Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Mimajiao, or the Code of Spirituality, is a practice which is little known in Western countries, to the point where there is next to nothing on the Internet regarding it. It is only by a stroke of luck that I managed to catch wind of it, and it's been a personal fascination ever since.

Mimajiao was an informal method of preaching the Christian Gospel used throughout the People's Republic of China prior to the 1990s. It was developed by native Chinese who converted while working or studying abroad. Teachers of mimajiao illustrated Bible stories by drawing analogies between characters in classic Chinese stories and Biblical figures.

I first heard of mimajiao through a roommate, a student from Szechuan. I poked around a bit, finding next to nothing. At the same time, there were plenty of Chinese and Korean students who'd at least heard of it. In grad school, I received permission to write a thesis on mimajiao, using first-hand accounts from people in the community. Apparently, I aroused some interest, because the following year I received a grant to travel to China for a month to interview formed mimajiao. When I returned to the United States, I found even more messages from people wanting to discuss their experiences with me.

My final thesis is a work in progress, but in the meantime I thought I would share a bit about this fascinating practice. The thesis will ultimately cover three novels - Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West and Water Margin - which served as foundations for mimajiao teachings. Over the next few months, I will briefly describe how these lessons worked. I hope you will find this as interesting as I did.