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Meaning of Discipleship in the Modern Time

Inheritance of the Quanzhen Dragon Gate School Longmen Quan
Meaning of Discipleship in the Modern Time
---- Inheritance of the Quanzhen Dragon Gate School Longmen Quan (全真龍門派龍門拳)

Natural hazards, tragedies…humans beings are facing life threats of all kinds, whether tangible or intangible, from time to time. In the struggle for survival through thousands of years, our ancestors experienced numerous challenges and difficulties. Not only did they endure hunger and thirst, they also spread their blood. Finally, they overcame. They risked their lives for the life of human future, extend it from generation to generation. Nowadays, can we still remember the way they came through? Can we still remember that life does not come for granted? Can we still treasure life, protect and extend life and make this our value and pass down such mission to our descendents?

To the life of Qiu Chuji (the Founder of Quanzhen Dragon Gate School), Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty concluded in the White Cloud Temple (白雲觀) in Beijing, “There’s no need to chase after secret of immortal life; Simple words --- ‘Stop Killing’---extend the lives of plenty.” Simple words of course cannot stop killing, and may even ‘kill’. Fortunately, Genghis Khan did not kill Qiu Chuji. He even honored Qiu as the “Spirit Immortal” and “the Great Master”, granted him the authority to lead Daoism of China. Here we see how Genghis Khan was moved.

As the Dao De Jing says, “Man follows Di, Di follows Tian, Tian follows Dao, Dao follows the nature.” In Daoism, we learn from different masters, but we all root from the same origin. We are not to honor our own masters, but to honor the Dao. A master is like a shepherd, who introduces his disciples to the Dao, the true master of all. This is because everyone has his own limitations and style. It is never possible to fully copy from any other, nor could we surpass anyone. We excel only by bringing individual talents into full play. Thus, for a traditional culture or skill inherited generation by generation, some inherit the hands, some inherit the legs, some inherit the principle, and some, the spirit. Even if somebody inherits the full content of his master, this is just the full content of ‘One’ person, but a very tiny corner of the whole world. There is nothing to be proud of. Furthermore, if he only copies without refining his skills with his personal merits, he could never surpass his master. That is why we say, tall ones need not to be turned short, fast ones need not to be turned slow, and soft ones need not to be turned hard. While balance is important, everyone contributing his best is more valued. It is not necessary for every disciple to be well-rounded.

Hence, it is easy to understand that the inheritance of a school is a process to gather the power and spirit of individuals, so as to reveal the culture and tradition that originally belongs to all lives and the universe. Though the Dao is boundless and reaches only those who pursue it, to strive for perfection, we would like to develop a constantly improving tradition and system. We need huge resources (both human and material) of good-caliber to accomplish our inheritance, to pass down the mission to treasure, protect and extend life.
Discipleship seems to be outdated and incompatible with our present education system. Yet, if we can recognize the difference between two, there are different benefits. Discipleship embraces much freedom (e.g. freedom of masters to choose their disciples, freedom of people to approach the master they would like to follow, free competition), which best fits the Traditional Chinese culture and the Daoist education system. On the other hand, recognition of education in college or institute is already a monopoly of knowledge and skills. It deprives teaches of the freedom to choose his own students and restrains students from approaching the teachers they would like to follow. Discipleship may seem to limit a person’s ‘general education’, it enhances professional education, and more importantly, it allows inheritance of spirit of every school with its own culture and wisdom. Oppositely, today’s education system seems to broaden students’ horizons. It actually kills the life of individual schools by abolishing the traditional humane, individual-based teaching of specific, professional knowledge and culture.
Today, the system of discipleship has been refined. While in the past, people must first become a disciple before learning anything, now, we can learn from different schools first before we decide on the one to follow. Unlike a religion, a disciple of Shaolin could later follow Wudang for example, if he would like to enrich his content. There is no contradiction among schools. Of couse, if we linked Wushu practice with religion, one must become a Buddhist before he learns from shaolin, or become a Daoist before he learns from Wudang, or Quanzhen Dragon Gate. Fortunately, all schools do not have such requirement. In fact, through their cultural development, religions like Buddhism and Daoism have tried to shed colors of deity and divinity and gradually transformed themselves into spiritual and cultural systems aiming at contribution to the society through enhancement of body and mind, achievement of good virtue, cultivation of life, and perfection of personal quality for the well-being of the whole world.

Every life possesses the right as well as the responsibility to survive. All lives should try their best to survive. And every life is a hope to sustain and expand the species in this nature . Yet, how to survive ourselves without hurting other lives. This is what and why the Daoist teaching - “Unification with the universe”- means in Daoist cultivation.

According to the advice of the 29th Inheritor Representative of Quanzhen Dragon Gate School Master Li Fa-jun and his confirmation during the induction ceremony in Fuo Shan, Guangdong, China on 1st November, 2008 (organized by disciple of 31st generation Li xing-zong (Common name:Lee Po Nang)), we hereby declare the rules and regulations concerning the Dragon Gate discipleship as follows:

1)Longmen quan of Dragon Gate School is a division of Quanzhen Daoism Qiu Chuji Dragon Gate School, which promotes Dao through practice of Wushu for health maintenance and spirit cultivation with scientific, objective and rational attitude. We oppose superstition and personality cult. Every action is carried out under the premise of enhancing physical and mental health, with the mission to attain harmony among all lives in the universe
2)Longmen quan of Dragon Gate School has gained recognition from the State Administration for Religious Affairs of P.R.C as traditional Daoist Wushu that can be taught to the public. There is no obligation for practitioners to be disciples before learning.
3)Practitioners who are not disciples are not advised to call their instructors as “Masters”.
4)After Induction Ceremony, a disciple must call his instructor “Master” and would be given Generation name and a Daoist name by his Master. There is no distinction concerning the status of disciples.
5)The Generation Name is given according to the Dragon Gate School Pedigree of Hundred Generations established by Qiu Chuji. Change of this name is forbidden, but disciples are free to decide whether to introduce this name in different situations.
6)The Daoist Name is a name given by Master for calling purpose (for convenience). Disciples are free to change or add to this name.
7)Becoming a Disciple of Longmen quan of Dragon Gate School is different from becoming a disciple of Daoism. Anyone with sincerity and respect to the practice and cultivation of Longmen quan of Dragon Gate School and is willing to contribute to the inheritance of the School is welcome, regardless of religion, nationality, race, occupation, education level, gender or any other classification in the society.
8)Discipleship is independent of human relations, e.g. wife can be the disciple of her husband, and father can be the disciple of his son, etc. It is important to mind the change of relations under different circumstances, so as to avoid conflicts due to confusion of roles.
9)There is no assessment for discipleship, nor any obligation to learn and practice any specific Wushu skill. Everyone is to treasure his own natural opportunities of learning.
10)Anyone under age (according to Law of his country) could become a disciple only under the permission and witness of his parents or guardians.
11)Anyone who wants to become a disciple must first submit application (oral or written) to his direct instructor. Once the instructor approves the application, the instructor should then report to instructor’s own master and invites him to witness and hold the Induction Ceremony, i.e. there must be at least 3 generations present in an Induction Ceremony.
12)Instructor should also inform the Inheritor Representative of the School of the Induction Ceremony. If the Inheritor Representative is not within 3 generations relating to the new disciple, he has no obligation to attend the Ceremony but is welcome to attend.
13)Details of Induction Ceremony such as date, time and venue are to be decided by the master and grandmaster.
14)The process of the Induction Ceremony, cash gift and its use are to be decided by the master and the Inheritor Representative.
15)All details of the Induction Ceremony, related information and reference materials must not be disclosed without the approval of the master and Inheritor Representative.
16)Disciples should call one another “brothers” and “sisters”. Never inquire others’ Generation names or Daoist Names in rude manner or without respect.
17)Disciples are privileged to learn/practice secret skills passed down within the School Disciples.
18)Disciples could be appointed “District Inheritor” by the Inheritor Representative.
19)The district and the number of District Inheritors are decided by the Inheritor Representative.
20)Inheritors have the chance to be selected Inheritor Representative of the next generation, either by appointment of present Inheritor Representative and Consultants of the School, or by assessment or election.
21)Inheritor Representative can decide his own term of service but he must select the next Inheritor Representative from present inheritors before he leaves.
22)“Consultants” refers to the Inheritor Representatives of previous generations and inheritors chosen by them.
23)For anyone who applies for discipleship, if he has learnt one full set pattern from an instructor personally or in a group of less than 10 persons, he must follow that instructor as his master.
24)All applications must first be approved by direct instructor before further processing.
25)If application is declined by one instructor, applicants can submit application to any other instructor.
26)Inheritor Representative has the right to dismiss any disciples with any reason. There is no appeal.
27)Dismissed disciples can re-apply to new Inheritor Representative after handover.
28)Disciples have no duty to enter any organization relating its name to the School. They are free to manage and operate activities concerning the School with their own suitable style and method.
29)School remains objective and neutral to organizations relating its name to the School. All the management and operation, external and internal affairs of the School are independent of activities of these organizations.
30)Organizations relating its name to the School must not, under any circumstances, claimed to be the “Headquarter”of the School. This is to reserve disciples’ freedom to enter these organizations, and to uphold justice and righteousness against hegemony.
31)For anyone who have done evil against humanity, justice, loyalty, filial piety, or against life, if he repent with sincerity, could plea for mercy to the Inheritor Representative, the Ancestors and all lives in the universe through his master (except that judiciary trial is inevitable). Once, becoming a disciple, he should do good with a spirit of benevolence to compensate for his past harmful deeds, in the hope that one day he can return to the Origin and the Truth, ascend from common to superior.

All of the above are for reference only.

Contact Tel No: (852) 2882 9993 ( Dao Academy International, Research Section )

Appendix (1) Qiu chuji Lonmen School Pedigree of Hundred Generations (see Chinese version)
Appendix (2) Inheritor Representatives of Dragon Gate School Lonmen Quan (See Chinese version)

Contributed by Lee Po Nang 

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