Maoshan Daoist sect is one of the most mysterious Daoist schools, known as the inheritor of the Supreme Purity camp (上清派) with its principles and cultivation methods explained in Sutra of Supreme Purity (上清经).

The Statue of Lao Tse

The statue atop the hill behind the premises is Laozi (Lao Tse, 604 bC – 531 BC), considered as the founder of the modern Chinese Daoism.

The Chinese writing on the steps read: Dao follows the law of nature

A Legendary Maoshan Sect

With its headquarters on Mt Mao (茅山) in Zhengjiang, southern Jiangsu Province, the sect was formed about 3,000 years ago before the birth of Laozi (Lao Tse), considered the “ancestor” of all modern Daoist sects.

It is believed there is a portal to a Daoist world in a higher dimension in Mt Mao. During the Han Dynasty, three brothers from the Mao family (三茅真君) are said to have successfully ascended to that world from there.

The heyday of the Mt Mao Daoist site is the post-Three Kingdom’s ear, from East Jin to Tang Dynasty.

Tao Hongjin (陶弘景 456—536), a political strategist, writer, doctor and chemist of Southern Dynasty, is one of the legendary Mt Mao figures adored and followed by the later Daoists and lay cultivators. Some Chinese art critics attribute him as the historical figure that the fictional character Mei Changsu on popular Chinese TV drama Nirvana in Fire is based on.

Daoists in Maoshan Temple practising Taiji on a giant Taiji image surrounded by symbols of Eight Trigrams. 


Matar Kwon: 

This is the South Korea Flag…

All Things Chinese: 

South Korean flag has violated Chinese cultural heritage copyright 😉

Taichi of Yin-yang dual force and Eight Trigrams system were formulated more than 3,000 years ago during the early Zhou Dynasty. I never understand why South Korea doesn’t use its own national symbol to promote their own culture to the world.

Matar Kwon: 

That is ours you’ve got your owns can you tell….?

All Things Chinese: 

Before 1883, Korea had no national flag. Then one day two envoys were sent by the Korean king to visit Japan. By then it became a fashion for each nation to have its unique flag, including Japan, so Korean envoys also liked to have one of their own.

At the time there was a Chinese envoy in Korea and this Manchu representative suggested to use traditional Chinese Daoist Tai Chi & Eight Trigram symbol to make the flag. So the original Korean flag is black and white (like a panda), with a pair of authentic Tai Chi fish in the middle surrounded by Eight Trigrams.

During Manchu’s time, Daoism, the foundation of Chinese culture, was banned in China, because a) Daoists refused to cooperate with these invaders; and b) most authentic Daoist practices do not open to the public or “outsiders” and Manchu rulers had no way to control its “mysterious” power, and c) Manchus, like Mongols, are the fanatic followers of Tibetan Lamaism (a mixture of Saktam from Induism as its content, native Bon shamanism as its expression and Buddhism merely by name), they’d much prefer to promote and inject this alien element into native Chinese culture to replace the concept of Tai Chi core and derived Eight Trigrams that they felt hard to comprehend.

To my mind, it tells how mean and vicious Manchus were towards Korean people – if they were sincere, they should offer something they also cherished and respected, such as a symbol of Mandala or prayer wheel.

Later, a British envoy told the Korean king that he could modify the Taichi flag to make it suit Westerners’ tastes.

Firstly, he changed the Tai Chi core’s colour from black & white to red and blue; then he rotated the core 90 degrees to divide the yin-yang forces from left and right to upper and below; and third he removed fish eyes which makes yin and yang totally isolated with no connection to each other and no possibility to transform from one to another.

The worst, he turned Eight Trigrams into Four Trigrams, leaving only Heaven, Earth, Water and Fire, with Wood agent missing. Without Wood, Water cannot nurture Fire but will only put it out; without Fire, Earth won’t appear, without Earth, there will be no Metal, while without Metal, Water will dry. It’s the cycle of self-mutilation and self-termination.

On July 12, 1948, when people in the south declared the establishment of Republic of Korea, this modified blind Tai Chi core & Four Trigrams became ROK’s national flag; two months later, people in the north proclaimed the birth of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and the peninsula has been formally divided into two parts, with the red part (Soviet-style communism) on the top and the blue part (American-style capitalism) below, and engaged in hostility ever since.

As for Four Trigrams, many like to joke that they look like four fleets from the US, Russia, China and Japan encircling the Koreas that engage in uncompromising internal fighting with each other and within each other. See what has happened to every former South Korean president ~_^

I guess the easiest way to ease the tension on the peninsula (for the benefit of Korean people, not outsiders) might be for the south to change its flag to something better reflecting the native Korean culture. 😉

Hyoon-dae Cheon:

The first part, before the British suggestions, I had partly read on Wikipedia.

As for the joke part, it makes sense. After all, Korea is renowned for its fatalism and “two halves of a burning house”. Just recall back around 2009/2011 when National Assembly lawmakers engaged in chair-throwing fights, looking like childish idiots before the entire world and the international journalists present there in the hallowed NA building.

However, the part about red over blue, and Russia being red, and the US is blue…. wouldn’t it be something if when Dokdo was stolen by the US ambassador and given to Japan, it was done out of attache and MacArthur resentment of Koreans putting Chinese and Russian emblematic or themes in its flag? (If it had to be that or Pepsi feeling trademark-challenged, I’d say Pepsi had less influence in igniting Division and fomenting the other events…)

After all, for bombing runs, the US Army Air Force could have bombed any number of radio-controlled post-war-disposed ships at sea when there was no real concern about the environment. Some Korean land nowadays bombed jointly by the USA/Korea could have been bombed back then. Bombing Dokdo got a lot of Korean fishermen killed with no warning. I’d read that Japanese fishermen illegally plying Dokdo go days of advance warning and didn’t get killed. So much for Koreans being liberated from Japan.

I firmly believe the USA attaché or ambassador back then (he and MacArthur, one or both of whom married into Japan and pal’d around with young Emperor Hirohito) just utterly despised Koreans enough to deliberately and evilly scrape Dokdo out of the list of territories Japan stole and was to return to its rightful owner, consciously decided (or were under long-distance orders) to steal Dokdo while Koreans were distracted (and once again griping over the direction of the country and spiralling toward the Korean Civil War), and forcing Koreans to have to delouse Dokdo by having to unnecessarily kill Japanese police illegally squatting on Dokdo as if to reestablish the colonization prize.

The USA has yet to publicly, globally apologize to Koreans for that odious perfidy. There is not and can never be a rational, legal excuse for that treachery and deceit those specific SCAPA writers of the constantly-delayed Treaty of San Francisco. I suspect it all was a distraction to entitle Japan to suspected minerals, maybe so the USA could keep the then-Soviet Union at bay.

Its all a nasty, despicable bit of treachery.

Ultimately, much of it happened because Koreans seem to live to bicker in the halls of power and keep derailing progress. All that incessant internal feuding just made the country ripe for plundering and threw away all the gains Admiral Yi and others secured in defence of Korea.

All Things Chinese: 

Ha, Pepsi, you’re so right, it is exactly the Pepsi logo.

Surely, there are some vicious group of people who do not want to see peace grace the peninsula, particularly the one from the east, and the one from further east…

Hyoon-dae Cheon:

It is funny how Koreans and foreigners get confused. Korea should have preceded the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics with a streak or spree blitz campaign/refresher history of the Taegukgi.

As I recall, the Pepsi badge or image on the bottle caps and bottles emerged in the very early 1900s. The Korean colourization from what you mentioned earlier and from some pages I years ago read indicate the red and blue in the Taegukgi came after 1945.

However, to my eye, the Pepsi logo looks more like a basketball or reminds me of the NBA.

The Korean Taegukgi use of the shape comes from China, and the Yin-Yang is thousands of years old, and if I recall correctly may have come from India before taking hold in China.

In any case, Pepsi has no claim on it. Red and blue colours in Asian garments (as seen in dramas and by my own eyes in real life in 4 visits to Korea, one to China, one to Vietnam, one to Thailand, and maybe even some in Japan are breathtaking. Of course, even Africans and Europeans make stunning and fun use of colours. But, something about the Korean use is resonant.

In any case, red and blue are important in Korea.

(Well, so is that Hyundai/medical/oxygen-green colour slathered all over rooftops of myriad buildings and all over the office and factory floors (maybe someone has a briber/cabal-based eternity-contract on the use of the colour for construction projects, hahaha), similar to how China seems to use lots of red.)

All Things Chinese: 

The entire Daoist concept and Chinese culture are constructed based on Yin -Yang balance which is uniquely Chinese.

The ancient concept developed in the region west to China, including Nepal and India, is around multi (for Hinduism) or zero (for Buddhism).

Talking about Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, I think South Korea missed a golden opportunity to promote its own culture. I don’t know why the organisers would spend so much SK taxpayers’ money to promote Chinese culture, myths and even history in the opening and closing ceremonies.

A Magic Maoshan Sect

Maoshan Sect is best known for its magic “spells“, with the most popular ones include Five Thunder Mantra (五雷咒), Celestial Thunder Breaker (天雷破), Black Ice Mantra (玄冰咒), Fire Cloud Mantra (火云咒), Purple Darkness Mantra (紫幽咒), Green Underworld Mantra (青冥咒), Blue Spirit Mantra (苍灵咒), Burning Heaven Mantra (焚天咒), Deity Destroy Mantra (灭神咒), Flood Mantra (大水咒), Huge Log Mantra (巨木咒), Pure Yang Energy Fire (三昧真火), Rain of Meteo and Fire (流星火雨), Hellish Fire (炼狱真火), Thunder Shaking Nine Heavens (雷动九天), Stormy and Icy World (风雪冰天), Rain of Toxic Black Ice (玄冰毒雨), Cover the Head with Mt Tai (泰山压顶), Tranquility Mantra (静心咒), Divine Spirit Mantra (圣灵咒), Diamond Mantra (金刚咒), Demon Conque Mantra (降魔咒), Suppress Witch Mantra (镇妖咒), Evil Break Mantra (破邪咒), Travel by Wind Mantra (御风咒), Flying Mantra (飞翔咒), Eight Trigram Mantra (八卦咒), Collect Spirit Mantra (收魂咒), Heart Protection Mantra (护心咒), Causing Physical Immobility Mantra (定身咒), Causing Mental Obsession Mantra (勾魂咒), Causing Headache Mantra (紧箍咒), Calling Deities Mantra (集神咒), Calling Celestial Warriors Mantra (天罡咒), Rising Spring Water Mantra (涌泉咒), Tie Up Diety Mantra (缚神咒), Pop Up Sky Mantra (擎天咒), Pure Sound Mantra to Escort Deceased Safely Transiting to Next Life (超度亡魂清音咒), Incense Burning Mantra (焚香咒), Talisman Burning Mantra (焚符咒), Clean Praying Table Mantra (净坛咒), Mantra to Move Spirit from One Shelter to Another (移魂咒), Eradicate Plague Mantra (驱瘟咒), Eliminate Undesirable Qi Mantra (祛邪咒), Remove Dirty Item Mantra (破秽咒), Blessing Mantra (祈福咒), Mantra for Safety (平安咒), Mantra for Peace and Health (安泰咒), Mantra for Undoing a Previous Action (三华聚顶), Mantra for Recovering an Early Situation (五气朝元), Clean Water Mantra (清水咒), Clean Paper Mantra (清纸咒), Clean Brush Pen Mantra (清笔咒), Clean Clothes Mantra (净衣咒), Mantra for Opening a Path in Mountain (开山咒), Mantra for Message or Item to be Delivered through Special Space Channel (传递咒), House Protection Mantra (镇宅咒), Falling in Love Mantra (和合咒), Prison Break Mantra (破狱咒), Mantra for Fast Karmic Response (报应咒), Escape Disaster Mantra (解厄咒), Labour Protection Mantra (催生保产咒), Mantra to Call for Help from Spirit Officer Wang (王灵官咒), Mantra to Call for Help from Marshal Zhao Yun (赵元帅咒), Five Thunder Palm (五雷掌法), Anti-Five Thunder Palm (解五雷掌法), and much more.

Maoshan Daoist Sect
Mt Mao Daoists are performing a tributary rite.

The power of the “spells” very much depends on the user’s cultivating level. If it is used by the wrong person, for the wrong purpose, in the wrong environment, the spells will backfire.

The spells designed to attack are like military actions. They should be used as the last resort as the long-term karmic side effects are hard to avoid.

Even the spells purported for blessing and protection are not entirely free of side effects. Since the blessing and protection you’ve got are not what you earned from your deeds but gained from the favour bestowed to you by a higher force, you’ve accumulated a karmic debt which you eventually will need to pay, probably with interest.

This is a Chinese Taoist token to communicate with the hidden forces, unearthed from an ancient tomb.

From top to bottom:

A taichi core containing yin-yang dual forces
Four directions/domains
The Supreme 3 commending stars
The North Pole
The talisman to share messages between worlds


Ece basmacioglu:

So big fish swallows little fish…İs it law of natüre..? 🙂

All Things Chinese:

Big fish swallowing small fish is a reality on earth that is brought into existence by sentient beings’ collective desire on this planet.

The Nature in Daoism refers to a rule that governs the movement of the entire universe based on Taichi formation and Yin-yang balance, which is about harmony, mutual dependence, mutual benefit and mutual growth.

Regrettably, the way we are living here right now is against the Law of Nature, because the current mainstream culture accepts, even appreciates, unrestrained expression and release of the so-called “human nature” that consists of a large portion of greed, anger and confusion.

Laozi said in the Book of Virtue:

“Only when Dao is lost, does the doctrine of morality arise;

“Only when morality is lost, does the doctrine of charity arise;

“Only when charity is lost, does the doctrine of loyalty arise;

“Only when loyalty is lost, does the doctrine of social conduct arise.”

(失道而后德, 失德而后仁, 失仁而后义, 失义而后礼)

Hence there is nothing to feel proud of when a society is chiefly governed by laws and led by a group of lawyers.

8 thought on “Maoshan, A Mysterious Taoist Sect”
  1. Dear friend, do you know of any book about the Mao Shan magic (in English)? Also, any Mao Shan school outside China? Thank you so much

    1. Hello Mark, sorry for late reply.
      I’m not sure if there is Maoshan school outside the mainland China, but I’m certain there is no book on Maoshan magic in English. In fact, there is no book on Maoshan magic in Chinese, because it’s impossible for anyone to explain and learn authentic Daoist “magic” through text. It is also not allowed to publish the “magic” techniques, as they are powerful and dangerous weapons.
      When you have upgraded your form of existence, you’ll naturally acquire some certain abilities that seem to be rather “magical” to previous you. By the same token, you might lose your current abilities if you downgrade your form of existence.

  2. All things chinese: I am amazed at your knowledge, especially of the Tao and Laozi. I know we shared before but again I am in awe. I think I should take you as my master. I must look in the mirror and smile. Your monkey friend eric

    1. Dear dear Eric, I’m so delight to know with whom I’m speaking instead of talking to an anonymous. 😁
      I had suspected the anonymous identity might be you but I couldn’t be sure. So you see, my mind is not powerful since I still haven’t reclaimed my full consciousness thus there are so many blind spots in my world.
      Although I’m not good enough to be your master, I’m very thrilled to have you as my fellow cultivator progressing towards the ultimate Stage 5. Look at my big big smile here ^______^

  3. When karmic debt is heavy, and one needs a spell, can it be done by oneself praying, or an intermediary/master needed?

    If pray by oneself, how? Need to go temple or mountains?

    1. Yes, it can be done by oneself, and by oneself only, not through prayer and definitely not via an intermediary/master, be it a human guru or heavenly god.
      If you want to see your smiling face in a mirror, you will need to smile to the mirror.
      Yes, many people go to a temple or a Buddhist mountain just for the reason of praying to external beings/forces to help them fulfill their earthly desires. But they can only help you to satisfy your desire when you deserve – you can’t buy something when you don’t have cash or credit. Some external beings/forces may be able to help you secure a loan for the immediate purchase, but sooner or later it is you who will need to pay back the debt, often with heavy interest.
      Managing your own mind is the only way to get know your own consciousness, the sole creator of your own world.

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