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|Title:||Incarnation (huashen 化身) and ＂Succession of the Way＂ (daotong 道統): The Unification of the Three Teachings and Issues of Ancestral Master Origin in Sectarian Religion|
Way of Pervading Unity (Yiguan dao 一貫道);Precious Reflections of the Succession of the Way (daotong baojian 道統寶鑑);succession of the way (daotong 道統);incarnation (huashen 化身);unification of the three teachings (sanjiao heyi 三教合一)
|Issue Date:||2018-03-19 13:58:54 (UTC+8)|
At present, research on sectarian religion has been gradually improving and much of the accumulated results of this research tends toward historical studies. However, the kinds of questions similar to ＂ancestral master origin＂ (zushi yuanliu 祖師源流), matters which may be examined from a historical perspective, should also, from a religious perspective, be concerned with complicated questions concerning lineages. The exterior of sectarian religion daotong lineages conceals a great deal of rich historical information still to be discerned that is in urgent need of being carefully expounded upon from a mythological language perspective of religious studies; taking for example the three teachings’ vilification of the three stages, there is an obvious phenomenon of inconsistency. Recounting the Precious Reflections of the Succession of the Way (Daotong baojian 道統寶鑑), the origin of core principles of the Way of Pervading Unity (Yiguan dao 一貫道), we find that its daotong lineage traverses a thousand years. The lineage endured two great cultures and genuinely reflects the past two to three hundred years of existing teachings in Chinese religion. Since the authors had to confront the political prohibitions of the imperial court, the text had to guard against contentions of orthodoxy from already established religions and face divisive anxieties concerning internal factions. In this kind of predicament, its authors adopted and fused religious doctrines that were then displayed in the organization of ancestral masters so as to establish an institution. Here, the achievements of different religions converge into one and form an orthodox list of origin and development comprised of an integrated line of successive generations of ancestral masters. The authors contrived a way to break the independent and opposing ancestral master structure of the three teachings and wanted to establish concepts that could be mutually shared. Consequently, incarnation and ＂succession of the way＂ (daotong 道統) became the core of merging the three teachings; yet, the period of this combination is not a question of precedence in temperal history, but rather a manifestation of the three teachings’ symbols coexisting and communicating with one another. From the concepts of incarnation and daotong in each stage of division in the routinized narrative of ancestral master groups and their symbols, we can observe how sects assimilate the cultural resources of traditional religion, and then, on the basis of this, transform their own language of sacred lineage. Therefore, through the formation of a religious studies’ exposition of daotong, we can explore the application of religious language and creation myth and place them in the context of the history of sectarion religion to interpret them. We come to understand that their formation and evolution have all been inscribed with the continuous experience of persecution.
|Relation:||華人宗教研究, 5, 37-76|
|Appears in Collections:||[Studies in Chinese Religions ] Journal Articles|
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