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Liumen (Liu School) also known as “Huaixuan dao (Way of the Locust Tree Studio)”, “Huaixuan men (School of the Locust Tree Studio)”, “Liumen jiao (Teachings of the Liu School)” Olles, Volker


The Liumen 劉門 tradition evolved from the teachings of the Confucian scholar Liu Yuan 劉沅 (1768–1856; styles: Zhitang 止唐, Neru 訥如; alias: Qingyang 清陽, Huaixuan 槐軒), who combined his Confucian erudition with the practice of Daoist self-cultivation and eventually became one of the most influential personalities in late-imperial Sichuan, commonly known as Chuanxi fuzi 川西夫子 (Master of Western Sichuan). Those works among Liu’s numerous writings which are representative of his Confucian erudition have been published by his descendants and students as a posthumous collection under the title Huaixuan quanshu 槐軒全書 (Collected Works from the Locust Tree Studio or Collected Works of Huaixuan). The leadership of the Liumen community, which developed into a quasi-religious movement during the 19th century, was handed down within the Liu family. Many temples in Sichuan were managed by the community, and most of these centers also contained charitable institutions and schools. Possibly due to its Confucian credo, the Liumen movement was not considered a heterodox sect in late Qing and Republican times, and it flourished until the middle of the 20th century. Being one of the most influential scholarly and spiritual traditions of Sichuan at that time, the teachings of Liu Yuan and the Liumen doctrine spread throughout the province and beyond. As an important part of civil society, Liumen was active in education, charity, religion and other realms of social and cultural life. It had many local branches and developed its own Daoist ritual tradition named Fayan tan 法言壇 (Altar of Ritual Words). The establishment and development of the Fayan tan tradition constitutes an important aspect of Liumen's interaction with the Daoist religion. Liu Yuan and some of his disciples edited a whole canon of Daoist ritual texts, which was titled Fayan huizuan 法言會纂 (Compendium of Ritual Words). The rituals recorded in this compilation cover the full range of religious services offered to the society of late imperial China, comprising rites for the expulsion of diseases or vermin, for pacifying the spirits of earth, water, and fire as well as offering ceremonies to various divinities, exorcisms, and funerary rituals. Considerable space is reserved for rites for ancestors and desolate souls. Each chapter includes instructions and texts for a “classified ritual” (keyi 科儀), and these rituals are combined to form the liturgical festivals of the Liumen community. Local Daoist priests who were affiliated with the Liumen community and used the Fayan huizuan canon in their ritual activities eventually constituted an independent liturgical branch of non-monastic Daoism and venerated Liu Yuan and the following Liumen patriarchs as ancestral masters of their lineage. Priests of the Fayan tan tradition are still active today. Liu Yuan and his community thus actively contributed to the development of modern and contemporary Sichuanese Daoism by establishing the foundations of the Fayan tan tradition. The Fayan tan liturgy still plays a significant role in the religious practice of Sichuan that can be observed today, and it continues to reflect the ethical values of the Liumen tradition. While only minor groups of Liumen adherents and priests of the Fayan tan tradition are still active today, the intellectual and cultural heritage of Liumen is currently "reinvented" as "Huaixuan culture" 槐軒文化 or "School of Huaixuan Thought" 槐軒學派 in mainland China to adapt it to the needs of CCP rule, which prohibits any activities of independent popular (religious) communities.

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