Dongyue dadi (東嶽大帝) is also called the god of Mountain Tai, Taishan Fujun (泰山府君) , Dongyue Taishan Tianqi Rensheng dadi (東嶽泰山天齊仁聖大帝) or Tianqi wang (天齊王) who is a very old god in Chinese popular religion. He is thoroughly absorbed and integrated by both Daoism and Buddhism. At the beginning, Dongyue dadi was the first grade god above the five Mountain gods in China before Han dynasty. Emperor, the divine son, should worship to the god of Mountain Tai as a claiming of the supreme legitimacy. The worshiping to the god of Mountain Tai is the ritual called feng (封) which is held on the summit peak of Mountain Tai and monopoly by emperor. Before or Under Han dynasty, Taishan Fujun was also regarded as the god who decided the destiny of dead person’s soul. He was a somber god.
In the eastern Han dynasty, under the influences of Daoism and Buddhism, the god of Mountain Tai began to transform from a god of mountain to a personal god. In Daoism, the god of Mountain Tai was seen as the ancient saints or their descents. It was said that the god of Mountain Tai was Fuxi (伏羲), a ancient mysterious saint in China. According to the Shen-yi jing (神異經), the god of Mountain Tai was the son of Pan Gu (盤古)’s descent who was also called Jin-hong shi (金虹氏) or Dong-yue di-jun (東岳帝君) . Then Fuxi titled him as Tai-hua zhen ren (太華真人
). Basically, the development of Dongyue dadi in Daoism was base on his title but transferred to be a immortal, a xian ren (仙人) and ranked him in the hierarchy of Daoist immortal.
Another development about Dongyue dadi is in Chinese Buddhism. It is based on his role as the judge of dead person’s soul in the Underground. This transformation began in Six dynasty. In Buddhist scriptures, his title is Tai-shan fu-jun (泰山府君) which is incorporated with the Buddhist hell, diyu (地獄). As a result, Tai-shan fu-jun is one of the ten kings of hell or a prince of the seventh king of hell.
Basically, the god of Mountain Tai is called Dongyue dadi in Daoism and Chinese popular religion. However, Taishan fujun is the god of Mountain Tai’s only title in Buddhism scriptures.
Since Dongyue dadi reigns over the hell, there is ritual about him. The ritual is called da-cheng (打城), storming the city wall. Regarding the hell as a city, it is an imitational ritual that storms the city wall and rescues a deceased’s soul by a ritual specialist who is a Daoist or a master in popular religion. There are ten processes of da-cheng ritual, including inviting Dongyue dadi (請神), summoning the soul of decease (召魂), asking the soul or making someone substitute for the soul to confess the soul’s sin (拜懺), starting the journey to leave the hell (行路), practicing divination to ask if the soul’s sin was pardoned (卜赦旨), leaving the hell (出城), letting the soul taking medicine (吃藥), offering a bowl of rice (拜飯), guiding the soul crossing the bridge (過橋), making the soul to rebirth in a better place (送亡). The attending members in the ritual are including the decease’s family members and the Daoist or the master of popular religion.
There are about seven temples dedicated to Dongyue dadi in Taiwan. The famous one is Dongyue temple (東嶽殿) in Tainan city where is outstanding in Da-cheng ritual.
Keywords: Dongyue dadi, Taishan Fujun, Mountain Tai,Dongyue temple, storming the city wall rituall