A Spatial and Social Study of Communities and Networks

Fieldwork

Volker Olles

Exploring the Zhubushan Diocese 主簿山治

Exploring the Zhubushan Diocese 主簿山治

Fieldwork Notes 1st year: 2017-2018

Five stele inscriptions in the Chongkan Daozang jiyao 重刊道藏輯要 derive from the Liumen 劉門 tradition, with four texts authored by Liu Yuan 劉沅 and one text written by his fourth son, Liu Guiwen 劉桂文. These inscriptions appear in the sections Qingyang Gong beiji 青羊宮碑記 and Erxian An beiji 二仙菴碑記.

Qingyang Gong Bagua Pavillon
Qingyang Gong Bagua Pavillon

I have translated and analyzed all five texts and various related materials, successively publishing the translations in the Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft. Two parts of the series already appeared in print. Two further parts were finished recently and have been accepted for publication. I was thus able to outline the history of both Qingyang Gong and Erxian An as well as the temples’ relation with the Liumen community. These findings will be summarized in a research paper in the final stage of the project.

Erxian An Erxian Hall Couplet by Liu Xianying (1919)
Erxian An Erxian Hall Couplet by Liu Xianying (1919)

Concerning the Fayan tan 法言壇 ritual tradition of “householder” (i.e., non-monastic) Daoism, I was able to secure funds (Sichuan University) for further fieldwork studies here in Sichuan. I will focus on the area of Qionglai 邛崍 county, where I know several active priests of this lineage.

I will continue fieldwork trips in autumn. Furthermore, I am maintaining contacts to several Daoist priests who are experts on the Guangcheng 廣成 tradition, representing the current mainstream of Sichuan Daoist ritual performed by Longmen 龍門 clerics as well as householder priests.

To compare both traditions, I will extend my research to the liturgy of Laojun Shan 老君山, which belongs to the monastic tradition of Guangcheng ritual, but is obviously influenced by the Fayan tan tradition as well. I should be able to publish on this subject in the second half of 2019.

I am currently maintaining contacts to Daoist monastic institutions at Qingyang Gong, Laojun Shan, Qingcheng Shan 青城山, and Heming Shan 鶴鳴山. Mainly focusing on their modern history, their interaction with Liumen and other popular traditions, as well as their ritual activities, I concentrate on these key localities in order to gain a preliminary overview of Sichuan Daoist networks and traditions.

Laojun Shan Making a Rubbing of the Stele Inscription by Yan Kai (1919) in 2009
Laojun Shan Making a Rubbing of the Stele Inscription by Yan Kai (1919) in 2009

Taking up my earlier research on religious geography, I plan to conduct extensive studies on the modern history and present circumstances of Qingcheng Shan, the most important Daoist mountain in the area. Aim of this research project, for which I will apply for funding next year, is the future publication of a monograph on Qingcheng Shan.

Fieldwork Notes 2nd year: 2018-2019

Five stele inscriptions in the Chongkan Daozang jiyao重刊道藏輯要derive from the Liumen 劉門tradition, with four texts authored by Liu Yuan 劉沅and one text written by his fourth son, Liu Guiwen 劉桂文. These inscriptions appear in the sections Qingyang Gong beiji 青羊宮碑記 and Erxian An beiji 二仙菴碑記.

  • Qingyang Gong Inscription by Liu Yuan (1815) in Chongkan Daozang Jiyao
  • Qingyang Gong Stele Inscription by Liu Guiwen (1882) New Stele Erected in 2000
  • Laojun Shan Couplet by Liu Xianxin (1926)
  • Erxian An Inscription by the Kangxi Emperor (reproduction)
  • Laojun Shan Inscription by Liu Xianjun (1926)
  • Laojun Shan Poem Inscription by Liu Yuan (undated)

I have translated and analyzed all five texts and various related materials, successively publishing the translations in the Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft. Three parts of the series already appeared in print:

  • “Der Wahre Mensch von der Smaragdgrotte: Teil I einer Reihe kommentierter Übersetzungen von fünf Inschriften aus der Liumen-Tradition in der daoistischen Anthologie Chongkan Daozang jiyao,” in: Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft163/2 (2013), pp. 485–504.
  • “Der Palast der Grauen Ziege: Teil II einer Reihe kommentierter Übersetzungen von fünf Inschriften aus der Liumen-Tradition in der daoistischen Anthologie Chongkan Daozang jiyao,” in: Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft166/2 (2016), pp. 443–466.
  • “Die Halle der Drei Ursprünge: Teil III einer Reihe kommentierter Übersetzungen von fünf Inschriften aus der Liumen-Tradition in der daoistischen Anthologie Chongkan Daozang jiyao,” in: Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft168/2 (2018), pp. 465–480.

Part IV gets into print this year:

  • “Die Halle der Drei Reinen und der Pavillon der Acht Trigramme: Teil IV einer Reihe kommentierter Übersetzungen von fünf Inschriften aus der Liumen-Tradition in der daoistischen Anthologie Chongkan Daozang jiyao,” in: Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft169/2 (2019).

Part V, including a full translation of Liu Yuan’s Laozi kaobian 老子考辨 is still in preparation and should be published next year.

I was thus able to outline the history of both Qingyang Gong and Erxian An as well as the temples’ relation with the Liumen community. These findings will be summarized in a research paper in the final stage of the project.

Concerning the Fayan tan 法言壇 ritual tradition of “householder” (i.e., non-monastic) Daoism, I was able to secure funds (Sichuan University) for further fieldwork studies here in Sichuan. Related fieldwork had to be postponed to fall or winter of this year.

Furthermore, I am maintaining contacts to several Daoist priests who are experts on the Guangcheng 廣成 tradition, representing the current mainstream of Sichuan Daoist ritual. To compare both traditions, I will extend my research to the liturgy of Laojun Shan 老君山, which belongs to the monastic tradition of Guangcheng ritual, and to the temple Zhenduo Guan 真多觀 of the Zhengyi 正一lineage.

Taking up my earlier research on religious geography, I recently finished a paper on the Zhubushan Diocese of early Celestial Master Daoism: “Zhubushan zhi de zongjiao dili kaocha” 主簿山治的宗教地理考察, in: Zongjiaoxue yanjiu 宗教学研究(Religious Studies) 3, 2019.

  • Exploring the Zhubushan Diocese 主簿山治
  • Exploring the Zhubushan Diocese 主簿山治

I further plan to conduct extensive studies on the modern history of Qingyang Gong and Erxian An, the most important Daoist monastic institutions in Chengdu. Aim of this research project, for which I will apply for funding this year, is the future publication of a monograph on the two sanctuaries, which are representative samples of urban Daoism in late imperial and Republican China.

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