Zhang Jiao: theological terrorist or well-meaning mystic?

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Zhang Jiao: theological terrorist or well-meaning mystic?

Unread postby Cao Zhi » Mon Mar 03, 2003 9:53 am

Who exactly was Zhang Jiao (Jue)?

The novel makes him out to be the leader of a religious group who healed the sick, practiced magic, and attempted to violently overthrow the Han. A history book that I have read (A History of Chinese Civilization by Jacques Gernet) says that the leader of the Yellow Turbans was a "talented propagandist and healer..." The Way of Peace was one which preached the common owndership of goods, the public confession of sins, and the religious origin of diseases. (The Way of Peace seems very similar to early Christianity in some of these regards.) In the Yellow Turban-controlled lands, "...free storehouses were established for travellers, roads were maintained as a labour with expiatory value. Moreover, private property seems to have been abolished." (pg. 155-6)

Can any of you shed some light on this interesting man? And, did any copies of the Way of Peace survive to the modern day?
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Unread postby Tianshan Zi » Mon Mar 03, 2003 2:20 pm

I wish that I could provide you with more information on this man, but I know only what I've learned from SGYY and fragments of SGZ and ZZTJ. The Yellow Turbans and their leaders were doomed to be represented as chaotic villains by the aristocratic literary tradition. :wink:
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Unread postby Mengdez New Book » Mon Mar 03, 2003 3:02 pm

Cao Zhi wrote:Who exactly was Zhang Jiao (Jue)?

The novel makes him out to be the leader of a religious group who healed the sick, practiced magic, and attempted to violently overthrow the Han. A history book that I have read (A History of Chinese Civilization by Jacques Gernet) says that the leader of the Yellow Turbans was a "talented propagandist and healer..." The Way of Peace was one which preached the common owndership of goods, the public confession of sins, and the religious origin of diseases. (The Way of Peace seems very similar to early Christianity in some of these regards.) In the Yellow Turban-controlled lands, "...free storehouses were established for travellers, roads were maintained as a labour with expiatory value. Moreover, private property seems to have been abolished." (pg. 155-6)

Can any of you shed some light on this interesting man? And, did any copies of the Way of Peace survive to the modern day?


Zhang Jiao came from Ju Lu (鉅鹿). At the early age, he was the follower to Huang Lao phisolophy, something like Taoisme. He was good at Chinese medical and black magic (巫術).
Between 168-172 AD, he brought his two brother, Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang went to those place where had great disaster to spread their phisolophy. Among 172-178 AD, he accept many followers and created a new religion, Tai Ping Dao. He used the book, Tai Ping Jing (太平經) to form all the rules, vision, the code of his religion, the slogan, the activities and many more for Tai Ping Dao. SGZ mentioned because he had knowledge about medical, he manipulated it with saying that he had supernatural power and can heal person with holy water, holy words. Also, to show he was powerful, he always hold stuff (九節杖) at his hand. Due to this, his followers grew more and more each day until he can rise up against Dong Han dynasty. :D

For the later information, look at below link.
http://the-scholars.com/viewtopic.php?t ... 7d666db83d
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Unread postby Hidoshi » Mon Mar 03, 2003 8:05 pm

In all honesty, while I know very little of this man, I can't help but wonder if China would have been better for his influence succeeding. The old Han government basically said "Go, kill" and the allies had no choice but to. They didn't have the luxery of finding out more about this man's motives nor the means to in all reality and thus they aren't at fault. However, it may in fact do well for China to experience something like this again. Heaven knows the Communist regime has ground the people under its boot and religion is a crime unless 'officiated' by the government, which is basically done for the sake of promoting tourism in such places as Shaolin "Chinese Disneyland" Temple.
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Unread postby Wen Yang » Mon Mar 03, 2003 10:16 pm

I doubt that he meant well at all. If so, he would have cared about the common people. It was obvious he didn't care about the common people, because his soldiers lived off of pillaging the commoners. I am sure he was just another overambitious human like many others during the period, but the only difference is that he used religion as his centralized means to gather people to his cause.
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Unread postby CK » Tue Mar 04, 2003 5:46 am

Given the huge extent of the lands who rose under his call, it is quite difficult for him to extend complete control compared to the other warlords. Moreover, many of them had complete autonomy and being peasants or people with no prior skills of military organization, it is not strange that pillage would remain common.

Furthermore, it could be just that official records purposely exaggerated the pillaging to discredit the yellow turban rebels. In truth it is a kind of double standard since certain governmental troops and forces also pillage as much if not more than the yellow turbans (be it during the rebellion or after like in the case of Dong Zhuo.)
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Unread postby Zhou Gongjin » Tue Mar 04, 2003 1:24 pm

Most of the historical information about the Yellow Turbans is found in Hou Han Shu. Taoists like Zhang Jue believed that illness was a form of sin. If someone was ill or in pain, it was because they did something wrong in their life. Zhang Jue used parts of the Taiping Qingling Shu in his efforts to cure people. Charms were put in water, and water was then consumed as sort of an elixer to cure people.
Later on, Zhang Xiu and Zhang Lu continued these teaching with their Rice sect, but their form of purifycation was more through means of purity houses.
The actual rebellion wasn't that impressive. Compared to the Imperial Armies, the YT rebels were just a rag-tag bunch of mobs that thought with everything they had.
Before that, there were numerous rebellions in the Han Empire. In the south there was Xu Chang who rebelled when Sun Jian was younger, and in the North, near Luoyang, there were rebellions from the non-chinese.
I would say that the YT rebellion didn't really mark the end of the Han like most historians say, but I think the combination of rebellion and the death of Emperor Ling caused the end of the Han. With Emperor Ling gone, and rivalling factions in the court, it was only a matter of time before something would happen.
San Guo Yan Yi, being the glorification of Han Chinese pride, makes the rebels look extra bad and terrible. This is common in history though, so we shouldn't read much into it.
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Unread postby Mega Zarak » Tue Mar 04, 2003 3:10 pm

Zhou Gongjin wrote:Most of the historical information about the Yellow Turbans is found in Hou Han Shu.

May I know specifically where you derive this information?

Zhou Gongjin wrote:The actual rebellion wasn't that impressive. Compared to the Imperial Armies, the YT rebels were just a rag-tag bunch of mobs that thought with everything they had.

In the first year of Zhong Ping (specifically the 2nd month of that year), Zhang Jiao coordinated 360,000 people from different parts of China to launch a series of rebellions against the Han government within a single day. Due to the incompetency (and structure) of the existing Han military organization, the initial impact of these rebellions managed to create a big impact in various part of China. The government had to moblized most of her resources (soldiers and officers) to deal with these rebellions within that year.

Maybe you'd like to state why you think this is not impressive. :D


Zhou Gongjin wrote:Before that, there were numerous rebellions in the Han Empire. In the south there was Xu Chang who rebelled when Sun Jian was younger, and in the North, near Luoyang, there were rebellions from the non-chinese.

Please state your references if you can Jon so that we know where to look out for these facts. Thanks.

Zhou Gongjin wrote:I would say that the YT rebellion didn't really mark the end of the Han like most historians say, but I think the combination of rebellion and the death of Emperor Ling caused the end of the Han. With Emperor Ling gone, and rivalling factions in the court, it was only a matter of time before something would happen.

Well, the end of Han dynasty was certainly due to a variety of factors (e.g. corrupted government, natural disasters, lousy leadership, etc). However, IMO, I would consider the Yellow Turban Rebellion to be its primary catalyst. It pretty much negated the aura of fear and awe towards the control by the central government as well as dampened its prestige. To oppportunistic people (like those potential warlords), the initial success of the Yellow Turban rebellions and the poor performance of the central government presented to them clearly the weaknesses of the Han government. Hence, to a large extent, the Yellow Turban Rebellion signified the end of Eastern Han dynasty. A point to note is that when I'm talking about the Yellow Turban Rebellion, I'm refering to the pioneers (comprised of genuinely frustrated common folks who were oppressed by the government) and not to those subsequent disorganized, opportunistic bunch who were nothing better than bandits.

Zhou Gongjin wrote:San Guo Yan Yi, being the glorification of Han Chinese pride, makes the rebels look extra bad and terrible. This is common in history though, so we shouldn't read much into it.

Well, just a sidenote. If you care to read contemporary Chinese literature (esp. those written during the Mao era), you may find that these Yellow Turban rebels were held in rather high regards since it signified the will of the common people. :D
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i have to think that zhang jiao and his followers were doing

Unread postby jason1111 » Tue Mar 04, 2003 5:17 pm

what was right for the people......and considering that many "experts" say that the han dynasty crumbled because of many reasons......and some of those reasons were corruption, neglecting the lower classes and whatnot.....well, i would have to agree that the yellow turban rebellion was probably done because it was thought of as being good for the people.

i think that i repeated myself about three times in that paragraph, but you get my point.
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Unread postby Zhou Gongjin » Tue Mar 04, 2003 5:38 pm

Great Deer wrote:May I know specifically where you derive this information?


Generals of the South, chapter three, death of Sun Ce, quoting Hou Han Shu. And earlier in chapter two, quoting the bios of Huangfu Song and He Jin.

Great Deer wrote:Maybe you'd like to state why you think this is not impressive. :D


If these forces were, for say, well-armed men under the leadership of the Yuan family, I doubt they would have been defeated so quickly. It was simply a shock that there were so many people. Once the Han forces were mobilized, how long did it actually take to finish them.


Great Deer wrote:Please state your references if you can Jon so that we know where to look out for these facts. Thanks.


SGZ Wu 1, the biography of Sun Jian. A man called Xu Chang rebelled in Yuzhang in Kuai Ji Commandery. He is described as a Yao Ze who proclaimed himself Emperor of the Brightness of Yang, and who was assisted by his son Xu Shao. The Lingdi Ji of Liu Ai, quoted in the commentary note 2 to that text, adds that Xu Chang named his father as King of Yue, while HHS 8, the Annals of Emperor Ling, says that Xu Sheng of Kuai Ji named himself King of Yue.
Shanyang Gong Zaiji, says that Dong Zhuo was fighting the Qiang people under Zhang Wen.


Great Deer wrote:Well, the end of Han dynasty was certainly due to a variety of factors (e.g. corrupted government, natural disasters, lousy leadership, etc). However, IMO, I would consider the Yellow Turban Rebellion to be its primary catalyst. It pretty much negated the aura of fear and awe towards the control by the central government as well as dampened its prestige. To oppportunistic people (like those potential warlords), the initial success of the Yellow Turban rebellions and the poor performance of the central government presented to them clearly the weaknesses of the Han government. Hence, to a large extent, the Yellow Turban Rebellion signified the end of Eastern Han dynasty. A point to note is that when I'm talking about the Yellow Turban Rebellion, I'm refering to the pioneers (comprised of genuinely frustrated common folks who were oppressed by the government) and not to those subsequent disorganized, opportunistic bunch who were nothing better than bandits.


The weakness of the Han was only amplified by the rebellion. The rebellion itself was dealt with, the leaders were dead and burried. It was the personal ambitions of the Yuan and other families that killed the Han. (I'm not saying killing the Han is a bad thing ^_^ )

Great Deer wrote:Well, just a sidenote. If you care to read contemporary Chinese literature (esp. those written during the Mao era), you may find that these Yellow Turban rebels were held in rather high regards since it signified the will of the common people. :D


Mao? Maoism is perverted. :x
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