chapter  5
Immortal parents and universal kin: family values in medieval Daoism
Pages 19

The Daoist religion in medieval China developed in three major phases or stages. First, in the second and third centuries ce, there were the communal movements of Great Peace and Celestial Masters, whose followers lived together in family and village units, paid taxes to the religious leadership, and worked together in preparation of the millennial new age soon to arise. Following this, in the fourth and fifth centuries, new revelations from various Daoist heavens were received by aristocratic seekers, in both north and south China, and new schools grew, including Highest Clarity, Numinous Treasure, and the new Celestial Masters. Numinous Treasure in particular integrated large portions of the Buddhist worldview and ritual into the Daoist system, enhancing its growth into a fully organized religion. The third phase, finally, developed in the sixth and seventh centuries with the integration of the various Daoist schools into one system under the umbrella of the Three Caverns. More Buddhist doctrine and organization were integrated, and Daoism developed a full-fledged monastic institution together with more sophisticated doctrines and elaborate religious practices.