Ritual and Scripture in Chinese Popular Religion [cap. IV-V]


pp. 137-218 – 4. Ursula-Angelika Czedzich : "The Cult of Wu-t>ung / Wu-hsien".

p. 147 events according to various novels etc.



Hsi-yu C^i (scene 8)

"Kuan-yin appoints ten heavenly protectors for" Tri-pit.aka "on his dangerous journey to the foreign countries in the western regions. Hua-kuang is one of these divine guardians."

S^ui-hu C^uan 13.178 & 37.534

Hua-kuan "is typically associated with two magical treasures, a three-corned golden brick and a golden lance".

Fen-s^en Yen-i 63.21a

"the deity Ma Shan’s creation from the wick of a lamp"

p. 145, n. 27 "Hsu:an-ti shih-lu ... (Veritable Tecords of the Dark Emperor), which was ... revealed by the Perfected Tung Su-huang ... and Chang Ya ... to the Taoist master Chang Ming-tao ... at Hsiang-yang ... (Hupei) during spirit-writing seances beginning in 1184".

pp. 148-151 biography of Hua-kuan, according to the Nan-yu C^ih-c^uan



N-y C^-c^


"Hua-kuang, or Flowery radiance, ... was originally the halo of light ... which intensified as the lamp heard ... preaching. Eventually this radiance was transformed ... into the deity Miao chi-hsiang. ... Miao chi-hsiang ... burns the malicious Single Fire Demon (Tu-huo kuei) to death. For this act ... he ..., endowed with five supernatural powers, ... is incarnated in the womb of the Goddess of Horse-Ear Mountain (Ma-erh shan niang-niang) ["As`vakarn.a, ... one of the seven concentric mountain ranges around Mount Sumeru." (fn. 38)] Lady Horse-Ear is the widow of the Great King of Horse-Ear Mountain (Ma-erh shan ta-wang) who had been killed by the Iron-shod Dragon King of the Eastern Sea (Tung-hai t>ieh-chi lung-wang) ... . Lady Horse-Ear calls her son (the reincarnated Miao chi-hsiang) Three-Eyed Spiritual Radiance (San-yen ling-kuang), because he is born with three eyes. ... Soon afterwards, San-yen ling-kuang ... steals the golden lance of the Great Emperor of Purple Vacuity of the North Pole (Pi-chi tzu-wei ta-ti) and is crushed by him.



But the Heavenly Worthy of Wondrous joy (Miao-lo T>ien-tsun) takes pity on the dim little radiance roaming around in space – Hua-kuang’s ... – and causes him to be born again, this time as a son of the deity Heavenly King Flaming Devil (Yen-mo t>ien-wang) and his wife.



Hua-Kuang becomes the disciple of the Heavenly Worthy of Wondrous



Joy ... . Proving his newly-acquired abilities ..., he is rewarded by his master with a three-cornered golden brick, a magic treasure that enables him to transform himself at will. Ending his apprenticeship, he ... is appointed Great Marshal of the Troops and Horses of the Ministry of Fire (Huo-pu ping-ma ta yuan-shuai).


However, at an official banquet held in the heavenly palace, Hua-kuang clashes with the Crown Prince Golden Spear (Chin-ch>iang t>ai-tzu), heir to the Jade Emperor’s throne, and thus incurs the Emperor’s wrath.



Pursued by the celestial armies he flees to the north, where he is stopped and subjugated by the Dark Emperor (Hsu:an-ti).



After appointing Hua-kuang to be his thirty-sixth general {cf. decan} ..., the Dark Emperor lets him go free. ... Hua-kuang then escapes by burning down the Gate of Precious Virtue of the Southern Heaven (Nan-t>ien pao-te kuan).



Descending now into the world of mortals, Hua-kuang ... subdues the demons Ch>ien-li yen and Shun-feng erh, whose insatiable demands for human sacrifice had weighed heavily on the inhabitants of the Country of a Thousand Fields (Ch>ien-t>ien kuo). For this virtuous deed Hua-kuang is rewarded by the king of the country with an official cult and temple.



Unfortunately, the new temple is erected at the site of the defunct sanctuary of another popular god, General Fire Whirl (Huo-p>iao chiang). This deity takes revenge for the demolition of his shrine by kidnapping the royal princess while she is offering incense in Hua-kuang’s new temple. Hua-kuang is first suspected of the crime, but he soon succeeds in saving the princess and convicting the true evildoer. {The god Boreas (= Fire Whirl?) abducted heroine Oreithuia while she was (GM 48.a) "whirling in a dance" (for Fire Whirl?) : "the abduction took place during a procession ... for the temple of Athena Polias ... . Sometimes the punishment of PHINEUS (3) is ascribed to Boreas." (CDCM, s.v. "Boreas") --- So, is Phineus = Hua-kuan?}



In the meantime, the Jade Emperor has found out Hua-kuang’s whereabouts and sent his celestial armies after him. Hua-kuang barely escapes by entering, once more, the woman of a woman; he is reborn,



together with his four brothers, into the Hsiao family of Wu-yuan. ...


His mother is in reality a horrible man-eating demon, called Chi-chih-t>o, who had devoured the real Lady Hsiao while she was praying for a child before the ... altar in her garden.



This monster who, without anyone in the family realizing it, continues to eat people from the neighborhood, is eventually caught by a dragon divinity and incarcerated in the infernal regions of Mount Feng-du. Hua-kuang ... presumes that she has been abducted ..., and tries to find her. Disguised as the Heavenly Worthy of Grand Unity who Saves from Suffering (T>ai-i chiu-k>u t>ien-tsun), he performs a ritual (tao-ch>ang) for the orphaned souls of the dead and interrogates them as to his mother’s whereabouts ... . ...



He defeats the celestial Marshal Sung Wu-chi and captures the fierce fire crows of the Holy Mother of Hundredfold Increase (Pai-chia sheng-mu).



Pursuing the dragon who carried his mother away, he assaults the Bodhisattvas Wen-chu and P>u-hsien (Man~jus`ri and Samantabhadra) ... .



In a battle with the powerful Na-cha, who was sent by the Jade Emperor himself to subdue him, Hua-kuang loses his precious three-cornered golden brick.



He then tricks the Holy Mother Jade Bracelet (Yu:-huan sheng-mu) out of her treasured golden pagoda ... . This entails a skirmish with the Holy Mother’s daughter, the unconquerable Iron Fan Princess (T>ieh-shan kung-chu). With the help of a miraculous drug Hua-kung defeats the beautiful princess and takes her as his wife.



Soon afterwards, ... he is suspected a second time of accosting a mortal woman, but again is able to prove his innocence by revealing the true malefactor : a white snake demon. ...



Hua-kuang ... finally meets the unfortunate real Lady Hsiao in the Administration of the Shadows (yin-ssu) and leans about the true identity of the creature from whose womb he was born ... . He assures Lady Hsiao that he will obtain her rebirth into a prestigious family,



but he again adopts the appearance of the Heavenly Worthy of Grand Unity who Saves from Suffering, works his way through to Mount Feng-du, and ... the man-eating ghoul, Chi-chih-t>o, his monstrous mother.



... Hua-kuang takes on the form of the divine monkey, the Great Sage Equal to Heaven (Chi-t>ien ta-sheng), and steals the peaches of immortality from the garden of the Queen Mother of the West (Hsi wang-mu). He feeds the fruit to Chi-chih-t>o, and thus redeems her from cannibalism. ...



Hua-kuang ... only after suffering the loss of a leg {one-footed = whirlwind? – one Harpuia who troubled Phineus was named (GM 150.j) /Ae:llo-pod-/ ‘storm-foot’ (GM, vol. 2, p. 378a) "as a whirlwind" (GM 150.2)} ... is made ... Divine Agent of the Five Manifestations (... Wu-hsien ling-kuan ta-ti)." {cf. the [Aztec] 5 one-footed Tezacatli-poca-s}


GM = Robert Graves : The Greek Myths. 1955.

CDCM = Pierre Grimal : A Concise Dictionary of Classical Mythology. 1990.

p. 153 theriomorphic spirits on mountains




S^uo-wen chieh-tz>u 112b


S^an-hai C^in chieh-s^u 14.6b


S^u-i C^i 2.17b


commentary by Wei C^ao on the Kuo-yu: [Lu-yu: 2.201 "They have human faces, the bodies of monkeys" (p. 154)]

"In ancient sources these mountain spectres appear as Wang-liang".

fn. 62 "The Wang-liang ... are mentioned among the spirits depiected on the legendary bronze tripods of the Hsia ... dynasty in the Ch>un-chiu Tso-chuan (cheng-i) ... 21.11b."

pp. 153-155 monopod deities





S^an-s^u c^en-i 3.18b-19a

"the mythic monopod K>uei ... is ... the music minister of the sage ruler Shun."


C^uan-tzu c^i-s^ih 6B.591 sq

"the K>uei as a foolish one-legged animal that wonders how the millipede, despite his many legs, moves so much more easily than itself, whose single leg already causes it trouble."


S^an-hai C^in chieh-s^u 14.6b

"a K>uei spirit was ... blue, one-legged ... without horns, and ... the Yellow Emperor once used the skin of a K>uei for a drum whose resonance struck the world under heaven with awe."


S^uo-wen chieh-tz>u 112b

"A K>uri spirit ... one-legged ... had horns, hands, and a human face."


commentary by Wei C^ao (204-273 Chr.E.) to the Kuo-yu:

"the K>uei have only one leg. The people of Yu:eh call these phantoms Mountain Sao (Shan-sao) or Mountain Hsiao (Shan-hsiao)."


S^en-i C^in 9b

"the Shan-hsiao demons, could be frightened off by the loud reports of burning bamboo."


6th century [Chr.E.] Ching Ch>u sui-shih chi 1.1b

"the first ritual performed by families on the morning of the first day of the new year {cf. /[W]Ete-arkho-/ ‘year-beginning’ as father of Battos} consisted of burning pieces of bamboo ... in order to expel these demons."


Pao-p>u-tzu nei-p>ien (cited from :- J. J. M. de Groot : The Religious System of China. Leiden, 1910. vol. v, p. 501)

"Mountain Essences (Shan-ching) have the shape of babies. They have only one leg with the heel reversed. ...


There also [are spirits] named Jih-jou who can be [frightened off when] called by their names.

Furthermore there exist certain Mountain Ching like drums, of a carnation color, and with one leg, which are known by the name of Hui.

Others, named Chin-lei, have human forms, are nine feet long and wear fur coats and hats of bamboo.

Others are the so-called Fei-fei, resembling five-colored dragons with red horns."

pp. 160-1 "Essences of rocks and trees were the old Shan-hsiao spirits".

p. 182, n. 188 in the T>ai-s^an C^u-kuo C^iu-min Tsun-c^en Pi-yao (= HY 1217; dated 1116 Chr.E.) "the Shan-hsiao are explained as ... essences of the five elements who, ... sages or saints, have illicit sexual relations with women. Thus ... the typical characteristics of the Wu-t>ung are attributed to the Shan-hsiao."

pp. 158-167 Wu-t>un hsien-jen (5-Power genii)



Wu-hsien / Wu-t>un


I-c^ien c^ih 19.7.695 by Hun Mai (1123-1202 Chr.E.)

"the spirits called Wu-t>ung in the regions of Che-tung, Che-hsi, and Chiang-tung (roughly correspoding to present-day Chekiang, southern Anhui, and northestern Kiangsi) and Mu-hsia san-lang or Mu-k>o in Chiang-hsi and Min (the rest of modern Kiangsi, and Fukien) were in reality none other than the K>uei, the Wang-liang, or the Shan-hsiao of old"


I-c^ien c^ih 3.1.1238

"another conflation had obviously occurred between the Wu-t>ung and a type of spirit called Wu-lang."


Hsian-s^ih c^ia-s^uo 8.1a by Hsian An-s^ih (1146-1208 Chr.E.)

"He remarks that a local history of Li-yang county (northern Hu-nan) describes shamanistic practitioners worshipping and invoking the Wu-t>ung under the alternative names Yu:n-hsiao wu-lang or Shan-hsiao wu-lang as the five sons of the god T>ai-i."


Hsian-s^ih c^ia-s^uo 8.1b

"the cult of the Shan-hsiao / Wu-t>ung derived from the cult of Tung-huang T>ai-i".


I-c^ien c^ih 10.4.1295-6

"prophetic powers of a Wu-t>ung spirit named An-lo shen (God of Peace and Happiness) who was worshipped in ... Chien-ch>ang (Kiangsi)."


Hsin-pien lien-hsian sou-s^en kuan-c^i 25b-26a

"A legend recorded in 1223 ... says that five mountain deities (shan-shen) ... took lodging in an old tree ... and were granted the name An-lo kung (Dukes of Peace and Happiness)".


I-c^ien c^ih 2.5.890

"in Kuei-chi (Chekiang)" an "ordained Taoist priest identified the spirit as a one-legged (tu-chiao) Wu-t>ung of the Hsiao category".


I-c^ien c^ih 19.7.696

"[Wu-t>ung demons] particularly like to debauch [women]. ... they change ... into any form a woman would dream of. {Appear to a woman in that woman’s dreams?} Sometimes also they just show their original form and appear as monkeys, shaggy dogs, or frogs. Although their appearances vary, their bodies ... feel cold like ice {"witches confess and assert that the tool of the devil as well as his semen is always frigid." "the member of the devil which slept with her, ... it was as cold as ice" (SM)} or steel {"the member of this devil for its full length was of two parts, half of iron, half of flesh, and similarly his testicles" (SM)} to the touch. ...

Some [possessed] women turn into mediums whom people then call "immortals." Others who try to oppose ... and therefore fall ill are said to have contracted "immortals’ disease (hsien-ping)." Some [women] ... remain up to a month in a state of catalepsy [after the demons take possession f them]. Revived, they claim that they


have had sexual intercourse with a noble man in a magnificent palace. ... Others go crazy after such an encounter".


I-c^ien c^ih 3.1.1238-9

"a destitute migrant who resettled in Shu-chou (Anhui) ... worshipped a one-legged Wu-t>ung. During the nocturnal rites he held for the spirit ..., his entire family sat naked in the dark. But the demon ... involved all the women of the household in sexual relationships, and some of them even gave birth to the spirit’s offspring."

SM = Robbins' Encyclopedia Of Witchcraft And Demonology. Miskatonic University Press. Arkham - Rockport - Brookline 2002. http://www.yankeeclassic.com/miskatonic/dmetaphysics/papers/magic/sexmagi3.htm

deities of wealth

p. 167 "Later, in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the Wu-t>ung came to be closely associated with the cult of the gods of wealth and achieved a notorious reputation for demanding sexual favors in return for the bestowal of riches."

p. 167, fn. 7 reference to p. 698 of :- Richard von Glahn : "The Enchantment of Wealth : the God Wutong ... of Jiangnan". HARVARD JOURNAL OF ASIATIC STUDIES, vol. 52 (1991), pp. 651-714.

pp. 179-180 Maha-yana forms of Hua-kuan cult




The /Padma-prabha/ ‘red-waterlily radiance’ (Skt. form of name /Hua-kuan/) "appears in the Lotus Sutra [Sat-dharma Pun.d.arika Vaipulya-Sutra], where he is said to be the incarnation of S`ariputra as the Buddha of a blissful era in the distant future. Other sources ... speak of Hua-kuang as the first of the one thousand Buddhas of the great kalpa of the past."


According to the "famous Taoist master Po Yu:-ch>an in a text of the thirteenth century [Chr.E.], Hua-kuang figured ... in the guise of the redoubtable vajra bearer Ucchusma (Hui-chi chin-kang)".

p. 184 tripartite subdivision of the category of the Wu-t>un, according to the T>ai-hsu:an Fen-tu hei-lu: i-ko ("Statutes of the Black Code of [the Infernal Regions of] Feng-tu") 267.14b-15b

order of Wu-t>un

their nature


"pure concentrations of the breaths of the five elements"


"condensation of the breaths of mountains and rivers"


"concentrations of the stale breaths of weeds and trees."

pp. 184-185 god Ma S^en, according to T>ai-s^an C^u-kuo c^iu-min tsun-c^en pi-yao (HY 1217); and Tao-fa hui-yuan (HY 1210)





"Divine Agent (ling-kuan), Ma Sheng, appears ... in an early-twelfth-century [Chr.E.] compilation of exorcistic rites of the T>ien-hsin"

T>-s^ C^-k c^-m ts-c^ p-y 7.37b


"Ma Sheng’s ... identification with the sixth star of the Southern Dipper (Nan-tou), which was named Sheng."

T-f h-y 222.1a-b


"Marshall Ma ... is described as having three eyes and often six arms, as well as three heads."

T-f h-y 229.2a


"His first attendant is General Ma Ch>ung, a huge white snake (Pai-she ta-chiang)."

T-f h-y 222.2a


"Among his accessories are a golden lance, and a three-cornered golden brick, a fire-wheel and a gourd with five hundred fire crows inside".

T-f h-y 222.9b-17b

pp. 184-5 "Ma Shen is a Chinese translation of the name of As`vajit, ... the teacher of S`ariputra."

p. 186 Taoist exorcisms, according to the T>ai-s^an T>ien-t>an yu:-ko (= c^u:an 249-50 of the Tao-fa hui-yuan) 250.15b [here, the exorcising deities are aspects of the deities exorcised!]

in order to expell / subdue __

sacrifice / appeal to __

"phantoms of trees such as Mu-hsia san-lang"

"Great Deity Mu-lang (Mu-lang ta-shen)"

"Shan-hsiao / Wu-t>ung"

"the Five Supernatural Powers of the Divine Agent (Ling-kuan wu-t>ung)"

pp. 194-195 the Wu-t>un, according to the (16th-century Chr.E.) Hsi-hu yu-lan c^ih-yu: 26.476-7

p. 194

"The people in Hangchow believe above all in the Wu-t>ung gods, whom they also call Five Saints (Wu-sheng).

p. 195

... the Wu-t>ung are capable of enticing women in sexual liaisons, conveyiug wealth, and bringing ... fortune ... upon people. People ... do not dare to utter their name".

pp. 197-199 the 5 one-legged goblins & their females, according to the Ken-ssu pien 5.91-93 by Lu Ts>an (1494-1551 Chr.E.)

p. 197

"The demonic spirits venerated by the people of Wu are called Five Saints (Wu-sheng), or Divine Dukes Five Manifestations (Wu-hsien ling-kung). In the villages they are called Five Gentlemen (Wu-lang). ...

p. 198

These five goblins are given the titles of count or duke. Their females are titled ladies (Fu-jen), and their dam is called Grand Lady (T>ai fu-jen) or Grand Dowager (T>ai-ma). ... Also worshipped is Ma Hsia, who is said to be the gods’ retainer. At all offerings, ... music is played, and the shamans (wu-che) sing ballads (ko-tz>u) telling of the gods’ manifestations. ...

Then there are those women who are versed in techniques such as "controlling fright" (shou-ching) and "visualizing spirits" (chien-kuei) which they claim they have been secretly taught by the Five Saints. These women have illicit sexual relations with the goblins.

It is said that these sprites have their den at Mout Leng-ch>ieh west of the city. The people living there report that torches often emerge from the lake and disappear again. They also say that sometimes five noblemen can be seen who, accompanied by their consorts and retinue, enter old tombs ... .

p. 199

... Mostly these demons ... shift furniture {poltergeists}, break down doors ... . As the Yu-yang tsa-tsu [15.144] states : the Shan-hsiao are capable of burning human dwellings.

[These demons], by nature, also like to lure women into illicit sexual relationships. ... When they regain consciousness, they say they have seen a magnificently dressed nobleman surrounded by an impressive guard in a royal palace. His consorts and ladies-in-waiting were sitting on both sides, all of them marvellously ... beautiful, and the hall was pervaded by the exuberant sounds of flutes and drums."

pp. 200-201, 206 instances of a female medium of the Wu-lan / Wu-s^en


female medium



"a low-class female shaman named Ssu-niang in twelfth-century Hangchow. The woman was regularly possessed by a spirit called a Wu-lang who, speaking through her mouth, made unfailing predictions ... . One day, she was invited to the house of [a nobleman] ... . ... however, on just this occasion the Wu-lang did not respond ... . Only several days later did the spirit resume communication with his medium and excuse himself : "The other day," he explained, "I was refused entrance by the door gods; therefore I couldn’t come in.""

I-c^ien c^ih 11.13.97


A high-ranking maiden : one her "wedding day this woman was possessed by a Wu-sheng spirit. ... She suddenly jumped out of her litter and, dancing and singing ..., referred to herself as a Wu-sheng. ... the young wife ran out of the wedding chamber, singing hymns in praise [of the Wu-t>ung] like a shaman."

Ken-ssu pien 5.96


"On the occasion of his taking office, the vice governor of Ch>ih-chou (Anhui) paid a formal visit to the local Wu-hsien temple. There it happened that his concubine was struck by the beauty of the statue of the fourth deity (Hua-kuang), fainted, and ... rose, and the possessing spirit, identifying himself as Hua-kuang, explained that the woman’s amorous feelings for him had enabled him to seize her souls."

Ti-c^>i s^an-c^ian Wen t>ai-pao c^uan (HY 779) 1b-2b

pp. 203-208 wu-t>un (5 powers) of Hua-kuan, according to the Nan-yu c^ih-c^uan ("Journey to the South")


the 5 powers

N-y c^-c^


Hua-kuan’s incarnation in Wu-yuan in a family named Hsiao : "Just before his first incarnation as the son of the late King of Horse-Ear Mountain, Hua-kuang (alias Miao chi-hsiang) receives ... the Five Supernatural Powers (wu-t>ung)."



power (t>un-) in __





t>ien ‘heaven’

"wander through the heavenly regions without hindrance."



ti ‘earth’

"break through earth without hindrance."



fen ‘air’

"be invisible as air."



s^ui ‘water’

"nothing will obstruct you in water"



huo ‘fire’

"remain unscathed by fire."


"these Five Supernatural Powers materialize in the form of five fire balls (wu t>uan huo) as Hua-kuang enters the womb of Lady Horse-Ear".


p. 208 how Hua-kuan temporarily was deprived of a leg, according to the Nan-yu c^ih-c^uan ("Journey to the South") 18.25a-28a

"the Arhats resort to a ruse. They descend into the world as illusionists and, performing a great many tricks, like cutting off their legs and their arms, immediately attract Hua-kuang’s attention. Fascinated, Hua-kuang wants to imitate them and ends up really cutting off his own right leg. Instantly, a little lion, magically produced by the disguised arhats, appears, grabs the leg, and carries it off ... . Hua-kuang has no alternative but to jump on his fire and wind wheels, follow the lion ... in order to regain his physical integrity."

pp. 208-210 the 5 Hsien brethren


5 gods



"the five gods appeared to Wang Yu: in 886 [Chr.E.] and asked him to dedicate a shrine to them."

Tsu-tien lin-yin c^i (quoted in Hsien-pien lien-hsiang sou-s^en kuan-c^i 24b-25b)


"five divine beings dressed in yellow appeared in 886 to Wang Yu:, an inhabitant of the city of Wu-yuan. ... The citizens of Wu-yuan built a temple for the deities, which was named Wu-t>ung Temple."

170, n. 126

"the temple gods of Te-hsing were granted the title Wu-t>ung hou ... in 669 and promoted to dukes (kung ...) between 937 and 943".

Ku-c^in t>u-s^u c^i-c^>en 859.45c

" "

"the vice-magistrate of ... Shang-jao ... once, in a dream of his childhood, ... had entered a temple where he saw the magnificently adorned icons of five divine kings. He therefore wrote a favorable report on the temple in Te-hsing ...; subsequently Te-hsing’s Five manifestations were promoted.""

I-c^ien c^ih 10.6.1379-80


"the ogress impersonating Lady Hsiao .. gives birth to a lump ... . The father ... cut the lump open, whereupon he finds five sons enclosed in it. the children are named Hsien-tsung, Hsien-ming, Hsien-cheng, Hsien-chih,

Nan-yu c^ih-c^uan 8.22b-27a


and Hsien-te. They grow up within a few days, and four of the brothers leave home ... . Only one of them, Hsien-te, or Hua-kuang, stays with the parents."

p. 211 similarities between marshal Ma and Hua-kuan

"fierce subduer Marshal Ma"

"son of the Goddess of Horse-Ear Mountain (Ma-erh shan)"

"Marshal Ma ... is nothing other than the essence of the fire of the south, the king of fire, the prime breath of fire." (Ta-fa hui-yuan 222.1a)


other characteristics shared by marshal Ma & Hua-kuan :-

"three eyes,

the golden lance ...,

the three-cornered golden brick ...,

the wheels of fire and wind,

the five hundred fire crows ..., and

the white snake.

All these iconographic elements are already present in the Taoist ritual manuals of the thirteen to fourteenth centuries [Chr.E.] as symbols and personifications of Marshal Ma."

pp. 212-213 spirit-medium of prisoners of marshal Ma, according to the Tao-fa hui-yuan = HY 1210



T-f h-y


"the ritual master transformed himself into Ma Sheng



and directed the lost souls together with the demon who had ravished them into the body of a medium ... .



The medium’s body was then transformed into a prison (yu:) ... in ... the infernal regions of Hell inside which the demon became firmly imprisoned.



At this point Marshal Ma, incarnated in the Taoist priest, began to interrogate the demon, who had to reveal his name (through the mouth of the medium)



and set the ravished souls free".



pp. 219-246 – 5. Chinfa Lien : "Language Adaptation in Taoist Liturgical Texts".

pp. 239, 241 rites for soul of the dead in netherworld




"the freeing of the soul of the deceased from Hell" : "A flame is lit and divided into forty-nine magic lamps {cf. [as mentioned in the Puran.a-s] the 49 Agni-s (fire-gods)}, symbolizing forty-nine wishes. ... Forty-nine Taoist supreme gods are entreated to save the soul from its present confinement and escort it to Heaven. ... In conclusion, the soul is released ... and sent off to Heaven."

"In the second part the language shifts to Southern Min .... It is about the purchase of a lad and a maid to be the servants of the deceased. The servants (or slave-servants) are ... constructions of paper and bamboo sticks which are "brought to life" by the Taoist priest."


"crossing the bridges to Heaven" : "The whole text is in Southern Min. It tells how a gold lad and a jade maid are sent by the Heavenly Master of Three Treasures to escort the deceased across

the Gold Bridge,

the Silver Bridge, and

the Naiho Bridge

on the way to Heaven. There is a ferocious baleful general blocking the way, but there are documents indicating that the soul was a good person ... . This ... wins his passage to Heaven."

p. 242 sectarian litourgical texts

color of head[dress]


texts used

ritual in text




c^iao (purging of evil spirits)


c^ai (funeral service)


mi-c^ueh (rubrical manuals); fu (talismans)



sections 1-17 of the Hsiao-fa




sections 18-23 of the Hsiao-fa



PUBLICATIONS OF THE CHINESE POPULAR LITERATURE PROJECT, 3 = David Johnson (ed.) : Ritual and Scripture in Chinese Popular Religion. Institute of East Asian Studies Publ, U of CA, 1995.