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Thread: What is the difference between 'clan'[帮], 'sect'[派] and 'cult'[教]?

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    Moderator kidd's Avatar
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    Default What is the difference between 'clan'[帮], 'sect'[派] and 'cult'[教]?

    What is the difference between 'clan'[帮], 'sect'[派] and 'cult'[教] in wuxia world?

    From the series I've watched and book I've read, all these organisations are similar in that they all have :-

    1. a leader
    2. martial arts or skill specific to the organisation
    3. rules that members must follow

    So, what makes an organisation a cult instead of a sect or a clan and vice-versa?

    Why are some religious based organisation a sect (Wudang, E-mei, ChuenZhen, Shaolin) while others a cult (Ming, SunMoon)?

    What is the difference between authodox organisation and unauthodox organisation? What makes an organisation auhodox i.e. what criterias it follows?
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

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    Senior Member Laviathan's Avatar
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    Default I'll give it a try...

    A more neutral translation for Jiao [教] would be religion, instead of "cult".

    So, per definition, a Jiao is always religious in nature.

    A Pai [派] is a school of arts. In Wuxia, a Pai is a martial arts school/style. the school can have a certain religious background, but it is not necessary the case.

    A Bang [帮] is an association, a brotherhood which is defined by a certain way of life/conduct, which is not religious in nature.

    Examples of Jiao:

    Quanzhen, although Quanzhen is a martial arts school in its own right, the form of Taoism as founded by Wang Chongyang is a unique religious doctrine. The martial arts system as created by Wang is Quanzhenpai, which is in fact a subdivision of the Quanzhenjiao.

    Mingjiao, which is the Chinese name for the unique religion of Manichaeism.

    Examples of Pai:

    Shaolin, is a martial arts school with religious ties to the Buddhist Faith (Fojiao). Shaolin is seen as the birthplace of Zen Buddhism (Chanzong), but it does not hold the monopoly over this doctrine. But in the world of Wuxia, Shaolin martial arts form a unique school of its own, that's why they are a Pai instead of a Jiao.

    Wudang, same as Shaolin. A Taoist school of martial arts, with unique martial arts but not a unique religion.

    Huashan, martial arts school without a clear/defined religious background.

    Examples of Bang:

    Gaibang (Beggars Brotherhood), a non-religious organisation which has its roots in the community of beggars and vagabonds.

    Jujingbang (Brotherhood of the Whale), non-religious organisation which pursues the way of pirates and buchanneers.

    There are always "grey area" entities, however, like for example, the Haishapai (Sea Sand Clan). They call themselves a Pai, and all members of this school do practice a form of weapon (poisonous sand/salt) unique to their school. But this school is actually an organisation which produces and smuggles salt. So in that sense, it is more a Bang than a Pai.
    Last edited by Laviathan; 01-25-06 at 09:57 PM.
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    Moderator kidd's Avatar
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    Thanks Laviathan. Very informative.

    So what makes Ming Jiao and unauthodox sect while Cheun Zhen an authodox sect? Is it because Ming Jiao is foreign?
    Last edited by kidd; 01-25-06 at 11:33 PM.
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

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    Senior Member Laviathan's Avatar
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    You're welcome.

    Historically:

    The Persian religion of Manichaeism (Monijiao or Mingjiao) was officially introduced to China during the Tang Dynasty. It gained popularity in 762 when the leader of the Uyghurs, Khagan Mo-yu, converted to the Manichaeist faith. With Uighur political backing, Manichaeans established temples in the capital cities of Luoyang and Chang'an as well as in about half a dozen other Chinese cities. In the following decades, the popularity of Manichaeism reached its height, but in 841 the Uyghurs were defeated by the Kirgiz and its' empire fell apart. Having lost the help of their Uyghur patrons, Manichaeans soon found themselves to be the targets of the Tang government, which has suffered from humiliation by the Uyghur Empire. In 843 the expulsion of all Manichaean priests was decreed by Tang emperor Wuzong. Since then, Manichaeans were prosecuted and had to practice their religion in secret.

    Centuries later, during the Song Dynasty, a man named Fang La rose in revolt against the government and his rebellion spread rapidly in the south-eastern provinces. The area in which the rebels were active was also an area with a strong Manichaean following. Government officials then claimed that Fang La was a member of the sect, and that his followers were demon worshippers. (In HSDS, Jin Yong wrote that Fang La was the leader of the Ming Cult during the end of the Southern Song*) Government propaganda led to widespread belief that Manichaeism was an unorthodox, evil cult.

    The Quanzhen religion, however, grew from the combination of Taoism and Zen Buddhism (two doctrines which the Chinese people were familiar with) and soon, after its founding, gained the recognition of the Jin court and the Mongol rulers. That's why Quanzhen went to become the dominant Taoist school in Northern China, and remained the most influential branch of Taoism in China up untill today.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Laviathan; 01-26-06 at 07:18 AM. Reason: * Correction: Should be Northern Song, reign of Emperor Huizong
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    It is very interesting. Thanks for your information, Lav.

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    Senior Member Laviathan's Avatar
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    You're welcome! Thank you for your praise, my dear kungfu brother.
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    Senior Member Siven's Avatar
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    Hats off to Laviathan.

    I think at some points Quan Zhen was referred to as cult too, rather than sect. Wu Dang and E Mei are clearly Daoist-influenced schools of martial arts too but unlike Quan Zhen they may not have been advocates of a particular brand of religious Daoism.

    Also like in English, cult has a slightly negative connotation in Chinese too (note that organized religion is another word which is neutral). A lot of wuxia novels make reference to Mo Jiao, or the "wicked cult."
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    Senior Member PJ's Avatar
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    Very interesting indeed! I can think of a couple of other types of organizations that are sometimes mentioned in wuxia:

    -门, can't think of any example off the top of my head, other than 龙虎门

    -会, as in the Red Flower Society. What's the difference between this and a 帮 ?

    -世家, like a big family organization. Probably Nangong Shijia and Ximen Shijia are 2 of the most popular.
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    Moderator kidd's Avatar
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    I think 5 Poison Jiao should be a 'pai' not a 'jiao'. They are know for the skill of poisoning, right? Not their religion. The organisation passed on a skill not a religion.
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

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    Senior Member Candide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laviathan
    Centuries later, during the Song Dynasty, a man named Fang La rose in revolt against the government and his rebellion spread rapidly in the south-eastern provinces. The area in which the rebels were active was also an area with a strong Manichaean following. Government officials then claimed that Fang La was a member of the sect, and that his followers were demon worshippers. (In HSDS, Jin Yong wrote that Fang La was the leader of the Ming Cult during the end of the Southern Song) Government propaganda led to widespread belief that Manichaeism was an unorthodox, evil cult.
    Actually that was at the end of the Northern Song (Huizong reign) dynasty. If any of you reads Water Margin, Fang La was one of the 4 famous bandits and was the last that Song Jiang and the Water Margin heroes were sent to conquer, suffering very heavy losses in the process.
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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siven
    Wu Dang and E Mei are clearly Daoist-influenced schools of martial arts too but unlike Quan Zhen they may not have been advocates of a particular brand of religious Daoism.
    In the case of Mo Dong Sect, they're always depicted as Taoists in wuxia novels, but Ngor Mei Sect is more problematic. Jin Yong depicted the Ngor Mei Sect as Buddhist, but Gu Long characterized them as Taoist.

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    Senior Member Laviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ
    Very interesting indeed! I can think of a couple of other types of organizations that are sometimes mentioned in wuxia:

    -门, can't think of any example off the top of my head, other than 龙虎门

    -会, as in the Red Flower Society. What's the difference between this and a 帮 ?

    -世家, like a big family organization. Probably Nangong Shijia and Ximen Shijia are 2 of the most popular.
    The following is based on Jin Yong Universe lore only:

    门 (men) is a martial arts school derived from the 派 (pai), hence 门派 (menpai). In Outer Stories of the Flying Fox, there's a school called 少林韦陀门 (Shaolin Weituo Guardian School). They themselves are the Weituo School, a sub-system of the Shaolin style.

    Strictly speaking, the head of a Men is called a 掌门 zhangmen (Keeper of the System) while the leader of the Pai should be called 宗主 zongzhu (Lord of the Doctrine), yet throughout wuxia literature these leaders are always called Zhangmen.

    会 (hui) is, when it comes to organisation, very similar to a 帮 (bang), hence 帮会 (banghui). In Jin Yong novels, however, there are a few distinctions:

    - The leader of a Brotherhood is called a 帮主 bangzhu (Lord of the Brotherhood),while the leader of a Society is called 总舵主 zongduozhu (Great Helmsman).

    - Compared to a Bang, a Hui society is much more religious in nature. Hui like the Heaven & Earth Society or Red Flower Society have their own mythology and patron deities (mostly made up recently). For the Red Flower Society, this was the Honghua Laozu (Red Flower Great Ancestor), while in the case of the Heaven & Earth Society their patron was Wan Yunlong (Ten-Thousand Clouds Dragon, the name of the deified Zheng Chenggong). A society thus has its own "unorthodox" semi-religion which is basically made up of certain superstitious practices and traditions to uphold the level of loyalty. A bang (brotherhood) usually doesn''t have this.

    - The level of structure and secrecy of a Society is much more strict than a Brotherhood. For example, non-members of the Beggar Brotherhood like Huang Rong and You Tanzhi were able to become leaders from scratch. This was also the case for the Changle Brotherhood in Ode to Gallantry, in which the brothers Shi Zhongyu and Shi Potian could become leaders with relative ease. In ROCH, the Beggar Brotherhood even erected a podium and invited non-members to compete for leadership. This is unheard of in a society. Chen Jialuo was able to become Great Helmsman only because he was the godson of the old leader Yu Wanting. Basically, it is much easier to become a member of a brotherhood than a society.

    世家 or 武林世家 (a martial arts family): in the realm of martial arts there''s a saying "三代为家传,五代为祖传" (A transmission of three generation is considered a family martial art, five generations is called an ancestral martial art). For a family to become a true martial arts family, they should have experienced an unbroken line of succession of their family martial arts for at least three generations. In Jin Yong's world, the Duan family of Dali (Yiyang Finger) and Murong family of Suzhou (Shifting Northstar Technique) can be considered Wulin Shijia with ancestral martial arts. To a lesser extent, the Blossom Island bloodline (Huang Yaoshi - Huang Rong - Guo siblings), the Wu family (Wu Santong - Wu Brothers -/- Wu Lie) and the Zhu family (Zhu Danchen -/- Zhu Ziliu -/- Zhu Changling) are all martial arts families.


    Quote Originally Posted by kidd
    I think 5 Poison Jiao should be a 'pai' not a 'jiao'. They are know for the skill of poisoning, right? Not their religion. The organisation passed on a skill not a religion.
    The five venomous creatures of which the sect derives its name are revered as Five Deities. Although to the outside world they are only known for their poisoning, within the sect there's a strong religious influence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Candide
    Actually that was at the end of the Northern Song (Huizong reign) dynasty. If any of you reads Water Margin, Fang La was one of the 4 famous bandits and was the last that Song Jiang and the Water Margin heroes were sent to conquer, suffering very heavy losses in the process.
    Yes, my mistake, should be Northern Song instead of Southern.

    In popular culture, Fang La is almost always considered to be a Ming cultist, but historically speaking it is not known whether or not Fang was a Manichaean follower.
    Last edited by Laviathan; 01-28-06 at 05:34 PM.
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    Is the 5 Poison Sect a Miao tribe Sect? All the adaptations show the members of this Sect wearing Miao tribe costume.
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

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    Senior Member Laviathan's Avatar
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    The Five Poison Sect was active in the Yunnan and Guizhou provinces, and its members are all citizens from this area. The majority of the sect's members are indeed of Miao ethnicity, but it is said there are also Han Chinese followers and people from other minorities.
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    Lav rocks! You can trust the info that Lav gives you.

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    Senior Member Laviathan's Avatar
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    To Flyingfox:

    Thanks man! Foshan Pride, huh?
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