Zaili teaching

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The Zaili teaching or Zailiism (Chinese: 在理教; pinyin: Zàilǐ jiào; literally: "teaching of the Abiding Principle"), also known as Limen (理门 Lǐ mén, "gate[way] of the Principle") or simply Li teaching (理教 Lǐ jiào, "teaching of the Principle"),[1] is a salvation sect of the Chinese folk religion. It claims a Taoist identity[2] and is centered on the worship of Guanyin as the representation of the principle of the universe. It originated in the 17th century in Tianjin and spread throughout the North China Plain.[3]

In 1891, Zaili lodges led an uprising against the Qing dynasty in Rehe, in a climate of Han Chinese discontent with privileges of the Mongol nobility and the Catholic Church.[4] Although the uprising was crushed, the tensions festered and reemerged within the Boxer Rebellion at the turn of the century.[5]

In the republican period Zaili adherents operated a large number of lodges and took over some disrepaired temples of other religions.[6] Resident elders (dangjia) in lodges constituted a clergy, who engaged in a strict self-cultivation regimen.[7] Their attire resembled that of Quanzhen monks.[8] Zailiism returned active in China's Hebei area since the late 1990s.[9] It also has 186,000 members in Taiwan, corresponding to 0.8% of the total population.


The Zaili teaching spread running charities and campaigning for abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, and opium, and offering cures for the addicts.[10] Zaili followers developed drug rehabilitation centres using herbal medicines and self-cltivation techniques (zhengshen), which were said to fully cure two hundred addicts per year.[11] Zaili also founded the "China's General Association for the Prevention of Alcohol and Tobacco According to Righteously Good Teachings" (中華全國理善勸戒煙酒總會 Zhōnghuá quánguó lǐ shàn quàn jièyān jiǔ zǒng huì), that was recognized by the Yuan Shikai government in June 1913.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Goossaert, Palmer. 2011. p. 98
  2. ^ Palmer, 2011. p. 27
  3. ^ Goossaert, Palmer. 2011. p. 98
  4. ^ Goossaert, Palmer. 2011. p. 98
  5. ^ Goossaert, Palmer. 2011. p. 98
  6. ^ Goossaert, Palmer. 2011. p. 98
  7. ^ Goossaert, Palmer. 2011. p. 98
  8. ^ Goossaert, Palmer. 2011. p. 98
  9. ^ DuBois, 2005
  10. ^ Goossaert, Palmer. 2011. p. 98
  11. ^ Yeh, 2000. p. 344
  12. ^ Yang, 2008. p. 213