Daoism among the Miao Ethnic Group
Investigation has revealed that Daoism is the only religious belief of the Miao. There are civil and military Daoist priests in Miao regions. Each makes offerings to a different set of gods, uses different registrations and seals ( 符印 Fuyin ), and reads different scriptures. Martial Daoist priests worship the Three Purities ( 三清 Sanqing ) and the Three Origins ( 三元 Sanyuan ). Civil Daoist priests worship the Agricultural God in their rituals. The gods worshiped by Civil Daoist priests have big heads and those of the military Daoist priests must be small. Their responsibilities are different and are never confused.
Before a Miao becomes a formal Daoist priest, he needs to perform a commandment-receiving ritual ( 受戒儀式 Shoujie Yishi ). Then he is given a Daoist name. The words and orders for their names are fixed. For civil Daoist priests, they are "Yin, Yun, Dao, Miao and Wan". For the military Daoist priests, they are "Ying, Sheng, Fa, Xian and Wan". When selecting a name, one of these words is chosen as the first name, followed by any word for the given name.
There is no set age limit for receiving the commandments. It is accessible for adults and children. When adults accept commandments, they can follow the masters to learn the Daoist magic arts and to fulfill their duties when they are familiar with them. The children will wait to grow up for the acceptance of commandments. Sometimes, for economic reasons, they can first accept commandments and then begin to learn the Daoist arts when grow up