In Chinese, this is known as the Qiu Dao
ritual. Qiu (pronounced like chio) means request, and
Dao is simply the Pinyin transliteration of Tao. Together, these
characters denote a ritual where the seeker requests the Tao, which is
then transmitted by the ordained Master of I-Kuan Tao. The ordained
Master (Dian Chuan Shi), is someone who has received the Heavenly
Decree (Tian Ming) to perform this ritual and carry out the
sacred task of Tao transmission.
Are there any
vows associated with joining I-Kuan Tao?
In the initiation ritual, you have to affirm
that you seek the Tao of your own sincere free will - i.e. you are not
being forced into it, have not been brainwashed into it, and you are not
harboring deception or hidden agenda. You also affirm your intention to
be respectful of the teachings and the avatars of the Tao (Buddhas,
Taoist immortals, etc.).
What are the
further instructions initiates receive and how do they receive them?
They receive the Three Treasures of I-Kuan Tao
during the initiation ritual. These are powerful tools to help you with
your own spiritual cultivation. The ordained Master perform the ritual
of transmission of these Treasures, then either the Master or a lecturer
will explain their meaning and help you practice them a few times so you
can start applying them in your life as soon as possible.
More information is available here:
Please note that the details of the Three Treasures are reserved for the
initiates, and therefore not completely spelled out in the article
prerequisites and/or period of time an initiate must complete before
initiation into I-Kuan Tao?
The short answer is no. The long answer is
that karmic affinity is the only requirement. One can cultivate or study
the Tao with or without the initiation, so it's not some sort of
obligation that anyone has to fulfill.
Suppose you are at the temple and you feel the initiation is something
you should do, then I would encourage you to go with that feeling. The
ritual can be conducted for you right away. There is no waiting period
What if you wish to go through initiation but you are far away from the
temple? If you have a powerful affinity to the Tao, you'll find yourself
at the temple one way or another. If you cannot be at the temple, then
it may simply be that the time isn't right yet. My suggestion would be
to wait for the right time. There is no need to rush.
Chinese people have a term for karmic affinity: yuan. Someone who
has no yuan with the temple
would feel nothing but discomfort even just thinking about initiation. I
have seen this happen a few times, particularly when the person has yet
to work through deep-seated personal issues like closed-mindedness - and
sometimes intellectual arrogance as well.
I understand that
the only way to receive the Three Treasures is through initiation into
I-Kuan Tao and by an ordained Master. At the same time, I also understand
that the Tao is all-inclusive and all-providing. TTC 5 speaks of heaven,
earth and sages being impartial and treating all as straw dogs... Is this a
paradox or is there an explanation as to why the gifts are exclusively for
The Three Treasures are congruent with the Tao
for the simple reason that the opportunity to go through initiation is
open to everyone. All seekers of the Tao have the potential to receive
the Three Treasures no matter who they are. In that sense, they are
indeed all straw dogs in the impartial eyes of the Tao.
Think about the healthful benefits of moderate exercise. We know those
who exercise moderately will gain the benefits and those who do not
won't. But wait a minute - doesn't the impartiality of the Tao mean that
the healthful benefits should be freely given to everyone whether they
exercise or not? Why should the gift of these benefits be exclusively
limited to the fitness buffs?
We can see that life doesn't work that way, and reality is not a
free-for-all. The Tao of fitness is absolutely impartial in that the
possibility to engage in exercise is available to all. What people do
with the possibility is another matter entirely. It is no different with
the Three Treasures.