Inspector of Fasts

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Religious Practise
Morning and Evening Rites
Refining the Vital Breath
Wandering About and Seeking Masters
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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
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Altars for Fasts
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Ritual Specialists
High Priest
Cheif Cantor
Inspector of Fasts
Incense Attendant
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Scripture Attendant
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Pilgrimage Times and Temple Fairs

Origin of the Title of Fast Inspector ( 監齋Jianzhai )

The Fast Inspector is one of the "Three Masters" ( 三法師San Fashi ) who preside over Daoist rituals, together with the High Priest ( 高功Gaogong ) and Chief Cantor ( 都講 Dujiang ). No records remain about the position of Fast Inspector in early Daoist rituals, for these were rather simple. The role appeared as late as the Regulations and Penalties for the Use of Lanterns and Candles in Pervasive Mystery Numinous Treasure Offerings ( 《洞玄靈寶齋說光燭戒罰燈祝願儀》Dongxuan Lingbao Zhai Shuo Guangzhu Jiefa Deng Zhuyuan Yi ) compiled by the eminent Daoist Lu Xiujing (406-477) of the Southern Dynasties. The title Fast Inspector wasn't used widely until the Tang and the Five Dynasties. It remains in use till today, albeit with lesser functions.


The scripture Regulations and Penalties for the Use of Lanterns and Candles in Pervasive Mystery Numinous Treasure Offerings says that the Fast Inspector should "supervise the staff members and promptly expose and correct mistakes according to the rules, without any partiality or excess." The book Preaching Commandments for Assigning Tasks during the Golden Register Great Fast ( 《金籙大齋補職說戒儀》Jinlu Dazhai Buzhi Shuojie Yi ) of the Tang and the Five Dynasties lists in detail the two roles of the Fast Inspector. First, he supervises the conduct of rituals, "masters rules and commandments, and inspects the ritual roles". Second, he corrects the mistakes of ritual practitioners : "careful of mistakes, he instructs with criticism or aid, without partiality or excess. By correcting mistakes, the ritual is in compliance with regulations and perfects the merit of salvation; the heart, with no duplicity, has no regrets." In Abstract of Important Rituals and Commandments ( 《要修科儀戒律鈔》Yaoxiu Keyi Jielu Chao ), Zhu Shiman, a Tang Dynasty Daoist, cites ten requirements for the Fast Inspector from the Book of Ascending to Mystery ( 《升玄經》Shengxuan Jing ). Among them, besides supervising ritual conduct, the Fast Inspector also supervises the host of the ritual and the audience members. However, with the development of society, most of his functions are out of use today.