Celestial Heart Taoism

Robert Hymes

in Way and Byway

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780520207585
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520935136 | DOI:
Celestial Heart Taoism

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This chapter investigates the bureaucratic model in Celestial Heart Taoism. It also aims to demonstrate that the model, in an elaborately worked-out form, is central to the sect's conception of its practitioners' place in the world. Celestial Heart ritualists consistently claimed to heal sickness and relieve personal or social ills by expelling harmful spirits and communicating with higher divine powers. For the Celestial Heart master, society and the cosmos are the domain of a celestial government of divine bureaucrats. In addition, the relation of the Celestial Heart hierarchy and its earthly practitioner to local gods is explained. An expansive school of specialists is found, often peripatetic masters of ritual, holding a free-floating position within a vast celestial hierarchy, but acting within it as bureaucrats above all. The school arises early in the dynasty but maintains itself well into the Southern Sung.

Keywords: Celestial Heart Taoism; bureaucratic model; Celestial Heart master; divine bureaucrats; Southern Sung; celestial hierarchy

Chapter.  10102 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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