High Priest

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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

Origin of the Title " High Priest"

" High Priest" is the name of the servant for the performance of Daoist rituals. Together with the Chief Cantor ( 都講 Dujiang ) and the Inspector of Fasts ( 監齋 Jianzhai ), the High Priest is one of the " three Ritual Masters" ( 法師 Fashi ) who conduct rituals of Fasts and Offerings ( 齋醮 Zhaijiao ) together. The term "High Priest" already existed in ancient times, and originally referred to an erudite person. The rituals of early Daoism were fairly simple, and there was no title of High Priest. The Regulations and Penalties for the Use of Lanterns and Candles in the Pervasive Mysterious Offerings ( 洞玄靈寶齋說光燭戒罰燈祝願儀 Dongxuan Lingbao Zhaishuo Guangzhu Jiefa Deng Zhuyuan Yi ) compiled by Lu Xiujing (406-477), an eminent Daoist priest of the Southern dynasty, called the High Priest a "ritual master". Only after the Tang and Five dynasties did the title of High Priest begin to be used widely in Daoist rituals, and it is still used today.

Position and Functions

The Regulations and Penalties for the Use of Lanterns and Candles in the Pervasive Mysterious Offerings says that the ritual master (i.e., the High Priest) "is virtuous inward and solemn outward. His movements and behaviour all accord with the rituals. The Three Worlds ( 三界 sanjie ) take him as an example, and ghosts and spirits respect him. He reports and prays, communicates with the Perfect Men and summons spirits, clears doubts and explains the abstruse, and corresponds with virtuous persons". In addition, the Preaching of the Commandments for Assigning Tasks During the Great Fasts of the Golden Register ( 金籙大齋補職說戒儀 Jinlu Dazhai Buzhi Shuojie Yi ) of the Tang and Five Dynasties says that "the high priest is virtuous inward and solemn outward. Both Heaven and Humans are attracted to him, and both ghosts and spirits respect him. Pacing on light, he flies to the stars to preach virtue with dignity. His kindness spreads through the Three Worlds, and his manners surpass all the officials". The High Priest should be able to Pace the Big Dipper ( 步罡踏斗 Bugang Tadou ), connect humans and spirits, preach teachings in place of spirits, and save men and ghosts. Among all the servants at the Daoist altar of offerings, the High Priest occupies the leading position. This position is generally filled by eminent Daoist priests of noble character and high prestige.