Daoist Morning and Evening Altar Recitations (Gongke)


This work is the first complete translation of the Morning and Evening Altar Recitations, 玄門早晚壇功課經 (Xuanmen zaowan tan gongke jing) also known as “The Gongke”. The Gongke is the collection of liturgical scriptures recited at the altar at every Quanzhen Daoist Temple. These recitations occur in the early morning and in the evening, and can be as simple as a sole chanter or as complicated as the entire body of resident monks and nuns. There can be a simple accompaniment of a wooden fish bell, or the ornate accompaniment of the Daoist orchestra. Whether simple or complex, at the heart of these performances is the text itself. The corpus of texts is a fascinating journey through Daoist doctrine and practice. Prayers of purification, hagiographies of special deities, prayers of commitment, cosmology, meditation, theory, and much more all converge in this collection. It can be said that this is a pocket sized or mini Daoist Canon. Josh and Jack set about translating this as a response to a deep need to connect to the tradition and the most common practices as experienced in daily life at the temples. As Daoism continues to take root in the West, it is becoming more mature in its presence. The relationship to lineages in China is becoming the new norm. As such, there is a need to align with those practices that describe traditional lineage Daoism. The Gongke, and its recitation, is one such defining text. By having access to the translation and the original Chinese and pinyin pronunciation (all provided in this book), the English speaking person can now engage and understand this practice and the textual depth and meaning within.