Teachings and Practices of the Early Quan-z^en Taoist Masters, 8-9


8. (pp. 155-70) "The Compassion of the Early Quan-z^en Masters".

p. 156 In Praise of C^on-yan, the Realized Man of Compassionate Transformations and Marvelous Deeds

[quoted from Ma Yu : Don-xuan Jin-yu Ji 1/1b]

"Wearing a cloud cap and a mist vest with crimson silk hems,

His body entered the circular light and departed for Purple Purity.

The Realized Man of Marvelous Deeds fulfils his original vows,

Rescuing those in danger, relieving those who suffer, and bringing salvation to sentient beings."

p. 156 aequality of all persons to Tai-s^an (‘the Most High’)

"The Most High spreads out its virtue and saves the myriad souls.

It does not love and cherish the noble, and does not cut off the lowly."

p. 167 seize the pearl

[quoted from Wan Z^e : C^on-yan Quan-z^en Ji 10/14b]

"Seize the pearl from the mouth of the black dragon.

Thereby make it run into the cavern of Kunlun."

p. 168 supposed mineral cures


its cure

"legs and knees are ailing,

Mica ointment should be applied".

"to cure tetanus, ...

finely ground flower stamen rock".

p. 169 how to be taken beyond suffering

[quoted from Yun-guan Ji 1/3a-b]

"Increase and lengthen your Spirit in the valley ... . ...

Ten thousand gods will carry you out of the world of suffering (suopo)."

p. 169 divine locales cannot be entred physically

"The four provisional elements (that make up the body)

are unable to visit the Phoenix Palace (the realm of the immortals).

How can the Three Corpses

go to Yingzhou (one of the legendary islands of the immortals)?"


9. (pp. 171-93) "Rituals in Early Quan-z^en Taoism".

pp. 171-2 Conducting the Yellow Registre Jiao Ritual at the Xiu-z^en Guan (Taoist Temple) in Den-z^ou

p. 171

[quoted from Pan-xi Ji 3/12a-b] "We held the Yellow Register [jiao rite] on a Grand Scale and performed the Golden Liturgy.

The Red Book and the Jade Letters existed from the time preceding Heaven (the prior realm before creation). The White Tablets and True Talismans have been vanquishing the wicked since days of yore. ...

Nine liquor vessels and divine lanterns capture the stars. ... For nine mornings were waited and listened (for the gods’ response?), circumambulating by pacing the void (buxu). [p. 239, n. 9:3 : "circumambulate the altar while chanting"] ...

p. 172

Suddenly we heard joyous auspicious signs manifested outside in the sky. There was an extraordinary [manifestation] that spiraled in a lonesome manner.

The Jade Emperor (Yudi) passed on his proclamation ... .

Immortal Youths descended on Nanchang [p. 239, n. 9:4 : "a river by this name that runs through Hebei Province] mounted on cranes."

p. 173 "the True Ritual Register of the Chaotic Origin of the Great Unity" (Tai-yi Hun-yuan Zen Fa-lu)

[quoted from Wan Z^e : C^on-yan Quan-z^en Ji 12/9b-10a]

"First capture those worms and corpses within yourself.

The smoke from the incense penetrates into the upper realm,

And the mighty power is secret administered. ...

Demons will be startled, and gods will be scared, afraid of getting captured and pursued."

p. 174 celebration of a jiao at Jin-yan (in S^aanxi)

[quoted from Wan Z^e : C^on-yan Quan-z^en Ji 11/3a]

"Windy companions and misty friends {invisible immortals?} have all arrived. ...

We take our heart’s incense and burn it, and throngs of sages come to observe and inspect. ...

[Their] (gods and immortals?) returning and responding is all a matter of cultivating Reality at then edges of the clouds.

This evening we shall ... one by one rides on phoenixes."

p. 175 jade message submitted in the outer courtyard; posthumous recommendation

[quoted from Wan Z^e : C^on-yan Quan-z^en Ji 6/4a-b]

"Feathered robed one (Taoist priests) line up in procession.

When the medicine spoon [p. 240, n. 9:10 : " "Medicine spoon" is frequently used in external and internal alchemy when speaking of some potion so powerful that just a spoonful works wonders."] has been allowed they (we?) present new writs.

... they ... burn the message {in order to convey it to Heaven}.

When the flames rise up, ... earth gods will pass [the message] on ...,

... continuously until it reaches the Lord of Heaven.

Passed on {from Heaven} ... are the words in response,

Declaring that the Sages of the Tao have been made aware."

"On a white tablet is written,

The golden lessons and registers.

Recorded there are the lost hun souls of other surnames.

The ghosts are startled, and the spirits are scared ... .

You thus receive the posthumous recommendation;

Which recommends you for receiving entry into the gate of life.

When the gates are opened up, the mysterious wonders are carried out. ...

The single point of light is never again obscured ...

As the fire and water come out from [Mt.] Kunlun."

p. 177 response to Wan Z^e by Dan-yan (Ma Yu) of Fu-fen

[quoted from Wan Z^e : C^on-yan Jiao-hua Ji 1/5b-6a]

"To scare off my mind’s demons with a shout {cf. the C^>an/Zen shout "kwatz"} is better than swinging my fists. Holding the ivory brush I write the talismans and message slabs."

[p. 240, n. 9:14 : "Fufeng is the place in Shaanxi from which Ma Yu’s ancestors had originally hailed. See Lishi zhenxian tidao tongjian, 1/12a.]

p. 177 invitation to honor a dead soul

[quoted from Wan Z^e : C^on-yan Quan-z^en Ji 2/7a-b]

"If this (my body) was a skeleton, I would go along to the worship,

[But] by not going along to the worship, I eliminate my skeleton shape."

p. 177 "The deceased person in question here, as Hachiya points out, may have been Wang Zhe’s own older brother, since the poem directly preceding this poem in the text is one that Wang Zhe wrote on the occasion of his brother’s death." {The brother, because of not having joined the Quan-z^en Religious Order, was not deemed worthy of being thus revered by a monastic order.}

pp. 179-80 praying by Ma Yu for dead souls; results thereof

p. 179

[quoted from Ma Yu : Don-xuan Jin-yu Ji 3/20a] "To help their pure jiao I ... give posthumous recommendation for lost souls to ascend the Jade Terrace."

p. 180

[quoted from Ma Yu : Don-xuan Jin-yu Ji 6/4a-b] "Cleared of their guilt, [the lost souls], and the lonely hun souls (wandering ghosts),

Together travel to the Purple Mansion and enter the Gate of the Immortals.

In the homestead of no night (eternal daylight), they attain true joy.

In the grotto of eternal spring they receive the golden liquor barrel."

p. 182 mirrorlike soul

[quoted from Liu C^u-xuan : Xian-yue Ji 3/8a-b]

"Your soul is like a small mirror.

Commander gods secretly observe you."

p. 183 Northern-Sea jiao at Wei-z^ou; rites for Great Peace

[quoted from Qiu C^u-ji : Pan-xi Ji 1/13a]

"Snow has piled up ... . ... The swans have already migrated ... .

The water dragons are in deep sleep at the bottom of the nine-layered pools.

The man of the Tao ... braves the ice and frost and goes to the jiao feast."

[quoted from Qiu C^u-ji : Pan-xi Ji 6/12b-13a]

"In a time of Great Peace, there are truces in the eight directions.

We carry out zhai and jiao rituals frequently in order to answer to these responses (give thanks to the gods for the peace that has arrived).

To the vacuous emptiness and to Heaven and Earth, we give thanks for ... their secret mercy and compassion."

pp. 183-4 Yellow Registre & incense-table

p. 183

[quoted from Wan C^u-yi : Yun-guan Ji 2/16a]

"quickly perform the Yellow Register and pray".


[quoted from Wan C^u-yi : Yun-guan Ji 2/28a] "Having complete y Real [Nature], I spread out the incense altar at every place I go.

p. 184

I climb mountains and cross rivers, never turning down a request.

I rescue the living and the dead".

p. 185 perfunctory worship of deities by worldly people; contrasted with revering one’s own primal Spirit

[quoted from Liu C^u-xuan : Huan-di Yin-fu Jin Z^u 9b-10a] "Worldly people only know of earth deities and yin gods ... . They take gods carved from wood and molded from mud ... . ... [Only] when they have illnesses do they seek comfort [from the gods], and [only] when they have misfortune do they seek for blessings [for the gods]. ...

Worldly people do not understand that ... that which is the most numinous and most penetrating is their own primal Spirit, which has the capacity to penetrate Heaven and abound through Earth with brilliant radiance."

p. 186 ceremonial purity is required for celebrants during a jiao-rite

[quoted from Xian-yue Ji 3/1b] "In the several days receding the jiao,

While you go about your daily activities,

There will be divine officials secretly watching you day and night."

[quoted from Xian-yue Ji 3/15a] "Before and during a jiao ...

Divine officials are secretly watching, and the ... blessings are not small.

Near [the time of] the jiao in visiting the Realized [Beings] do not yell."

p. 186 no competition

[quoted from Xian-yue Ji 4/17b] "If you wish to repay Heaven’s blessings,

... know what is sufficient, And do not compete with each other . ...

Speak [with wisdom] like an immortality scripture."

p. 187 contentment

[quoted from Qiu C&u-ji : Pan-xi Ji 3/9a]

"The Great Tao of the Profound Origin controls yin and yang. ...

If the high and the low were each able to be content with their lot,

They would be able to avoid misfortune.

As for now, why are there so many disasters and obstacles? ...

People are continuously unable to be frugal day after day."

p. 190 essential marvels of the Tao : no love for money

[quoted from Xian-yue Ji 3/6b-7a]

"The talismans and registers of the Most High have 24 levels. ...

The heavenly plane passes on [the secrets] and instructs those with [an] aptitude for immortality.

The Realized Ones cultivate their Nature (spirit) and Life (qi) ... . ...

Amidst empty space, the wise sages save the world with a pitying heart.

Purify the hun souls and cleanse the po souls, embracing and preserving the immortal embryo. ...

The Rectifying Rites of the Celestial Heart do not love the money of people."

p. 191 a speech delivered by Qiu- C^u-ji on the history of the Taoist religion

[quoted from Xuan-fen Qin-hui Lu 4a]

"During the Eastern Han, Gan Ji received the Taiping jing in 157 volumes ... . ...

p. 242, n. 9:58 "the Taiping Dao, or Way of Great Peace ... orchestrated the famous Yellow Turban Revolt of 184."

Also, on the seventh day of the first month of the first year of the Yongshou reign era ..., the Most High [Lord Lao] descended upon Linqiong in Shu (Sichuan) and transmitted the Southern Bushel and Northern Bushel scriptures along with over 1,000 volumes of the 24 levels of Ritual Registers to the Heavenly Master, Zhang Daoling.

p. 242, n. 9:59 "Zhang Daoling was ... founder of the Tianshi Dao or Heavenly Masters School ... . ... . ... the Heavenly Masters School – led by Zhang Daoling’s grandson, Zhang Lu – ruled over ... western China (parts of present-day Sichuan and Shaanxi) ... until 215. ... Also known as the Zhengyi or Orthodox Unity".

During the Jin period ..., Wang Zuan met the Most High Lord of the Tao, who was riding his ... chariot in midair. [The Most High Lord of the Tao] gave him several dozen ... scriptures.

p. 242, n. 9:60 "Wang Zuan was a Taoist of Mt. Maji in Jintan, in prsesent-day Jiangsu Province ... During the final years of the Western Jin period (265-316)."

During the original (Northern) Wei period, the Heavenly Master, Kou Qianzhi, while residing on Mt. Song (Henan), received over sixty volumes of scriptures from the place of the Most High".

p. 242, n. 9:61 "These ... revelations took place in 415 and 423. Kou Qianzhi (d. 448)... set out to institute the Xin Tianshi Dao, or New Heavenly Masters School".

pp. 192-3 a spiritual trip of an emperor to Heaven

p. 192

"The prior emperor of Song (Huizong) of times past was originally a celestial man. There was a divine immortal named Lin Lingsu who took him on a spiritual journey up to Heaven and entered [with him]

p. 193

into the palace where he had lived [during his days as a caelestial man]. [Huizong] wrote on a placard ..., "In the Divine Empyrean one neither hungers nor thirsts, nor does any suffer from cold or heat. One roams carefree without affairs, freely, in blissful joy. I wish to life here forever and never return to the company of humans.""

p. 192 "Lin Lingsu, a Taoist ritual master from Wenzhou (Zhejiang Province), ... won the favor of Emperor Huizong (r. 1101-1127) ..., declaring him a worldly incarnation of a supreme celestial deity called the "Great Imperial Lord of Long Life (Changsheng Da Dijun).""


p. 240, n. 9:11 The certain poe:ms by Wan Z^e "are "hidden head" (zangtou) poems, meaning that they have been written with the first character of each verse deleted. The reader (or listener) has to figure out what the missing character is but also is provided a hint – the missing character is one formed out of a portion of a character (or is the same character) used at the previous verse. {Contrast the Akkadian-As^s^urian custom of reproducing the catchline (from the end of the praevious tablet_) at the beginning the subsequent tablet.} The Ching Chung Taoist Church of Hong Kong has published an edition of Chongyang quanzhen ji in which the missing characters in "hidden head" poems are filled in and indicated in parentheses."

Stephen Eskildsen : The Teachings and Practices of the Early Quanzhen Taoist Masters. State U of NY Pr, Albany, 2004.