UBC Community, Partners, and Alumni Publications

Taigu School Feng, Xiangjun

Description

Also known as: , also known as “Taigu Sect”, “Taigu Teaching”, “New Taizhou School”, “Yellow Cliff Teaching”, “Kongtong Teaching”, “Daxue Teaching”, “Dacheng Teaching” The “Taigu School” (and its various alternative names) refers to an esoteric genealogy of teaching in China spanning from the eighteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. The founding patriarch, Zhou Taigu (c. 1762–c. 1832, aka Zhou Gu, Zhou Xingyuan, Kongtongzi, etc.), was from the Anhui province but mainly preached in Yangzhou of the Jiangnan region. The documentation of him is rare and often vague, but his followers believed he was the fifth “Sage” (following the several ancient “Sage-Kings” and Confucius) who had inherited the true "Way," and it was reported (probably distortedly) that he had mastered various forms of occult arts, including divination, cure, talismans, incantations, exorcism, invisibility, and the sexual cultivation. Among his many followers, Zhang Jizhong (c. 1805–1866, aka Zhang Shiqin, Qi xiansheng, among many other aliases) brought his teaching to the north and established a semi-autonomous community in Mt. Yellow Cliff of the Shandong province, which was accused as an “evil cult” and sanguinary oppressed by the local government in 1856, an incident that is usually known as the “Yellow Cliff Massacre.” Zhang’s cousin and fellow disciple, Li Guangxin (1808–1885, aka Li Qingfeng, Li Pingshan and Longchuan xiansheng, among many other aliases), preached in the Jiangnan region and accumulated numerous followers, mostly men of letters, including many contemporary celebrities, such as the politician Mao Qingfan (1849–1927) and the novelist Liu E (1857–1909). Starting from 1902, the teaching was based in the Guiqun Academy in Suzhou and was led by Li’s disciple Huang Baonian (1845–1924, aka Huang Xipeng and Huang Guiqun), which was commonly known as the “Huang School,” until it gradually declined and finally dissolved in the mid-twentieth century. The teaching is heterogeneous and defies a rash generalization. It is usually believed to have a syncretic inclination, integrating the Confucian, Buddhist and Daoist thoughts and rituals, although many followers (especially those in the twentieth century) emphasize its Confucian legitimism. However, many of rituals and practice (especially in the early period) suggests many features that are commonly considered as belonging to the “popular religions.”

Item Media

Item Citations and Data

Rights

Attribution 4.0 International