The Daoist hermit Zhang Ling, also known as Zhang Daoling, was possibly the founder of the Zhengyi mengwei tianshi Dao, or 'Way of Celestial Masters' and is regarded as the first Celestial Master. He is also said to have been the grandfather of the three Zhang brothers; Zhang Jue, Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang, but this seems improbable.
In about 140 A.D., Zhang Daoling migrated from the east of the empire to Yi province. In Yi province he established a sect of popular religion in the western hill country. At that time there were several of such groups within the region, while Zhang Daoling's homeland in the region of the Huai was likewise a centre of esoteric beliefs. It appears his teachings were based upon the use of written charms and amulets.
The Five Pecks of Rice SectEdit
It is frequently said that Zhang Daoling was the founder of the Five Pecks of Rice sect, or Five Dou of Rice sect. However, it is possible that it was a seperate group until it was forcibly taken over by Zhang Daoling's grandson Zhang Lu.
- Zhang Ling and his sons Zhang Heng and Zhang Lu are regarded as the founding Celestial Masters of the modern Taoist church.