Daoism is defined as "finding harmony through balance". The primary focus is on regulating ones activities and choices to bring about a more balanced way of living. Daoist propriety and ethics tends to emphasize wu-wei (action through non-action), "naturalness", simplicity, and spontaneity. This is achieved through the unification of the "Three Treasures of Man", the Jing (essence), Qi (energy) and Shen (spirit). The Three Treasures also refer to compassion, moderation, and humility.
Today, Daoism is traditionally divided into two main branches of esoteric training, Northern Daoism and Southern Daoism. Within each of these branches, the esoteric training can be further divided into Religious Daoism, which is known as "Dao Jiao" and also known for its elaborate and colorful ceremonies, and Magical Daoism known as "Dao Wu" which is known for its alchemical training and shamanistic mysticism.
Both Northern and Southern schools of Daoism combine aspects of religious and magical training. The Northern Branch of Daoism is traditionally called "Quan Zhen" (meaning "Complete Reality" or "Ultimate Truth") sect. Quan Zhen is a Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucianist school of spiritual thought and training. The Southern Branch of Daoism is traditionally called "Zheng Yi" (meaning the "True One" or Orthodox One") sect. This school of teaching is rooted in ancient shamanistic Daoism and esoteric mysticism.
Zheng Yi Daoism was the first organized sect of Daoist Religion under the authority of Zhang Daoling. The head of Zheng Yi Daoism is given the title of "Celestial Master" and this title can only be passed down to family members, and has a direct lineage to Zhang Daoling himself.
Apart from the Zheng Yi (Tian Shi) sect, two other sects emerged during the Jin Dynasty (265-420 A.D.), and the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-581 A.D.), Shangqing (Upper Clarity) of Mao shan and Ling bao (Magical Treasure) sect of Ge Zao Shan. Under a special alliance these three became know as the "Three Mountains Drop of Blood Alliance".
The main goal of these three original schools in ancient Zheng Yi Daoism is primarily oriented toward magical accomplishments, rather than their spiritual salvation brought about through the institution of controlled rituals. A combination of sacred writings from the Ling Bao Scriptures, Shang Qing Scriptures, and the Tian Shi Scriptures comprised the first Daoist Canon. This important Canon of Daoist Alchemy and Esoteric magical training has been preserved up to the present date, and presented to future disciples for the construction of Talismans, Breath Incantations, Star Stepping, Magical Hand Seals, etc..
In order to fully achieve the power of these magical skills and abilities, you need to understand what empowers them to work. It is only in the purification of one's self that you can truly access the hidden potential of all of the skills that are taught in the Zheng Yi sect, and to do that disciples were given several strict teachings that had to be adhered to such as the "Nine Genuine Abstinences" and the "Nine Warnings".
THE NINE GENUINE ABSTINENCES
1. The Initial Authentic Abstinence: You should show propriety and respect to your parents.
2. The Abstinence of Resenting: You should work hard, and be loyal to the Emperor.
3. The Abstinence of Holding: You should not avoid kindness, and should "save the life" of the public (provide good moral).
4. The Abstinence of Keeping: You should not be indulged in the secular world and in material possessions.
5. The Abstinence of Protecting: You should not steal, rob, or harm yourself by avoiding justice.
6. The Abstinence of Nurturing: You should not show your temper, and should avoid being angry with others.
7. The Abstinence of Becoming: You should not cause any harm, cheat, or steal from kind people.
8. The Abstinence of Acquiring: You should not be proud, but choose to be humble.
9. The Complete Abstinence: You should not follow two different thoughts, but concentrate and follow the Nine Genuine Abstinences with your whole heart.
You must follow the "Nine Genuine Abstinences" and "Nine Warnings" given to you by the Senior Immortals, which act as a foundation for your conduct. This is the Original Ritual that was established for the disciples of the Zheng Yi sect, to be used for True Spiritual Cultivation.
THE NINE WARNINGS
1. You should not indulge yourself in foods that are out of harmony with the Five Element Seasons.
2. You should be cautious of foods of "special" flavors.
3. You should not harm people, but be just, and follow the law.
4. You should not disrespect the elderly, and you should not disgrace your peers.
5. You should not disrespect this magical test and scriptures, but honor the Daoist sect and help those who are in need.
6. You should not look down on military people, but be upright, and view all people as equal.
7. You should be prudent in your words and should not gossip.
8. You should not talk openly about ghosts and demons.
9. You should not act sneaky, but should follow the Dao of the Right.