Monday, April 6, 2015
Mei Shan Religious Sect 1 (梅山教1)
Mei Shan religion is one of the religions followed by Chinese minorities in Southern China which is heavily influenced by Taoism. As the name implies, Mei Shan religion originated from Mei Shan (梅山). Mei Shan is also the origin place of Yao ancestors or they were known as the Mei Shan tribes.
A Guangxi (广西) Yao chant known as ‘opening altar book’ (开坛书) says:
(One soul steps into the realm of Mei Shan, two soul steps on the Bride of No Return. I step both of my feet on Mei Shan and deeply felt complacent. I would be contented even I have not seen my master.)
When a Yao old man dies, his soul would be sent back to 10 Mei Shan Caves (梅山十洞). The Yao people believe that there are 10 kings in charge of these 10 caves and they have powers to bestow fortune and also to create disasters.
The Yao tribe also believes in the existence of 10 halls (十殿) and 36 caves (三十六洞). The 36 caves are meant for deliverance services and they belonged to the realms of underworld. It is in accordance with the Guangxi Yao tribe that when a person dies, his/her soul should be immediately sent to these caves for good.
A Yao deliverance book “又到游梅山三十六洞梅山念” (Again I Visited Mei Shan 36 Caves Chant):
(The master is carrying 3 canopies, sending to Mei Shan to learn magic; we deliver the master to the other side of the mountain where he would stay there for millions of years. We perform the Mei Shan Master Departure Congregation; he will stay comfortably in the main hall of Mei Shan.)
So, as we can see, while in other religions; people would send the dead to heavens. In Yao tribe however, the practice is to send the dead back to Mei Shan which is the origin place of their ancestors. It is believe that by reuniting the spirits of the ancestors, the spirits of the dead can rest in place and hence protecting their descendants.
The 7th cave of 36 caves is the “Plum Origin” (梅源洞) which is said to be the dwelling place of gods and immortals. Of course, by first look the Yao Mei Shan 10 halls and 36 caves closely resemble the Chinese Taoist 10 major heavenly caves and 36 minor heavenly caves.