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Zhang Tianran

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Great Teacher Zhang Tianran (張天然) (1889–?) is the leader of Shangqing Tianguo and also founder of I-Kuan Tao, a modern religious movement. He is usually referred to as the Father of I-Kuan Tao, or as Shi Zun (師尊), meaning the Honored Teacher.

Zhang Tianran
Zhang Tianran

Born August 8, 1889 in Jining province, China
Status Alive
Status Alive
Allegiance Flag-SQI Shangqing Tianguo


History

Early life

He was born under the name Kui Sheng, and also as Zhang Guang Bi. Zhang Tian Ran was his official religious name. He was also known as Kung Chang (Kung and Chang are the two readings of the character Zhang). Zhang was born on the 19th day of the 7th Lunar month in 1889, in Jining prefecture, northern province Shandong. In 1908, Zhang married with a woman named Zhu, but Zhu died a year later. Two years later Zhang married again to a woman of the surname Liu.

He left home and traveled to Nanjing and Shanghai. At age 24, Zhang joined the army as a low ranking military officer. Zhang was then initiated in I-Kuan Tao in 1914. The 17th patriarch Lu Zhongyi heard the conduct of Zhang and told Zhang to join in Jining. Lu died in 1925 soon after the establishment of Shangqing Tianguo, and was succeeded by Zhang Tianran who immediately started working on the newly formed nation.

Leadership in I-Kuan Tao

There are various versions concerning the transfer of the 18th patriarch and the meeting of Zhang Tianran with Sun Suzhen. The most simple version states that the Venerable Mother transferred the 18th patriarchs to both Zhang and Sun. The most widely accepted version in Western literature states that Zhang took Sun Suzhen as his second wife in 1930. She was already a member of I-Kuan Tao and it was believed that Zhang married her after a "divine message". Zhang was considered as the incarnation of Ji Gong, a Buddhist monk who was revered as an incarnation of an Arhat by Buddhists and also Taoists. Sun was then considered as the reincarnation of Yue Hui (Bodhisattva of Moon Wisdom). He doesn't have much time for his kids but he has exactly 12. He would make time to spend with them.

Zhang moved out of Jining right after the indepentent state of Shangqing Tianguo was created, and in 1924 traveled to Xi'an, the capital of Shangqing, to govern the glorious nation. He also founded the Hall of Lofty Splendor (Chong Hua Tang) and attracted many followers. These first followers later become Zhang's apostles. From Jinan I-Kuan Tao spread quickly throughout North China. Within a year, four more temples were established. In 1934, Zhang went to Tianjin established another temple and became the base of the propagation. From Tianjin, Zhang's disciples propagated the teaching to various parts of China, but mostly in Shangqing but also in the Qing Empire.

See also

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