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Shangqing School

History of the Shangqing School: – Lady Wei Huacun and Yang Xi led the school during the Jin dynasty. – Beliefs formed through revelations from […]

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History of the Shangqing School:
– Lady Wei Huacun and Yang Xi led the school during the Jin dynasty.
– Beliefs formed through revelations from immortals.
– Predicted an apocalypse in the 4th century.
– Structured by Tao Hongjing in the 5th century.
– Dominated Daoism during the Tang dynasty.

Practices of the Shangqing School:
– Emphasis on meditation, visualization, and breathing exercises.
– Shifted to internal alchemy linked to meditation.
– Central practices include personal meditation and mental visualization of deities.
– Belief in deities residing within the body influencing health.
– Evolution to incorporate more talismans and rituals over time.

Pantheon and Canon of the Shangqing School:
– Main god is the Venerable Sovereign, one of the Three Pure Ones.
– Pantheon included various gods for different purposes.
– Focus on deities within the body.
– Belief in multiple heavens with a focus on internal gods.
– Principal text is The True Text of the Great Dong (Dadong Zhenjing).

Influence, Decline, and Geographical Significance:
– Recruited from high social classes during the Tang Dynasty.
– Influence extended to literature.
– Decline began in the second half of the Song Dynasty.
– Shifted focus to rituals and talismans under the Yuan Dynasty.
– Maoshan near Nanjing was the principal seat, with geographical expansion to the north.

List of Shangqing Patriarchs and References:
– Patriarchs include Wei Huacun, Yang Xi, and others.
– Texts dictated by immortals, incorporating Buddhist elements.
– Scholarly works by authors like David Carrasco and Isabelle Robinet explored Shangqing teachings.
– References by Joseph Needham and Isabelle Robinet provide insights.
– External links offer further resources on the Shangqing School.

Shangqing School (Wikipedia)

The Shangqing School (Chinese:上清), also known as Supreme Clarity, Highest Clarity, or Supreme Purity, is a Daoist movement that began during the aristocracy of the Western Jin dynasty. Shangqing can be translated as either 'Supreme Clarity' or 'Highest Clarity.' The first leader of the school was a woman, Wei Huacun (251-334). According to her Shangqing hagiographers, her devotion to Daoist cultivation so impressed a number of immortals that she received revelations from them 31 volumes of Daoist scriptures which would become the foundation of Shangqing Daoism. Later, Tao Hongjing, a man, (Chinese: 陶弘景) (456-536) structured the theory and practice and compiled the canon. He greatly contributed to the development of the school that took place near the end of the 5th century. The mountain near Nanjing where Tao Hongjing had his retreat, Maoshan (茅山 – fr), today remains the principal seat of the school.

Shangqing practice values meditation techniques of visualization and breathing, as well as physical exercises, as opposed to the use of alchemy and talismans. The recitation of the sacred canon plays an equally important role. The practice was essentially individualistic, contrary to the collective practices in the Celestial Master school or in the Lingbao School. Recruiting from high social classes, during the Tang Dynasty, Shangqing was the dominant school of Daoism, and its influence is found in literature of the time period. The importance of the school only began to diminish beginning from the second half of the Song dynasty. Under the Yuan dynasty, the movement was known by the name Maoshan and the focus changed from meditation to rituals and talismans. In the 21st century, Maoshan Daoism is still practiced but its current techniques and beliefs differ from the original values of the school.

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