sprinkling water in purification ritual.”

Then, there were three brothers who offended heaven and were killed by thunder. They later turned into three malignant deities (san sha ...) and caused sickness for people. ... Pu’an, therefore, made a wooden rectangular pillar and wrote a talisman on four sides of the pillar and placed it at the home of the sick. Everyone then recovered from their sickness and the wooden pillar called Zan ... is still used today in Fujian.”

p. 146 Pu-an ritual exorcisms




break the road for mountain ghosts”


break the road for stone spirits”


break the road for human”


break the road for hundreds ghosts”


break the road for evil from heaven”


break the road for geomancers from the earth”


break all the curses from enemies”


break the gate for demons and hundred ghosts”


break the main cross road”


break the gate of the old temple”


block all roads for ghosts in the capital”


break the gate through which the emperor of the under world [passes] to get lives”

p. 147 a recitation in a Pu-an exorcism

I bang the table with my thunder charm, all the ghosts below would be scared. ... .

... the divine generals arrive. When the ten great generals arrive here, the spirits or demons of mountains and rivers turn to dust.”

pp. 148-9 legends in the biography (hagiography) of Pu-an; worshipping an image of Pu’an

p. 148

Pu’an ... helped to fell down strange trees (which grew back over night when cut during the day)”.

In rescuing a lady abducted by a tree spirit, Pu’an used his verse”.

Someone built a kiln that would not burn. When he came to Pu’an for help, Pu’an handed him his monk’s robe and asked him

p. 149

to put it on top of the kiln. Not only did the kiln burn again but ... was covered with smoke for three days.”

During the Yuan (1314-1320), it was believed that the worship of Pu’an’s image could given one protection during a sea voyage. Pu’an’s wooden plaque is commonly worshipped in ... Rinzai (Linji) ... Japan.”


pp. 151-69 Lin Wei-Ping : “Boiling Oil to Purify Houses (Z^u-you Jin-wu)”.

p. 152 ru-cao (inauguration of a new house)

In the ritual of inaugurating a new house, a rite called “boiling oil to purify houses” will be added to the exorcism rituals in Jinmen or Penhu islands. When the heated oil is burning in a wok, the priest successively sprays rice liquor into the wok to cause a flame. It can ... reinforce the power of exorcism”.

pp. 152-3 jiao (“ritual of cosmic renewal”) in Z^en-hu Temple, Su-cuo, Tai-nan county

p. 152

A wok of boiling oil was placed above a burner. ... The Daoist priest

p. 153

sprayed hard liquor from his mouth into the burner, causing flames to leap up, an act that also signifies purification.”

pp. 153-4 guo-you (“passing through oil’) rite, performed by an-thau-a (Hokkien for ‘red-head priest’) at Boa-an, a village in south Taiwan

p. 153

[quoted from GGh&A, p. 56] “About the same time the gods descended into the divination chairs, a medium ... went into trance. ...

p. 154

The ang-thau-a spat a fine spray of rice liquor onto the hot oil, causing a momentary column of flame ... to rise several feet in height, through which incense pots ... were passed to purify them. ... By these ... acts ... the invading evil forces were frightened away.”

GGh&A = David Jordan : Gods, Ghosts, and Ancestors : the folk religion of a Taiwanese village. Berkeley, 1972.

pp. 156-61 possessing-deities & spirit-mediumship, together with spirit-encampments; and ritual alcohol-blaze in Wan-nian, a village in the north of Tai-nan county

p. 156

The god Da-dao-gon had as his pet “a tiger god, Huye ..., who ... was cured by Dadaogong and afterward followed him as his mount.”

The ritual began with the descent of the deities. Some descended onto spirit mediums and some on hand-carried divination chairs. ... a spirit medium possessed by a deity ... is singing and transmitting the deity’s will. At the same time, we see a red basin in which black beans and

p. 157

sesame are mixed; one person fires the talisman and burns it in the basin. By doing so, the beans are transformed into spirit soldiers; they are then scattered along the boundary of the village to guard it.”

After the spirit mediums are possessed by deities, they command the bamboo stakes with their blood ... . [p. 158, Fig. 3 : The bamboo stakes and hoes are “dotted with spirit medium’s blood”.] The bamboo stakes are taken to ... the five camps of spirit soldiers ... in the village to ward off the ghosts. ...

p. 158

Next, the spirit medium ... calls the spirit soldiers to guard the oil wok ... . ...

p. 159

When everything is ready, a procession composed of village men, led by the spirit mediums and followed by the divination chairs, walks ... to the mound located in the north of the village warding off the ghosts in the northwest graveyard. A spirit medium climbs onto the mound ... . He holds the flags of the five camps (wuqing qi ...) in his left hand and the hoes in his right to threaten the evil spirits not to come into the village. The parade then proceeds eastward, where the river flows by ... the bridge to ward off the water ghosts. They reinforce the impact by make a huge noise, such as by lighting up firecrackers and shouting ... . [p. 154 : “If the purpose is to exorcise ... water ghosts, ... the local people shout, and throw burning firecrackers and sesame seeds” (according to Jordan 1972, p. 59).] After that, they go to the five spirit camps. ... “three little sacrifices” (xiao sansheng ...) – a plate with a piece of raw meat {would this indicate that the so-called “spirit-soldiers” are actually spirits of praedator-animals?}, an egg and a piece of tofu – are offered to the spirit soldiers, and spirit money is burned for them ... . The spirit medium mobilizes the spirit soldiers (diaoying ...) and commands them to stand fast at their sentry posts.

One person spits a mouthful of rice wine into the hot oil wok and the flame rises up to cleanse the spirit camp ... . The two divination chairs beside the wok shake up and down, showing the presence of the deities.

p. 160

While purifying the spirit camps, the whole procession also walks around the village to purify the houses ... .

p. 161

In each house, women prepare sacrifices to welcome the deities. An incense table [(]xianganzhuo ...) is displayed in front of the house on which ... some fruit, and a rice cake are placed ... . The grass and water for the spirit horses (macaoshui ..) beside the door are renewed so that the spirit soldiers could refresh themselves ... .

The oil wok is carried into the central room of each house; rice wine is spat into the firing oil to create flame ... and thus purify the house. Family members who are ill or have encountered misfortune stand in front of the oil wok to have their bodies purified by the ... flame.”

p. 164 movements of the placenta-deity through the house according to the lunar calendar

The Chinese lunar calendar ... shows how “the placenta god” (taishen ...) moves around the house every day, e.g. one day it may be on the hearth, the next on the door, the bed, or even the toilet. ... if someone damages the area where the placenta god attaches itself to the house, the baby’s body will be in danger of being deformed. Thus, .... a mother has to be cautious in different parts of the house, ... the body of the coming family member is gradually getting to know the house before its birth.”

pp. 165-6 the 5 spirit-soldier camps (wu-yin)


camp’s dir.







flag’s color






general’s surname







9 Yi

8 Man

6 Ron

5 Di

3 Qin

1000s of horses






10000s of soldiers













spirit-medium’s implement

sword of Big Dipper

axe or spiked cudgel

spiked cudgel or sawfish sword

sawfish sword or axe

ball of nails

p. 166 The armies consist of “the five ethnic troops (yi, man, rong, di, qi), which first appeared in Daoist scripture around the third to fifth century in southern China.”

p. 166 rites for spirit-soldiers

the five spirit-soldier camps ... originated from the souls of the deceased, and ... they were recruited as soldiers and trained by the deities. ... . ... the spirit medium uses a sacred instrument, the sword of the Big Dipper (qixing jian ...), to command the spirit troops to stand fast at their sentry posts. ...

The spirit medium is also called the “deity’s golden son” (shenming de jinzi ...).” [vide :- “TS-MCP”]

{cf. golden body of tirthankara}

TS-MCP” = Donald Sutton : “Taiwanese Spirit-mediums in Comparative Perspective”. J OF RITUAL STUDIES 4/1 (1990):99-125.

pp. 167-8 house-beams for men; kitchens for women

p. 167

The main hall (gongting ... ) in the traditional house ... is ... where the two most important beams of the house – the central beam (zhongji ...) and the lamp beam (dingliang ...) – are placed. The central beam ... is painted red and hung with auspicious drawings. Two thin and long “sacks for producing male children” (chuding dai ...), containing the first harvest of grains, nails, coins,

p. 168

and iron pyrites, are suspended from the middle of the beam. ...

In Hokkien, the word “lamp” is a homonym for “men”. When a son is married, the family adds two more lamps to the beam.”

When ... a new house is constructed, the wife’s natal family has to ... send “twelve items” (shier xiang ...) which include bowls, chopsticks, and a bucket of ... rice ... . They also send a rooster and a hen which should be kept for breeding chickens.”


pp. 171-93 Lin Zhenyuan : "Daoist Exorcist Ritual in C^iao-Liturgies".

p. 171 exorcism in jiao

"the traditional method of consecrating and barring the altar ... means a sequence of exorcist rituals in the frame of the .. jiao-liturgies lasting three days or more".

p. 171 correlations






Lu:-s^an; San-nai





Heavenly Masters;

Z^an Dao-lin;

mt. Lon-hu


God-emperor of the North;

mt. Wu-dan


pp. 195-212 Lee Fongmao : “From Prince No-c^a to Marshal of the Central Altar”.

p. 195 No-c^a

Temples in Taiwan show an abundance of representations of a deity named Nocha that appears to be a young flamboyant boy who clutches a big ring and his weapon and has a wind-and-fire wheel beneath his feet. Nocha is known by a great variety of names and titles, for example : ... Zhongtan yuanshuai (Marshal of the Central Altar), Marshal Nocha, Great General of the Central Camp, and Li Nocha, referring to a reputed family name. ... The deity Nocha came to be ... Marshal of the Central Altar or ... Great General of the Central Camp, who is the centre force of the Five Camps (Wuying) with their spirit armies and marshals.”


ASIEN- UND AFRIKA-STUDIEN DER HUMBOLDT-UNIVERSTITA:T ZU BERLIN, Band 36 = Florian C. Reiter (ed.) : Exorcism in Daoism. Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 2011.