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Lingbao School

History of Lingbao School: – Emerged around 400 CE with Ge Chaofu revealing the scriptures – Ge Chaofu claimed lineage back to Ge Xuan – […]

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History of Lingbao School:
– Emerged around 400 CE with Ge Chaofu revealing the scriptures
– Ge Chaofu claimed lineage back to Ge Xuan
– Scriptures transmitted to disciples, gaining popularity
– Lu Xiujing catalogued texts and reorganized rituals in 471
– Influence declined during Tang dynasty, overshadowed by Shangqing School

Beliefs and Cosmology of Lingbao School:
– Early scriptures show Buddho-Taoist hybrid characteristics
– Borrowed many Buddhist concepts and terminology
– Reincarnation concept shared with Buddhism
– Five Paths of Rebirth: earth prisons, hungry ghost, animal, man, celestial being
– Body refined in Palace of Supreme Darkness and Southern Palace after death
– Lingbao cosmology influenced by Buddhism
– Ten regions and 32 heavens in Lingbao cosmology
– Lingbao cosmology includes three worlds of desire, form, and formlessness
– Heavens rotate around Jade Capital in Lingbao cosmology
– Lingbao cosmology incorporates traditional Daoist ideas like yuanqi

Pantheon and Deities of Lingbao School:
– Lingbao School developed its own gods alongside borrowed deities
– Supreme god is Yuanshi Tianzun or Celestial Worthy of the Original Beginning
– Laozi deified as Laojun in Lingbao pantheon
– Deities in Lingbao hierarchy include Five Old Men, Dragon Kings, Demon Kings
– Deities present in heavens and human body, responsible for various functions

Practices and Immortality Techniques of Lingbao School:
– Lingbao School believed in reincarnation
– Techniques for achieving immortality included ingesting the essence of the sun and moon
– Immortality could also be attained through the ingestion of potions or talismans
– Early rituals were individualistic but later became more communal
– Lingbao rituals involved music, dances, chants, and interior meditation

Canon and Legacy of Lingbao School:
– Lingbao scriptures were based on the ‘Text of the Five Talismans’ compiled by Ge Chaofu
– The Lingbao canon combined features from various Daoist traditions and some Buddhist ideas
– The canon consists of texts like the ‘Red Book of Five Writings’ and the ‘Scripture of Upper Chapters on Limitless Salvation’
– Lu Xiujing edited the Lingbao Canon, which originally had 34 texts
– The Lingbao texts were popular and integrated Buddhist elements
– The Lingbao School’s ritual apparatus forms the basis for present-day Daoist ritual practice
– Lingbao’s division of the Daozang into three sections influenced later Daoist teachings
– Lingbao’s integration of Buddhism ensured the continuation of Buddhist elements in Daoism
– Many Lingbao innovations have survived to the present day
– Lingbao’s rituals and beliefs had a lasting impact on Chinese society

Lingbao School (Wikipedia)

The Lingbao School (simplified Chinese: 灵宝派; traditional Chinese: 靈寶派; pinyin: Líng Bǎo Pài), also known as the School of the Sacred Jewel or the School of Numinous Treasure, was an important Daoist school that emerged in China in between the Jin dynasty and the Liu Song dynasty in the early fifth century CE. It lasted for about two hundred years until it was absorbed into the Shangqing and Zhengyi currents during the Tang dynasty. The Lingbao School is a synthesis of religious ideas based on Shangqing texts, the rituals of the Celestial Masters, and Buddhist practices.

Laozi, one of the most important gods in Lingbao Daoism

The Lingbao School borrowed many concepts from Buddhism, including the concept of reincarnation, and also some cosmological elements. Although reincarnation was an important concept in the Lingbao School, the earlier Daoist belief in attaining immortality remained. The school's pantheon is similar to Shangqing and Celestial Master Daoism, with one of its most important gods being the deified form of Laozi. Other gods also existed, some of whom were in charge of preparing spirits for reincarnation. Lingbao ritual was initially in individual practice, but later went through a transformation that put more emphasis on collective rites. The most important scripture in the Lingbao School is known as the Five Talismans (Wufujing), which was compiled by Ge Chaofu and based on Ge Hong's earlier alchemical works.

Although Lingbao no longer exists as a distinct movement, it has left influences on all subsequent branches of Taoism. The "yinyang masters" popular in contemporary northern China are defined as Zhengyi Taoist priests following the Lingbao scriptural tradition.

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