Kiyoshi

Title Master of masters,Enlightened one (Kyan and Amihama),
Portfolio History Knowledge Self-perfection
Worshipers Monks,Dragons,Rokugani
Alignment Lawful Neutral
Worshiper Alignment LG,LN,N,LE
Domains Healing, Knowledge, Law, Rune, Strength
Subdomains Inevitable, Language, Memory, Restoration, Resolve, Thought
Favored Weapon Unarmed
Symbol Blue hand
Allows creation or rising of undead: No
Favored Animal(s) Snail
Sacred Colors Blue,White

Kiyoshi is the God of history, knowledge, and self-perfection

Obedience

Over the course of 1 hour, spend an equal amount of time practicing with a weapon or your unarmed strikes, reading any text that you have never read before, and braiding a length of hair while contemplating the mysteries of the multiverse. Hang the length of hair around your neck when your obedience is complete and wear it for the rest of the day. Gain a +4 sacred or profane bonus on all Knowledge checks. The type of bonus depends on your alignment—if you’re neither good nor evil, you must choose either sacred or profane the first time you perform your obedience, and this choice can’t be changed.

Dogma

Kiyoshi was once a mortal man whose intense discipline allowed him to attain enlightenment and divinity through physical, mental, and spiritual perfection. He teaches that mastery of the self allows one to master the world, but paradoxically also purges one of desire to master the world. Countless others seek to follow his path, and he encourages them to challenge their minds, bodies, and souls in order to transcend their self-imposed limits. He is also a god of knowledge; his followers are keen students of history, for experience is key to understanding and there is much to be learned from the experiences of others.

Kiyoshi knows that there's no single technique that works for everyone, and that every student must experiment and practice to find the best method for her. He is patient, forgiving, and serene, welcoming all who seek perfection as brothers and sisters. He is a teacher who leads by example rather than issuing reprimands and corrections. Meanwhile, he constantly tests his own limits as a deity, expanding his awareness and control without impinging upon the interests of others. Originating from Kyan, Kiyoshi has gained a diverse following across the Inner Sea region as those who seek discipline and self perfection look to him for inspiration.

Kiyoshi's followers rarely depict him in art because they believe that no icon can hope to live up to his perfect image. They describe him in poetry and prose as a flawless man, clothed in simple robes and wooden sandals, hairless save for a long braid. Beyond the Inner Sea region, his race often changes to reflect that of the artist; artists of the Inner Sea tend to depict him in ways that emphasize his exoticism. Kiyoshi sees no need to cloak hims elfin mystery or augment himself with divine power, so on the rare occasions when he manifests to mortals, he appears as a physically fit man matching his followers' descriptions, often sitting, kneeling patiently, or resting in a meditative pose. He's also been known to project a portion of his awareness into a statue, animating its face and speaking through it.

The Master of Masters teaches that body, mind, and spirit are inexorably linked, and that the division between them is illusory and counterproductive. Within each When Kiyoshi is pleased, he eases the path toward enlightenment-soothing pain, bestowing mental clarity, and granting insight about the next step in the worshiper's journey. Especially devout followers might catch a brief glimpse of the god's serene eyes, or come across the mysterious single imprint of a sandal in the sand. He sometimes punishes transgressions with cramps, fatigue, dizziness, and obvious setbacks on the path to self-perfection.

However, in most cases he refrains from these actions, as he believes that for his sincere followers, straying from the ideal path is punishment enough, and that it's best for those who are not sincere to leave the church and pursue other interests. Only in extreme cases-generally with mortals who are destined for greatness-does he afflict the person with an injury or disability to overcome, either to encourage her to look for an alternate perspective to a problem, or to encourage humility in someone especially prideful. Kiyoshi's holy symbol is an open blue palm within a circle, though in some lands his rebus (see sidebar) is used more often than the hand.

The Church

Kiyoshi's worship is most popular in Kyan and Amihama.While the faith has spread far and wide, it most often takes the form of solitary monks and secluded monasteries, thus keeping it largely out of the daily life of common folk.

Kiyoshi' s followers are a varied lot, for he teaches that there are many paths to perfection and each individual's path may be slightly different from the next. His primary worshipers are mystics, ascetics, and martial artists. Those who rise to the rank of master are said to go to his side to serve him forever when they die, while those who fall short of perfection are reincarnated to begin the journey anew. Though most of his followers worship him as the od of self-perfection, some pray to him as a god of history or knowledge, notably in regard to anatomy, medicine, philosophy, comparative studies of martial arts, and the history of combat and the Kyan and Amihama lands.

This secondary aspect is more prominent among elder members of the faith and those whose health prevents the rigorous exercise needed to perfect the physical self; such worshipers often become the archivists and keepers of lore, transcribing oral traditions into lasting forms to ensure the preservation of wisdom that would otherwise be lost. Rituals in Kiyoshian temples usually involve a period of meditation or prayer, sometimes with ritualized consumption of particular foods, which vanes from region to region or may be unique to a particular monastery.

Drums, gongs, rainsticks, and bells are common instruments used to mark time in a ceremony. Monasteries devoted to martial arts may consider practicing their combat forms a kind of ritual prayer. The church doesn't practice animal or human sacrifice. Physical offerings are usually seeds, bread, rice, sweat from the worshiper's brow, tea, or even folded paper goods shaped like useful objects (such as teapots, flowers, or animals). These objects are burned in a sacred fire that represents the god's spirit.

There is evidence that Kiyoshi was an ascetic for a portion of his mortal life, and some of his followers practice varying levels of asceticism in search of enlightenment. Known as sathu (meaning "done well"), these sages give up most material goods and ties to civilization to strengthen their connection with the divine. Some sathus live alone in forests, caves, or graveyards, while others live in temples to provide examples for aspiring monks.

Some wear only rags, some go naked, some paint their flesh, some carry swords, some never cut their hair, and some shave or pluck all the hair from their bodies. Sathus are greatly respected among the faithful, even by thosewho do not practice asceticism, but outsiders may view them with suspicion and believe they have supernatural talents, such as cursing people or summoning ghosts.

Some enlightened members of the faith, particularly monks, are so aware of their own bodily processes that they can sense their approaching death from old age, knowing in advance the day or even the hour they will pass. A few employ a method of self-mummification, following a diet of poisonous nuts and teas that preserves their bodies after death. These masters of life and death leave behind their bodies to watch over Kiyoshi's temples, and their dried but perfectly preserved Kiyoshian mummies may once again serve as vessels for their spirits in times of great need.

Among the most devout and powerful members of Kiyoshi's faith, a very rare few have been known to simply disappear from the world, presumably to continue their studies on another physical plane or a higher plane of consciousness. This is called "walking with the Master," as if such individuals were handpicked by Kiyoshi for a greater purpose, and such is considered a great honor. Many of these lucky individuals revisit Erin decades or centuries later as spirit guides, and at least one is known to now be a divine servant of the god.

Temples and shrines

Kiyoshian houses of worship are typically sprawling complexes that function as self- sufficient temples and monasteries. Some operate at near-poverty levels and depend on donations from pilgrims and layfolk, providing guidance and training to visitors in return. Others, especially those where the monks have taken vows of silence or dedicated themselves to similar extreme disciplines, are generally not open to the public; visitors must wait outside lest their presence disturb the energy of those within. Many temples devoted to Kiyoshi also train monks, and it's through these temples that the martial arts of distant lands have spread.Such simple temples often gain footholds in oppressive lands where commoners are not allowed to use weapons, for the expert hands of a monk can show a peasant how to disarm a knight or use a farm implement with deadly purpose.

Almost all Kiyoshian temples feature rooms for prayer, sleep, and exercise, where Kiyoshi's faithful study and train endlessly to seek perfection. A temple's leader is the resident closest to self perfection, normally determined through collective meditation but sometimes through combat or some other esoteric metric. In most cases, the leader is a guide rather than a tyrant, though some temples tend to be more aggressive in their outlooks, requiring combat challenges (sometimes of a bloody or even deadly variety) to ascend to higher status. Each temple is sufficient unto itself, its masters responsible for guiding others down a path of enlightenment and opening the doors of their minds. In general, the priests within a given temple share certain viewpoints regarding the proper way to achieve mastery, and some maintain rivalries with other temples that teach competing philosophies.

Taboos

If you are serious about following Kiyoshi, you may commit yourself to certain mental, physical, and dietary restrictions. If you fail in these things, your only punishment is to try again—you are your own taskmaster, and cutting corners only postpones your enlightenment. Fail too many times, however, and you may no longer be welcome in the temples of Kiyoshi the point of the religion is self-control, and those who lack the willpower to manage their own excesses are encouraged to go elsewhere until they find it.

A Priest's Role

To devote oneself to service of Kiyoshi is to devote oneself to unswerving pursuit of perfection. While many are attracted to the ideals of his faith, few have the strength or rigor to pursue the path for long. The claims of the world are many and pressing, and their grasp demands that the student pull his gaze from the light of truth: families, debts, conflicts, and even old memories reach out to drag students back to their former lives. Kiyoshi understands this, and asks only that his followers continue to strive toward perfection with their body, their wits, and most of all their unquenchable spirit. Though his clergy predominantly consists of monks and clerics, Kiyoshi welcomes all who appreciate his ideals and seek to develop their spiritual growth into his clergy. Sorcerers, wizards, and academic sages developing their mental acuity may ignore the physical aspects of his discipline, while others focus on them to the exclusion of all others.

Magic-obsessed individuals, however, are regularly disappointed most find the lore gathered by Kiyoshians too holistic to prove practically useful, and are instead driven toward Cadmus's faith. So enlightened is Kiyoshi that even good and evil have ceased to have meaning for him. The Master of Masters does not appear to care to what ends his teachings are used, so long as the individual continues to strive for her own concept of perfection. The rare druid-priests of Kiyoshi help civilized folk reconnect with their natural instincts and extol the emulation of various animals as the most natural way to achieve self-perfection.

Kiyoshipriests feel a kinship for ancestor and lore oracles, particularly those cursed with blindness or lameness; though these oracles are generally not official participants in the church hierarchy, they're welcome in Kiyoshi's temples. Kiyoshi's inquisitors are a grim, protective group of stealthy investigators who track down and destroy versions of the god's teachings corrupted by minions of [Yarnos or Zephyra, who tempt the faithful with false paths to perfection. These inquisitors are usually trained in hunting devils and undead to better deal with these common enemies. They destroy documentation of these deceptive methods to prevent others from using it, instruct misled followers on how their practices will lead to failure, and put an end to those creatures responsible for such temptation.

Priests are responsible for aiding others on the path to self-perfection, by guiding followers with insights and shepherding them to their own personal paths through rigorous questioning and encouragement. While the specifics of each person's path vary, all worshipers of Kiyoshi require good health and clear minds, so priests avoid excess gluttony, and the use of intoxicants and other vices that dull the senses. However, some sects teach that drunkenness and certain drugs help expand the user's consciousness, and priests of these sects dose themselves on a regular basis.

Even though clerics and druids can wear armor, many choose not to so as not to hamper the movement of their bodies (though there is no stigma for wearing armor, as that is yet another reflection on how personal path differs). Priests who aren't part of a temple may barter or sell their services: masters of a specialized diet might sell rare herbs used for medicinal or cultural purposes, practitioners of exotic martial arts might work at a fighting academy, and others might teach at a university or lecture to members of other faiths on various topics

Kiyoshi often challenged himself both physically and mentally on his path to enlightenment, and many of his priests attempt similar trials in imitation of their master. Most trials last a year, though some Iroran priests embrace challenges that last for longer periods. Such tests of body, mind, and spirit can range from living on rice and water, taking a vow of silence, counting every waking breath, and so on. A typical day for a priest begins with exercise, a meal, meditation, and study or debate, with these activities repeating throughout the day.

Depending on priests' chosen paths, they may emphasize one of these activities more than others, or eschew certain activities entirely. Some priests meditate for days, pausing only to eat a bit of bread and water periodically, while others eat raw meat every hour and spend the rest of their time lifting heavy stones to build strength. Priests train their bodies and minds, and as such they often have ranks in Acrobatics, Climb, and Swim, along with ranks in a wealth of Knowledge skills.

Kiyoshi's faith has few taboos common to all temples, but individual paths require commitment to certain mental, physical, and dietary restrictions. If a priest fails in these things, her only punishment is to try again-she is her own taskmaster, and cutting corners only postpones her enlightenment. If she fails too many times, however, she may no longer be welcome in the temples of Kiyoshi the point of the religion is self-control, and those who lack the willpower to manage their own excesses are encouraged to go elsewhere, though they're welcomed back if they find such inner strength.

Holy Text

Kiyoshi's sacred book is Unbinding the Fetters, a lengthy tome describing meditation, physical exercises, diet, and other methods to cleanse the body, free the mind, purify the senses, and eventually transcend the limitations of the mortal form. The book is long and difficult, filled with aphorisms, metaphors, and riddles designed to challenge the reader's preconceptions. Each sect tends to use its own version of the book, adding chapters that clarify and expand upon its preferred path to enlightenment. Though one sect may not agree with another sect's amendments, the main sections of the book are used by the entire religion, and some scholars of the church collect different versions to compare and contrast the various practices.

Holiday

Kiyoshi recognizes many paths to enlightenment, and his diverse followers celebrate countless holidays, which vary from sect to sect. A temple espousing the invigorating power of sunlight might celebrate the summer solstice, while one promoting the health aspects of raw grains might observe the Harvest Feast; some scholars claim that any particular day of the year is a holy day for at least one sect of Kiyoshi's faith. Despite these varied practices, most churches use the Master's Rebus in their holiday celebrations-worshipers draw the rebus on thin cloth or paper and set it afloat on a lake or river to collide with others, sink, or be carried out of sight, as a metaphor for the interaction of individual lives.

Relation With Other Religions

Kiyoshi seeks to avoid interfering with other divine beings unless they threaten his work or his people, as he respects other deities and recognizes what is correct for him may not be so for them. He frowns on those who tear down or corrupt the accomplishments of others, and has an ongoing feud with Yarnos because the Prince of Darkness likes to taunt his followers with false shortcuts to perfection. Unlike the Ascended, Kiyoshi became a god without the aid of a magical artifact-in effect, he considers gavet, Samaria, and Nemyth to have cheated in their ascension. but is polite enough to keep his opinion to himself unless he feels they are behaving arrogantly. The attitude causes mild rivalry between his faith and those of the Ascended, a tension that takes the form of an ongoing feud with Nemyth-Kiyoshi seeks to share knowledge, while the god of secrets tries to hide it away and often endangers his followers. This has led to many bloody encounters between Kiyoshi's followers and secret hoarding Nemites.

Their objectivity and devotion to perfection and balance often cause other churches to call upon them to mediate interfaith disputes, especially when temples are built in areas new to a particular faith and there are clashes with religions already long established in those locales. Kiyoshians oblige such requests if they believe they may help lead members of those faiths closer to enlightenment, but may regret the time and focus taken away from their own pursuits if the disputants are too petty or bureaucratic to see reason.

The following content has been adopted from the god, Irori, created by Paizo. Due to the game's individual setting, races, names and locations may be altered or removed entirely. Please recognize that these gods are not canon to the world of Golarion, so any comments, complaints, or concerns can be directed to the game's admin staff for further inquiry and answers. Thank you in advance.

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