The Book of the Five Dippers

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The Book of the Five Dippers ( 五斗經 Wudou Jing ), whose author is unknown, is a Daoist scripture. It collects the Mysterious and Numinous Big Dipper's Supreme Perfect Book for Prolonging One's Fundamental Destiny ( 太上玄靈北斗本命延生真經 Taoshang Xuanling Beidou Benming Yansheng Zhenjing ), the Sublime Book of the Southern Dipper's Six Offices for Prolonging Life and Salvation Revealed by the Supreme Venerable Sovereign ( 太上說南斗六司延壽度人妙經 Taishang Shuo Nandou Liusi Yanshou Duren Miaojing ), the Sublime Book of the Eastern Dipper's Governing and Guarding Life Revealed by the Supreme Venerable Sovereign ( 太上東斗主算護名妙經 Taishang Shou Dongdou Zhusuan Huming Miaojing ), the Sublime Book of the Western Dipper's Register of Names and Guarding of the Body Revealed by the Supreme Venerable Sovereign ( 太上西斗記名護身妙經 Taishang Shuo Xidou Jiming Hushen Miaojing ), and the Sublime Book of the Protection of Life by the Kui Star in the Middle Dipper Revealed by the Supreme Venerable Sovereign ( 太上說中斗大魁保命妙經 Taishang Shuo Zhongdou Dakui Baoming Miaojing ).

According to Volume 63, Preaching Commandments ( 說戒 Shuojie ) of the Great Collection of Daoist Rituals ( 道門科範大全集 Daomen Kefan Daquanji ), when the Song dynasty started to be prosperous, Tanhui Li in Chengdu worshiped the Perfect Sovereign ( 真君 Zhenjun ), who descended to his home and transmitted the Book of the Five Dippers for him to transmit it. Now the Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era ( 正統道藏 Zhengtong Daozang ) divides it into five chapters, and it is collected in the Dipper section of the Selections from the Daoist Canon ( 道藏輯要 Daozang Jiyao ). It is considered to be a work revealed through Planchette Writing ( 扶乩 Fuji ) by Daoist priests in Shu at the beginning of the Song dynasty. According to the first volume of the Commentary on the Supreme Mysterious and Numinous Big Dipper's Perfect Book for Prolonging One's Fundamental Destiny ( 太上玄靈北斗本命延生真經注 Taoshang Xuanling Beidou Benming Yansheng Zhenjing Zhu ) written by Xu Daoling, Master of the Mysterious Yang ( 玄陽子 Xuanyangzi ), the Supreme Venerable Sovereign ( 太上老君 Taishang Laojun ) descended to Chengdu many times and transmitted to the Celestial Master ( 天師 Tianshi ) and Perfect Sovereign of Silent Correspondence ( 靜應真君 Jingying Zhenjun ) the scriptural formulae for prolonging one's life and the Numinous Scriptures of the Five Dippers ( 五斗靈文 Wudou Lingwen ).

On the seventh day of the first month of the lunar calendar in the first Yongshou year of the Han dynasty, he transmitted the Mysterious and Numinous Big Dipper's Perfect Book of Fundamental Destiny ( 北斗玄靈本命真經 Beidou Xuanling Benming Zhenjing ), and on the fifteenth day he transmitted the Sublime Book of the Southern Dipper's Six Offices for Prolonging Life and Salvation ( 南斗六司延壽度人妙經 Nandou Liusi Yanshou Duren Miaojing ). On the seventh day of the first month of the lunar calendar in the second Yongshou year, he preached the Perfect Book of the Eastern Dipper in Charge of Longevity and Guarding of Life ( 東斗長生護命真經 Dongdou Changsheng Humin Zhenjing ), on the fifteenth day he preached the Book of the Western Dipper in Charge of Matters of Vital Importance and Guarding of the Body ( 西斗大計護身經 Xidou Daji Hushen Jing ), and then ascended to the Seat of the Yuju Diocese ( 玉局座 Yuju Zuo ) to preach the Mysterious, Perfect and Sublime Book of the Middle Dipper's Protection and Prolonging of Life ( 中斗保命延生玄真妙經 Zhingdou Baoming Yansheng Xuanzhenmiao Jing ). The Northern Big Dipper is located in the palace of the Kan trigram where the Heavenly One gives birth to water, so he transmitted firstly the Perfect Book of the Big Dipper ( 北斗真經 Beidou Zhengjing ). The Southern Dipper is located in the palace of the Li trigram where the Earthly Two gives birth to fire, so he transmitted secondly the Perfect Book of the Southern Dipper ( 南斗真經 Nandou Zhenjing ). The scriptures of the Eastern Dipper, the Western Dipper, the Central dipper and the Five Dippers are all preached in their order of creation. This book has some connection with the Daoist worship of the constellation spirits.