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  • Writer's picture Даосская Ассоциация России

What is the Lu

Cheng Bohan


The term "Lu 箓" (lù) in the context of "Shou Lu 授籙" (shòu lù) refers to a combination of "Fu 符" (fú) and "Lu 箓" (lù).

In Daoism, it is believed that the Fu is naturally formed from the celestial clouds and is inscribed by immortals, then passed down to the mortal world. As a result, the Fu possesses mystical powers such as summoning spirits, safeguarding all directions, subduing demons, and curing illnesses and disasters. The Lu, also known as "the Fa Lu 法箓" (fǎ lù), typically contains the names of divine officials and corresponding symbols, and some may even include depictions of deities. Daoist practitioners must possess the appropriate the Lu in order to call upon divine officials for protection or to carry out Daoist rituals. Only after receiving the Lu (The ceremony of giving the Lu to Daoist is called the Shou Lu授籙 (shòu lù)), the transmission of the Fu Lu and associated knowledge, can a Daoist attain a Heavenly Position in the celestial realm.

The content of the Shou Lu is extensive and not limited to the Fu Lu and official positions. It also encompasses scriptures, precepts, sorcery, secret techniques, and Heavenly Positions. Those who receive the Fu Lu also acquire Heavenly Position within the Daoist hierarchy.



The practice of the Shou Lu can be traced back to the Zheng Yi Clan tradition of the Eastern Han Dynasty, which had a well-established system in place. From the Eastern Han to the Song Dynasty, various types of Fu Lu emerged. Among them, the three most influential Clans were Longhu Mountain (belonging to the Zhengyi Clan 龙虎山正一盟威道), Maoshan Mountain (associated with the Shangqing Clan 茅山上清宗坛 ), and Gezao Mountain (part of the Lingbao Clan 阁皂山灵宝宗坛), collectively known as the "Three Mountains Fu Lu" (Sānshān Fúlù).

During the late Southern Song and Yuan Dynasties, the imperial court ordered the Zhengyi Daoist leader, known as "the Celestial Master" to oversee the Three Mountains the Fu Lu , resulting in the Celestial Master’s control over various Daoist Clans. In the Ming Dynasty, many ancient Daoist Clans merged into the Zhengyi Clan, effectively making the Zhengyi Daoist tradition a collective term for many ancient Daoist Clans.

In summary, the Fu Lu and the Shou Lu play significant roles in Daoism, serving as tools for Daoist practitioners to perform rituals and connect with divine beings. They also reflect the traditions and beliefs of various Daoist Clans, with the Zhengyi tradition holding a prominent position in the management and transmission of the Fu Lu.


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