The Chinese Imperial Ceramic Artwork Found In Indonesia ( continiu )

THE ART MOTIF OF CHINA IMPERIAL CERAMIC FOUND IN INDONESIA

PART THREE

PART III. STUDIES RESULTS

 

By

Dr Iwan Suwandy , MHA

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3.5.DISCUSS

Based on the above findings it can be concluded motif artwork Chinese kingdoms found in Indonesia as follows

Berdasarkan hasil temuan tersebut diatas dapat disimpulkan motif karya seni kerajaan Tiongkok yang ditemukan di Indonesia sebagai berikut

 

.3.5.1. RELIGIOUS MOTIVES

1.) motif Taoism

1.)      

Xian (Taoism)

This article is about Daoist immortals. For other uses, see Xian (disambiguation). Xian (Chinese: //; pinyin: xiān; Wade–Giles: hsien) is a Chinese word for an enlightened person, translatable in English as:

  • “spiritually immortal; transcendent; super-human; celestial being” (in Daoist/Taoist philosophy and cosmology)
  • “physically immortal; immortal person; immortalist; saint” (in Daoist religion and pantheon)
  • “alchemist; one who seeks the elixir of life; one who practices longevity techniques” or by extension “(alchemical, dietary, qigong) methods for attaining immortality” (in Chinese alchemy)
  • “wizard; magician; shaman” (in Chinese mythology)
  • “genie; elf, fairy; nymph” (in popular Chinese literature, 仙境 xian jing is “fairyland”, Faerie)
  • “sage living high in the mountains; mountain-man; hermit; recluse” (folk etymology for the character )
  • “immortal (talent); accomplished person; celestial (beauty); marvelous; extraordinary” (metaphorical modifier)

Xian semantically developed from meaning spiritual “immortality; enlightenment”, to physical “immortality; longevity” involving methods such as alchemy, breath meditation, and T’ai chi ch’uan, and eventually to legendary and figurative “immortality”.

The xian archetype is described by Victor H. Mair.

They are immune to heat and cold, untouched by the elements, and can fly, mounting upward with a fluttering motion. They dwell apart from the chaotic world of man, subsist on air and dew, are not anxious like ordinary people, and have the smooth skin and innocent faces of children. The transcendents live an effortless existence that is best described as spontaneous. They recall the ancient Indian ascetics and holy men known as ṛṣi who possessed similar traits.1994:376

The word xian[edit]

The most famous Chinese compound of xiān is Bāxiān (八仙 “the Eight Immortals“). Other common words include xiānrén (仙人 sennin in Japanese, “immortal person; transcendent”, see Xiānrén Dòng), xiānrénzhăng (仙人掌 “immortal’s palm; cactus“), xiānnǚ (仙女 “immortal woman; female celestial; angel”), and shénxiān (神仙 “gods and immortals; divine immortal”). Besides humans, xiān can also refer to supernatural animals. The mythological húlijīng 狐狸精 (lit. “fox spirit”) “fox fairy; vixen; witch; enchantress” has an alternate name of húxiān 狐仙 (lit. “fox immortal”).

The etymology of xiān remains uncertain. The circa 200 CE Shiming, a Chinese dictionary that provided word-pun “etymologies”, defines xiān () as “to get old and not die,” and explains it as someone who qiān ( “moves into”) the mountains.”

Edward H. Schafer (1966:204) defined xian as “transcendent, sylph (a being who, through alchemical, gymnastic and other disciplines, has achieved a refined and perhaps immortal body, able to fly like a bird beyond the trammels of the base material world into the realms of aether, and nourish himself on air and dew.)” Schafer noted xian was cognate to xian “soar up”, qian “remove”, and xianxian 僊僊 “a flapping dance movement”; and compared Chinese yuren 羽人 “feathered man; xian” with English peri “a fairy or supernatural being in Persian mythology” (Persian pari from par “feather; wing”).

Two linguistic hypotheses for the etymology of xian involve the Arabic language and Sino-Tibetan languages. Wu and Davis (1935:224) suggested the source was jinn, or jinnigenie” (from Arabic جني jinnī). “The marvelous powers of the Hsien are so like those of the jinni of the Arabian Nights that one wonders whether the Arabic word, jinn, may not be derived from the Chinese Hsien.” Axel Schuessler’s etymological dictionary (2007:527) suggests a Sino-Tibetan connection between xiān (Old Chinese *san or *sen) “‘An immortal’ … men and women who attain supernatural abilities; after death they become immortals and deities who can fly through the air” and Tibetan gšen < g-syen “shaman, one who has supernatural abilities, incl[uding] travel through the air”.

The character and its variants[edit]

The word xiān is written with three characters , , or , which combine the logographic “radicalrén ( or “person; human”) with two “phonetic” elements (see Chinese character classification). The oldest recorded xiān character has a xiān (“rise up; ascend”) phonetic supposedly because immortals could “ascend into the heavens”. (Compare qiān “move; transfer; change” combining this phonetic and the motion radical.) The usual modern xiān character , and its rare variant , have a shān ( “mountain”) phonetic. For a character analysis, Schipper (1993:164) interprets “‘the human being of the mountain,’ or alternatively, ‘human mountain.’ The two explanations are appropriate to these beings: they haunt the holy mountains, while also embodying nature.”

The Shijing (220/3) contains the oldest occurrence of the character , reduplicated as xiānxiān (僊僊 “dance lightly; hop about; jump around”), and rhymed with qiān (). “But when they have drunk too much, Their deportment becomes light and frivolous—They leave their seats, and [] go elsewhere, They keep [僊僊] dancing and capering.” (tr. James Legge)[1] Needham and Wang (1956:134) suggest xian was cognate with wu “shamanic” dancing. Paper (1995:55) writes, “the function of the term xian in a line describing dancing may be to denote the height of the leaps. Since, “to live for a long time” has no etymological relation to xian, it may be a later accretion.”

The 121 CE Shuowen Jiezi, the first important dictionary of Chinese characters, does not enter except in the definition for 偓佺 (Wo Quan “name of an ancient immortal”). It defines as “live long and move away” and as “appearance of a person on a mountaintop”.

Textual references[edit]

This section chronologically reviews how Chinese texts describe xian “immortals; transcendents”. While the early Zhuangzi, Chuci, and Liezi texts allegorically used xian immortals and magic islands to describe spiritual immortality, later ones like the Shenxian zhuan and Baopuzi took immortality literally and described esoteric Chinese alchemical techniques for physical longevity. On one the hand, neidan (內丹 “internal alchemy”) techniques included taixi (胎息 “embryo respiration”) breath control, meditation, visualization, sexual training, and Tao Yin exercises (which later evolved into Qigong and T’ai chi ch’uan). On the other hand, waidan (外丹 “external alchemy”) techniques for immortality included alchemical recipes, magic plants, rare minerals, herbal medicines, drugs, and dietetic techniques like inedia.

The earliest representations of Chinese immortals, dating from the Han Dynasty, portray them flying with feathery wings (the word yuren 羽人 “feathered person” later meant “Daoist”) or riding dragons. In Chinese art, xian are often pictured with symbols of immortality including the dragon, crane, fox, white deer, pine tree, peach, and mushroom.

 

 

Xian riding dragons[1]

 

Paintings of xian by Soga Shōhaku 曾我蕭白, ca. 1760.

Besides the following major Chinese texts, many others use both graphic variants of xian. Xian () occurs in the Chunqiu Fanlu, Fengsu Tongyi, Qian fu lun, Fayan, and Shenjian; xian () occurs in the Caizhong langji, Fengsu Tongyi, Guanzi, and Shenjian.

Zhuangzi[edit]

Two circa 3rd century BCE “Outer Chapters” of the Zhuangzi (莊子 “[Book of] Master Zhuang”) use the archaic character xian . Chapter 11 has a parable about “Cloud Chief” ()  and “Big Concealment” (鴻濛) that uses the Shijing compound xianxian (“dance; jump”):

Big Concealment said, “If you confuse the constant strands of Heaven and violate the true form of things, then Dark Heaven will reach no fulfillment. Instead, the beasts will scatter from their herds, the birds will cry all night, disaster will come to the grass and trees, misfortune will reach even to the insects. Ah, this is the fault of men who ‘govern’!”
“Then what should I do?” said Cloud Chief.
“Ah,” said Big Concealment, “you are too far gone! [
僊僊] Up, up, stir yourself and be off!”
Cloud Chief said, “Heavenly Master, it has been hard indeed for me to meet with you—I beg one word of instruction!”
“Well, then—mind‑nourishment!” said Big Concealment. “You have only to rest in inaction and things will transform themselves. Smash your form and body, spit out hearing and eyesight, forget you are a thing among other things, and you may join in great unity with the deep and boundless. Undo the mind, slough off spirit, be blank and soulless, and the ten thousand things one by one will return to the root—return to the root and not know why. Dark and undifferentiated chaos—to the end of life none will depart from it. But if you try to know it, you have already departed from it. Do not ask what its name is, do not try to observe its form. Things will live naturally end of themselves.”
Cloud Chief said, “The Heavenly Master has favored me with this Virtue, instructed me in this Silence. All my life I have been looking for it, and now at last I have it!” He bowed his head twice, stood up, took his leave, and went away. (11, tr. Burton Watson 1968:122-3)

Chapter 12 uses xian when mythical Emperor Yao describes a shengren ( “sagely person”).

The true sage is a quail at rest, a little fledgling at its meal, a bird in flight who leaves no trail behind. When the world has the Way, he joins in the chorus with all other things. When the world is without the Way, he nurses his Virtue and retires in leisure. And after a thousand years, should he weary of the world, he will leave it and [] ascend to [] the immortals, riding on those white clouds all the way up to the village of God. (12, tr. Watson 1968:130)

Without using the word xian, several Zhuangzi passages employ xian imagery, like flying in the clouds, to describe individuals with superhuman powers. For example, Chapter 1, within the circa 3rd century BCE “Inner Chapters”, has two portrayals. First is this description of Liezi (below).

Lieh Tzu could ride the wind and go soaring around with cool and breezy skill, but after fifteen days he came back to earth. As far as the search for good fortune went, he didn’t fret and worry. He escaped the trouble of walking, but he still had to depend on something to get around. If he had only mounted on the truth of Heaven and Earth, ridden the changes of the six breaths, and thus wandered through the boundless, then what would he have had to depend on? Therefore I say, the Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame. (1, tr. Watson 1968:32)

Second is this description of a shenren (神人 “divine person”).

He said that there is a Holy Man living on faraway [姑射] Ku-she Mountain, with skin like ice or snow, and gentle and shy like a young girl. He doesn’t eat the five grains, but sucks the wind, drinks the dew, climbs up on the clouds and mist, rides a flying dragon, and wanders beyond the four seas. By concentrating his spirit, he can protect creatures from sickness and plague and make the harvest plentiful. (1, tr. Watson 1968:33)

The authors of the Zhuangzi had a lyrical view of life and death, seeing them as complimentary aspects of natural changes. This is antithetical to the physical immortality (changshengbulao 長生不老 “live forever and never age”) sought by later Daoist alchemists. Consider this famous passage about accepting death.

Chuang Tzu’s wife died. When Hui Tzu went to convey his condolences, he found Chuang Tzu sitting with his legs sprawled out, pounding on a tub and singing. “You lived with her, she brought up your children and grew old,” said Hui Tzu. “It should be enough simply not to weep at her death. But pounding on a tub and singing—this is going too far, isn’t it?” Chuang Tzu said, “You’re wrong. When she first died, do you think I didn’t grieve like anyone else? But I looked back to her beginning and the time before she was born. Not only the time before she was born, but the time before she had a body. Not only the time before she had a body, but the time before she had a spirit. In the midst of the jumble of wonder and mystery a change took place and she had a spirit. Another change and she had a body. Another change and she was born. Now there’s been another change and she’s dead. It’s just like the progression of the four seasons, spring, summer, fall, winter.”
“Now she’s going to lie down peacefully in a vast room. If I were to follow after her bawling and sobbing, it would show that I don’t understand anything about fate. So I stopped. (18, tr. Watson 1968:191–2)

Alan Fox explains this anecdote about Zhuangzi’s wife.

Many conclusions can be reached on the basis of this story, but it seems that death is regarded as a natural part of the ebb and flow of transformations which constitute the movement of Dao. To grieve over death, or to fear one’s own death, for that matter, is to arbitrarily evaluate what is inevitable. Of course, this reading is somewhat ironic given the fact that much of the subsequent Daoist tradition comes to seek longevity and immortality, and bases some of their basic models on the Zhuangzi. (1995:100)

Chuci[edit]

 

 

The supposed “footprint of a xian“, a little pond in Guangzhou’s Temple of the Five Immortals

The 3rd-2nd century BCE Chuci (楚辭 “Lyrics of Chu”) anthology of poems uses xian once and xian twice, reflecting the disparate origins of the text. These three contexts mention the legendary Daoist xian immortals Chi Song (赤松Red Pine“, see Kohn 1993:142–4) and Wang Qiao (王僑, or Zi Qiao 子僑). In later Daoist hagiography, Chi Song was Lord of Rain under Shennong, the legendary inventor of agriculture; and Wang Qiao was a son of King Ling of Zhou (r. 571–545 BCE), who flew away on a giant white bird, became an immortal and was never again seen.

The “Yuan You” (遠遊 “Far-off Journey”) poem describes a spiritual journey into the realms of gods and immortals, frequently referring to Daoist myths and techniques.

My spirit darted forth and did not return to me,
And my body, left tenantless, grew withered and lifeless.
Then I looked into myself to strengthen my resolution,
And sought to learn from where the primal spirit issues.
In emptiness and silence I found serenity;
In tranquil inaction I gained true satisfaction.
I heard how once Red Pine had washed the world’s dust off:
I would model myself on the pattern he had left me.
I honoured the wondrous powers of the [
真人] Pure Ones,
And those of past ages who had become [
] Immortals.
They departed in the flux of change and vanished from men’s sight,
Leaving a famous name that endures after them. (tr. Hawkes 1985:194)

The “Xi shi” (惜誓 “Sorrow for Troth Betrayed”) resembles the “Yuan You“, and both reflect Daoist ideas from the Han period. “Though unoriginal in theme,” says Hawkes (1985:239), “its description of air travel, written in a pre-aeroplane age, is exhilarating and rather impressive.”

We gazed down of the Middle Land [China] with its myriad people
As we rested on the whirlwind, drifting about at random.
In this way we came at last to the moor of Shao-yuan:
There, with the other blessed ones, were Red Pine and Wang Qiao.
The two Masters held zithers tuned in perfect concord:
I sang the Qing Shang air to their playing.
In tranquil calm and quiet enjoyment,
Gently I floated, inhaling all the essences.
But then I thought that this immortal life of [
] the blessed,
Was not worth the sacrifice of my home-returning. (tr. Hawkes 1985:240)

The “Ai shi ming” (哀時命 “Alas That My Lot Was Not Cast”) describes a celestial journey similar to the previous two.

Far and forlorn, with no hope of return:
Sadly I gaze in the distance, over the empty plain.
Below, I fish in the valley streamlet;
Above, I seek out [
] holy hermits.
I enter into friendship with Red Pine;
I join Wang Qiao as his companion. We send the Xiao Yang in front to guide us;
The White Tiger runs back and forth in attendance.
Floating on the cloud and mist, we enter the dim height of heaven;
Riding on the white deer we sport and take our pleasure. tr. Hawkes 1985:266)

The “Li Sao” (離騷 “On Encountering Trouble”), the most famous Chuci poem, is usually interpreted as describing ecstatic flights and trance techniques of Chinese shamans. The above three poems are variations describing Daoist xian.

Some other Chuci poems refer to immortals with synonyms of xian. For instance, “Shou zhi” (守志 “Maintaining Resolution), uses zhenren (真人 “true person”, tr. “Pure Ones” above in “Yuan You“), which Wang Yi’s commentary glosses as zhen xianren (真仙人 “true immortal person”).

I visited Fu Yue, bestriding a dragon,
Joined in marriage with the Weaving Maiden,
Lifted up Heaven’s Net to capture evil,
Drew the Bow of Heaven to shoot at wickedness,
Followed the [
真人] Immortals fluttering through the sky,
Ate of the Primal Essence to prolong my life. (tr. Hawkes 1985:318)

Liezi[edit]

The Liezi (列子 “[Book of] Master Lie”), which Louis Komjathy (2004:36) says “was probably compiled in the 3rd century CE (while containing earlier textual layers)”, uses xian four times, always in the compound xiansheng (仙聖 “immortal sage”).

Nearly half of Chapter 2 (“The Yellow Emperor“) comes from the Zhuangzi, including this recounting of the above fable about Mount Gushe (姑射, or Guye, or Miao Gushe 藐姑射).

The Ku-ye mountains stand on a chain of islands where the Yellow River enters the sea. Upon the mountains there lives a Divine Man, who inhales the wind and drinks the dew, and does not eat the five grains. His mind is like a bottomless spring, his body is like a virgin’s. He knows neither intimacy nor love, yet [仙聖] immortals and sages serve him as ministers. He inspires no awe, he is never angry, yet the eager and diligent act as his messengers. He is without kindness and bounty, but others have enough by themselves; he does not store and save, but he himself never lacks. The Yin and Yang are always in tune, the sun and moon always shine, the four seasons are always regular, wind and rain are always temperate, breeding is always timely, the harvest is always rich, and there are no plagues to ravage the land, no early deaths to afflict men, animals have no diseases, and ghosts have no uncanny echoes. (tr. Graham 1960:35)

Chapter 5 uses xiansheng three times in a conversation set between legendary rulers Tang () of the Shang Dynasty and Ji () of the Xia Dynasty.

T’ang asked again: ‘Are there large things and small, long and short, similar and different?’
—’To the East of the Gulf of Chih-li, who knows how many thousands and millions of miles, there is a deep ravine, a valley truly without bottom; and its bottomless underneath is named “The Entry to the Void”. The waters of the eight corners and the nine regions, the stream of the Milky Way, all pour into it, but it neither shrinks nor grows. Within it there are five mountains, called Tai-yü, Yüan-chiao, Fang-hu, Ying-chou and P’eng-Iai. These mountains are thirty thousand miles high, and as many miles round; the tablelands on their summits extend for nine thousand miles. It is seventy thousand miles from one mountain to the next, but they are considered close neighbours. The towers and terraces upon them are all gold and jade, the beasts and birds are all unsullied white; trees of pearl and garnet always grow densely, flowering and bearing fruit which is always luscious, and those who eat of it never grow old and die. The men who dwell there are all of the race of [
仙聖] immortal sages, who fly, too many to be counted, to and from one mountain to another in a day and a night. Yet the bases of the five mountains used to rest on nothing; they were always rising and falling, going and returning, with the ebb and flow of the tide, and never for a moment stood firm. The [仙聖] immortals found this troublesome, and complained about it to God. God was afraid that they would drift to the far West and he would lose the home of his sages. So he commanded Yü-ch’iang to make fifteen [] giant turtles carry the five mountains on their lifted heads, taking turns in three watches, each sixty thousand years long; and for the first time the mountains stood firm and did not move.
‘But there was a giant from the kingdom of the Dragon Earl, who came to the place of the five mountains in no more than a few strides. In one throw he hooked six of the turtles in a bunch, hurried back to his country carrying them together on his back, and scorched their bones to tell fortunes by the cracks. Thereupon two of the mountains, Tai-yü and Yüan-chiao, drifted to the far North and sank in the great sea; the [
仙聖] immortals who were carried away numbered many millions. God was very angry, and reduced by degrees the size of the Dragon Earl’s kingdom and the height of his subjects. At the time of Fu-hsi and Shen-nung, the people of this country were still several hundred feet high.’ (tr. Graham 1960:97–8)

Penglai Mountain became the most famous of these five mythical peaks where the elixir of life supposedly grew, and is known as Horai in Japanese legends. The first emperor Qin Shi Huang sent his court alchemist Xu Fu on expeditions to find these plants of immortality, but he never returned (although by some accounts, he discovered Japan).

Holmes Welch (1957:88–97) analyzed the beginnings of Daoism, sometime around the 4th-3rd centuries BCE, from four separate streams: philosophical Daoism (Laozi, Zhuangzi, Liezi), a “hygiene school” that cultivated longevity through breathing exercises and yoga, Chinese alchemy and Five Elements philosophy, and those who sought Penglai and elixirs of “immortality”. This is what he concludes about xian.

It is my own opinion, therefore, that though the word hsien, or Immortal, is used by Chuang Tzu and Lieh Tzu, and though they attributed to their idealized individual the magic powers that were attributed to the hsien in later times, nonetheless the hsien ideal was something they did not believe in—either that it was possible or that it was good. The magic powers are allegories and hyperboles for the natural powers that come from identification with Tao. Spiritualized Man, P’eng-lai, and the rest are features of a genre which is meant to entertain, disturb, and exalt us, not to be taken as literal hagiography. Then and later, the philosophical Taoists were distinguished from all other schools of Taoism by their rejection of the pursuit of immortality. As we shall see, their books came to be adopted as scriptural authority by those who did practice magic and seek to become immortal. But it was their misunderstanding of philosophical Taoism that was the reason they adopted it. (Welch 1957:95)

Shenxian zhuan[edit]

 

 

An immortal riding a tortoise. A Han Dynasty painting

The Shenxian zhuan (神仙傳 Biographies of Spirit Immortals”) is a hagiography of xian. Although it was traditionally attributed to Ge Hong (283–343 CE), Komjathy (2004:43) says, “The received versions of the text contain some 100-odd hagiographies, most of which date from 6th-8th centuries at the earliest.”

According to the Shenxian zhuan, there are four schools of immortality:

(—“Pneumas”): Breath control and meditation. Those who belong to this school can

“…blow on water and it will flow against its own current for several paces; blow on fire, and it will be extinguished; blow at tigers or wolves, and they will crouch down and not be able to move; blow at serpents, and they will coil up and be unable to flee. If someone is wounded by a weapon, blow on the wound, and the bleeding will stop. If you hear of someone who has suffered a poisonous insect bite, even if you are not in his presence, you can, from a distance, blow and say in incantation over your own hand (males on the left hand, females on the right), and the person will at once be healed even if more than a hundred li away. And if you yourself are struck by a sudden illness, you have merely to swallow pneumas in three series of nine, and you will immediately recover.
But the most essential thing [among such arts] is fetal breathing. Those who obtain [the technique of] fetal breathing become able to breathe without using their nose or mouth, as if in the womb, and this is the culmination of the way [of pneumatic cultivation].” (Campany 2002:21)

Fàn (—“Diet”): Ingestion of herbal compounds and abstention from the Sān Shī Fàn (三尸—“Three-Corpses food”)—Meats (raw fish, pork, dog, leeks, and scallions) and grains. The Shenxian zhuan uses this story to illustrate the importance of bigu “grain avoidance”:

“During the reign of Emperor Cheng of the Han, hunters in the Zhongnan Mountains saw a person who wore no clothes, his body covered with black hair. Upon seeing this person, the hunters wanted to pursue and capture him, but the person leapt over gullies and valleys as if in flight, and so could not be overtaken. [But after being surrounded and captured, it was discovered this person was a 200 plus year old woman, who had once been a concubine of Qin Emperor Ziying. When he had surrendered to the ‘invaders of the east’, she fled into the mountains where she learned to subside on ‘the resin and nuts of pines’ from an old man. Afterwards, this diet ‘enabled [her] to feel neither hunger nor thirst; in winter [she] was not cold, in summer [she] was not hot.’]
The hunters took the woman back in. They offered her grain to eat. When she first smelled the stink of grain, she vomited, and only after several days could she tolerate it. After little more than two years of this [diet], her body hair fell out; she turned old and died. Had she not been caught by men, she would have become a transcendent.” (Campany 2002:22–23)

Fángzhōng Zhī Shù (房中之—“Arts of the Bedchamber”): Sexual yoga. (Campany 2002:30–31) According to a discourse between the Yellow Emperor and the immortaless Sùnǚ (素女—“Plain Girl”), one of the three daughters of Hsi Wang Mu,

“The sexual behaviors between a man and woman are identical to how the universe itself came into creation. Like Heaven and Earth, the male and female share a parallel relationship in attaining an immortal existence. They both must learn how to engage and develop their natural sexual instincts and behaviors; otherwise the only result is decay and traumatic discord of their physical lives. However, if they engage in the utmost joys of sensuality and apply the principles of yin and yang to their sexual activity, their health, vigor, and joy of love will bear them the fruits of longevity and immortality. (Hsi 2002:99–100)

The White Tigress Manual, a treatise on female sexual yoga, states,

“A female can completely restore her youthfulness and attain immortality if she refrains from allowing just one or two men in her life from stealing and destroying her [sexual] essence, which will only serve in aging her at a rapid rate and bring about an early death. However, if she can acquire the sexual essence of a thousand males through absorption, she will acquire the great benefits of youthfulness and immortality.” (Hsi 2001:48)

Dān (—”Alchemy“, literally “Cinnabar“): Elixir of Immortality.(Campany 2002:31)

Baopuzi[edit]

The 4th century CE Baopuzi (抱朴子 “[Book of] Master Embracing Simplicity”), which was written by Ge Hong, gives some highly detailed descriptions of xian.

The text lists three classes of immortals:

Tiānxiān (天仙—“Celestial Immortal”): The highest level.

Dìxiān (地仙—“Earth Immortal”): The middle level.

Shījiě xiān (尸解仙—”Escaped-by-means-of-a-stimulated-corpse-simulacrum Immortal”, literally “Corpse Untie Immortal”): The lowest level. This is considered the lowest form of immortality since a person must first “fake” their own death by substituting a bewitched object like a bamboo pole, sword, talisman or a shoe for their corpse or slipping a type of Death certificate into the coffin of a newly departed paternal grandfather, thus having their name and “allotted life span” deleted from the ledgers kept by the Sīmìng (司命—”Director of allotted life spans”, literally “Controller of Fate”). Hagiographies and folktales abound of people who seemingly die in one province, but are seen alive in another. Mortals who choose this route must cut off all ties with family and friends, move to a distant province, and enact the Ling bao tai xuan yin sheng zhi fu (靈寳太玄隂生之符—“Numinous Treasure Talisman of the Grand Mystery for Living in Hiding”) to protect themselves from heavenly retribution. (Campany 2002:52–60)

However, this is not a true form of immortality. For each misdeed a person commits, the Director of allotted life spans subtracts days and sometimes years from their allotted life span. This method allows a person to live out the entirety of their allotted lifespan (whether it be 30, 80, 400, etc.) and avoid the agents of death. But the body still has to be transformed into an immortal one, hence the phrase Xiānsǐ hòutuō (先死後脱—“The ‘death’ is apparent, [but] the sloughing off of the body’s mortality remains to be done.”)

Sometimes the Shījiě are employed by heaven to act as celestial peace keepers. Therefore, they have no need for hiding from retribution since they are empowered by heaven to perform their duties. There are three levels of heavenly Shījiě:

Dìxià zhǔ (地下主—“Agents Beneath the Earth”): Are in charge of keeping the peace within the Chinese underworld. They are eligible for promotion to earthbound immortality after 280 years of faithful service.

Dìshàng zhǔzhě (地上主者—”Agents Above the Earth”): Are given magic talismans which prolong their lives (but not indefinitely) and allow them to heal the sick and exorcize demons and evil spirits from the earth. This level was not eligible for promotion to earthbound immortality.

Zhìdì jūn (制地君—”Lords Who Control the Earth”): A heavenly decree ordered them to “disperse all subordinate junior demons, whether high or low [in rank], that have cause afflictions and injury owing to blows or offenses against the Motion of the Year, the Original Destiny, Great Year, the Kings of the Soil or the establishing or breaking influences of the chronograms of the tome. Annihilate them all.” This level was also not eligible for promotion to immortality.

These titles were usually given to humans who had either not proven themselves worthy of or were not fated to become immortals. One such famous agent was Fei Changfang, who was eventually murdered by evil spirits because he lost his book of magic talismans. However, some immortals are written to have used this method in order to escape execution. (Campany 2002:52–60)

Ge Hong wrote in his book The Master Who Embraces Simplicity,

The [immortals] Dark Girl and Plain Girl compared sexual activity as the intermingling of fire [yang/male] and water [yin/female], claiming that water and fire can kill people but can also regenerate their life, depending on whether or not they know the correct methods of sexual activity according to their nature. These arts are based on the theory that the more females a man copulates with, the greater benefit he will derive from the act. Men who are ignorant of this art, copulating with only one or two females during their life, will only suffice to bring about their untimely and early death. (Hsi 2001:48)

Zhong Lü Chuan Dao Ji[edit]

 

 

Hé (和) and Hé (合), the two “Immortals of Harmony and Unity”, associated with happy marriage, depicted in Changchun Temple, a Taoist temple in Wuhan

The Zhong Lü Chuan Dao Ji (鐘呂傳道集/钟吕传道集 “Anthology of the Transmission of the Dao from Zhong[li Quan] to Lü [Dongbin]”) is associated with Zhongli Quan (2nd century CE?) and Lü Dongbin (9th century CE), two of the legendary Eight Immortals. It is part of the so-called “Zhong-Lü” (鍾呂) textual tradition of internal alchemy (neidan). Komjathy (2004:57) describes it as, “Probably dating from the late Tang (618–906), the text is in question-and-answer format, containing a dialogue between Lü and his teacher Zhongli on aspects of alchemical terminology and methods.”

The Zhong Lü Chuan Dao Ji lists five classes of immortals:

Guǐxiān (鬼仙—”Ghost Immortal”): A person who cultivates too much yin energy. These immortals are likened to Vampires because they drain the life essence of the living, much like the fox spirit. Ghost immortals do not leave the realm of ghosts.

Rénxiān (人仙—Human Immortal”): Humans have an equal balance of yin and yang energies, so they have the potential of becoming either a ghost or immortal. Although they continue to hunger and thirst and require clothing and shelter like a normal human, these immortals do not suffer from aging or sickness. Human immortals do not leave the realm of humans. There are many sub-classes of human immortals, as discussed above under Shījiě xiān.

Dìxiān (地仙—“Earth Immortal”): When the yin is transformed into the pure yang, a true immortal body will emerge that does not need food, drink, clothing or shelter and is not affected by hot or cold temperatures. Earth immortals do not leave the realm of earth. These immortals are forced to stay on earth until they shed their human form.

Shénxiān (神仙—”Spirit Immortal”): The immortal body of the earthbound class will eventually change into vapor through further practice. They have supernatural powers and can take on the shape of any object. These immortals must remain on earth acquiring merit by teaching mankind about the Tao. Spirit immortals do not leave the realm of spirits. Once enough merit is accumulated, they are called to heaven by a celestial decree.

Tiānxiān (天仙—“Celestial Immortal”): Spirit immortals who are summoned to heaven are given the minor office of water realm judge. Over time, they are promoted to oversee the earth realm and finally become administrators of the celestial realm. These immortals have the power to travel back and forth between the earthly and celestial realms

a.The Natural World

Tao Phillosophy

Taoist philosophy is closely related to the meaning of a single word: the Chinese word “Tao.”

Every language, culture, and religion has words that convey more than one simple idea. Even though such words often have several layers of meaning, there is never any confusion as to what is being said.

Ask a dozen people, for example, to explain the word “heaven” — as likely as not, you’ll hear a dozen different definitions or descriptions. The same is true of the word “Tao,” which is often translated as “way” or “path.”

The Tao

Although there are many definitions of Tao, this one word communicates an entire philosophy, an outlook on the fundamental nature of life and the universe.

The word Tao is nothing less than an expression of the profound unity of the universe and of the path human beings must take to join, rather than disturb, that unity.

What is this path, and how do we find it? The path begins with an understanding of the origin of the universe. “Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of the way,” stated the ancient Chinese sage Lao Tzu, the author of the Tao Te Ching.

Known in English as The Book of the Way, this poetic masterpiece was written approximately 2,500 years ago. As well as being a matchless work of literature, it takes its place in history as the first written record of Taoist philosophy.

The Interdependence of All Things

Early Taoist philosophy was profoundly influenced by observations of nature. Taoist philosophers determined that everything has its complementary opposite. More than this, they saw that everything can only be understood by comparing it to its opposite.

Day is only day in relation to night, cold only cold in relation to heat, and soft only soft in relation to hard. Looking deeper still, they realized that these relationships are in a constant state of flux: Day flows gradually into night and back again.

All things, then, are interdependent. By observing the processes of nature, the Taoists say, we can come to some understanding about the meaning of our lives and about our place in the world. These concepts are the cornerstone of Taoist philosophy.

Taoist philosophers also noticed that what happens in nature is effortless. This does not mean that there is no struggle, but that events occur without premeditation.

Consider the life of a plant. The seed falls onto the ground. If the soil is fertile, and if it receives warmth, light, and water, it may emerge as a seedling. It does not require instruction to know how to take nourishment in through its roots or how to photosynthesize light and unfold into a mature plant.

Given the knowledge it contains, the plant is complete within its own nature. The Taoist asks: why should life be different for people? Why not allow situations to unfold as they may rather than trying to manipulate others and orchestrate events?

This belief in Taoist philosophy is known as the doctrine of doing-by-not-doing, and it lies at the heart of Taoist practice. It is the message of the following portion of Verse 29 of the Tao Te Ching:

Do you think you can take

over the universe

and improve it?

I do not believe it can be done.

The universe is sacred.

You cannot improve it.

If you try to change it,

you will ruin it.

If you try to hold it,

you will lose it.

Nature is complete without us, this verse tells us. We must recognize this fact and begin to participate with nature as a partner in the universal scheme.

Our mission, according to Taoist philosophy, is to return to a natural way of life, unencumbered by complicated social institutions and intellectual ideas. Doing so, Taoism suggests, will return us to a state of natural grace — Tao.

This contact with what is innately pure will, in turn, strengthen our spirit, the source of which is nature.

Continue reading to discover more about Tao, the path, and finding the way — all central components of Taoist philosophy.

 

b. The Moving Spirit

Move Energy Through Your Body, Move Your Life

Move Energy Through Your Body, Move Your Life.
by
Master Khaleghl Quinn

“The way you move is the way you live”. –The ancient Taoist philosophers

Movement characterizes life. To participate in life we must have movement in some dimension of our being. One who is paralyzed can move eyes and thoughts and the imagination. There is electrical movement in the nervous system. Pulse shows the heart is working. Breath moves in and out of the nostrils. This is how we determine life when there is no other apparent movement. Participation in any type of exercise shows a will to be engaged in life. I highly recommend the Chi Walking our Light Force Group practitioner Hazel Wood. Hazel Wood teaches so wonderfully!

Experience the uniqueness of being the transformer and transformed, receptive and active, yin and yang, simultaneously with my Chi-Cybernetics program. It provides a simple way to move yet offers refined motor movement that emulates natural ecologies in nature such as showers of light, fountains and the emanating ripples of energy from tossing pebbles in the lake. Over time these movements translate into rivers of healing, inner peace, and a stream of inspiration that may be tapped at any time. Skype sessions are available.

Ideally one does conscious movement three times a day starting with more vigorous in the morning, something soothing for the heart at noon such as golf, walking in green areas, and something unwinding in evening such as flowing movement that generates a mild, yet deep aerobic effect, and healthy rotation and stretching of the joints. Dance. Watch as a student performs Qigong movements in a session with Master Quinn. Move in the way you want to live and watch your life follow. You are the conductor!

http://thelightforcegroup.com/dr-quinns-blog/key-practice-2-move-energy-through-your-body-move-your-life/

Tao, Art of Flow – by John A. Salat

 

An Inspirational Journey Through Intimate Wisdom.

Personal Growth – Zen Prose – Spiritual Psychology – Eastern Philosophy

– Experience deeper dimensions of a powerful being.

– Allow your spirit to Flow effortlessly and timelessly.

– Pleasantly watch miracles pour daily through your life.

Steer your life towards radical new levels using innovative tools. Receive rich insights that actively transform your health, your career, and your relationships. John Salat’s personal experience freshly reveals this ancient knowledge to you with an intimate, artful Flow. His poetic, expressive, and meditative writing leads you through a warm spiritual journey of touching invisible, conscious streams. He explores Tao through an insightful personal story that unravels ancient secrets and leads you to explore a step by step series of guided contemplations in a fresh, new way.

For thousands of years, the organic knowledge of Tao (meaning “path”) has guided souls through an endless, serendipitous Flow. This living wisdom is energy that moves freely without our interference, because the world’s natural course carries this intelligence fluently with life’s balances of changing cycles. The mysterious philosophy of Tao is often sought from China’s Lao-Tzu’s writings of Tao Te Ching. This book, however, journeys beyond traditional writings by immersing you deep within your primordial awareness to reveal universal insights and inspiration for living in today’s contemporary world.

You will be touching everyday life situations responsibly through exploring a series of distinctions, open inquiries with warm reflective moments. This wisdom profoundly ignites while discovering your ways to hold this conscious path wide open. Through the natural course-ways, the soul begins powerfully to liberate and honor what it really needs. Accepting these magical synchronicities creates more than just meaningful coincidence; it taps intimately with having extraordinary experiences.

When pioneering human consciousness, we form as social innovators, visionaries and spiritual evolutionist. Whether you’re a coach, C.E.O, teacher or leader, this book profoundly opens fresh insights of laying these new foundations for your life. With this groundwork, the soul can expand having rich deep experiences, instead of letting these idle expressions rest quietly beneath our complex lives. Opportunities will further draw the soul inspirationally to touch life from a whole new world experience.

John Salat is a certified transformational leader, Chi Master, licensed architect, and signed musician. His meditative mediums are featured in many publications and broadcasted on both radio and television. He teaches weekly classes on effective communication skills, Tai Chi, Qigong, meditation, healing and Reiki. His clients include well-known actors, producers, writers, politicians and health practitioners. John Salat has traveled extensively throughout China and lives with his family in Southern California.

c. Cycles Of Change

The Seven Pillars of Tao

The origin of the cosmos
Is the eternal mother;
To grasp the mother is to know the child;
To know the child is to hold fast to the mother.
Then life becomes secure

 

By Lilian Too

The Seven Pillars of Tao

The origin of the cosmos
Is the eternal mother;
To grasp the mother is to know the child;
To know the child is to hold fast to the mother.
Then life becomes secure.

 

The term “mother” in Taoism is the formless aspect of the Tao, which can be viewed as the cosmic spiritual dimension. The term “child” refers to the worldly form we take. Both mother and child make up the multitude of shifting forms, and understanding one implies a comprehension of the true nature of the other and vice versa.
To neglect the mother is to cling only to material things and become obsessively attached to superficial forms and appearances. Perception of life becomes very shallow and unsatisfying. It leads to a life that can be meaningless.
To neglect the child is to despise the material world and focus only on the intangibles. Again this leads to a life that in the end is also meaningless.
For life to have meaning, we need to understand and appreciate both the formless world of the Cosmos (the mother energy) as well as the material world that comprises material things, forms and great abundance (the child energy). All of this is summarized in the 7 PILLARS OF TAO and only by appreciating these pillars of life and the origins of life can one control and steer one’s DESTINY towards a happy and meaningful life.

 

The 7 Pillars of Tao

  1. 1.   Concept of the 5 Elements: Everything in the universe can be categorized as one of the five elements. Taoism looks towards the “scientific” rather than the “divine” to explain the cycle of changes that characterize the natural and cosmic environments. In Chinese these five forces are called wu xing and this has roughly been translated as the five elements. The five elements are describes as metal, which signifies strength, wood, which signifies growth; water, which signifies flow, fire, which signifies ambition and earth which signifies the nurturing of the matriarch. Everything in the Universe falls into one of these five categories. Effective feng shui practice like Taoism is dependent on a profound understanding of the five elements and how they interact.
  2. 2.   Concept of Yin and Yang: Represents the polarity of forces: without one the other cannot exist. Taoism explains that the existence of all things is ONE manifesting two complimentary forms. Everything in the Cosmos comprises shifting forms that have life through the interaction of the polar forces of yin and yang. These forces or energies should be clearly recognized as two sides of the same coin, so that what is perceived at any single moment is merely one perception of the same thing. For example, yin and yang manifests as the sunless and sunny side of the same mountain.
  3. 3.   Concept of Non-Duality: Spiritual and material dimensions are one and the same. This is the first fundamental concept of the Tao. It is seamless, intangible and void so that everything that our senses perceive in the here and now are actually the same thing. This concept is similar to the Buddhist view of Emptiness, which states that form is void and void is form. To fully grasp the concept of non-duality, one needs to practice meditating on stillness and understanding this basic tenet of Taoism requires many hours of silent contemplation.
  4. 4.   Concept of Continuing Change: Nothing stays permanently the same, ever. Not even for a second. This fundamental truth lies at the very core of existence. Yet this dynamic, this constant flurry of activity does not lead to chaos, so that the ever changing remains forever unchanged! This seems like a contradiction in terms, but understanding this, you would begin to understand the way of the TAO and complete understanding of the TAO requires a fully qualified spiritual Master.
  5. 5.   Concept of Three Treasures: The semen, the breath and the spirit make up the three treasures. A deeper practice of the TAO requires an appreciation of the three treasures of existence and each of these treasures is said to have a cosmic counterpart making a total of six interacting treasures. The creation, nourishment and interplay of the six treasures contain the key to unlocking awesome “magical” abilities inherent within mankind’s potential. This prepares the way to the final achievement of the source.
  6. 6.   Concept of Aiming at the Lesser Goal: Because the ultimate goal is so difficult (return to the SOURCE) you do it step-by-step. Many Taoists are therefore happy to aim at the lesser goal, which is to attain increasingly profound realizations or intuitive insights into the true nature of existence. These realizations are almost always accompanied by sensations of intense bliss. Realizations of the “truth” bring a deepening of wisdom and generate feelings of joy and peace with the world.
  7. 7.   Concept of Returning to the Source: The ultimate goal of Taoist practice takes us into the realm of life after death, back to the source, which can mean different things to different practitioners. One definition is the attainment of Immortality, which we can suppose to be some spiritual type being who lives in a spiritual realm. Legend of course describes the Paradise of the Queen of the West, a seemingly inaccessible part of Earth, which is described as a place where everything is available in abundance. Another perhaps more profound definition of the source is that it is a goal so high it transcends all other goals conceived by man since beginningless time. Mere words cannot describe the indescribable state of returning back to the SOURCE of our true nature. It is so splendid, and it encompasses an immortality that is far beyond the power of all conception by mere mortals.
d. Heaven and Earth

Taoist philosophy forms the basis of Chinese culture.  I have been reading the writings of China’s greatest philosophers for over 45 years. There words are profound and subtle, and provide all the secrets of life, death, existence and non-existence, success and failure, heaven and hell, and health and disease.  I have compiled the key thoughts of some of these great masters, for myself and for you. This first compilaton is from the great early Taoist masters who contributed to the very foundation of Chinese culture and philosophy. These masters were all adepts at Life Cultivation, the art of radiant health and longevity. By carefully studying and meditating upon their words, you can glean the deep truths of  Tao, Yin and Yang, and the Three Treasures.

The Words of Zhou Jing

Jing, Qi and Shen activate the human being.  If they are not depleted they will work intrinsically to produce the substances needed to remain youthful.  The ancients have stated, “Heaven has three treasures — the sun, moon and stars.  Mankind has three treasures — Jing, Qi and Shen

e. Ritual

Overview About the Tao Religious Ritual Ceremony
 
To note, in the Taoist religion we are many religious rituals that we can implement in our daily lives, such as:
* Prayer Day Ceremony Greatness deities (Ri Ji Xian Shen Yi Shi Qing Dian)
At the time of the greatness of deities held ritual / ceremony in taokwan-taokwan/klenteng-klenteng. Used in this ceremony a large incense for ceremonial leaders and all the people of each using a small incense.
* Prayer Ceremony Wedding People Tao (Dao Jiao Shi Yi Jie Hun)
At this time the religious wedding ceremony can be held Tao is officially in some taokwan / temple.
* Prayer Ceremony Early Start Doing activities that Very Important (Falun Gong Kai Cheng Yi Shi)
In the Taoist religion, there is a kind of ritual to initiate an activity that is very important include: Launching a taokwan / temples, building dedication, prayers for peace and other countries. This ritual usually begins with a prayer to the Almighty God (Thien Kung)
* Moving Prayer Ceremony (Nuan Wu Yi Shi)
This ceremony is a rite of blessing for the new people who moved house, so that residents get warmth, fortune, health and protection of the Lord (Thien Kung) and deities.
* Ceremony Dao Yin / Initiation (Dao Yin Yi Shi)
Tao religion because that is thousands of years old certainly has a lot of flow. This flows naturally give rise to a variety of colleges that have their own rules. Dao Yin ceremony usually done as a way of initiation reception in one of the universities Taoist religion.
* New Prayer Ceremony Sites (Kai Guang Yi Shi)
Kai Guang ceremony performed when there are people who inaugurated the temple altar for prayer.
* Ceremony Cleaning House (Wu Xi Qu Yi Xie Shi)
In human life can not be denied that a lot of strange events that befall. Such as the presence of residents who often encounter interference from another dimension that can not be explained logically. To overcome this, Wu Xi ritual is performed.
* Ceremony antidote Annual Bala (Bao Yun Yi Shi)
Hua tribe in trust, the fate of mankind every year it’s always changing. We do not know whether that will be passed this year will be good or bad. Therefore in every Lunar New Year, temples held a ceremony rod reinforcements.
* Ceremony Reconciling Marrieds (He he Yi Shi)
This ceremony is a ceremony to reconcile marital relationship in order to create a less harmonious marital relationship back good so that peace can be created household.
* Apply for Extension of Age Ceremony (Yan Shou Yi Shi)
Yan Shou’s ceremony include unique ceremony performed in Taoist ritual, perhaps because religion is about 5000 years old. The ceremony is performed to invoke the extended life to the Almighty God and deities in an effort to help someone who is very ill to be cured and live longer.
* Ceremony pleading child (Qiu Shi Zi Yi)
Descent is an important thing in human life. The ceremony is held to invoke the child for married couples who have difficulty having children.
* Less than a month baby celebration ceremony (Man Yue Yi Shi)
Man Yue is a thanksgiving ritual performed by Taoists when even a month old baby
* The recognition ceremony foster child god (Guo Fang Yi Shi)
Guo Fang / Kwee Pang is the term that we often hear in the Hua tribe. Children who are sickly or have poor luck usually circumvented by kwee pang (raised pups to others). But the Taoist religion should kwee lap child right to the deities, as deities will be able to protect and keep the child rather than humans.
* Ceremony insert the corpse into the coffin (Ru Yi Lian Shi)
* Delivery ceremony the spirits of people who died (Chao Du Yi Shi)
This ritual is a prayer ceremony to usher in the spirit of the recently deceased, usually done at night ‘flower’, the night before the burial. All the children and grandchildren participate in this ritual.
* Went to the burial ceremony (Chu Shi Yi Bin)
* Funeral casket drop (Xia Zang Yi Shi)
* Ceremony Sowing Abu body (Sa Gu Hui Yi Shi)
For the corpse was not buried, but burned, the ashes are sown in the crystal clear sea so that our children and grandchildren get a good brightness and hockey.
* Ceremony move graves (Zang Yi Qian Shi)
Move the graves or tombs to dismantle the remnants of burned body is that sometimes can not be avoided in this modern era such as taxable evicted. The ceremony is also usually done if the family know that the graves of his ancestors did not get a good hong sui so moved to a nicer suinya hong.
* Ceremony sublimation spirits (Lien Hun Yi Jie Du Shi)
Life and death is normal / natural. There are times when the spirits of our loved ones having problems in there nature.
The ceremony was in the Taoist religion is an ancient ritual that is done with the aim of helping spirits who experience unfavorable circumstances there applied to God in order to be helped to be given a good place.
That is some ritual ceremonies in the Taoist religion which we can use our lives for the better.

 

Original info

 

Untuk diketahui, dalam agama Tao kita terdapat banyak upacara ritual keagamaan yang bisa kita implementasikan dalam kehidupan kita sehari-hari, diantaranya adalah :

* Upacara Doa Hari Kebesaran Dewa-Dewi (Shen Xian Ji Ri Qing Dian Yi Shi)

Pada saat hari kebesaran Dewa-Dewi diadakan ritual/upacara di taokwan-taokwan/klenteng-klenteng. Dalam upacara ini biasa digunakan satu hio besar untuk pemimpin upacara dan seluruh umat masing-masing menggunakan satu hio kecil.

* Upacara Doa Pernikahan Umat Tao (Dao Jiao Jie Hun Yi Shi)

Pada saat ini upacara pernikahan secara agama Tao sudah dapat dilaksanakan secara resmi di beberapa taokwan/kelenteng.

* Upacara Doa Awal Mulai Melakukan Kegiatan yang Sangat Penting (Gong Cheng Kai Gong Yi Shi)

Dalam agama Tao, ada semacam ritual untuk mengawali suatu kegiatan yang sangat penting antara lain : Peresmian sebuah taokwan/kelenteng, peresmian gedung, doa bersama untuk kedamaian negara dan lain-lain. Biasanya ritual ini dimulai dengan sembahyang kepada Tuhan Yang Maha Esa (Thien Kung)

* Upacara Doa Pindah Rumah (Nuan Wu Yi Shi)

Upacara ini adalah ritual pemberkatan untuk umat yang pindah rumah baru, agar penghuni rumah mendapatkan kehangatan, rejeki, kesehatan dan perlindungan dari Tuhan (Thien Kung) dan Dewa-Dewi.

* Upacara Dao Yin/Inisiasi (Dao Yin Yi Shi)

Agama Tao karena umurnya yang sudah ribuan tahun tentu saja mempunyai banyak aliran. Aliran-aliran ini tentu saja menimbulkan berbagai perguruan yang mempunyai aturan sendiri-sendiri. Upacara Dao Yin biasa dilakukan sebagai cara inisiasi penerimaan di salah satu perguruan-perguruan agama Tao.

* Upacara Peresmian Tempat Sembahyang Baru (Kai Guang Yi Shi)

Upacara Kai Guang dilakukan bila ada umat kelenteng yang meresmikan altar untuk sembahyang.

* Upacara Pembersihan Rumah (Xi Wu Qu Xie Yi Shi)

Dalam kehidupan manusia memang tidak bisa dipungkiri bahwa banyak kejadian-kejadian aneh yang menimpa. Seperti misalnya adanya penghuni rumah yang sering mengalami gangguan dari dimensi lain yang tidak bisa dijelaskan secara logika. Untuk mengatasi hal ini, ritual Xi Wu inilah yang dilakukan.

* Upacara Penangkal Bala Tahunan (Bao Yun Yi Shi)

Dalam kepercayaan suku Hua, nasib manusia setiap tahun itu selalu berubah-ubah. Kita tidak tahu apakah tahun yang akan dilalui ini akan baik atau buruk. Oleh karena itu di setiap pergantian tahun Imlek, kelenteng-kelenteng mengadakan suatu upacara penangkal bala.

* Upacara Merukunkan Suami-Istri (He he Yi Shi)

Upacara ini adalah upacara untuk merukunkan kembali hubungan suami istri yang kurang harmonis agar tercipta kembali hubungan suami istri yang baik sehingga ketentraman rumah tangga dapat tercipta.

* Upacara Memohon Perpanjangan Umur (Yan Shou Yi Shi)

Upacara Yan Shou ini termasuk upacara unik yang dilakukan dalam ritual agama Tao, mungkin karena agama ini sudah berumur sekitar 5000 tahun. Upacara ini dilakukan untuk memohon perpanjangan umur kepada Tuhan Yang Maha Esa dan Dewa-Dewi sebagai usaha untuk menolong seseorang yang sedang sakit keras untuk dapat sembuh dan berumur lebih panjang.

* Upacara memohon anak (Qiu Zi Yi Shi)

Keturunan merupakan suatu hal penting dalam kehidupan manusia. Upacara ini dilaksanakan untuk memohon anak bagi pasangan suami istri yang sulit mendapatkan anak.

* Upacara syukuran bayi genap sebulan (Man Yue Yi Shi)

Man Yue adalah ritual syukuran yang dilakukan oleh umat Tao ketika bayinya genap berumur satu bulan

* Upacara pengakuan anak angkat dewa (Guo Fang Yi Shi)

Guo Fang/Kwee Pang adalah istilah yang sering kita dengar dalam suku Hua. Anak-anak yang sakit-sakitan atau yang mempunyai nasib kurang baik biasanya disiasati dengan kwee pang(diangkat anakkan kepada orang lain). Tapi dalam agama Tao sebaiknya anak di kwee pang kan kepada Dewa-Dewi, karena Dewa-Dewi akan lebih bisa melindungi dan menjaga anak tersebut daripada manusia.

* Upacara memasukkan jenazah ke dalam peti (Ru Lian Yi Shi)

* Upacara pengantaran arwah orang yang baru meninggal (Chao Du Yi Shi)

Ritual ini adalah upacara doa untuk mengantarkan arwah orang yang baru meninggal, biasanya dilakukan pada malam ‘kembang’, malam sebelum dikuburkan. Semua anak dan cucu ikut dalam ritual ini.

* Upacara berangkat ke penguburan (Chu Bin Yi Shi)

* Upacara penguburan penurunan peti (Xia Zang Yi Shi)

* Upacara Penaburan Abu Jenazah (Sa Gu Hui Yi Shi)

Bagi jenazah yang tidak dikubur namun dibakar, abu jenazah ditabur di laut yang jernih agar anak cucu mendapatkan kecerahan dan hoki yang bagus.

* Upacara pindah kuburan (Qian Zang Yi Shi)

Memindahkan kuburan atau membongkar kuburan untuk dibakar sisa-sisa jenazahnya merupakan hal yang kadang tidak bisa dihindari pada jaman modern ini seperti kena gusur misalnya. Upacara ini juga biasa dilakukan apabila keluarga yang ditinggalkan mengetahui kalau kuburan nenek moyangnya tidak mendapat hong sui yang bagus sehingga dipindahkan ke tempat yang hong suinya lebih bagus.

* Upacara sublimasi arwah (Lien Hun Du Jie Yi Shi)

Kehidupan dan kematian merupakan hal yang wajar/alamiah. Ada kalanya arwah orang yang kita cintai mengalami kendala di alam sana.

Upacara ini dalam agama Tao adalah sebuah ritual kuno yang dilakukan dengan tujuan menolong arwah yang mengalami keadaan kurang baik disana dimohonkan kepada Dewa agar dapat ditolong untuk diberikan tempat yang baik.

Itulah beberapa ritual upacara dalam agama Tao yang dapat kita gunakan agar kehidupan kita menjadi lebih baik lagi.

f. The mystical Power Of Calligraphy

 

g.Secret Practices

h.The Realm Of The Immortal

 

 

RELIGIOUS MOTIVES

3.5.DISCUSS

Based on the above findings it can be concluded motif artwork Chinese kingdoms found in Indonesia as follows

Berdasarkan hasil temuan tersebut diatas dapat disimpulkan motif karya seni kerajaan Tiongkok yang ditemukan di Indonesia sebagai berikut

 

.3.5.1. RELIGIOUS MOTIVES

1.)     motif Taoism

Xian (Taoism)

This article is about Daoist immortals. For other uses, see Xian (disambiguation). Xian (Chinese: //; pinyin: xiān; Wade–Giles: hsien) is a Chinese word for an enlightened person, translatable in English as:

  • “spiritually immortal; transcendent; super-human; celestial being” (in Daoist/Taoist philosophy and cosmology)
  • “physically immortal; immortal person; immortalist; saint” (in Daoist religion and pantheon)
  • “alchemist; one who seeks the elixir of life; one who practices longevity techniques” or by extension “(alchemical, dietary, qigong) methods for attaining immortality” (in Chinese alchemy)
  • “wizard; magician; shaman” (in Chinese mythology)
  • “genie; elf, fairy; nymph” (in popular Chinese literature, 仙境 xian jing is “fairyland”, Faerie)
  • “sage living high in the mountains; mountain-man; hermit; recluse” (folk etymology for the character )
  • “immortal (talent); accomplished person; celestial (beauty); marvelous; extraordinary” (metaphorical modifier)

Xian semantically developed from meaning spiritual “immortality; enlightenment”, to physical “immortality; longevity” involving methods such as alchemy, breath meditation, and T’ai chi ch’uan, and eventually to legendary and figurative “immortality”.

The xian archetype is described by Victor H. Mair.

They are immune to heat and cold, untouched by the elements, and can fly, mounting upward with a fluttering motion. They dwell apart from the chaotic world of man, subsist on air and dew, are not anxious like ordinary people, and have the smooth skin and innocent faces of children. The transcendents live an effortless existence that is best described as spontaneous. They recall the ancient Indian ascetics and holy men known as ṛṣi who possessed similar traits.1994:376

The word xian[edit]

The most famous Chinese compound of xiān is Bāxiān (八仙 “the Eight Immortals“). Other common words include xiānrén (仙人 sennin in Japanese, “immortal person; transcendent”, see Xiānrén Dòng), xiānrénzhăng (仙人掌 “immortal’s palm; cactus“), xiānnǚ (仙女 “immortal woman; female celestial; angel”), and shénxiān (神仙 “gods and immortals; divine immortal”). Besides humans, xiān can also refer to supernatural animals. The mythological húlijīng 狐狸精 (lit. “fox spirit”) “fox fairy; vixen; witch; enchantress” has an alternate name of húxiān 狐仙 (lit. “fox immortal”).

The etymology of xiān remains uncertain. The circa 200 CE Shiming, a Chinese dictionary that provided word-pun “etymologies”, defines xiān () as “to get old and not die,” and explains it as someone who qiān ( “moves into”) the mountains.”

Edward H. Schafer (1966:204) defined xian as “transcendent, sylph (a being who, through alchemical, gymnastic and other disciplines, has achieved a refined and perhaps immortal body, able to fly like a bird beyond the trammels of the base material world into the realms of aether, and nourish himself on air and dew.)” Schafer noted xian was cognate to xian “soar up”, qian “remove”, and xianxian 僊僊 “a flapping dance movement”; and compared Chinese yuren 羽人 “feathered man; xian” with English peri “a fairy or supernatural being in Persian mythology” (Persian pari from par “feather; wing”).

Two linguistic hypotheses for the etymology of xian involve the Arabic language and Sino-Tibetan languages. Wu and Davis (1935:224) suggested the source was jinn, or jinnigenie” (from Arabic جني jinnī). “The marvelous powers of the Hsien are so like those of the jinni of the Arabian Nights that one wonders whether the Arabic word, jinn, may not be derived from the Chinese Hsien.” Axel Schuessler’s etymological dictionary (2007:527) suggests a Sino-Tibetan connection between xiān (Old Chinese *san or *sen) “‘An immortal’ … men and women who attain supernatural abilities; after death they become immortals and deities who can fly through the air” and Tibetan gšen < g-syen “shaman, one who has supernatural abilities, incl[uding] travel through the air”.

The character and its variants[edit]

The word xiān is written with three characters , , or , which combine the logographic “radicalrén ( or “person; human”) with two “phonetic” elements (see Chinese character classification). The oldest recorded xiān character has a xiān (“rise up; ascend”) phonetic supposedly because immortals could “ascend into the heavens”. (Compare qiān “move; transfer; change” combining this phonetic and the motion radical.) The usual modern xiān character , and its rare variant , have a shān ( “mountain”) phonetic. For a character analysis, Schipper (1993:164) interprets “‘the human being of the mountain,’ or alternatively, ‘human mountain.’ The two explanations are appropriate to these beings: they haunt the holy mountains, while also embodying nature.”

The Shijing (220/3) contains the oldest occurrence of the character , reduplicated as xiānxiān (僊僊 “dance lightly; hop about; jump around”), and rhymed with qiān (). “But when they have drunk too much, Their deportment becomes light and frivolous—They leave their seats, and [] go elsewhere, They keep [僊僊] dancing and capering.” (tr. James Legge)[1] Needham and Wang (1956:134) suggest xian was cognate with wu “shamanic” dancing. Paper (1995:55) writes, “the function of the term xian in a line describing dancing may be to denote the height of the leaps. Since, “to live for a long time” has no etymological relation to xian, it may be a later accretion.”

The 121 CE Shuowen Jiezi, the first important dictionary of Chinese characters, does not enter except in the definition for 偓佺 (Wo Quan “name of an ancient immortal”). It defines as “live long and move away” and as “appearance of a person on a mountaintop”.

Textual references[edit]

This section chronologically reviews how Chinese texts describe xian “immortals; transcendents”. While the early Zhuangzi, Chuci, and Liezi texts allegorically used xian immortals and magic islands to describe spiritual immortality, later ones like the Shenxian zhuan and Baopuzi took immortality literally and described esoteric Chinese alchemical techniques for physical longevity. On one the hand, neidan (內丹 “internal alchemy”) techniques included taixi (胎息 “embryo respiration”) breath control, meditation, visualization, sexual training, and Tao Yin exercises (which later evolved into Qigong and T’ai chi ch’uan). On the other hand, waidan (外丹 “external alchemy”) techniques for immortality included alchemical recipes, magic plants, rare minerals, herbal medicines, drugs, and dietetic techniques like inedia.

The earliest representations of Chinese immortals, dating from the Han Dynasty, portray them flying with feathery wings (the word yuren 羽人 “feathered person” later meant “Daoist”) or riding dragons. In Chinese art, xian are often pictured with symbols of immortality including the dragon, crane, fox, white deer, pine tree, peach, and mushroom.

 

 

Xian riding dragons[1]

 

Paintings of xian by Soga Shōhaku 曾我蕭白, ca. 1760.

Besides the following major Chinese texts, many others use both graphic variants of xian. Xian () occurs in the Chunqiu Fanlu, Fengsu Tongyi, Qian fu lun, Fayan, and Shenjian; xian () occurs in the Caizhong langji, Fengsu Tongyi, Guanzi, and Shenjian.

Zhuangzi[edit]

Two circa 3rd century BCE “Outer Chapters” of the Zhuangzi (莊子 “[Book of] Master Zhuang”) use the archaic character xian . Chapter 11 has a parable about “Cloud Chief” ()  and “Big Concealment” (鴻濛) that uses the Shijing compound xianxian (“dance; jump”):

Big Concealment said, “If you confuse the constant strands of Heaven and violate the true form of things, then Dark Heaven will reach no fulfillment. Instead, the beasts will scatter from their herds, the birds will cry all night, disaster will come to the grass and trees, misfortune will reach even to the insects. Ah, this is the fault of men who ‘govern’!”
“Then what should I do?” said Cloud Chief.
“Ah,” said Big Concealment, “you are too far gone! [
僊僊] Up, up, stir yourself and be off!”
Cloud Chief said, “Heavenly Master, it has been hard indeed for me to meet with you—I beg one word of instruction!”
“Well, then—mind‑nourishment!” said Big Concealment. “You have only to rest in inaction and things will transform themselves. Smash your form and body, spit out hearing and eyesight, forget you are a thing among other things, and you may join in great unity with the deep and boundless. Undo the mind, slough off spirit, be blank and soulless, and the ten thousand things one by one will return to the root—return to the root and not know why. Dark and undifferentiated chaos—to the end of life none will depart from it. But if you try to know it, you have already departed from it. Do not ask what its name is, do not try to observe its form. Things will live naturally end of themselves.”
Cloud Chief said, “The Heavenly Master has favored me with this Virtue, instructed me in this Silence. All my life I have been looking for it, and now at last I have it!” He bowed his head twice, stood up, took his leave, and went away. (11, tr. Burton Watson 1968:122-3)

Chapter 12 uses xian when mythical Emperor Yao describes a shengren ( “sagely person”).

The true sage is a quail at rest, a little fledgling at its meal, a bird in flight who leaves no trail behind. When the world has the Way, he joins in the chorus with all other things. When the world is without the Way, he nurses his Virtue and retires in leisure. And after a thousand years, should he weary of the world, he will leave it and [] ascend to [] the immortals, riding on those white clouds all the way up to the village of God. (12, tr. Watson 1968:130)

Without using the word xian, several Zhuangzi passages employ xian imagery, like flying in the clouds, to describe individuals with superhuman powers. For example, Chapter 1, within the circa 3rd century BCE “Inner Chapters”, has two portrayals. First is this description of Liezi (below).

Lieh Tzu could ride the wind and go soaring around with cool and breezy skill, but after fifteen days he came back to earth. As far as the search for good fortune went, he didn’t fret and worry. He escaped the trouble of walking, but he still had to depend on something to get around. If he had only mounted on the truth of Heaven and Earth, ridden the changes of the six breaths, and thus wandered through the boundless, then what would he have had to depend on? Therefore I say, the Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame. (1, tr. Watson 1968:32)

Second is this description of a shenren (神人 “divine person”).

He said that there is a Holy Man living on faraway [姑射] Ku-she Mountain, with skin like ice or snow, and gentle and shy like a young girl. He doesn’t eat the five grains, but sucks the wind, drinks the dew, climbs up on the clouds and mist, rides a flying dragon, and wanders beyond the four seas. By concentrating his spirit, he can protect creatures from sickness and plague and make the harvest plentiful. (1, tr. Watson 1968:33)

The authors of the Zhuangzi had a lyrical view of life and death, seeing them as complimentary aspects of natural changes. This is antithetical to the physical immortality (changshengbulao 長生不老 “live forever and never age”) sought by later Daoist alchemists. Consider this famous passage about accepting death.

Chuang Tzu’s wife died. When Hui Tzu went to convey his condolences, he found Chuang Tzu sitting with his legs sprawled out, pounding on a tub and singing. “You lived with her, she brought up your children and grew old,” said Hui Tzu. “It should be enough simply not to weep at her death. But pounding on a tub and singing—this is going too far, isn’t it?” Chuang Tzu said, “You’re wrong. When she first died, do you think I didn’t grieve like anyone else? But I looked back to her beginning and the time before she was born. Not only the time before she was born, but the time before she had a body. Not only the time before she had a body, but the time before she had a spirit. In the midst of the jumble of wonder and mystery a change took place and she had a spirit. Another change and she had a body. Another change and she was born. Now there’s been another change and she’s dead. It’s just like the progression of the four seasons, spring, summer, fall, winter.”
“Now she’s going to lie down peacefully in a vast room. If I were to follow after her bawling and sobbing, it would show that I don’t understand anything about fate. So I stopped. (18, tr. Watson 1968:191–2)

Alan Fox explains this anecdote about Zhuangzi’s wife.

Many conclusions can be reached on the basis of this story, but it seems that death is regarded as a natural part of the ebb and flow of transformations which constitute the movement of Dao. To grieve over death, or to fear one’s own death, for that matter, is to arbitrarily evaluate what is inevitable. Of course, this reading is somewhat ironic given the fact that much of the subsequent Daoist tradition comes to seek longevity and immortality, and bases some of their basic models on the Zhuangzi. (1995:100)

Chuci[edit]

 

 

The supposed “footprint of a xian“, a little pond in Guangzhou’s Temple of the Five Immortals

The 3rd-2nd century BCE Chuci (楚辭 “Lyrics of Chu”) anthology of poems uses xian once and xian twice, reflecting the disparate origins of the text. These three contexts mention the legendary Daoist xian immortals Chi Song (赤松Red Pine“, see Kohn 1993:142–4) and Wang Qiao (王僑, or Zi Qiao 子僑). In later Daoist hagiography, Chi Song was Lord of Rain under Shennong, the legendary inventor of agriculture; and Wang Qiao was a son of King Ling of Zhou (r. 571–545 BCE), who flew away on a giant white bird, became an immortal and was never again seen.

The “Yuan You” (遠遊 “Far-off Journey”) poem describes a spiritual journey into the realms of gods and immortals, frequently referring to Daoist myths and techniques.

My spirit darted forth and did not return to me,
And my body, left tenantless, grew withered and lifeless.
Then I looked into myself to strengthen my resolution,
And sought to learn from where the primal spirit issues.
In emptiness and silence I found serenity;
In tranquil inaction I gained true satisfaction.
I heard how once Red Pine had washed the world’s dust off:
I would model myself on the pattern he had left me.
I honoured the wondrous powers of the [
真人] Pure Ones,
And those of past ages who had become [
] Immortals.
They departed in the flux of change and vanished from men’s sight,
Leaving a famous name that endures after them. (tr. Hawkes 1985:194)

The “Xi shi” (惜誓 “Sorrow for Troth Betrayed”) resembles the “Yuan You“, and both reflect Daoist ideas from the Han period. “Though unoriginal in theme,” says Hawkes (1985:239), “its description of air travel, written in a pre-aeroplane age, is exhilarating and rather impressive.”

We gazed down of the Middle Land [China] with its myriad people
As we rested on the whirlwind, drifting about at random.
In this way we came at last to the moor of Shao-yuan:
There, with the other blessed ones, were Red Pine and Wang Qiao.
The two Masters held zithers tuned in perfect concord:
I sang the Qing Shang air to their playing.
In tranquil calm and quiet enjoyment,
Gently I floated, inhaling all the essences.
But then I thought that this immortal life of [
] the blessed,
Was not worth the sacrifice of my home-returning. (tr. Hawkes 1985:240)

The “Ai shi ming” (哀時命 “Alas That My Lot Was Not Cast”) describes a celestial journey similar to the previous two.

Far and forlorn, with no hope of return:
Sadly I gaze in the distance, over the empty plain.
Below, I fish in the valley streamlet;
Above, I seek out [
] holy hermits.
I enter into friendship with Red Pine;
I join Wang Qiao as his companion. We send the Xiao Yang in front to guide us;
The White Tiger runs back and forth in attendance.
Floating on the cloud and mist, we enter the dim height of heaven;
Riding on the white deer we sport and take our pleasure. tr. Hawkes 1985:266)

The “Li Sao” (離騷 “On Encountering Trouble”), the most famous Chuci poem, is usually interpreted as describing ecstatic flights and trance techniques of Chinese shamans. The above three poems are variations describing Daoist xian.

Some other Chuci poems refer to immortals with synonyms of xian. For instance, “Shou zhi” (守志 “Maintaining Resolution), uses zhenren (真人 “true person”, tr. “Pure Ones” above in “Yuan You“), which Wang Yi’s commentary glosses as zhen xianren (真仙人 “true immortal person”).

I visited Fu Yue, bestriding a dragon,
Joined in marriage with the Weaving Maiden,
Lifted up Heaven’s Net to capture evil,
Drew the Bow of Heaven to shoot at wickedness,
Followed the [
真人] Immortals fluttering through the sky,
Ate of the Primal Essence to prolong my life. (tr. Hawkes 1985:318)

Liezi[edit]

The Liezi (列子 “[Book of] Master Lie”), which Louis Komjathy (2004:36) says “was probably compiled in the 3rd century CE (while containing earlier textual layers)”, uses xian four times, always in the compound xiansheng (仙聖 “immortal sage”).

Nearly half of Chapter 2 (“The Yellow Emperor“) comes from the Zhuangzi, including this recounting of the above fable about Mount Gushe (姑射, or Guye, or Miao Gushe 藐姑射).

The Ku-ye mountains stand on a chain of islands where the Yellow River enters the sea. Upon the mountains there lives a Divine Man, who inhales the wind and drinks the dew, and does not eat the five grains. His mind is like a bottomless spring, his body is like a virgin’s. He knows neither intimacy nor love, yet [仙聖] immortals and sages serve him as ministers. He inspires no awe, he is never angry, yet the eager and diligent act as his messengers. He is without kindness and bounty, but others have enough by themselves; he does not store and save, but he himself never lacks. The Yin and Yang are always in tune, the sun and moon always shine, the four seasons are always regular, wind and rain are always temperate, breeding is always timely, the harvest is always rich, and there are no plagues to ravage the land, no early deaths to afflict men, animals have no diseases, and ghosts have no uncanny echoes. (tr. Graham 1960:35)

Chapter 5 uses xiansheng three times in a conversation set between legendary rulers Tang () of the Shang Dynasty and Ji () of the Xia Dynasty.

T’ang asked again: ‘Are there large things and small, long and short, similar and different?’
—’To the East of the Gulf of Chih-li, who knows how many thousands and millions of miles, there is a deep ravine, a valley truly without bottom; and its bottomless underneath is named “The Entry to the Void”. The waters of the eight corners and the nine regions, the stream of the Milky Way, all pour into it, but it neither shrinks nor grows. Within it there are five mountains, called Tai-yü, Yüan-chiao, Fang-hu, Ying-chou and P’eng-Iai. These mountains are thirty thousand miles high, and as many miles round; the tablelands on their summits extend for nine thousand miles. It is seventy thousand miles from one mountain to the next, but they are considered close neighbours. The towers and terraces upon them are all gold and jade, the beasts and birds are all unsullied white; trees of pearl and garnet always grow densely, flowering and bearing fruit which is always luscious, and those who eat of it never grow old and die. The men who dwell there are all of the race of [
仙聖] immortal sages, who fly, too many to be counted, to and from one mountain to another in a day and a night. Yet the bases of the five mountains used to rest on nothing; they were always rising and falling, going and returning, with the ebb and flow of the tide, and never for a moment stood firm. The [仙聖] immortals found this troublesome, and complained about it to God. God was afraid that they would drift to the far West and he would lose the home of his sages. So he commanded Yü-ch’iang to make fifteen [] giant turtles carry the five mountains on their lifted heads, taking turns in three watches, each sixty thousand years long; and for the first time the mountains stood firm and did not move.
‘But there was a giant from the kingdom of the Dragon Earl, who came to the place of the five mountains in no more than a few strides. In one throw he hooked six of the turtles in a bunch, hurried back to his country carrying them together on his back, and scorched their bones to tell fortunes by the cracks. Thereupon two of the mountains, Tai-yü and Yüan-chiao, drifted to the far North and sank in the great sea; the [
仙聖] immortals who were carried away numbered many millions. God was very angry, and reduced by degrees the size of the Dragon Earl’s kingdom and the height of his subjects. At the time of Fu-hsi and Shen-nung, the people of this country were still several hundred feet high.’ (tr. Graham 1960:97–8)

Penglai Mountain became the most famous of these five mythical peaks where the elixir of life supposedly grew, and is known as Horai in Japanese legends. The first emperor Qin Shi Huang sent his court alchemist Xu Fu on expeditions to find these plants of immortality, but he never returned (although by some accounts, he discovered Japan).

Holmes Welch (1957:88–97) analyzed the beginnings of Daoism, sometime around the 4th-3rd centuries BCE, from four separate streams: philosophical Daoism (Laozi, Zhuangzi, Liezi), a “hygiene school” that cultivated longevity through breathing exercises and yoga, Chinese alchemy and Five Elements philosophy, and those who sought Penglai and elixirs of “immortality”. This is what he concludes about xian.

It is my own opinion, therefore, that though the word hsien, or Immortal, is used by Chuang Tzu and Lieh Tzu, and though they attributed to their idealized individual the magic powers that were attributed to the hsien in later times, nonetheless the hsien ideal was something they did not believe in—either that it was possible or that it was good. The magic powers are allegories and hyperboles for the natural powers that come from identification with Tao. Spiritualized Man, P’eng-lai, and the rest are features of a genre which is meant to entertain, disturb, and exalt us, not to be taken as literal hagiography. Then and later, the philosophical Taoists were distinguished from all other schools of Taoism by their rejection of the pursuit of immortality. As we shall see, their books came to be adopted as scriptural authority by those who did practice magic and seek to become immortal. But it was their misunderstanding of philosophical Taoism that was the reason they adopted it. (Welch 1957:95)

Shenxian zhuan[edit]

 

 

An immortal riding a tortoise. A Han Dynasty painting

The Shenxian zhuan (神仙傳 Biographies of Spirit Immortals”) is a hagiography of xian. Although it was traditionally attributed to Ge Hong (283–343 CE), Komjathy (2004:43) says, “The received versions of the text contain some 100-odd hagiographies, most of which date from 6th-8th centuries at the earliest.”

According to the Shenxian zhuan, there are four schools of immortality:

(—“Pneumas”): Breath control and meditation. Those who belong to this school can

“…blow on water and it will flow against its own current for several paces; blow on fire, and it will be extinguished; blow at tigers or wolves, and they will crouch down and not be able to move; blow at serpents, and they will coil up and be unable to flee. If someone is wounded by a weapon, blow on the wound, and the bleeding will stop. If you hear of someone who has suffered a poisonous insect bite, even if you are not in his presence, you can, from a distance, blow and say in incantation over your own hand (males on the left hand, females on the right), and the person will at once be healed even if more than a hundred li away. And if you yourself are struck by a sudden illness, you have merely to swallow pneumas in three series of nine, and you will immediately recover.
But the most essential thing [among such arts] is fetal breathing. Those who obtain [the technique of] fetal breathing become able to breathe without using their nose or mouth, as if in the womb, and this is the culmination of the way [of pneumatic cultivation].” (Campany 2002:21)

Fàn (—“Diet”): Ingestion of herbal compounds and abstention from the Sān Shī Fàn (三尸—“Three-Corpses food”)—Meats (raw fish, pork, dog, leeks, and scallions) and grains. The Shenxian zhuan uses this story to illustrate the importance of bigu “grain avoidance”:

“During the reign of Emperor Cheng of the Han, hunters in the Zhongnan Mountains saw a person who wore no clothes, his body covered with black hair. Upon seeing this person, the hunters wanted to pursue and capture him, but the person leapt over gullies and valleys as if in flight, and so could not be overtaken. [But after being surrounded and captured, it was discovered this person was a 200 plus year old woman, who had once been a concubine of Qin Emperor Ziying. When he had surrendered to the ‘invaders of the east’, she fled into the mountains where she learned to subside on ‘the resin and nuts of pines’ from an old man. Afterwards, this diet ‘enabled [her] to feel neither hunger nor thirst; in winter [she] was not cold, in summer [she] was not hot.’]
The hunters took the woman back in. They offered her grain to eat. When she first smelled the stink of grain, she vomited, and only after several days could she tolerate it. After little more than two years of this [diet], her body hair fell out; she turned old and died. Had she not been caught by men, she would have become a transcendent.” (Campany 2002:22–23)

Fángzhōng Zhī Shù (房中之—“Arts of the Bedchamber”): Sexual yoga. (Campany 2002:30–31) According to a discourse between the Yellow Emperor and the immortaless Sùnǚ (素女—“Plain Girl”), one of the three daughters of Hsi Wang Mu,

“The sexual behaviors between a man and woman are identical to how the universe itself came into creation. Like Heaven and Earth, the male and female share a parallel relationship in attaining an immortal existence. They both must learn how to engage and develop their natural sexual instincts and behaviors; otherwise the only result is decay and traumatic discord of their physical lives. However, if they engage in the utmost joys of sensuality and apply the principles of yin and yang to their sexual activity, their health, vigor, and joy of love will bear them the fruits of longevity and immortality. (Hsi 2002:99–100)

The White Tigress Manual, a treatise on female sexual yoga, states,

“A female can completely restore her youthfulness and attain immortality if she refrains from allowing just one or two men in her life from stealing and destroying her [sexual] essence, which will only serve in aging her at a rapid rate and bring about an early death. However, if she can acquire the sexual essence of a thousand males through absorption, she will acquire the great benefits of youthfulness and immortality.” (Hsi 2001:48)

Dān (—”Alchemy“, literally “Cinnabar“): Elixir of Immortality.(Campany 2002:31)

Baopuzi[edit]

The 4th century CE Baopuzi (抱朴子 “[Book of] Master Embracing Simplicity”), which was written by Ge Hong, gives some highly detailed descriptions of xian.

The text lists three classes of immortals:

Tiānxiān (天仙—“Celestial Immortal”): The highest level.

Dìxiān (地仙—“Earth Immortal”): The middle level.

Shījiě xiān (尸解仙—”Escaped-by-means-of-a-stimulated-corpse-simulacrum Immortal”, literally “Corpse Untie Immortal”): The lowest level. This is considered the lowest form of immortality since a person must first “fake” their own death by substituting a bewitched object like a bamboo pole, sword, talisman or a shoe for their corpse or slipping a type of Death certificate into the coffin of a newly departed paternal grandfather, thus having their name and “allotted life span” deleted from the ledgers kept by the Sīmìng (司命—”Director of allotted life spans”, literally “Controller of Fate”). Hagiographies and folktales abound of people who seemingly die in one province, but are seen alive in another. Mortals who choose this route must cut off all ties with family and friends, move to a distant province, and enact the Ling bao tai xuan yin sheng zhi fu (靈寳太玄隂生之符—“Numinous Treasure Talisman of the Grand Mystery for Living in Hiding”) to protect themselves from heavenly retribution. (Campany 2002:52–60)

However, this is not a true form of immortality. For each misdeed a person commits, the Director of allotted life spans subtracts days and sometimes years from their allotted life span. This method allows a person to live out the entirety of their allotted lifespan (whether it be 30, 80, 400, etc.) and avoid the agents of death. But the body still has to be transformed into an immortal one, hence the phrase Xiānsǐ hòutuō (先死後脱—“The ‘death’ is apparent, [but] the sloughing off of the body’s mortality remains to be done.”)

Sometimes the Shījiě are employed by heaven to act as celestial peace keepers. Therefore, they have no need for hiding from retribution since they are empowered by heaven to perform their duties. There are three levels of heavenly Shījiě:

Dìxià zhǔ (地下主—“Agents Beneath the Earth”): Are in charge of keeping the peace within the Chinese underworld. They are eligible for promotion to earthbound immortality after 280 years of faithful service.

Dìshàng zhǔzhě (地上主者—”Agents Above the Earth”): Are given magic talismans which prolong their lives (but not indefinitely) and allow them to heal the sick and exorcize demons and evil spirits from the earth. This level was not eligible for promotion to earthbound immortality.

Zhìdì jūn (制地君—”Lords Who Control the Earth”): A heavenly decree ordered them to “disperse all subordinate junior demons, whether high or low [in rank], that have cause afflictions and injury owing to blows or offenses against the Motion of the Year, the Original Destiny, Great Year, the Kings of the Soil or the establishing or breaking influences of the chronograms of the tome. Annihilate them all.” This level was also not eligible for promotion to immortality.

These titles were usually given to humans who had either not proven themselves worthy of or were not fated to become immortals. One such famous agent was Fei Changfang, who was eventually murdered by evil spirits because he lost his book of magic talismans. However, some immortals are written to have used this method in order to escape execution. (Campany 2002:52–60)

Ge Hong wrote in his book The Master Who Embraces Simplicity,

The [immortals] Dark Girl and Plain Girl compared sexual activity as the intermingling of fire [yang/male] and water [yin/female], claiming that water and fire can kill people but can also regenerate their life, depending on whether or not they know the correct methods of sexual activity according to their nature. These arts are based on the theory that the more females a man copulates with, the greater benefit he will derive from the act. Men who are ignorant of this art, copulating with only one or two females during their life, will only suffice to bring about their untimely and early death. (Hsi 2001:48)

Zhong Lü Chuan Dao Ji[edit]

 

 

Hé (和) and Hé (合), the two “Immortals of Harmony and Unity”, associated with happy marriage, depicted in Changchun Temple, a Taoist temple in Wuhan

The Zhong Lü Chuan Dao Ji (鐘呂傳道集/钟吕传道集 “Anthology of the Transmission of the Dao from Zhong[li Quan] to Lü [Dongbin]”) is associated with Zhongli Quan (2nd century CE?) and Lü Dongbin (9th century CE), two of the legendary Eight Immortals. It is part of the so-called “Zhong-Lü” (鍾呂) textual tradition of internal alchemy (neidan). Komjathy (2004:57) describes it as, “Probably dating from the late Tang (618–906), the text is in question-and-answer format, containing a dialogue between Lü and his teacher Zhongli on aspects of alchemical terminology and methods.”

The Zhong Lü Chuan Dao Ji lists five classes of immortals:

Guǐxiān (鬼仙—”Ghost Immortal”): A person who cultivates too much yin energy. These immortals are likened to Vampires because they drain the life essence of the living, much like the fox spirit. Ghost immortals do not leave the realm of ghosts.

Rénxiān (人仙—Human Immortal”): Humans have an equal balance of yin and yang energies, so they have the potential of becoming either a ghost or immortal. Although they continue to hunger and thirst and require clothing and shelter like a normal human, these immortals do not suffer from aging or sickness. Human immortals do not leave the realm of humans. There are many sub-classes of human immortals, as discussed above under Shījiě xiān.

Dìxiān (地仙—“Earth Immortal”): When the yin is transformed into the pure yang, a true immortal body will emerge that does not need food, drink, clothing or shelter and is not affected by hot or cold temperatures. Earth immortals do not leave the realm of earth. These immortals are forced to stay on earth until they shed their human form.

Shénxiān (神仙—”Spirit Immortal”): The immortal body of the earthbound class will eventually change into vapor through further practice. They have supernatural powers and can take on the shape of any object. These immortals must remain on earth acquiring merit by teaching mankind about the Tao. Spirit immortals do not leave the realm of spirits. Once enough merit is accumulated, they are called to heaven by a celestial decree.

Tiānxiān (天仙—“Celestial Immortal”): Spirit immortals who are summoned to heaven are given the minor office of water realm judge. Over time, they are promoted to oversee the earth realm and finally become administrators of the celestial realm. These immortals have the power to travel back and forth between the earthly and celestial realms.

2). Buddhist motifs

(1 )Motif Eight Budhist Emblem and eight Treasure emblem

Eight Buddhist Emblems:

Originally rooted in Buddhism, in the Ming and Qing dynasties they were often combined with the Eight Precious Objects and the Eight Immortals’ Implements as general auspicious symbols for decorative purposes. They are the Lotus (purity), Wheel of the Law (Buddhist doctrine), Canopy or Parasol (protection and spiritual power), Paired Fish (freedom from restraint), Conch Shell (far-reaching sound of the Buddha’s teaching), Victory Standard (victory of the Buddha’s teachings and victory over all hindrances), Endless Knot (infinite wisdom and compassion of the Buddha), and Vase (elixir of life and container of treasures representing the granting of all wishes).

 

 
Lotus Wheel of Law Canopy or Parasol (protection and spiritual power) Paired Fish
Lotus Wheel of Law Canopy or Parasol Paired Fish
Conch Shell Victory Standard Endless Knot Vase
Conch Shell Victory Standard Endless Knot Vase

 

 

 

Ming Wanli Buddhist emblem motif Kendi

 

Early Ming Bowl  with eight Buddish Emblem from left  mistic knot, canopy symbol, wheel symbol

And Two Fish symbol of wealth

 

 

 

Ming saucer with  Vudhist emblem  and chysanthenum flower motif Canopy Symbols

RELIGIOUS MOTIVES

 

 

Eight Treasures:

 Emblems of success, status and wealth, originating in the implements used in the scholar’s studio, they therefore symbolize success in studies and officialdom. The most common Eight Treasures are double lozenges (victory), the wish-granting pearl, stone chimes (celebration; illustrated), a pair of scrolls (culture), an Artemisia leaf (protection), two books (wisdom), interlocked copper coins (wealth) and a pair of rhinoceros horns (victory). Additional emblems include the coral branch (longevity and official promotion), a silver ingot (wealth) and the wish-granting scepter (ruyi).

       

Double Lozenges

Wish-Granting Pearls

Stone Chimes

Pair of Scrolls

       

Artemisia Leaf

Two Books

Interlocked Copper Coins

Rhinoceros Horns


Double Lozenges Wish-Granting Pearls Stone Chimes Pair of Scrolls
Double Lozenges Wish-Granting Pearls Stone Chimes Pair of Scrolls
Artemisia Leaf Two Books Interlocked Copper Coins Rhinoceros Horns
Artemisia Leaf Two Books Interlocked Copper Coins

 

 

Late ming crane symbol motif and one of eight tresusure symbol  book motif wisdom  plate

(2)Motif Tai Chi

Yin Tang

 

 

 

What is Tai Chi?

Meditation in Motion

Today in the Western world the term “tai chi” has become recognised first and foremost as an exercise to promote health and longevity, usually practiced early in the morning by individuals or groups of middle-aged and elderly people. It is categorised by slow movements grouped into a set of martial forms, performed in what seems to be a meditative state. This is, in fact, a simplistic view of what is really a very complex art, steeped in Chinese history and tradition and encompassing several aspects such as martial arts, medical concepts, Chinese philosophy including Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and applicable not only to individual health and as a method of self-defence, but also to social and moral conduct, business management and marketing, and, importantly, to family cohesion.

The Meaning of Tai Chi

Attempts at translating the words Tai Chi, or Tai Ji (太極), are unlikely to convey the true meaning, and the term has already become commonly used in the Western world. However, an explanation of its history and concepts can perhaps enlighten those who are unfamiliar with the term.

As mentioned, for most Western people, Tai Chi is usually understood as a set of exercises or forms practiced in slow motion to enhance health and maintain youthfulness. It is often written as Tai Chi Chuan, or Tai Ji Quan (太極拳), the last character, chuan, often translated as “fist” and leading to the assumption that Tai Chi Chuan is some form of Chinese Boxing. A more precise understanding would be to take chuan to be a suffix that adds the notion of physical activity.

Tai Chi itself is a term found originally in ancient Chinese philosophy that eventually became associated with an evolving system of principles and exercises aimed at extending the length and quality of life through the study and practice of Nature and its relevance to human life. Later, this was applied to military strategy and martial arts.

The Emperor Sage Fu Hsi, or Fu Xi (伏羲), who lived around 2,400BC, is attributed as the creator of the Tai Chi symbol (see picture) and the Ba Gua (八卦) “eight trigrams” symbols. Fu Hsi studied the cyclical changes of Nature and attempted to arrange knowledge of these cycles into an organised system. The Tai Chi symbol is, as it were, a statement about the reality of Nature, a reality as a continuous flow of cyclic change and blending. The circle represents the fullness of reality, within the circle are the principles of Yin (), represented by the dark area, and Yang (),the light area. These two areas complement each other in shape yet are opposite in shade. Each contains some of the other, as seen in the two small circles. The shape of each area also conveys the notion that each flows into the other.

The Ba Gua symbol (below) consists of eight arrangements of three solid or broken lines, often arranged around the Tai Chi symbol. Each symbol represents the major phases of cycles of Nature: heaven, earth, wind, water, mountain, thunder, fire and lake. These were further expanded, such as the heavenly cycle consisting of sun, moon, star, day, night, morning, evening, wind, thunder, rain and cloud phases; and the earthly cycle consisting of mountain, river, lake, swamp, fire, water, tree, flower and grass phases. These are symbolised by various combinations of the eight trigrams into pairs to form 64 hexagrams. The I Ching, or Yi Jing (易經), known also as The Book of Changes, is a collection of principles used to interpret Nature through the trigrams and hexagrams.

 

 

Tai Chi and Taoism

Taoism (pronounced. Daoism) is an inherently Chinese philosophy primarily characterised in the ancient works of Lao Zi (老子) and Zhuang Zi (莊子). ( It should not be confused with Taoism the religion which was a later development of practices and strange rituals loosely based on Taoist philosophy.)

The Taoist understanding of Tai Chi is derived from the I Ching (pronounced ee jing).

Sometimes translated as ‘the grand ultimate’, it means the never changing, the one, the all. Nothing lies outside of it and nothing contains all of it. Often represented by a dot “.”,

Tai Chi generates the two forces of Yin and Yang. The word Tao, or Dao (), is usually translated as the ‘Way’ or ‘Path’. All Nature is created from the Tao and when the Yin and Yang forces are balanced and in harmony together, this also represents Tao. Everything in existence possesses the complementary elements of Yin and Yang, positive and negative, active and passive, etc. Tai Chi itself is created when Wu Chi (無極), a state of ‘nothingness’, moves. This is really an ancient Chinese perception of the creation of the universe. From nothingness, or non-being, movement begets the beginning of creation, the development of the dual forces of Yin and Yang, that constantly cycle, providing an unending process of creation.

The way of the Tao lies in stillness, Nature responds spontaneously and harmoniously, not deliberately. In application, the natural way of Tai Chi is only to defend oneself with a force much smaller than that used by an opponent. Tai Chi is not intended to injure or cause pain. Only from being relaxed can a Tai Chi practitioner achieve this. The Taoist concept of action without action (無為,無不為) or from a state of nothingness, one can react, epitomises the importance of Taoist philosophy in the application of Tai Chi. This is also expressed by how the Tai Chi practitioner can obtain good health through relaxation, balance, proper breathing and good posture

 Fr Iwan Chinese Imperial Tai Chi motif ceramic(will upload later)

Compare with Literatures

 

Jiajing jar with floral scrolls and Taoist 8 diagrams

Yin Yang Motif ceramic

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