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The Study of the Titles of Transcendents and Formats of Taoist Petition-Wushang Jiuyou Fangshe Gaoxia Zhenke--At Lingbao Taoist Altar in Tainan
Based on the example of a Taoist Petition, Wushang jiuyou fangshe gaoxia zhenke〈無上九幽放赦告下真科〉, which is commonly used at two-days funeral rituals in Tainan, the author explores the function of such a religious document. The author explains the meanings of “disciples of three heavens,” “Capital official of Taixuan,” “deliver of Wind and Fire,” and investigates their origin and function in transcendent documents. This article explains the denotation of Taoist Petition and investigates its origin and transformation from Six Dynasties and Tang bureaucracy. The documents of denotation of Taoist Petition should be bestowed by three heavens, and disciples of three heavens announce the denotation. Thereafter, the capital officials summon celestial officials to deliver the denotation. The author also explores the meanings of seven denotations of Taoist Petitions and claims three pieces of talismanic orders, two pieces of pass permits and denotations are order documents. The format of the denotations is close to the chi-dei document and the announcement of denotations of nine dragons is close to petition. The author further analyses the format of shi, seals, red signs and signatures in order to understand the relationship between Taoist Petitions and ancient documents as well as the transmit ion of the Zhenyi Lingbao Taoist altar.
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