Not the “eight trigrams” you were expecting

Sifu David Ross

The Eight Trigrams rebellion (八卦教起義) (1813)


Another White Lotus related rebellion we will discuss is the Eight Trigrams rebellion (八卦教起義). Once again, we see the intersection of class issues, religious sectarianism and independent martial arts groups. Perhaps here we also so clearly see the questions of origin and the divisions within such rebellions.


The rebellion was under the leadership of a triumvirate; the kings of Heaven, Man and Earth. The first of these men, Lin Qing (林清), soon to be named the “King of Heaven”, was yet another character strongly fitting a JiangHu profile. Lin had been a drifter, a con artist, a gambler and had worked as a (probably fake) healer. Despite a background that hardly seem suited to religious leadership, he managed to take over a small sect known as the Tianli Sect (天理教). How exactly the Tianli Sect (天理教) was related to the White Lotus sect appears…

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