Tiandihui literally means the society, hui, of the heaven, tian, and the earth, di.
It was said that this organization was a standard anti-government group, the goal of which
was to overthrow the Cing and bring back the Ming, fanCing fuMing. Members of this
organization all practiced its protocol to address heaven as their father and earth as
their mother. This secret organization was also called, Sanhehui, or Hongmen.
"Hongmen" literally means the Hong gate, and there were many explanations
concerning "Hong." One of the common sayings was that the title of the first
emperor's reign was called "Hong-wu." Some believed that the Chinese character
of "Hong" is the character "Han" without the middle part, which means
According to the book, Plans for National Reconstruction by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the Tiandihui
was organized in the reign of the Emperor Kangsi of the Cing Dynasty. It says that prior
to the Kangsi Period, the Han Chinese people, who refused to obey the Manchurian rulers,
ceaselessly fought against the new government, without caring about the sacrifice of their
lives. After Kangsi ascended the throne and the older generation were mostly dead, the few
survivals, who had strong feelings about the Ming, realized that it was impossible to
dethrone the Cing in the near future, so they organized the Tiandihui society to teach
their offspring about Han Chinese nationalism.
The article, 'Luelun Tiandihui De Ciyuan' meaning 'A
Brief Essay Concerning the Origin of the Tiandihui,' by He Jhengcing says that the
Tiandihui had a close connection with the expansion of the Taoist religion. The article
says that the development of the Tiandihui paralleled that of the religious expansion,
which started in the Wanli reign period and reached its high peak at the end of the Ming
Dynasty. The Cing laws, which strictly forbade the people to become sworn brothers (sworn-
brotherhood was practiced in organizations such as Tiandihui), punished the offenders
starting at the beginning of the Cing, the Shujhih reign, and became stronger in the
Kangsi reign. So the article believes that the Tiandihui was formed between the Shunjhih
and Kangsi reigns.