Ritual traditions in Modern Sichuan

Jeudi 30 juin 2011, 14:00-16:30 (salle 255) :

« The Division of Labor between the Way and Ritual On the Origins of the Ritual Canon Fayan huizuan and the Fayan tan Tradition »

par Volker Olles (post-doctorant, Université de Leipzig).

Fayan huizuan 法言會纂 (Collected Words of Ritual Methods) is the title of a nineteenth-century Daoist ritual canon. Its fifty chapters contain instructions, chanting texts, and liturgical documents for “classified rituals” (keyi 科儀), covering the full range of religious services offered to the society of late imperial China. The chief editor of the received version of Fayan huizuan was Liu Yuan 劉沅 (1768-1856), a Confucian scholar from Sichuan 四川 Province, whose teachings were referred to as Liumen 劉門 (Liu School). The Fayan huizuan canon originated from local ritual traditions that had been unified under the aegis of Quanzhen 全真 (Complete Perfection) Daoism. In the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), a comprehensive collection of ritual texts, titled Guangcheng yizhi 廣成儀制 (Ritual Systematization of Master Guangcheng), was compiled by the Quanzhen Daoist Chen Zhongyuan 陳仲遠, a native of Sichuan. Liu Yuan and the other compilers of Fayan huizuan obviously drew heavily upon Chen’s work. In this paper, several characteristic features of the Fayan huizuan canon will be highlighted in order to show how a Daoist ritual tradition was established under the auspices of the Confucian scholar Liu Yuan and his descendants. Many Daoist priests in Sichuan were affiliated with the Liumen movement and used the Fayan huizuan scriptures in their ritual activities. These practitioners constituted an independent liturgical tradition of non-monastic Daoism in the area, which is still extant and known under the name of Fayan tan 法言壇 (Altar of Ritual Words). Today, Fayan tan priests are active in several districts around Chengdu 成都, the provincial capital of Sichuan, where they offer liturgical services to the local populace. The descendants of Liu Yuan, compiler of the Fayan huizuan canon and ancestral master (zushi 祖師) of the Fayan tan lineage, have reestablished contact with some of these ritual specialists. They continue to conduct annual liturgical festivals that are organized by the Liu family and adherents of Liu Yuan’s teachings.
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