The introduction provides some background information about the Yiguandao, focusing on its historical roots, its ideology (spiritual lineages/daotong, syncretism, cosmology, millenarian eschatology), and its history across the twentieth century. The aim is to get a better understanding of what the Yiguandao has now become, that is to say, a transnational religious organization with a global footprint that currently attempts to reestablish itself in Mainland China where its expansion was strong before 1949. Mainland China, precisely, is the spiritual wilderness that the group ambitions to reclaim by promoting its Way of Heaven (Tiandao). The introduction also addresses the issue of fieldwork and more specifically participant observation and its difficulties in the context of new religions.
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