Altars for Commandments

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Religious Practise
Morning and Evening Rites
Refining the Vital Breath
Wandering About and Seeking Masters
Religious Discipline
Commandments of the Orthodox Oneness Sect
Commandments of the Complete Perfection Sect
Temple Regulations
Talismans, Registers, and Magic Skills
Divine Incantations
Finger Gestures
Pacing the Big Dipper
Magical Transformation Skills
Praying for Happiness and Offering Sacrifice
Summoning Spirits for Interrogation
Healing Diseases
Expelling the God of Plague
Names of the Three Fasts
Great Ritual Offerings to the Overarching Heaven
Lantern Rituals for the Destruction of Hell
Rituals of Purification and of Sacrifice to the Ancestral Souls
Rituals of Purification and Salvation
Rituals of Scattering Flowers and Communicating with Spirits through Lanterns
Rituals for Sending Petitions to the Heavens
Ceremonial Altars
Altars for Fasts
Altars for Ritual Offerings
Altars for Commandments
The Ancestral Altar of All Skills
Daoist Headdresses and Dress
Ritual Implements
Wooden Fish
Commandment Plaques
S-shaped Ornamental Objects
Magical Seals
Magical Staffs
Magical Swords
Shallow Pans
Inverted Bells
Horsetail Whisks
Large Cymbals
Ritual Specialists
High Priest
Cheif Cantor
Inspector of Fasts
Incense Attendant
Lantern Attendant
Scripture Attendant
Ceremonies to Celebrate the Birth of Spirits
Assemblies to Entice Spirits
Pilgrimage Times and Temple Fairs

Commandments altars are set up for the Transmission of Commandments by the Daoist priests of the Complete Perfection sect ( 全真派 Quanzhen Pai ). They are only established in big temples of the Complete Perfection sect which are qualified to transmit commandments. Between the Jin and the Yuan dynasties, Patriarch Wang Chongyang founded the Complete Perfection sect. His disciple Qiu Chuji founded the Three Commandments for Elementary Perfection ( 初真 Chuzhen ), Middle Perfection ( 中極 Zhongji ) and Heavenly Immortals ( 天仙 Tianxian ) according to the Buddhist commandment systems of Buddhist novices, monks and Bodhisattvas. He instated a system for transmitting the teachings of the Complete Perfection sect by passing commandments down from a master to a single disciple. Wang Changyue, the eminent Daoist priest of the Qing dynasty, abbot of the White Cloud Temple ( 白雲觀 Baiyun Guan ) in Beijing, changed this method of transmission into a public system by setting up altars. Hence, Commandment Altars came into being in the temples of the Complete Perfection sect.

The presently existing Commandments Altar in the White Cloud Temple is a long rectangular altar in a pavilion. There is wall on one side, and the other three sides are open. The open ground in front of the altar is where the Daoist believers are seated when the commandments are transmitted. On the altar are the seats of the Eight Great Masters, namely the Witness of the Covenant ( 証盟 Zhengmeng ), the Inspector of Commandments ( 監戒 Jianjie ), the Guarantor of Rituals ( 保舉 Baoju ), the Ritual Preacher ( 演禮 Yanli ), the Master Who Rectifies Rituals ( 糾儀 Jiuyi ), the Master Who Initiates Rituals ( 提科 Tike ), the Master Who Records Registers ( 登籙 Denglu ), and the Master Who Invites Deities ( 引儀 Yinqing ). The commandments altar in the White Cloud Temple in Beijing is a richly ornamented and elegant bulding.