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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A study of the Yiguan Dao (Unity Sect) and its development in Peninsular Malaysia Soo, Khin Wah


This dissertation is a study of an important and widely adhered to sectarian religion in Peninsular Malaysia originating from Taiwan (and Hong Kong), namely the Unity Sect (Yiguan Dao). It is a lay voluntary religious organization of congregational character, with its own worship centres, organizational structure, rituals, and interpretation of both canonical and spirit-writing texts. The sect places much emphasis on the rehabilitation of morality in response to the degeneration of human behaviour; cultivation of morality constitutes one of the major remedies suggested by the sect. Nonetheless, it remains largely unknown to the general public and is faced with continuous verbal and written attacks, and was (and still is) accused by its opponents as a 'heretical' sect. Notwithstanding this, the sect has continued to progress with its proselytism at an even greater rate in the last two decades. To date, there is still no systematic study of the Yiguan Dao in Peninsular Malaysia, especially its recent development. It is the objective of this dissertation to provide a detailed description and analysis of the sect's organization, teachings, and rituals, to help the public understand better what the sect in actuality teaches, and how its rituals are conducted. Most importantly, based on first-hand research data, this study helps to draw the reader nearer to the real picture behind the success of the Unity Sect which is based on the strong religious convictions of its members. This study also discusses the ongoing institutionalization and intellectualization process of the sect in Taiwan and its implications for the sect's future development. In the concluding chapter, a further examination is carried out concerning the success of the sect's proselytism in the Peninsula from the perspectives of cultural and ethnic identities. The question of the Unity Sect's 'globalization' is also discussed in this chapter.

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