Zhang Enpu

Name in Chinese
Name in Wade-Giles
Chang En-p'u
Related People

Biography in English

Chang En-p'u (3 October 1894-), the 63rd T'ien-shih (Celestial Master) of the Taoist church.

The 63rd hereditary T'ien-shih (Celestial Master) was born in the family residence near Lung-hu-shan [dragon and tiger mountain] in Kiangsi. The previous masters of the Chang family, often vulgarly referred to by foreigners as the popes of Taoism, formed a line of succession that allegedly originated in the first century A.D., when Chang Tao-ling discovered the elixir of immortality. Actually, the genealogy of the house is probably not authentic beyond the Sung dynasty, when the emperor Chen-tsung enfeoffed Chang Cheng-sui at Lunghu-shan. From about the tenth century, the Chang family maintained its seat of ecclesiastical rule there. Lung-hu-shan is not a mountain, but two hills of unusual profile situated in a rolling part of the province. One of the two hills was thought to have the profile of a tiger, and the other to resemble the undulations of a dragon's back. Although the Chang family encountered many vicissitudes, its Kiangsi stronghold remained unscathed through the centuries. It represented the Cheng-i [right unity] sect, which was accepted as the representative branch of the Taoist system and was favored by many Chinese emperors who hoped through their patronage to attain immortality. Toward the end of the Ch'ing period, Lunghu-shan was threatened when the Taiping Rebellion swept through south and central China. The Taipings, who were anti-Taoist, did enter the temple premises, but their looting was not serious, and they did not damage the ancient bronzes and other treasures. The 62nd Celestial Master, Chang Yuan-hsü, was born in 1862, near the end of the Taiping Rebellion, "and succeeded his father in 1903. The next year he went to Peking to celebrate the birthday of the Kuang-hsü emperor, who rewarded him with gifts. The only Western writer who appears to have met the 62nd Master was Carl F. Kupfer, a Methodist missionary who visited Lung-hushan in February of 1910. Kupfer described Chang as a "tall, handsome, middle-aged man dressed in the ordinary costume of a high class Chinese scholar and most pleasant and congenial." When the imperial dynasty fell in the revolution of 1911, there was a surge of opposition to allegedly superstitious practices of the Taoist church, and the new military governor of Kiangsi after the establishment of the republic issued orders confiscating the Taoist property and abolishing all titles of the Celestial Master. Chang Yuan-hsü, however, had a staunch supporter in Chang Hsün (q.v.), who intervened on his behalf with Yuan Shih-k'ai in 1914. Yuan ordered the property returned and the traditional titles restored. He also summoned the 62nd Celestial Master for an audience at Peking. Chang Yuan-hsü arrived with a retinue from his court in Kiangsi, stayed at the capital for about two weeks, and held religious services to bless Yuan Shih-k'ai's newly established monarchy. Chang Yuan-hsü had other influential supporters, including Wu P'ei-fu and Sun Ch'uan-fang (qq.v.). At their invitation, he visited Loyang and Nanking 'to hold religious services. Chang Yuan-hsü traveled extensively in China during the early republican period. In 1920 he was elected head of the Federation of the Five Sects of Taoism. He was reported to have spoken once from a Christian pulpit at the invitation of an American missionary, Gilbert Reid. He died at Shanghai in 1924.

Chang En-p'u was the eldest of the six sons of Chang Yuan-hsü. As was usual, though not mandatory, he was chosen at an early age to succeed his father. He received a traditional education at home from tutors, who taught him the Five Classics and the Four Books in accordance with the view that mastery of the Confucian canon was essential for understanding other ancient Chinese texts. Chang also began specific training for his future office. This work included the study and interpretation of the sacred texts, the Tao-te-ching and the Chuang-tzu ; and practice in the ritual and liturgy required of the Celestial Master. His study of the Taote-ching included reading all important commentaries on the text. In 1916, when he was 23 sui, Chang assumed the title of ying-hsi, the Taoist term equivalent to that of heir apparent in the Chinese imperial family. In 1921 he left home to go to Nanchang, the provincial capital of Kiangsi, where he studied law at the Kiangsi Provincial Institute of Law and Administration. He was graduated in 1 924. After his father's death, Chang En-p'u became the 63rd Celestial Master, an office which he, like his predecessors, held for life. With that office, he took control of the properties at Lung-hu-shan—five main temples, supported by surrounding farmland—and a staff of some 80 people employed to maintain the establishment and to discharge the duties of his office. Land rents, together with offerings for incense, were the only sources of income; the lands were not taxed under either the Ch'ing dynasty or the republic. Like his father, Chang En-p'u enjoyed the patronage of several leading military figures of the period. Early in 1926, for example, he visited Hankow at the invitation of Wu P'ei-fu and celebrated a grand Taoist mass there. Sun Ch'uan-fang was another patron. When Sun Ch'uan-fang held control over the lower Yangtze, the 63rd Celestial Master, with Sun's support, spent much time in Shanghai, where he commanded a substantial following and conducted many Taoist services. As the Nationalists rose to power, however, the authority of the northern generals was threatened, and Chang returned to his ancestral headquarters in Kiangsi.

There the Celestial Master had his first brush with the Chinese Communists. On 2 April 1927, while on a visit to Nanchang, he was taken prisoner by Fang Chih-min (q.v.), who led a group of Communist insurgents to threaten the city. However, the Communists did not execute him, and he was released several weeks later when the Nationalist commander, Chu P'ei-te (q.v.), then governor of Kiangsi, drove out the insurgents and released him from prison. He returned to Lung-hu-shan. In February 1931, a Chinese Communist army from the Kiangsi soviet area, led by P'eng Te-huai, occupied Lung-hu-shan and looted the Taoist establishment. The Celestial Master escaped, but one of his brothers was captured, charged with being a landlord with a feudal outlook and an advocate of superstition, and executed.

The Master then went to Shanghai, where he lived quietly, though by no means penuriously, in a fashionable quarter of the French concession. He continued to carry out his ecclesiastical duties, issuing diplomas and charms and performing ceremonies at three Taoist temples. In the summer of 1936, when he was advised that the Communists had been cleared from Kiangsi province, he decided to return to his ancestral seat. His lands had been restored to him, and he had managed to hide or remove to Shanghai the most important hereditary treasures. These he took back to Lung-hu-shan. He continued to live there, amidst the remains of ancient pomp, through the years of the Sino- Japanese war and the Chinese civil war that followed it. He finally left Lung-hu-shan on 28 April 1949, only a few days after the Communists had crossed the Yangtze on their drive southward. Traveling through Canton and Macao, he reached Hong Kong. There he spent six months, living in the Cloud Spring Temple on Des Voeux Road. He went to Taiwan in December 1949, where the ministry of interior of the National Government granted him a small pension. He found quarters in the Chueh-hsiu Temple at Taipei, though that temple belonged to another sect of Taoism with which he had no connection.

The 63rd Celestial Master continued to work actively to provide Taoism in Taiwan with a firm organization and to proclaim traditional Taoist ideals. The month after his arrival, he was granted permission to establish the Taiwan Taoist Association. He consistently advocated religious tolerance, holding that whatever is believed to be divine by mankind at large is divine in the view of the Taoist. And he opposed the superstitious activities carried on by uneducated people in heterodox Taoist groups who attempted to make money through healing. The Master also voiced active support of the Government of the Republic of China in Taipei in its campaign against Communism. He made a special broadcast from Taiwan to Taoists on the mainland, urging them not to be misled by the Communists and not to support the Chinese Taoist Association established under Communist auspices in April 1957. The same year, doubtless as a challenge to the Communist assertion that the Taoist Association on the mainland was the first truly national organization of Taoists in the history of China, he sponsored the establishment of a Taoist Devotees Association in Taiwan.

Apart from his activities in connection with the two Taoist organizations in Taiwan, the 63rd Celestial Master continued to practice his traditional duties: the preparation of talismans, the issuing of diplomas to Taoist priests, and the conducting of Taoist religious services. One of his major concerns was the preparation of a new edition of the Taoist canon. Between 1923 and 1927, the Commercial Press at Shanghai had issued a photographic reproduction of the White Cloud Temple edition that was first printed in the Ming dynasty. Under his sponsorship it was reissued with a supplement which included the chief works on Taoism that had appeared after the White Cloud edition. He wrote three unpublished works: the Tao hsueh yuan-liu [the origins of Taoism], the Cheng-i ching-chi [collection of scriptures of the Cheng-i sect], and the Ku-lu hsueh [studies on the talisman].

Like his predecessors and like the ordinary priests of his sect, the Celestial Master lived a secular life and dressed in normal Chinese garb except when performing religious ceremonies. He did not practice dietary or other abstinences, did not engage in meditation or yogic exercises, and did not commune with gods or spirits in trance. He regarded himself as scholar rather than saint, in particular as the custodian of the venerable Taoist tradition. An account of his life, "The Chang T'ien Shih and Taoism in China," written by Holmes H. Welch, appeared in the Journal of Oriental Studies in 1958. Chang En-p'u married for the first time in 1911 at the age of 1 8 sui. His wife died in 1917. In 1919 he married again, his second wife being a cousin of the first. When he left Kiangsi in 1949, he took with him his elder son and potential successor, Chang Yung-hsien. His younger son remained on the mainland with his mother. When Chang Yung-hsien died in Taiwan in 1953, the Master continued to cherish the hope that his younger son would be united with him one day so that he could transmit the hereditary title. However, he selected a nephew (the grandson of his father's younger brother), Chang Yuan-hsien, who was in Taiwan, as heir apparent to the office of Celestial Master. Born in 1937, Chang Yuanhsien started to prepare for the office of 64th .Celestial Master in 1959. However, he reportedly changed his mind and decided to give up all claim to that position.

Biography in Chinese

别名:张天师 字:瑞龄

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