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Daoyuan (Chinese: 道院, "Sanctuary of the Tao") is one of the Way of Former Heaven (Hsien-t'ien Tao) sects. The Way of Former Heaven sects are syncretic religious groups that aspire to unify Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism and other religions.
The Tao-yuan has its origins in a small spirit-writing cult in Pin County of Shandong province that began to hold seances in 1916. It was headed by Liu Shao-ji (劉紹基). When the gods began systematically to develop a system of religious doctrine through their planchette writings, the cult group attracted more and more members and gave itself the name Morals Society (Tao-te She)(道德社). Its membership was dominated by local gentry and high-ranking officials. In 1918 the Society moved to the provincial capital Jinan, and in 1921 changed its name to "Sanctuary of the Tao" (Tao-yuan). Being extremely well-connected in high government circles, the Tao-yuan quickly spread from Shandong province to Beijing and to the major cities along the Yangtze river; branches were also established in Japan.
The sect developed a complex internal structure divided into six "Courts": Executive, Meditation, Fuji (planchette writing), Scriptures, Philanthropic Works, and Preaching. Of these areas of activity, the Court of Philanthropic Works is the one that has done the most to shape the public perception of the sect.
The Tao-yuan is publicly best known by the name of its philanthropic organization, the "World Red Swastika Society" (Shih-chieh Hung-wan-tzu Hui), which was officially registered in 1922. Suppressed by the communist regime after 1949, the Tao-yuan continues to maintain sections in Hong-Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada, and the United States of America. Since 1950, the Hong Kong Tao-yuan has served as the world headquarters and administrative centre of the sect.
- Overview of world religions. Division of Religion and Philosophy. Division of Religion and Philosophy, University of Cumbria 
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