Daoist Music of the White Cloud Temple, Beijing
The Rhythms ( 韻腔 Yunqiang) adopted by the Daoist music of the White Cloud Temple ( 白雲觀 Baiyun Guan) in Beijing belong to the Orthodox Rhythm of the Complete Perfection Tradition ( 全真正韻 Quanzhen Zhengyun), namely the "Rhythm of Ten Directions ( 十方韻 Shifang Yun) " (the Orthodox Rhythm of the Complete Perfection Tradition is also called the "Rhythm of Ten Directions" inside Daoist circles; it is so called because the rhythm is in common use among the Temples of the Ten Directions ( 十方叢林 Shifang Conglin)). In recent years, Huang Xinyang, the present Supervisor ( 監院 Jianyuan) of the White Cloud Temple, has brought from Wenzhou, Zhejiang some scriptural rhythms, which, under the instructions of Daoist priests of different sects in the temple, especially Min Zhiting, the Daoist Priest of the Jade Stream, have become regular ritual music for the Fasts and Offerings ( 齋醮 Zhaijiao) of the Complete Perfection rhythm.
Content and form
The Daoist music of the White Cloud Temple in Beijing is classified into two kinds: one is the scriptural rhythm music sung and recited by the Daoist priests in various Rituals ( 法事 Fashi), another is the instrumental music used as the accompaniment for the scriptural rhythms. In terms of style, this music is similar to the "Rhythm of Ten Directions" which is in common use among the Temples of the Ten Directions of the Complete Perfection tradition in the whole country.
The Beijing rhythm
An elder Daoist priest states that the White Cloud Temple in Beijing had been using the "Rhythm of Ten Directions" before the Qing Dynasty. In the last years of the Qing dynasty, in order to make the travelling Daoist priests stay in the temple permanently, Abbot ( 方丈 Fangzhang) Meng Yongcai once changed the "Rhythm of Ten Directions" into a local rhythm----the "Beijing Rhythm", which had been in use until 1947 when the temple was closed down. Since then, the aged Daoist priests who mastered the "Beijing Rhythm" have ascended to immortality or traveled elsewhere, and today no one is able to sing and recite the rhythm in the White Could Temple.