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Taoist notions of life beyond death are thus most

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The concept of rebirth also became a factor in later Taoism. Taoist notions of life beyond death are thus most easily discerned by looking at the time prior to the establishment of Buddhism in China. Generally speaking, early Taoist concepts of salvation focused on this life rather than an afterlife. Early Taoist groups were founded on utopian ideas of a new and perfect society, echoing sentiments found in the Taode jing. The focus for some individual practitioners, both fangshi, Taoshi, and some members of the nobility, was immortality of the physical body. They were not interested in what happens after death because they hoped never to die. Instead, they hoped to live forever in human form, with the supernatural powers of an immortal. Related to the quest for immortality was a popular interest in realms of the immortals that were believed to be located on earth on mountains, islands, or other locations that are usually invisible to the human eye. Confucianism- Kongzi stated that the afterlife was beyond human comprehension. Humans should live and behave in such a way as to promote ideal social relations, rather than to act based on the expectations of rewards or punishments after death. In Confucian terms, a meaningful life is one in which one develops one's innate moral potential to the fullest while fulfilling all of one's social obligations. At the same time, from a Confucian perspective, one cannot live fully in the present without being fully responsible to the past, both in terms of paying respect to one's ancestors and making the best of what they have left behind. Practices and Rituals Daoism- There are two main types of ritual: 1) funeral rites or periodic rites on behalf of ancestors, which are performed only by some sects, sometimes in tandem with Buddhist priests; and 2) rites on behalf of local communities. Both types include rites to install the ritual space, rites of fasting, rites of communion or offering, and rites to disperse the ritual space. Rituals on behalf of the community may involve tens or even hundreds of villages, and occur every three, five, or twelve years. They can be extraordinarily expensive, and are paid for by household donations and community leaders. Aside from the rituals themselves, there will also be plays, processions, military parades, and communal meals. As for the performance of the rituals themselves, no mistakes can be made; no step or recitation must
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falter. Apprenticed Taoshi serve as musicians; more advanced trainees assist by lighting incense and reciting certain passages. The heart of the ritual is conducted by five Taoshi: a Great Master and his four assistants. One of these assistants heads the intricate and complex processions and dances, and is responsible for knowing the entire sequence of rites that make up the full ritual. Another prepares in advance every communication with the celestial bureaucracy that is used during the course of the entire ritual, and recites all of the invocations and consecrations, the texts of purification, elevation, and confession.
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