So in the last session we had an introduction to <i>Early Chinese religion Part II: The Period of Division</i>, that is to say 220 to 589 AD. And today we're going to take up the very first topic in this period and it's called "Religious Communities." And you will be seeing that we are going to be talking about basically three kinds of religious community, but two of them are really Daoist and one Buddhist. So of course the obvious question is: well, is there no Confucian community? Well, it obviously depends what you mean by Confucian community. On one level, you could say all of China is one large Confucian community, but if you're thinking about something which is more structured as a Confucian community, like the lineage which we know from the Ming and the Qing period, then we are in a very different kind of situation. So we're going to be focusing on local cults of a new kind in the first part of this presentation and basing ourselves on a chapter by Robert Campany, called "Seekers of Transcendence and their Communities in this World" in the pre-350 AD period. That's a very important date, cut-off date. Why that cut-off date? Well, because we've seen the emergence of these <i>xianren</i> 仙人, these transcendents or these immortals, through practices of self-cultivation in the previous period. And now we're going to see that these immortals are also mortals, that is to say they become the object, the focus of cults. We saw it in fact already with Wangzi Qiao 王子喬, but now we're going to look at that much more closely. So what we're going to be talking about is really these communities built up around <i>fangshi</i>, that is to say these masters of techniques who introduced the worship of Taiyi, the Great One, to the court of Han Wudi, for example. Before we then move on to the Daoist community —clearly Daoist community— of the Tianshidao or the Heavenly Masters. So in the first period, we're going to be looking at really this new form of cult —this new form of worship— which is the worship of men who have somehow achieved transcendence through the practice of what we would now call <i>qigong</i> 氣功 or something comparable to that. And the first witness to this is a text called the <i>Liexian zhuan</i> 列仙傳, which is translated as <i>Biographies of Arrayed Transcendents</i> by Campany. These were hermit self-cultivators who went off into the mountains and did their <i>xiulian</i> 修煉, their self-cultivation. The text is usually dated to the very end of the pre-common era —that is to say to the late first century BC—by Liu Xiang 劉向. And it has very very short biographies —in fact, we should really call them hagiographies— of seventy individuals. And of the seventy individuals, twenty of them came to be worshiped after their death or disappearance. Campany mentions two who saved many locals by distributing drugs during an epidemic, so we see here the link with medicine and healing. Then, in Ge Hong's <i>Shenxian zhuan</i> 神仙傳, <i>Biographies of Divine Transcendents</i>, which is the main source on which Campany builds his chapter, and this is in fact an excerpt of a much longer, a whole book —a very large book called <i>To Live as Long as Heaven and Earth</i>— and it's based on translations of this text of Ge Hong 葛洪 whom we've already encountered as the author of the <i>Baopuzi</i> 抱樸子 and whose dates are early fourth century. That's why they cut off at 350 when probably the <i>Shenxian zhuan</i> —Ge Hong's <i>Shenxian zhuan</i>—was completed. So this text from the first half of the fourth century AD and it mentions, for example, "the Shangqing progenitor Mao Ying 茅盈." Shangqing is one of the two Daoist revelations that we mentioned last time: the Shangqing around 365 AD and then the Lingbao in around 400 AD. And the idea was that there were the three brothers Mao—<i>sanmao</i> 三茅— who were worshiped on Maoshan near Nanjing and you can still go there today and see temples that remember them. And Mao Ying, he says in the <i>Shenxian zhuan</i>, people came from near and far and established temples, so "near and far, people established temples," so there was not just on Maoshan itself a temple for the worship of Mao Ying, one of the three Mao brothers, they were established in many places. So we start to have the emergence of what we could call a regional cult around this figure who was originally an immortal, a <i>fangshi</i>. So like the desert fathers in early Christian Church history, these hermits were in fact actively engaged with society, and they became the focus of what Campany calls "communally shaped traditions." We'll see in a moment what he means by that. In some cases, "large groups or whole communities of 'commoners' are said to have 'served' them, sometimes over several generations." In stele inscriptions about them, "patrons"—lay patrons— "were often remembered alongside the adepts [that] they sponsored." And so the narratives about them had audiences —people who listened to these stories, told these stories, passed the stories on— and these stories embody the expectations of the people who are telling the stories. These narratives then in term determined the "types of practices and patterns of action and relationships" that are depicted in these stories, and so Campany sees them as reflecting a kind of "collective mentality [or] memory." What are some of the unique traits of the hermit adepts? Well, first of all, "they were outsiders." Here we come back to where we finished the last session: liminality, marginal figures. They were outsiders: they "lacked normal family or official ties to the communities in which they operated." Some neither ate nor drank and therefore, "unlike a god or an ancestor, [they had] no use for [people's] offerings." Because the normal relationship between people and their gods was to bring them offerings and in return hope for good fortune or the end of an epidemic or healing or whatever it was. But if there is no need for offerings, then how is reciprocity established? Of course that's the big question. So says Campany, they were "in striking contrast to local gods," like Jiang Ziwen that we talked about last time, "who in the very same period are often represented as requesting or demanding offerings." They also refused to accept pay for their services and so were "disengaged," says Campany, "from the usual economy of exchange": I give you something, you give me something back. They break with that giving and taking —giving and receiving—economy of exchange. And then another very nice phrase from Campany: they thereby "extricated themselves" —took themselves out of— "the network of moral reciprocity or <i>bao</i> 報." That's a key term that we already encountered when we looked at Jean Levi's essay, the idea that <i>bao</i>, when you receive the meat from the sacrifices to the ancestors, you owe loyalty in return to the source of the meat. So that's that moral reciprocity on which the local cults —I give you offerings, you give me whatever I'm asking for— and they are taking themselves out of this economy of exchange and of moral reciprocity. Campany quotes another text of Ge Hong from the <i>Baopuzi neipian</i> 抱朴子內篇 in which he suggests that this "alternative economy" —so here again you see we're talking about something marginal, something liminal, something outside the norm— so this "alternative economy" was one of "merit," the very concept that we already evoked with respect to the Buddhist economy of merit. This is what <i>Baopuzi</i> says: "Establishing merit is of the utmost importance, and eliminating faults is next." So you have to have merits on the one hand, you have to get rid of faults on the other hand. "<i>Dao</i> practitioners should consider saving people from distress 為道者以救人危, causing them to escape misfortune, and protecting them from illness 使免禍, 護人疾病 so that they do not die before their allotted times 令不枉死 to be acts of the highest merit 為上功也." So these religious acts of saving people from distress, causing them to escape misfortune, healing them, whatever it may be, these are acts of "merit" that are necessary for, says Ge Hong, necessary for someone who wishes to become a transcendent, to become an immortal. He goes on, Ge Hong: "For those seeking transcendence it is essential that they consider loyalty, filiality, harmoniousness, obedience, humaneness, and trustworthiness as fundamental. No one who does not cultivate meritorious acts but only wields esoteric arts will achieve long life. For major evil deeds, the director of allotted lifespans" —<i>siming</i> 司命, whom we've encountered many times already— "deducts a mark; [and] for lesser faults, he deducts a count." That is to say he reduces the allotted lifespan every time there is a fault. So the obvious question that this quotation from Ge Hong leads us to is: Is his system Confucian or Daoist? And in fact he has the <i>Baopuzi</i>, that is to say the Master who Embraces Simplicity —that's his sort of <i>nom d'auteur</i>, his writer's name— he has the <i>neipian</i>, which are generally considered to be Daoist in character —talking about alchemy, for example— and then he has the <i>waipian</i>, which are generally considered to be Confucian. And what we just saw of course shows that he is both. Well, to answer that question: filiality and sincerity and all these features are obviously characteristic of a good Confucian, but the merit-based system is something that we've already encountered in the <i>Taiping jing</i> from the second century AD. Let's look at it a little bit more: the <i>Taiping jing</i>'s merit-based accounting system. "Healing, including diagnosis, is the service that adepts are most frequently depicted as providing for other people." "They are also 'credited… with saving masses of people from epidemics' and portrayed as itinerants." So here we're still talking about the transcendents, we'll come to the <i>Taiping jing</i> in a moment. So they're portrayed as itinerants, means they're wandering people, they're not fixed in one place like the mass of the population, that is to say the peasants, so again they are marginal. They are "prognosticators of individual fortune, and [they are] 'chastisers of overweening local gods and demons'." We'll see in a moment several cases of chasing away and even destroying the temples of these local gods, so this conflict of religions.