The Divine Heavent Sect

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A new Talismans and Registers sect combining Inner Alchemy and Talismans and Registers, the Divine Heaven sect came into being at the end of the Northern Song dynasty (AD 960-1127). Wang Wenqin, its founder, was a Daoist from Nanfong, Jianxi who, in the name of the disciple of a Tang dynasty Daoist known as Master Wang, was summoned by emperor Huizong and assigned such positions as Senior Official of Supreme Simplicity, Document Collator of the Hall of Meditation, and Daoist Priest of the Golden Gate. Later, he was promoted to the rank of Minister of the Hall of Meditation, and entitled 'Gentleman of Emptiness in Communion with the Sublime'.

The Divine Heaven sect attributed its Talismans and Registers to the Perfect King of Jade Clarity of the Divine Heaven, also known as the Great South Pole Emperor of Longevity, who was said to be the head of the celestial Thunder Agency. Because the Divine Heaven sect's Thunder Skills were encouraged by emperor Huizong's policies in favor of Daoism, they became incredibly popular in a short time during the Song dynasty. Emperor Huizong ordered that Longevity Temples of Jade Clarity of the Divine Heaven should be constructed in all regions to worship the Great Emperor of Divine Heaven. After that, the Divine Heaven sect spread continuously and divided into various branches.

The Divine Heaven sect was characterized by a combination of Inner Alchemy and Talismans and Registers. Attributing its tradition of Inner Alchemy to Zhang Boduan's Southern Lineage of the Golden Elixir, it emphasized the Original Spirit and Inner Nature as prerequisites for Inner Refinement. It considered Inner Refinement to be the root, and Talismans and Registers the fruit, of spiritual practise. Starting with the theory of man's body as microcosm and the universe as macrocosm, the Daoists of the Divine Heaven sect equated the Thunder Spirits and deities controlled by Thunder Magic with the body's Essential Matter, Vital Breath, and Spirit, as well as with the Vital Breaths of the Five Viscera.

In the Yuan dynasty, under the combined influence of The Complete Perfection Tradition and Confucianism, the Divine Heaven sect started to place more importance on practices of religious morality. Daoist ethical discipline, especially the emphasis on loyalty and filial piety, became increasingly important.