Daoism and Cct

Leadership, Authority, and Religious Roles

Are there any organizations that have their own distinctive structures within Daoism?

Monastic institutions have been of great importance in the history of Daoism. Celibate monks adhere to demanding disciplinary codes. The five basic rules of Daoist monastic life are not unlike some of the essential regulations of Buddhist laity. Monks are forbidden to take life, to eat meat or drink alcohol, to lie or steal, or to engage in sexual activity including, of course, marriage. But like their Buddhist counterparts, Daoist monks face far greater demands as well. Fasting is a large element in monastic life, including ten fast days each month plus dozens of others scattered throughout the year. Historically, different orders required adherence to additional regulations varying in number from ten to several dozen. Some orders structured their membership according to levels of spiritual attainment. For example, the Realization of Truth School had three grades among its monks. “Noble transformation” characterized the “Master of Excellent Conduct,” who successfully managed the first set of challenges. Abiding by a set of three hundred specific regulations brought a monk to the level of “Master of Noble Virtue.” To achieve the level of “Nobility in the Dao,” aspirants had to match the Immortals themselves in virtue.


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