The Five Temples
The Five Temples
While the temples and monasteries in the Twelve Kingdoms are not part of an overall hierarchy, there are five sects which they associate with. Each sect has its own set of traditions, though they can vary between individual temples nearly as much as between the sects. Some claim that there are rivalries between the various traditions, though others deny any such mundane distractions.
The Ascending Path
Monks of the Ascending Path seek to perfect themselves in body and spirit. Their discipline leads them to become fierce and deadly warriors, although they will only fight in pursuit of a righteous cause.
- The Steadfast Heart Sect stands as a protector in the North. Led by Master Lin.
- The temple of the Perfected Form are strong warriors; they have a monastery in the City of Light at which a group of monks from the Savanna of Tears were also visiting, and a monastery in the capital of the Shrouded Isle.
- The temple of the Brilliant Dawn, known as teachers, has a monastery in the Port of Auspicious Voyage led by Master Jinghua.
- The temple of the Immovable Soul, in the Illuminated Precincts, is where Iron-Shirt Jo-Jo trained. Led by Master Sen.
The Spiral Path
Priests of the Spiral Path seek enlightenment, through meditation, contemplation, and self-awareness. They are the least active, believing that nothing can be reached with the body that is not first found with the mind.
- The Sect of Falling Leaves, seekers of wisdom, has a monastery outside of the City of Light
- The Order of the Uplifted Tranquility, a contemplative order for those who do not wish to partake of the world, is on an island in the Jasmine River, in the Roof of the World.
The Wandering Path
Seekers of the Wandering Path, like those of the Spiral Path, seek enlightenment, but they believe that knowledge can only be found through interacting with the world. They are constant travelers, and their temples resemble hostels more than spiritual retreats.
- There are a few waystations near the City of Spires, one on the river nearby and one further out in the bamboo forests. The latter is currently tended by Su-ho and Tohiro, as of Bureaucracy for Beginners.
- Xian's order is called the Gentle Admonishers of Disquiet, whose temple is the Pagoda with No Ice in the Strand.
The High Path
Ascetics of the High Path renounce the indulgences of the body and the mind, seeking only to perfect the spirit.
- The Clear Melting Sect concerns itself with the threat of the undead from beyond the North Wall. There is a temple in Daizhou, and another in the north of the Roof of the World
- The Followers of the Eternal Dream have a monastery in the Tanzhe Plain and pursue knowledge of the Dream World. There is another temple in the Roof of the World. They are led by Master Bao, an experienced dreamwalker.
- The Temple of the Risen Smoke is a day's travel away from the capital of the Shrouded Isle, by one of the smaller volcanos.
- The small Temple of the Invisible Wind is atop a high peak in the Roof of the World
- The followers of the Ways of Three Worlds have a temple in the Roof of the World
The Selfless Path
Servants of the Selfless Path do not attempt to perfect themselves; they attempt to perfect the world, impossible though that may be. They can often be distinguished by their robes, sashes, and collars, which are usually in shades of forest to leaf green.
- Meihua Sannong, ThreeFold Plum Blossom Sect The grand monastery for these servants of the Path is located at the Roof of the World. Servants of this Path seek to improve the world through healing, using both mundane and Tao healing methods. Many acupuncturists, qigong adepts, and herbalists are also Meihua Sannong servants and can be distinguished by wide green sashes at initiate levels, wide green collars at adept levels, green robes with white belts at master levels, and green robes decorated with triads of white plum blossoms at very high levels. The Meihua Sannong have healing houses scattered throughout the Twelve Kingdoms, including the Butterfly Kingdom, where the healing house is located near Tokai lands in the north of the island kingdom.
- The Bending Reed sect has a temple in the Strand, near Nine Terraces: a wooden temple nestled between several huge trees, with the branches bent through each other to serve as a living second roof. Master Lin Fei is their head, and the Southron Ajeel is currently staying here.
- The Temple of Continuing Remembrance deals with funeral ceremonies, ancestor shrines, and so on.