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SirPalomides

What is a lay Daoist?

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Please note: This is a thread about formal lay affiliation in Daoism and not about broad questions of "who is a Daoist" or who should call themselves "Daoist".

 

In the "Daoist associations" thread @Walker mentioned the jushi or daojiaotu designation for lay disciples formally affiliated with Daoist temples or lineages but who have not been ordained as daoshi. Is there any kind of initiation for such people? The Buddhists of course have their three refuges ceremony, where the disciple pledges loyalty to the Three Jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha and agrees to abide by five basic precepts. I know that Daoists have also adopted their own version of Three Jewels- Dao, scriptures, and teachers. I wonder if this ever translated into a lay initiation ceremony.

 

I know that daojiaotu is a neologism but the phenomenon is certainly not new. Indeed some important Daoist movements historically involved laypeople as founders, teachers, or patrons. Sometimes I read of these people being "initiates" though it's not clear what exactly this means. Christine Mollier's fascinating book Buddhism and Taoism Face to Face talks about several scriptures where lay disciples are initiated into their use. For example,

Quote

Du Guangting specifies that Jiuku tianzun’s icons were installed not only in

temples and public sanctuaries but that private devotees also owned them and

made them the centerpieces of the household’s oratory, or pure chamber ( jingtang

靜堂), a room usually exclusively reserved for individual meditational and

devotional practices. But was this piety toward the personal icon of Jiuku Tianzun

current earlier? The Lingbao Scripture of Karmic Retribution mentions a domestic

cult to the deity performed by families of believers who had received

initiation in a temple or monastery, but nothing is said there regarding the presence

of an image.

Quote

Even when they are meant to be venerated at home for private devotion,

religious scriptures such as the ones we have examined often proclaim their supremacy

and exclusivity, with precise indications of the respect and honor due

to them. How, for example, can one suppose that a practitioner, uneducated

though he may have been, could have had no sense of an involvement in Buddhism,

when he was expressly asked, in order to receive the teaching of the

Sūtra of the Three Kitchens, to “take refuge in the Three Jewels” and to observe

the basic precepts of Buddhist lay initiation? How, likewise, could an adept of

the Taoist Marvelous Scripture for Prolonging Life and for Increasing the Account not

have been conscious of the text’s religious pedigree and of the nature of the

worship that he owed to it as a disciple (dizi 弟子), after undergoing a ritual initiation

for receiving the sacred text, whose seriousness was underlined by the

strict interdiction against divulging it heedlessly?

Was the initiation for these texts something like the tantric abhiseka, involving a formal ritual? But of course in Buddhism that ritual requires, as a base line, that the disciple has undergone the refuge ceremony.

 

Interestingly in reading about the cult of Wenchang I came across an interesting prayer for entering the "church" of Wenchang, from Terry Kleeman's introduction to his translation of The Book of Transformations:

 

Quote

Those wishing to enter the congregation of Wenchang, Director of Emoluments,

Must each produce this thought with supreme, utmost sincerity:

I believe in and worship the Three Treasures: the Dao, its scriptures, and its masters,

Believe in and worship the transcendents and sages of the ten directions,

Believe in and worship the many perfected spirits of Sevenfold [Mountain],

Only desire that your mercy will reach down to me.

 

Now this prayer is for entry into a lay association and does not appear to assume the involvement of any daoshi. Outside of the Wenchang association I don't know what meaning it would have in the wider Daoist community.

 

Lastly Kleeman talks elsewhere about the early Celestial Masters/ Five Pecks Rice movement and how everyone in that community was given some kind of initiation. Children would be given what would nowadays be considered a very low-level daoshi ordination with command over a single spirit-soldier. As they got older more spirit-soldiers would be added to their register. Of course this early community was concentrated in a particular region and had an apocalyptic outlook, seeking to save as many people as quickly as possible. After the Tianshi Zhang Lu surrended to Cao Cao and the Celestial Masters community was dispersed throughout China, the ordained Daoists became a professional class within their new, non-Daoist communities.

 

Edited by SirPalomides

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6 hours ago, SirPalomides said:

Please note: This is a thread about formal lay affiliation in Daoism and not about broad questions of "who is a Daoist" or who should call themselves "Daoist".

 

In the "Daoist associations" thread @Walker mentioned the jushi or daojiaotu designation for lay disciples formally affiliated with Daoist temples or lineages but who have not been ordained as daoshi. Is there any kind of initiation for such people?

 

I know that daojiaotu is a neologism but the phenomenon is certainly not new. Indeed some important Daoist movements historically involved laypeople as founders, teachers, or patrons. Sometimes I read of these people being "initiates" though it's not clear what exactly this means.

 

 


It seems this understand is little obfuscate. The term daojiaotu(道教徒) is not a neologism. It is inclusive for any person who practices or follows the principles of Tao(Daoism).  A daoshi(道士) is a also a daojiaotu which is more devoted to the Daoism belief. All other none-Daoist(lay Daoist) who follows or practices the principles of Daoism are also considered to be a daojiaotu.

Edited by ReturnDragon

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Like I said, the term “daojiaotu” is a neologism but the phenomenon is not new. Or are you aware of any widespread use of the term “daojiaotu” prior to the 20th century?

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Yes,  daojiaotu(道教徒)  is a general term for all disciples related to Taoism at all times. Period.

徒(tu) means disciple.

Edited by ReturnDragon

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I am aware of what the term means. The term was not used until modern times, even if the people described by the term existed long before. I don’t think we actually disagree here.

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It’s really all in the first paragraph l- I want to know if there is a formal initiation ceremony comparable to the Buddhist Three Refuges

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I would have to understand where the term "lay Daoists" comes from and who gets to interpret who it is applicable to.  Far as I know, professional daoists (daogong 道公), or non-celibate priests, masters of civil altars (wentan 文壇), as well as Ritual Masters (shigong 師公), masters of military altars (wutan 武壇), are not "lay Daoists" at all -- they are professional daoists, usually fully employed as such in the service of the community.  Who do you mean when you say "lay Daoists?"  

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Ah, OK.  Thanks for the clarification, I read the OP a few days ago and forgot the wording.

 

This probably means you are addressing the question to "researchers" or "scholars," not practicing daoists themselves.  The latter know first hand only the initiation procedure they themselves went through.  First hand I only know the initiation procedure of my own schools -- both in daoism and in my taijiquan lineage which is also a daoist lineage and also may (or may not) involve an initiation at a certain point, at teacher's discretion.  If I present other schools'  procedures "from the outside looking in," from hearsay or "studies," I will violate some core principles of mine.  If I reveal the core initiation procedures of mine, ditto.  A conundrum, eh?   

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Right, I understand that if there are secret initiations that people don’t want to talk about that. What I’m curious about is if there is a public ceremony for becoming a jushi/ daojiaotu akin to the Buddhist Three Refuges. I am using “initiation” in the sense of formally enrolling in the religion and not as an esoteric entry. Everyone knows about the Three Refuges, it’s not a secret (many of the tantric initiations have been made public too but that’s another topic.) At certain points Daoism has been a popular, proselytizing religion, so I would be surprised if some such rite did not exist.

Edited by SirPalomides

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3 hours ago, SirPalomides said:

Right, I understand that if there are secret initiations that people don’t want to talk about that. What I’m curious about is if there is a public ceremony for becoming a jushi/ daojiaotu akin to the Buddhist Three Refuges. I am using “initiation” in the sense of formally enrolling in the religion and not as an esoteric entry. Everyone knows about the Three Refuges, it’s not a secret (many of the tantric initiations have been made public too but that’s another topic.) At certain points Daoism has been a popular, proselytizing religion, so I would be surprised if some such rite did not exist.


What is the Chinese characters for jushi(_師)?

I think I am getting to understand what you are asking. The term "daojiaotu (道教徒)" is, just in general, to describe those who practice Taoism. Anyone can do the practice either privately or publicly. Hence, there is NO special public ceremony for becoming a jushi/ daojiaotu akin to the Buddhist Three Refuges.

BTW As the Taoist philosophy of Wu Wei, Taoists do not wish to publicize their action as the Buddhists do.

 

Edited by ReturnDragon
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33 minutes ago, ReturnDragon said:


What is the Chinese characters for jushi(_師)?

I think I am getting to understand what you are asking. The term "daojiaotu (道教徒)" is, just in general, to describe those who practice Taoism. Anyone can do the practice either privately or publicly. Hence, there is NO special public ceremony for becoming a jushi/ daojiaotu akin to the Buddhist Three Refuges.

 

The characters are 居士. Anyone can practice Buddhism too but there is this formal ceremony for those who want to make a commitment. 
 

Quote


BTW As the Taoist philosophy of Wu Wei, Taoists do not wish to publicize their action as the Buddhists do.

 

 

Historically that has not always been so. The Celestial Masters, Lingbao, and Quanzhen movements were all fairly evangelical in their early years. The Yao people who are otherwise not very Han in their culture at all were converted to Daoism by Daoist missionaries. If Wu Wei means avoiding public advocacy then all those elite Daoists lobbying emperors for patronage were not very Wu wei.

Edited by SirPalomides

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6 minutes ago, SirPalomides said:

The characters are 居士. Anyone can practice Buddhism too but there is this formal ceremony for those who want to make a commitment. 
 

 

 


I knew this is coming. Ok, a 居士(jushi) is in seclusion. He makes himself in isolation.

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11 minutes ago, SirPalomides said:

Historically that has not always been so. The Celestial Masters, Lingbao, and Quanzhen movements were all fairly evangelical in their early years. The Yao people who are otherwise not very Han in their culture at all were converted to Daoism by Daoist missionaries. If Wu Wei means avoiding public advocacy then all those elite Daoists petitioning emperors for patronage were not very Wu wei.


Perhaps they might fall in the Lay Taoist category.  FYI Nowadays, the Taoist religion had faded away overcame by Budd. The Some Taoists have to earn money to to support their temple fraudulently. As an example, two years ago, I went into a Taoist temple in China. As the first step, I was approached by two Taoists in turn. It was nothing by as me to contribute money. Of course, they do it in a sneaky way.  Something like asking me to make a contribution for them to pray for me to have longevity. I can ask to pray for one year or life for a range amount of money. I have seen some people made thousands of money on the list.

I really felt pity for them. So, I did make a some contributions with the limited small amount. Sorry, to say, at the last minute the Taoist as me if I have any loose change to give another tip. So, from the first step to the last step, I was pulling money out of my pocket. Therefore, on my way out, I gave them the  "you should be ashamed look."

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25 minutes ago, SirPalomides said:

No, it’s a term borrowed from Buddhism for lay Daoists.


The term was used way back before the Taoist, Buddhism and Confucianism. In the ancient time, the term was used to describe those who do not want to be a government official by staying at home. Later, the Taoist, Buddhism and Confucianism had borrowed the term. BTY Taoism in China was before Buddhism was introduced by India.

Ref: https://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-tw/居士

Edited by ReturnDragon
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5 minutes ago, ReturnDragon said:


The term was used way back before the Taoist, Buddhism and Confucianism. In the ancient time, the term was used to describe those who do not want to be government office by staying at home. Later, the Taoist, Buddhism and Confucianism. BTY Taoism in China was before Buddhism was introduced by India.

Ref: https://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-tw/居士


Thanks. So in that link, if you go to the Daoism section it links to another article that explains that jushi was one title for Daoist lay believers in Quanzhen. And, very interestingly, it says “道教信徒称爲信士(未皈依者)、清信士、善男信女等,受三归五戒後称居士,俗家弟子互相尊称师兄、师长、道友、道侣、同道、同参等。因与汉传佛教长期互相影响,两教称谓相似或相同”

 

So among Daoist believers there is the category of xinshi (uncommitted believers) and then the next step is jushi, laypeople who have taken three (Daoist) refuges and five precepts!  
 

So if this article is accurate, then there is in fact a lay initiation ceremony for Daoist jushi mirroring the Buddhist Three Refuges. 

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11 minutes ago, SirPalomides said:


Thanks. So in that link, if you go to the Daoism section it links to another article that explains that jushi was one title for Daoist lay believers in Quanzhen. And, very interestingly, it says “道教信徒称爲信士(未皈依者)、清信士、善男信女等,受三归五戒後称居士,俗家弟子互相尊称师兄、师长、道友、道侣、同道、同参等。因与汉传佛教长期互相影响,两教称谓相似或相同”

 

So among Daoist believers there is the category of xinshi (uncommitted believers) and then the next step is jushi, laypeople who have taken three (Daoist) refuges and five precepts!  
 

So if this article is accurate, then there is in fact a lay initiation ceremony for Daoist jushi mirroring the Buddhist Three Refuges. 


These terms are used, only and only, to describe what kind of believers they are. There is no need to have a lay initiation ceremony for their classifications.

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On 2/6/2020 at 11:32 PM, SirPalomides said:

In the "Daoist associations" thread @Walker mentioned the jushi or daojiaotu designation for lay disciples formally affiliated with Daoist temples or lineages but who have not been ordained as daoshi. Is there any kind of initiation for such people? 

 

The answer is yes, absolutely. Such initiations exist, are widespread, continue to be practiced to this day, and serve as important marker in a student's progression into Daoist teachings. 

 

 

In such a ritual that I took part in, there was a printed prayer petition (疏) specific for this ritual. Most of its text was pre-printed on a large, yellow piece of paper; spaces were left to fill in the disciple's name, date and time of birth, address, master, temple where the initiation was taking place, name of master under which the disciple was entering the lineage, and the new Daoist name of the disciple. A ritual of approximately 40 minutes in length was performed involving liturgy performed by a mix of monks, nuns, and trained laypeople. During the ritual the 疏 was rolled up, placed in a folded paper box, and lit on fire while held in the new disciple's hands. This ceremony, performed by Quanzhen Longmen Daoists, used the same name as the Buddhist refuge ceremony does in Chinese: "皈依."

 

It so happens that I spent yesterday hanging out with a person who spent five years on Baimashan in Hubei province in Five Immortals Temple. I mentioned your question to him and he said that there, too, there is a ceremony. They call the "起名" ceremony, which you might translate as "giving a name." Under Master Li at Five Immortals Temple, this ceremony signifies that the recipient of a Daoist name has become a student of Li in his lineage, but not a formal disciple, and definitely not a monk or nun (出家人). Apparently Master Li still has no disciples; there are sometimes monks and nuns at his temple, but I don't know if they entered monastic life under him, or under other masters. This ceremony also involves a written prayer on paper that is burned in order to deliver the new student's name to the realm of immortals.

 

I know a lay member of the Zhengyi sect. He also went through a dramatic ritual (it involved climbing a sword ladder--this is not something that is common).

 

I know two lay members of the Wudang Longmen under 裴錫榮. They were initiated in small but very formal ceremonies under the late Master Pei. These were not religious ceremonies conducted in temples, and both disciples are clear to state that they are not called daoshi or daozhang

 

The rituals of initiation are fairly diverse and may themselves have different names. What seems to be common among them is: the delivery of a petition/prayer in a solemn ritual intended to inform the ancestors and guardians of the lineage that a new member has entered the door; the giving of a new "Daoist name" that places the recipient within this door (often but not always this name comes from a lineage poem, so one of its characters may indicate the lineage generation of the disciple); the conveying of a sense of responsibility (lay disciples seem to infrequently take precepts or vows, but are nevertheless expected to behave as upstanding members of their communities and to cleave towards 德 in their thoughts and actions). 

 

There is a phrase in Chinese that is commonly used in cultivation circles: "師傅引進門,修行在個人." This is, roughly, "a master brings [a person] through the door, but cultivation is up to the individual." This phrase is often uttered to remind people that being initiated into a school, lineage, or teaching is only the first tiny step, and that actually making progress is a question of ceaseless effort for years and years. However, we may also see something else implied in the first half of that phrase, specifically the notion that entering the door is predicated upon having a master. I think it can be fairly said that in the Chinese cultivation traditions, it is considered crucial to have a teacher bring one into a teaching in order to be considered "in the door." The reasons for this are manifold and probably don't need to be named one-by-one... For now, suffice to say, the existence of these rituals and their prominence is strong evidence for how seriously the connection of disciples to lineages is taken. 

 

Incidentally, I have taken part in two Buddhist refuge ceremonies, one in the Tibetan Kagyu tradition and one in the Chinese tradition, conducted by a Han Chinese monk who was a student of Empty Cloud (虛雲老和尚) as well as a Gelugpa. In both ceremonies Buddhist names were given. These types of names are usually called 法號 (Dharma name) or 道號 (Dao name). I have heard Daoists call their Daoist names 法號. The giving of names seems to be less of a thing outside of the religious community, but I know it does happen in martial arts and even in other traditions that often involved master-disciple relationships in China, such as painting and calligraphy. 

 

___________

 

By the way, the person you are struggling to communicate with, ReturnDragon, used to go by the name ChiDragon. He is one of the most egregious pathological liars this site has ever known. Luckily he went away six or seven years ago, after he shamed himself terribly by presenting himself as a teacher of taijiquan and Daoist cultivation. Although his lies had long been clear to those with enough background to spot them, he managed to fool the uninitiated for quite a long time (his M.O. is to bandy about his 三脚貓 Chinese translation skill and pretend that this and his ethnicity make him a qualified expert). He made a total fool of himself when he began to vehemently deny that there is such a thing as 性命雙修 in Daoism, even going to far as to rant in all-caps that it did not exist. Shockingly and disgustingly, a fortnight later he returned and deleted his rants, possibly having read a few Wikipedia or Baidubaike pages. His next step was to then begin teaching about 性命雙修 and blathering at length about how this concept underpins his personal cultivation. He even created an acronym that he wrote everywhere, DCXM I think it was. When called out for his hypocrisy, being too stupid to realize that this site keeps a permanent record of edited posts, he denied that two weeks prior he did not even know what 性命雙修 meant. Dawei dug this liar's original posts up, and ChiDragon soon disappeared. I do not know if he was banned, suspended, or simply 丟臉得太嚴重了. At any rate, he is back, and his mendacity and stupidity are once again on display. It is a shame, but this site is not set up in a way as prevents mentally ill liars from treating it as their pulpit. When he first returned I thought that a half-decade break may have given ChiDragon enough time to mature. Thus far he is off to a very bad start. If he does not slow down, I predict soon he will begin generating massive negative karma by spreading imaginary taijiquan and neigong teachings as well as lies about Daoism, with his post count quickly reaching into the thousands. If he does so I will make a separate post to warn about him. Fortunately the written record of his pathological dishonesty remains for all to see. 

 

Edited by Walker
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A 性命雙修(DCXM) practitioner will forbear any disparaging remarks. 

@Walker Thanks for the warm welcome!

Edited by ReturnDragon

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You know very well that was not a welcome, 窩囊廢.

 

Unless you have changed your pathological lying ways, you will find you have even less fun here than you used to. The board has changed. There are fewer fools who are easily impressed with half-assed Chinese translations, and more sharp people who see it as their responsibility to stop scamgong fakers from hurting beginners by handing out imaginary qigong, neigong, and martial arts instructions.

 

It would be better if you went away instead trolling this place again.

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Please, Mr. Walker, do you own this place? 
Is this how you want to present and conduct yourself in a Taoist environment? The reason I came back was to see is this site has returned back to it's Wu Wei attribute. Please don't make it is not. Thanks!

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