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Difference between Dragon and Phoenix monks

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I can kinda sorta answer this one. :-)

First of all, there are two or three types of monks: two if you divide them into clan monks (who are samurai) and Brotherhood monks (who may be ex-samurai, but may also be ex-peasants), three if you subdivide Brotherhood monks into Fortunist monks (whose worship focuses on one or more Fortunes) and Shintao monks (whose worship focuses on the Tao of Shinsei). Both Dragon and Phoenix lands contain lots of different types of Brotherhood monks, so while any given sect may have a greater or lesser presence in one clan's lands, there's no overarching difference between the clans in that respect.

Then you have your clan monks, which include the tattooed Dragon monks (ise zumi, kikage zumi, tsurai zumi), the Asako Inquisitors (tagged as monks in the RPG, at least), and the Kuni Witch-Hunters (ditto). Of these, I think only the Dragon really got presented as being particularly monk-like in the lore -- the "monk" tag in the RPG seems to have been more a matter of mechanical convenience than a reflection of a particularly monastic tradition in-story. Clan monks can learn kiho, the spiritual powers of Brotherhood monks, but the ise zumi and their related orders also draw special abilities from their tattoos, which in turn (at least in the old lore) drew their power from the blood of Togashi, Hitomi, or Hoshi -- not to be confused with maho! :-P These tattoos are why Dragon monks run around half-naked; the images have to be uncovered in order to work.

Mind you, that's mostly a mechanical answer. Theologically . . . well, to be frank, the old lore didn't do a lot to develop the ideology of the ise zumi as distinct from the Brotherhood (or for that matter, much to develop the ideology of the Brotherhood, either, except to gesture vaguely in the direction of Buddhism and Shinto and then call it a day). Dragon monks basically sat up on their mountain developing their ability to breathe fire and walk on walls and then never using those abilities in the wider world, except for the occasional character with a role to play in the story. So in the end, I think the real answer to your question is "the Dragon have half-naked monks with magic tattoos and the Phoenix don't." :-P

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A general overview

In the old lore Dragon Monks (the Togashi, Hitomi and Hoshi families) have mystical tattoos made with divine blood.

In the old lore Phoenix Monks (the Asako family) followed the Path of Man which among other things allowed the followers to live forever.

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search for Ise Zumi, for Dragon and Henshin for Phoenix, to know more about both traditions. 

Mysticism aside, Phenix monks are more akin to Shaolin, while Dragon Monks would be more Wudang inspired. 

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Monks are on a weird place in Rokugan's society.

Being a monk ils a way of life, first and foremost. They can be samurai or heimin, soldier or scholar, young or old. Such distinctions have no meaning for them. Their only goal is to achieve enlightenment.

 

How they strive for such goal depends on their tradition. The majority follows the teaching of Shinsei. Those with the most frequent interaction with the general populace are the caretakers of the numerous shrines scattered around the land and usually follow the teachings of the Fortunes and the guidance of the ancestors.

These two types can be found anywhere. Some heimin or even eta (usually from a very young age), other samurai (having retired into a monastery or being forced to do so because of shameful actions)

 

And then you have the weird ones. 

 

Togashi monks worship their founder, Togashi, and use the mystical tatoos to expand their body and mind, hoping to one day reach enlightenment.

 

Asako henchin, on the other hand, follow the path of man, hoping to unlock the Mysteries of the world and the kamis. They converse with the "little gods", trading riddles to better understand their respective place in the world and unlock a hidden potential.

 

 

 

 

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. . . aaaaaaand this is why I should not answer questions on my way to bed, because I managed to forget the Henshin. <beats head against nearest flat surface>

(I did have a niggling feeling that I was overlooking something . . . :unsure: )

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Well, to be fair, they are supposed to be a minority among the Asako and pretty much unknown by the majority of Rokugan.

 

Also, the brotherhood of Shinsei is a complex organisation and is only e divided into two groups (Shinseists and Fortunists) for simplicité. There are a lot of subgroups with radically different ideology. For example, you have the Sohei, believing enlightenment can be achieved by honing one's martial ability to perfection (the most well-known but not the only one being the order if the Venom who might not even make an appearance this time).

 

And there is this supposedly heretical sect in Dragon lands which might be Fudoism, basically saying there is no good or wrong way to achieve enlightenment and encourage it's member to explore their own, personnal path. Enlightenment through overdrinking and eating, for example.

Edited by Tetsuhiko

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23 minutes ago, Tetsuhiko said:

Well, to be fair, they are supposed to be a minority among the Asako and pretty much unknown by the majority of Rokugan.

 

Also, the brotherhood of Shinsei is a complex organisation and is only e divided into two groups (Shinseists and Fortunists) for simplicité. There are a lot of subgroups with radically different ideology. For example, you have the Sohei, believing enlightenment can be achieved by honing one's martial ability to perfection (the most well-known but not the only one being the order if the Venom who might not even make an appearance this time).

 

And there is this supposedly heretical sect in Dragon lands which might be Fudoism, basically saying there is no good or wrong way to achieve enlightenment and encourage it's member to explore their own, personnal path. Enlightenment through overdrinking and eating, for example.

Weren't the Fudoists hiding in Asahina (Crane) lands in the old timeline? The Perfect Land sect seem more like they'd be a Kolat-esq philosophy.

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The Perfect Land Sect is definitely not Fudoism. Their philosophy is not "anything goes;" it's a very well-defined path to enlightenment, by calling on Shinsei to bring you to a special part of Tengoku after death, where you can pursue enlightenment without suffering through life. They just flourish in Dragon lands because the Dragon are more reluctant to declare something the wrong way to pursue enlightenment than the Phoenix are -- but that's about the clans' philosophies, not the sect's.

Whether or not this winds up having anything to do with the Kolat will depend on what, if anything, the Story Team winds up doing with the Kolat in the reboot. But it's a more democratic theology than most Shinseist sects, because it doesn't require you to study fancy sutras or spend all your time in meditation or master arcane spiritual techniques -- which means that a peasant in the fields, or even an eta, stands as good a chance of achieving enlightenment as anybody else.

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On 4/5/2018 at 1:00 PM, Tetsuhiko said:

And there is this supposedly heretical sect in Dragon lands which might be Fudoism, basically saying there is no good or wrong way to achieve enlightenment and encourage it's member to explore their own, personnal path. Enlightenment through overdrinking and eating, for example.

Oooohhhhhh ****! Then that makes me and my gaming buddies monks! Yeah *******! I mean, uhhh, ‘uuuuummmmmmm’.... ??

:D 

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On 4/5/2018 at 9:00 PM, Tetsuhiko said:

And there is this supposedly heretical sect in Dragon lands which might be Fudoism, basically saying there is no good or wrong way to achieve enlightenment and encourage it's member to explore their own, personnal path. Enlightenment through overdrinking and eating, for example.

No, it's not really Fudoism, a friend with Buddhist knowledge and contacts says that the Perfect Land Sect appears to be strongly inspired by the real world Pure Land Sect.

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50 minutes ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

No, it's not really Fudoism, a friend with Buddhist knowledge and contacts says that the Perfect Land Sect appears to be strongly inspired by the real world Pure Land Sect.

It is. We've made alterations, because Shinseism is different in some key historical, social, and theological respects from Buddhism, but the core principle is based on Pure Land teachings.

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4 hours ago, Jedi samurai said:

I always thought a simple way to sum the difference's was

Dragon Monks = Shaolin Monks 
Phoenix Monks = Tibetan Monks

Actually I would have said

Dragon= Taoist kung fu monks

Phoenix=Shinto pacifist monks

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8 hours ago, Taki said:

Dragon= Taoist kung fu monks

Phoenix=Shinto pacifist monks

That’s why @Jedi samurai said “a simple way”. 

A lot of people does not know what Taoism is, and even less know what Shinto is. 

But everybody knows Tibetan monks (“You mean those guys around the Dalai Lama?”) and Shaolin Monks (David Carradine’s Kung Fu series, anyone?)

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23 hours ago, Tabris2k said:

That’s why @Jedi samurai said “a simple way”. 

A lot of people does not know what Taoism is, and even less know what Shinto is. 

But everybody knows Tibetan monks (“You mean those guys around the Dalai Lama?”) and Shaolin Monks (David Carradine’s Kung Fu series, anyone?)

Never watched the Carradine series. I did watch Shaolin Soccer, however.

 

On ‎2018‎-‎04‎-‎20 at 10:15 PM, Kinzen said:

It is. We've made alterations, because Shinseism is different in some key historical, social, and theological respects from Buddhism, but the core principle is based on Pure Land teachings.

So they're considered heretical because their philosophy tampers with the Rokugani concept of reincarnation in some way?

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45 minutes ago, Mangod said:

So they're considered heretical because their philosophy tampers with the Rokugani concept of reincarnation in some way?

Well isn't their whole thing that you don't need kharma and reincarnation to achieve spiritual purity, just faith in Shinsei?

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9 hours ago, shineyorkboy said:

Well isn't their whole thing that you don't need kharma and reincarnation to achieve spiritual purity, just faith in Shinsei?

Pretty much. In Buddhism, there's a difference between achieving enlightenment through self-power (i.e. through meditation and cultivation of spiritual merit and so forth), and through other-power (i.e. through the intercession of a Buddha). One of the core ideas of Pure Land Buddhism is that although it's possible to achieve this through self-power, in this degenerate age it's become extremely difficult to do, so Amida Buddha, in his boundless compassion, has offered another way. The self-power/other-power distinction is one that hasn't really existed in Shinseism in prior canon, nor are there multiple Buddha-equivalents in it, and also the PLS isn't reacting to a massive tradition of elitism the way Pure Land Buddhism was (early Buddhism in Japan was a religion of elites, by elites, and for elites), but the core idea is still there, that Shinsei has offered an easier path to enlightenment, out of compassion for all the peasants who cannot afford to spend their days meditating and copying sutras and otherwise living the lives of Brotherhood monks.

You can see why most of the Brotherhood would look askance at this. :-P And as for samurai, well, calling this the Age of Declining Virtue doesn't exactly reflect well on them . . .

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 Very interesting insight Kinzen. I can't wait for more on the PLS and the Dragon monks. 

(always makes me laugh to use PLS as it's the French acronym used for "recovery position" and in slang means being wrecked or unable to do actual stuff)

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