Cheng-I (Orthodox Unity)

Doctrines Cheng-I has its roots in the school of Celestial Masters. It is in fact a renovated form of the school of Heavenly Masters, which also draws upon the teachings of the Mao Shan and Ling Pao schools.
The belief system is based on the special revelation of Lord Lao to the first Celestial Master Chang Tao-ling. The deified Lao Tzu gave to Chang Tao Ling "orthodox and sole doctrine of the authority of the covenant". This was intended to replace the misguided and degenerate religious practices of the mass of the people.
In addition to Lord Lao, important transcendent figures are the Four Generals and the Three Officers. The Four Generals are responsible for the regulation of time; the Three Officers control the three layers of the universe: Heaven, Earth and the subterranean waters.

History During the T'ang dynasty the school of the Heavenly Masters came to be eclipsed by other Taoist schools such as Mao Shan and Ling Pao. At the end of the northern Sung dynasty, however, the Heavenly Masters school was strengthened by the 30th Celestial Master, Chang Chi-hsien. It was as a result of Chang Chi-hsien's work that the movement came to be known as the Way of Orthodox Unity (Cheng-I Tao).
By the Yuan dynasty Orthodox Unity Taoist temples were to be found in virtually every reasonably sized town. During the Ming dynasty a close relationship was established between Cheng-I and the imperial house as the Heavenly Master would be invited to perform offerings on behalf of the emperor. The Heavenly Master was the de facto head of all Taoist priests, and supported the emperor in his opposition to unorthodox religious practices.
The 20th century has seen the undermining of Taoism in mainland China as a consequence of the ascendancy of Maoism. Following the communist victory in China in 1949, the 63rd Celestial Master, Chang En-p'u, took refuge in Taiwan. The Celestial Master continues to reside in Taiwan. Information on Taoism in mainland China is very scarce.

Symbols The school makes extensive use of talismans and amulets.

Adherents It is not possible to determine the size of the school.

Main Centre
 Historically the headquarters of the School of Orthodox Unity has been the Temple of the Eastern Peak in Beijing. Today the Celestial Master resides in Taiwan.