Daoism among the Zhuang Ethnic
|Daoism in Minority Regions|
|Tujia Ethnic Group Maonan minority |
Archeologically unearthed materials show that Daoism spread to the area inhabited by the Zhuang during the Northern-southern dynasties. It is very popular among the Zhuang in Guangxi Autonomous Prefecture in modern times. There are Daoist masters ( 道公 Daogong ) in every village. They are similar to Daoist Priests in the Orthodox Oneness School scattered in Han areas. Their main duty is to conduct offering rituals ( 打醮 Dajiao ), guide the dead and chase away ghosts. Daoist masters have to observe many taboos. They can not do agricultural work during the first four months of their study of Daoist magic arts?They have to wear a rain hat whenever they go out. They must remain celibate. They cannot enter certain houses, and never kill animals nor eat dog meat or beef. After they keep the required scriptures in mind, they would invite relatives to have a banquet, during which time they set up an altar to make offerings to ancestral Daoist masters. Young masters will become the apprentice of an aged master for certain time. Once familiar with the requisite Daoist rituals, they can then leave the teacher to practice Daoism on their own. Upon achieving recognition by the community, it is customary to thank their teachers with meals. They cannot reject any invitation to conduct rituals. To do so would be to harm their hidden virtue ( 陰德 Yinde ).
To ensure the safety of an entire village, villagers invite three Daoist masters (one chief master and two assistants) periodically or non-periodically to carry out two-days rituals. Every villager consumes vegetables on the first day. The chief master wears an elaborate, multi-colored Daoist costume, while his assistants wear black costumes. The assistants each hold a triangle banner with the names of the general of the East, South, West, North, and Middle directions. The chief master imprints talismans and registers, at which time each family pastes them on the doors to their homes to avoid harm caused by demons. When a village is ravaged by plague or affected by other harmful forces, two or three Daoist masters are invited to exorcise ghosts and conduct rituals that are quite similar to the practice of burning paper boats to send off plague spirits that is found in Han areas.