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Here I am listing these for others who are interested to follow and see if you can make it! It seems easy, but when I go into details, maybe alot of you will find it very fun and challenging!! First, I will list them in Chinese with the cantonese pronounciation, then I will explain them in English. 五戒 Ng Gaai - The five commandments 不殺 But Saat - no killing 不盜 But Do - no stealing 不邪淫 But Che Yum - no sexual misconduct 不妄語 But Mong Yue - no false speech 不妒嫉 But Do Gei - no jealousy If you want to go for this challenge, you can first memorize these in mind, and then try to see if you did anything wrong in your daily life according to these commandments. In Taoism trianing, every taoist will go through a ceremony to accept these commandments, so when they break these commandments, they get instant reaction, but here, I can just do my best to share it and so you can try to see if you get it in your daily life. Maybe you will find it very re-stricting. But in Taoism, you will first go through LOTs of stress and restriction because you have been polluted by your daily life bad habbits. Now you are going through this process to purify yourself. So after the period of stress and restriction, you will feel FREEDOM gained! fun!
Interesting these Ethical Injuctions are equivalent to the moral restraints (yama) of ashtanga yoga, the first step of yoga as described by Patanjali in his famous yoga sutras. Other schools of yoga include 5 others. The corresponding list is 1.Ahimsa -non-violence or non-harm which is broader in application than no killing 2.Asteya - non-stealing - same. 3. Brahmacharya - sometimes transilated as sexual continence or abstinence, though sometimes translated as sexual moderation/righteousness. if it is followed strictly as no sexual activity it is more restrictive than no sexual misconduct, unless no sexual misconduct implies no sex period. 4.Satya - truth - is interpreted as no lying whatsoever, and always speaking the truth and is relatively equivalent to no false speech or attitudes, no fakeness- doing what you say and following through 5. Aparigraha - means non-covetousness, non-possessiveness, non-attachment to things, non-greed, which would somewhat correspond to non-jealousy and in fact it is sometimes interpreted as such. Yogic injunction also includes the 5 niyama or the moral prescriptions 1.Santosha - Contentment - being contented with whatever one has 2.Svadhyaya -self-study - studying ones own mind - studying the scriptures to improve the quality of ones character. 3. Saucha - purity - being pure in thought word and deed. 4. Tapas - ascetism - practicing extreme self-discipline that often involves discomfort ie. practicing under harsh conditions of hot or cold. 5. Ishvarapranidhana - complete surrender to the divine, giving up ones egoic attachments to selfagrandisement in service of a greater purpose that transcends the self, offering of practice to benefit all beings. I wonder if these niyama exist in Taoism too. some scriptures of yoga, ie. the hatha yoga pradipika have 5 additional yama, moral restraints: 1. Kshama - patience with ones development and that of others 2. Dhriti - steadfastness to the task, eliminating obstacles of fear, doubt, frustration, finishing what is started. 3. Daya - compassion, generosity - being big hearted, eliminating ones own cruelty and insensitivity towards other beings. 4. Arjava - being direct and honest eliminating wrong-doing to oneself and others. 5. Mitihara - moderation of appetite - eating the perfect amount for the body, neither more nor less, avoiding eggs, fish, seafood, and meat.
If things go wrong for the individual or the community. the entire community benefits. To restore balance. all blockages in the natural flow of life are restored when nature is allowed to regain its equilibrium. and the necessary human characteristics for attaining the Tao are explored. Consequently. speaking and doing. disciplines. and their effe cts on the Taoist community. since everything begins and ends with the Tao. these are helpful tools to purify ourselves. Commentary In Cosmos and Community. When the individual behaves in an ethical manner. Conclusions are offered to summarize Kohn‟s claims about the nature of Taoist ethics. The Ethical Dimension of Daoism. The individual‟s intentions and motivations for living an ethical life are discussed. .Sometimes these rules can be broken unconsciously.Throughout this paper. as part of the community. Additionally. The basis of Taoism as „the natural way of being‟ is discussed. I would appreciate more advice from you Mak Tin Si on how to implement them. The discussion will include the relationship between the individual and the community. Cosmos & Community. Similarities and differences between Taoism‟s Ten Precepts and Judaism‟s Ten Commandments are explored. Thanks very much for posting these ethics. behaviors. 2004. The individual. believes that all things exist in harmony with nature. Taoism will be spelled with a „T‟ instead of a „D‟ since Taoism is the spelling most commonly used in scholarly books and articles. 13). The Ethical Dimension of Daoism by Livia Kohn. The divine nature of the Tao is reviewed. Taoism places great importance on ethical thinking. What tips do you have? Introduction This paper discusses the ethical principles of Taoism based on Livia Kohn‟s book. the Taoist must stop trying to control nature. if we truely want to progress. Eastern and Western ethics relating to religion are reviewed. The most important themes in Taoism are identified. and the Ten Precepts of Taoism are examined. the author summarizes the ethical principles of Taoism and the Taoist community. the Taoist learns societal norms in accordance with specific morals. it is because of an imbalance between the energies of Yin-Yang. values. and the Tao Te Ching is cited to offer clarity concerning life‟s meaning and purpose. The issue of whether Taoism is a religion or a philosophy of ethics is also discussed. and the relationship between the community and the celestial realms. She explains that from childhood. and responsibilities to those in the community (Kohn. p. These relationships are based on adherence to ethical principles that form the basis of these relationships.
This attitude requires directing one‟s attention away from self.103). and nature will triumph in the end. They believe in acting spontaneously (not impulsively). According to Taoist ethics. p. If the Taoist defies these ethical understandings. 2002. much damage can occur when man forces his will upon nature. Taoists do not tell others how to live their lives. and living life according to the Tao („The Path‟ or „The Way‟). he responds with goodness and compassion. The consequences of selfish desires may be disastrous to the individual and the community. so below”. he understands that ethical behavior is actively . the community and nature will suffer. She quotes Wayne Teasdale (author of The Mystic Heart). these set-backs are temporary. The Taoist believes that by acting selflessly. Fortunately. 2004. it is „being itself‟ in the flow of the Tao. without struggling or trying to force events to occur. and focusing on the welfare of the community. 377). However. They are maintaining the highest standards of ethics and moral leadership without allowing outside influences to affect them. in the short term. the community should be a reflection of the cosmos. Wu Wei is not laziness or indifference. To achieve unity between „cosmos and community‟. all of nature is a manifestation of the Tao.“as above. Although the Taoist is contemplative at times. p. Kohn emphasizes the importance of having good intentions. his selfish desires are at work. is the Taoist principle that people act for the greater good at all times. Such intentions are spoken of inRules and Precepts for Worshipping the Tao (Kohn. while comparing the Taoist concept of good intentions to the Christian view on this subject. The most important ethical principle in Taoism is the concept of WuWei. p. which is defined as either „acting naturally‟ or as „non-action‟ (Renard. they are not reacting to societal or governmental regulations.When the Taoist tries dominating nature. he is carrying out the principle of Wu Wei. they believe that each person must stop seeing themselves as separate. and is therefore sacred. 103). Taoism‟s approach to ethics is not designed to preach morality or virtue to others. If „the other‟ treats the Taoist unjustly. the Taoist treats „the other‟ as he wishes to be treated. This is the way of the Tao. This concept corresponds to the Hermetic axiom . he is in harmony with nature. On an individual level. However. and become of one mind with the community (Kohn. Teasdale posits that “[Good intentions require] the development of an attitude that is concentrated and contemplative” (p. The ethical belief underlying Wu Wei. Subsequently. If the cosmos is unified and balanced. and there will be setbacks ( p. because the Taoist believes the community is a microcosm of the cosmos. The harmony of the community is of primary importance. It underlines the Taoist‟s belief in an essential unity between the macrocosm and the microcosm. 13). 2004.103). By behaving in this way.
Do not cheat or misrepresent good and evil. They both include ethical principles such as. Do not steal or receive unrighteous wealth. „honoring the . Do not be lascivious or think depraved thoughts. I will not expect to do so myself. we can find similarities between the Ten Precepts and the Ten Commandments.contributing to the well-being of the community. „supporting another who has done a good deed‟. Interestingly. however. „refraining from intoxication‟. there are also differences between the Ten Precepts and the Ten Commandments. there are another three commandments not found in the Ten Precepts of T aoism. p. These include Taoist ethics such as. „not having depraved thoughts‟. These include. I will support him with joy and delight. These are. The Ten Commandments. I will maintain harmony with my ancestors and family and never disregard my kin. Here are Taoism‟s Ten Precepts which the individual is expected to uphold: Do not kill but always be mindful of the host of living beings. Do not get intoxicated but always think of pure conduct. „supporting another who is less fortunate‟. there are also 180 precepts of Lord Lao which provide a comprehensive source of rules for living a good life within the community (p. He places a high value on communal and social norms. When I see someone do a good deed. „having no graven images‟. many of the Ten Precepts are found in other religions. speak of three other rules relating to human behavior toward the Hebrew God. 2004. I will support him with dignity to recover good fortune. 184) According to Kohn. As long as all beings have not attained the Tao. Looking to the West. p. When someone comes to do me harm. I will not harbor thoughts of revenge. these Ten Precepts are classical rules for the Taoist seeking to attain the rank of „Disciple of Pure Faith‟ (2004. „not killing‟. However. „not stealing‟. and “not taking God‟s name in vain‟. 184). „having no other gods before me‟. 184). and „understanding that all beings must attain the Tao together‟. „honoring parents or family‟ and „not lying‟. „not seeking revenge‟. (Kohn. However. Additionally. and the importance of individual moral behavior. When I see someone unfortunate.
Taoism teaches that pure conduct includes balancing the food energies of Yin and Yang (Lorenz. in Judaism. In Judaism. and „not coveting neighbor‟s possessions‟. Shou Xing (and dozens of lesser gods). Shou Lao. 2002. the manner in which an animal is killed is not an ethical consideration (as long as the animal is not tortured). and is therefore. The seventh precept speaks of „supporting the other with joy and delight‟. the community itself is acting as one unit. For example. 185). Depravity is defined differently by families. Both of these precepts help the Taoist focus on the importance of community. Conversely. so his efforts are directed toward lifting the consciousness of the community. The fifth Taoist precept speaks of „thinking of pure conduct‟. This Taoist ethic prohibits jealousy and contempt for „the other‟. countries and religions. this concept is subjective. races. As another example. all living beings must support each other in every aspect of life. this type of ethical principle is wide open to interpretation. the second precept warns against „having thoughts of depravity‟. all members of the community progress forward toward attaining the Tao. p. and adhering to this principle is considered „pure conduct‟ by religious Jews (Rich. The only hint of this ethic is found in the Tenth Commandment which . „refraining from adultery‟. are acceptable to the Taoist (Renard. I will not expect to do so myself” (Kohn. as it relates to the manner in which an animal is killed. 2007). Therefore. For example. Although there are four precepts paralleling four commandments. The Ten Commandments. the Judaic emphasis is on upholding monotheism. However. Therefore. considered proper conduct (even though vegetarianism is favored). in Judaism. 376). eating kosher food is considered „pure conduct‟. and both help him avoid suffering and the struggle for salvation. in Taoism. 2004. Together. This precept (number seven) also relates to the tenth precept which says. polytheism is not a depraved thought. “As long as all beings have not attained the Tao.Sabbath‟. the other six principles point-out the differences between Eastern and Western thought. This comparison supports the notion that Taoism is more concerned with ethical behavior of the individual. He realizes he cannot attain the Tao by himself. Therefore. Conversely. cultures. 1995). than with the individual‟s attitude toward their gods. Taoism has no restrictions about eating pork. As each member of the community is supporting „the other‟. It encourages support of the community and celebrates the accomplishments of each member. eating pork is prohibited. p. while in Taoism the worship of multiple gods such as Ma Zu. and Eastern and Western religions interpret depravity differently (even the three Western religions hold different views on this subject). societies. However. however. do not speak of encouraging others or supporting the community. For the Taoist. and worshipping the divine nature of The Godhead. polytheism could be considered a depraved thought.
“When I see someone do a good deed. the concept of war . nor his ox. 184). in a sense. This is another example of the differences between Taoist and Judaic ethics. and Moslems accepted the Taoist principle of non-action (Wu-Wei). So. the Mosaic doctrine is viewed as an unethical principle. This precept says. the Tenth Commandment is attempting to stop the individual from feeling envy and jealousy toward others (and hopefully support thy neighbor). “When someone comes to do me harm. while the Tenth Commandment uses language in a negative manner to deter others from acting unethically: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house. p. 21:23). (Exodus 20:17) In both the seventh precept and the Tenth Commandment. Most Shakespearian tragedies rely on this formula. In Taoist thought. 2002. destruction. nor his ass. and each culture delivers the message of curbing this behavior in different ways. I will support him with joy and delight” (p. if Jews. the Mosaic doctrine teaches the familiar axiom of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Ex. The individual seeking revenge is continuing a karmic chain of actions which cause chaos. 185). nor his maidservant. while the Tenth Commandment uses authoritarian language with a negative tone. It is interesting to note that the seventh precept uses language in a positive manner to reinforce ethical conduct. The seventh precept uses uplifting language with a positive tone.prohibits „coveting of thy neighbor‟s possessions or anything of thy neighbors‟. the karmic forces propelling the drama would be eliminated (and no tragedies would occur). each culture is trying to eliminate competitive behavior between the individual and „the other‟. By assuming that lack of envy will lead to supporting other members of the community. On a larger scale. Therefore. The message is similar to Christ‟s philosophy of „turning the other cheek‟ and „loving your enemy‟. Gandhi teaches a similar ideology of refraining from action in response to the harmful actions of another. Christians. The ninth precept is at greatest variance with the teachings of the Hebrew Bible. thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife. and sometimes death. nor his manservant. Taoism and Judaism use different psychological strategies and linguistic approaches for conveying ethical standards to their communities. I will not harbor thoughts of revenge” (Kohn. nor anything that is thy neighbor’s. Each culture understands the harmful effects of envy and jealously in a community. because the natural flow of events are being disrupted. Conversely. the Tenth Commandment partially corresponds to the seventh precept. If Shakespeare‟s characters did not react impulsively or violently.
Lao Tzu offers ethical and spiritual teachings concerning the development of virtue: Cultivate the Tao within oneself. and he is trying to raise the consciousness of the Jewish people. She explains that the Taoist is concerned with resolving inner conflicts. Cultivate it within the nation. the community and the cosmos. His statement is in direct contradiction to Mosaic Law. Taoist ethics are inseparable from Taoist spirituality (2008). creating „good‟ karma. Unfortunately. and one’s virtue will be enduring. Kohn writes about the connection between virtue. neither shall they learn war any more. Even the Prophet Isaiah from the Hebrew Bible tries preaching a version of Wu-Wei when he says. 54). and one’s virtue will be universal. and one’s virtue will be overflowing. (Tao Te Ching. is more effective than an impulsive act of war. The Taoist is determined to overcome compulsions and promote moral behavior for self-improvement. After 700 years of following the „eye for an eye‟ philosophy. (Isa 2:4).would be eliminated. Taoism speaks of thirty-six heavens which can be experienced through visualization . Taoist ethics could be adopted by the West (especially since Christ taught many of them). Isaiah declares that a new ethic of non-action and restraint. the “eye for an eye” principle is still being followed today. but there is a question concerning the relationship between Taoist ethics and Taoist spiritual beliefs. and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation. The Taoist ethic is to wait for events to unfold before taking action. And he shall judge among the nations. Taoists tend to refrain from action. Isaiah realizes this unethical precept is no longer working for the Jewish people. Most importantly. and encountering sages and divine beings (2004. The final goal is to travel to the heavens and feel the bliss of being in the presence of the gods (p. In the Tao Te Ching. and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares. 109). and one’s virtue will be perfected. and one’s virtue will be abundant. but will act when they have a moral duty to do so. Isaiah is attempting to create a new ethic for the Jewish people after many years of war. The goal for the individual is to avoid making decisions based on the immediacy of passions and desires. for Western countries and Western religions. 109). Cultivate it within the household. Cultivate it within the entire world. According to Mason. Cultivate it within the neighborhood. he wants to improve the quality of life within his community. p. As the Assyrian army invades Israel and destroys it.
119). 119). Kohn contends that these modes of ethical behavior are the forces behind self-transformation and spiritual realization. This concept of ending suffering is similar to the central goal of two other Eastern religions: Buddhism and Confucianism. She discusses human behavior.116). and deities.and meditation. The Taoist‟s goal is to rise above selfish desires by adopting an attitude of moderation. “One should be good for its own sake. and the relationship between the community and the heavens. Kohn concludes that there are two central themes in Taoism: 1) control over one‟s fate along with transcendental freedom and. will be lifted-up to higher levels of existence. p. humility. he and the entire community. and morally should not need an exterior motive” (p. encounters with demons. However. places an emphasis on intention. Conclusion In Cosmos and Community. “Buddhist ethics have been identified as an ethics of intention. She also quotes Kant on the subject of being morally good. Therefore. living without the struggles and suffering of daily life. Living by the Ten Precepts. karmic retribution and the perfection of virtue” (2004. Kohn speaks about a connection between Taoism and Confucianism. She posits that by following the ethical principles of the Tao. and -especially in its Mahayana form – as a system that promotes altruism over all other considerations (p. the individual avoids all types of unhappy events. trouble with the law. They believe in a spiritual hierarchy where divine beings exist at various levels of spiritual development. controlling impulses. archangels. demons. “They [Taoists] integrated Confucian virtues and demands of social cooperation. 118). Taoists and Buddhists believe that karma will either reward or punish people according to their deeds. and natural disasters (p. and patience. Kohn discusses the Buddhist influence on Taoism and the Ten Precepts. Taoism more than Buddhism. The Taoist believes that by perfecting virtue. Additionally. moral rules. 116). detachment. each member of the community becomes a cosmic being. Taoism contains a strong Buddhist influence. p. behaving morally should be the rational thing to do. the author presents the ethical foundations of Taoism. sickness and disease. as a form of moral determinism. The teaching of a spiritual hierarchy is also found in other religions in the forms of angels. The Ethical Dimension of Taoism. rishis. Kohn is . elementals. Kohn‟s book places an emphasis on the innate goodness of the cosmos which the Taoist community wants to emulate in the community. 118). 2) achieving oneness with heaven and earth (2004. the individual is striving to become one with the Tao. popular concepts of reciprocity. as well as the action itself (p. progressing toward goodness.
and has naturally good attributes such as truth. Emerson. virtue. However. Plotinus. In the chapter on „Community Application‟ (and moral rules). Kohn is implying that there is an essential relationship between the mortal and the divine. By bringing cosmology into the discussion. and experiencing oneness with the Godhead. which many scholars acknowledge as the authentic Taoism of Lao Tzu. There is even a possibility that Siddhartha may have read the Tao Te Ching before becoming the Buddha! Since the Tao Te Ching is considered „the Bible‟ of Taoism. and purpose for its followers. once mysticism enters the discussion. she does not discuss the benefits of mysticism in Taoism. there also other philosophies such as atheism. and almost all the writings of the world‟s major religions. and outlines the do’s and don’ts for ethical living. and balance. is not inherently good. Kohn is saying that the universe has a divine purpose. and its possible influence on the development of Buddhism. Although Kohn stresses the importance of achieving transcendence. and therefore. Voltaire. The lack of quotations from the Tao Te Ching diminishes the importance of ancient Taoism. justice. Her interpretation agrees with the philosophies of Plato. and Marxism which take the opposing view of a universe that has no divine purpose. harmony. clarity. Consequently. Taoism provides hope. transcendence and self-realization as an important aspect of Taoist life. and the metaphysical (and irrational) nature of Taoist mystical practices. Kohn provides details from the 180 Precepts of Lord Lao of the Celestial Masters. Additionally.making an important point by stating that the Tao is inherently good. This is a not a major issue. she cannot avoid acknowledging the role of mysticism. existentialism. and lists the remaining 170 precepts in the translation section in the second half of the book. Taoism is at least one hundred years older than Buddhism. meaning. Locke. Aquinas. since the thrust of her book is explaining ethics and morals in Taoism. She concentrates on explaining the Ten Precepts. Additionally. Kohn establishes that Taoism is an ethical instruction-manual for those wanting to live a moral life. However. she opens the door to discussing mysticism. nihilism. This . Kohn does not give enough credit to Lao Tzu for writing the Tao Te Ching. it is surprising that Kohn is not quoting it more often. Therefore. She speaks about Buddhism‟s influence on Taoism. so there are no influences from Buddhism in the early days of this religion. while some modern philosophies do not. a problem arises as to the relationship between the pragmatism (and rationalism) of Taoist ethics. compassion. but does not explain that these influences took place hundreds of years after the establishment of Buddhism. By taking the position that the Tao has positive attributes. when she speaks about the relationship between the cosmos and the community. and using it more effectively.
this constitutes False Speech. Kohn explains that within the 180 precepts. and those as small as insects.let alone 603 additional ones! The same situation probably holds true in Taoism. or feel something. but it is not between a man and a woman who are married to each other." The Elder Lord said: "The precept against sexual misconduct is: If a sexual conduct happens. thus one should not kill any of them. The third precept: No Sexual Misconduct. it establishes the importance of a divine connection between the Tao and the community." The Elder Lord said: "The precept against stealing is: One should not take anything that he does not own and is not given to him. it is a Sexual Misconduct. the Taoist lives an ethical and moral life. and ancient superstitious." ."* The Elder Lord said: "The precept against false speech is: If one did not hear.like most people – have enough difficulty keeping-up with the Ten Commandments . Although the „Great Plan‟ does not f ocus primarily on Taoist ethics. and helps his community become one with the Tao. whether it belongs to someone or not. compassion and selflessness that the Tao symbolizes. many are duplications. Their definitions can be found in an excerpt of The Ultra Supreme Elder Lord's Scripture of Precepts : “ The Elder Lord said: "The precept against killing is: All living beings. the five basic precepts are: The first precept: No Murdering. and so forth. Since the Tao is the ideal of spiritual perfection. By following the „Great Plan‟ and the precepts. non-orthodox Jews . redundancies. The fifth precept: No Taking of Intoxicants. are containers of the uncreated energy. The second precept: No Stealing. worms. The „Great Plan‟ provides a look at original „Taoist thought‟ without the inclusion of other influences from various religions. he or she should never marry or practice sexual intercourse with anyone. see. or if something is not realized by his Heart. According to The Ultra Supreme Elder Lord's Scripture of Precepts . Her explanation of the cosmology of the „Great Plan‟ is especially intere sting because it offers a set of Eight Precepts that connect the cosmos with the community. including all kinds of animals. The fourth precept: No False Speech. out-dated rules. As for a monk or nun. but he tells it to others. the Taoist must be a reflection of goodness.complex moral code is similar to the 613 Mitzvoth in Orthodox Judaism which are designed to regulate every aspect of Jewish life. This is the ultimate ethical and spiritual goal for the Taoist and his community. However. truth.
Both types include rites to install the ritual space. and varies according to sect. and occur every three. and communal meals. A two-day service may involve fifteen different rites corresponding to distinct texts. There are two main types of ritual: 1) funeral rites or periodic rites on behalf of ancestors. and 2) rites on behalf of local communities. The heart of the ritual is conducted by five Taoshi: a Great Master and his four assistants. region. will gain the holy principles. rites of fasting. Rituals on behalf of the community may involve tens or even hundreds of villages. they are recognized as those with pure faith. military parades. As for the performance of the rituals themselves. Aside from the rituals themselves. unless he has to take some to cure his illness. and rites to disperse the ritual space. or twelve years. and perambulations. and are the roots of the upholding of the holy teachings. prayers. and are paid for by household donations and community leaders. Typically each of these rites consists of these stages: purification."** The Elder Lord had said: "These five precepts are the fundamentals for keeping one's body in purity. and will forever achieve Tao -. One of these assistants heads the intricate and complex processions and dances. processions.The Elder Lord said: "The precept against taking of intoxicants is: One should not take any alcoholic drinks. each rite lasting from one to several hours. from two or three up to seven or more. dances. and temple." Rites and Ceremonies Written by: Julia Hardy The Taoist festival calendar represents an amalgamation of various sources. They can be extraordinarily expensive. rites of communion or offering. if they can accept and keep these precepts. hymns. there will also be plays. more advanced trainees assist by lighting incense and reciting certain passages. consecration and offerings. invocation of the deities. which are performed only by some sects. no mistakes can be made. ApprenticedTaoshi serve as musicians.the Reality. sometimes in tandem with Buddhist priests. no step or recitation must falter. Another prepares in advance every communication with the celestial bureaucracy that is used during the course of the entire . five. For those virtuous men and virtuous women who enjoy the virtuous teachings. Major festivals last for days. and is responsible for knowing the entire sequence of rites that make up the full ritual. they will gain the Way to Tao. and never violate any of them till the end of their lifetimes.
the master is the mountain. and recites all of the invocations and consecrations." the step of Yu or Taiyi. but these days the ascent is entirely internal. filled with music. In ancient times. Then he falls prostrate. through the movement of the chair. the texts of purification. Standing again. The memorial is a petition to the gods. dictate a response to settle a conflict between dead and living family members. The master puppeteer is located at the center. so that the master actually ascended the steps at this point in the ritual. Taoist rituals are colorful. At times he picks up the incense burner and holds it as he breathes in and out. locus of the Heavenly Worthies. the construction of the stage with four corners. and are regarded as being of a lower order than the rituals of the Taoshi. but the main portion of the ritual has occurred. writs. In ritual spaces far less defined than those of the Taoshi.ritual. incense. and continues to mimic it in many important ways. and other markers of the ritual space are burned. Primarily. its date and location. in the course of dramatic performances. there is more chanting and more music. Some forms of ritual involve mediumship. just as they avoid watching Taoist rituals. These usually occur during festivals. . stating the name and purpose of the ritual. just as the incense burner and the altar are also the mountain. he rises and performs the "dance of the stars. There he presents the memorial that is the heart of the ritual texts. they will call on the powers of local spirit generals and spirit armies and. facing different directions. and stylized movements. During much of the activities. quietly murmuring secret formulas and doingmudras with his hands inside his sleeves. To communicate with the dead. or he burns talismanic symbols or initials documents. or pierce themselves with sharp objects. including the consecration of the participants before the show begins. as he internally journeys to the Heavenly Assembly. and a vow — that is a request and a pledge on behalf of all the participants. Afterward. all talismans. Some puppet plays are so fearsome in their spiritual power that ordinary people avoid watching them. Much of Chinese drama is influenced by Taoist ritual. trance. invoke their power for aid and protection on behalf of the community. in a fetal position with arms and legs under his body. just as is the Taoist master who presides over a ritual. accompanied by divine escorts (all described in the recitation that accompanies these acts). the master burns the memorial and scatters the ashes. the Great Master is preparing for his role. gathers his escorts. Puppet theatre especially has roots in Taoist ritual. and the exorcism of demons. face in hands. In breaking down the ritual space. and returns. Afterward there is a communal banquet. a miniature sedan chair carried by two people may become the seat of a deity who will. At a certain point. and the appropriate talismanic symbols. the altar was built upon a series of graduated steps. The "barefoot masters" walk beds of hot coals. the names and addresses of the participants. he enacts internally the actions spoken by the texts that are being recited by his assistant. and confession. written in literary language. with plenty of food available for the orphan souls who cannot becomeancestors. climb ladders of swords. elevation. In this sense.
like those of Chinese opera characters. Tissues are applied to the wounds to soak up a bit of blood. long epics that describe voyages to spirit realms. and then taken home and stuck on doorframes to ward off evil. like the Taoshi. The blood is regarded as protection against evil. . drawing blood.Both mediums and puppets can also undertake expeditions against demons who have caused problems for a person or community. They might enact a battle against the demons. They often paint their faces in elaborate masks. have their ritual texts. The barefoot masters. and the act. and strike themselves with their weapons. with swords and military music. a form of expiation for the sins of all.
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