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Yao Taoism

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Yao Taoism

Yao Taoist priest robe at the Yunnan Nationalities Museum.
Yao Taoist priest robe at the Yunnan Nationalities Museum.

Yao Taoism, also called Meishanism (Meishanjiao, "religion of the Plum Mountain"),[1] is a branch of Taoism practiced by the Yao or Mien people of China (mainly in Hunan Province and Guangxi Province), with diasporas living in Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. The Yao adopted Taoism in the 13th century, translating Taoist scriptures from Chinese to their languages, and incorporating the new religion into their culture and ancestral worship. As a result, Yao Taoism is strictly bound to Yao culture, but at the same time its pantheon and practice is more conservative than that of Han-Chinese Taoism, which has evolved differently since the 14th century.[2] Later, Yao Taoism exhibits similarities with early communitarian Taoism.[1] Also, Yao Taoism is combined by some neighboring Han-Chinese people into their religious practices.

Contents

  • Priesthood 1
  • House altar 2
  • Rituals and psychology 3
  • See also 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Priesthood

The Yao Taoist priesthood is composed of high priests, the tsow say ong, who perform rites for the higher gods of the pantheon ("above the sky") and officiate funeral rites, while lesser priests or shamans, the sip mien, perform rituals for the lesser gods ("under the sky").[2]

The sai nzung sou[note 1] is the book of ceremonies for inviting the mienv zoux ziouv, good spirits who protect the location.[3] The mienv morh are angry spirits who cause sickness and tragedy.[3]

House altar

The mienv baaih[note 2] is the Yao Taoist altar of the spirits built in every house, in a place easily visible from the main door.[3] Its aim is welcoming the spirits (mienv).[3] The mienv kuv is a tablet with the names of the ancestors of the family placed upon the altar; another custom is the use of pictures of the ancestors instead of the tablets.[3]

Rituals and psychology

After the death of a person, the priests perform the zoux caeqv[note 3], a ceremony to deliver the person's body from sin.[3] Then the priest perform a water ritual, the zoux sin, for purifying the person's dead body from evil spirits.[3] Subsequently the priest performs the doh dangh caeqv jaiv, a ceremony to purify the soul of the dead person from the influence of evil spirits.[3]

The zoux sin-seix is an ending ritual to give the spirit a peaceful after-life and happiness in the new generation to come, since Yao Taoists believe in the hoz seix or reincarnation.[3] Other practices involve spirit money and sacrifice.[3]

See also

Bibliography

  • Edward L. Davis. Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture. Routledge, 2005. ISBN 0415241294
  • Eli Alberts. A History of Daoism and the Yao People of South China. Cambria Press, 2007. ISBN 1934043141

Notes

  1. ^ This and the following Yao terms in this chapter are in the Yao language of Thailand.
  2. ^ This and the other Yao terms in this chapter are in the Yao language of Thailand.
  3. ^ This and the other Yao terms in this chapter are in the Yao language of Thailand.

References

  1. ^ a b Edward L. Davis. Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture. ¶ Daoism among minority nationalities
  2. ^ a b Joel John Barlow. Yao Taoism.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Alejandro Cardeinte. The Mien People.

External links

  • Tao ordination in Yao Mien village Ban Jhongka in Muang Sing district, Luang Namtha province, Laos
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