Shandorianism (or Shandorian Dhakranism) is a more martial and physically-focused form of the Way of Enlightenment known as Dhakranism.
The dhakra, or simply “The Way”, has its roots in many of the religious and philosophical practices of the ancient pre-Imperial tribes that wandered throughout the world during The Scattering. These practices are primarily of Southron origin. As these beliefs began to coalesce and breakaway from the dogmas of Mazranism and other religious systems, its adherents began to identify themselves as Dhakranites, or “followers of the Way”. They moved to the southern regions of Achera where they erected their temples and shrines along the Hanan Mountains.
Later, a monk-practitioner of the dhakra proposed to his disciples a new interpretation of the Eight-Fold Path, one that included precepts for the maintenance of both body and spirit and for the active protection of the weak or powerless. This monk, Shandor Azumed, drew more disciples and his splinter group of Shandorians left the mainstream temples of Dhakranism and formed their own sect, based primarily in the Jorani Mountains region of northern Achera.
As in mainstream Dhakranism, The Shandorian Way does not hold with the casting down of other practices or paths to enlightenment. It only claims to be one of many. Therefore, its adherents maintain good relations with most other religious/philosophic practices.
Nevertheless, many adherents to the Dhakranism do not believe that Shandorianism is a true path to enlightenment as it flaunts the central precepts regarding harmlessness and non-violence.
Sorcery is a power that is not part of the Eight-Fold Path (the central tenets of the Way) and there neither abhorred nor venerated. It is a part of this world and therefore probably natural and as prone to good as to bad.
The Eight-Fold Path
The Eight-Fold Path is comprised of the central tenets of the dhakra, or Way of Enlightenment:
- Wisdom of Vision: Viewing reality as it is, not as it appears to be
- Wisdom of Intention: Intend humility, freedom, and harmlessness
- Wisdom of Speech: Speak in a truthful, non-harmful way
- Wisdom of Action: Act in a non-harmful way, but protect the weak and powerless
- Wisdom of Livelihood: Live in a non-harmful way—including non-harmful to your own body. Shandorians work to maintain a harmony between bodily health and spiritual health.
- Wisdom of Effort: Always make an effort to improve both body and spirit
- Wisdom of Mindfulness: Be aware of true reality with a clear conscience, without craving or aversion
- Wisdom of Behavior: Techniques detailed as the Five Precepts
- Refrain from taking life (though Shandorians do practice martial exercises to protect the weak and maintain their bodies, they try to never take a life)
- Refrain from taking that which is not given
- Refrain from sensual misconduct
- Refrain from lying, speaking truth always
- Refrain from intoxicants that steer your mind from the Wisdom of mindfulness
Worshipers and Clergy
Some privately follow the Way in their lives, seeking enlightenment in that way. Others seek to attain enlightenment through following a Master, one who traveled further along the Way than themselves, becoming their Disciples. Such masters and disciples are known as monks (unlike pure Dhakranites, Shandorian Dhakranites are considered to be of the Monk class—not Cleric).
Temples and Shrines
Temples to Shandorian Dhakranism are centers of learning. Designed to house many disciples and masters, there are great open spaces for lectures and many spaces for contemplation. There are also many gymnasiums and places in which to practice the martial arts.
The monks live simple, austere lives, focused more on enlightenment than shallow comforts.
Many of the techniques perfected by Shandorian Monks over the centuries have been recorded on scrolls and in tomes of great wisdom. These are are rare and held with great reverence in the temples.