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Vol. XVII.-MAY, 1848.–No. 5.
ART. I. An inquiry into the proper mode of rendering the word
God in translating the Sacred Scriptures into the Chinese language. By W. H. MEDHURST. The Taouist opinion of the Five Tes corresponds in a great measure with that of the Confucian school.
In the lo thi Kwang po wủh che, sect. 5, we have the naines of the Five Tes as above given, and their residences described, while they are said to preside over the five elements. In the 12th section, they say that the Five Tes appeared to Shún, and predicted the time of his ascent to Heaven : after which they cine and escorted him in open day to the skies. In a subsequent section, the Five Tes are represented as ascending their chariots, followed by a host of officers, who with themselves were subject to the authority of a certain te i Ta l'e, Great Te, who was again inferior to Laoukeun, the founder of the Taou sect. In the same sentence, affairs are said to be all under the cognizance of Shang-te, who dwells in the E Te e’hing, court of the Supremne. In the 25th section, speaking of the human body, the navel is described as the pivot of the five viscera, in the midst of which the five Tes preside. In the same work the different Tes are spoken of separately, and various acts and attributes are ascribed to them. In the 26th sect. the ancient emperor * Yen-te is said to be the present ti Pih Te of the northern region, and superintendent of all the Kwei Shius throughout the world. In the 38th sect. the mi ti isih Te, Red
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Te, belonging to the southern quarter, is said to have had a daughter, who studied the principles of Taou, that she might become a fairy. Her dwelling was on the top of a mulberry tree, where she niade herself a nest, sometimes appearing as a white sparrow, and soinetimes as a young female. The Red Te wished her to come down, but in vain. He then drove her out of her nest by means of fire, when she few up 10 heaven, and became a te nyu, goddess. From which we perceive that the Taouists considered the five Tes, not only as actual beings, but as having children, which, however, they could not control ; as was the case also with the fabled gods of Grecian mythology
The T'aouists not only believed in the Five Tes, spoken of by the Confucian sect, but in a variety of Tes, great and small, who must all be considered in the light of gods, according to their creed. First they had their E EYủh hwang Shang-te, perfect imperial Shang-te, whom they considered as Supreme in heaven and earth; his title runs thus ; "the perfectly imperial great celestial Te, who at the extreme beginning opened out heaven and who has ever since regulated the various kulpas, i han chin, possessing divinity,
l'he taou, and embodying reason, the most honourable in the glorious heavens,” (see the San koagu tseven shoo.) This E Yủh-te is said in the A E LE T'hae-shang kan yin pëen, to have issued his orders to Heven te, to take command of the hub T'heen Shin, celestial spirits, and * * Th'ëen tseang, celestial generals, and to go round and inspect all in heaven above and earth below, examining into the merits and demerits of men and shin, spirits, and sending up a monthly repori. When the tub shin, spirits, performed meritorious actions, he was to report, but when the spirits transgressed he was to degrade them into
kwei, evil genii; while the evil genii on transgressing were to be cut asunder and annihilated.
In the Kwang po wŭh che, the Taouists say, that in each quarter of the celestial region, east, west, north, and south, there are eight 7 l'hëens, or divinities, making 32 in all, each of whoin has the word l'hëen te, celestial Te attached to his namo. In the 2nd section, we have a description of the Aower of iminor. tality, one taste of which confers on a person i chin, divinity, equally with E TYủh te. It is also said, that in the star where Yüh-te resides, there is a purple-coloured pearly gallery, inhabited
by three canonized immortal beings, in which gallery is te sesh, the table of the gods. In the 12th section, Laou-keun, the founder of the Taou sect, is introduced as saying, that the # #Yuen che t'hëen tsun, the first original hovoured one of heaven, observing Laou-keun's merit, conferred on him the title of t E T'hae shang, the great Supreme, and appointed him to be the celestial Te of the pearly altar. A little further on, he speaks of having been constituted a Te, under the name of t * Laou te kean. He is also called in the same chapter * Et l'hae shang l'hëen te, the great supreme celestial Te. Further on,
Tes are spoken of as in some respects synonymous with the flli sëen, immortals. In the 14th section, the mw shins of various hills are repre. sented under the most uncouth forms, and are also called the Teg of the said hills; shewing that the word Te is used by the Taouists for the genii of hills and rivers. A little further on, we read of the lawn of Te, on a certain hill, with a fairy-like To Shin to guard it; while the capital of Te is also said to have a Shin to guard it. Inthe 5th section, under the head of geography, the writer gives a fanciful description of the Himalaya mountains, the ascent of which will insure immortality. Above this region is the EFshaug t'hëen, high heaven, which is called, the residence of * # Ta Te, the Great Te. The writer then goes on to describe a tree, which, planted on earth, mounts up to heaven, and affords a medium of conimanication, by means of which the path chung te, multitude of Tes, ascend and descend. A similar expression occurs in the Odes of Soo, sect. 25, who says, that an emperor at fris death mounted the fleecy clouds, and soared away with the host of Tes, upon prancing dragons. In the 20th section, various famous unen of intiquiry are alluded to as the officers of different Tes, in the world of spirits : one is said to be the kwei te, the Te presiding over evil spirits in the northern region, and another over the evil spirits in the middle region. Thus we see, that according to the 'Taou system, a number of spiritual beings are called 'Tes, from the Yăn hwang Shang-le, and Laou-keun, down to the multitude of 'T'es who run up and down heaven's ladder, and the tribe of Tes who are in some respects synonymous with the 114 sëen, immortals, and who, in the Chinese estimation, hold no office at all. Thus the word is employ. ed without reference to authority, and is not a name of office, but one descriptive of the state and condition of a class of beings.
With regard to the views entertained by the Buddhist sect, we
have distinct evidence of their using Te in the sense of a divine spiritual being
In the lt Fă paou p'heaou můh, section 16 page 32, Buddha, under the name of Shih-këa-mun-i, is called i Te shih, the God Shih, who does not deign to stoop before the honoured of heaven.
In the slip Ching taou ke, the same phrase, Te Shih, occurs very frequently, with reference to Buddha.
In the Imperial Essays, section 19, page 11, we have the copy of an inscription attached by Keen-long to a Buddhist temple, in which he speaks of Te Shih, the God Shih dwelling in the middle heavens ; shewing ihat the application of the word Te to Buddha is sanctioned by Imperial authority.
In the white Kwang po wờh che, section 1, we have a description of the heaven of Buddha, in which after depicting the celestial city, which is said to be built of gold, and garnished with pearls, the writer proceeds to describe the residence of the houris, whose number amounts to inillions, and who are all the wives of
Te Shih. In the 37th section, the same person is called * T'heen te shih, the celestial Te Shịh. It appears that, according to the Buddhist system, Sakya was the family name of Buddha, who after his death, is supposed to have been deified. word 'Te, prefixed to his name, most probably refers to his absorption into the Deity; as neither before his death, nor after it, do we ever read of his having been invested with any authority, either in heaven or on earth.* It is to his divinity, therefore, and not to his supremacy alone, that the word Te refers, shewing that the term is be to understood as indicative of condition as much as authority.
One of the most celebrated deified persons among the Chinese, and one who is honoured by all the sects, is 19 # Kwan-te, called also if i Woo-te, the god of war. He was a hero, who flourished in the time of the three kingdoms, (A. D. 260) and was celebra. ted both for his great bravery and his tried fidelity. His righteousness and benevolence were said to have equalled Heaven, and to have assiinilated him to the Divinity; and being supposed to have come to the succour of the reigning family at different periods, he has been elevated to the rank of a god, and worshipped accordingly. In a
* Ward, in his mythology of the Hindoos, says, that when a man by religi. oug merit attains to the rank of a superior deily, he is not regarded as the Governor of the world. Buddha is considered as such a deity, and therefore mais elevation is to be looked on as a deification, without any reference to rule.
popular work, treating of this hero, in 8 volunies, we have an account of his life and death, as well as of his subsequent apotheosis, which is said to have taken place in the Ming dynasty, when ise che ch’hing te, he was sacrificed to, and first called a Te. In the present dynasty, he was designated at Ta te, great God, and his tablet ordered to be set up in every temple, throughout the empire : in consequence of which we find the shrine of Kwan-te, almost always erected in temples dedicated to the honour of Buddha, though he bad no connection with that sect of religion.
We subjoin a list of the different beings, who are worshipped as Tes by the various sects in China. 1. By the sect of the Confucians.
Te, who is spoken of, and honoured as the Supreme; this word is used in all the ancient classics repeatedly in the sense of God, as to what he is and does, in the productiou, government, and guidance of all things; while the highest act of worship is addressed to him. This being is variously called F t'hëen, Heaven, in the sense of Providence, and I * Shang-le, with reference to his supremacy over all ; also ** E Haou l'hëen Shang-te, the Shang-te of the glorious heavens, and in E i Hwang l’hëen Shang-te, the Shang-te of Imperial Heaven.
Fi Woo te, the five Tes, who are the îi Tsang te, the Green Te, called, a 19p Ling-wei-gang; the ti i Tseih te, Red Te, called " in Tseïh-p'heaou-noo; the į i Hwang le, Yellow Te, called the $ Shay-keu-new; the ti Pih te, White Te, called El B E Pih-chaou-keu, and the Hih te, Black Te, called p} t XL Heil-kwang-ke.
* # Wẵn te, or * * 8 Wán chang te keun, the god of letters, who is supposed to have gone through 17 transmigrations, as a high mandarin ; he is generally worshipped by the literali and his image is set up in the temples adjoining those dedicated to Confucius.
ūt Woo-te, or 24 Kwan-te, the god of war, already alJuded to.
2. By the sect of Taou.
E É EYŭh hwang Shang-se, the Perfect Imperial Shang. le, the most honourable in Heaven. (Morrison.) The king of Heaven, (De Guignes.) Also called the ti Yúh hwang ta le, Perfect Imperial great Te