“I-Kuan Tao, also Yi Guan Dao, or usually initialized as IKT (一貫道, translated as the Unity Sect) is a new religious movement that originated in twentieth-century China. At the same time it incorporates much older elements from Confucianism, Taoism, and Chinese Buddhism, and recognizes the validity of non-Chinese religious traditions such as Christianity and Islam as well. For this reason it is often classified as a syncretistic or syncretic sect, along with other similar religions in the Xiantiandao (Way of Former Heaven family (see link below).
“I-Kuan Tao says they are a moralistic society, with objective to save all human from the last calamity. The members are obliged to follow morality practices such as:
- The “five ethics” and “eight virtues” (from Confucianism)
- Vegetarianism, and abstinence from alcohol and tobacco (as in Chinese Buddhism)
- Conversion or Initiation of new member into “Tao” (analogous to Buddha nature in Ch’an)
- Daily prayer (2~3 times)
- Attending religious classes, ceremony or Moralistic Lecture, which also include Ceremony of Offerings, Prayers, etc.
- Chanting scriptures (as in all Chinese religious movements and faiths)
Followers of I-Kuan Tao are encouraged to convert and initiate new members, practice “vegetarianism and open temples or shrines at their homes.”
- Ming Ming Shang Ti (明明上帝), “Clear (Luminous) Emperor on High” — analogous to the Judeo-Christian God. Also referred to as Wuji Laomu (無極老母), the “Ancient Mother of Limitless Heaven”. She (or he) is the high being who transcends all the lesser gods of the Chinese pantheon. The roughly translated full name of this deity is The Clear Brilliant God Immeasurable, The Void, Most Revered Ultimate Divinity, True Ruler of The Universe and All Living Beings.
- Maitreya (彌勒佛), the next Buddha to succeed the historical Sakyamuni Buddha and who has come already according to I-Kuan Tao; Maitreya was reincarnated as Lu Zhong Yi.
- Guan Yin, (觀世音菩薩) the Bodhisattva of Mercy. In I-Kuan Tao, she is referred as The Ancient Buddha of the South Sea (南海古佛).
- Ji Gong, (濟公活佛), known as Living Buddha Ji Gong (Huofo Shizun) a lecherous Zen Buddhist monk revered as a reincarnation of an Arhat. Zhang Tian Ran, the founder, is believed to be the reincarnation.
- Yue Hui, (月慧菩薩) is the Moon Wisdom Bodhisattva who was reincarnated as Sun Su Zhen, the matriarch of I-Kuan Tao.
- Guan Yu (關聖帝君) (also called Guan Gong or Guan Ti), an apotheosized Chinese general from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms who is commonly worshipped in Chinese temples, both Buddhist and Taoist. He is a Heavenly Guardians against evil. I-Kuan Tao honors him as the commander of the precepts together with Lü Dongbin, Zhang Fei (Three Kingdoms) and Yue Fei.
- Lu Zhong Yi (路中一), the 17th Patriarch of I-Kuan Tao. He was believed to be the incarnation of Maitreya. He attained the title in 1905 when God mandated him to continue the Tao lineage.
- Zhang Tian Ran (張天然), the official founder of I-Kuan Tao, was the 18th patriarch. He was believed to be the incarnation of Ji Gong, and became Tianran Ancient Buddha after his passing.
- Sun Su Zhen (孫素真), the I-Kuan Tao 18th matriarch and the wife in name to Zhang Tian Ran. She was believed to be the incarnation of Yue Hui Bodhisattva and became Zhonghua Holy Mother after her passing.”