Master LAM, Kam-Chuen

 
 

Apart from the general virtue of revering our elders and predecessors, there is also a practical reason why the Chinese culture places such great importance in the concept of lineage.

 

In the East, education is treated differently.  Non-academic educations are neither public nor institutionalized.  Therefore masters and practitioners generally operate independently.  They would not take their education for granted and would treat their arts with reverence.

 

Without an institutional guideline, the general public would have problem differentiating a good artist/craftsman from a bad one.  Each artist/craftsman would be judge individually by words of mouth and by their general reputation.  In some ways, this is an effective system because the reputation is based on direct feedbacks from the public instead of a cold, impersonal, generalized guideline from a distanced institute.

 

However, this arise difficulties for the newcomers.  They do not possess any established reputations.  Here is where the importance of lineage comes in.  The only reliance, for both the newcomers and the public, is 'Where did the newcomer apprenticed from?'

 

If their master is an established figure, people would have more confidence on the students.  Hence, the newcomers would rely on their lineage until their practice/workshop becomes firmly established and they can rely on their own reputation.  In another word, the success and accomplishments of any practice/workshop is built upon the foundation of lineage.  This is one of the reasons why in the Chinese culture people revere their masters and their roots.

Importance of Lineage