The Great Way of Former Heaven: A Group of Chinese Secret Religious Sects

Marjorie Topley

Edited by Jean DeBernardi

in Cantonese Society in Hong Kong and Singapore

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9789888028146
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206663 | DOI:
The Great Way of Former Heaven: A Group of Chinese Secret Religious Sects

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This chapter discusses certain aspects of an esoteric, secretly organized, religion in China called Hsien-t'ien Ta-tao [Xiantian Dadao] (or Hsient'ien Tao [Xiantian Dao]) “The Great Way of Former Heaven” (or “The Way of Former Heaven”). It is based mainly on material discovered in Singapore during 1954–1955. The name Hsien-t'ien Tao has been recorded elsewhere as that of a Chinese “sect.” Evidence suggested that it might have links with several other groupings but the exact nature of connexion is obscure. This chapter shows that the Great Way of Former Heaven is in fact a name used by a number of schismatic sects for the religious system from which they have ramified. These sects themselves have a number of different names, some using Hsien-t'ien Men (“door” or sect) as an alternative.

Keywords: religion; China; Hsien-t'ien Ta-tao; Xiantian Dadao; Great Way of Former Heaven; Singapore; schismatic sects; Hsien-t'ien Men

Chapter.  15565 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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