Taoist Sects

Zhengyi Dao 正一道 (Orthodox Unity Taoism)

Zhengyi Taoism a 2,000 year old lineage that originated from ancient Chinese shamanism. Zhengyi Taoist employ Fulu (Talisman) practices to influence the weather, avoid disasters and to cure illnesses.

Zhengyi Taoism was the first well organized Taoist Sect. Before their founding, Taoism did not exist as an organized religion.

Zhengyi Taoism remains today as one of the two main denominations of Taoism, the other being Quanzhen Taoism.

Quanzhen Taoism is distinguished by its practice of Inner Alchemy, requirement of a monastic lifestyle and its unification of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism and it lineage tracing back to Wang Chongyang.

Zhengyi Taoism distinguishes its self by practicing talismans and Taoist Tantra (Priest can marry), living a non-monastic lifestyle and its lineage tracing back to Zhang Daoling. The head of Zhengyi Taoism is given the titled "Celestial Master". This tittle is passed down only to family members and has a direct lineage to Zhang Daoling himself. Today the 65th Celestial Master, Zhang Mei Liang, lives in Taiwan where he continues the tradition of his ancestors.

About 2,000 years ago during the time of Zhang daoling, the "Three Zhang Brothers" Zhangjiao, Zhangbao and Zhangliang (no blood relation to Zhang Daoling) founded Taiping Dao (the Supreme Peace Sect) which had beliefs and practices very similar to Zhang Daoling's Wudoumi Dao (Five Bushels of Rice Taoism). After the three brothers were killed in a war against the Qin Emperor, many of their followers converted to the Five Bushels of Rice Taoism.

During the 3rd century CE Zhang Daoling (about 100 years after he lived) was named "Celestial Master" thereby beginning the Tianshi Dao (Celestial Masters Taoism) tradition.

In the year 1304, the Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty granted the 38th Celestial Master the tittle "Zhengyi Lord" (Orthodox Unity Lord) and ordered him to command all Taoist sects in China. Since then, the Southern and Northern Celestial Masters Sects, the Shangqing Sect, and the Lingbao Sect, have been classified under Zhengyi Taoism.

For the above mentioned reasons Zhengyi Taoism can be referred to as Taiping Dao (Supreme Peace Sect), Wudoumi Dao (Five Bushels of Rice Daoism) or Tianshi Dao (Celestial Masters Daoism). All of these names are essentially correct.

Zhengyi Taoism places importance on the following scriptures;
  • Zhengyi Meng wei miao Jing
  • Taiping Jing
  • Tao Te Ching
  • Laozi Xiang'er

Zhengyi Daoism was essentially founded by Zhang Daoling on Longhu Shan (Dragon/Tiger Mountain) in Jiangxi Provence, and established during the Western Han Dynasty in the year 141CE on Heming Mountain, Dayi County, Sichuan Provence, mainland China.

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Quanzhen Dao (Complete Reality Taoism)

Quanzhen Taoism, one of the two, most important Sects of Taoism, the other being Zhengyi Dao. Its lineage, nine centuries old, was the precursor of the Dragon Gate Sect (Longmen Pai).

Complete Reality Taoism was the first Taoist Sect to establish a system that successfully blended and harmonized the "Three Teachings" (Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism).

Quanzhen Taoism is mainly based on Lv Dongbin's Alchemical Taoism, with Buddhism and Confucianism, integrated into it. Quanzhen Taoists are guided by fifteen principles, established by Wang Chongyang. These fifteen principles are as follows;

  1. A Taoist priest must live a monastic life; when you have a place to accommodate the body, your Heart/Mind will be at peace, and your Qi and Shen will flow smoothly.
  2. Spiritual Wandering; A Taoist priest must often travel to meet masters who can help them understand the essence of life and self.
  3. Literary study, not necessarily in great number, but in great depth; When you read, you should read with your minds eye, and never be led astray by the words themselves.
  4. Medicinal study; A Taoist should study herbs and treatment to cure people's illnesses whenever and wherever possible.
  5. Shelter of a Taoist; a Taoist should live in a hut, instead of a large building. A simple shelter is all that is need to make a monastery. Over decoration would only hinder your practice. (This principle was soon abandoned after Wang Chongyang left this world, so that Quanzhen Taoism would better appeal to emperors and nobles, whose support was essential to the survival of this school. As a result, since then many Taoist have lived in and are now living in palace-like monasteries.)
  6. Partnership; Taoists should choose virtuous, wise and inspiring partners for cultivation.
  7. Meditation; you should concentrate your mind and not let worldly concerns distract you.
  8. Mind Taming; Empty impure ideas from your mind, so that you will remain peaceful.
  9. Regulation of Jing and Qi within your body to match the Five Elements.
  10. Five Element Matching; you need to guide the Jing and Qi within your body, to harmoniously match the workings of the Five-Elements.
  11. Refining Original Character; You need to have a gentle temperament and an easy manner.
  12. Blending of Xing and Ming, the purpose of which is to make Xing (original nature) and Ming (vital energy) rely on and promote each other, cultivating both the physical life and the self.
  13. The way to sage-hood; you need to strengthen your will by enduring hardship and hard work for many years, while do morally good deeds. Although your body will stay in the material world, your heart/mind will transcend beyond.
  14. Transcendence from Three Realms, you must transcend the Realm of Desire, the Material Realm (this world) and finally, the Immaterial Realm (the Void).
  15. True Body Cultivation, the art of life preservation lies in a correct understanding of the Tao and sufficient self-nurturing.
  16. Ascending to the Immortal Realm; you need to strip off the layers of dust on your heart, before you can ascend from the mortal world.
Quanzhen Taoism places importance on the following scriptures;
  • Tao Te Ching
  • The Heart Sutra
  • Filial Piety;  by Confucius
  • Huangdi Yinfujing
  • The Yellow Court Scripture
QuanZhen Dao was essentially founded by Wang Chongyang during the Jin Dynasty in the year 1167 CE, in present day Ninghai County, Shandong, Provence, China.

Wang Chongyang had seven great disciples, Ma Yu, Tan Chuduan, Liu Chuxuan, Qiu Chuji, Wang Chuyi, Hao Datong and Sun Bu'er.

Each of the seven disciples founded his or her own Sect. They are as follows:

  1. Ma Yu, founded the Yuxian Pai (Meeting Immortals Sect)
  2. Tan Chuduan,  founded the Nanwu Pai (Southern Void Sect)
  3. Liu Chuxuan, founded the Suishan Pai (Sui Mountain Sect)
  4. Qiu Chuji founded the Longmen Pai (Dragon Gate Sect)
  5. Wang Chuyi, founded the Yushan Pai (Yu Mountain Sect)
  6. Hao Datong founded the Huashan Pai (Hua Mountain Sect)
  7. Sun Bu'er, founded the Qingjing Pai (Clarity-Stillness Sect)
More about the seven disciples and there sects will be added to our website in the near future.

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