The Supreme Oneness Doctrine

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The Supreme Oneness Doctrine was founded at the beginning of the Tianjuan period (1138-1140) of the reign of emperor Xizong of the Jin dynasty, by Xiao Baozhen, a native of Weizhou (Ji county, Henan province). Its name originated from the worship of the Spirit of Supreme Oneness. The Triple-Origin Magic Registers of the Supreme Oneness were popularly practiced in the sect. The 'Supreme Oneness' referred to the process of creation of the universe, proceeding from the Chaos of the Original Vital Breath, dividing into the Yin-Yang poles of the Supreme Ultimate, and reintegrating into Pure Oneness. It also referred to a Daoist deity dating back to the Qin and Han dynasties (221 BC -AD 220). The 'Triple Origin' referred to the Three Heavenly Officials dedicated to Heaven, Earth and Water. Originally, the Supreme Oneness Doctrine belonged to the Orthodox Oneness Sect. The Triple-Origin Magic Registers of the Supreme Oneness invented by Xiao Baozen involved the use of ritual offerings and incantations to dispel evil and cure the sick, which so suited the needs of people in the lower class that the sect became well known in society. Consequently, many people became its followers. Its influence was seen even in the Shandong and Hebei areas. While stressing Talismanic Water and Ritual Offerings, the Supreme Oneness Doctrine also attached importance to Inner Alchemy. It regarded inner practices oriented to the realization of inner quietude and emptiness as the root, and Talismans and Registers as the fruit of spiritual practise, even though both types of practise were indispensable. This relationship paralleled the Divine Heaven and Pristine Subtlety sects that emerged at the same time. In compliance with The Book of Dao and its Virtue, the Supreme Oneness Doctrine regarded softness as the essence of Dao. On the other hand, under the influence of Confucianism, it attached great importance to basic ethics such as loyalty and filial piety. 200 years after its birth, the Supreme Oneness Doctrine won itself great respect and support from the rulers of the Yuan dynasty when Hu Bilie, the first emperor of the Yuan regime, conferred upon Xiao Fudao, the fourth generation patriarch of the sect, the title 'Benevolent and Peaceful Perfect Man in the Harmony of Supreme Oneness'. The title of 'Perfect Man' was also conferred upon the three former patriarchs, as well as, in later periods, to patriarch Xiao Jushou of the fifth generation, patriarch Xiao Quanyu of the sixth generation, and patriarch Xiao Tianyu of the seventh generation. After the seventh generation patriarch, mention of the Supreme Oneness Doctrine was rarely found in the historical record. Neither the sect's patriarchs nor its priests wrote books from that time on.