The Texts of Early Heavenly Master Taoism
By Franciscus Verellen
An international conference, held at the ChineseUniversity of Hong Kong, November 3-4, 2001, with the financial support of the Hong Kong Research Grants Council, Chung Chi College (CUHK), and the French Consulate General in Hong Kong. The meeting was organized by the Department of Religion, CUHK (Lai Chi Tim) and the Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient, Hong Kong (Franciscus Verellen). It brought together a group of scholars from China, Japan, France, and the US to explore the formation of the Heavenly Master canon and discuss some of its key texts for the light they shed on the history, belief system, and liturgical organization of the movement.
“Early Heavenly Master Taoism” here refers to the formative phase of the Tianshi dao 天師道, the first large-scale social movement in the history of Taoism, between the Later Han and the Tang. Texts occupied an important place in this community, whether for recitation, transmission, healing, or other ritual uses. A handful of scriptures, doctrinal works, and sets of precepts are commonly associated with the movement and cited for the information they contain on its early beliefs and practices. However, available studies offer only partial glimpses of the extant source material and do not always identify the nature of the texts’ association with the movement—e.g., did a given work originate within the following of the Heavenly Masters, was it inherited and transmitted through its liturgical system, or does it represent an outsider’s view?
The present initiative and its planned future sequels aim to place the study of early Heavenly Master Taoism on a broader and sounder historical footing through new research into the surviving corpus of primary sources. An analytic and descriptive catalog of early Heavenly Master scriptures in The Taoist Canon: A historical companion to the Daozang, edited by Kristofer Schipper and Franciscus Verellen (forthcoming, University of Chicago Press), served as a point of departure for the conference. As a further step, Kristofer Schipper and Yuan Bingling are currently preparing a critical edition of some fifty texts including all the known remains of the earliest (Han and Six Dynasties) Zhengyi fawen 正一法文 canon as well as a substantial set of cognate works from the same period through the Tang (forthcoming, Commercial Press, Beijing).
In the following summary, the conference papers are grouped under the headings Historical context, Institutional and ritual foundations, Textual transmission and composition, and The pantheon and liturgical agenda of the Petition Ritual.
■ Jao Tsung-i 饒宗頤 (The ChineseUniversity of Hong Kong).《釋、道並行與老子神化成為教主的年代》 [The Period of Laozi's Deification as Religious Founder and the Parallel Development of Buddhism and Taoism].
In Later Han official records, Huang-Lao 黃老 and the Buddha 浮屠 merge into a single entity described as the object of joint sacrifices. At the time of the introduction of Buddhism into China, according to this paper, Taoism was still in an unformed state. Early sculptures of Laozi show a conflation with Buddhist iconographical features, while the first Buddha images, unearthed in Sichuan, were decorated with Taoist motifs. Jao Tsung-i’s paper reexamines the documentary, especially epigraphic, evidence regarding the process and date of Laozi’s deification against this background of the closely entwined early history of the two religions. As a terminus post quem for the deification process, Jao adduces the fact that Ban Gu 班固 (32-92) assigned Laozi only a middling rank among the sages of antiquity. This he regards as an indication that the deification of Laozi was not yet officially established in the early years of the Later Han. At the other end of the process, the inscription Laozi ming 老子銘 (165 AD) by Bian Shao 邊韶 (Lishi隸釋 3) fully depicts Laozi as a cosmic god. In early Taoist and Tianshi dao texts such as the Laozi xiang’er zhu 老子想爾注 (Han?) and the Dadao jialing jie 大道家令戒戒 (ca. 255), Laozi is equated with the eternal Tao. In 153, a few years before the Laozi ming, a stele inscription by Wang Fu 王阜 titled “Holy Mother of Lord Lao Inscription 老君聖母碑” already proclaimed that Laozi was the Tao and thus existed before the creation of the universe (the relevant fragment is cited in Taiping yulan 太平御覽 1). The appellation “holy mother” is in itself regarded as evidence of the son’s deification. Jao notes that elements of the birth legend, especially Laozi’s emergence from his mother’s left armpit, elaborated in the early fourth-century Shenxian zhuan 神仙傳 of Ge Hong 葛洪, are modeled on that of Shakyamuni. The earliest reference to that legend occurs, occording to Gu Huan 顧歡 (420-483), in the Xuanmiao neipian 玄妙內篇. A fuller citation of the relevant passage is found in the eighth-century Shiji zhengyi 史記正義 by Zhang Shoujie 張守節. The Xuanmiao neipian has come down to us as via the Dunhuang manuscript S. 4226. It is cited in the Taiping jing 太平經 (Han to Tang) and is said to have been among the scriptures of the Heavenly Master community under Zhang Lu 張魯 in Hanzhong 漢中 in the early third century. Jao Tsung-i accepts it as a Han text. He considers that the legend of Laozi’s miraculous birth through his mothers left armpit was current well before the joint sacrifices to Laozi and Shakyamuni by Emperor Hengdi in 165 and 166 (attested by the Laozi ming and other sources) confirmed the official recognition of the deity’s equal status with the Buddha. In conclusion, Jao Tsung-i places the deification of Laozi roughly in the century between Ban Gu and Emperor Hengdi. To the sources discussed by Jao might be added the Laozi bianhua jing 老子變化經, dated to ca. 200 and transmitted through the Dunhuang manuscript S. 2295. The latter was studied by Anna Seidel in La divinisation de Lao Tseu dans le taoïsme des Han(Paris: Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient, 1969).
■ Maeda Shigeki 前田繁樹 (Mie University). “The Original Laozi huahu jing 老子化胡經: New Evidence from the Qingjing faxing jing 清淨法行經.”
Like Jao Tsung-i, Maeda Shigeki regards the Six Dynasties as a formative period during which both Taoism and Buddhism struggled to establish their identity in China. Strong currents of Buddho-Taoist rivalry produced the huahu 化胡 legend, claiming that Buddhism was a debased form of Taoism devised by Laozi for the enlightenment of foreigners, and equally polemical inversions. Despite the rivalry, Maeda points out that this was also a period of massive mutual influence and, in some circles, even identification between the two religions. The Buddhist scripture Qingjing faxing jing disseminated the legend that the Buddha sent out his three disciples (Sansheng paiqian shuo 三聖派遣說), who assumed the names Confucius, Yan Yuan 顏淵 and Laozi, to instruct the Chinese. The scripture was known only in fragmentary form until its recent recovery among the Nanatsudera collection 七寺一切經 of the Chōfuku ji 長福寺 temple in Nagoya city. The full text has since been reproduced and transcribed in Nanatsudera koitsu kyōten kenkyū sōsho 七寺古逸經典研究叢書 12. Based on this, Maeda Shigeki sets out to examine the common Six Dynasties religious environment that engendered the huahu and the sansheng paiqian polemics. The Faxing jing is a Chinese adaptation of material taken from some of the earliest Buddhist scriptures introduced into China, such as the Foshuo A’nan wenshi fo jixiong jing 佛說阿難問事佛吉凶經, translated by An Shigao 安世高 under the Later Han. Maeda notes that the sansheng paiqian legend, which is quoted in the fifth century, shared certain doctrinal elements, especially concerning the nefarious nature of demon worship and mediumism, with the contemporary Heavenly Master scripture Santian neijie jing 三天內解經. In consolidating their respective places in the Chinese religious landscape, he says, each religion also needed to demarcate its own position with reference to local and traditional practices. The Santian neijie jing devotes lengthy passages to the origin and development of Buddhism. While these contain echoes of the huahu polemic, they are on the whole remarkably tolerant. According to Maeda Shigeki’s hypothesis, they may have been intended for the benefit of believers who still held the two religions to be essentially one.
Institutional and ritual foundations
■ Kristofer Schipper (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes). “The Covenant of Purity 清約 and the Liturgy of the Heavenly Master Ecclesia”
The injunction “masters do not receive money 師不受錢 [for liturgical services]” features among the terms of the founding covenant of the Heavenly Master movement. The latter’s usual name Orthodox One Covenant with the Powers 正一盟威 is in some later Heavenly Master texts equated with the expression Covenant of Purity 清約. The word “purity” refers specifically to the above injunction, as well as to the stipulation that “the gods do not eat or drink 鬼不飲食,” effectively banning food offerings, especially animal sacrifices. Kristofer Schipper begins his analysis of this definition of purity, fundamental not only to the Heavenly Masters but to Taoism as a whole, by remarking that the specific prohibition of wine and meat as impure meant a radical departure from China’s ancient sacrificial traditions. He suggests that the term qingyue, which does not occur in ancient Heavenly Master texts, may have originated with the Later Han Taiping movement in Eastern China. After a brief discussion of the controversial Heavenly Master institution of collecting annual contributions from the faithful in the form of rice, deemed by the movement’s detractors a usurpation of the government prerogative to collect taxes, this paper focuses on the phrase “masters do not receive money.” To the extant that the remuneration of the priest consisted of part of the sacrifices offered to the gods, now forbidden, the injunction regarding remuneration is a corollary of the prohibition of sacrifices. However, new and costly offerings had taken the place of the former sacrifices of meat and wine: the faith pledges 信物 frequently listed and discussed in Heavenly Master texts. Schipper refers to the detailed indications of the different kinds and quantities of faith pledges required for the petition ritual found in Chisong zi zhangli (see the paper by Verellen). He distinguishes three categories of offerings, used (1) for the altar and for worship (mats, oil, incense); (2) paper and writing utensils (brushes, ink, correction knives) as contributions to the heavenly administration; and (3) quantities of currency (cash, rice, silk) and other valuables (silver rings, gold). The last and most costly type of offering is often prefixed by the word “fate 命”(fate silk, fate rice). Ideally, the officiating priest was to receive no part of the faith pledges, yet the (mostly) Six Dynasties Chisong zi zhangli concedes the clergy one third of such offerings. The Covenant of Purity stipulates more specifically that priest should not receive cash 錢, a term that Schipper takes to include the various monetary categories of offerings. Some petitions detail the intentions behind the offerings: lengths of silk for passing a crisis and prolonging life; bushels of rice to increase the harvest; cash as token of sincerity and to settle the divine agents inhabiting the body; writing utensils for emending the book of life; oil, lamps, and candles to shed perpetual light, and so on. The appellation “fate offering” suggests the redemptory value of the payments, which can be regarded as forerunners of the sacrificial monies used in modern Taoist and popular ritual. Returning to the annual contributions mentioned at the outset, the payment of which was timed according to the liturgical calendar of Assembly 會 festivals, Schipper notes that the dioceses disposed of considerable resources. Inspectors of merit 都功, an influential and sometime hereditary grade of Heavenly Master priests, managed these. The author concludes that the dioceses kept or disbursed the totality of the annual contributions of the followers, as well as two thirds of the faith offerings for petition rituals. Since both kinds of payment were ultimately intended for the redemption of the faithful, their collection confirmed the dioceses as the primary agents of salvation. While ensuring the continuity of communal institutions, it also obliged the priests to live by other means. That is, priests necessarily pursued some form of secular economic activity while offering their liturgical services on a charitable basis. The self-sufficiency of the dioceses can be regarded, according to Schipper, as a forerunner of the socio-economic organization of modern temple associations.
■ Lai Chi Tim 黎志添 (The ChineseUniversity of Hong Kong). 《天地水三官信仰與早期天師道治病解罪儀式》 [The Belief in the Three Officials of Heaven, Earth, and Water in the Early Heavenly Master Ritual for Healing Diseases and Absolving Sins]
The Three Officials form the central triad of the Heavenly Master pantheon. In cosmological terms, they are explained as emanations of the Tao, correlated with the three cosmic energies 三氣 of the Three Heavens 三天: Mystery 玄, Principle 元, and Origin 始. The latter in turn underlie the division of the universe into the three spheres of Heaven, Earth, and Water. In the popular pantheon examined in this paper, the Three Officials feature primarily as the heads of the administrations ruling these three spheres. Assisted by armies of subaltern officers, their function of immediate concern to the faithful was to dispense moral judgments and to apply these through punishments or absolutions. The procedure for seeking a favorable sentence required the supplicant to address a full confession of his sins and transgressions to the Three Officials. The writing and dispatching of formal petitions, in three copies addressed to the respective officials of Heaven, Earth, and Water, constituted one of the fundamental rites of Heavenly Master Taoism. The documents were called Personal Writs to the Three Officials 三官手書. The practice of depositing one copy on a mountain top, burying another in the ground, and submerging the third in water is already mentioned in the third-century Dianlüe 典略. Du Guangting’s 杜光庭 (850-933) collection of petitions “proclaiming mercy and assisting in transformation” (Taishang xuanci zhuhua zhang 太上宣慈助化章, Daozang 617) contains what appears to be an authentic example of a Heavenly Master personal writ of confession. Connecting the liturgical practice of confession to the three divine judges with the Heavenly Master teaching regarding sin as the cause of disease and haunting, Lai Chi Tim explores the religious and administrative beliefs related to the Three Officials. He distinguishes the latter from the Thee Bureaus 三曹 of the heavenly administration by emphasizing the Three Officials’ judicial function. Six passages from early Heavenly Master texts are cited as stating explicitly that the Three Officials were judges. Lai further examines the question of their relationship with the Twelve Hundred Offices 千二百官 of Heavenly Master Taoism. The ancient ritual manual Qianerbai guan yi 千二百官儀, associated with the original liturgical system of the Hanzhong 漢中 community of Zhang Lu 張魯 at the beginning of the third century, is no longer extant but frequently quoted in other Tianshi dao texts (see the papers by Angelika Cedzich and Wang Zongyu below). The quotations suggest that the lords of the Twelve Hundred Offices, together with subordinate military and civilian officers, were invited to descend into the supplicant’s body in conjunction with an appeal or confession to the Three Officials. Finally, Lai points out that Heavenly Master texts name the Three Officials as the principal divine partners in the Orthodox One Covenant with the Powers 正一盟威 that constituted the movement’s foundation.
Textual transmission and composition
■ Yuan Bingling 袁冰凌 (University of Fuzhou). “The Xiang’er Laozi 想爾老子 and Its Relationship With the Tianshi dao”
The Xiang’er is mentioned in a major early Tianshi dao text datable to the year 255, the Rules Governing the Family of the Tao (Dadao jialing jie 大道家令戒), as belonging to the core of the movement’s canonical texts. Though it featured in earlier versions of the Daozang, it did not survive into the current, Ming edition. Jao Tsung-i has studied and edited its only extant recension, the fragmentary Dunhuang manuscript S. 6825 (see his Laozi Xiang’er zhu jiaozheng) and Ōfuchi Ninji has reproduced and studied it (in Tonkō dōkyō: Mokurokuhen, Zurokuhen and in Shoki no dōkyō). This paper, while paying homage to the pioneering studies of Professor Jao and others, diverges from the received interpretation of the text’s relationship with the Tianshi dao. With respect to the Xiang’er Laozi, the author emphasizes its affiliation with the most archaic strata of the transmission of the Daode jing currently known through archaeology. As for the Laozi commentary attributed to Xiang’er, the Laozi Xiang’er zhu 老子想爾注, Yuan Bingling depicts a problematic relationship of its doctrinal contents with the known teachings of the early Heavenly Master movements. A close correspondence of the Laozi embedded in the Xiang’er to the Daode jing from Mawangdui was already pointed out by William Boltz (in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 45, 1982). Yuan confirms and elaborates on the evidence produced by Boltz and extends the textual comparison to the even earlier Guodian fragments discovered in the meantime. She concludes that the Xiang’er Laozi bears a closer affinity with both the early text traditions known from Mawangdui and Guodian than with either of the later Heshang gong or Wang Bi versions. It also antedates any of the known texts in the early Zhengyi fawen canon. Though it is not certain whether the elliptic reference to “Xiang’er” in the Dadao jialing jie is to the Xiang’ercommentary or to a set of Xiang’er precepts (Xiang’er jie 想爾戒) that was likewise associated with the transmission of the Daode jing to adepts, it is noteworthy that the “Xiang’er” is accorded there a doctrinal status on a par with the Huangting jing 黃庭經 and the now lost Miaozhen jing 妙真經. The doctrinal affinity of the Xiang’er commentary with Tianshi dao teachings has been argued by several scholars, including Stephen Bokenkamp (see the translation and study in his Early Taoist Scriptures). Yuan Bingling concurs with Bokenkamp to some extent, but the picture she draws is less consistent and more nuanced. Among the similarities she cites the concept of the “community of the Tao;” the close personal relationship, even identification, of the adept with the Tao; the system of interdictions; and the notions of guilt and penitence. These are all found in texts that can be confidently assigned to the ancient Zhengyi fawen canon. Against this, she points to an equally important number of areas, such as the treatment of immortality and the immortals, personal hygiene and morality, mountain lore, cosmology, and the presence of martial spirits in the pantheon, where the Xiang’er commentary diverges significantly from the Zhengyi fawen texts. The relationship of the Xiang’er to the Tianshi dao thus remains problematic. Meanwhile, the debate about its place in early Taoism usefully points up the need to distinguish between earlier works that were venerated and therefore transmitted by the Heavenly Masters (the Daode jing, Taiping jing, Huangting jing, and others) and those that originated within the movement.
■ Stephen Bokenkamp (IndianaUniversity). “Tianshi Jiao: The Teachings of the Heavenly Master and Seven-character Rhyme in Early Daoist Texts”
The Tianshi jiao 天師教 is one of several shorter textscollected into the compilation of early Heavenly Master writings Zhengyi fawen tianshi jiaojie kejing 正一法文天師教戒科經 (Daozang 789). Composed in seven-character rhymed verse, it immediately follows the Dadao jialing jie in that collection. There is no explicit indication whether the Tianshi jiao constitutes an appendix to the latter or an independent work, either in integral or fragmentary form. Stephen Bokenkamp’s exploration of the piece proceeds in two stages: (1) a critical discussion of the dating methods used in studies of the Dadao jialing jie and their applicability to the Tianshi jiao; and (2) analysis of the latter’s prosody and rhyme patterns. The authors examined for examples of different dating strategies are Tang Changru, Ōfuchi Ninji, and Kobayashi Masayoshi. Noting the references to huahu lore in the Dadao jialing jie, Tang Changru attaches his dating of the text to the term Qin 秦, used there to refer to the Chinese in contrast to hu 胡, the barbarians. For Tang, the use of the word Qin to connote China dates the text to the fourth/fifth century. With Ōfuchi, however, Bokenkamp accepts that the name rather stands for the people of the Qin dynasty (221-206 B.C.), and he generally rejects a dating strategy that would hinge on a single, isolated term. Ōfuchi Ninji, by contrast, utilizes datable historical evidence such as the honorific gold seals with purple sashes 金印紫綬 introduced by Cao Cao in 251 to argue the plausibility of the Dadao jialing jie’s allusion to the conferral of this honor under the Wei. Similarly, Ōfuchi uses expressions implying allegiance to the Wei kingdom as evidence for a Wei date of the text. Bokenkamp considers Kobayashi’s reading of isolated terms, often out of context, as purportedly representing thought concepts datable to the Liu Song dynasty (420-479) as the least satisfactory of these methods. Turning to the Tianshi jiao itself, this study first presents a translation of the thirty-two seven-character verses of the poem. Speaking in the first person, the Heavenly Master in this text harangues the libationers 祭酒 and the faithful, calling for repentance and reform in the face of impending doom. In this, as in several points of detail, the work pursues major themes found in the Dadao jialing jie. Formally, the piece applies a single rhyme to alternating verses. Comparable Taoist examples includind the Huangting jing and part of the Nüqing guilü 女青鬼律 employ more than a single rhyme and rhyme on each line. On the basis of a full listing of the rhyme categories and the rhyme words used in the poem, Bokenkamp concludes that its repetitive patterns set it apart from literati or court works. Citing the work of historical phonologists, Bokenkamp points to features indicative of dialects in the North during the Wei period. The only element in the poem with a possibly identifiable historical bearing is a reference to a stellar omen consisting in a particular alignment of the planets Venus and Mars presaging dynastic change. This is among the subject matters the piece shares with the Dadao jialing jie. Other common themes include the identification of the adept with the Tao and the importance of the Five Viscera and Six Storehouses in nurturing the spirits of life. Unlike the Dadao jialing jie, however, the Tianshi jiao refers clearly to the gods of the Five Viscera and offers descriptions of them for visualization. Bokenkamp tentatively concludes his survey of the evidence by suggesting that the latter is indeed closely linked to the former and possibly constituted an appendix.
The pantheon and liturgical agenda of the Petition Ritual
The fundamental role of the petition ritual 上章 within the liturgical program of the Heavenly Master tradition is well known and repeatedly invoked in the above papers (especially the contributions by Kristofer Schipper and Lai Chi Tim).
The following papers focus directly on various aspects of the petition ritual:
■ Angelika Cedzich (DePaul University). “Early Heavenly Master Sources in Tao Hongjing’s Secret Instructions for the Ascent to Perfection: The Audience Rite from Hanzhong and the Manual of the Twelve Hundred Offices”
Before addressing the text fragments concerning the Hanzhong audience rite and the Twelve Hundred Offices, Angelika Cedzich devotes detailed discussion to the question of how these ancient Tianshi dao writings came to be incorporated into Tao Hongjing’s 陶弘景(456-536) Shangqing manual “Secret Instructions for the Ascent to Perfection,” Dengzhen yinjue 登真隱訣 (Daozang 421). The last of the surviving three juan of the Secret Instructions is based on material originally attached to the biography of Lady Wei Huacun 魏華存, a Shangqing Perfected and the preceptress of the medium Yang Xi 楊羲 (330-ca. 386). The autographs produced by Yang as records of the Shangqing revelations transmitted to him by Lady Wei and others were in turn critically studied and edited by Tao Hongjing. Tao appears to accept the claim in the fragments of interest here to have originated as revelations of the first Heavenly Master, Zhang Daoling, to Wei Huacun. Lady Wei (251-334), in her not so distant lifetime, had as a Heavenly Master libationer 祭酒 been privy to this kind of liturgical manual. Moreover, Tao also possessed two manuscripts, titled “Hanzhong Liturgies for Entering the Diocese and for the Oratory Audience 漢中入治朝靜法” and “Protocol of the Twelve Hundred Offices 千二百官儀,” which covered much the same ground. How did these come into his possession? Cedzich points out that Tao Hongjing, too, had been an ordained Heavenly Master priest whose teacher Sun Youyue 孫遊嶽 was the disciple of the Heavenly Master reformer Lu Xiujing 陸修靜 (407-477). According to Cedzich, these circumstances suggest not only a line of transmission of the manuscripts to Tao, but also the reason why a newly revealed version of the idealized Hanzhong ritual should have emerged in Lady Wei’s lifetime: Lu Xiujing famously complained that Tianshi dao institutions had fallen into disorder in the third century and campaigned for a return to the authentic ways of the Hanzhong community. In any event, Tao Hongjing compiled the passages in question from a rich and, by his own stringent criteria, authentic documentary base. Since neither manual has survived independently, his critical compilation constitutes invaluable material for the modern historian. Turning to the two groups of fragments, Cedzich deals briefly with the audience ritual (exhaustively treated in her dissertation “Das Ritual der Himmelsmeister im Spiegel früher Quellen,” Würzburg University, 1987). The Protocol of the Twelve Hundred Offices was essentially an inventory of the underworld bureaucracy, with presiding lords, residences, and staff classified according to the different afflictions or crises that gave rise to petition rituals (see also Verellen’s paperbelow). As such, the Protocol was an indispensable tool for composing petitions, to be used alongside the Chisong zi zhangli. Citing Wang Zongyu (cf. his contribution below), Cedzich mentions that the original manual, like the Chisong zi zhangli, listed pledges appropriate as offerings to the various offices. The remainder of the paper is concerned with the discrepancies, signaled by Tao Hongjing, between his own manuscripts and the newly revealed versions transmitted by Wei Huacun. As an example of a minor but remarkable variation, Cedzich lists sixteen lords featured in Wei’s text under the heading Control of Diverse Diseases. Tao’s corresponding version has only fourteen lords, but as he explains, two offices are duplicated in Wei’s list for gender-specific treatment of the same diseases (e.g., cholera in men and in women). By and large, the listings of agencies followed the same sequence but showed variations in detail. On the basis of her study of Tao’s text-critical notes, Cedzich concludes that Tao Hongjing did not regard the Qian erbai yi as a rare or esoteric text in his time. For a manual of some currency, it was not surprising to find minor inconsistencies between copies. Interestingly, however, Tao Hongjing seemed disinclined to replace the received version a priori with the newly revealed one.
■ Wang Zongyu 王宗昱 (Peking University). 《正一法文經章官品》初探 [An Exploration of the Zhengyi fawen jing zhangguan pin]
Wang Zongyu here presents a critical edition of the Register of Petitions and Offices of the Zhengyi fawen Canon 正一法文經章官品. This work preserves a significant part of the lost Protocol of the Twelve Hundred Offices 千二百官儀 (cf. Angelika Cedzich above) and provides a key to the latter’s systematic organization. The phrase by phrase collation of the Petitions and Offices edition in the Taoist canon (Daozang 1218) with fragments cited in other Taoist sources enables Wang to clarify some doubtful passages. In addition, it allows him to explicate the historical Twelve Hundred Offices system and evaluate the nature of the Register of Petitions and Offices. In an introduction to the critical edition, Wang Zongyu underlines the central place in the Heavenly Master petition ritual of the invitation of deities from the ranks of the Twelve Hundred Lords to send down blessings or avert calamities. Citing an earlier study by Liu Lin 劉琳 (in Guji zhengli yu yanjiu 古籍整理與研究 1989.4), Wang notes that certain lords were modeled on the Later Han bureaucracy, some preserving titles that fell into disuse after the fall of the Han. This evidence confirms Tao Hongjing’s judgment in his Secret Instructions for the Ascent to Perfection 登真隱訣 that the Twelve Hundred Lords represent the liturgical system of the ancient Hanzhong community. While Wang disagrees with Liu’s view that the Register of Petitions and Offices is a compilations of transcriptions from the original Protocol of the Twelve Hundred Offices, he concurs that it indirectly preserves much of the latter’s contents. This is borne out by comparison with the collated materials. Wang proceeds with an evaluation of the different sources used for the critical edition, especially Tao Hongjing’s Secret Instructions, under headings including nomenclature of the offices, gender-related distinctions among their functions, style of presentation, indication of pledges corresponding to the lords invoked, their residences and numbers of subordinate officers, and the structural layout of the protocol. Additional sources of collation materials include the Chisong zi zhangli, Taishang xuanci zhuhua zhang 太上宣慈助化章 (Daozang 617), Daomen dingzhi 道門定制(Daozang 1224), and the Taishang huanglu zhai yi 太上黃籙齋儀 (Daozang 507). Wang’s main conclusions are: (1) The work as it stands is a late Northern Song recension of the Six Dynasties original, which entered the Ming Daozang in fragmentary form; (2) it is based on a popular manuscript version that did not undergo serious revision; (3) for the most part, it is transcribed from Heavenly Master petition models and does not derive directly from the ancient Protocol of the Twelve Hundred Offices; and (4) the scripture contains, according to Wang’s count, more than 200 names of Lords 君 that are not known from extant petition texts. This makes it an extremely valuable source on the Twelve Hundred Lords pantheon.
■ Franciscus Verellen (Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient). “The Heavenly Master Liturgical Agenda in the Light of Chisong zi’s Petition Almanac 赤松子章曆”
Chisong zi’s Petition Almanac (Chisong zi zhangli, Daozang 615) contains four main elements: an inventory of petition nomenclature and associated pledges, the actual petition almanac, models for the different types of petition, and miscellaneous ritual instructions. The work’s main purpose was to match types and quantities of pledges to be offered by the client with the type of petition ritual requested and to aid the priest in selecting suitable models for the petition text and dates for the ritual. The contributions of faith pledges, here also termed ritual pledges 法信 or petition pledges 章信, typically consisted of rice, oil, silk, mats, writing brushes, ink, paper, silver or gold rings, incense, cash, fruit, and substitute figurines made of silver or pewter.The petitions preserve traces of the ancient liturgy of Hanzhong beside Shangqing, Lingbao, and Buddhistinfluences, as well asevidence of Tang cults and practices. In addition to the “old rites of the Heavenly Master,” the work names the Taizhen ke 太真科 code (4th c. and later), an earlier almanac likewise attributed to the immortal Chisong zi, and the Protocol of the Twelve Hundred Offices (see above) as sources. The almanac sectionscombine ritual concerns (taboo avoidance) with divination (selection of auspicious or admissible days) and calendrical indications (festival days of the liturgical year), providingthe necessaryhemerological information for the performance of the ritual.The present paper focuses on the liturgicalrepertoire of the Heavenly Master clergy by analyzing the issues addressed in the model petitions. The problems brought before the priest and the remedies proposed, usually in the form of acts of contrition and the summoning of protective deities, reflect the underlying beliefs of lay and professional Taoists of the Six Dynasties period. Proceeding from a typology of issues to be resolved, this study discusses the following themes, in the order of their predominance in the Chisong zi zhangli: death and redemption, baleful influences, disease, domestic misfortunes, women and children, natural phenomena, public security, and offences against religious precepts and social morality. Broadly speaking, the issues of death and redemption are the most prevalent in the Chisong zi zhangli. The most common type of petition in this category addresses the irruption of the sufferings and grievances of the unsettled dead into the world of the living, in the form of diease, ill fortune, haunting, etc. Under baleful influences are grouped petitions dealing with problems arising from other malignant emanations. They are typically ascribed to sorcery, demonic trouble, and injurious astrological conjunctions. To the extent that disease was understood as the consequence of sins, transgressions, violations of taboos, the grievances of the dead, astrological or magical influences, and noxious or contagious emanations, this phenomenon is inseparable from some of the other categories discussed. The petitions grouped under domestic misfortunes show thatthe home and its inhabitants, like the tomb, could be unsettled by taboo violations. That there was a category of petitions on the subject of “husband and wife” can be seen from the titles of lost models. Surviving examples concern childbirth, mothers, and infants. As may be expected, natural conditions, farming, and sericulture feature importantly among the worries of a rural society concerned with the vagaries of the weather and how to protect crops against pests. The remaining topics involve the prevention of injuries and protection against robbers as well as the confession and repentance for offences against religious precepts, for official and private wrongdoings, and for causing quarrels and slanders.
In sum, the conference provided a forum for in-depth discussion of the religious context to the rise of the Tianshi dao (deification of Laozi, Buddho-Taoist interaction); elements of the movement’s founding institutions (terms of the Zhengyi covenant, sacrificial system, Sanguan judiciary); the composition and transmission of some of its earliest texts (Tianshi jiao, Laozi Xiang’er zhu); and, finally, liturgical and scriptural factors pertaining to the petition ritual (liturgy of the Hanzhong community, Twelve Hundred Offices pantheon, pledge offerings, crises resolved through the presentation of petitions). A conference volume is in preparation. Future meetings are envisaged for a continued and enlarged exploration of the beliefs, practices, and institutions of the founding community of Taoism, based on comprehensive reassessments of its scriptural vestiges.
Last Updated: 9/28/11