Shangqing Daoism

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Shangqing ( Chinese  上清  - "highest purity") is a school of Daoism that appeared in China at the end of the 4th century . It is shaped by the techniques of visual meditation and the old techniques, as they are e.g. B. Ge Hong represented, faded into the background. The Shangqing School is the first school of Daoism, which is a structured and coherent whole that is based on canonical texts and obeys strictly regulated rules of tradition.

The school of Shangqing is based on writings that Yang Xi, about whom little is known, according to legend , were revealed and dictated by gods and spirits in the years between 364 and 370 . In the following centuries, the Shangqing movement spread mainly among the Chinese intelligentsia and represented a competition between the southern Chinese culture and the movement of the sky masters , who sought to suppress the independence of the southern Chinese culture.

The techniques of the Shangqing school, the origins of which can be traced back to the ecstatic flights of the shamans of the Zhou period , as described in the Chuci , are based on visual meditations , or visionary Daoist mysticism or spiritual imagination , and the older techniques of Daoism such as physical exercises, the use of drugs and medicinal herbs or operative alchemy take a back seat. In this school, the gods do not appear as beings who can be conquered by magical formulas, as in the case of the sky masters, but as advocates and mediators of knowledge who bring the key to the heavenly realms to the adept and accordingly the Shangqing represents the first school of Daoism, which produced real hymns to deities.

In Shangqing, the adept strives to divine and cosmize himself by means of the imagination methods, so that his microcosmic being becomes an image of the macrocosm and thus he realizes the Dao . The aim of Shangqing is to merge the multiplicity of the human mind and body into a complex unity and to bring it to harmony and thus to return to the original unity. The adept takes part in the world of the gods with heavenly music, magnificent courtyards, canopies made of colored feathers, flocks of kites, singing phoenixes and magnificent chariots, seeks out paradises, reaches the worlds, travels the celestial bodies, visualizes the body deities, absorbs the qi der nine primeval skies and the like more. These imaginative journeys can only be carried out with guides, maps, talismans and the knowledge of secret names of the gods and the gates to be passed through.

The most important text of the Shangqing is the Dadong zhenjing , the true classic of the great cave (or deep). It is recited by the adepts and this is said to ensure immortality , which made the alchemy of earlier Daoism superfluous.

The main seat of the Shangqing School was the Mao Shan Mountain , which is still home to Daoist monasteries and the school is accordingly also called the Maoshan School. Shangqing is still practiced in China.

See also