During the first ten days of August 1985 in Urumqi, at the Second Meeting of the Dunhuang Turpan Scholarly Association, Research Group on the Arts (Dunhuang Tulufan xuehui de yishu xiaozu
As is common knowledge, Puxian
Before a performance of Puxian Opera starts, three strikes are made backstage on cymbals and drums. After that comes an operatic ceremony known as ‘colouring the theatrical awning’ and ritual recitation of four stock sentences. When the recitation is over, a second and final poetic coda is sung. It consists of only the three characters (syllables) ‘luo-li-lian’, sung with their order inverted. These three characters are an incantation, offered in fear that the action on stage might besmirch and offend the luminescence of the gods. Once the incantation has been sung, with it comes the guarantee that those on stage will not meet with misfortune.‘Songju yixiang’ in Song Jin zaju kao by (modern scholar) HU JI that cites this passage1
Taking these three characters as the final poetic coda’s ‘harmonious vocalising’ (hesheng
I remember in the winter of 1978, I was in Paris, appointed to teach at the Department of Religious Studies in the Institute of Advanced Studies (Gaodeng yanjiuyuan zongjiaobu
Emerging from the Palace of the Celestial Beings, luo-li-lian, departing from Penglai (island), soaring into the multi-coloured clouds, luo-li-lian. (You come) emerging from and leaving the Heavenly palaces, luo-li-lian! luo-li-lian!
This genre of harmoniously vocalised lyrics had unexpectedly also become additional ‘help-syllables’ (bangsheng
1 Chan Buddhist Monks of the Late Tang to Northern Song Dynasties and the Jin Dynasty Founder of Complete Perfection Daoism singing Luo-Li
Nowadays, Daoist songbooks of southern Taiwan still employ luo-li-lian as their harmonious vocalising, but on researching the origin of the practice, in the latter part of the Tang dynasty, Daoist monks of south Fujian are found to have been already engaged in the custom. Many Daoist ceremonies were born out of Buddhist ones and singing luo-li also appears to some degree to have as its source the Chan school of Buddhism.
The Chan Master Wensui (
Wensui was a Chan Master and native of Fuzhou. When he was young, as an acolyte, he received initiatory instruction under the tutelage of the Chan Master Huanzhong (780–862) of the Great Kindness Mountain in Hangzhou. At that time, Yantou (‘Precipice Edge’, d. 887) and Xuefeng (‘Snow Peak’, 822–908) were brethren in the community, and observing Wensui’s excellent use of words, realised that he was a worthy instrument of Chan tenets, and so they often led one other on journeys of spiritual discovery. These two Masters had both already received the imprint of the teaching of Chan Master De Shan (fl. ninth century)…. later, under the words of guidance of Dong Shan (807–869), Wensui achieved release from spiritual bondage and inherited his Chan mantle from him. When he was twenty-seven, he took Qin mountain as his abode…. (on one occasion) at the pulpit giving a sermon, he surveyed the assembled acolytes and said: ‘Do you have burdens? Do you have burdens? If you have none, go and sing “Pusa man” on Qin mountain! Luo-luo-li-li!’ Then he went to sit among the acolytes.
文邃禪師，福州人也。少依杭州大慈山寰中禪師受業，時巖頭、雪峰在眾，覩師吐論，知是法器，相率遊方。二大士各承德山印記。…… 後於洞山言下發解，乃爲之嗣。年二十七，止於欽山。…… 上堂，顧視大眾曰: 「有麽？有麽？如無；欽山唱菩薩蠻去也！囉囉哩哩！」便下坐。5
Of a later generation than him at Qin mountain in Lizhou, Chan Master Qianming Puchu (
(The Master) took the pulpit and gave a sermon for a long while: ‘… The ordinary people are ill-disciplined and skittish like deer in the wilderness; the emperor is like a distant branch far above and does not care.7 Eighteen characters: do you know them or not? Li-li-luo, luo-luo-li.’ He clapped his hands in rhythm and went down to sit among the acolytes.
（師）上堂良久曰: 「…… 民如野鹿，上如標枝，上八子，知不知？哩哩囉，囉囉哩。」拍一拍，下座。8
(Qianming) Puchu was an inheritor of the Buddhist mantle of Chan Master Xiaochun (
The ruler of Fujian (Wang Shenzhi
In the Northern Song dynasty, the Yangqi lineage of Chan Masters was also fond of singing luo-li. Wudeng huiyuan (juan 19) records that Chan Master Yangqi Fanghui (992–1049) of Yuanzhou once said in a sermon at the pulpit: ‘I myself, of scant joy, live at Yangqi mountain; and as the years pass, my strength ebbs; the cold wind swallows the withered leaves;17 as if pleased at the return of an old friend. Luo-luo-li!’
在北宋楊岐一系的禪師亦喜歡唱囉哩。《會元》記袁州楊岐方會禪師云: 上堂: 薄福住楊岐，年來氣力衰，寒風咽敗葉，猶喜故人歸。囉 囉哩 ！18
Picking out the dead twigs and putting them on a smokeless fire.
Fanghui was a disciple of Shi Shuangyuan (
The abbot of Yu mountain monastery in Chaling had as his Master the monk Baiyun (Shou)duan, a Master who had already crossed the Sea of Life and Death and achieved Nirvana. (Bai)yun wrote a generic praising prose passage that said: ‘Improvement as long as a hundred-chi-feet rod has been achieved; from first steps on the bridge across the stream, extending to all mountains and rivers; from this time forth, never departing from the Chaling rivulets; incanting and intoning, nothing is not luo-li-luo.’
Ten generations on from Qingyuan23 (
Having laid down and abandoned the ox’s halter and become a monk, shaved my whiskers and hair, and donned the jiasha robe, there are those who ask why I am taking this ‘journey from the West’; leaning on my stick, my forceful riposte is to issue a challenge with a rendition of luo-li-luo.
In the Zhaoti
‘Unpolluted by the Six Sense Objects, yet empathic to True Awareness…. how many people have knowledge of this heart; with yellow head and green eyes, they know not one another. Luo-luo-li.’ He clapped his hands once and took his place seated among the acolytes below.
The anecdotes cited above show that from the Northern Song dynasty onwards Chan Masters employed luo-li, and whenever they went to the pulpit to deliver a sermon that was a sung scriptural discourse or devised a praise-song, it was used as a ‘help-syllable’ (zhusheng
In the Jin dynasty, Daoist Masters of the Complete Perfection Sect (Quanzhen jiao
An ape riding a horse: seems absurdly silly; hard to catch, hard to trap, yet how can it be abandoned? Li-luo-ling! Li-luo-ling!
Altogether there are twelve poems, and their last lines are all identical. (The Daoist Canon [Daozang
Tan Chuduan (
Beating white silk; how can all be like this. In the darkness, slowly wearing away the sins of yesteryear. Luo-li-ling, li-ling-luo.
From the initial obtaining and recognition of Perfection (a borrowing of the Buddhist term boluomi). Beauty and wealth seen through, like a moth dashing at a lamp. Luo-li-ling! Li-ling-luo! Luo-li-ling! Li-ling-luo!The Daoist Canon, ‘Taiping bu’, ‘Shuiyun ji’ (vol. 798); see also: Quan Jin Yuan ci (compiler: TANG GUIZHANG
Wang Chongyang was born in second year of the Zhenghe
2 Singing Li-Luo in Southern Song Dynasty Song Genres (Ouge
謳歌) Employing Melismatic Vocalisations (Chansheng 纏聲) and the Singing of Li-Luo-Lian Indicated in Opera Libretti
Zhang Yan (
The character ‘li’
哩is husky, the character ‘luo’ 囉pure; when a sentence break is required, use luo-li 哩囉, when just a pause, use ling-lun 㖫㖮.
The venerable Mao Heting’s (
A jade cup of warm spring sunshine, of crystalline brightness so precious it is without price; a person who understands the teachings, luo-li-li-luo, can take the stones piled in his chest and in one instance have them melt away.
Shi Hao died in the fifth year of the Shaoxi
In the ninth year of the Shaoxing era (1139), Zhang Yuandao was a shilang official whose home was situated at the Southern Chan Temple in the city of Wuxi; his daughter sought for an earthly manifestation of a celestial immortal. Suddenly were written words that said: ‘Nine Flowers Heavenly Immortal is descending to earth.’ When she asked who this was, the answer came: ‘You have sought for an earthly manifestation of the spirit-woman of Wu mountain, that is who it is. I have composed a poem to the cipai set melody and rhyme scheme “Xi nu jiao”, a large-scale composition in nine stanzas … of which the ninth dwells on the word “return” and the whole lyric song says: “I will return.” I have been away from the palace of the celestial beings for a long time. My cave-like cell has no one looking after it. It simply awaits my return. I desire to take out my metal and flint and undertake thousands upon thousands of spiritual exercises. When my words are over, do not forget them. Li-luo-li.’ (Subsequent text is omitted.)
紹興九年，張淵道侍郎家居無錫南禪寺，其女請大仙。忽書曰: 「九華天仙降」。問爲誰？曰: 世人所請巫山神女者是也。賦〈惜奴嬌〉大曲一篇凡九闋。…… 其第九曰「歸」詞云: 吾歸矣，仙宮久離。洞戶無人管之。專俟吾歸。欲要開金燧，千萬頻修已。言訖無忘之。哩囉哩。 （下略）39
This is (an extract from) a substantial composition representing the tale ‘arm-in-arm supporting the Ji Celestial Immortal of the (Chinese) Ouija Board’
Carrying my wares on a shoulder pole, I had just arrived in front of the temple when I saw a ne’er-do-well vagrant and got into a scuffle with him. Singing li-lian-luo-luo-lian, he made a complete fool of me …Great Encyclopedia of the Yongle Era (Yongle da dian
永樂大典; Yongle era: 1403–1424), Xiwen san zhong jiaozhu 戲文三種校注
In the fifth scene, Zhang Xie says: ‘Alone, away from Xichuan, with no companion.’
Written by Dong Jieyuan (
Don’t let trivia and gossip circulate bitterly in your breast. Be harmonious—li-li-luo! Li-li-luo! Li-li-lai!
As Zhang Yan indicated, ‘li’
In the libretti of the Ming dynasty, sentences where singing li-lian
The fourth scene: ‘Dazhai lang’: … as sung previously: ‘Luo-li-lai, li-luo-lai. Luo-li-luo-li-li-luo-lai! Li-luo-li-lai-luo-li-lai. Li-lai-luo-li-lai!’
第四齣:［大齋郎］…… 前腔: 羅哩唻，哩羅唻，羅哩羅哩哩羅唻。哩羅哩唻羅哩唻。哩唻羅哩唻！47
The thirty-second scene: ‘Goose Dance’: ‘Kulugan, your servant’s name is Dalasu.’ … (together): ‘Li-lian! Luo-lian-li-lian! Lian-lian! Luo-li-luo-luo! Li-lian-luo-li-lian-luo! Lian-li-lian! Lian-li-lian! Luo-luo-li-lian-luo-li-lian!’
The fortieth scene: ‘Goose Dance’: … altogether now: ‘Li-lian-luo-lian! Li-lian-lai-luo-li! Luo-luo-li-lian! Luo-lian-li-lian! Luo-li-lian-luo-luo-li-lian-luo-li-lian!’ (recitative by the mo [middle-aged male] role)
第四十齣:［雁兒舞］…… 齊聲: 哩嗹囉嗹！哩嗹唻囉哩！囉囉哩嗹！囉嗹哩嗹！羅哩嗹羅羅哩！嗹囉哩嗹！（末白）49
The sixty-fourth scene: … waiting for them, husband-and-wife, the two sing ‘luo-lian-li…. the sheng (male) role sings: ‘Luo-li-lian! Luo-li-lian.’
第六十四齣:…… 等他夫婦，兩人囉嗹哩。…… 生唱［囉哩嗹﹗囉 哩嗹］。50
The Liu Xibi libretto is in fact Liu Wenlong’s
Regarding Jin and Yuan dynasty opera libretti and singing li-luo, there is demonstrable evidence of it in Tale of the West Chamber (Xixiang ji) and ‘Water-Calthrop Flower Mirror’ (‘Linghua jing’). In a Ming dynasty Chenghua era (
The mo (male) character sings: ‘Li-luo-lian! Luo-luo-li! Lian-lian-lian! Li-luo-li! Lian-li-lian! Luo-lian-li-lian! Luo-li-lian! Li-lian-luo-lian! Li-lian-luo-lian! … Li-lian-luo! Li-luo-li!’ (A manuscript of the Chenghua era excavated in Shanghai that contains examples of the ‘talking and singing’ genre and dialogue of lyric songs.)
末唱: 哩囉嗹！囉囉哩！連連連！哩囉哩！連哩連！囉連哩連！囉哩連！哩連囉連！哩連囉連…… 哩連囉！哩囉哩！（上海出土成化本說唱詞話）54
The li-luo-lian sung by the mo character has exactly the same origin as that in The Tale of Liu Xibi’s Gold Hairpin.
In the Ming dynasty, qu compositions such as one to the cipai set melody ‘Yellow Oriole’ (‘Huang ying’er’
There is also an introduction that includes:
I (Cao Yin) remember that I once had a copy of Dong Jieyuan’s Tale of the West Chamber. Not only do I understand the speech of fowls, but I am also fluent in snake language. (Lianting shichao)
This passage mocks the singing of luo-li-lian. Regarding those who speak the language of snakes, The History of the Liao Dynasty (Liao shi
3 In the Ming Dynasty, Singing Luo-li-lian when Making Offerings to the God of Theatrical Entertainment the Ancestral Master Qingyuan
In a collection of the celebrated Ming dynasty master of qu poetry (Tang Xianzu
I have heard of Qingyuan, the Guankou god of Xichuan, who obtained the Way through play-acting and entertaining and left the teachings of his skills flowing through the world. At present no temple is dedicated to his memory. Members of theatrical companies customarily offer a libation of wine to him as part of the prologue to a theatrical performance and simply sing ‘luo-li-lian’, something I generally heartily dislike … The da sima Commander-in-Chief (Tan Lun, 1520–1577), when he returned from Zhejiang, taught this to his company of theatrical entertainers, and it was called ‘sea-salt voice’. After the da sima Commander-in-Chief had been dead for twenty or more years, those who earnt their livelihood from these skills numbered almost a thousand or more people … I asked whether there were those who still made offerings in like manner after the example of the da sima Commander-in-Chief and received the answer that there were none who dared do this. The practice is now limited to food offerings made to the general (Marshal) Tian Dou.Tang Xianzu shiwen ji, juan 34
余聞清源，西川灌口神也。以遊戲得道，流此教於人間。訖無祠者。子弟開呵時一醪之，唱「囉哩嗹」而已，予每爲恨。…… 大司馬（譚綸）以浙人歸教其子弟，能爲海鹽腔。大司馬死二十餘年矣，食其技者殆千餘人。…… 予問倘以大司馬從祀乎？曰: 不敢。止以田、竇二將軍配食也。…… （《湯顯祖詩文集》卷三十四）59
This passage can be used to investigate the process of the formation of ‘sea-salt voice’ during the Wanli
Yang Wujiu (
Who then was Qingyuan? Ming dynasty Tan Qian’s (
Taking Zhao Yu and the god Erlang, combining them, and awarding ‘them’ the title Qingyuan had its inception in fact in the epoch of the Song dynasty emperor Zhenzong. (For more precise details, see Master Li’s [Li Xiaocang’s] work ‘Pinghua zhong de Erlang Shen’
The Qingyuan Excellently Skilled Perfected Gentleman Temple is inside Jiefu Gate. It is dedicated to a god who was the son of Li Bing, Governor of Shu prefecture in the state of Qin. He once eliminated a water dragon infestation of the river flowing through the Shu capital and enjoyed accolade for controlling floodwaters. In the Song dynasty capital Kaifeng was built a God Protects Daoist Temple. Local people regard Changshu as the lower reaches of the (Yangtze) river, and therefore after the temple had been constructed, requests were made to the imperial court for sacrificial ceremonies dedicated to him to be enacted.
In the Song capital, sacrificial ceremonies were performed for Zhao Yu. Dongjing menghua lu gives an account of celebrations marking the birthday of Guankou-alias-Erlang, and with operas by the hundred performed in a most lavish manner, he evolved to become the patron god of theatrical entertainment, a legend already current since the Song dynasty and which in the Ming dynasty obtained new depth and significance. In Yihuang, offerings were made to the ancestral master Qingyuan and li-luo-lian was sung; those made to Qingyuan were also for the general Tian Dou to enjoy, who, as Marshal Tian, for the people of Fujian was also a recipient of offerings. According to Yue Ke (
The God Erlang (Erlang shen
The historical origin of theatrical gods has already become an area discussed by experts in the field. Numerous ensembles of the genre ‘Southern Sounds’ (Nanyin
Luo-li-lian is in essence harmonised vocalisation, but why did it later turn into an incantation? In the Tang dynasty Dunhuang manuscript ‘Siddhaṃ Chapter’ (‘Xitan zhang’
I once wrote an essay: ‘Four Sanskrit “Liquid Consonants” Ṛ Ṝ Ḷ Ḹ and their Influence on the Study of Chinese Philology’ (‘Fanyu Ṛ Ṝ Ḷ Ḹ si liuyin ji qi dui Hanwenxue zhi yingxiang’
Published in Guoji daojiao keyi ji yinyue yantaohui lunwenji
The following photos were taken from a handwritten copy of Guangdong Yaozu wenshu
In this essay, the Jin dynasty is the one named
Hu Ji, Song Jin zaju kao, 307.
Tanaka Issei, Chūgoku no sōzoku to engeki
Chen Xiaogao, Gu Manzhuang, ‘Fujian de puxianxi’, 94.
Puji, Wudeng huiyuan, 13.813–15.
‘The ordinary people are ill-disciplined and skittish like deer in the wilderness; the emperor is like a distant branch far above and does not care’
Puji, Wudeng huiyuan, 18.1191.
Jao appears to have obtained much of his information on Xiaochun from juan 17 of Wudeng huiyuan; the sources are however complex and confused, and juan numbering and the texts themselves vary significantly in different editions.
His secular name is Ke Quanhuo
Prevailing sources give his secular name as Zeng Yicun
Puji, Wudeng huiyuan, 7.385.
Puji, Wudeng huiyuan, 7.385.
Dunhuang baozang, 35: 356, S.4332.
Dunhuang geci zongbian, 515.
Puji, Wudeng huiyuan, 13.815.
An alternative version that is commonly found has a different verb: ‘the cold wind withers the dead leaves.’
Puji, Wudeng huiyuan, 19.1230–31.
Puji, Wudeng huiyuan, 19.1231.
A Chan Buddhist monk. Little is known of him, and it is likely that the second and third characters of his name or all three are his Chan Buddhist soubriquet, respectively: ‘Stone Frost Round’.
A Chan Buddhist monk. Baiyun
Puji, Wudeng huiyuan, 6.355.
This is his Chan Buddhist soubriquet and means ‘Turquoise Origin’; his secular name is Liu Xingsi
This is his Chan Buddhist soubriquet: ‘Le’
Puji, Wudeng huiyuan, 15.1011.
Puji, Wudeng huiyuan, 16.1075.
Wang Zhe, ‘Daolianzi’, 25: 730.
Sometimes called The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era (Zhengtong daozang
Tan Chuduan, ‘Daolianzi’, 25: 861.
Quan Jin Yuan ci, 416.
In prevailing versions of Ciyuan, the term translated as ‘templates for song genres’ is not
Zhang Yan, Ciyuan, B.14a (1733: 64).
The southern-style qu set melody and rhyme scheme intended here is probably
Mao Guangsheng, Mao Heting ciqu lunwenji, 261.
Several poems in these set patterns indicate that Master Mao does indeed mean ‘li-luo’
Quan Song ci, 1279.
Prevailing redactions give the juan number where this quotation occurs as 113. Yijian is an ancient figure, dates uncertain, said to be adept at writing.
Hong Mai, Yijian zhi, 13.291–292.
Yongle dadian xiwen sanzhong, 13991.25b.
Zhonghua shuju Shanghai bianji suo, Ming Jiajing ben Dong Jieyuan Xixiang ji, 5.8b.
Wang Shifu, Xin jiaozhu guben xixiangji, comm. Wang Jide, 3.13b.
Wang Shifu, Xin jiaozhu guben xixiangji, comm. Wang Jide, 3.21a.
Qian Nanyang, Yongle dadian xiwen sanzhong jiaozhu, 76.
Liu Xibi jinchai ji, 1–163.
Mingben Chaozhou xiwen wuzhong, 9–11.
Mingben Chaozhou xiwen wuzhong, 67.
Mingben Chaozhou xiwen wuzhong, 75.
Mingben Chaozhou xiwen wuzhong, 129.
Jao Tsung-i gives Liu Wenlong as the writer of ‘Water-Calthrop Flower Mirror’, but pre- vailing sources suggest it is the title of another opera.
Mingben Chaozhou xiwen wuzhong, 148.
Mingben Chaozhou xiwen wuzhong, 75. Chen Liming, Jinchai ji ji qi yanjiu, 176.
Ming Chenghua shuochang cihua congkan, 12: 1b.
This poem is in juan 7 of Lianting shichao
Cao Yin, Lianting shichao, 7.18a (201: 426).
Cao Yin, Lianting shichao, 7.18a (201: 426).
Liao shi, 116.1537.
Tang Xianzu, ‘Yihaung xian xishen Qingyuan shi miaoji’, 34.1128.
The poem from which these lines are taken is called: ‘Ji sheng jiao Zhang Luo’er hen Wu Ying dan kouhao’
Tang Xianzu, ‘Ji sheng jiao Zhang Luo’er hen Wu Ying dan kouhao’, 18.740.
Meng Yuanlao, Dongjing menghua lu zhu, 8.205.
Wan Shu, Cilü, 15.31a (350).
Cilü cidian, 244.
Feng Yingjing, Yueling guangyi, 11.12a–12b.
Meng Yuanlao, Dongjing menghua lu zhu, 8.205–6.
Tan Qian, Zaolin zazu, 330.
Feng Menglong, Xingshi hengyan, 13.5b (718).
Li Xiaocang, ‘Pinghua zhong de ErLang shen’, 130.
Li Xiaocang, ‘Pinghua zhong de ErLang shen’, 127–32.
Li Sichun, Jiangcu shilun, 77.
Hongzhi Changshu xianzhi, 2.79a (1: 89).
See Chen Bingliang, ‘Fulu: Cong shuhui dao liyuan’, in ‘Zhongguo de shuishen chuanshuo yu Xiyouji’, 203–25.
Niepan jing huishu, 8. 482a (56: 963).