Five Pecks of Rice

Five Pecks of Rice
Daoist-inspired popular movement that occurred near the end of China's Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 220) and greatly weakened the government.

It became a prototype of the religiously inspired popular rebellions that were to erupt periodically in China throughout its history. Its founder, Zhang Daoling, is considered the first patriarch of the Daoist church in China. He was originally a faith healer, and the movement's name came from the five pecks of rice a year that clients paid him for their cure or as dues to the cult. During a time of poverty and misery, Zhang's grandson Zhang Lu set up an independent theocratic state that grew to encompass all of present-day Sichuan province. In AD 215 Zhang Lu surrendered to Cao Cao. See also Daoism; White Lotus; Yellow Turbans.

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▪ Chinese history
Chinese (Pinyin)  Wudoumi  or  (Wade-Giles romanization)  Wu-tou-mi , also called  Tianshi Dao 

      great Daoist (Daoism)-inspired popular movement that occurred near the end of China's Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) and greatly weakened the government. The Five Pecks of Rice movement became a prototype of the religiously inspired popular rebellions that were to periodically erupt throughout China for the next 2,000 years.

      The movement was begun early in the 2nd century CE by Zhang Ling (Chang Ling), considered the founder and first patriarch of Daoism in China. Zhang began his career as a faith healer, and his movement took the name of the five pecks of rice a year that clients paid him either for their cure or as dues of the cult. Zhang was succeeded as tianshi (“celestial master”) by his son Zhang Heng, who was in turn succeeded by his son Zhang Lu.

      By Zhang Lu's time, poverty and misery had become endemic to the peasantry of central China. Taking advantage of the resulting discontent, Zhang Lu formed his own army and set up an independent theocratic state, which established free wayside inns for travelers, dealt leniently with criminals, and promoted the spread of the Daoist religion. In developing this state, Zhang Lu was joined by another Daoist leader, Zhang Xiu (no relation). Together they managed to extend the rebellion until it covered most of present-day Sichuan province. But the two leaders eventually came into conflict with each other, and Zhang Lu killed Zhang Xiu. In 215 CE Zhang Lu surrendered to the great Han general Cao Cao, who rewarded him with high rank and a princely fief.

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Universalium. 2010.

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