Commandments of the Complete Perfection Sect

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The Formation of the Commandments of the Complete Perfection Tradition

The Complete Perfection Tradition, which was established in the early Jin Dynasty by Wang Chongyang, is now one of the two main branches of Daoism together with the Orthodox Oneness Tradition formed in the Dade period of the Yuan dynasty. In view of the degeneration of Daoism at the end of the Song Dynasty, Wang Chongyang expressed his idea of the Integration of the Three Doctrines with reference to Buddhist thought and systems. He advocated that one be devoted to others without any thought of self, achieving one's goal of becoming an Immortal by practicing Inner Alchemy. To start with, Wang gave an account of the principles of establishing the doctrine of the Complete Perfection Tradition in his book Chongyang's Fifteen Essays on Establishing Daoism ( 《重陽立教十五論》Chongyang Lijiao Shiwulun ). It set a complete prescription on the religious life and behaviour of the Daoists of the Complete Perfection Tradition. Ma Danyang, one of Wang's followers, wrote an uttered quotation named Ten Pieces of Advice, persuading and encouraging his followers to behave themselves. Qiu Chuji, another follower of Wang's, set forth his Three Altar Commandments based on the Buddhist system of the Three Commandments ( 《三壇大戒》Santan Dajie ). The Complete Perfection Tradition developed rapidly during the Yuan and Ming dynasties with the establishment of a large number of Daoist temples of the Complete Perfection Tradition. Then in accordance with the management of Buddhist temples, the Complete Perfection Tradition worked out the Monastic Rules of the Complete Perfection Tradition in conjunction with the increase in number of Daoist temples and Daoist sects ( 《全真清規》Quanzhen Qinggui ). Wang Changyue, a revered Daoist in the Qing dynasty, started Transmitting Commandments and enrolling a number of disciples in the White Cloud Temple during his stay there as the abbot, on the basis of Qiu Chuji's Three Altar Commandments. Thereby the Dragon Gate sect of the Complete Perfection Tradition was greatly strengthened and its system of Transmitting Commandments was handed down till today.

The Content of Chongyang's Fifteen Essays on Establishing Daoism

This book contains all the requirements for the life of the Daoists of the Complete Perfection Tradition, including living in Daoist temples, wandering about, studying Daoist books, making the elixir, building, and getting along with fellow Daoists, etc. It demands that all Daoists live in thatched cottages, saying "one will feel in peace and calm as long as one has a shed, with the integration and smooth movement of the Spirit and Vital Breath." As to studying Daoist scriptures, the book opposes indulging in exaggerated descriptions and being attracted by them. One should read widely and remember as much as possible so as to crack oneself up. As to making friends, it warns not to do any favor or to judge anyone by his appearance, etc. This book reflects Wang Chongyang 's ideas on the strict management of Daoism. Besides, it laid a solid foundation for the commandments of the Complete Perfection Tradition.

The Content of the Monastic Rules of the Complete Perfection Tradition

The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era had the Monastic Rules of the Complete Perfection Tradition written at the turn of the Yuan and Ming dynasties, and printed in the Ming dynasty. The original preface said that the Monastic Rules of the Complete Perfection Tradition had been compiled in the Yuan dynasty by Lu Daohe, a Daoist of the Complete Perfection Tradition. The Monastic Rules consist of 12 chapters, including rites, essays, and regulations and commandments. In it are ten items for the punishment of Daoists according to the List of Punishments of Imperial Sovereign Chongyang as the Founder of the Complete Perfection Tradition ( 《教主重陽帝君責罰榜》Jiaozhu Chongyang Dijun Zefabang ). Any Daoist who committed a wrongdoing would be punished accordingly. He was sure to be transferred to another temple, or to be asked to leave the temple for good. Or he could be forced to fast, to take care of the incense burning, of the candles, the oil lamp, or to take care of making tea, or to kneel down in front of the statues. In the List of Rules of Perfect Man Changchun ( 《長春真人榜》Changchun Zhenren Bang ) were the commandments by Qiu Chuji that a Daoist not be greedy, nor be displeased, and not indulge in women and beautiful music, etc.

The Content of the Three Tang Commandments ( 三堂大戒 Santang Dajie )

This book is also called the Three Altar Commandments. It refers to commandments consisting of the Commandments of Elementary Perfection ( 初真戒 Chuzhen Jie ), the Commandments of the Middle Ultimate ( 終極戒 Zhongji Jie ), and the Commandments for Heavenly Immortals ( 天仙戒 Tianxian Jie ), which made up the commandments for the transmission of the Complete Perfection Tradition. As is written in the Alms-Bowl Mirror ( 《砵戒》Bojian ) by the disciplinarian of the 7th generation of the Dragon Gate sect of the Complete Perfection Tradition, the Three Altar Commandments was originally by Qiu Chuji, the founder of the Dragon Gate sect. Qiu set them up in light of the system of the Three Commandments of Buddhism (the Novice Commandments, the Khiksu Commandments, and the Bodhisattva Commandments) ( 沙尼戒,比丘戒,菩薩戒 Shami Jie, Biqiu Jie, Pusa Jie ). They were initially passed on individually and secretly. When Wang Changyue was in charge of the White Cloud Temple, some changes took place. Unlike Qiu Chuji, Wang Changyue set up the Commandment Altar to transmit Dao by teaching in public. Besides, he took in many followers to teach commandments at the altar, beginning in the 13th year of the Shunzhi period (1656). Thereby the Dragon Gate sect of the Complete Perfection Tradition became greatly prosperous. The Three Tang Commandments were also called the Three Altar Commandments of One Hundred Days, for to be accepted as a Daoist, one had to spend one hundred days in initiation, in what was called the Commandment Period. After the Revolution of 1911, all the activities for disseminating the commandments of the Complete Perfection Tradition had to stop for various reasons. On Nov. 12, 1989, when the White Cloud Temple reopened its Commandment Altar, the Complete Perfection Tradition resumed its activities of disseminating the commandments after half a century's halt.