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placed in it in honour of the five monks of Shao-lin, called the five patriarchs of the League. A long poem is recited, beginning:
Let this incense rise to Heaven's height,
While we swear opposition to the Tsings,
The Mongols slaughter and restore the Mings, etc.
These appropriate poems at each ceremonial act are monotonous and lengthy, in one instance the verses run to no fewer than one hundred and eight stanzas. No candidate may wear silk garments at his initiation, in preparation for which his queue is partly unplaited, his shoes are removed, and the lappet of his coat is unfastened so as to hang open. He is made to repeat verses expressive of his faith and loyalty, and remembrance of the affair of the five founders,' and declares :
In the tenth month the peach flowers are everywhere fragrant ;
I have heard since long and found that the Hung are faithful and good; Each of them is a faithful and excellent officer
In the peach garden Lin, Kwan, and Chung have pledged fraternity.
The heroes are assembled together this night
To assist the dynasty of Ming with sincere and faithful hearts.
To-night I have succeeded in seeing the face of the Master;
This is better than to approach the Emperor in his imperial palace.
The peach is the symbol of long life and immortality, and is constantly used in Chinese embroideries, carvings, porcelain and literature in this emblematic sense.
The novice next swears to his birth certificate, and gives his names at length, so that all the brethren may hear. These particulars are entered in a book kept for the purpose. This having been done the applicant for admission is tested in the genuineness of his preparation for that favour; if the master extends one finger, the candidate must not open his fingers; neither if the master stretches out three or four fingers; but if five fingers are held out the novice must open his hand in response. These preliminaries over, the candidate enters the first Hung gate, the master having granted his permission for the entrance of the novice, who is received in the inner division of the lodge by all the brethren drawn up in a double row and crossing their swords so as to form an arch under which the novice passes. Wooden swords, or a piece of red cloth, are often used in this ceremony, which is termed 'Passing the bridge.'
In the phraseology of the Society candidates are termed New Horses; when these, after various ceremonies, at length reach the Hall of Fidelity and Loyalty,' the objects of the League are more fully explained to them; the grievances against the Tartar dynasty enlarged on; fearful threats uttered against such as withdraw from the lodge; and rewards promised to those
who perform their duties and hold to their obligations. very long catechism next takes place between the master and the 'Vanguard,' or Introducer, who answers on behalf of the novice. In this catechism are contained many of the signs and passwords, most of which are allusions to the experiences of the five monks on their escape from the monastery. The following is a sample of the catechism:
Q. Whence do you come?
Q. How does this verse run?
A. When sun and moon rise together, the East is bright.
A million of warriors are the heroes of Hung.
When Tsing is overturned, the true lord of Ming restored,
The faithful and loyal will be made grandees.
Q. At what time did you come hither?
A. I went at sunrise when the East was light.
Q. Why did you not come earlier or later, but just at sunrise? How
can you prove this?
A. I can prove it by a verse.
Q. How does this verse run?
A. As I was roaming over the mountains, the sun was still obscured;
When the cock crowed at dawn I wished to help my native country;
The long catechism continues, full of mystical references to the tenets and purposes of the Society, the history of its founders, and replete with mysterious numbers, fables, and symbols, the true meaning of which is probably little understood by the brethren themselves, and which are full of astrological and emblematical lore. After a string of questions and answers of portentous length, the catechism ends by the master saying:
I have examined you in everything, and there is no doubt about your being Thian-yu-hung. Rise and prostrate yourself three times before our true Lord. I have a precious sword and a warrant to give you. All who are in truth faithful and loyal you may bring hither to pledge themselves; but those who are untruthful and disloyal you ought to bring without the gates, cut off their heads and expose them.
Whereupon the Vanguard' chimes in:
The sword and warrant of the commander are now given to Thian-yuhung, and now I can go to all the lodges in the world, according to my wishes.
So far the ceremonies have been of a preliminary nature, the novice has not as yet bound himself by oath to the League; however, he has not much option in the matter, for at this stage comes the grim direction that, in the event of the candidate
refusing to go through the ceremony of full adoption into the Society, he is to be led by an executioner without the west gate' and decapitated. Probably in view of such a contingency, refusal to persist in going to the end of the affiliation ceremony is extremely rare. The steadfast candidate is now conducted by the 'Vanguard' into the Red Flower Pavilion,' where an 'Elder Brother' stands beside each novice (there are generally several) and answers in his name. The new member is then shorn of his queue and his hair is cut in Ming fashion. Cutting off the queue, amounting to an act of treason under Manchu rule, is either performed symbolically or a false queue substituted.
The candidate's face is now washed, as an emblematic purification.
Wash clean the dust of Tsing, and the colour of your face will appear;
In my hand I hold a white cloth, happier than an immortal;
When, on another day, our Lord shall have ascended the Imperial throne,
The red sun above our heads mounts to the nine heavenly regions;
Conceal the secrets and don't let them leak out.
For from the beginning till the end the brethren must all be called Hung. Straw shoes, of the kind worn by mourners, are now given to the novice, and thus clad he is led before the altar, on which stands the sacred white incense-burner; all present take nine blades of grass in lieu of incense, and the formulary of the oath, written on large sheets of yellow paper, is laid on the censer. Incense is offered, and the brethren each stick their nine blades of grass into the censer, one by one, repeating stanzas while so doing.
Two small torches, and a red candle, are now lighted, the brethren prostrate themselves and reverence Heaven and Earth, renew their obligation to restore the Mings, and pour three libations of wine out of cups of jade. Next the seven-starred lamp is lighted, and finally the precious, imperial lamp.'
The glowing brightness of the precious lamp reaches the nine regions of Heaven.
In Heaven alone are clearly seen the traitors and the faithful;
The lamps having all been lighted, the incense glowing in the censer, and the room suffused with perfume, the divinities are implored to accept the offerings:
Solemnly we now burn incense and make this prayer to Swan-Ku, who first sundered Heaven and Earth. Revering the Heavenly doctrine of being united in one, we fervently wish to overthrow Tsing, and restore Ming, in order to obey the will of Heaven (desiring that Heaven and Earth shall roll on together) . . . We now burn incense here and make this prayer: we pray that it may reach the Supreme Ruler of the August Heaven; the first heavenly one; the three lights-sun, moon (and stars); the five planets and seven rulers; the divine Prince Wu-tae [name of a constellation], that it may reach the Heavenly Ruler who bestows happiness, and the supreme Lao-Kim.
'The Buddha of the Western Heaven,' the divine Buddha,' 'the Supreme Ruler of the dark Heaven of the North Pole,' the Queen of Heaven, the golden flowery, blessing-bestowing lady,' 'the seventy-two stars of Earth,' 'the Lord of the Winds, the Ruler of the Rain, the God of Thunder,' the Mother of Lightning,' 'the courtly Snow Spirit,' and 'all the angels and starprinces,' 'the gods and Buddhas who swerve through the void,' spirits of rivers, and mountains, and of the land and the grain,' and many other occult powers, are likewise invoked and besought to descend on the altar :
As we are assembled this night to pledge by our oath fraternity with all the brethren, so help us that we may all be enlightened, so that we may get the desire to obey Heaven and act righteously.
After enumerating other powerful spiritual influences, the invocation concludes:
All the benevolents in the two capitals and thirteen provinces have now come together to beseech Father Heaven and Mother Earth; the three lights, sun, moon [and stars]; all the gods, saints, Genii and Buddhas, and all the star-princes, to help them all to be enlightened. This night we pledge ourselves, and vow this promise before Heaven, that the brethren in the whole universe shall be as from one womb; as if born from one father, as if nourished by one mother, and as if they were of one stock and origin; that we will obey Heaven and act righteously; that our faithful hearts shall not alter and shall never change. If August Heaven assists us to restore the dynasty of Ming-then happiness will have a place to return to.
The prayer being ended, the brethren rise from their knees to make eight salutations for Heaven, Earth, sun, moon, and stars, the five Founders, etc. The written oath, which has remained on the censer during the performance of the above ceremonies, is now taken down and read by one of the members to the novices, who remain kneeling while the oath is read. The oath consists of thirty-six articles, too long to quote, but of which the following are taken as specimens:
From the moment that you have entered the Hung League you must quietly fulfil your duties and keep in your own business. It has always been said that filial love is the first of all virtues ; therefore, you must respect and obey both your parents, and obey and venerate your superiors. Do not resist your father and mother and so violate the laws of the Hung League. He who does not keep this command, most surely will not be suffered by Heaven and Earth, but he shall be crushed by five thunderbolts! Each of you ought to obey this.
After having entered the Hung League you ought to be faithful and loyal. You must consider the father of a brother as your father, his mother as your mother, his sister as your sister, his wife as your sister-in-law.
Do not lie or speak evilly!
When you marry the daughter of a brother, you ought to employ go-betweens, and marry her with the prescribed ceremonies; and it shall not be allowed you to come together unlawfully, neither shall you seduce the wife or concubine of a brother.
He who does not keep this command, may he perish in a river or lake, may his bones sink to the bottom, and his flesh float on the surface! Besides, if the brethren discover it, one of his ears will be cut off, and he will be punished with 108 blows.
These will serve as examples of the trend of the thirty-six articles of the oath, which are read over to the kneeling brethren, who confirm the oath with their blood. Tea is first drunk, then a bowl of wine is brought, and the brethren prick their middle finger with a silver needle, and allow some of their blood to mingle with the wine, which they all taste, and repeat the following oath : We mixed the blood and unanimously worshipped the five men,
Who, at that time, made a league under the peach trees;
From the present time that we've sworn this oath we'll never change; But we'll be more cordial than those born from the same womb, and of one flesh and bone.
Having confirmed their oath by the draught of wine and blood, a white cock is brought, and the new member chops off its head, and the following execration is pronounced:
The white cock is the token, and we have shed its blood and taken an oath; The unfaithful and disloyal shall perish like this cock;
While the faithful and loyal shall be dukes and marquises for countless
We have drunk the wine, and confirmed by an oath that we pledged ourselves to raise (the standard of) righteousness;