Pengguna:PM Poon/Chinese folklore

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Depending on how it is defined, Taoism's origins may be traced to the prehistoric Chinese religion; to the composition of the Dao De Jing (3rd or 4th century BCE); or to the activity of Zhang Daoling (2nd century CE). Alternatively, one could argue that "Taoism" as a religious identity only arose later, by way of contrast with the newly-arrived religion of Buddhism, or with the fourth-century codification of the Shangching and Lingbao texts.

Han Dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE)[sunting | sunting sumber]

By the early Han, Laozi came to be worshipped as divine—either in association with or conflated with the Yellow Emperor. A major text from this "Huang-Lao" movement would be the Huainanzi, which interprets earlier Taoist teachings in light of the quest for immortality (including drugs, sexual practices, and breathing techniques).

Zhang Daoling claimed to have begun receiving new revelations from Laozi in 142 CE, and founded the Tianshi ("Celestial Masters") sect around them. He performed spiritual healing, and collected dues of "five pecks of rice" from his followers (thus providing an alternative name for his movement). Zhang Daoling's major message was that the world-order as his followers knew it would soon come to an end, and be succeeded by an era of "Great Peace" (Taiping). In fact their activities did hasten the downfall of the Han dynasty. The same could be said of their contemporaries and fellow Taoists, the Yellow Turban sect. Zhang's grandson set up a theocratic state into what is now Sichuan province. Today's Zhengyi sect claims continuity with Zhang Daoling.

Laozi received imperial recognition as a divinity in 166 CE. The Yin and Yang and "five elements" theories date from this time, but were not yet integrated into Taoism.

The name Daojia comes from the Han Dynasty. In Sima Qian's history (chapter 63) it refers to immortals; in Liu Xiang it refers to Laozi and Zhuangzi. Daojiao came to be applied to the religious movements mentioned above. The two terms were used interchangeably until modern times. (We owe the distinction to Confucian writers.) The earliest Han commentary on the Dao De Jing is actually that of Heshang Gong (the "Riverside Master"), a religious Taoist.

Three Kingdoms Period (220–265)[sunting | sunting sumber]

The Xuanxue ("Dark Learning") school, including Wang Bi, focuses on the texts of Laozi and Zhuangzi (not the organised religion).

Six Dynasties (316–589)[sunting | sunting sumber]

Taoist alchemist Ge Hong, also known as Baopuzi (The "Master Embracing Simplicity") was active in the third and fourth centuries CE and had great influence on later Taoism. Major scriptures were produced during this time period, including The Shangqing ("Highest Purity") (365–370) and Lingbao ("Sacred Treasure") scriptures (397–402) received at Maoshan. The Shangqing revelations were received by Yang Xi, a relative of Ge Hong's; the revelations emphasised meditative visualisation (neiguan). They spoke of the Shangqing heaven, which stood above what had been previously considered the highest heaven by Celestial Master Taoists. Yang Xi's revelations consisted of visitations from the residents of this heaven (the "Zhen Ren") many of whom were ancestors of a circle of aristocrats from southern China. These Zhen Ren spoke of an apocalypse which was to arrive in 384, and claimed that only certain people from this aristocratic circle had been chosen to be saved. For the first century of its existence, Shangqing Taoism was isolated to this aristocratic circle. However, Tao Hongjing (456–536) codified and wrote commentaries on Yang Xi's writings and allowed for the creation of Shangching Taoism as a popular religion. The Lingbao scriptures added some Buddhist elements such as chanted rituals, and an emphasis on universal salvation.

The Huahujing ("Scripture of Conversion of Barbarians") claimed that Laozi went to India, where he taught less advanced doctrines under the name of Buddha. Buddhists found this claim objectionable, and emperors regularly condemned it. A similar claim is made in the Xishengjing (the "Scripture of Western Ascension").

Dinasti Tang Dynasty (618–907)[sunting | sunting sumber]

Taoism mendapat kedudukan rasmi di China semasa dinasti Tang, di mana maharaja mendakwa Laozi sebagai saudara mereka. Bagaimanapun, ia terpaksa bersaing denga Confucianism dan Buddhism, pesaing utamanya, bagi kedudukan dan tajaan. Maharaja Xuanzong (685–762), yang memerintah pada kemuncak pemerintahan Tang, menulis ulasan pada teks ketiga-tiga sistem tradisi ini, yang menonjolkan fakta bahawa dalam kehidupan manusia ia tidak terpisah secara mutlak. Ini menandakan permulaan kecenderungan yang kekal lama dalam kerajaan imperial China, di mana kerajaan menyokong (dan pada masa yang sama) ketiga-tiga pergerakan.

Maharaja Tang Gaozong menambah Dao De Jing pada senarai "klassik" (jing, 經) yang perlu dipelajari bagi peperiksaan maharaja; dengan itu kemunculan -jing pada tajuknya.

Song Dynasty (960–1279)[sunting | sunting sumber]

Several Song emperors, most notably Huizong, were active in promoting Taoism, collecting Taoist texts and publishing editions of the Daozang.

The Quanzhen school of Taoism was founded during this period, and together with the Zhengyi Celestial Masters is one of the two schools of Taoism that have survived to the present.

The Song Dynasty saw an increasingly complex interaction between the elite traditions of organised Taoism as practised by ordained Taoist ministers (daoshi) and the local traditions of folk religion as practised by spirit mediums (wu) and a new class of non-ordained ritual experts known as fashi. This interaction manifested itself in the integration of 'converted' local deities into the bureaucratically organised Taoist pantheon and the emergence of new exorcistic rituals, including the Celestial Heart Rites and the Thunder Rites.

Aspects of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism were consciously synthesised in the Neo-Confucian school, which eventually became Imperial orthodoxy for state bureaucratic purposes.

Yuan Dynasty (1279–1367)[sunting | sunting sumber]

White Cloud Monastery, Beijing

Neidan ("Interior Alchemy") became a major emphasis of the Quanzhen sect, whose practitioners followed a monastic model inspired by Buddhism. One of its leaders, Qiu Chuji became a teacher of Genghis Khan (and used his influence to save millions of lives). Originally from Shanxi and Shandong, the sect established its main center in Beijing's Baiyunguan ("White Cloud Monastery"). Before the end of the dynasty, the Celestial Masters sect (and Buddhism) again gained preeminence.

Nationalist Period (1912–1949)[sunting | sunting sumber]

Guomindang (China Nationalist Party) leaders embrace science, modernity, and Western culture, including (to some extent) Christianity. Viewing the popular religion as reactionary and parasitic, they confiscated some temples for public buildings, and otherwise attempted to control traditional religious activity.

People's Republic of China (1949–present)[sunting | sunting sumber]

The Communist Party of China, officially atheistic, initially suppressed Taoism along with other religions. Much of the Taoist infrastructure was destroyed. Monks and priests were sent to labor camps. This practice intensified during the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, nearly eradicating most Taoist sites.

Deng Xiaoping eventually restored some religious tolerance beginning in 1982. Subsequently, communist leaders have recognised Taoism as an important traditional religion of China and also as a potential lucrative focus for tourism, so many of the more scenic temples and monasteries have been repaired and reopened.

Taoism is one of five religions recognised by the PRC, which insists on controlling its activities through a state bureaucracy (the China Taoist Association). Sensitive areas include the relationship of the Zhengyi Taoists with their sect's lineage-holder (he lives in Taiwan); and the status of various traditional temple activities (astrology, shamanism) which have been criticised as "superstitious" or "feudal".

Adherents[sunting | sunting sumber]

The number of "Taoists" is difficult to estimate, partly for definitional reasons (who counts as a Taoist?), and partly for practical ones (it is illegal for private parties to conduct surveys in China). The number of people practicing some aspect of the Chinese folk religion might number in the hundreds of millions. (Adherents.com estimates "Traditional Chinese religion" at nearly four hundred million).

Beliefs[sunting | sunting sumber]

A Taoist Temple in Taiwan. The religious practice of incense burning as well as images of the Fu Dog and Dragon guardian spirits can be seen.

Taoism is not a belief-centered religion, and there are no known Taoist creeds. At the same time, certain characteristic beliefs or assumptions can be identified.

One of these is the existence of several classes of supernatural beings, who may enter into relations with human beings. These include gods, ghosts, and ancestral spirits. Gods are not invariably benevolent, but are generally on the side of righteousness. Ghosts are dangerous spirits of the departed who must be appeased through offerings, especially during the Chinese Ghost Festival. Ancestors are also spirits of the departed, but are distinguished from ghosts in that they boast (male-line) descendents who commemorate them through home rituals.

Another fundamental assumption is the efficacy of ritual in maintaining a positive relationship with these beings. Folk Taoism focuses on rituals of sacrifice; elite Taoism emphasises control over spirits through talismans or "spirit-registers" (fu), on the principle that possession of a spirit's name confers power over that spirit.

Beyond the Chinese folk religion, various rituals, exercises, or substances are said to positively affect one's physical health (even to the point of immortality); align oneself spiritually with cosmic forces; or enable ecstatic spiritual journeys. These concepts seem basic to Taoism in its elite forms.

Deities[sunting | sunting sumber]

Traditional Chinese religion is determinedly polytheistic. Its deities arranged into a heavenly civil service that mirrors the bureaucracy of imperial China. Deities may be promoted or demoted. Many are said to have once been virtuous humans. The particular deities worshipped vary somewhat according to geography, and much more according to historical period (though the general pattern of worship is more constant).

There is also something of a disconnection between the set of gods which currently receive popular worship, and those which are the focus of elite Taoist texts and rituals. For example, the Jade Emperor is at the head of the popular pantheon, while the Celestial Masters' altar recognizes the deified Laozi (Laojun, "Lord Lao") and the Three Pure Ones in that position. Some texts explain that Laozi has sponsored the apotheosis of various other gods.

Practices[sunting | sunting sumber]

Taoist charm from Tien Hau Temple in San Francisco.

All forms of Chinese traditional religion involve baibai--bowing towards an altar, with a stick of incense in one's hand. This may be done at home, or in a temple, or outdoors; by an ordinary person, or a professional (such as a Daoshi); and the altar may feature any number of deities or ancestral tablets. Baibai is usually done in accordance with certain dates of the lunar/solar calendar (see Chinese calendar).

At certain dates, food may be set out as a sacrifice to the gods and/or spirits of the departed. This may include slaughtered pigs and ducks, fruit, packages of snack foods, and/or pyramids of beer cans (unopened). Another form of sacrifice involves the burning of Hell Bank Notes, on the assumption that images thus consumed by the fire will reappear--not as a mere image, but as the actual item--in the spirit world, and be available for the departed spirit to use.

Also at certain dates, street parades take place. These are lively affairs which invariably involve firecrackers and flower-covered floats broadcasting traditional music. Street parades may also include lion dances and dragon dances; human-occupied puppets (often of the "Seventh Lord" and "Eighth Lord"); jitong (male "Mediums") who mutilate their skin with knives; Bajiajiang, which are gongfu-practicing honor guards in demonic makeup; and palanquins carrying god-images. The various participants are not considered performers, but rather possessed by the god in question.

Fortune-telling--including astrology, palmistry, phrenology, and divination--has long been considered a traditional Taoist pursuit. Mediumship is also widely encountered. We may distinguish between "martial" forms of mediumship (like the aforementioned jitong) and more literary forms in which the possessed medium communicates messages from the spirit world by writing them with a special utensil.

Isabelle Robinet's book Taoist Meditation describes various practices given in the Maoshan texts. These include controlling bodily fluids such as urine, saliva, and the breath; visualisation practices in which various internal organs are imaginally linked with corresponding gods and/or celestial bodies (e.g. the stars of the bei tou, the "Big Dipper"); and heavenly journeys via the Great Pole, which is reached by a limping shamanic dance called the "Step of Wu".

Scriptures[sunting | sunting sumber]

The Daozang (道藏, Treasury of Tao) is sometimes referred to as the "Taoist canon." It was compiled during the Jin, Tang, Song, and Ming dynasties, and includes almost 1500 texts. Following the example of the Buddhist Tripitaka, it is divided into three dong 洞 ("caves," often translated "grottoes"), arranged here from highest to lowest:

(1) The Zhen ("real") grotto. Includes the Shangching texts.
(2) The Yuan ("primordial") grotto. Includes the Lingbao scriptures.
(3) The Shen ("divine") grotto. Includes texts predating the Maoshan revelations.

The Dao De Jing constitutes an appendix (fu) to the first grotto. Other appendices include the Taipingjing ("Scripture of Great Peace") as well as various alchemical texts, and scriptures from the Celestial Masters tradition.

Taoism, however, is not a "Protestant" religion which regards the scripture as primary. Professional Taoists generally do not consult published versions of the Daozang, but use texts which have been passed down from teacher to student (who are often relatives). The receipt of permission to do the ritual is considered more important than knowledge of the texts' contents.

The Quanzhen school does have a tradition of approaching Taoism through scriptural study. In these circles, the Confucian text Yijing features more prominently than any other scripture, owing to its relevance for cosmology.

Some Chinese movements emphasise newly-revealed scriptures. In Taiwan, one often finds Buddhist texts being chanted in Taoist temples; apparently mainland China has a policy of discouraging such syncretism.

Taoist symbols and images[sunting | sunting sumber]

Taijitu

There are many Symbols and Images that are associated with Taoism. Like in Christianity the "cross", and in Buddhism the "wheel", Taoism has Laozi, actual Chinese characters, and many other symbols that are often represent or are associated with it.

Many people associate the Taijitu symbol 太極圖 as well as the Bagua 八卦 ("Eight Trigrams") with Taoist symbolism. While almost all Taoist organisations make use of it, one could also call it Confucian, Neo-Confucian or pan-Chinese. The yin and yang border should make a backwards "S" shape, with yang (white or red) on top. One is likely to see this symbol as decorations on Taoist organisation flags and logos, temple floors, or stitched into clerical robes.

Taoist temples may fly square or triangular flags. These are not merely decorative but function as talismans, and typically feature mystical writing or diagrams. Often a tree branch is used as a flagpole.

One sometimes sees a zigzag with seven stars, representing the Big Dipper (or the "Bushel", the Chinese equivalent). Taoists see the North Pole (and the South too, for that matter) as divine.

Taoist temples in southern China and Taiwan may often be identified by their roofs, which feature Chinese dragons and phoenixes made from multi-colored ceramic tiles. They also stand for the harmony of yin and yang (with the phoenix being yin). A related symbol is the flaming pearl which may be seen on such roofs between two dragons, as well as on the hairpin of a Celestial Master.

See also[sunting | sunting sumber]

External links[sunting | sunting sumber]