The Doctrine of Mysteries

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As a sect of the Longhu Lineage, the Doctrine of Mysteries was founded by Zhang Liushun, a Daoist in the Yuan dynasty. A native of Xinzhou city in Guiqi, he and his uncle joined Daoism at the Highest Clarity Temple on Mt. Longhu, and he became a disciple of Celestial Master Zhang Zhongyan. In the thirteenth Zhiyuan year (AD 1276), when the first Yuan emperor summoned Celestial Master Zhang Zhongyan of the 36th generation to the imperial court, Zhang Liushun joined the delegation and remained in the capital city the following year. In the fifteenth Zhiyuan year (AD 1278A), he was granted the title "Patriarch of the Doctrine of Mysteries" and the position of "Administrator of Daoist Affairs" in charge of Daoist affairs in Jianbei, Huaidong, Huaixi and Jinxian. He was also endowed with the silver seal. The first Yuan emperor trusted him so much that he was summoned to the imperial court for consultations whenever important events happened.

In alignment with Zhang Liushun prominent social status, the Doctrine of Mysteries gradually emerged. He had dozens of outstanding disciples who were designated as Daoist officials at the Temple for the Worship of Perfection and other large temples in the South, controlling Daoist affairs in the South. That helped to set up a huge Daoist sect. As the highest leader in the Doctrine of Mysteries, the Great Patriarch of the Doctrine of Mysteries lived in the Longevity Temple for the Worship of Perfection in Beijing. The Succeeding Master of the Doctrine of Mysteries acted as his assistant. In the Longevity Temple for the Worship of Perfection, lower rank Daoist positions were established to help the Great Patriarch deal with daily affairs. In addition, Daoist officials in charge of Daoist affairs in Jiang, Huai, Jin and Xian helped the Great Patriarch control Daoism in these regions. In fact, the activities of the Doctrine of Mysteries were being concentrated in the South, while few activities were seen in the North. From Zhang Liushun, the first patriarch, up to the end of the Yuan dynasty, the Doctrine of Mysteries witnessed five patriarchs altogether.

When the first emperor of the Ming dynasty came to power, he recognized only the descendants of Celestial Master Zhang. The Doctrine of Mysteries, not having won itself the recognition of the government, gradually declined. Although it was merely a sect, the Doctrine of Mysteries won itself independence from the Zhang Celestial Masters' Mt. Longhu Daoism. The Mysterious Teaching didn't achieve much in religious theory. Its activity was limited to the Yuan dynasty. Historically, however, the Doctrine of Mysteries still played an important role in the emergence and development of The Orthodox Oneness Tradition.