When it comes to Taoism, there are a few terms that we use to explain how a disciple is related to the lineage or how much power is granted for the disciple to access from the lineage. This might be something new to a westerner, but the words are definitely not new to the Chinese side if you have been searching for Taoist magic learning stuff. Here we will introduce the theory and terms about how it works, and you will be able to get the whole idea.
The terms here are Small Teachings, Middle Teachings, Big Teachings, Three Mountain Teachings and Five Thunder Teachings. -小教，中教，大教，三山教，五雷教 This is actually a way to explain the teachings level and permissions granting level, and it also applies to Saam Law Taoist too, read on.
The whole thing starts with the source of power, which can be whatever depending on the lineage. The source of power is the lineage’s power, which you can call the “magic power” or the Tao’s power, whatever label it has, it’s the power that leads to the birth of all magical methods and wisdom for the lineage. If you are learning the spells, the FU, the methods from this lineage, it will only work if you have access to the power of this lineage, because these methods are all born from that power, and it will only work with the same power and not others. (read “what is Taoism”)
So, how does one link to this power source, which we call the “Tao” of the lineage? There are different stages to this. A disciple first requests to ordain and the master will have to get permission from the Tao in order to know if this disciple can be accepted or not. This can be done in the form of divination, or a spiritual communication, depending on the master’s ability and style of doing things. After the approval is given, then there are different levels or stages of “teachings” that can be granted to the disciple.
The Stages of Taoist Magic Learning
小教Small teachings – The meaning of 'small' is like something that has just started, and it means your relationship with the Tao of the lineage has started, and your information is recorded in the system. That’s all there is to it. You have connected and linked yourself with the lineage. You can do some spells and be able to burn incense at the altar, start to build a connection and request help if needed. This stage is very much a believer stage, but you get a Taoist name and a heart spell, which puts you into the lineage and gets you connected.
中教 Middle teachings – By the meaning of middle, it’s like a bridge, it connects you and the Tao of the lineage and now you are able to get things from the lineage delivered to you. At this stage you can draw symbols and do spells. The fact is, you are attached to the Tao now because of the master’s connection. Everything you do depends on the master’s altar, and even if you have your own altar, it’s all linked up with your master’s altar. You are still like a child, always holding the hands of your parent to walk and do things. However, at least you can “ do things” and not just request for help like the “small teaching” stage disciples.
大教 Big teachings – the word BIG here is like you have grown up, you detach and become independent. In this stage, you are independent as in you can do magic on your own, host your own altar and build up your own altar of power now, without always sticking to your master’s altar. You will still need to learn and get help from your master, but at least you can host your own altar now and build up your own pot of energy. These disciples can host an altar at home and start to build up their own base, while the “middle teachings” stage is all about going to the master’s place to burn incense more often than doing things at home with your own altar.
三山教 Three mountain -the mountain represents accumulating things, like paper piling up as a mountain, or sand piling up like a mountain. An accumulating of 3 processing elements – gold, water, and earth. In this case, it means you can accumulate and gather in power, transfer and deliver it and then let yourself or another party absorb and digest it. This is actually the stage of our “stage 1 disciple” (Saam Law disciple) – which already included the other stages before it. With this power, you can do your “Cheng Sun” and summon in energy (gold), empower things or transfer power to things (water) to do magic like spells, symbols and such, then absorb it into yourself or other things (earth). You can do some basic FU work for cultivation and its all about summoning and gathering in the energy, and delivering it into yourself or your house or other things, to empower and strengthen yourself or other things. You will be able to do some basic FU work for cultivation purposes, and also some magic that can be used for empowering, helping, and such. However, if you encounter resistance or hiccups or anything blocking the way, you will have no power to deal with it. Therefore, exorcism of evils and such will be hard to do with the power in this stage.
五雷教 Five Thunder- By means of five thunder, it means you can use the power of your heart and channel in powers from the Tao, and push it into another thing outside of you. The thunder power also means that you can be processing things and thundering up the energy inside something to make it process, digest and work through the hurdles and obstructing forces. For exorcism, you will need this power to be able to grind through the clogs and jams. For activating tools and consecrating statues or tools, you will also need this power in order to really channel the pre-heaven essence into the object. At the more advanced stage, the five thunder power also allows the disciple to accept a new disciple, which means they can help the Tao to transfer the magic power to someone else, and start them up as a new disciple in the lineage.
The five thunder stage is complex and in our lineage we have 3 grades inside this stage. The first stage is our “stage 2, sun lung disciple” which only gives them the extra power to do exorcism and grind through obstructions etc. With the stage 2 upgrade, the disciple can be much stronger and do exorcism magic without being jammed up by evil crap. At least you can have the power to grind through difficulties and not just stand there when something is jamming the way.
The next stage of the five thunder is our stage 3 disciples, which allows them to consecrate statues, and help out in teaching new disciples. Consecrating statues and altar is a big matter, and it requires a big amount of power and work to fully complete the task. At the same time, stage 3 disciples will start to learn about the lineage network and how the system works too.
The last stage of five thunder is the stage 4 disciples, who is now truly at the master level and can accept disciples into the lineage, and also install new elements to the lineage’s network, and it allows the disciple to be able to make new magic to be installed into the system, giving birth to new things, new advancement. Going beyond what’s there, being able to exceed the limitations, and being able to truly master the art.
As you can see, these stages give different levels of permissions to the disciples, and it organizes the lineage structure. Making the disciple a whatever stage is not going to “give” him the power, but it will unlock the stuff for him, and its like now you have got the potential to earn the power of such and such. The door is open for you, and you can now go and learn to get it for real. Without this unlocking, you have no chance of touching it. That’s how it works. Even if you get to stage 4 on day 1, it doesn’t mean you know and can do everything, right? The master grants you the permission and opens the pathways for you, and now it is your turn to learn, cultivate and make use of the potential that is there for you.
Want to start learning? Get ordained today and become a Saam Law Taoist!