The People and the Dao, I







Z^en-wu Attaining the Way

Shin-yi Chao



Way of Unity in Tai-wan

Christian Jochim



Tai-s^an Lao-jun’s Temple

Jean DeBernardi



Xi-lai An Incident

Paul R. Katz



White Dragon Hermitage

Wang Chien-ch>uan



Cantonese Opera

Tuen Wai Yeung



Possession Trance

Jordan Paper



Legacy of Zi-gu

Judith Boltz



Accounts of Z^ao Dao-yi

Stephen Eskildsen



C^en S^i-yuan

Roberto K. Ong




The Pretious Volume of Z^en-wu’s Attaining the Way

Shin-yi Chao


pp. 65-6 biography of Z^en-wu, according to the Yuan-s^i Tian-zun S^uo Bei-fan Z^en-wu Jin ("Scripture of Zhenwu of the North told by the Heavenly Worthy of Primordial Commencement"), entitled (in the Daoist Canon edition of the Z^en-ton reign) as Yuan-s^i Tian-zun S^uo Bei-fan Z^en-wu Miao-jin = HY (Harvard-Yenching) 27




"There was King Jingle (Pure Joy) and Queen Shansheng (Moral Triumph). [The Queen] dreamt of swallowing the sun and upon awakening became pregnant. [She] bore the foetus for fourteen months. [The baby] was born in the Palace at noon on the third day of


the third month of the first year of the Kaihuang [fn. 8 : " "Kaihuang," refers to a mythical Daoist kalpa cycle".] period ... . ... [He] renounced the throne and focused on self-cultivation to help the Jade Emperor. ... Thus he left home, bid farewell to his parents, and entered Mt. Wudang to practice the Way for forty-two years. Having accomplished the task with sufficient results, he ascended heaven in broad daylight. The Jade Emperor ... ordered the Prince to guard the North".

p. 71 biography of Wu-dan Gu-fo(‘Un-rivaled Antient-Buddha’)

[quoted from Section 12 of the Hun-yuan Hon-yan Piao-gao-zu Lin-fan Jin (‘Chaotic-Origin Vast-Yang Piao-gao-the-Patriarch’s Descent-to-the-Ordinary Scripture’)]

"The Unrivalled Patriarch reincarnated himself in the Quiet and Joyful (Jingle) Palace

Leaving the imperial palace for Mt. Wudang, he cultivated himself ... .

Li, the Lord Lao, bestowed on him a seven-star sword.

[fn. 27 " "forty-two years" ... in the prose version"] of self-cultivation ... .

Because he decapitated the beautiful woman ... [,] the Five Dragons held him up as the sage,

He, in the present life, lives in a solid gold pavilion".

"decapitating a woman (who was an evil spirit in disguise),

{cf. the killing of woman-monster Skulle by Heraklees (Lukophron : Alexandra 44 & 648 – "S")}

and being greeted by five dragons – can be found in ... Journey to the North, published in 1602."

{cf. the "half-woman, half-serpent" (GM 132.u) who favored Heraklees in Skuthia.}

"S" = "Skylla"

p. 73 Z^en-wu, according to the Jin-que Hua-s^en Xuan-tian S^an-di Bao-juan (‘Golden-Tower Transformation Dark-Heaven Supreme-Emperor Pretious-Volume’)

"King Jingle (Pure Joy) ... prays to heaven for a son. His wife, Queen Shansheng (Moral Triumph),

becomes pregnant in a dream

{Heraklees was begotten on his mortal mother when Hermes commanded "Sleep to make mankind so drowsy" (GM 118.c).}

and gives birth on the third day of the third month ... .

The Prince is named Xuanyuan ("dark" or "mysterious commencement").

{Heraklees’s body was "black" (GM 136.c).}

At the age of fourteen Prince Xuanyuan ... at a lantern festival ...

{cf. "lamps and torches" for the child Heraklees (GM 119.d)}

realizes the inconstancy of life. He thus abandons the palace for Mt. Wudang to practice self-cultivation."

"the Jade Emperor tells Zhenwu to reincarnate himself as King Jingle’s son as a reward for the King’s sponsorship of the "three assemblies of the dragon-flower (Longhua sanhui)," ... sectarian groups."

{At the blackness of Heraklees’s body the Kerkopes -- who were changed into "apes" (GM 136.d) much as "ape" was cited by Semonides – "burst into a fit of immoderate laughter" (GM 136.c) : "Who are the cattle of Tethra who laugh?" (The "Song of Amergin" from the Book of Leinster -- James Carey's translation : from The Celtic Heroic Age (2003) pg. 265)}

pp. 74-7 biography of Z^en-wu




[according to the Z^en-wu Pu-sa De-dao Bao-juan (Z^en-wu Bodhi-sattva Attaining-the-Way Pretious-Volume’) published in 1878 Chr.E.] "Chen Guoxiang ... died, and was reborn as the only son of King Jingle and Queen Shansheng ... . The Prince grows up, ascends the throne, and ... realizes the impermanence of mortal life. He thus abandons the throne in favour of cultivating perfection (xiuzhen). He withdraws to a grotto on Mt. Wudang. After roughly ten years, ...


Guanyin first orders the Earth God of Mt. Wudang to metamorphose into a water buffalo (shuiniu) to block the threshold of the Prince’s grotto. ...

{Heraklees captured the Kretan bull, which had been ravaging "especially the region watered by the river Tethris" (GM 129.a).}


He must now take out his heart, liver, and intestines to wash them. ...


Following Guanyin’s instructions, the Prince pulls out his innards at a riverbank in order to clean them. ... two crows arrive and devour them."


the crow which devoured his __

became a __








"After another three years of practice, ... Guanyin ... disguises herself as a young woman lost in the mountains and asks to stay overnight with the Prince. The Prince, however, is convinced that she must be an evil spirit (yaojing) ... . He thus takes out his sword to vanquish the girl, but she escapes by jumping into a pond. ... her presumably dead body surfaces and remains in human form ... . ... Just as he jumps into the water, someone caught him; this is Guanyin :

... Guanyin reaches her hand downwards.

It turns into a dangling five-clawed dragon

That catches the Prince right away

Raising [the Prince] upward, ... to Heaven to see the Mother, her Majesty."


[Thus, Guanyin after dying resuscitated herself.]

{cf. Skulle’s being resuscitated (after her death at Heraklees’s hand) by (according to Lukophron) Phorkus.}

{Tethris = Tethra, whose cattle are summoned only by Amergin (according to the Lebor Gabala Erenn ). The name of Amergin (who sang of having lived lives as various animals) is cognate with that of the isle Amorgos (whose poe:t Semonides, in his 7th poe:m, likened humans to various animals ). Amorgos of the sacred herb mint (of St. George) may refer to the herb mint (GM 31.6) of the awardee of sun-cattle.}



Popular Lay Sects : the Way of Unity in Tai-wan

Christian Jochim


pp. 98-9 the decad & the Yi-guan (‘One-Thread’) : declarations by master Kon, according to the Lun-yu -- commented upon in Wu Jin-yu : San-jiao Xin-fa 29

p. 98

"superior ability of Yan Hui" : "when told one thing he understands ten".

[fn. 36 : "esoteric significance of "ten" ..., see Zhong, Minguo yilai minjian jiaopai, 287-290."]

p. 99

[quoted from Lun-yu 4:15] "My Dao is the one thread that binds all things together."

{"An unbroken thread beyond description." (TTK 14)

"A continuous thread beyond description" (TTCh 14).}

TTK 14 = Laotse : Tao te king. Translated by Gia Fu Feng

TTCh = Peter Merel's Tao Te Ching.

p. 101 transmission & authors of early Confucianist texts, according to the San-jiao Xin-fa 72-74

lineage of transmission of the esoteric teaching :

Zen Zi

Zi Si (grandson of master Kon)

master Men


book by that author

Zen Zi

Great Learning

Zi Si

Mean in Action

p. 101 prae-existence of the Great Learning, according to Lu: Don-bin : Xue-yon 5

"when there were not yet Heaven and Earth, the Way of Great Learning already existed. ... the Way of Great Learning is woven into the fabric of the universe."

{cf., e.g., the doctrine of the prae-existence of the Qur>an}

p. 105 Yi (‘Oneness’), according to Xie Jin-z^u


its tradition

"Embrace the mysterious and hold to Oneness"


"Grasp the Golden Mean and penetrate Oneness"


"All ... dharmas return to Oneness"




Penan’s Tai-s^an Lao-jun’s Temple

Jean DeBernardi


p. 156 sequence of possessing-spirits in performance

"spirit mediums fell into trance possessed by

Most High Lord Lao,

the Nine Heavens Holy Mother (Kiuthi Sengbou, Jiutan Shengmu),

the Great Saint (Thai Seng Ia, Taisheng Ye. ... the Monkey God),

a Baby God called the Red Boy (Ang Hai Ji, Hong Hai’er), and

each of the Eight Immortals (Peh Sian, Baxian)."

p. 157 spirit-possession caerimony

"the group’s chairman took a planchette divining stick (ki, ji) and spoke it in a transformed voice as he moved it over the bodies of two of the men.

Next two male spirit mediums fell into trance ..., and

a female medium hissed and struck martial poses.

One of the possessed men sat on the god’s throne-like chair of nails".

pp. 159-60 rite to ensure good luck

p. 159

"paper replacement body" : "the chief priest ... passed the replacement body over the front of the person’s body. He ... passed the effigy over the person’s back, then over their head. He slid the replacement body down a cloth slide formed from three unfurled bolts of cloth – red, yellow, and flowered, which ... represented good, average, and bad luck. During the ceremony, the flowered cloth was on top, and ... the ceremony reversed its position in order to mend the participants’ luck (bo-un, buyun). Finally, the person was given a "red tortoise" (angku, honggui) – a round bread dyed bright pink – representing longevity. ...

p. 160

In addition ..., the Daoist priests performed an offering ritual (hienkang, fengxian), gathering ... watches, jewellery, and pens and lifting them up on a tray before returning them to their owners. ... this ceremony was ... for ... luck for all. At noon, Most High Lord Lao arrived, and the possessed spirit medium stamped the back of each committee member present with the god’s seal."

p. 161 spirit-possession by specific possessing-spirits

"The deities who possessed spirit mediums ... included Most High Lord Lao, whose spirit medium wore red sequined robes ..., a false beard, and a jewelled hat". "The spirit mediums spoke Hokkien in the trance performance".

"a woman spirit medium whose main possessing spirit was the Nine Heavens Holy Mother (Kiuthin Sengbu, Jiutian Shengmu)" explained :

"The Holy Mother wears yellow because she is very pure. ... she is the Lord of Heaven’s woman.

... she fights with a sword

{Durga is a goddess who fighteth wielding a falchion.}

and controls lower gods. ... the Holy Mother was the Jade Emperor’s elder sister."

p. 176 origin of the text The Secret of the Golden Flower

[according to Mori 2002] "in 1668 a small group of devotees obtained an early version of the text from their patriarch, Lu: Dongbin, through spirit writing sessions."

Mori 2002 = Mori Yuria : "The Taiyi jinhua zongzhi and the Spirit-Writing Cult of Patriarch Lu:". In :- Livia Kohn & Harold D. Roth : Daoist Identity. Honolulu : U of HI Pr. pp. 165-84.

pp. 176-7 English-language books recommended in the Penang Taoist Centre’s Timeless Wisdom for Today

p. 176

Charles Leadbeater (1847-1934) : The Masters and the Path.

p. 177

Alfred Percy Sinnett : The Occult World. 1881.

Alfred Percy Sinnett : Esoteric Buddhism. 1883.

p. 178 three books authored by Poh Teh Teik of Penang

T. Poh’s Guidebook to the Temple of Paradise. Penang : Forda, 1971.

Gods and Deities in Chinese Popular Worship. Penang : Forda, 1973.

Chinese Temples in Penang. Penang : Forda, 1978.

p. 180 pantheon at the Tai-s^an Lao-jun temple

"the Heavenly Lord Ancestor – a red-haired, demon-expelling deity identified as a Diamond Buddha {Heruka?} (Jin’gang Fo) who lives at the mouth of the Big Dipper Star;

the Mysterious Spiritually Efficacious High God (Xuanling Gao Shangdi), who is also called the Old Buddha Covering Heaven (Gaitian Gufo) ... as the Jade Emperor [fn. 63 : "Guangong, ... promoted to Jade Emperor"]; ...

the Northern Dipper (Beidou); and

the red-haired, red-bearded, red-robed Southern Dipper (Nandou)."

pp. 180-2 statements in Tai-s^an Dao-de Xuan-s^u Bao-c^an (‘The Most-High’s Way-and-its-Virtue Mysterious-Pivot Pretious-Litany’)

p. 180

"Taishang Laojun tells his own story, recounting how he went through the Hangu Pass (Hangu Guan), and its governor offered to write a book about him, at which time he narrated the Daode jing for all ages."

p. 181

"Laozi reminded the reader that all religious sects have the responsibility to share and cooperate with one another since finally all religions are one. Finally, Laozi ... identified as true ... the Heavenly Dao (Tiandao) [fn. 68 : "Tiandao s an alternate name for Yiguan Dao ... . See Philip Clart, "Opening the Wilderness for the Way of Heaven ...," Journal of Chinese Religions 28 (2000):127-41."] and the Phoenix Religion (spirit-writing cults)."

p. 182

"Finally, Taishang Laojun reminded the reader that people’s duties include ... planchette writing".


MONUMENTA SERICA MONOGRAPH SERIES, LX = Philip Clart & Paul Crowe (edd.) : The People and the Dao : new studies in Chinese religions in honour of Daniel L. Overmyer. Institut Monumenta Serica, Sankt Augustin, Nettetal, 2009.