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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


A Preliminary Study of a Pai Yai Religious Book from Linannan Guangdong

Vol. 19 No. 1   6/1989    


A Preliminary Study of a Pai Yai Religious Book from Linannan Guangdong 


Hsien Jiann









Key words



Based on the facts from the Book described and analyzed in this article, the following 

significant findings may be drawn: 

    1. The Pai Yao worldview consists of a Taoist dualism in structure and an animism of content. 

    2. In the Pai Yao belief system, a pantheon of mainly Taoist deities with some borrowings from Buddhism and Han-Chinese folk belief has been well syncretized and integrated with their own native beliefs through a long process of selective borrowing, which must have strengthened their resilience in the face of a very harsh socio-physical environment. 

    3. As a document both sacred and secular, this encyclopedic Book also provides knowledge related to the seasonal changes based on a lunar calendar as well as the corresponding agricultural activities, geographical names etc

    4. From the precepts, commandments and stories cited and recited in the Book, an ideal behavioral pattern can be reconstructed for the Pai Yao. Its core value seems to be self-restraint. The most esteemed criterion of personality development is one’s cultivation of Taoist principles rather than wealth, academic or political achievement. 

    5. In addition to the place names recorded in historical documents and local gazetteers, those repeated in the Book actually reflect the Pai Yao’s original home in central Hunan and provide an itinerary of their migration route, that is , Mei-shan, Shao-Yang, Dao-zhou, Jiang-hua and Lian-nan. This migration route can be dated to the period from the Xi-ning Reign to the Shao-xing Regin (A. D. 1068-1162), the Song Dynasty. 

    6. Judging from the fact that the Pai Yao refer only to the title Da Ming Guo( The Great Ming Empire) and the Ming administrative system in their ritual document, we may conclude that Taoist beliefs as well as the Book must have been introduced into and disseminated among the Pai Yao in Lian-nan during the Ming Dynasty(A.D. 1628-1644) 



Author: Hsieh Jiann
Genre: Article
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