The Empire is a not only a political organisation but a religious one, chiefly because politics itself is an expression of religion under Six Caravans. Through good governance, it enables people to fulfil their desires. Through the law, it reinforces morality.
Morality is important for three reasons: as a universal code, it erodes provukă; as a code that protects, it enables all to fulfil their desires; and as a code that obstructs and chastens, it teaches constancy and moderation. The law is not always moral, but it is as close an analogue to morality as can be achieved.
The Empire is also responsible for overseeing and protecting all the other Caravans to attenuating tsaien.
The family exists to protect and nurture children, and for the period of childhood an individual is entirely dependent on their parents not only for physical well-being but also for their spiritual advancement. The parents have a responsibility to impart morality, constancy, piety, and knowledge of the saints. In return, the love and devotion of a parent or grandparent for their child brings them closer to weakening provukă.
The monastery is organisationally part of the Shonimô, but its intent is different – where the Shonimô aims to improve the public, the monastery improves its own members. Here, through rigid internal laws and the exclusion of the chaotic external world, monks may more easily weaken their provukă and learn constancy. Monasteries are forbidden from holding slaves or allowing lay brethren, in order to weaken their political and economic power. They have, however, two degrees: the inner core of self-governing monks and a periphery of talnam, ‘disciples’, who are bound to serve the monks as a child obeys their parents, for a span of years, or even for an entire lifetime.
In general, only the wealthiest and most powerful families may enter a member into a monastery, although the institution also serves a punitive role: those facing stern legal penalties (particularly execution) may escape them by entering a monastery.
To symbolise monasticism, the monks are usually branded on their face, and may have their noses removed. Leaving a monastery carries the death sentence. It is only available for men.
The talking group was recognised as a Caravan in part to appease anti-church elements hostile to monasteries, and in part to recognise changes both in society and in the church. At the same time as the church was building larger and larger cathedrals, focusing on mass abnegation, so too the literate and independent class was growing in size and importance. Such people no longer wished to be entirely led by the church, and the church no longer had the resources to do so, and thus some parts of the responsibility of the church were given to the people themselves.
The talking group is a group of devotees who gather to discuss themselves. Through confession to the group, people are brought to morality through shame, and to a greater understanding of their own repressed desires. Through discussion, dilemmas in life can be resolved, and desires fulfilled or dissolved. The dissolution of desires (which may be performed by clergy as well as talking groups) involves determining the underlying nature of a desire, behind the specifics, and is used when a desire cannot practically, or morally, be accomplished. For instance, a woman may show distress as a result of a repressed desire from a past life that her children prosper. This desire cannot be met – those children are long since dead – but it can be dissolved: once the desire is recognised, it can be replaced (if provukă is sufficiently weakened) by the analogous desire that her own current (or future) children prosper, as the desire that descendents prosper is the core of the specific desire. Meanwhile, by hearing the intimate stories of others confidentially, an individual can awake to greater empathy.
The talking group is not entirely independent from the Shonimô – by law, each group must have present at least one trained ‘advisor’ clergyman, and they are usually created by, and hosted by, a local shuni. Commonly, membership is determined by patron saint; in this way a single talking group can involve people of many social backgrounds.
Six Caravans, despite its name, does not claim that there are only six caravans for the kingdom of attenuation – rather, it insists on the legitimacy and importance of those six, which act as models for other relationships. In general, any disciplining, educative or non-self-focused relationship or institution may be seen as beneficial, even if not of equal status with the acknowledged Caravans.