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The 5 Thunder Marshals In Taoism & Other Thunder Gods

* This article is a follow up Article of: The Thunder Patriarch (雷祖 - Lei Zu) & Ministy Of Thunder and Thunder Departments Of Taoist Religion

 The 5 Thunder Marshals of the Thunder Agency

The Five Thunder Marshals of the Thunder Agency (雷部五元帥 Lei Bu Wu Yuan Shuai) refer to the five supreme commanders of the Thunder Agency (雷部 Lei Bu), under the administration of  The Thunder Patriarch (雷祖 Lei Zu) - 'Heavenly Lord of Universal Transformation Whose Voice of Thunder Resonates With the Origin of the Nine Heavens' (九天應元雷聲普化天尊 Jiu Tian Ying Yuan Lei Sheng Pu Hua Tian Zun).

In Religious Taoism & Chinese Folk Religion records, there are several different groups of Thunder Deities in the Thunder Agency, eg: such as 5 Thunder Marshals (五雷元帅), 24 Heavenly Thunder Monarchs (廿四位天君)  and 36 Heavenly Thunder Generals (三十六位神将). The most commonly seen 5 Thunder Marshals worshipped in Taoist Temples - Deng(邓), Bi(毕), Liu(刘), Xin(辛), Pang(庞). 

Chief Thunder Marshal Deng - Deng Yuan Shuai (鄧 元 帥)

Marshal Deng (邓元帅). His given name is Zhong (忠). He is the leader of 5 Thunder Marshals. It is said that he has "silver teeth & bright eyes", and "is surrounded by fire". 

In the book 'Supplementary Records of the Listener' (夷堅志補 Yi Jian Zhi Bu), he is recorded as "General Deng of Heavenly Origin who Interrogates and Summons Demons ( 天元考召鄧將軍 Tian Yuan Kao Zhao Deng Jiang Jun) ". 

In the book 'The Remaining Stories about Cauldron-Casting' (鑄鼎餘聞 Zhu Ding Yu Wen) quotes the Personal Records of the District of Changshu ( 常熟私志 Chang Shu Si Zhi), calling him "Supreme Commander Deng, Great Spirit in Charge of Laws and Decrees ( 律令大神鄧元帥 Lü Ling Da Shen Deng Yuan Shuai)", which indicates that he is in charge of laws and decrees, and of the interrogation and summoning of the Thunder Agency.

*雷部诸元帅中,以邓元帅为首。邓元帅,名忠,传称其“银牙耀目”、“火焰绕身”。《夷坚志补》称“天元考召邓将军”。《铸鼎馀闻》引明《常熟私志》称“律令大神邓元帅”,当系职掌雷部律令考召之意。*

The Thunder Spirit Bi - Bi Yuan Shuai (毕元帅)

Supreme Commander Bi was formerly called Tian Hua (田华). 

According to 'The Comprehensive Collection of Investigations into the Divinities of the Three Doctrines since their Origin' ( 三教源流搜神一全 San Jiao Yuan Liu Sou Shen Da Quan), Tian Hua was originally a Thunder Spirit ( 雷精 Lei Jing), who was concealed underground and reincarnated in the fields, and after being nourished by the breath of stalactites for 1,000 years, he was given his birth. 

At the moment he was born, there was a bolt from the blue in the day time, the flame lit up the sky, a sudden gale struck and a heavy shower suddenly fell. Surrounded by large serpents, he was fed by bees. 

Getting older, he was given the name Tian(田)(field) for he was born in the fields, and the name Bi (毕), for the characters Bi and Hua are alike. 

He Cultivated and Refined ( 修煉 Xiulian ) himself under the Lulu Cliff (漉泸岩). When Nu-Wa (女娲) failed to patch the holes in the sky, Supreme Commander Bi assisted the Spirits of Fire and Water ( 水火之精), and shouted between heaven and earth so as to block the holes in the sky. 

Later, he refined the battle formation of fire and wind and thunder of five colors, helped the Yellow Emperor ( 黃帝 Huang di ) kill Chi You (蚩尤), and then being worshipped as the master of dragons. 

The Jade Emperor appointed him Supreme Commander Bi of the Thunder Agency, ordered him to be in charge of the twelve Thunder Courts ( 雷庭 Lei Ting ) and to assist the Highest Emperor of the Mysterious Heaven ( 玄天上帝 Xuan Tian Shang Di ) in killing the gods of plague and using spirits. 

He controlled the dryness and wetness of Heaven and Earth, checked the activities of demons, and strike those who were not benevolent or upright.

*毕元帅,原名田华。据《三教源流搜神大全》,田华原系雷精,藏地中,寄胎于田间,得千年石钟乳气而生。出生时,白昼晴空霹雳,火光照天,风雨骤至。大蛇围其外,群蜂以哺。及长,因田为田,指华为毕,修炼于漉泸岩下。女娲补天不成,毕元帅助水火之精,声吼天地,乃塞天漏。又炼五色火雹风雷阵,助黄帝击死蚩尤,被拜为龙师。玉帝封以雷门毕元帅之职,敕掌十二雷庭,助玄天上帝诛瘟役鬼,上管天地潦涸,下纠群魅出没,中击不仁不义等等*

Thunder Marshal Liu in charge of affairs - Liu Yuan Shuai (刘元帅) - (刘天君)

Heavenly sovereign Liu (刘天君) had the given name Hou (后) and lived in the Jin dynasty. 

He was born in a fishing boat on the Minjiang River, and did not drown when falling into the middle of the river during his childhood. 

Due to poverty, he was sent to be the page boy of Perfect Man Luo. Since he had a good command of the gestures of the Five Thunders, he was able to summon wind and rain, and responded immediately after being asked, and benefited the people and the country. 

One year, when the eastern capital suffered severe droughts, the emperor prayed in the Shrine of Heavenly Sovereign Liu, and a heavy rain fell as expected. That autumn had a good harvest. 

The emperor named him the Perfect Sovereign of Creation and Benevolence ( 立化慈濟真君 Li Hua Ci ji Zhen Jun), and the Jade Emperor ( 玉皇大帝 Yu Huang Da Di ) ordered him to be in charge of various kinds of affairs of the prince palace of the Thunder Agency.

*刘天君,名后,东晋时人。生于岷江渔渡中,幼时落波心而不死。因贫,送于罗真人为侍读,因精于五雷掌诀,能招风捉雨,随叩即应,济民助国。是年东京大旱,皇帝祷于刘天君祠,果有大雨。时秋大稔。皇帝敕命其为“立化慈济真君”。玉皇大帝亦命刘天君职掌雷部王府的各种事务.*

Thunder Marshal Xin of the Thunder Fast (雷斋辛元帅)

Xin was formerly named Xin Xing (辛兴)  and styled Zhen Yu (震宇), who was a native of Yong Zhou (雍州). 

According to 'The Comprehensive Collection of Investigations into the Divinities of the Three Doctrines since their Origin 《三教源流搜神大全》, there was a Mountain of Divine Thunder ( 神雷山 Shen Lei Shan ) in the area of Yong Zhou (雍州). Xin Xing's mother was scared to death by the thunderbolt on the Mountain of Divine Thunder, and Xin Xing held his mother's corpse, weeping. 

Moved by his extreme filial piety, the Thunder Spirit transformed into a Daoist priest and offered his apology, and presented to him twelve fire elixirs for him to eat. Then Xin changed his form, his head changed into that of a monster, his mouth into a beak, his shoulders into wings, with a dagger in his left hand and a mallet in the right and five drugs under his feet. 

The Jade Emperor appointed him Supreme Commander, who, together with the Supreme Commander Bi, "was responsible for affairs in the five directions, travelling back and forth in the heavens, and eliminating the evil demons and ghosts in the nether world and this world". 

25th day of the sixth lunar month is the divine manifestation day of Supreme Commander Xin. On that day, the Daoist priests worshiping the Thunder Sprits will abstain from eating meat. This is known as the "Thunder Fast" ( 雷齋 Leizhai ), in order to pray for the blessings of gods.

*辛元帅,原名辛兴,字震宇,雍州人。据《三教源流搜神大全》,雍州地界有神雷山。辛兴之母即为神雷山霹雳破胆而死。辛兴抱母尸而哭。雷神感其至孝,变化为道士而谢罪,并赠辛兴十二火丹以啖之。辛遂易形,妖其头,喙其嘴,翼其两肩,左执尖,右持槌,脚踏五鼓。玉皇大帝封其为元帅,与毕元帅“共五方事,往来行天,翦幽冥中邪魔鬼恶”。传说六月廿五日为辛元帅神诞之日,奉祀雷神的道教徒于是日茹素,称为“雷斋”,以祈神佑*

Thunder Marshal Pang with a Golden Sword (金刀庞元帅) 

Supreme Commander Pang was formerly named Pang Qiao (庞乔) and styled Chang Qing (长清).

 According to the Comprehensive Collection of Investigations into the Divinities of the Three Doctrines since their Origin, he was born in a poor family who had been ferrymen for generations. Yet Pang Qiao was kind in heart and actions. 

He was never impartial to those who traveled by ferry and helped people in emergency and difficulty. Hearing of his extreme filial piety and absolute sincerity, the Jade Emperor appointed him Supreme Commander of the Vital Breath of Chaos. 

With a golden sword in hand, he was devoted to his duty of guarding the gate of heaven, in order to vanquish the demons in the nether world and exterminate the old evils, and never failed.

*庞元帅,原名庞乔,字长清。据《三教源流搜神大全》,庞乔家境贫困,世为驾渡之工。但庞乔心行善良,对往来渡客无不平等,救人急难。玉皇大帝闻其至孝至诚,敕为混气元帅,手执金刀,唯天门之出入是命,以降阴魔,除旧恶,秋毫不爽*

Worshipping of Thunder Marshals

The Hall of Heavenly Generals ( 天將殿堂 Tian Jiang Dian Tang ) is always founded in some large Daoist temples to enshrine the Thunder Marshals of the Thunder Agency or some other heavenly generals. 

The titles and number of  thunder marshals  being worshiped may vary from place to place, due to the differences in the local cultural and historical background of the Daoists in different places. 

But it is common to take the Thunder Marshals of the Thunder Agency as the guadian dieties (护法神).

*一些大道观常有设天将殿堂,供奉雷部元帅或其他天将。其中由于各地道教徒的地方文化历史背景的差异,因此供奉元帅之名号以及数量可能有所不同。但是以雷部元帅作为护法神灵,救难神灵祈求确是一致的*

The 24 Thunder Deities of clouds & rains department(雷部催云助雨护法二十四天君):
(For Your reference only - so not translated into English)

邓天君忠;辛天君环;张天君节;陶天君荣;
庞天君洪;刘天君甫;苟天君章;毕天君环;
秦天君完;赵天君江;董天君全;袁天君角;
李天君德;孙天君良;柏天君礼;王天君变;
姚天君斌;张天君绍;黄天君庚;金天君素;
吉天君立;余天君庆;闪电神(金光圣母);助风神(菡芝仙)

36 Heavenly Thunder Generals (三十六位神将):
(For Your reference only - so not translated into English)

正心雷府八方云雷都督大将军;清虚雷府先天雨师内相真君;太皇雷府开元司化雷公将军;道元雷府降魔扫秽雷公将军;主化雷府阳声普震雷公将军;移神雷府威光劈邪雷公将军;皓帝雷府雷师皓翁真君;广宗雷府五雷院使真君;升元雷府报应司总司真君;希元雷府幽枉司总司真君;神霄雷府玉府都判将军;琼灵雷府统辖八方雷车飞罡斩祟九天雷门使者阿香神女元君;庆合雷府威灵普遍万方推云童子;梵炁雷府驱雷掣电照胆追魔纠察廉访典者先天电母秀元君;左罡雷府先天风伯次相真君;玉灵雷府雷部总兵将军;洞光雷府雪冤辨诬卿师使相真君;安增雷府万方威应招财锡福真君;极真雷府灵应显赫扶危济急真君;岐阳雷府九垒总司威灵将军;丹精雷府调神御气燮理阴阳司命天医真君;青华雷府祥光瑞电天喜真君;紫冲雷府啸风鞭霆天冲真君;符临雷府传奏驰檄追魔摄怪九天雷门律令使者;变仙雷府总司九龙真炁神变普应将军;历变雷府总司五龙真炁飞腾显应将军;升极雷府延寿保命辅圣真君;元宗雷府水官溪真驱邪使者;元冲霄府水官溪真摄魔使者;定精雷府火部司令五方显应将军;保华雷府火部司令中山真灵将军;天娄雷府五方蛮雷将军;景琅雷府元罡斩妖将军;微果雷府元罡缚邪将军;辅帝雷府雷部总兵使者;敬皇雷府侍中仆射上相真君.

There are also other groups of 5 Thunder Gods / Deities:

1) In certain Folk Taoist (Chinese Folks Religion) Temples, they pray to 都天大五雷师公 (Du Tian Da Wu Lei Shi Gong) - 'The Great Five Thunder Deities Of Capital Heaven'. These are the 5 Thunder Gods: 
  • 雷正(雷震子) Lei Zheng 
  • 雷沈 (Lei Chen) 
  •  雷勝 (Lei Sheng) 
  • 雷进 (Lei Jing) 
  • 雷真 (Lei Zhen)
Important Point: Notice they are called  都天大五雷师公 (Du Tian Da Wu Lei Shi Gong)  and not 雷部五元帥 (Lei Bu Wu Yuan Shuai) because they are different groups of 5 Thunder Deities.

2) In certain Taoist Magical / Sorcery Sects,  there is a group of  '5 Savage Thunder Messengers' (五方蛮雷使者) that the Taoist Masters seek for spiritual assistance. They are: 
  • 东方蛮雷使者马郁林 - Ma Yu Lin from the East
  • 南方蛮雷使者郭元京 - Guo Yuan Jing from the South
  • 西方蛮雷使者方仲高 - Fang Zhong Gao from the West
  • 北方蛮雷使者邓拱辰 - Deng Gong Chen from the North
  • 中央蛮雷使者田元宗 - Tian Yuan Zong from the Central


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