The Ancestral Altar of All Skills
The Ancestral Altar of All Skills is a court in the Celestial Masters' Mansion ( 天師府 Tianshi Fu ) on Dragon and Tiger Mountain (Mt. Longhu) in Jiangxi province. Before the Dade years of the Yuan dynasty, there were four schools of Daoist Skills, namely the Mysterious Altar of Orthodox Oneness ( 正一玄壇 Zhengyi Xuantan ) of the Celestial Masters' Sect ( 天師派 Tianshi Pai ) on Dragon and Tiger Mountain, the Mysterious Altar of the Numinous Treasure ( 靈寶玄壇 Lingbao Xuantan ) of Ge Xuan's sect on Mt. Gezao, the Ritual Altar of the Pure Brightness ( 淨明法壇 Jingming Fatan ) of Xu Jingyang's sect on the Western Mountain in Nanchang, and the Ancestral Altar of the Great Grotto ( 大洞宗壇 Dadong Zongtan ) of the Highest Clarity Sect ( 上清派 Shangqing Pai ) on Mt. Mao in Jiangsu. Since the thirteenth Zhiyuan year of the Yuan dynasty (AD 1276), the emperors of the Yuan dynasty summoned the Celestial Masters of Dragon and Tiger Mountain many times. Among them, there were Zhang Zongyan of the 36th generation, Zhang Yudi of the 37th generation, Zhang Yucai of the 38th generation, Zhang Sicheng of the 39th generation, Zhang Side of the 40th generation, and Zhang Zhengyan of the 41st generation. The emperors always put the Dragon and Tiger Mountain in charge of Daoist affairs south of the Yangtze River. In the eighth Dade year of the Yuan dynasty (AD 1304), Emperor Cheng granted the title "Master of the Orthodox Oneness Teaching" ( 正一教主 Zhengyi Jiaozhu ) to Zhang Zhengyan, who "was in charge of the Talismans and Registers ( 符籙 Fulu ) of the three mountains". Then the Orthodox Oneness sect was formally founded, and the historical status of Dragon and Tiger Mountain in this sect was acknowledged publicly. To regard Dragon and Tiger Mountain as the Daoist Ancestral Altar of All Skills is a way of stating its supreme position in Daoism. In today's Celestial Masters' Mansion on Dragon and Tiger Mountain, there is a court for worshiping the spirits, and the horizontal tablet of the Ancestral Altar of All Skills is hung at the door of the court. This shows that the Daoist skills of Dragon and Tiger Mountain are still the center of Daoism south of Yangtze River. When the Register transmitting system of the Daoist priests of the Orthodox Oneness sect was re-instated on Dragon and Tiger Mountain in 1997, a sign of the Ancestral Altar of All Skills was printed on the certificates awarded, which manifested the authority of Daoist Skills ( 道法 Daofa ).