Luodao (罗道[c] "Way of Luo") or Luoism (罗教[d]), originally Wuweiism (无为教[e]), refers to a Chinese folk religious tradition, a wide range of sect organisations flourishing over the last five hundred years, which trace their origins back to the mystic and preacher Luo Menghong (1443-1527), the Patriarch Luo (罗祖 Luōzǔ[f]) and the revelation contained in his major scripture, the Wǔbùliùcè (五部六册 "Five Instructions in Six Books"), which official title is The Scroll of Apprehending the Way through Hard Work and that marked the beginning of the precious scrolls' tradition.
Luo and the movement he started is considered the most important influence within the Chinese salvationist tradition. A wide range of religious groups can be traced to Luo's teachings, their names are numerous and have changed over the centuries. Some of them have remained close to original Wuweiism as transmitted in Luo's scriptures, while other ones have developed other beliefs only preserving the name of the founding master.
Types of Luodao, together with other folk religions, have revived rapidly in China since the 1980s, and if conceptualised as a single group today they are said to have more followers than the five state-sanctioned religions counted together.
羅教 / 罗教
|Type||Chinese salvationist religion|
|Founder||Patriarch Luo (罗祖)|
|Origin||late 15th century |
|Other name(s)||Wuweiism (无为教), Luozuism (罗祖教), Changshengdao (长生道 Way of the Eternal Life),[a] Dacheng (大乘 Great Vehicle), Sancheng (三乘 Third Vehicle), Wukong (悟空 Nothing Emptiness),[b] Wunian (无年 Timeless), Yuandun (圆顿 Sudden Stillness) teachings, Yaoism|
Luo Menghong was born in 1442 in the area of Jimo, in Shandong province. His religious titles were Luo Qing (Luo the Clear), Luo Jing (Luo the Quiet) and the Inactive Hermit (无为隐士 Wúwéi Yǐnshì). He died at the age of eighty-five in 1527. The religious group he founded was called "Wuweiism", a name that has been continued by the purest branches of the movement in later history.
As long as Patriarch Luo was alive, his personality guaranteed the unity of the movement. While some of his disciples may have established separate communities, they didn't contest Luo's position as teacher and leader of Wuweiism. Then, when Luo died, apparently without having chosen a successor to the leadership, the Wuwei teaching started to split into different branches all claiming to continue Luo's tradition.
Little more than half a century after the death of Luo, the activities of Luoist sects began to raise the suspicion of state officials. Just after 1584 several warnings were presented to the throne, against the influence of Luoism linking it to the earlier White Lotus movement, a label which by that time had become a derogatory designation used by official historians to demonise religious groups considered heretical by the established orthodoxy. At the end of the 16th century there were religious groups which influenced and in turn were influenced by the Luoists, Hongyangism (弘阳教 "Red [or Great] Sun") and the Huangtiandao ("Way of the Yellow Sky"), both identifying as Taoist branches.
Documents produced by the Buddhist establishment condemning Luoists testify the activity in the late 16th century of the branches known as Great Vehicles (大乘 Dacheng)[g] and Timeless (无年 Wunian)[h] Luoism. The sources show that at the end of the 16th century, Luoist sects had spread widely in northern China, and they were known by different names.
Also the Luo family contributed to the transmission of Luo's teaching. Within the original movement, Luo's wife and two children, Fozheng and Foguang, occupied relevant positions. Successively, Luo's wife continued the teaching according to the original tradition. She founded a branch named Sudden Stillness (圆頓 Yuandun)[i] which by the late Ming dynasty no longer claimed connection to Luo's wife.
Fozheng continued the male line of the Luo family. His grandson Wenju is mentioned in the imprint of the 1615 edition of the Wubuliuce, printed in Nanjing. Luo Congshan, the fourth generation patriarch, lived at the beginning of the 17th century. A century later, official records testify that there were still male descendants of Luo active as sect leaders. The centre of the family was in Miyun, where the tomb of Luo Menghong still existed. It was destroyed on official order in 1768.
In the early 18th century Luoist sects spread along the Grand Canal from Hebei to Zhejiang and Fujian; boatmen belonging to Luoist sects recognised the eighth generation descendant Luo Mingzhong as the head of the religion. Records of the late 18th century testify the contribution of three persons surnamed Qiang, Wen and Pan, to the diffusion of the religion in southeast China. They founded three different lines, which congregation halls (an) also functioned as social relief institutions. After the ninth patriarch the line of hereditary leadership came to an end. An investigation of 1816 testifies that the male descendants of Luo no longer practiced the religion of the forefather.
Meanwhile, in the 16th century Yin Ji'nan (1527-1582) from Zhejiang originated an independent line that successfully spread throughout their native province, Fujian, Jiangxi and surrounding southern provinces. He became the leader of a Luoist group and reformed it into the Venerable Officials' teaching of fasting (老官斋教 Lǎoguān zhāijiào), which in later centuries gave rise to the Xiantiandao.
Yin Ji'nan organised his movement into a hierarchy and integrated the theology about Maitreya, the Wusheng Laomu and the Three Suns eschatology within the original Luoist doctrines through the influence of a Hunyuan sect. Years after Yin's death, Yao Wenyu (1578-1646) rose as the leader of the religion with strong opposition from other influential members, although he greatly expanded the sect's empire. By the time of Yao's successors in the late 17th century the sect was known as the Numinous Mountain (灵山 Lingshan).[j]
Yaoism later gave rise to the Dragon Flower (龙花 Longhua)[k] sect and other branches. Wu Zixiang's branch, the Great Vehicle (Dacheng) or Third Vehicle (三乘 Sancheng)[l] introduced his scripture entitled the "Book of the Great Precepts of the Great Vehicle" (Dacheng dajie jing).
Another important indirect branching is that started by Sun Zhenkong, claiming to be the fourth patriarch after Qin Dongshan and Master Zhao, a disciple of Luo who founded and independent group called Wujidao (无极道 "Way of the Unlimited"). Patriarch Sun incorporated the theology of Maitreya and Wusheng Laomu just half a century after the death of Luo and called his group the Namodao (南無道). The Namodao later developed into different currents. A disciple of Yi Ji'nan's school, Pushen, formulated a Chan interpretation of Luo's writings that excluded the Maitreya eschatology.
Zhenkongdao (真空道 "Way of the True Void")[m] founded in Anhui in the 1860s, is another Luoist branch promoting sitting meditation, healing, and scriptures recitation. The group expanded to Fujian in the late 19th century, and from there throughout southern China and Southeast Asian Chinese ethnic groups. It is possibly a continuation of Patriarch Sun's branch.
An orphan since youth, Luo Qing was raised by relatives and became a soldier. At the age of twenty-eight, for his distressful sentiment of forlornness, he went on a spiritual quest and studied with several teachers, although he was unable to establish permanent relationships. Only at the age of forty, apparently without a direct guidance of a teacher, he reached enlightenment: awareness to be united with the absolute principle of reality. He began gathering disciples and wrote the Wubuliuce ("Five Instructions in Six Books"), first printed in 1527.
Written in a lucid vernacular language, Luo's texts are characterised by an egalitarian tone, erasing differences between lay and clergy, upper and lower classes, and men and women. Drawing on his own experience as an orphan, Luo describes the human condition of being lost and in search of one's true home and refuge. He speaks of the final destination that is the absolute principle of being, variously representing it through abstract symbols. An experience similar to that of Luo can be found in the biography of Lin Zhao'en, the founder of the Sanyi teaching.
By the 17th century the teachings of Luo combined with other folk beliefs, namely Maitreyan millenarianism and the folk mother goddess. In the new mythological representation of Luo's enlightenment, humans are children of the primordial goddess. Confused by the desires of the material world, they have forgotten their celestial origin, and so the Mother sends emissaries to remind her children the possibility of return to the original condition in the Three Suns, or stages of the world. The three enlightened beings are Dipankara, Gautama and Maitreya the future one.
In the theology of Luoist sects the absolute principle of the universe is the central focus of meaning and worship. In the original writings of Luo it is represented as "True Void" (真空 Zhēnkōng). Since the 17th century the prevalent representation became a goddess, the Unborn Venerable Mother (無生老母 Wúshēng Lǎomǔ). Other symbols of the source of being, also common to other traditions, are Wújí (the "Unlimited"), Zhēn (真 "Truth", "True Reality"), Gǔfú (古佛 "Ancient Awakened").
These symbols are commonly combined together in sect's precious scrolls to express the impersonal absolute origin according to the tastes of different social groups. The absolute principle is also associated to the Big Dipper asterism.
Luo Menghong's original revelation emphasises the impersonal representation of the absolute. However, he also talks of Holy Patriarch of the Unlimited (无极圣祖 Wújí Shèngzǔ) and of the mother as a duality, the Eternal Parents (無生父母 Wúshēng Fùmǔ). Patriarch Luo is considered an incarnation of the universal God by his followers.
The Three Suns (三阳 sānyáng) eschatological doctrine places itself in a tradition flourishing at least since the Ming dynasty. It can be traced back to a Hunyuan Taoist school named after the concept of hunyuan ("original undetermined") that existed before hundun ("coalesced undetermined") and is the beginning of primordial qi (yuanqi) according to some Taoist cosmologies. Although originally Taoist, these concepts became part of the folk tradition and were incorporated into the sects.
In the earliest sects of the Ming period, the Lord of the Original Undetermined (混元主 Hùnyuánzhǔ) represents the origin of the universe developing through three stages, yang, or cosmic periods. In most sect scriptures, these three periods are known as Green Sun (qingyang), Red Sun (hongyang) and White Sun (baiyang). They are known by other names due to oral transmission of the teaching.
The earliest written evidence of this doctrine can be found in the Huangji jieguo baojuan, published in 1430. In this text the three stages are already associated to the three buddhas Dipankara, Gautama and Maitreya.
In Luoist writings the symbol of wúshēng (無生 "unborn") means the state of "no birth and no death" that gives enlightenment. The Unborn Venerable Mother or the Holy Patriarch of the Unlimited are personifications of this state. In Luoist traditions, as written for example in the "Book of the Dragon Flower" (Longhuajing), meditation has a crucial role in the path to salvation, that corresponds to the "return to the mother" or the wusheng state. Salvation is the realisation of one's true nature.
Baojuan (宝卷 bǎojuǎn), literally precious scrolls, are a genre of prosimetric texts (texts written in an alternation of prose and verse) of a religious or mystical nature, produced within the context of Chinese folk religion and individual Chinese folk religious sects. They are often written in vernacular Chinese and recount the mythology surrounding a deity or a hero, or constitute the theological and philosophical scriptures of organised folk sects.Changsheng
Changsheng may refer to:
Changsheng Bio-Technology, Changchun, China
Ever Power IPP Co., Ltd. or Changsheng Power
Changsheng Power Plant, Taoyuan, Taiwan
Luo teaching, or Changsheng teaching
A courtesy name of Guan YuChinese salvationist religions
Chinese salvationist religions or Chinese folk religious sects are a Chinese religious tradition characterised by a concern for salvation (moral fulfillment) of the person and the society. They are distinguished by egalitarianism, a founding charismatic person often informed by a divine revelation, a specific theology written in holy texts, a millenarian eschatology and a voluntary path of salvation, an embodied experience of the numinous through healing and self-cultivation, and an expansive orientation through evangelism and philanthropy.Some scholars consider these religions a single phenomenon, and others consider them the fourth great Chinese religious category alongside the well-established Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. Generally these religions focus on the worship of the universal God, represented as either male, female, or genderless, and regard their holy patriarchs as embodiments of God.Chinese shamanism
Chinese shamanism, alternatively called Wuism (Chinese: 巫教; pinyin: wū jiào; literally: 'wu religion, shamanism, witchcraft'; alternatively 巫觋宗教 wū xí zōngjiào), refers to the shamanic religious tradition of China. Its features are especially connected to the ancient Neolithic cultures such as the Hongshan culture. Chinese shamanic traditions are intrinsic to Chinese folk religion, an overarching term for all the indigenous religions of China. Wu masters remain important in contemporary Chinese culture.
Various ritual traditions are rooted in original Chinese shamanism: contemporary Chinese ritual masters are sometimes identified as wu by outsiders, though most orders don't self-identify as such. Also Taoism has some of its origins from Chinese shamanism: it developed around the pursuit of long life (shou 壽/寿), or the status of a xian (仙, "mountain man", "holy man").Chinese spirit possession
Chinese spirit possession is a practice performed by specialists called jitong (a type of shamans) in Chinese folk religion, involving the channelling of Chinese deities who take control of the specialist's body, resulting in noticeable changes in body functions and behaviour. The most famous Chinese spirit possession practitioners took part in the Boxer Rebellion in the 1900s, when boxers claimed to be invulnerable to the cut of a sharp knife, gunshots, and even cannon fire.De teaching
The De teaching (Chinese: 德教 Dejiao, "teaching of virtue", the concept of De), whose corporate name is the Church of Virtue (德教会 Déjiàohuì), is a sect rooted in Taoism, that was founded in 1945 in Chaozhou, Guangdong. It is popular both in China and amongst expatriate Chinese populations.Fenxiang
Fenxiang (分香), literally the incense division, is a term that defines both hierarchical networks of temples dedicated to a god in Chinese folk religion, and the ritual process by which these networks form.Jingxiang
Jìngxiāng (敬香 "offering incense with respect"), shàngxiāng (上香 "offering incense"), bàishén (拜神 "worshipping gods"), is a ritual of offering incense accompanied by tea and or fruits in Chinese traditional religion. In ancestral religious worship it's jìngzǔ (敬祖 "veneration of the ancestor") or bàizǔ 拜祖 ("worship of the ancestor"). It is observed by a devotee holding joss incense with both hands in front of an altar while praying or meditating. For added respect the devotee or descendent is expected to kneel during and after placing the incense in the urn or at the altar.
Jiangxiang is practiced in diffused Chinese folk religion and also by adherents belonging to the schools of Taoism, Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism. It's used for making a general prayer to one of the Chinese deities, sending well wishes to a deceased ancestor as part of daily prayers in Chinese ancestor veneration, or celebrating the Qingming Festival, Ghost festival and Chongyang Festival .Jiugongdao
Jiugongdao (九宫道 "Way of the Nine Palaces") is a Chinese folk religious sect centered in the Wutai County of the province of Shanxi. The name of the sect is based on the jiugong diagram of esoteric cosmology.
Flourishing in the Qing dynasty, but rooted in earlier times, the Jiugongdao developed greatly on Mount Wutai thanks to the efforts of Li Xiangshan, also known as Puji, his name as a Buddhist monk who was close to the Manchu court. With his contribution, Jiugongdao took over more than twenty run down former Buddhist monasteries on Mount Wutai and rebuilt them thanks to the donations of its strong following, especially concentrated in northeast China. The monasteries were reformed into Chinese temples dedicated to indigenous deities and the cosmological Lords of the Five Peaks. The sect also gathered a following among Khorchin Mongols.The Jiugongdao declined on Mount Wutai in the 1940s, as a Han Chinese-acquired tradition of Tibetan Buddhism took power. With the campaigns against religion in the 1950s and the Cultural Revolution, Jiugongdao and other folk religious sects focused on Mount Wutai, Huanxiangdao and Houtiandao, were persecuted and went underground. They have revived since the 1980s.Maitreya teachings
The Maitreya teachings or Maitreyanism (Chinese: 弥勒教; pinyin: Mílèjiào; literally: 'Maitreya teachings'), also called Mile teachings, refers to the beliefs related to Maitreya (彌勒 Mílè in Chinese) that penetrated China together with Buddhism and Manichaeism, and were developed in different ways both in the Chinese Buddhist schools and in the sect salvationist traditions of the Chinese folk religion.
Maitreya was the central deity worshipped by the first folk salvation religions, but in later developments of the sects he was gradually replaced by the Limitless Ancient Mother (無生老母 Wúshēng Lǎomǔ), although Maitreyan eschatology continued to have a place in their doctrines.
Folk Buddhist movements that worshipped and awaited Maitreya are recorded at least back to the years between 509 and 515 (6th century). A notorious event was the rebellion led by monk Faqing from Jizhou City, then Northern Wei, in the name of a "new Buddha". Later, Maitreyan beliefs developed conspicuously outside the boundaries of Buddhism. By 715, as testified by an edict, wearing white clothes, that was originally a practice common to lay Buddhist congregations, had become a distinctive feature of Maitreyan sects.Miaohui
Miaohui (庙会), literally temple gatherings or translated as temple fairs, also called yíngshén sàihuì (迎神赛会 "collective rituals to greet the gods"), are Chinese religious gatherings held by folk temples for the worship of the Chinese gods and immortals. Large-scale miaohui are usually held around the time of the Chinese New Year, or in specific temples at the birthday of the god enshrined in the temple itself. Activities usually include rituals celebrated in the temple, opera on a stage facing the temple, processions of the gods' images on carts throughout villages and cities, performance of musical and ritual troupes (of Taoists, sects and Confucian ritualists), blessing of offerings brought to the temple by families, and various economic activities.Geography and local customs lead to great differences in the nature of festivals dedicated to the gods. In northern China miaohui are usually week-long, with ceremonies held in large temples, and attended by tens of thousands of people; while in southern China they are a much more local practice, organised by village temples or clusters of temples of different villages.Ming yun
Ming yun (Chinese: 命運; pinyin: mìng yùn) is a concept of the personal life and destiny in the Chinese folk religion. Ming is "life" or "right", the given status of life, and yùn defines "circumstance" and "individual choice"; mìng is given and influenced by the transcendent force Tiān (天), that is the same as the "divine right" (tiān mìng) of ancient rulers as identified by Mencius. Personal destiny (mìng yùn) is thus perceived as both fixed (the status of life) and flexible, open-ended (the individual choice in matters of bào yìng).Taigu school
The Taigu school (太谷学派 Tàigǔ xuépài), also Great Perfection (大成教 Dàchéng jiào) or Yellow Cliff teaching (黄崖教 Huángyá jiào), is a mystical folk religious sect of Confucianism spread especially in Jiangsu, Anhui and Shandong. It was founded by Zhou Xingyuan, a man with shamanic skills entitled Taigu (太谷 "Great Valley") by followers.The purpose of the school is to help those who practice it to develop a clear and enlightened state of mind, in which man apprehends his true nature and recovers original simplicity.Tianxian miaodao
The Tianxian miaodao (天仙庙道 "Way of the Temple of the Heavenly Immortals"), incorporated as the Church of the Way of the Temple of the Heavenly Immortals (天仙庙道会 Tiānxiān miàodào huì) is a Chinese salvationist religious sect centered in Henan. It was founded in the mid-19th century and flourished in the early republic and was known for its rebellious aptitude towards the state. Despite systematic efforts of the later communist republic to suppress it in the 1950s and 1960s, it has persisted to the present day.Wen and wu
Wén 文 and wǔ 武 - a conceptual pair in Chinese philosophy and political culture describing opposition and complementarity of civil ① and military ② realms of government. Differentiation between wen and wu was engaged in discussions on criminal punishment, administrative control, creation and reproduction of social order, education and moral transformation.The concept was formed during the Chunqiu and Warring States periods, and best articulated in the 3rd or 2nd century BCE. However, until recently it was not much discussed by the Western scholars because of ① their aberrated perception of the importance of Confucianism in the pre-imperial and early imperial era, and ② their understanding of Confucianism as pacifist in its nature. An example of the last is provided by John K. Fairbank: “Warfare was disesteemed in Confucianism... The resort to warfare (wu) was an admission of bankruptcy in the pursuit of wen [civility or culture]. Consequently, it should be a last resort... Herein lies the pacifist bias of the Chinese tradition... Expansion through wen... was natural and proper; whereas expansion by wu, brute force and conquest, was never to be condoned.”Wu (awareness)
Wu (Chinese: 悟) is a concept of awareness, consciousness, or spiritual enlightenment in the Chinese folk religion. According to scholarly studies, many practitioners recently "reverted" to the Chinese traditional religion speak of a "new awareness" (kāi wù 開悟 or jué wù 覺悟) of the interconnectedness of reality in terms of the cosmic-moral harmony—mìng yùn, bào yìng, yuán fèn. This spiritual awareness works as an engine that moves these themes from being mere ideas to be motivating forces in one's life: awareness of mìng yùn ignites responsibility towards life; awareness of yuan fen stirs to respond to events rather than resigning. Awareness is a dynamic factor and appears in two guises: a realisation that arrives as a gift, often unbidden; then it evolves into a practice that the person intentionally follows.In Latin alphabetical transliteration of the Chinese, it's a homograph of the wu-shaman.Xiezhi
The xiezhi (Chinese: 獬豸) or haetae (Korean: 해태, often spelled haitai or haechi) is a legendary creature in Chinese and Korean mythology.Xuanyuan teaching
Xuanyuandao (軒轅道 "Way of Xuanyuan"), also known as Xuanyuanism (軒轅教) or Huangdiism (黄帝教), is a Confucian folk religion of China which was founded in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1952. The founder was Wang Hansheng (王寒生) (1899–1989), a legislator. The Church of Xuanyuan aims to restore the "national religion" of archaic (pre-Han dynasty) China, with Huangdi as the universal God.Yellow Dragon
The Yellow Dragon (traditional Chinese: 黃龍; simplified Chinese: 黄龙; pinyin: Huánglóng; Cantonese Yale: Wong4 Lung4 Japanese: Kōryū or Ōryū Korean: Hwang-Ryong Vietnamese: Hoàng Long) is the zoomorphic incarnation of the Yellow Emperor of the centre of the universe in Chinese religion and mythology.The Yellow Emperor or Yellow Deity was conceived by a virgin mother, Fubao, who became pregnant after seeing a yellow ray of light turning around the Northern Dipper (in Chinese theology the principal symbol of God). Twenty four months later the Yellow Emperor was born and was associated to the colour yellow because it is the colour of the Earth (Dì 地), the material substance, in which he incarnated.