The Original Meaning of Dao'Dao' is a concept which appeared very early on; however, initially it was not a philosophical notion. Originally, 'Dao' Referred to the Way Tread by People The ancient dictionary Explanations to the Chinese Characters1 defines Dao as the way or raod along which one walks. There are many kinds of roads, such as branching roads and roads going in all directions, but only roads leading in a single, definite direction can be called 'Dao'. This original meaning was then extended to include the notions of 'rule' or 'law'. For example, the movement of the heavens follows regular laws, and is thus called the 'Dao (Way) of Heaven' 2. During the Spring and Autumns era, there was the saying 'The Way of Heaven is bright, and as regular as the Sun and Moon'. This meant that the movement of the heavens was very clear and could be observed through the movement of the Sun and Moon. Thus the ancient notion of the Way of Heaven acquired the abstract significance of 'law'. The term 'Dao of Heaven' gradually became a rich concept, until it lost its original meaning and came to designate natural laws and principles. Laozi's Creative Use of the Concept of Dao Deep elaboration of the concept of Dao began with Laozi 1. Laozi made Dao2 into the core of his philosophical system; hence, his school came to be known as the 'Daoist School' 3. The Laozi was the first book to elaborate on the concept of 'Dao' Laozi, whose surname was Li and whose name was Er, lived during the Spring and Autumns period. He left to posterity a book of approx. 5000 characters, divided into two chapters, which people called the 'Laozi', meaning Venerable Master. After the Tang dynasty, it was called the Perfect Book of Dao and its Virtue4. In this book, Dao is considered as the origin of the world, and hence is regarded as the highest final category. Laozi considered Dao to be an undifferentiated whole which existed prior to the creation of Heaven and Earth: "it is made of undifferentiated substance, and was born before Heaven and Earth". From it are derived Heaven, Earth and all beings. Laozi gave a complete description of the different attributes of Dao. His thought was later greatly elaborated by his successors. From the pre-Qin era onwards, Daoist philosophers engaged in a great many reflections and discussions on Laozi's ideas: over one thousand commentaries were written on the Laozi alone, while even more works were written based on his ideas. Hence, expositions of Dao are rich and varied. The Main Meanings of the Concept Dao The Meaning of Dao Firstly, Dao is the eternally existing Origin of the world: it knows no limits in space or time. According to Laozi, it is an undifferentiated whole which precedes the existence of Heaven and Earth. It is empty, silent and formless; it grows independently and is inexhaustible; and eternally revolves without ever stopping. It is the Source of all beings. In the Laozi1 it is said: "There was something undifferentiated and all-embracing, Which existed before Heaven and Earth. Soundless and formless, it depends on nothing external And stays inexhaustible. It operates with a circular motion And remains inextinguishable. It may be considered the mother of all things under heaven" 2. It is so ancient, and so fundamentally different from all other beings, that it does not have a name, and cannot be described in ordinary language. However, in order to describe it, we cannot but give it a name, so it is called 'Dao'3, or also 'Great'4. Another Daoist theorist, Zhuang Zhou, also said in the chapter "The Great Patriarch" of the Book of Master Zhuang5, that "Dao is a reality that can be trusted even though it has neither behaviour nor form; it can be transmitted from heart to heart, but not by words; it can be obtained but not seen. It is its own root, and existed prior to Heaven and Earth. It created the Spirits and Divinities, and gave birth to Heaven and Earth. It is higher than the Supreme Ultimate yet is not high; it is under than the Six Directions6 yet is not deep; it precedes all creation yet is not old; it is farther than the remotest antiquity yet is not distant". The above makes clear that Dao is the origin of all existence; it is both the first and last of all beings, and knows no limits in time. Dao is omnipresent: The above also touches on space: according to Zhuangzi, Dao is also beyond limitations of space. The ancient concept of the Six Directions7 includes the four cardinal directions as well as above and below - in fact encompassing all space. That Dao is 'Under the Six Directions' means that Dao is great beyond all limitations of space. Even earlier, Laozi had said that Dao permeates our surroundings, so that it is impossible to say if it is to our left or to our right. Dao is a continuous and unbroken existence: should you wish to greet it, you would not see its head; should you wish to follow it, you would not find its tail. In a nutshell, Dao is omnipresent, and is not limited to any defined physical space. The substance of Dao is Non-Being Dao is Non-Being8, an existence which follows no laws. Dao's transcendent and unlimited nature sets it apart from all beings possessing form, matter and a specific place in space-time. All concrete beings follow specific laws. Dao, on the other hand, is formless, and is not bound by any concrete laws. It is pure Emptiness9 and Non-Being. The first chapter of the Laozi states that Dao is nameless, and is the Ancestor of Heaven and Earth. This implies that Dao is nameless. The Laozi also states that "You look at it but cannot see it; It is called the imageless. You listen to it but cannot hear it, It is called the soundless. You touch it but cannot find it, It is called the formless. These three cannot be further inquired into, For they are the inseparable One. The One is not bright when it is up, And not dark when it is down. Infinite and indistinct, it cannot be named, Thus reverting to a state of non-thingness. This is called shape without a shape, Or image without image. It is also called the Vague and the Elusive."10 It is thus clear that Dao is formless and imageless, and cannot be attained by human sense organs. According to Laozi, all creatures emerge from 'Being'11, but 'Being' emerges from 'Non-Being'. This Non-Being refers to Dao. Other Daoist scriptures also often use the terms 'Non-Being', 'Emptiness' and so on to designate Dao. In sum, Dao is nameless, formless, and substanceless; it is Non-Being and Emptiness. This is the substance of Dao. Avatars of Dao The avatars of Dao are the Lordly Spirits and Deities12: Dao is Emptiness and Non-Being, but it also has a divine nature. In a state of dispersion, it is formless and imageless Vital Breath 13, but when these are concentrated, they become Deities. In Daoism, Laozi is one such Deity. According to the Tablet of the Venerable Master's Holy Mother14 of the Eastern Han dynasty, "Laozi is Dao". The Mighty Commonwealth of Orthodox Oneness tradition15 founded by Zhang Daoling also clearly states that Dao is Oneness, which is dispersed as Vital Breath and reunited as the Supreme Venerable Sovereign16. The term 'Supreme Venerable Sovereign' is a respectful title given to Laozi in Daoism. There are three higher deities in Daoism: the Sovereign of the Heavenly Treasure 17, also called the Primeval Lord of Heaven18; the Sovereign of the Numinous Treasure19, also called the Supreme Sovereign of the Great Dao20; and the Sovereign of the Divine Treasure21, also called the Supreme Venerable Sovereign. All are avatars of Dao, that is to say, all are emanations of the Vital Breath of Oneness22. The Birth of the Deities of the Nine Heavens23 describes the emergence of these three deities as follows: the Sovereign of the Heavenly Treasure is the Lordly Spirit of the Great Grotto 24, whose Original Vital Breath25 is the Elder of the Heavenly Treasure26. This Elder27 is the Nine Thousand Nine Hundred and Ninety-Nine Billion Lofty Vital Breaths of the Supreme Jade Void of the Grotto of Chaos28, which collected themselves into the Sovereign of the Heavenly Treasure in the first year of the Dragon Han29 Kalpa (universal cycle extending from the origination of Heaven and Earth till their destruction). The Sovereign of the Numinous Treasure is the Lordly Spirit of Pervasive Mystery30, whose Original Vital Breath is the Elder of the Numinous Treasure 31. This Elder is the Nine Thousand Nine Hundred and Ninety-Nine Billion Mysterious Vital Breaths of the Supreme Purple Void of the Crimson Chaos32, which transmuted themselves into the the Sovereign of the Numinous Treasure at the beginning of the Dragon Han Kalpa. The Sovereign of the Divine Treasure is the Lordly Spirit of Pervasive Spirit 33, whose Original Vital Breath is the Elder of the Divine Treasure34. This Elder is the Nine Thousand Nine Hundred and Ninety-Nine Billion Vital Breaths of the Most High Pristine Void of Quiet Obscurity in Communion with the Origin 35, which became the Sovereign of the Divine Treasure during the Crimson Light 36 Kalpa. After attaining Dao, Man can become a deity Dao can transmute itself into deities, while Man can Cultivate Dao 37 and Attain Dao38: hence, man can also become a deity. Deities which originated as people are called Immortals 39. All people can Cultivate Dao, and can therefore all potentially become Immortals. In this way, the Daoist pantheon is open and limitless. The Major Functions of Dao The Principal Functions of Dao Though Dao is Emptiness1 and Non-Being2, it is the origin of the world and is the generator of all movement and evolution in the universe. The Creative Function of the Great Dao The Laozi says: the Dao, though nameless, is the origin of Heaven and Earth; it also has a name, and is the mother of all beings. ("Non-Being is the Origin of Heaven and Earth; Being 3 is the mother of the myriad things."4) It also says that these two (the nameless and the named) are actually the same thing, but when manifested have different names. Together, they can be called the 'Mysterious'5, which is mystery upon mystery, and the gate to all changes. ("These two have the same source but different names, They both may be called mysterious and profound. The mysterious mystery Is the doorway to all subtleties"6). The Sublime Book of the Supreme Venerable Sovereign's Teachings on Eternal Purity and Tranquility7 thus says that the Great Dao is formless, and gives birth to Heaven and Earth. The Dao does not interfere8, but is not inactive9 The creative function of Dao does not express itself by sending down specific orders. It does not interfere, but lets each being follow its won nature and spontaneously grow and develop, from NonBeing to Being and from Being to Non-Being. This is called 'Non-Interference' 10. All beings have an end, and their functions may only express themselves through action. But for this reason, their functions are always limited, and cannot be maintained indefinitely. Laozi said that the great wind cannot blow over the whole sky, and the rain cannot fall the whole night. The actions of Heaven and Earth cannot be maintained forever, much less those of people. The Great Dao is different: it lets the myriad beings to be born and develop, while remaining in a state of Non-Interference - it can never be exhausted. For this reason, Laozi said: Dao does not interfere, but is not inactive. The Great Dao gives birth to all, but never takes possession of them; it accomplishes everything, but claims no credit for itself. Those who study and practise Dao should also follow the Great Dao, and seek after Purity and Tranquility11, and Non-Interference. The law of motion of Dao is movement toward the opposite Laozi's conception of Dao is rich in dialectical thinking. He considered that Dao is in a process of constant cyclical motion, always following the law of return to the opposite. Concepts such as Being and Non-Being, high and low, long and short, before and after are all relative and mutually generating. Fortune and misfortune depend on each other, each always turning into its opposite. Who can master the turning point of these transformations? Why is Dao never in a normal state? Normality will become abnormality, the good shall turn to evil. These deep thoughts were not only inherited by successive generations of later Daoists, but also had a deep influence on the entire body of Chinese philosophy. On the foundation of Laozi's thought, later Daoist scholars developed concepts such as 'the Dao of Heaven is Return from the Ultimate' 12, which has become a famous maxim regarding the Chinese approach to reality. Related to this, Daoism considers that softness can defeat hardness. Laozi said that softness is an expression of Dao. For example, water is the softest thing under Heaven, but when it attacks hard objects, none can resist it in the end. Therefore the softest thing in the world can circulate freely amidst the hardest things. Self-effacement and softness are the basic principles of Daoist methodology and approach to people and things; they also count among Daoism's unique characteristics. The Significance of Spontaneity Spontaneity is an attribute of Dao The Laozi1 says that 'Man follows Earth, Earth follows Heaven, Heaven follows Dao, Dao follows Spontaneity". Dao is the ultimate existence; no other existence is above it or precedes it. Therefore, it does not follow anything but itself. Though Dao is its own ruler, this does not mean that it intentionally rules other things, but that it respects the natural development of all beings and of the world. According to Heshang Gong's Han dynasty interpretation of 'Dao follows Spontaneity', "the nature of Dao is Spontaneity2; it is ruled by nothing." Opposition between Man and Spontaneity All beings have their own nature, which is spontaneous. Here, the term 'Spontaneous' is equivalent to the commonly used term 'Natural'3. The Perfect Man of Nanhua4 considered that cows and horses originally lived in a state of natural spontaneity, but that when men forced them to wear harnesses, they infringed on the spontaneity of the cows and horses. Man also originally had his own nature, but has been reined in by fame and locked up by fortune, to the point where he has lost his natural spontaneity. Spontaneity and Non-Interference are identical Daoism advocates Purity5, Tranquility6, and Non-Interference7. Dao does not interfere and does not give orders, but spontaneously generates the myriad beings. To achieve Non-Interference and to unite with Dao is to achieve a state of Spontaneity. Chapter 17 of the Laozi states: "The best kind of rulers are those whose existence Is merely known by the people below them. The next-best are those who are loved and praised. The nest-best are those who are feared. The next-best are those who are despised. If trust in others is not sufficient, It will be unrequited. (The best rulers) are cautious, And seldom issue orders. When tasks are accomplished and affairs completed, The common people will say, Whether it be the most spiritual of men or the most debased of things. For this reason. Virtue and the sometimes-used concept of 'Dao-Nature'3 are identical. and consider them to be absolutely void and still. Therefore Daoists often refer to Dao and Virtue as a single concept. Virtue. but rather that we should avoid excessive human interference. It does not oppose action in conformity with the Great Dao 3 nor actively Practising4 and Cultivating Dao5. These pursuits have left a rich heritage in the history of Chinese technology. Generally speaking. is also formless. This Dao-Nature reflected by all beings is Virtue. The first sentence of the chapter <<Kaizong Mingyi>> of the Book of Secret Correspondences6 opens with the sentence <<Observe the Way (Dao) of Heaven and Follow its Motions>>. it is said that "Dao begets all things. hygienics (Nourishing Life12. Daoist adepts actively attempt to apply the principles of the Great Dao and to experiment with different methods to improve oneself (cultivate an Immortal Body 10 or prolong one's life) and control external objects and spirits (often by dispatching Spirits 11 to effect changes in the myriad beings). Any action which does not conform to natural Spontaneity. . while Virtue is the reflection of Dao in all beings. everything has Dao. Observing the Way of Heaven and Following its Motion The concept of <<Dao Follows Spontaneity1>> and the principle of Non-Interference2 do not imply that one should remain inactive. This active pursuit of the Great Dao in order to control external objects also established the unique characteristic of Daoism as rich in practical Daoist Arts 13. Virtue can be said to be each concrete being's attainment of Dao. grow. Virtue and Dao are reciprocal concepts. and let the ruled follow their nature. In the Pivotal Meaning of the Daoist Doctrine2 by Meng Anpai of the Tang dynasty. it is said that Dao is 'omnipresent'. in bricks and tiles. medicine and pharmacology. In the fifty-first chapter of the Laozi. and is the opposite of loss of Dao. it is said that "Dao is not only in me. much of which has significance as contributions to world civilization. Dao is omnipresent and all creatures have Dao-Nature. That is to say."We simply follow the way of spontaneity"8. The purpose of knowing the Way of Heaven is to grasp its laws in order to apply them. Let the rulers not interfere. in stools and urine. let the common people and the myriad beings be born. has no chance of success and can only said to be reckless and wild. Virtue is the attainment of Dao As the reflection of Dao in all beings. and Virtue fosters them. and the ultimate abstruse Ancestor of all beings. This means on the one hand to control external objects and improve oneself. Of course. This is the basic theoretical foundation of all different Daoist Magical Arts 8 of Cultivating Immortality9. develop and change according to their own nature. The so-called 'Way of Heaven'7 refers to the basic laws of the entire universe. On this basis. The Significance of Virtue The Daoist concept of 'Virtue'1 is rich in meaning. the foundation of Observing the Way of Heaven and Following its Motions is based on Dao and Spontaneity. all beings have it". and also to be able to follow the movements of Heaven. any form of forced human intervention which goes against natural laws. it is said that Virtue is attainment. Dao is formless and imageless. In the Book of Master Zhuang4. and can be found in mole crickets and ants." Dao is the fundamental origin of all beings. In the Book of Western Ascension5. as the manifestation of Dao in all concrete things. To 'observe' means to investigate and experience. and in this way he has no true Virtue. The presence or absence of Virtue depends on unity with Dao. consequently. Expression of the Unity of Dao and Virtue Since Virtue1 is the reflection of Dao2. we can say that the effect of Dao on the nurturing and ordering of all beings is played out through Virtue. they always seek the outer forms of Virtue and miss its true significance. Virtue and Dao are but two aspects of a single category.Virtue is the effect of Dao Virtue is the reflection of Dao. hence. they are not one. they are both one. The man of superior Virtue is not conscious of his Virtue The Laozi states that "The man of superior Virtue is not conscious of his Virtue. and. They are one but not one. Wei Zong of the Song dynasty wrote in the Imperial Commentary to the Book of Western Ascension3 that "no being does not have Dao. He who incessantly Cultivates Virtue and unites with Dao. And in this way he really possesses Virtue. the Book of Spontaneity7." One's Virtue can only be realized and developed through one's own efforts. while Virtue exists in all concrete things and governs Being 8. Dao is expressed as my Virtue Dao is in all beings. But those who are of a low level are always mindful of Virtue and attached to it. Of course. Hence. Dao is expressed as my Virtue. one must seek harmony with Virtue. they are different and thus two. As for the veneration of Dao and the honouring of Virtue. Virtue is the Dao in oneself. it is said that: "all beings venerate Dao and honour Virtue. two but not two. Cultivating Dao6 and Cultivating Virtue are thus one and the same thing. they are not two. as far as people are concerned. says that "to attain Virtue is to obtain Dao-Fruit8". Therefore." 11 . and Dao is the root of Virtue. It comes spontaneously. but as different expressions of the same reality. but merely reflecting on different situations and functions. It is not out of obedience to any orders. Those who have a high level of cultivation of Virtue always act spontaneously in a natural state of Dao. the first scroll of the Pivotal Meaning of the Daoist Doctrine quotes Master Xuanqing as saying that "Dao and Virtue are two significances of a single reality. in seeking Dao. but owing to their different functions. it is not. Another important scripture. therefore. Fundamentally speaking. They are not attached to Virtue but conform to it spontaneously. The man of inferior Virtue never loses sight of his Virtue. we are here not separating Dao and Virtue into two separate things. Dao is Emptiness6 and governs Non-Being7. initially becomes a virtuous man." Although this statement seems contradictory. in myself. actually. From this perspective. what is commonly called a 'Lofty Immortal'10. All men possess the Virtue of Dao. In capter 51 of the Laozi. he attains to perfection and becomes a Perfect Man 9. In the same way. after steady progress. The Laozi5 says that "the expression of the Great Virtue can be achieved only by conformity with Dao". one must Cultivate Virtue4 in order to unite with Dao. so that one's thoughts. words and deeds are all in conformity with Virtue." Looking at their functions and effects. but care for the collective good of all people.The nature of Dao and Virtue is such that in seeking Virtue. nor should one be attached. Indifference to fame or gain Since all men inherently possess Virtue. people will ignore one's physical infirmities. Daoists do not seek reward for establishing merit among the people. is called 'Merit'18. This type of deed performed for society and for the people. were rich in Virtue. empty. but it is formless and imageless. the more they distance themselves from Dao." This is very different from the attitudes of common people. His Virtue will gradually guide and elevate the masses. This type of merit is called 'Hidden Virtue' 19 or 'Hidden Merit'20. they distance themselves from Virtue. the more people will be attracted to him. Distracted by fame and wealth. and advocate universal salvation. The Perfect Man of Nanhua said: "When I speak of detachment. Daoists must therefore accumulate merits 14 and establish Virtue15. then all men should be virtuous. I mean that one must not harm oneself with positive or negative emotions. and embrace one's spontaneous Dao. but must be sought after internally. the more they turn their backs on Virtue. Virtuous people do not display their emotions. one cannot merely conform to outward forms. and yet. and their minds come to pursue external glory and splendor. Therefore. much less flaunt oneself and self-righteously consider oneself to have Virtue. unexpectedly. Some of them were even lacking arms or legs. and do not seek to be known for their good deeds. Virtue is an inner state Virtue exists in all beings. though ugly in appearance. Such people. they devote themselves to "clean their spirit till it is white as snow. If the mind is free of preconceived ideas. attain one's inner nature. much less are they tied down by sensual passions. They purify their inner world and clear out all sorts of outer disturbances. On the contrary. one should follow spontaneity without adding to it. people are subject to many external stimuli. A highly virtuous person does not flaunt himself. fortune or sensual pleasure. The Book of Western Ascension13 criticizes those "common people who crave to protect their lives through passion and covetousness". free of pressure. The Perfect Man of Nanhua12 (Zhuangzi) described many individuals who. still and unsullied. Daoists do not pursue personal fame and fortune. and discard vulgar habits". the more he is like this. Laozi counsels men to eliminate selfish desires. they consider that the Spirits in Heaven and Earth will naturally know. who fill themselves with desire and lust after external things. accomplished Daoists do not care for fame. one must be spontaneous and not force oneself. and will manifest true Virtue. Harmony with Virtue cannot be found through external forms. Accumulate Merits and Establish Virtue To clear out vulgar attachments during the process of Cultivating Virtue. then it will be in natural harmony with Dao. The Perfect Man of Nanhua pointed out that as long as one excels in Virtue. This requires indifference to fame or gain. magnanimous and big-hearted. and to refrain from seeking shelter in material desires. This shows the importance of demonstrating Meritorious Conduct17 among the people. Merit16 and Virtue are actually the same thing. Therefore. Daoism advocates to Broadly Accululate Hidden Merits21. Why is that not the case? In the course of their life in this world. it cannot be sought after through forms. . were revered by the people. and purify their customs and habits. By accumulating Merits one can accumulate Virtue. It is internal. To tirelessly establish merit is the first stage of Cultivating Virtue. A Daoist saying exhorts one to 'Perform three thousand virtuous deeds and eight hundred meritorious acts'. does not imply that one should ignore society and the sufferings of the people. free of confused desires. emerged during the evolutionary process. Three generates the Myriad Beings. the Primeval Lord of Heaven 3. he wrote the important work The Book of Pillow Secrets9 in which he discussed the 'most sublime root' and pointed out that before the formation of the world. it is the product of Spontaneous1 evolution under the control of the Great Dao2. In his later years as a hermit on Mt.Formation of the Daoist Theory of Universal Evolution Fundamental Difference Between the Daoist Theory of Universal Evolution and the Christian Concept of the Creation by God The question of whether the universe has always existed as it does now is a most interesting. Initial speculations on the origin of the universe Early on. Christianity considers that God created the world out of absolute nothingness. Daoist Cosmogony has proposed a similar view of the universe for the past two thousand years. At about the same time. These were discussed in the scripture The Source of Dao4. wrote a large . The complete description of the origin of the universe began in the Wei and Jin dynasties Ge Hong. The process of the generation of Heaven and Earth by Dao is resumed in the following formula: <<Dao generates One. The highest divinity of Daoism. other spirits. Around the end of the Eastern Jin. Contemporary opinion tends to consider that the universe had a beginning. Two generates Three. he grew larger inside it. Later on. in which nothing existed. As the universal egg grew larger in its initial stages. and its effect on the formation of Heaven and Earth. the Highest Clarity sect12 also reflected on the question of the origin and structure of the universe. Ge Caofu. which points out that before the formation of Heaven and Earth. some going so far as to elaborate wonderful theories on the subject. On the other hand. inside which was Perfect Man Pangu who called himself the King of Primeval Heaven10. over the past thousands of years. Luohu. while the King of Primordial Heaven resided on Jade Capital Mountain11 in the centre of Heaven. which he helps to push forward according to the circumstances. other Daoist theorists further reflected on the origin of the world and formulated systematic theories.>> In other words. Daoism considers that universal evolution follows its own laws and is not the product of divine creation. and that this beginning was a stage in the evolution of the universe -. men and animals were formed. Nonetheless. Countless are those who. the famous accomplished Daoist and reputed astronomer of the Jin dynasty. In his Inner Book of the Master Who Embraces Simplicity7. until today no consensus has emerged. This theory of universal evolution is radically different from the Christian theory of the Creation of the universe by God. He considered that Heaven and Earth have not existed indefinitely. Later on. There was only Essential Vital Breath5 and Vital Breath of Spirit6 circulating everywhere. These Essential and Spiritual Vital Breaths refer to different functions of Dao. made an important contribution to Daoist Cosmogony. Laozi had reflected on the origin of the universe. there was nothing but limitless dark space. The two forces referred to by Laozi as the 'Two' are commonly considered to be designate Heaven and Earth. which divided into two opposing forces. At the formation of the world. it has neither an absolute beginning nor an absolute end. Dao generated the primeval unified whole.looking at the universe as a whole. he considered the concept of 'Mystery'8. which formed the world and the myriad beings. Rather. the original chaos was like an egg. but also most perplexing one. the light elements rose upwards to form Heaven and the heavy elements descended to form Earth. have deeply pondered over this question and formulated what they considered to be the best answer. whose interpenetration generated all beings. Ge Hong's theory was later developed into a systematic Cosmogony. Dao preceded the formation of Heaven and Earth. One generates Two. the grandson of Ge Hong's brother. At that point. When these rays are seen by the Primeval Lord of Heaven 8 . At the very beginning of the Cycle. The Crimson and Jade Characters9 are the source of the Heavens. The Crimson Characters are in fact the Root of the world. no image is to be found. which also discussed the question of the creation of Heaven and Earth. The major universal Cycles are named 'Dragon Han' 3 . It has no ancestor. the universe falls into darkness and everything in the universe is destroyed. these Cycles have followed each other in succession since aeons ago. A single universal Cycle is said to last from Cosmogony till its destruction. Thus they are called the Crimson Characters. and .number of scriptures. Even the Vital Breaths of Dao 7 are shrouded in complete darkness. each Cycle has a beginning and an end. It is the origin of the Heavens. Major universal Cycles are themselves made up of minor cyles. Each character in the Book is about 12 feet long. in which the mighty Diamond Wind6 blows through a world of chaos. etc. After the end of a Cycle. the universe plunges into a period of darkness. He knows the time has come to inaugurate a new Cycle. It is then time for the new birth and growth of nature. It weaves itself in all directions. amongst which the Numinous Treasure's Lofty and Sublime Book of the Limitless Salvation of Mankind13 and other writings fully described the process of the formation of the world." The Emergence of the Thirty-Two Heavens13 out of the Original Matrix The Heavenly Matrix formed out of the Crimson Book of Jade Characters. and an octagonal Book suddenly appears out of the void. no form. The universe is an endless process of repeating Cycles. At this point. The Process of The Creation of the World Universal Cycles. The concept of Universal Cycles originated in India. Thus the Book of Salvation11 says: "The Crimson Characters of the Grotto of Chaos12 are the Word of Essential Truth arising from the Absolute Void. forming thirty-two heavens. the Moon and the Stars send forth their light. The Appearing of the Crimson Light After the end of a Cycle. and the new cycle of Crimson Light will begin. its essence is of Dao. . 'Extended Well-Being'4 . 'Crimson Light'5 . Subsequently. it forms the Cosmos and makes the Sun. is called the Original Matrix. the Book of the Supreme Venerable Sovereign's Opening of the Heavens14 appeared. the Vital Breaths of Dao gather together. The World is hence created. We cannot know how many Cycles there have been in the past. This is called "The Appearing of the Crimson Light". a space of infinite emptiness and absolute darkness in which no light. Only the most accomplished of the Immortals2 are able to survive the end-of-cycle apocalypse. He places the Jade Characters into the Forges of Heaven. and are called the 'Original Matrix'10 . a new Cycle will begin. The Root of the World: The Crimson and JadeCharacters At this point. with rays of light streaming forth from the eight corners of the Book. The stage is set for the new life of the universe. or Kalpas1 The notion of Universal Cycles is an important concept in Daoist Cosmogony. until they begin to emit crimson rays of light. The space-time in which we presently live is part of the cycle of Crimson Light. may join the ranks of the Immortals. Longbian Fandu Heaven. the Primeval Lord of Heaven opens the Perfect Script of the Five Divine Tablets14 . Individuals who. Shangshe Ruanle Heaven. These Heavens are subject to calamities and universal cycles (kalpas). All of these Heavens are distributed among the Eight Directions mentioned above. The Ciming Heyang Heaven. Xuanming Gonghua Heaven. Zhuluo Huangjia Heaven. and Wuji Fangshi Heaven are the Eight Heavens of the West. the Heaven of Jade Clarity6. and Taihuan Jiyao Heaven are the Eight Heavens of the South. The other four Heavens are not subject to kalpas: they include the Three Pristine Heavens. At the same time. leading to the formation of the various spirits. Tai'an Wangya Heaven. Xianding Jifeng Heaven. they therefore undergo birth and death. The Heavens of the Three Pristine Ones3: the Heaven of Supreme Clarity4. owing to spiritual affinity. and enjoy eternal life. as well as above and below. The Yuanzai Kongshen Heaven. Wusi Jiangyou Heaven. and the Great Overarching Heaven. Southwest and Northwest. Taking note. Salvation by the inauguration of a new Cycle At the beginning of each Cycle. Xuanming Gongqing Heaven. Xuming Tangliao Heaven. and Taiji Pingyu Jiayi Heaven are the Eight Heavens of the North. are the most mysterious of all Dao Scriptures. as well as above and below. Names of the Thirty-Six Heavens We have mentioned that the Original Matrix gave birth to Thirty-Two Heavens. Taisu Xiule Jingshang Heaven. Taiming Yuwan Heaven. Shangming Qiyao Moyi Heaven. disseminating scriptures on Dao. Taishi Yulong Tengsheng Heaven. Their names are: The Thirty-Two Heavens: The Taihuang Huangceng Heaven. Taiji Mengyi Heaven: the above-mentioned constitute the Eight Heavens of the East. Southeast. Sihuang Xiaomang Heaven. To these four directions can further be added Northeast. the Heaven of Highest Clarity5. Yuantong Yuandong Heaven. Guanming Duanjing Heaven. The Scriptures revealed from within a Sacred Pearl by the Primeval Lord of Heaven at the beginning of the Cycle. the Lord exercises His power to ensure the long life of the heavens of the new Cycle. These Energies are derived from the Vital Breath of the Highest Origin 16. Xuantai Pingyu Heaven. These are able to survive the apocalypse at the end of the Cycle. Taisu Wushang Changrong Heaven. for a total of ten directions. Taiwen Hanchong Miaocheng Heaven. Xuwu Yueheng Heaven. In addition to these Thirty-Two Heavens. the Primeval Lord of Heaven reveals Scriptures and teaches the Way. with eight heavens per cardinal direction. Thirty-two heavens are thus created and maintained. Yaoming Zhongpiao Heaven. if we add the Three Pristine Heavens 15 . there are a total of thirty-five Vital Breaths of Dao. The Haoting Xiaodu Heaven. saving all the people under heaven. there are also four other Heavens. In total. Taiji Weng Chongfu Rong Heaven. Qingming Hetong Heaven. . there are Thirty-Six Heavens 2. The Thirty-Six Heavens The Skies are Divided into Ten Directions The Thirty-Two Heavens arising out of the Original Matrix1 are located in the four cardinal directions. Yuanming Wenju Heaven. attain salvation.a new Cycle has begun. at the time of a kalpa. evberything is pure Vital Breath of Dao19. The Three Worlds 8 are the World of Desire9.The Great Overarching Heaven Thirty-five of the Thirty-Six Heavens are part of the Great Overarching Heaven 7. The World of Formlessness is made up of four Heavens. Outside of the Three Worlds are a further eight heavens. Outside of the Three Worlds. It is infinite. men and women have intercourse. In space. and has no limits. Outside of the Three Worlds. The Three Worlds are the World of Desire. the World of Form. In this world there is form but no desire. In the Great Overarching Heaven. all is Pure Vital Breath. The Netherworld The Underworlds . In this world. karma. Those who Cultivate Dao and leap out of the Three Worlds can escape from kalpas. In this world there is neither desire nor form. They are subject to kalpas. The Highest level of Cultivation of Immortality is the level of the Golden Immortality 21 of the Great Overarching Heaven. self-dependent. The World of Form includes eight Heavens. and reincarnation. They are called the Four Heavens of the Seed People because those who enter this realm have already escaped from the cycle of reincarnations. transcends all the other heavens. who can be seen only by Perfect Men12. those who are born in or enter these heavens do not escape from reincarnation and karma. Altogether 28 heavens are included in the Three Worlds. and the World of Formlessness The World of Desire contains six Heavens. from the Xuwu Yueheng Heaven to the Wuji Tanshi Heaven. while other heavens are all finite. from the Taihuang Huangceng Heaven to the Qiyao Moyi Heaven. the heavens can be divided into several levels inluding the Four Pure Heavens. they wander about unfettered. common people cannot see the people in this world. and give birth to descendants. it is the abode of the Immortals 20. The Great Overarching Heaven is above all other Heavens and englobes the entire universe. The Three Prisitne Heavens are also called the Three Pristine Realms 15. It is the highest heaven. there is visible form and desire. When they unite together they become forms. All is formless and invisible. from the Taixu Wushang Changrong Heaven to the Taiji Pingyu Jiayi Heaven. the World of Form10. there is no sexual intercourse and people are directly born out of Vital Breath. they do not die but become the seeds of the people of the next kalpa. The Great Overarching Heaven is infinite. and the World of Formlessness11. the Three Pristine Heavens and the Great Overarching Heaven The Four Pure Heavens13 are also called the Four Heavens of the Seed People 14. and contains the Jade Capital Mountain 17 where the Primeval Lord of Heaven18 resides. the universe is infinite. when they disperse they become Vital Breath. The Three Worlds and outside The Thirty-Six Heavens are divided into different worlds. and are governed by the Supreme Venerable Sovereign16. from the Haoting Xiaodu Heaven to the Xiule Zhishang Heaven. showing that there must be different kinds of Vital Breath. It is also said that the netherworld is governed by the Great Emperor of Fengdu 15. The netherworld is the location of hell.signifying its substance --and 'Fire' -. but also penetrates Heaven and Earth and circulates throughout the human body. it is also an existing entity made up of Emptiness 1. In Xiang'er's Commentary on Laozi4. forming an inseparable whole. It has no inner structure. as well as ghosts and goblins. it is stated that <<All movement is of Pure Vital Breath>>. Vital Breath is continuous and indivisible. enabling billions of worlds of unlimited height to remain suspended in emptiness. The Relationship between Vital Breath and Dao 'As the principle controlling the motions of things. The Vital Breath which is primordial and linked to the Revered Spirits 67 of the Great Dao is called 'Vital Breath of Dao' In Daoism. Sometimes Daoism uses a specific term called 'Diamond Wind' 12 or 'Wind . Oneness becomes Vital Breath. but the soul of the dead must inevitably go there. In the Numinous Treasure's Lofty and Sublime Book of the Limitless Salvation of Mankind 11. is Vital Breath 2. Li Shaowei of the Tang dynasty explained this sentence as follows: the entire universe is made up of perpetually circulating Pure Vital Breath. however. Tai14. In a state of dispersion. The names of the Nine Realms are as follows: Realm of Colourful Brilliance3. Therefore the concepts of 'Dao'. Oneness is outside Heaven and Earth. The Chinese call the place wher the sould of the dead go 'Supreme Yin' 12. Dao corresponds to the contemporary concept of natural law. with nothing inside'. volatility. in a state of collection. especially by the Spirit of the Eastern Hell of Mt. which circulates between Heaven and Earth. Everything in the world is made up of Vital Breath. for a total of Thirty-Six Realms. it seems like both Being and Non-Being. Colourless Diamond-Link Realm of the Pervasive Abyss11. and possesses unlimited generative power. like water yet is not water (it enables the world to remain afloat). This requires further discussion. However. although Vital Breath permeates and forms everything. unless it has become an Immortal. The underworld is governed by the Five Kings of Hell13. which are called the Nine Realms 1. Realm of Water Brilliance9. Zhang Daoling says that Oneness is Dao. Each Realm can further de divided into four Realms. The source of the universe is Dao. Realm of Golden Millet Brilliance7. where the souls of sinners are locked up. Realm of Diamond Brilliance4. This Vital Breath is like wind yet is not wind. This Dao entity. Each Realm is governed by an Emperor of the Soil2. which is the unified foundation of everything in the universe. and as such is not equivalent to the Western notion of the particle. This Vital Breath. and sublimity. Realm of Paraffin Brilliance5. the character 'Qi' ('Vital Breath') is often written as a combination of the characters for 'Non-Being'8 -. just like Dao. it binds together the entire universe. but it truly does exist. The netherworld cannot be entered by common people. and Vital Breath of Dao is the initiator of the evolution of the universe. The term 'Vital Breath of Dao' is habitually written in this manner. Vital Breath of Dao is also referred to as the Vital Breath of Great Purity 9 or as Pure Vital Breath10. a characteristic which is called 'the smallest. enough to bind together trillions of worlds. 'Oneness' and 'Vital Breath' are equivalent. Realm of Diamond and Iron Brilliance8. it becomes the Supreme Venerable Sovereign 5.signifying its movement. Pure Vital Breath is clear and limpid. be called 'Oneness'. there are nonetheless myriads of differences between the various beings in the universe.Daoism divides the world into nine levels. The underworld is dark and obscure. Realm of Humid Brilliance6. can. Realm of Great Wind Brilliance10. Therefore.Brilliance'13. therefore it is called 'Diamond Wind'. it is also called 'Original Vital Breath' 19. In the Book of Supreme Peace10. The Diamond Perfect Vital Breath holds the Heavens afloat. Vital Breath of Essential Matter and Vital Breath of Spirit There are different types of Vital Breath. Vital Breath is also called Spirit 9 (see chapters <<neiye>> and <<xinshu>> of the Book of Master Guan). is the origin of life. this Vital Breath of Wind Brilliance is stronger than genuine gold. and Proper and Deviant Vital Breaths. The Vital Breath of Great Purity is the Vital Breath of the original source. which we possess from the time of birth. It is the Vital Breath of the Primordial Pure Wind14. but is also the source of all spiritual phenomena including ghosts and spirits. spreading Proper Vital Breath and eliminating Deviant Vital Breath. Taking Vital Breath as the original source. and is the unified foundation of the universe. and Spirit -. and the spiritual activities of man. .which are all different forms of Vital Breath. This Primordial Vital Breath will be further described in our later dicussion of Inner Alchemy 23. Vital Breath of Dao is omnipresent. The Book of Master Guan8 states that Essential Matter can form different types of beings. floating in space without falling down. with or without form. According to the Lofty and Sublime Book of the Primordial Limitless Salvation of Mankind15. Therefore. but can be divided into Proper and Deviant types. Primordial Vital Breath is the original Vital Breath of humans. it is called 'Primordial Vital Breath'20. arouses the Essential Vital Breath 17 of the Heavenly Han18. can there be any hope of refining an irreversible Body of Law 22. Vital Breath can also be divided into light and dense. Daoism advocates purifying Vital Breath. and is the basis for Cultivating Immortality21. All are emanations flowing out of the Vital Breath of Oneness and becoming the myriad categories of beings. we can see that nothing in the universe is not made up of Vital Breath.Essential Matter. Vital Breath of Oneness3 is said to permeate the entire universe. It is not only the source of all natural and social phenomena. The great Earth is also related to the Diamond Vital Breath. Vital Breath is seen as the source and basic substance of all beings. making the Vital Breath of the Hevenly Han rise higher than the void. the root of Heaven and Earth. The material essence of Vital Breath is called Essential Vital Breath6 or Essential Matter7. It constitutes man's true nature. After the Southern and Northern dynasties. Sometimes. Proper Vital Breath11 transforms itself into Proper Spirits12. The historical commentators of the scriptures all consider that this Diamond Wind is actually the Vital Breath of Dao. Vital Breath is the Unified Foundation of the Universe 'Everything in the universe is made up of Vital Breath 1. an inexhaustible wind that is not extinguished after each kalpa cycle. In the chapter <<Zhi Beiyou>> of the Perfect Book of Nanhua2. and dispersed and disorderly Vital Breaths are spread out to form all other beings. Wu Jun of the Tang dynasty wrote in Gentleman Zhongxuan's Treatise on the Mysterious Matrix5 that the clearest and lightest of these Vital Breaths float upwards to form Heaven. it is said that man is made up of three different elements -. Original Vital Breath 4 existed before the formation of Heaven and Earth. in order to distinguish it from other forms of Vital Breath. the harmonious and smooth Vital Breaths coagulate to form Man. traverses Emptiness. and is also the primordial Dao. while the heavy and dense Vital Breaths sink downwards to form Earth. it came to be generally called 'Vital Breath of Dao'. Vital Breath. Only after discovering and nurturing the Primordial Vital Breath in one's body. It englobes the great earth (the Nine Zones 16) and carries the Nine Heavens. Thus. Ghosts and Spirits are also emanations of Vital Breath of Oneness. while Deviant Vital Breath13 transforms itself into Malicious Demons14 and Monsters15. in Daoist doctrine. he must master Vital Breath. Spirit is the son of Vital Breath. Ge Hong states that man is in Vital Breath and Vital Breath is in man -. which will naturally disappear. Xiao Yingsou of the Song dynasty once said that if Spirit. one must first stabilize one's Vital Breath. one must first understand the relationship between Man and Vital Breath. Chapter 28 of the Laozi . a state more primordial and ultimate than the Supreme Ultimate The Infinite1 is the conception Laozi uses to denote the ultimate of Dao. a great number of Occult Techniques 7 for Refining Vital Breath8 have developed in Daoism. but also controls immense powers and performs feats that ordinary people cannot accomplish. If man wishes to unite with Dao. If one wants to preserve one's body. Regarding these powers and their effects. it is said that the body is the habitation of Spirit and Vital Breath. and their forms emerged. The Infinite 'The Infinite is Dao. He can emit his Perfect Vital Breath 12 onto a stone and the stone will change. If Spirit and Vital Breath are lost. having given birth to a Most Precious Jewel 11. Details on these techniques can be found in the sections on Nourishing Life and Inner Alchemy. and save ghosts so that they naturally attain salvation. In the Inner Book of the Master Who Embraces Simplicity2. Basic Method for Mastering Vital Breath In order to master Vital Breath. In the Inscription on Visualizing Spirits and Refining Vital Breath 6. the body will die. he can emit it onto a skeleton and a living body will rise. This is called the << Limitless Salvation of mankin 15 >>. all the Spirits inside the person's body will unite together and form his Body of Law 10 (an infant). Vital Breaths gave birth to men and the myriad beings. he can discard and abandon his illusory body which he can leave and enter at leisure. Vital Energy and Material Essence9 are merged into one and return to their source and root. Men can attain this Most Precious Jewel in their bodies. (See the Inner Meaning of the Lofty and Sublime Book of Primordial Infinity . If Spirit and Vital Breath are stored up in abundance. Therefore. If Spirit and Vital Breath can unite. one can attain to immortality. roam about unfettered. Vital Breath is the foundation of all Daoist Arts17. Powers one can acquire after mastering Vital Breath Mastery of the Vital Breath (of Dao) releases powers which are commonly unimaginable. he can emit it to expel Goblins13 and Deviant Vital Breath14. and make them tremble.similar to stating that the fish is in water and water is in the fish. Therefore. he can also in such manner support all beings and let them live Spontaneously and unhindered. the body will be healthy and energetic. Once he has mastered Vital Breath. he not only unites with Dao and attains long life and eternal vision. no longer under the control of the creator. but united with Dao. and become as everlasting as Heaven and Earth. The eminent Tang dynasty Daoist Master Sun Simiao said in On Nourishing the Body with Vital Breath and Spirit3 that since the emergence of the universe out of the separation of Original Chaos4 and the creation of Heaven and Earth. to act on the wind and thunder. The duration of man's life is determined by his Spirit 5 and Vital Breath. Vital Breath is the mother of Spirit.Man Can Master Vital Breath The powers of Vital Breath1 are unlimited.16). enjoy eternal youth. he can emit it to cure all illnesses. Being infinite space. The Laozi Zhangju by He Shanggong of the Han Dynasty explains "returning to the Infinite" as longevity. Therefore. The Five Agents 13 and all beings are thus born. Daoists after Laozi have all used the term 'the Infinite' to denote this meaning. At this stage. Zhang Shanyuan held that the Supreme Simplicity changes and form comes into being. The One came into being through the intercourse of Yin and Yang. They are the five successive stages before Heaven and Earth evolve out of Dao. Being infinite. the infiniteness of Dao. In the section 'Unfettered Excursion'. formless and nameless. but form has not come into being. The Explanations of Sexagram qian in Auguries of I Ching defines it as follows: 'the Supreme Beginning is the beginning of form". Between the Infinite and the formation of Heaven and Earth. (The Explanations of Sexagram qian in Auguries Of I Ching and dthe Liezi both say that "the Supreme Change is the state when Vital Breath is not seen. So the original meaning of the Infinite is Dao. Zhang Shanyuan held that Chaos is the body of Dao. Zhuangzi says. The General Discussion of All Daoist Skills10 by Zhang Shanyuan. but has not attained body. After the Supreme Beginning is the Supreme Simplicity. says: "The Supreme Change is the primordial infinite void before Yin and Yang divide. Silent and formless. The Supreme Beginning is the stage when form has originated but substance is still non-existent. but the state before Heaven and Earth formed. there are five stages. 67 of the Great Collection of Daoist Skills11. substance is still non-existent. Zhang Shanyuan held that the Supreme Origin is the stage when Vital Breath appears and form has not appeared through the changes of Yin and Yang. . the Supreme Simplicity8. Its movement and stillness generate the intercourse and changes of Yin and Yang. in Vol. The conceptions of the 'Five Supremes' are an exploration and generalization of the states before Heaven and Earth formed. A state of chaos is thus formed. This Chaos is called the Supreme Ultimate. This period is Dao. the Infinite is the origin of the Supreme Ultimate. has existed for infinite time. and will exist forever. However. The stage after the Supreme Change is the Supreme Origin. Zhang Shanyuan says:"The Supreme Beginning is the intercourse of Yin and Yang. It is from the stage of Supreme Ultimate that Heaven and Earth begin to form. he rests in constant virtue. and he returns to the Infinite". the Infinite. Daoists all pursue union with Dao. Supreme Beginning and Supreme Simplicity. This period is older and more ultimate than the chaos from which Heaven and Earth directly originated. After the Supreme Origin is the Supreme Beginning. form and substance all exist but are not divided yet. Liezi defines the Supreme Simplicity as the beginning of substance.says: "He who knows the white but keeps to the black becomes the model of the world. the Supreme Origin6. Liezi said that the Supreme Origin is the stage when Vital Breath has just appeared. form here is not visible form. When used in the perspective of universal evolution. After the four stages of Supreme Change. Vital Breath. Supreme Origin. Though there is form. Being the model of the world. it is lightless. which are called the "Five Supremes" The Five Supremes4 refer to the Supreme Change5. with only slight differences in emphasis. it is called the Supreme Change. Therefore. This is the so-called "Returning to the Infinite"3. The Supreme Origin is the stage when Vital Breath originates. and the Supreme Ultimate. So "the Infinite" is used to denote Dao. The Supreme Change is the origin of deities and the state when Vital Breath has not appeared. They are important both to Daoist philosophy and to the theories of Daoist Magical Arts. Dao is not confined to any concrete realm. it is the same to define the Infinite as Dao or as longevity. longevity can only be attained through uniting with Dao.) Daoist theories about Magic Techniques in the Song dynasty also attached great importance to this stage. the Supreme Beginning7. Supreme Simplicity is the beginning of substance without body. The concrete method of doing so is to return to the original and ultimate state. The 'Supreme Change is the state before Vital Breath 9 appears. often means the period when Heaven and Earth were not formed. in contrast with the Supreme Ultimate2. Substance comes into being after form. Dao existed before Heaven and Earth. By this he means that the world is infinite and beyond infinite it is still infinite. Form is born through the One. The Supreme Beginning refers to the beginning of form. which is called Chaos 12 by Liezi and Supreme Ultimate in other Daoist texts. According to Daoism. "beyond the Infinite it is still the Infinite". Its use in Cosmogony and methodology is usually based on the latter. there was first the Supreme Ultimate. before the milfoil divining stalks were divided. By adding one hexagrammatic line to each of the Four Images. Mu Xiu transmitted the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate to Zhou Dunyi. reflexion and experimentation. It is also the foundation of Daoist theories of Cosmogony. He was an exceptional personage who greatly contributed to Inner Alchemy10 and the Science of Changes. it is said that <<The Book of Changes4 contains the Supreme Ultimate. Li Gai and others. Chen Bo taught the Diagram of Anterior Heaven11. The Daoist Science of Changes8 has its own unique system. The Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate (Taiji symbol) commonly used nowadays is the one taught by Zhou Dunyi. According to historical records. practise. The Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate was originally transmitted by Chen Bo. After the divining stalks were divided. the River Chart12 and the Writ of the Luo River13 to his disciple Zhong Fang. When it came to be called the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate. Daoism greatly enriched the concept of the Supreme Ultimate. In the Daoist classics. >> This means that in the process of formation of the hexagrams of the Book of Changes.The Supreme Ultimate and the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate 'The concept of the Supreme Ultimate1 has been used since very early on. forming the Four Images. but the method of reading it was different. who called it the Diagram of the Infinite Chen Bo was an eminent Daoist of the later Five Dynasties and early Song. Zhong Fang then taught them to Mu Xiu. Principal Significance of the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate The Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate was originally called the Diagram of the Infinite15. which generates the Two forces5. Over the course of its long history of cultivation. which generate the Eight Trigrams7. who wrote the Illustrated Explanation of the Supreme Ultimate 14 to explain it. The Two Forces generated by the Supreme Ultimate refer to the formation of Heaven and Earth by the Supreme Ultimate -. appearing in such works as the Book of Master Zhuang2 and the Confucian Commentary to the Book of Changes3. later. it was identical with the original diagram. the Book of Changes is seen as a philosophical book which completely explains the mysteries of Heaven and Earth. The two lines can be combined in four different ways. forming a theoretical system with the Supreme Utimate at its core. the two lines of Yin and Yang were formed. Such is the way that the Eight Trigrams are drawn. which generate the Four Images6. The two diagrams are illustrated below: . The concept of the Supreme Ultimate often appears in association with the science of the Book of Changes.the Two Forces being Heaven and Earth. In the chapter 'Yixi Cizhuan'. and were called the Two Forces. the most important element of which is the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate9. The process of formation of the Trigrams is also seen as the process of the creation of the world. the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate. in which the concept of Supreme Ultimate plays an important part. religious cultivation and Magic Arts. the Eight Trigrams are created. The third level of the diagram shows the integration of the Vital Breaths of the Five Agents29 and Five Viscera -. a return to the Infinite39. the lungs (metal). it is also called 'obtaining the aperture'21. The topmost circle is called 'Refining the Spirit to Return to Emptiness' 38. This is called 'to Obtain the Elixir Drug'36. one turns back to the Infinite. This is the place where the body's Original Vital Breath 20 is stored. and consists mainly in making post-existent Yin substance appear as preexistent Spirit. which is once again transformed into Pre-Existent Spirit.the liver (wood). and the Refinement of Vital Breath into Spirit 23. the heart (fire). Why can the .The illustration to the left is the Illustration of the Infinite which includes many principles of Cultivation and Refinement16 of Inner Alchemy. one discards the Sacred Embryo 40 which has been Refined and becomes an Immortal41 -. It refers to the Elixir Field 18 and Gate of Life19 in the human body. or simply 'Harmonization'32. This level of skill is called Self-Refinement28. In the vocabulary of Inner Alchemy. As for the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate. and in which all Inner Alchemy takes root. it should be read from top to bottom. 'Harmonization of the Five Vital Breaths'31. situated in between the two kidneys. the Elixir is Refined to maturity. When the Yang line of the Kan trigram is inserted into the Li trigram. The middle line of the Kan trigram is Yang and stands for substance. one now keeps to the essence of the body. After accomplishing the process of Inner Alchemy. It is to be read from the bottom to the top. Once one has reached this state. This is called 'The Five Vital Breaths Turn to the Origin' 30. the middle line of the Li trigram is Yin and stands for emptiness. signifying the tranformation of man into a pure Yang body. which is the starting point of Alchemical Cultivation and Refinement.this is called to 'Emerge from the Womb to Seek Immortality'42. Post-Existent 24 Material Essence25 is transformed into PreExistent26 Vital Breath27. one obtains the Qian37 trigram made up of three Yang lines. which is the Great Dao of Emptiness. The next level is formed out of the two trigrams Kan33 and Li 34 . This means that after Obtaining the Elixir. the spleen (earth). Here the Original Vital Breath of the first circle is transformed and refined. and is called 'Taking from Kan to Put into Li'35. The second circle represents the Refinement of Material Essence into Vital Breath22. and the kidneys (water). The circle at the very bottom is called the Gate of the Mysterious Female 17. These two lines represent the interchange of the kidney's water and the heart's fire. their brightness was one with that of the Sun and Moon. changing the first sentence's meaning into <<the Infinite is the Supreme Ultimate>> . and the Four Seasons proceed on their course. and set up the highest possible standards for mankind. when united. Below is the original text of Zhou Dunyi: 'The Supreme Ultimate is born of the Infinite. the bad fortune of the ignoble man lies in proceeding contrary to them. and there is no end to their changes and transformations. However. and the Dao of Earth produces femaleness. reacting with and influencing each other. while in representing the Dao of Man. in order to argue that it has no higher source. After his bodily form has been produced. and so Water. one uses the terms Love and Righteousness'. In addition. Therefore it is said. They adopted ataraxy as their dominant attitude. and spontaneously become an Immortal. we should begin with the separation of the Supreme Ultimate into Yin and Yang. Resting. each being the root of the other. their actions were one with the Four Seasons. meaning that the Supreme Ultimate is born out of the Infinite. 'if one traces things back to their beginnings. one will understand all that can be said about life and death. and in representing the Dao of Earth one uses the terms Soft and Hard. there develops the distinction between good and evil. there is a return to motion. who receives the finest essence and is the most spiritual of beings. The sages ordered their lives by the Mean. form Yin and Yang. Therefore. his spirit develops consciousness. and obliterates its original Daoist meaning. however. form the Supreme Ultimate. The perfection of the Infinite. change and bring the myriad beings into being. unite with one another in marvellous ways. Yin and Yang take up their appointed functions. Then the Five Vital Breaths diffuse harmoniously. although two opposite directions are taken. Yin and Yang. When the movement has reached its limit. The Supreme Ultimate has its root in the Infinite. The Five Agents. by the Correct. when united. Fire. removed the character 'Zi' ('from') from the original Chinese text in his commentary to the Illustrated Explanation to the Supreme Ultimate. the Supreme Ultimate produces the Yin. Inner Alchemy follows the opposite direction in order to return to the Great Dao. 'In representing the Dao of Heaven one uses the terms Yin and Yang. Thus it was that 'the Virtue of the sages was in harmony with that of Heaven and Earth. the path followed is the same. The Supreme Ultimate moves and produces Yang. Zhou Dunyi explains the secret of the Supreme Ultimate in the Illustrated Explanation to the Supreme Ultimate Zhou Dunyi's text is very short. The good fortune of the noble man lies in cultivating these virtues. and consolidations ensue. As soon as the Five Agents are formed. and the myriad phenomena of conduct appear. This does not conform to Chen Bo's original meaning as passed down in the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate. and so the Two Forces are established.same diagram be read in two opposite directions? Daoism considers that if we follow the order of the creation of the myriad beings by the Great Dao. by Love and Righteousness. Wood. Zhu Xi. The first sentence of his explanation goes <<from the Infinite to the Supreme Ultimate>>. When the rest has reached its limit. However. they have each their specific nature. The Two Vital Breaths (of maleness and femaleness). It is man alone. but is an excellent synopsis. and follows them to their ends. And it is also said. Metal and Earth (the Five Agents) are produced. Zhou Dunyi's Illustrated Explanation to the Supreme Ultimate explains the Diagram of the Supreme . unite with Dao. Great is the Book of Changes! Of all truths it is the most perfect!" 43. and the essence of the Two (Forces) and the Five (Agents). Yang is transformed by reacting with Yin. the famous Neo-Confucian philosopher of the Southern Song. Zhu Xi modified the original Diagram. when his agents are stimulated and move. Motion and rest alternate. rest ensues. and their control over fortune and misfortune was one with that of the gods and spirits'. Generation follows generation. The Dao of the Heavens produces maleness. as shown below: In this diagram. signifying that there is Yin in Yang and there is Yang in Yin. The Vital Breath of Oneness2 circulates. The Five Agents 5 are categories referring to the fundamental ingredients of the universe. they represent a basic framework or mental model by which all phenomena can be classified into five types. This diagram is closely related to Zhou Dunyi's Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate described above. From the previous articles. it is clear that Yin and Yang are already implied by the concept of Vital Breath1. fire. people wil also depict this circle surrounded by the Sixty-Four Hexagrams. Daoism does not oppose these ideals. Yin-Yang and the Five Agents 'Yin and Yang refer to the two opposite but complementary forces exercised by all things in the universe.Ultimate in succinct language. a curved line divides the circle into two halves. Xiao Yingsou of the Southern Song incorporated his ideas into his work The Inner Meaning of the Lofty and Sublime Book of Primordial Infinity44. of which it is an even more clear and concise representation. Rather. Daoists since the Song have agreed with Zhou Dunyi's perspective. which in turn generate the motions and changes of everything in the universe. but do not simply refer to these five concrete substances. If one cuts this circle in half with a straight line through its centre. An even more succint depiction of the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate This depiction uses a curved line to divide a circle. If the two halves are separated they resemble two fishes. Therefore. showing that none of its components can ever be independent and free of internal tension. the 43rd generation Celestial Master Zhang Yu also accepted his diagram and explanations. The second half is much inspired from Confucian ideals of benevolence and righteousness. . the Infinite3 is the Supreme Ultimate4. and basically conforms with Daoist thought. The Five Agents are the basic ingredients of the universe. therefore the diagram is popularly called the 'YinYang Fishes'45. one white and the other black. both halves will always contain both Yin and Yang elements. It deeply and visually indicates that everything in the universe forms a unified whole made up of the two opposite and complementary forces of Yin and Yang. For example. but generally speaking. showing that the Supreme Ultimate is the initiator of all movements in the universe. The first half clearly expresses Daoist principles. Sometimes. earth. metal and water. The white represents Yang and the black represents Yin. They are named after wood. Later. the movement and stillness of the Supreme Ultimate give birth to Yin and Yang. There is a black dot in the white part and a white dot in the black part. Yellow. Acrid. Sweet. Saturn. One generates Two. the Vital Breaths of Yin and Yang cross-penetrate until they reach a harmonious state. The backside of all beings is Yin while their front side is Yang. earth. These Vital Breaths are both mutually opposite and mutually generating. The rich meaning of the Five Agents The Five Agents are a fundamental classification system for all things. Earth. Water Five Directions: East. Three generates the myriad beings. creating harmony. Ying-Yang's unity in opposition expresses itself in countless ways. stones. Spirit 6 can also be divided into Yin Spirit and Yang Spirit. Mutual control means that each Agent restricts another Agent according to a different order. The myriad beings turn their backs to Yin and embrace Yang. The Vital Breaths neutralize each other. there are male and female. etc. North Five Colours: Green. As for Heaven and Earth. West. Heaven is Yang and Earth is Yin. we shall give a brief list of those most commonly used in Daoist religious practise and scriptures: Five Agents: Wood.Yin-Yang is intrinsic to the universe The source of Yang is Dao.>>) The generation of Yin and Yang by Dao creates the most fundamental forces of the universe. Mountains. Earth generates Metal. which it would be impossible to fully enumerate. (<<Dao generates One. mountains are Yang and waters are Yin. South. Heart. water. spirits. Mercury Five Viscera: Liver. Mars. Metal. from which are derived the two opposite forces. Water generates Wood. Bitter. The Five Agents are wood. Kidney Mutual generation and mutual control of the Five Agents The relationships between the Five Agents are characterized by mutual generation 7 and mutual control8. earth. metal and water. Venus. which interpenetrate each other. giving birth to the myriad beings. At the same time. Metal generates Water. Fire. White. and so on all contain Yin and Yang aspects. The cycle of control is also an endless one: each controlling Agent is also under the control of another Agent in a different situation. The order of mutual generation is as follows: Wood generates Fire. the human person has a spiritual (yang) and a material (yin) dimension. Two generates Three. fire. ghosts. The order of mutual generation is an endless cycle. they are intrinsic to every thing. The Laozi states that Dao gave birth to the primordial organic unity. Mutual generation means that each Agent gives birth to another Agent according to a specific order. Red. Salty Five Planets: Jupiter. grass. The order of mutual control is as follows: . Black Five Flavours: Sour. Speaking of the human species. Spleen. each having manifold meanings. wood. Below. The relationships between the Five Agents represent the basic relationships between all things. which are both in opposition and in unity. Lung. and the same goes for Vital Breaths. Fire generates Earth. Centre. 'Water' seeps downward: rain. and hence Yin Fire and Yang Fire. which can be divided into Yin Spirit and Yang Spirit. therefore one must undergo the process of Self-Refinement. the first of which was called the 'Five Agents': the first being Water.2. in turn. Yin-Yang generates the Five Agents. Yin-Yang and the Five Agents are mutually related conceptual systems. Metal overcomes Wood. Yin-Yang and the Five Agents 'The theory of the Five Agents1 originated in the Book of Documents2. Yin-Yang is divided into Elder Yang. Earth expresses itself as man's consciousness. The text then describes the nature of each Agent: 1. The Agent 'Earth' is not mentioned. the Elder Yang generates Fire. through their intercourse and transformations. The latter must be eliminated. the third Wood. Elder Yin. Rather. This process is described in detail in the chapter 'On Yin-Yang and the Five Agents' in the scripture Seven Slips of a Cloudy Satchel10. But consciousness can be divided into correct knowledge and confused thoughts. The author of this text says that Yin-Yang develops from the 'Younger' 11 to the 'Elder'12 (In the Science of Changes13. which.Wood overcomes Earth. The relationship between Yin-Yang and the Five Agents is discussed in article 2. When Daoists practise Breathing Arts and apply Magic Arts. and the Elder Yin generates Water. .3. while the confused thoughts are called female (Yin) Earth. they always follow the principles of YinYang and of the Five Agents. it harmoniousy interpenetrates with the other Four Agents. the Younger Yin generates Metal. creating scalding heat. Water overcomes Fire. forming a husband-and-wife couple. Fire overcomes Metal. and such as the small fires made by the people as a daily necessity. If the Five Agents are enumerated in the order of Wood-Fire-Earth-Metal-Water. then in the cycle of mutual generation each Agent generates the next Agent down the list. Earth overcomes Water. Younger Yang and Younger Yin). and generates the Five Agents. the fifth Earth. We will first discuss the Five Agents: The <<Inner Chapter of the Great Norm>> of the Book of Documents states that when the King of Wu defeated the Shang kingdom. the second Fire. the fourth Metal. mountain springs and rivers all flow downwards. The Supreme Ultimate gives birth to Yin and Yang. the eminent Shang statesman Qizi offered him a general plan of government in nine points called the 'Nine Fields of the Great Norm'. each of which. The Younger Yang generates Wood. 2. For example. such as a volcano which explodes and creates earth. the Agent Fire is expressed in man as his Spirit. moistening and penetrating the soil. while the theory of Yin-Yang first appeared in the Book of Changes3 and was widespread among the Yin-Yang Naturalists4 of the Spring and Autumn Warring States period.2. while in the cycle of control each Agent overcomes the second Agent down the list. allowing for the birth of the myriad beings. Correct knowledge is Original Spirit14. because it is not restricted to a single place. 'Fire' flares upward: fire flames upward. This type of application is integrated into the concrete methods of Refining Skills15 and Practising Arts. give birth to the Five Agents. has Yin and Yang aspects. in relation to the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate9. Yin and Yang interpenetrate harmoniously. and is also called the male (Yang) Earth. symbolizing the distinction between truth and falsity. Wood generates fire: one burns wood to make fire. The phenomena described above are influenced by changes in time. 3. Upward flaring (fire) is associated with bitterness (which enters the heart). the Confucians based themselves on natural phenomena to describe the mutual generation and control of the Five Agents as follows: Mutual control of the Five Agents: Metal overcomes wood: wood cannot resist the metal axe. 5. As early as 3000 years ago. Water generates wood: plants and trees need water to grow. Transformation (metal) is associated with acridity (which enters the lungs). and described the movements of the Five Agents in terms of mutual generation 5 and mutual control6. 'metal' referred to copper. Fire overcomes metal: it can transform copper into tools. Fire generates earth: when volcanoes erupt. turning it into dew-drops. Wood overcomes earth: the roots of trees hold soil together. Harvesting (earth) is associated with sweetness (which enters the spleen). 5. 4. each month. The 'Great Norm' continues by enumerating the flavours associated with each Agent: 1. They came to be called the YinYang and Five-Agent Naturalists7. At the beginning of the Han dynasty. The pre-Qin Daoists and Yin-Yang Naturalists also recognized that the Five Agents were the basic elements of nature. each day and each hour. Downward seeping (water) is associated with saltiness (which enters the kidneys). There are differences between each year. Earth generates metal: all metal is extracted from earth. which was used to make tools and implements. Water overcomes fire: it can extinguish fire. whose leading figure at the end of the Zhou dynasty was Zou Yanchang. Mutual generation of the Five Agents: Metal generates water: A copper mirror can condense water vapour. through a process of constant refinement and improvement. Straightness (wood) is associated with sourness (which enters the liver). 'Earth' provides harvests: it generates various farm products used to nourish people. to which they also added temporal cycles. 2. Earth overcomes water: earth sinks in water. Yin-Yang (representing time phases) was integrated with the Five Phases. new soil emerges. 4. 'Metal' transforms: in ancient times. By observing wood. 'Wood' distinguishes right and wrong: trees grow straight and not crooked.3. Chinese astronomers ascertained the movement of Jupiter and . the people can distinguish right and wrong. therefore. earth dykes hold water back. This was called the Oneness of Heaven and Man11. As matter is created from the mutual generation and control of the Five Agents. from the summer solstice to the moment preceding the winter solstice is Yin. the lungs are Metal. the sun begins to move southward. In terms of time.before noon is Yang and before midnight is Yin. bones to mountains. which is not related to the Five Viscera. From the winter solstice to the moment preceding the summer solstice is Yang. Each year at the winter solstice during the eleventh month of the lunal calendar (when the sun shines directly above the tropic of Capricorn). The year is thus divided into to halves. therefore Yin-Yang and the Five Agents constitute a unified whole. The Six Intestines also include the Triple Warmer 15. the great intestine is associated with the lung. The visvera and intestines are thus linked. According to the theory of mutual control of the Five Agents. using the Confucian Yin-Yang arts as the root of Refining Elixirs 12 and Refining Vital Breath13 At the time. breathing is related to wind. the sun begins to move northward. Daoists related the Five Agents and Yin-Yang to all matter.determined the exact times of the winter and summer solstices. the urinary bladder is associared with the kidneys. the most accomplished in the study of Yin-Yang and the Five Agents were the Daoists. However. from which they were able to fix the times of the seasons and of the Celestial Stems and Earthly Branches 8. etc. a principle advocated by the Confucians of the early Han dynasty. Therefore. The six intestines are Yin: the gallblader is associated with the liver. Students of Chinese medicine thus know that the Five Viscera are Yang: the liver is Wood. Chinese medicine was affiliated to the Confucian Arts 14 and marginally concerned with Yin-Yang and the Five Agents. the heart is Fire. Chinese medical theory takes Yin-Yang and the Five Agents as its core. Each year at the summer solstice during the sixth month of the lunar calendar (when the sun shines directly above the tropic of Cancer). the stomach is associated with the spleen. the days become gradually longer and the nights shorter: this is called the Emergence of Yang 9. the spleen is Earth. Yin and Yang are opposite to each other. the kidneys are Water. the liver (wood) overcomes the spleen . The day is also divided: daytime is Yang and nighttime is Yin -. beginning with the Five Agents in the human body. we can even go so far as to say that matter is made from the opposition between Yin and Yang. the small intestine is associated with the heart. The Yin-Yang Naturalists considered 'Man' to be born out of the combination of the most sublime essences of the natural world. and therefore related parts of the body to elements of nature: Man has hair and nature has grass. and interact on each other. man has two eyes and nature has the sun and moon. holding the investigation of nature as their goal. Daoism adopted this theory. the days gradually become shorter and the nights gradually become longer: this is called the Emergence of Yin 10. tears are related to rain. blood vessels to rivers. Yin-Yang and the Five Agents are the basic elements which make up nature. and uses much Daoist terminology in its texts. the kidneys (water) overcome the heart (fire). wind) southeast. the Eight Immortals12. the Stellar Sovereigns of the Five Planets and Seven Stars 7. Xun23 ( Kun ( 25 Li20 ( Dui22 ( Qian24 ( Gen ( 26 fire) south. Astrologers use the Five Agents and Eight Trigrams to establish horoscopes. mountain) northeast. Diviners use the Five Agents and Eight Trigrams to predict the future. The second level is comprised of Perfect Immortals9 who have attained Dao after the creation of Heaven and Earth. Sayings such as 'fire in the heart' to explain insomnia. Wei Boyang. according to the eight directions as follows: Kan19 ( water) north.a fact that is worth taking note of. YinYang. Daoist Immortalism: Immortality Can be Sought After and Learned The pantheon of Daoist Immortals: Daoism is a polytheistic religion. earth) southwest. The first level is comprised of the Lordly Spririts of Anterior Heaven2. All use Daoist theories as the basis for their works. Therefore. the Twenty-Four Energy Nodes27 and the Sixty-Four Hexagrams (doubled trigrams) to form the geomancer's compass which can ascertain good and bad fortune. they are the Perfect Spirits of Anterior Heaven3 which have existed since before Heaven and Earth divided. owing to wood overcoming earth (the spleen). The third level is made up of divinities of popular religion which are recognized by Daoism. calling it the intersection between water and fire. Daoism worships a multitude of spirits. who use them every day without knowing it. Its divinities form a pantheon of Immortals1 divided into three levels. the Three Heavenly Officials5. in his Three Ways Unified and Normalized of the Book of Changes16. the kidneys (water) overcome the heart (fire). sky) northwest. For example. are commonly used by people of all ages. Chinese medicine bases its treatments on the above theory. the Supreme Ultimate18 is depicted with Yin-Yang on the inside and the Eight Trigrams on the outside. They include the Three Pristine Ones4. or the intersection between Kan and Li. the lungs (metal) overcome the liver (wood). threatment of stomach pains often uses medicine to regularize the liver. They have penetrated the common peoples' lives. the heart (fire) overcomes the lungs (metal). Called the Divinities of Posterior Heaven10. Daoist Vital Breath Refinement and Elixir Refinement stress the interactions between the heart and the kidneys. Zhen21 ( thunder) east. the Four Numinous Animals and Twenty-Eight Constellations8.(earth). a stomach pain may be due to excessive strength of the liver. 'kidney water defienciency' to explain neurasthenia. as opposed to pain-killers. Geomancers combine the Eight Trigrams and eight directions with the Twenty-Eight Constellations. they do not know that these ideas are derived from Daoism. such . Related to the Eight Trigrams. lake) west. etc. they were originally common people who have become Immortals after Cultivating Dao. integrated the Eight Trigrams17 of the Book of Changes to Yin-Yang and Five Agents theory. the Five Elements and the Eight Trigrams became a unified whole. Daoism completely penetrates our lives . etc. popular almanachs and manuals of Chinese medicine are based on the principles of Yin-Yang. the Four Heavenly Ministers6. >From then on. They include the Three Mao Perfect Sovereign Brothers 11. Five Phases and Eight Trigrams. However. Each has specific attributes and is all are different. After creating Heaven and Earth by dividing them. Looking at the functions and spiritual attributes of the three levels of divinities. and hence often enter this world to guide men and save those who have a predestined affinity. and assiduously Cultivate and Refine 27 until they become enlightened and attain Dao. Therefore. and can come and go at will. Immortals are concerned for the lives of men." Since everything has Dao-Nature. and therefore their position is low. Among them. is not called a Sage. i. as the essence of the universe. The Book of Pervasive Divinity24 states: 'The Great Dao sends down Spirits. Carried by the Holy Maiden for twelve years. In attaining to Dao. Daoist adepts can pray to Immortals and interact with them. they can also study and cultivate Dao by themselves until they enter the ranks of the Immortals. etc. the Earth Spirits16. are unharmed by water or fire. some have a style but no surname. the Perfect Sages of Anterior Heaven occupy the highest position. the Saintly Founder-King of Zhang19. he transformed into blue light and entered her mouth. Emperor Guan18. speaking or silent. the Kitchen Spirit15. and are omnipresent and omnipotent. the Water-Margin Lady20. The Book of Pillow Secrets7 by Ge Hong of the Eastern Jin dynasty says: "In the great chaos before Yin and Yang divided. Although Daoism is polytheist. Whether moving on still. and possess Dao-Nature 22. Thus the true Spirits are all created by Dao". He was born from the Vital Breath3 of Spontaneity4 in the Anterior Supreme Non-Being5. The Primeval Lord of Heaven Origin of the Primeval Lord of Heaven As one of the Three Pristine Ones1. he was called the Primeval King of Heaven6. no form existed. He who is aware of the near but not of the distant. Because .." Then one enters the realm of Immortals who no longer undergoe birth or death. All has form. Initially. all Daoist Immortals and adepts share the common essential chracteristics of Dao and Vital Breath. and the sun and moon. and receive their protection and enlightenment. a list of 360 Immortals for Ritual Offerings is given. in which the Immortals are divided into 11 ranks. But already.e. the popular divinities can only influence one aspect of peoples' lives. reaching the stage where 'the body is united with Dao and cannot but remain with it. called himself the Primeval King of Heaven and existed freely there. he was always surrounded by colorful clouds. and attends to all. the Primeval King of Heaven discarded his body and traveled with his brilliant spirit throught the heavens. there are differences in depth of awareness. On the other hand. the Motherly Matriarch17. perform good deeds. he was born out of her back. Seeing the Holy Maiden of Supreme Origin9 and loving her purity. and some have a rank but no name. the Primeval Lord of Heaven2 is one of the highest divinities of Daoism. Those who are not predestined to meet a Perfect Immortal may accumulate Virtues. does not attain to Dao. Perfect Man Pangu. we can see that they form a structure analogous to the administrative systems prevalent in human society.as the Door Spirits13. In the Great Law of the Numinous Treasure of the Highest Clarity21 of the Southern Song dynasty. it nevertheless has a certain inner unity. and everything has Dao-Nature. the Spirits of Wealth14. they are emanations of Vital Breath 23. Daoist Immortals are all made of 'Vital Breath'. Without Heaven and Earth. Some have a name but no style. Immortality can be sought after and learned: The Tang dynasty high Daoist priest Pan Shizheng of the Highest Clarity sect25 once said: "The Sage26 is he who is awakened to the Mysteries. it was like a choatic and blackist-yellow 8 egg. and the mind is united with Dao and cannot but commune with it. He who remains within the vulgar world and does not commune with Perfection. Some of the Immortals of Anterior Heaven were thus awakened to Dao and refined to perfection by divine guidance. as all divinities are manifestations of 'Dao'. In the Chart of the Ranks of the Perfect Souls4. combined with the Original Spirit and dwelt in the mother's womb. the Primeval Lord of Heaven occupies the highest position in Heaven. When grown up. the Supreme Sovereign of the Great Dao dwelt in the womb of Hongshi in Nunayu Country in the west. he sat under a dead mulberry tree and meditated.. Formerly. Every time Heaven and Earth come into being. i. In large-scale Daoist rituals. the Imperial Man of Inborn Perfection17. transforming into the man who created the world. the highest divinities of Daoism. He was called the 'Supreme Sovereign of the Great Dao' 5 in the Tang Dynasty. Salvation with the Secret Dao: The History of the Sui dynasty says the Primeval Lord of Heaven exists eternally. Fuluo.19" Worship: In most Daoist temples. All the immortals duly go to the Jade Clarity Realm to pay respect to the Primeval Lord of Heaven. he becomes the Primeval Lord of Heaven. becomes Pangu. the Primeval Lord of Heaven descended and taught him ten subtle scriptures of the Great Vehicle Law of the Numinous Treasure. second only to the Primeval Lord of Heaven4. Supreme Jade Emperor and Sovereign of the Great Dao'3. transforming into the patriarch who rules Heaven. he was called the Primeval Lord of Heaven. the names or the sculptures of the Three Pristine Ones are also worshiped. and the Heavenly Emperors of the Five Directions18 as well as the Immortal Officials. until the Song Dynasty when he was called 'Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure' 6 or 'Sovereign of the Numinous Treasure'7. the Supreme Elder16. he was called the 'Lofty Saint of Highest Clarity. he was awakened to Dao and perfection and. After 100 days.e. According to the Great Grotto Book of Pervasive Perfection8 cited in Seven Slips of a Cloudy Satchel9. The holy birthday of the Primeval Lord of Heaven is the first days of the Lunar Year. Living in the highest abode of Heaven: The Chart of the ranks of the Perfect Souls12 by Tao Hongjing. an imminent Daoist of the Qi and Liang dynasties." This was the Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure. who is in the middle of the first rank. but some folk people also worship him on the inter solstice. According to the Brief Account of the Numinous Treasure10.in his former life he was Pangu and the Primeval King of Heave." . with the Primeval Lord of Heaven in the middle position. in the Jade Clarity Realm 14."the essence of vital breath of the jade morning and purple clouds of best auspices. he was in the middle position of the second rank. where the middle position is occupied by the sculpture of the Primeval Lord of Heaven with a Pearl of Original Chaos20 in his hand. wishing to be enlightened. and meditated in the jade womb mansion for 3700 years. The Comprehensive Mirro of the Perfect Immortals Who Embodied the Dao 10 explained his name as follows: "(the character) Yuan means origin." All those he saves are upper-ranked immortals. there is a Hall of the Three Pristine Ones. there are pavilions of purple clouds and mansions of green clouds. he inaugurates the new kalpa and saves people by teaching them the secret Dao. and were transformed into a man. Then he was born at the side of Danxuan Hill. The Primeval Lord of Heaven lives in the middle position of the upper first rank. The Original Vital Breath11. such as the Supreme Venerable sovereign15. Living higher than the other thirtyfive heavens. Mt. which were brilliant like jade and glorious like gold. In the Jade Clarity Realm. (the character) Shi means the beginning. and was named Qidu and nicknamed Shangkaiyuan. says that the place where the spirits dwell is the Triple Origin Palace of Jade Clarity 13. The Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure Origin of the Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure The Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure1 is one of the Three Pristine Ones2. He was born under a plum tree with the ability to speak. the Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure also appears to the left of the Primeval Lord of Heaven.Administering and Assisting the High Immortals The Lofty Saint of Highest Clarity. According to the biographies of Laozi collected by Ge Hong in the Biographies of the Immortals4. as the Lord of the flying Immortals. which is the 34th and third highest of the 36 heavens. with an S-Shaped Ornamental Object17 in his hand. He has 36 transformations and 72 apparitions. was an assistant of the Primeval Lord of Heaven. The Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure is the major divinity of folk worship ritual during the summer solstice. For him. in the Supreme Ultimate Palace7 of the Supreme Clarity Realm8. Laozi "came out of the Vital Breath of Chaos. the ten thousand Spirits pay respect. he governs the Seven Purple Chambers of Light 13 which are guarded by Golden Lads and Jade Maidens. and dwells below in the Purple Subtlety 10." The Chart of the Ranks of the Perfected Souls6 places the Supreme Venerable Sovereign of Supreme Clarity in the middle of the fourth rank. Laozi is said to have been born before Heaven and Earth. in the middle of the fifth lunar month. The divine birthday of the Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure is the summer solstice. he shelters and saves people. Supreme Jade Emperor and Sovereign of the Great Dao. he lived in the Highest Clarity Realm11. the people he saved are as numerous as grains of sand and dust. Whenever an inquisitive man with affinities raises questions. Since receiving the scriptures and laws.000. Moon and Stars. prime Minister of Chen. The chapter 'Buddhist and Daoist Records' in the History of the Wei Dynasty says that the Supreme Venerable Sovereign "dwells above in the Jade Capital 9. the Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure always appears to the left of the Primeval Lord of Heaven. the higher perfected ones attend the morning rites. He is Laozi. the highest divinities of Daoism. in the eighth year of the Yanxi Era of the Eastern Han dynasty. and has also been called the Supreme Venerable Sovereign 3 since the Northern Wei Dynasty. According to the Inscription in Honor of Laozi5 written by Bian Shao. the Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure saves people by using the Laws of the Numinous Treasure. the Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure teaches kindly and generously. the second highest position among the 36 heavens. and is as eternal as the three lights of the Sun. the Five Virtes hold talismans. In large-scale Daoist rituals. and took his surname "Li" after the tree." The royal family of the Tang dynasty. worshipped him and ." "As the incarnation of Dao. As the ruler of the Sun Palace of Stamen Pearls12. after 72 years' stay in his mother's womb. Salvation by the Numinous Treasure According to the Pervasive Mystery's Book of Original Deeds14. taking Laozi as its ancestor. Worship in Temples In the Halls of the Three Pristine Ones16 of Daoist temples. and can correspond immediately to the wishes of the people in tens of thousands of places. each numbering 300. and the heavenly emperors hold charts. During the 9900 billion eons from original creation to the first year of the Crimson Light Cycle 15. as the ancestor of the divine kings. The Heavenly Lord of Dao and its Virtue Origin of the Heavenly Lord of Dao and its Virtue The Heavenly Lord of Dao and its Virtue1 is one the Three Pristine Ones2. is formed from the Empty Grotto 16. Emperor Hui honored him as 'Supreme Highest Jade Emperor of the Heavens. The Great Jade Emperor Origin of the Jade Emperor The Great Jade Emperor1 is often simply called the 'Jade Emperor'. Creator of Heaven. He is the Ancestor of Original Vital Breath14 and the Root of Heaven and Earth. He was Lutuzi in the time of Emperor Ku. Creator of Heaven. In large-scale Daoist rituals. the Supreme Venerable Sovereign has repeatedly incarnated himself in the world. The holy birthday of the Supreme Venerable Sovereign or Heavenly Lord of Dao and Its Virtue. Emperor Zhen honored him with the holy title 'Supreme Jade Emperor. and Nine-Soul Laozi in the time of Shen Nong. He was the Master of the Mysterious Middle 18 in the time of the Upper Three August Ones. Container of Perfection. Guangchengzi in the time of the Yellow Emperor. originated before supreme origin. I enter and leave the obscure mystery. I travel at the origin of Supreme Simplicity 17. Avatar of Dao The Seven Slips of a Cloudy Satchel13 says. numinous and subtle beyond name. Yuhuazi in the time of Fuxi. the Supreme Venerable Sovereign also appears to the right of the Primeval Lord of Heaven. and . He is called the highest true perfect Dao. Going inside and out of emptiness. Imperial Sovereign of the Golden Palace in the time of Lower Three August Ones. He is the teacher of generations of sages. Jade Timesetter. and Embodiment of Dao"4. the Supreme Venerable Sovereign always appears to the right of the Primeval Lord of Heaven 19. Coming out of Spontaneity15. Holder of Talismans." The Teacher of Sages Since the union of Fuxi with Shen Nong. So the Venerable Sovereign is the original Vital Breath of perfect Dao and creator of Spontaneity. witnessed Yin and Yang before their separation. Holder of Talismans. pace the wilderness of the universe. He was Guangshouzi in the time of Zhurong. Container of Perfection. as a white-haired and white-bearded elder man with a feather fan in his hand. holds a holy birthday celebration and Luck and Longevity prayer rituals on this day. the subtle origin of the great Dao is born from non-birth. fully grown at the supreme beginning. Daoism. and Master Wenyi in the time of King Wen. Xizezi in the time of Tang of the Yin Dynasty. "Laozi is the Venerable Sovereign and avatar of Dao. Worship in Temples In the Halls of the Three Pristine Ones of Daoist temples. He was Zhenxingzi in the time of Yu of the Xia Dynasty. Wuchengzi in the time of Yao. Emperor Gao honored him as "Supreme Emperor of the Mysterious Origin"11 . and Chijingzi in the time of Zhuanxu. Therefore he says: "Born before the formless. and experience the creation of all things. precedes the unprecedented. In the Song Dynasty. Emperor Xuan honored him as "Great Sage Ancestor and Great Heavenly Emperor of the Mysterious Origin of the Golden Palace of the Great Lofty Dao" 12. I watched chaos before its division. and creates and nourishes Heaven and Earth. and Yinshouzi in the time of Shun. is the 15th of the second lunar month. as well as the 'Most Venerable Jade Emperor of the Heavenly Golden Palace'2 and 'Lofty Jade Emperor of the Mysterious Heaven"3.honored him with many noble titles. Imperial Timesetter. regarding the Supreme Venerable Sovereign as its ancestor. he ascended to the station of Jade Emperor. He devoted the entire state treasury to all sentient beings. offer food. Therefore. prostrate. the Great Emperor of the Highest Palace of Polaris 22 to administer the Three Powers of Heaven. where an image of the Jade Emperor was paraded around the village. he would abandon the throne and cultivate Dao on the Mountain of Universal Light and Fragrant Rocks 11. The 25th of the twelfth month is the legendary day when the Jade Emperor descends and inspects the human world. operas are performed to please the deity. In general. All members of the family. the precious light of his glorious flames filled the country. The attendants. His complete name in Daoist scriptures is 'Most Venerable Highest Jade Emperor of All-Embracing Sublime Spontaneous Existence of the Heavenly Golden Palace" 6. the highest divinity of the ten thousand spirits in the three realms and of all Immortals of the Three Grottoes 14. burn incense. Earth. According to the Original Deeds of the Lofty Jade Emperor7. after fasting and bathing. the deserted and single. sacrifices to the Jade Emperor were held in the past. Folk people in Taiwan and Fujian. king of all Immortals. the poor and suffering. land. Earth and Man. The relationship between them is like Emptiness15 preceding Subtle Being16. Heaven. Emperor of Ten Thousand Spirits The Jade Emperor is the emperor of all heavens. The Jade Emperor sends the Great Emperor of the North Pole Star of Purple Subtlety21 to administer the longitudes and latitudes of Heaven and Earth. The Heavenly Lord of Supreme Oneness and Salvation from Misery . folk people and temples all welcome and see off the Jade Emperor by burning incense and reciting scriptures. lord of saints. Daoist temples hold a Golden Register Ritual Offering 24 called 'Jade Emperor Ritual'25. Earth. and kind and benevolent when grown up. and Man and to control wars. After the death of the King of Pure Bliss 10. In some places. all things. just like the emperor and his ministers in the human world. are in the charge of the Jade Emperor. the hungry and disabled. the Great Jade Emperor is the son of the King of the Pure Blissful Kingdom of Lofty Heavenly Lights and Ornaments 8 and of the Empress of Precious Moonlight9. He was smart and wise when young. Daoist or laymen. NonInterference19 preceding Interfering Action20. worship the Jade Emperor with the "Offering to Heaven" 26 rite. At birth. and rivers." In Charge of the Dao of Heaven The Jade Emperor is an avatar of the Three Pristine Ones 14. and recite scriptures. feeling merciful for all sentient beings. and creation.Embodiment of Dao'5. To his holy majesty I look up and bow to pay my sincere respect. he attained to the station of Golden Immortality12 and was called 'Emperor of Spontaneous Enlightenment" 13. the Jade Emperor is the master of the three fundamentals in charge of the pivot of Heaven. he ruled ably as crown prince and told his ministers that. calling the Jade Emperor "Grandpa Heaven"27. worship him on the 9th of the first lunar month. Infinity17 preceding the Supreme Ultimate18. Worship in Temples The holy birthday of the Jade Emperor is the 9th of the first month of the lunar calendar. and the Imperial God of Earth 23 to administer births. He has the power to order the Immortals of the Nine Heavens and to invoke the spirits of the four seas and five sacred mountains. A poem of Bai Juyi says: "Immortals such as Anqi and Xianmen attend to him in queue like ministers. Yin and Yang. All the spirits follow and attend to him in queue. After 3200 aeons. On this day. After another billion aeons. In north China. to pray for Luck and Longevity. into immortal lads and jade maidens. the Heavenly Lord Who Saves Sinners from the Ninth Hell 13. the Heavenly Lord of Salvation from the Zhuling Star 14. Only on the Festivals of the Three Origins. or during Yellow Register Rituals of Salvation. the Heavenly Lord of Supreme Oneness and Salvation from Misery is the Great Benevolent One of the Heavenly Court's Eastern World of Eternal Happiness 5. devil kings and powerful guardians. He is all-powerful. the Heavenly Lord of Supreme Oneness and Salvation from Misery will descend on his immortal cart of nine masters and.Origin of the Heavenly Lord of Supreme Oneness and Salvation from Misery The Heavenly Lord of Supreme Oneness and Salvation from Misery 1 is also called 'Heavenly Lord of Salvation from Misery in Response to Cries for Help'2. is the Heavenly Lord of Supreme Oneness and Salvation from Misery worshipped. As for those who have accumulated merits perfectly. the Great Benevolent One8 in the world. a man in distress need only recite the name of the Heavenly Lord of Supreme Oneness and Salvation from Misery. teachers of law and of meditation. and 'Heavenly Lord of Salvation from Misery in the Ten Directions"3. many Daoist rituals take the Heavenly Lord of Supreme Oneness and Salvation from Misery as the major divinity. the Heavenly Lord of Salvation from Misery in the Ten Directions. "This sage is called the Supreme Oneness Spirit of Luck7 in Heaven. such as the Precious Repentance for Salvation from the Blood Lake Hell Told by the Heavenly Lord of Supreme Oneness and Salvation from Misery 21. civil and military officials. by riding the immortal cart of nine masters and shining forth the auspicious lights of the hundred treasures. and he will get help and relief in response to his cry for help." According to legends. and the Heavenly Lord of Precious Glorious Perfection19. shining forth the auspicious lights of the hundred treasures. purifying the Blood Lake Hell. the Brilliant Lion King10 among heretics. men and women." Functions and Temple Worship: According to the Supreme Appeal of the Three Grottoes12. there are nine Heavenly Lords: the Heavenly Lord of Supreme Oneness and Salvation from Misery. and the Lantern Ritual for Salvation from the Ninth Hell23. extreme kindness and love. and so on. the Heavenly Lord of the Great Bridge of Salvation 16. heavenly lords and perfected ones. celestial masters and Daoists. the Heavenly Lord of Unfettered Bliss 18. Daoist temples generally have a Hall of Supreme Oneness20 where a sculpture or image of the Heavenly Lord of Supreme Oneness is worshipped. He appears everywhere. the Heavenly Lord of Elixirs Refined by Fire15. imperial sovereigns and saints. lead them to ascend to Immortality. He always appears as a Heavenly Lord riding on a lion. besides guiding the sentient beings. Refinement and Salvation of the Numinous Treasure22. and in hell. in the human world. His role is "to save sentient beings with highest holiness and benevolence. masters of wind and of rain. and of Water . According to the Book of Protection and Salvation from Misery by the Supreme Oneness4. The Three Emperor-Officials: The Emperors of Heaven. the Imperial Sovereign of Sunshine9 in hell. The Heavenly Lord of Supreme Oneness and Salvation from Misery can transform in response to the kinds of subjects to be saved. In such rituals. the Heavenly Lord of Supreme Oneness and Salvation from Misery is also in charge of Refining the souls of the dead with water and fire. in the Heavenly Palace6. among devils as the powerful governor. Since the Song and Yuan dynasties. diamond warriors and divine kings. heavenly heelers and officials. imperial men and venerable sovereigns. The Heavenly Lord of Supreme Oneness and Salvation from Misery is the first and chief among them. and the Imperial Sovereign of the Pervasive Abyss11 in the water realm. saving the souls of sinners from hell. of Earth. the Heavenly Lord of the Golden Palace Avatar17. the 15th of the seventh month and the 15th of the tenth month. middle and lower)8. the Earthly Official3 and the Water Official4. Earth and Water. Every 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar. Earth and Water were commonly performed. and eliminates the misfortunes of men. belongs to the Highest Clarity Realm16.Origin of the Three Great Emperor-Officials The Three Great Emperor-Officials1 are the Heavenly Official2." However. The Water Official Who Eliminates Misfortunes The Water Official. Earth and Water. the birthdays of the Three Officials of Heaven. he instated a method for Daoists to pray for healing by sacrificing to Heaven. The Heavenly Official Who Confers Blessings The Heavenly Official. also known as the 'Earthly Official of Middle Origin and Second-Rank Absolver of Sins'14 or 'Great Emperor of Pristine Emptiness"15. he comes to the human world. Every 15th of the tenth month of the lunar calendar. Daoists go to temples and burn . The Water Official. a condensation of Numinous Vital Breath of the Original Grotto of Chaos 17 and of Essence of Extreme Yellow. rituals of sacrifice to Heaven. Every 15th of the seven month of the lunar calendar. also known as 'Higher Origin First-Class Heavenly Official Who Confers Blessings'9 or 'Great Emperor of Purple Subtlety'10. belongs to the Jade Clarity Realm11. the sacrifice for the river is sunken in the water. The Earthly Official. when Zhang Daoling founded the Celestial Masters Tradition 6. a condensation of green. he descends to the human world and inspects and decides the sins and blessings of men. "One is placed on the top of the mountain to offer to heaven. one is buried into the earth. yellow. The Records of Rites5 says: "The sacrifice for Heaven is burned with wood. the Three Officials were combined with the Spirits of the Three Origins (higher. The Heavenly Official. Worship in Temples On 15th of the first month. a condensation of Vital Breath of Winds and Lakes and of Essence of the Dawn of Greatness. the sacrifice for the mountain is raised to the mountain peak. inspects the sins of men and absolves them. and by presenting Handwritten Repentances to the Three Heavenly Officials 7. is in charge of the immortals residing in water. and thus is called the Heavenly Official Who Confers Blessings 13. it was the exclusive right of emperors to sacrifice to heaven. and one is sunken into water. In the eastern Han dynasty. is in charge of the emperors of all the heavens. In early ancient China. also known as the 'Water Official of Lower Origin and Third-Rank Eliminator of Misfortunes'18 or 'Great Emperor of Pervasive Yin"19. earth and rivers. belongs to the Jade Clarity Realm20. he comes to the human world to inspect sins and good fortune. and the sacrifice for earth is buried." In the Southern and Northern dynasties. is in charge of the Five Emperors of the Five Sacred Mountains and of the Earthly Immortals of all places. while the common people only sacrificed to their ancestors. The Earthly Official Who Absolves Sins The Earthly Official. and white Vital Breaths 12 of the Original Chaos. it had a a male form before the Tang dynasty and acquired a female form during Wu Zetian's reign. the South Pole Emperor of Longevity is in charge of all spirits. Functions The Great Jade Emperor. Golden Register Rituals 21 and Yellow Register Rituals22 are held to pray for fortune and eliminate misfortune. In large-scale Daoist rituals. the South Pole Emperor of Longevity12. The Imperial God of Earth is the center of Heaven and Earth. the Heavenly Emperor of the Supreme Ultimate13. The Four Heavenly Ministers Origin of the Four Heavenly Ministers The Four Heavenly Ministers1. the Heavenly Emperor of the Supreme Ultimate is in charge of the longevity of all spirits. The Imperial Goddess of Earth is in charge of births. he is often classified in some Daoist scriptures outside of the Four Heavenly Ministers. The North Pole Emperor of Purple Subtlety is in charge of all stars. the Four Heavenly Ministers are also . is in charge of the Dao of heaven. and the East Pole Emperor of Blue Essence 14. Also. The Heavenly Emperors of the four poles also have their respective functions. is situated in Middle Heaven 8 and is the master of all the stars. rivers. owing to the promotion of the Jade Emperor in position and function in the Daoist pantheon. and the East Pole Emperor of Blue Essence is in charge of the salvation of all sentient beings. correspondent with the Original Vital Breath and inferior only to Great Heaven. Earth and Man. besides the Three Pristine Ones. They are called the North Pole Emperor of Purple Subtlety 11. assistant sovereign of the three realms. subordinate only to the Three Pristine Ones. as the Stellar Sovereign7 of the Purple Subtlety Constellation. The Middle Heaven Great Emperor of the North Pole Star of Purple Subtlety assists the Jade Emperor in administering the longitudes and latitudes of Heaven and Earth. and mountains. including the Great Jade Emperor2. the sun. Contemporary Daoism has returned to the pre-Song identification of the Four Heavenly Ministers. the Middle Heaven Great Emperor of the North Pole Star of Purple Subtlety3. He is honored as the "master of all stars. are four deities in charge of all things in Heaven and Earth under the Three Pristine Ones6. Daoist temples often have a Hall of the Four Heavenly Ministers17. honored the spirit with the title "Imperial Earth Queen Who Receives and Follows Heavenly Laws and Promotes Kind Virtue"10. land. which is composed of four stars left of the Imperial Polar Constellation. Since the Song dynasty. The Great Jade Emperor is the master of the ten thousand spirits. as well as the climate of the four seasons. in the seventh year of the Zhenghe Era. the Great Heavenly Emperor of the Highest Palace of Polaris4 and the Imperial God of Earth5. Since then. is located at the Pole Star as the pivot of heaven." The Great Heavenly Emperor of the Highest Palace of Polaris is in charge of the Three Powers15 of Heaven. The Middle Heaven Great Emperor of the North Pole Star of Purple Subtlety. the moon and stars. for the worship of the Four Heavenly Ministers. and of wars in the human world. The Great Heavenly Emperor of the Highest Palace of Polaris. the Earth Goddess has always been depicted as a female.incense to offer sacrifices. Queen Pan of the Song Emperor Zhenzong built a temple on Mt Song for the worship of the Great Holy Earth Queen of Mysterious Heaven9. Worship in Temples Besides Halls of the Three Pristine Ones16. which are then listed as the Heavenly Emperors of the four poles of the cardinal directions. Emperor Hui. "The first Realm is the Realm of Colourful Humid Brilliance16. the tenth Emperor of the Soil is named Boshangren and surnamed Zhou. as the Daoist theory of the creation of the universe developed." In the Tang Dynasty. is one of the Four Heavenly Ministers. divides Heaven into 28 heavens and Three Worlds 7 (World of Desire8. According to the Fasting Rituals of the River Chart of the Numinous Treasure of Pervasive Mystery. for Honouring the Thirty-Six Emperors of the Soil . and the Imperial Earth Goddess on the 18th of the third month. allocating eight to each of the four directions. The ninth Emperor of the Soil is named Weishen and surnamed Zhang. 36 altars are set to symbolize the Thirty-Six Heavens. and World of Formlessness10). the fourteenth Emperor of the Soil is named Bowuyuan and surnamed Xie. for Honouring the Thirty-Six Emperors of the Soil 14. A commentary by Yan Dong of the Northern Qi dynasty says: "It totals 32 heavens with eight in each direction and three heavens covering it.worshipped. Ancient China had a God of Earth 2. there are 36 earth-realms. and thus totaling 36 heavens. the twelfth Emperor of the Soil is named Wenjingshi and surnamed Yu. distinctions were made between the heavenly realms where the Immortals live. for a total of 36 Emperors of the Soil. The fourth Realm is the Realm of Humid Brilliance19. "By the pervasive divine law. Therefore. Many Daoists go to temples to burn incense on these days. The fifth Emperor of the Soil is named Shenwenguang and surnamed Wu. The Goddess of Earth3. under the 36 heavens and emperors. the Emperors of the Soil are the spirits in charge of the earth realms in all directions." Each of the Four Heavenly Ministers has his own divine birthday: The Great Jade Emperor on the 9th of the first lunar month. who was the Earth Spirit in charge of Yin-Yang and creation. The Emperors of the Soil Origin of the Emperors of the Soil The Emperors of the Soil1 are the earth spirits of Daoism. Daoism holds that. the Great Heavenly Emperor of the Highest Palace of Polaris on the 2nd of the second month." Distinctions and Names Four Emperors of the Soil are allocated to each of Nine Realms 15. Each of the Thirty-Six Heavens has its emperor. World of Form9. During the Southern and Northern dynasties. The third Realm is the Realm of Paraffin Brilliance 18. the Middle Heaven Great Emperor of the North Pole Star of Purple Subtlety on the the 27th of the tenth month. it was thought that there was an AllEmbracing Heaven13 covering the Three Pristine Ones. According to the Fasting Rituals of the River Chart of the Numinous Treasure of Pervasive Mystery. lanterns and incense are lit and burnt to correspond to the Thirty-Six Earthly Realms. The first Emperor of the Soil is named Xiaojingchun and surnamed Qin. Daoist Books say that they are "lined up respectively and honored respectively. the eleventh Emperor of the Soil is named Mingchezi and surnamed Zhu. the eighth Emperor of the Soil is named Huangming and surnamed Chang. the fourth Emperor of the Soil is named Zhongzhenhuang and surnamed Fei. as well as of the mountains and rivers. the sixth Emperor of the Soil is named Huangmusheng and surnamed Yu. the seventh Emperor of the Soil is named Qiandewei and surnamed Xuan. the fifteenth Emperor of the Soil is named Wenzhentai and surnamed Ji. The Book of Salvation12 also describes the theory of the 32 heavens. each with its own name. second in rank only to the Three Pristine Ones5. the second Emperor of the Soil is named Changshangwen and surnamed Huang. the third Emperor of the Soil is named Xuanwenji and surnamed Qing. Adding the Four Pure Heavens11 lying above the World of Formlessness. there are 32 heavens in total. According to the theory of Correspondence between Heaven and Earth. The thirteen Emperor of the Soil is named Yunzigao and surnamed Jia. The second Realm is the Realm of Diamond Brilliance17. The Chapter 'Three Worlds' of the Essential Secrets of the Most High6 by Yu Wenyong of the Northen Zhou. each with an Emperor of the Soil. whose divine title is "Imperial Earth Queen Who Receives and Follows Heavenly Laws and Promotes Kind Virtue"4. the sixteenth Emperor of the . The 29th Emperor of the Soil is named Xuanshengguang and surnamed Ge. the 32nd Emperor of the Soil is named Shangjingyuan and surname Zhou. The Queen Mother of the West Origin of the Queen Mother of the West The Queen Mother of the West1 is popularly called Auntie Queen Mother2. numinous cloud ribbons. The Intimate Biography of the Wu Emperor of the Han Dynasty says that 'when she entered a hall. The Great Yellow Register Ritual Offering of the Most High25 by Jiang Shuyu of the Southern Song dynasty lists the names of the Emperors of the Soil preceded by the names of the "Imperial Goddess of the Earth" before each. the twenty-fourth Emperor of the Soil is named Sinurong and surnamed Wang. The seventeenth Emperor of the Soil is named Yanqiming and surnamed Hua. The eighth Realm is the Realm of Great Wind Brilliance 23. Daoism regarded the Emperors of the Soil as subordinate spirits to the Imperial Goddesses of Earth. in largescale Daoist rituals. She looked about thirty and was extremely beautiful. Since the Tang dynasty. often hold rituals to respect the Emperors of the Soil and to pray for good luck and the good functioning of the bridge or house. and 'Primordial Sovereign Golden Mother of the Supreme Numinous White Rays of the Tortoise Platform"8. the twenty-third Emperor of the Soil is named Lijiyuan and surnamed Zhang. the 34th Emperor of the Soil is named Lingyuanhao and surnamed Ling. Her complete names are 'Nine-Soul Supreme Perfect Golden Mother and Primordial Sovereign of the Jade Tortoise Platform'6. Queen Mother4. the nineteenth Emperor of the Soil is named Tanwuyuan and surnamed Yun. the 35th Emperor of the Soil is named Shangboxuan and surnamed Zhao. a hat of supreme perfection. a shadowcutting sword. the Queen Mother of the West wore bright gold ornaments. West is the direction. the thirty-first Emperor of the Soil is named Zhendongxuan and surnamed Yang. and Queen Mother the name of the deity. the twenty-sixth Emperor of the Soil is named Zhengfatu and surnamed Wu. The fifth Realm is the Realm of Golden Millet Brilliance20. with the task of mastering Yin and Yang. the 30th Emperor of the Soil is named Maoyunchang and surnamed Hua. Daoist adherents. This shows that in the Southern Song. during the construction of houses. The Queen Mother of the West is a condensation of the Subtlest Vital Breath of the Western Essence from the Vital Breath of Dao of the Original Chaos. with the spread of geomancy. surnamed Hou. The twenty-fifth Emperor of the Soil is named Chushengying and surnamed Tang. often of the Imperial Queen of Earth but seldom of the 36 Emperors of the Soil. the twenty-seventh Emperor of the Soil is named Gaowenche and surnamed Han. The twenty-first Emperor of the Soil is named Shangshaojun and surnamed Li. a supreme flower hair bun. The deity. the eighteenth Emperor of the Soil is named Lingworong and surnamed Huang. The sixth Realm is the Realm of Diamond and Iron Brilliance 21. the twentieth Emperor of the Soil is named Tongbaguang and surnamed Jiang. divine seats are often set for the 36 Heavenly Emperors and the 36 Emperors of the Soil. The seventh Realm is the Realm of Water Brilliance 22. However. bridges and roads. the 36th Emperor of the Soil is named Lewubo and surnamed Nong. is allocated the Western direction. eliminating darkness. are set in the Hall of the Four Heavenly Ministers 26. The 33rd Emperor of the Soil is named Wuxhangxuan and surnamed Ji. The ninth Realm is the Colourless Diamond-Link Realm of the Pervasive Abyss24. Granny of the West3.Soil is named Jizhengfang and surnamed Xing. images or divine seats. 'Nine-Phoenix Supreme Perfect Queen Mother of the West of the Jade Tortoise Platform'7. Golden Mother4 and Golden Mother Primordial Sovereign 5. the twenty-eighth Emperor of the Soil is named Zhonglongshou and surnamed Jing." The Wu Emperor of Han . the twenty-second Earth Emperor is named Lailian and surnamed Fan. Worship in Temples In big Daoist temples. The name 'Queen Mother of the West' was first seen in the Book of Mountains and Seas9. and black-brimmed phoenixpatterned shoes. and elevating divinity. . and purple and green elixir chambers. green light halls. The Queen Mother of the West and the Grandpa King of the East 13 are parents of the Yin and Yang Vital Breaths of Dao14. Worship in Temples Owing to the story of the Queen Mother of the West giving Emperor Wu big 3000-year peaches recorded in the Intimate Biography of Emperor Wu. Daoists. the Queen Mother of the West sent envoys to grant him a white jade ring and a map. the 3rd day of the 3rd lunar month or the 18th of the 7th month. mentioned in the Book of Mountains and Seas. When the Yellow Emperor battled with the cruel Chiyou. there are peach trees by the Jade Lake which "bear fruit once every 3000 years". To the left is the Jade Lake. The Queen Mother of the West. but was not the Queen Mother of the West herself. in order to command all spirits and perfected saints. Five Agents and Yin and Yang16. especially women. They administer the two Vital Breaths together and nourish all things in Heaven and Earth. gather in temples to hold birthday celebration rituals for the Queen Mother of the West and to pray for their own health and longevity. On the Queen Mother of the West's holy birthday. and the Writ of the Five Talismans and Five Victories of the Numinous Treasure 18. According to the Jottings of Rarities and Miscellaneous Stories10. The Thunder Patriarch Origin of the Thunder Patriarch The Thunder Patriarch1 is also called the 'Heavenly Lord of Universal Transformation Whose Voice of Thunder Resonates from the Origin of the Nine Heavens' 2. the Dipper Steps of Hidden Time and the Six Rens of Supreme Oneness17. The figure of a human boy with tiger teeth and a cat's tail. Nourishing All Things The Primordial Lord of Heaven11 granted the Queen Mother of the West the Register of the Tortoise Mountain's Nine Rays of the Original Unity of Heaven12. or the 'Perfect King of Universal Transformation Whose Voice of Thunder Resonates with the Origin of the Nine Heavens' 3. is the major divinity of the Golden Register Ritual for Prolonging Life20. was an envoy of the Queen Mother of the West and of the White Tiger spirit of the West. Mistress of Female Immortals As the ancestor of Female Immortals9. the Queen Mother of the West lives in the Kunlun Mountains. always seen as a symbol of longevity for Daoists and ordinary people. All women who have attained immortality in the three realms and ten directions. in Heaven or in the human world. Then the Yellow Emperor defeated Chiyou at middle Ji. and to the right are the Green Mountains. nine-storey primordial chambers. are under the rule of the Queen Mother of the West. and Shun thus expanded the Yellow Emperor's nine prefectures to twelve perfectures. the Queen Mother of the West's Peach Banquet19 is well-known and popular among the people. the Queen Mother of the West sent the Mysterious Maiden of the Nine Heavens15 to teach the Yellow Emperor the Strategy of the Three Palaces. He is. in a city of one thousand miles with twelve jade mansions. who could cause wind and rain and puff out fog and smoke. and put her in charge of the attendants of all heavens and the inspection of higher saints.accepted her instruction and orders with great respect. After Yu Shun succeeded to the throne. The J ade Pivot Precious Book of the Heavenly Lord of Universal Transformation Whose Voice of Thunder Resonates with the Origin of the Nine Heavens26 says that "those who are not pious to their parents. there are thirty-six thunder drums in the charge of thrity-six spirits. Daoist sects such as the Divine Heaven Tradition23 and the Pristine Subtlety Tradition24. in the midst of the Pure Vital Breath of the Azure Heaven 9. to the left of which is the Jade Pivot Five Thunder Agency11 and to the right of which is the Jade Mansion Five Thunder Agency12. the avatar of the Perfect King of Jade Clarity5 and the ninth son of the Primeval Lord of Heaven 6. the functions of thunder expanded from providing rain to announcing fortune or misfortune. officials are sent to the Temple of Numinous Manifestation28 to offer sacrifices.according to the Jade Book of Thunderbolts from the Mystery Capital of Jade Clarity and Great Purity of the Star of Purple Subtlety in the Nine Heavens of the Most High 4. and even beaten into pieces by thunderbolts. in the charge of the Heavenly Lord of Universal Transformation Whose Voice of Thunder Resonates with the Origin of the Nine Heavens. calls Wenzhong the 'Heavenly Lord of Universal Transformation Whose Voice of Thunder Resonates with the Origin of the Nine Heavens"." Major temples all worship the Thunder Patriarch. Supreme Commander Gou Zhang the Left Demon Suppressor20. Worship in Temples According to the 'Records of Rites" in the History of the Ming Dynasty27. the Thunder Patriarch beats the drum once. a fiction of the Ming Dynasty. Xi Huan the Heavenly Sovereign of Silver Teeth and Shiny Eyes18 . Heavenly Sovereign Pang Hong. Heavenly Sovereign Dong Quan. The impious are killed first in the spirit and then in the body. The thirty-six spirits of the Thunder Agency are all meritorious ministers of the time. Heavenly Sovereign Zhao Jiang. When it is time for thunders. who leads twenty-four Law-Protecting Heavenly Sovereigns Who Bring Wind and Rain16. In front of the Heavenly Lord. Heavenly Sovereign Yuan Jiao. teachers and kings" will be killed by the Five Thunders Inspection and Execution Agency. Thus. on this day every year. In the northern Song. But it was at the end of the Northern Song that the Thunder Agency 22. The 81 zhang-high Thunder City is the place where the Heavenly Court administers thunders. etc. Supreme Commander Bi Huan the Right Demon Suppressor21. emphasized Thunder Skills25. He is also said to be the Thunder Spirit7. a deity in charge of thunder and rain. was incorporated into the Daoist divinity system. who is often worshipped in temples. many Daoist believers burn incense in temples to pray for gook luck. The Great Perfect Warrior Emperor Origin of the Great Perfect Warrior Emperor . Zhang Jie the Flying Messenger19. Functions In ancient times Grandpa Thunder and the Thunder Spirit had already been worshipped. Among them are Deng Yuanzhong the Great Spirit of Statutes and Ordinances17. The Thunder Patriarch lives in the Jade Mansion of Divine Heaven 8. and even to conferring life or death after the inspection and evaluation of people. 2300 miles from the Thunder City10. So. The 24th day of the sixth lunar month is considered by Daoists as the day of his manifestation. Every 24th day of the sixth lunar month. 'the Heavenly Lord of Universal Transformation Whose Voice of Thunder Resonates with the Origin of the Nine Heavens is in charge of the five thunders. who is the immortalized Yellow Emperor with the title 'Thunder Patriarch'. Heavenly Sovereign Tao Rong. The Romance of the Gods 15. Large-sized rituals of the Orthodox Oneness sect 29 often assign a Divine Seat for the Thunder Patriarch and invoke the Heavenly Sovereigns of the Thunder Agency. and Grandpa Thunder13 and the Master of Thunder14 throw out thunderbolts. Heavenly Sovereign Qin Wan. and was found pregnant after awaking. a man's destiny is transferred from the Southern Dipper to the Northern Dipper. Hui and Qin of Song dynasties all honoured him with titles. The queen dreamed that she had swallowed the sun. so the commentary says: "The Mysterious Warrior is the tortoise-and-snake. the Perfect Warrior can administer the rivers and fire. He was given the title 'Supreme Mystery" and ordered to guard the north by the Jade Emperor 8. among which is the Dipper constellation. Emperors Zhen. and the treasury. to avoid using the the character 'Xuan' (mysterious. She gave birth to a baby after 14 months pregnancy." In the Kaibao Era of the Northern Song dynasty. he was honoured as 'Original. the Mysterious Warrior Spirit descended on Zhongnan Mountain. It corresponds to the Xuwei Constellation and is shaped like a combination of a tortoise and a snake. Grown up. the name 'Mysterious Warrior' was changed to 'Perfect Warrior' 11. he was born in the Heavenly Palace of Non-Desire in the All-Embracing Realm. Daoism. He ascended to Heaven in full daylight. and promoted the worship of the Great Perfect Warrior Emperor to the highest peak. In the seventh year of the Dazhong Xiangfu Era of Emperor Zhen (AD 1014). Emperor Cheng of the Ming dynasty worshiped the Perfect Warrior. he who prays for longevity must worship the Great Perfect Warrior Emperor. and attained immortality after 42 years. The “Mysterious Warrior" was originally the collective name of the northern seven of the 28 constellations. Marquis Zhangxin was ordered to build a complex of temples on Mt Wudang with 200. Qu Yuan sings "to invoke the Mysterious Warrior and fly towards it". Omnipresent in all directions. On . ministries. Holy. As a son of the King of Pure Bliss6 and of the Queen of Virtuous Victory 7. In the tenth year of the Yongle Era. he was the 82nd avatar of the Supreme Venerable Sovereign 5. The Big Dipper Who Decrees Death13 'Mysterious Warrior" is the general name of the seven northern constellations. bureaus. Worship in Temples The 3rd day of the 3rd month of the lunar calendar is the divine birthday of the Perfect warrior. In the section 'Distant Excursion" of the Elogies of the Chu9. Kind and August Holy Emperor of the Mysterious Northern Heaven" 12. In the seventh year of the Dade Era of the Yuan Dynasty (AD 1303). Therefore. and so Perfect Warrior Temples were built in the imperial offices at all levels such as agencies. Zhao Xuanlang. saying that "the Southern Dipper decrees life and the Northern decrees death". dark) which appeared in the name of the royal ancestor. According to the Supreme Venerable Sovereign's Sublime Book of Divine Incantations Telling the Story of the Great Sage and Perfect Warrior of the Mysterious Northern Heaven4.The Great Perfect Warrior Emperor1 is also called the Mysterious Warrior Spirit2 and the Highest Emperor of the Mysterious Northern Heaven3. From entering the womb." Belonging to water. Afterwards. It is called mysterious (dark) because its position is to the north. its power frightens all the spirits. and thus eliminate relevant disasters. This is the reason why many Perfect Warrior Temples were built in the palaces of the Ming Dynasty.000 soldiers. he was given the title 'Perfect Sovereign Who Aids the Sagely and Protects the Virtuous" 10. The Mysterious Warrior constellation is shaped like a tortoise and a snake. Essence of Water The Sage Protecting Mantra14 calls the Perfect Warrior the "essence of water who is the transformation of Supreme Yin. attaches much importance to the worship of the Dipper stars. it is called warrior because it has scales and an armament on its body. the prince left his home and his parents to cultivate Dao on Mt Wudang. In the third year of the Yanyou Era of Emperor Ren of the Yuan dynasty (AD 1316). 'Pious Benevolent Heroic King"12 conferred by Emperor Guang. was called Imperial Sovereign. Later. died in war as a minister of the Jin dynasty. In the third year of the Yanyou Era of Emperor Ren of the Yuan Dynasty. As an honest and clean . "as a young man. and who lived on Mt Qiqu. and 'Divine and Saintly Heroic Pious King" 13 conferred by Emperor Li. also worshipped the Zitong Spirit. Zhang Yazi was very loyal to his mother. Each of the six stars has its own name: Highest General2. and honored him as Salvation King. passing by the mountain. the Wenchang and Zitong spirits were thus combined into one. He practiced them and succeeded." Zhang Yazi. in order to expound the karmic concept of the 'near fruit of one's actions come to oneself. such as 'Heroic and Brave King'11 conferred by Emperor Zhen. Imperial Sovereign Wenchang is seen as a model for filial piety and benevolence. or Zhang Yu. Controller of the Middle5. among which the worship on Mt Wudang is the most flourishing. Noble Premier3. Later. and offered grand sacrifices for him. when there was a vicious plague among the people. According to the Book of Transformations of the Imperial Sovereign of Zitong. Emperor Xuan of the Tang dynasty. So he came to be called Zhang Yazi. Therefore. the Zitong Spirit was honoured with the title "Imperial Sovereign Wenchang. Many emperors of the Song dynasty gave him lofty titles. Imperial Sovereign Wenchang was incarnated as a high official in the human world 73 times. and Controller of Wealth6. the farther fruit go to one's offspring". Promoter of Benevolence and Controller of Wealth Who Serves the Origin and Initiates Salvation" 9. Promoter of Benevolence and Controller of Wealth Who Serves the Origin and Initiates Salvation' Thereafter. According to the 'Record of Rites' of the History of the Ming Dynasty. Controller of Destinies4. was touched by his heroism. he dreamed of a spirit giving him the Immortals' Book of the Great Grotto14 and Magical Registers15 to eliminate the plague. passing by the mountain in refuge. offered him a royal sword in person. rising up against an invasion by King Pu Jian of the early Qin (AD 374). made himself King of Shu (ancient Sichuan) and died in war. Zhang Yu's Shrine was combined with the shrine of Yazi. Imperial Sovereign Wenchang Origin of Imperial Sovereign Wenchang Imperial Sovereign Wenchang1 was originally the collective name for the six stars of the Wenchang constellation. honored him as Premier. Zhang Yazi was given the title 'Imperial Sovereign Wenchang. whose surname was Zhang and whose name was Yazi. People built a monumental shrine for him.that day. Wenchang was given the title of 'Imperial Sovereign'or 'Imperial Sovereign of Zitong" 8 during the reign of Emperor Ren (AD 1316). Assistant General2. the Zitong Spirit. he sucked the wound of his sick mother and cut off his own leg flesh at midnight. people built a shrine at Mt Qiqu in Zitong County. as medicine to cure his mother. 'the Imperial Sovereign of Zitong. In memory of Zhang Yu. The Book of Hidden Virtues of Imperial Sovereign Wenchang16. gives many examples of people getting good rewards for their good deeds. Controller of the Destinies of Civil Officials According to the Book of Hidden Virtues of Imperial Sovereign Wenchang . and honored him as the Dragon King of Thunder Lake 10. Zhang Yazi. the Zitong spirit. Emperor Xi of the Tang. which is said to lie before or to the left of the Qui star of the Dipper. birthday celebration ritual offerings are held in all places. composed in the Song and Yuan dynasties. Loyal to his Master and Parents Besides his merit of loyalty to his master and to the people manifested in his death in war. 'Supreme Yin Primordial Sovereign and Holy Queen of the Yellow Colour. 'Bright. the Perfect Imperial Sovereign of the Quelling Star22(or Perfect Sovereign of the Virtue of Earth)23 is named Cangmu and styled Danyan. the Perfect Imperial Sovereign of the Sparkling Deluder 16 (or Perfect Sovereign of the Virtue of Fire)17 is named Haokong Weichun and styled Sanrong. Together. they nourish the twelve thousand things by the perfect Dao. Red and Glorious Supreme Yang Sovereign of the Sun Palace'8. the Perfect Imperial Sovereign of the Year Star14 (or Perfect Sovereign of the Virtue of Wood) 15 is named Chenglan and styled Qingning. the Chronographic Star (Mercury)4. he "helped people in need. in a male image. Daoism worships the Seven Stars as spirits and calls them Stellar Sovereigns. the Perfect Imperial Sovereign of the Chronographic Star 20(or Perfect Sovereign of the Virtue of Water)21 is named Qiyuan and styled Jiyuan. Daoism regards the moon as Essence of Yin10. Even the beasts and grass are also nourished by their Secret Dao and Essential Virtue. and the Quelling Star (Saturn)5. In the Centre. Nourishing All Things According to the Book of the Mysterious Gate and Precious Sea24. Heaven and Earth depend on the Perfect Vital Breath of the sun. and moved the heavens with many merits. In the North. Daoism regards the sun as Essence of Yang7 and calls it. moon and stars to nourish all things. moon and stars. In the West. In the South. for he was in charge of officials' destinies. forgave others' mistakes. they are called the Seven Stars." This means that the Five Planets and Seven Stars are the embodiment of Dao. The worship of Wenchang was always prosperous. with the development of the imperial examination system. the Grand White Star (Venus)3. the Heavenly Emperor ordered Imperial Sovereign Wenchang to be in charge of the list of names of would-be officials. he was never cruel to people. Sharing the essence of the sun and moon are the stars. Instead. in a female image. White Light and Original Essence of the Moon Palace" 11. the Perfect Imperial Sovereign of the Grand White Star 18(or Perfect Sovereign of the Virtue of Metal)19 is named Haokong Debiao. was merciful to the orphans. The Wenchang Temple on Mt Qiqu is the biggest among them. Images or divine seats of Wenchang were also erected in some schools. The Stellar Sovereign of the Five Planets and Seven Stars Origin of the Stellar Sovereigns of the Five Planets and Seven Stars The Stellar Sovereigns of the Five Planets and Seven Stars 1 are seven Daoist deities. people began to worship the sun. and Shrines of Wenchang were built everywhere. worship of Imperial Sovereign Whenchang spread widely. In early ancient times. Together with the sun and moon. or 'Immortal King of Filial Piety and Supreme Yang Sovereign of the Sun Palace"9. and Yin the moon. when local governments and intellectuals worshipped Wenchang in temples and wrote poems or essays in celebration. Worship in Temples Since the Yuan and Ming dynasties. the Sparkling Deluder (Mars)2. or 'Bright Queen of Filial Piety and Supreme Yin Sovereign of the Moon Palace"12." Therefore. The Five Planets are the Year Star (Jupiter)1. According to the section 'On Stars'of the Seven Slips of a Cloudy Satchel13. Temples. The 3rd day of the second lunar month was the birthday of Wenchang. each of the Five Planets has its own name and style: in the East. .official. In the Han Dynasties. and calls it. the "Essence of Yang is the sun. Esoteric Speculations6 used to foretell the outcomes of human affairs. Pavilions. All appointments and promotions of officials through examinations and recommendations were in the charge of Imperial Sovereign Whenchang. Di." To the West. Mao. according to the Supreme Pervasive Divine Book of the Sun. Zhang. Bi. Lou. Wei. People suffering from many robberies by bad luck should promote kindness and entice it. is horse-headed and red-bodied and wears a red silk shirt and a sword. Xin. Fang. Daoist adepts. the White Tiger4 in the West. Wei. wears a green and black shirt. the Perfect Sovereign of the Virtue of Earth "is in charge of the breeding of all things in the four seasons. the Stellar Spirit of Jiao. In large-scale Daoist rituals. Niu.Jiao. It changes depression into stimulation. i. The Twenty-Eight Constellations 8 are the ancient astronomers' distinctions and signs of the fixed star areas which the sun and moon pass by. bridges and roads. and colour of dress.Dou. In the East. Gui. and eliminate misfortunes and illness. The seven constellations of the West -. and Bi. the Perfect Sovereign of the Virtue of Water "is in charge of the moistening and dredging of all things. For example. People who are fortunate and lucky should promote kindness and entice it. Wei. Yi. Worship in Temples Daoist temples usually have halls especially dedicated to the worship of the stars. the White Tiger. and are thus called the White Tiger of the Right. According to the Yellow Charts of the Three Regions7. the Blue Dragon3 in the East. People suffering from legal cases and worries due to bad luck should promote kindness and entice it. and sometimes only for the Five Planets and Seven Stars. It lightens the dark and obscure." As for the sun and moon. Moon and Five Planets in Chaos and Eternity 26.are like a tiger. It reaps the fruits. The sovereigns are invoked in relevant rituals. whose surname is Bin and whose name is Yuansheng.Qui. the Red Phoenix5 in the South and the Black Warrior6 in the North. Liu. It reaps the fruits. Nu. and Shen -. People involved in many legal cases should promote kindness and entice it.are like a dragon and are thus called the Blue Dragon of the Left. The seven constellations of the north -. and Qi -. "The seven constellations of the East -. and are thus called the Black Warrior of the Rear." To the North.Jing. the Perfect Sovereign of the Virtue of Metal "is in charge of the ending of all things. the Red Phoenix and the Black Warrior are the Four Numinous Animals of Heaven which control the four directions". are like a tortoise-and-snake. the Perfect Sovereign of the Virtue of Fire "is in charge of the growth of all things. The seven constellations of the South -. Xu." Each of the 28 Stellar Officials has its own name. Shi. Xing. whose surname is Fu and whose name is Sima. The Four Numinous Animals and Twenty-Eight Constellations Origin of the The Four Numinous Animals and Twenty-Eight Constellations The Four Numinous Animals1 or Four Images2 refer to the figures formed by the stars in the four cardinal directions. "the Blue Dragon." To the South. Divine Seats are often set for the Stellar Sovereigns of Five Planets and Seven Stars.Individual Functions of Each Star The Secretly Transmitted Supreme Pervasive Perfect Book of the Five Planets 25 expounds in detail the functions of the Five Planets. According to the Book of Auguries Examination of the Numinous Animals in the Book of Documents9. often worship the Stellar Spirits to pray for good luck and longevity.are like a bird and are thus called the Red Phoenix of the Front.e. function. Kang. and Zhen -. and whoever meets the Moon Sovereign29 will "obtain whatever he wants and acquire the arts of immortality". during the construction of houses. Zi. People who are unfortunate and unlucky or suffering from illness and troubles should promote kindness and entice it. . The Stellar Spirit of Kang. whoever meets the Sun Sovereign27 will "obtain the Herb of Immortality28"." In the Centre. the Perfect Sovereign of the Virtue of Wood "is in charge of the birth of all things. According to the Inner Book of the Master Who Embraces Simplicity10. or 'Primordial Sovereign of the Big Dipper"7. there are 12 Blue Dragons to the left. She. Divine Seats are often set for the the Four Numinous Animals and Twenty-Eight Constellations. such as"Highest Emperor of of the Mysterious Northern Heaven"13 and"Perfect Warrior Emperor"14. Purple Rays. In large-scale Daoist rituals. the The Four Numinous Animals and Twenty-Eight Constellations always play the role of guardians of greater divinities. Under her mercy. Her complete name is 'Nine-Spirited Supreme Subtle Grandma Primordial Sovereign of the Night Rays and Golden Essence of the White Jade Tortoise Platform"2. Worship in Temples Daoist temples often worship The Four Numinous Animals at the two sides of the Hall of Numinous Officials of the Mountain Gate15. balances the Vital Breaths10 of Yin and Yang. with the Dipper as her terrestrial spirit and water celestial spirit. holding pennants and symbols." The Four Numinous Animals are the law-protecting guardian spirits. 26 White Tigers to the right. the Four Numinous Animals and Twenty-Eight Constellations are invoked to protect the law during rituals. as well as the healing of diseases. the Big Dipper. To his front is the Red Phoenix named Lingguang. often start by worshiping Numinous Official Wang and the Four Numinous Animals at the Mountain Gate. dissolves the stagnant and eliminates the evil and dark. "Among the guardians of Supreme Venerable Sovereign 11. The Four Numinous Animals. must guard the Daoist Gate. According to the Secret Formula for Prolonging Life from the Seven-Origin Purple Court of the Big Dipper12. "with her great merit of medicine and healing. those who miss the time of salvation catch up with the time of salvation. manages and harmonizes the five agents. She is also called 'Great Perfect Queen of Moonlight"5 and 'Great Heavenly Healer Sage and Eastern Imperial Sovereign of Benevolent Salvation"6. She is usually simply called the 'Big Dipper". when burning incense. 24 Red Phoenixes in front and 72 Black Warriors in the rear. dressed as heavenly generals. "as the mother of the Dipper Stars. produces the brilliant eyes of all the heavens. is in charge of life. She is also called 'Pure Vital Breath Sovereign of the Big Dipper of Middle Heaven"3. Among them. Bright Wisdom and Kind Benevolence. In charge of the safety of pregnancy and birth. To his right is the White Tiger named Jianbing. bearing bells and drums. Often. and Heavenly Lord of Golden Perfected Holy Virtue" 4. the Big Dipper." Functions According to the Fundamental Destiny Life-Prolonging Heart Scripture of the Great Sagely Primordial Sovereign of the Supreme. she takes the important role of . Mysterious and Numinous Big Dipper 9. "To his left is the Blue Dragon named Mengzhang.Daoist Guardians In the Daoist pantheon. Daoist adepts. To his rear is the Black Warrior named Zhiming. As the governor of the Pavilion of Heavenly Treasure 8. The Big Dipper Origin of the Big Dipper The Big Dipper1 is the mother of the stars of the Dipper. The Four Numinous Animals. guard the surroundings. the Black Warrior was specially worshiped since the Ming and honored with other titles. 'Primordial Queen of Supreme Simplicity. for a Daoist performing magic skills. the eighth is the Military Chief. Xu. Xin. Earth and all things. is in charge of the production and life of Heaven. Wu. gathering the purple void energy. Shen. as incarnations of the rays. i. Wu. The Auspicious and Holy Temple was built by imperial order in the White Cloud Temple in Beijing during the Yongle Era of the Ming dynasty. the ninth is the Troop Destroyer 21. refines celestial and terrestrial spirits." The Big Dipper. The holy birthday of the Big Dipper is the 20th of the sixth lunar month. Chou. But it was considered too short. she has attained the mysterious and numinous Sublime Dao. Geng. Wang Changyue. and releases infinite subtle rays penetrating the Pool of Essence12. Bingyin year. the Nine Perfect Vital Breaths concentrate and manifest themselves as the Nine Emperors of the Dao Body: the first is the Heavenly Emperor14. She prayed to the Original Year Spirit Dingmao. and hence someone added the ten Celestial Trunks 3 (Jia. Heaven has nine Vital Breaths corresponding with the Nine Stars as their numinous pivot." In the pavilions. Bing. for people thought that praying to it could bring good "auspices" to a year. the Five Sacred Mountains and Four Holy Rivers24 correspond with the Nine Stars as their abyss and mansion. and enters the Mystery of Mysteries. Ren. such as Jiazi year. the Yellow Emperor ordered Danao to create Jiazi. From Jiazi to Guihai.Heavenly Healer11". One earth year. "Seated on her precious throne. The spirit was called "Auspicious Star"6. The Nine Emperors of the Dao Body22 are the Nine Stellar Sovereigns of the Dipper. Therefore. Hai). From Zi to Hai. the Big Dipper peacefully cultivates divine perfection. concentrates Vital Breath with an empty mind. So she built a hall for the worship of Original Year Spirit Dingmao in Beijing. Nine golden lotuses. Moving in cycles. Chen. Breathing the numinous wind. four heads and eight arms. the fourth is the Giant Gate17. the bright bridge of the sun and moon. Si. the second is Purple Subtlety15. give out greater and greater light after seven days in the pood. the time system. They are called the The Sixty Spirits of the Celestial Trunks and Earthly Branches4. as the mother of nine stars. According to the Seven Slips of a Cloudy Satchel23. the Auspicious and Holy Empress Dowager of Emperor Zhang of the Jin Dynasty was very ill. the fifth is the Store of Wealth18. Worship in Temples There are Big Dipper Halls in most major Daoist temples. 1/12 of the Jupiter year. Yi. Gui) to combine with the twelve Terrestrial Branches. or the Sixty Original Years5. The Sixty Spirits of the Celestial Trunks and Earthy Branches It takes the Year Star1 (Jupiter) twelve times as long as the Earth to rotate around the sun once. the sixth is the Civil Chief19. the seventh is the Pure and Chaste20. the Earth has Nine Prefectures with the Nine Stars as their spiritual master. they comprise a short cycle. the seventh-generation patriarch of Dragon Gate Sect7 of the Complete Perfection Tradition8. "the Nine Stars are the numinous root of the Nine Heavens. Yin. they comprise a long cycle of sixty years. The Divine image always appears as a female spirit with three eyes. this system is used to note the time. is represented by one of the twelve Terrestrial Branches 2 (Zi. Man has Nine Apertures with the Nine Stars as their Mansion of Destiny. etc. The light rises to the Nine-Essence Heavens 13 and transforms into the Nine Great Treasure Pavilions. Wei. The Sixty Spirits of the Celestial Trunks and Earthly Branches are . Mao. In AD 1109. The 8th of the first lunar month is the "Auspicious Star Festival". the third is the Lusty Wolf16. For example. or the 9th of the ninth lunar month. Therefore. and then next year will be Jimao. and recovered her health. You. Daoist adepts often hold rituals to pray for longevity and for giving birth to sons. which has remained popular for 800 years now. renamed it as the 'Original Year Hall' in the early Qing Dynasty. and the ancestral abyss of all things. Each of the spirits has its own name. Ji. Yichou year. this year is Wuyin. On that day. The Nine Palaces of Yin and Yang refer to the Nine Stars for their doors. Ding.e. the Supreme Year Star Who Governs Thunder10. forms sixty units to mark the year. As the youngest son of King Zhou of the Shang dynasty. Xu. Mao. It "leads the spirits. it can help pray for longevity and luck. Each one has its own name. Chou. twelve hours. For Daoists. Ding. (The divine statues of the Sixty Daily Spirits of the Celestial Trunks and Earthly Branches are sculptured after the images in the Portraits of Daoist Immortals13. Yin. they are varied in facial expressions. and people building houses or walls. Xin. For laymen. the "Supreme Year is the venerable spirit in charge of the year. The spirit in charge is called the Supreme Year Spirit on Duty9. As the deity in charge of the luck and misfortunes of man. who is called the Supreme Year Star on Duty7." Therefore. is the star which the Dipper handle points to in the month when the sun reaches the same palace. General Chencai of the Supreme Year Yichou. twelve months. Supreme Year Stars are in the charge of General Commander Yin. A cycle of Twelve Terrestrial Branches5 (Zi. Hong Kong. After Fox-Fairy11 Daji murdered his mother. he often exorcises devils for the people." According to Daoist books. The names of The Sixty Daily Spirits of the Celestial Trunks and Earthly Branches in Daoist Books are different from those in the White Cloud Temple in Beijing. Si. building or developing frontiers. rituals are held to worship the The Sixty Daily Spirits of the Celestial Trunks and Earthly Branches. and need further examination. Both auspicious and sad affairs mustn't offense it. Some hold spears or swords and some hold musical instruments or tablets. three platforms are set for incense and lanterns. he suffered the disaster of the state." State touring and inspecting. decides the directions. Knowing his merits. Bing. Perfect Man Shen adopted him. and later has been called the Great General10 by Daoism until today. Wu. Gui). Daoism. On the 8th of the first lunar month. Wu. General Jinbian of the Supreme Year Jiazi. or Year Sovereign8. Ren. day and hour. It should be cautiously avoided. altogether 13 lanterns. In the middle of the sacred altar. Geng. they prostrate whole-heartedly before the Original Year Spirit of the Fundamental Destiny. According to the 'Fongxiangshi' section of the 'Chunguan' chapter of the Rites of the Zhou4. suggested that the sixty units each have a Year Spirit. month. the Year Spirit was a supposition by ancient Chinese astronomers for the need to observe the movement of heavenly bodies and of Earth. are burnt. or Supreme year. inheriting this ancient astronomical system. runs the order of time. Ji. must avoid the Supreme Year Star. correlated with Ten Celestial Trunks6 (Jia.worshiped in the hall. ten days and Twenty-Eight Constellations. They play their own respective roles and take turns controlling the luck of people in a year. Daoists kneel down and recite the Book of the Dipper11 and the Mandate of the Auspicious Star12. with 108 lantern flowers. Chen. "the Year. he eliminates the evil and . etc. and worshiped in the Fung Ying Sien Koon Daoist temple. the Heavenly Court appointed him as 'Supreme Year Star Who Governs Thunder' to govern the Office for Eliminating Vices 12 of the Terrestrial Agency.) The Sixty Daily Spirits of the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches Origin The Sixty Daily Spirits of the Celestial Trunks and Earthly Branches 1 were called 'Year Spirits'2 or 'Supreme Year Star3 in ancient times. especially for the direction of buildings." According to the commentary by Zhengxuan. He learned Daoist Skills and attained the fruit of divinity. Upright and benevolent by nature. According to the General Meaning of Months9. So. Fongxiangshi is in charge of the "twelve years. it can help cultivate the body and mind. Hai). for example. Shen. and takes responsibility for the years. Wei. Functions The Supreme Year Star on Duty is in charge of people's luck or misfortune during the year. Yi. With the seven aiding lanterns in the left and right. Civil or military. You. People have worshipped the Mt Tai Spirit since the time of the Three Sage Kings. According to the Comprehensive Collection of Investigations into the Divinities of the Three Doctrines since their Origin 2." Kings who have accumulated merits worship Heaven and Earth to report their merits to Heaven. In the first year of the Wansui Tongtian Era of Empress Wu. The Great Emperor of the Sacred Mountain of the East is the son of Immortal Milun and of Gold-Wheel King Shaohaishi. In the time of Shen Nong. he was appointed General Governor of Heavenly Talismans 4 and named Official Sovereign5. the people lived in the middle and lower realms of the Yellow River. he was honored as "Benevolent Saintly King of the Sacred Mountain of the East Who is Equal to Heaven"8. At first he was named Jinhongshi and was ordained as Supreme Year Spirit3 at time of Fuxishi for his merits on Changbai Mountain. According to Confucius.rewards the kind. In ancient days. Worship Many major temples have a Hall of Stellar Spirits 13 for the worship of the Sixty Daily Spirits of the Heavenly Stars and Earthly Branches. The Sixty Daily Spirits of the Celestial Trunks and Earthly Branches are under his administration. so one must be cautious to avoid errors in conduct. Practitioners consider worshiping at Mt Tai a way to securing immortality. Tai in present-day Shandong Province. the ninth-generation descendant of Pangu. as if one were avoiding tripping when passing through the house threshold. The Year of Fundamental Destiny is said to be the "threshold year". In the first year of the Dazhongzangfu Era of Emperor Zhenzong of the Song dynasty. In the 13th year of the Kaiyuan Era of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang dynasty (AD 725). For the purpose of worshipping at Mt Tai. The Great Emperor of the Sacred Mountain of the East Origin of the Great Emperor of the Sacred Mountain of the East The Sacred Mountain of the East refers to Mt. In the time of Emperor Ming of the Han dynasty. Daoism has inherited the ancient system of worshiping the Great Emperor of the Sacred Mountain of the East. as cited in the Comprehensive Explanations to Customs11. he was honored as Sovereign Equal to Heaven 7. and the king "worshipped the Earth Spirit and the Five Sacred Mountains with blood. Souls Returning to the Sacred Mountain of the East . The Great Emperor of the Sacred Mountain of the East1 is its mountain spirit. Every Spring Festival. he was honored as the Supreme Commander of Mt Tai. he was honored as King Equal to Heaven. Since the Han and Wei dynasties. he was honored as Middle Heaven King of the Divine Mountain 6. Daoist adepts burn incense and make offerings for the spirit of the Fundamental Destiny. In second year of the Chuigong Era of Empress Wu of the Tang dynasty (AD 686). Especially on the Year of Fundamental Destiny 14 (the year of the same Celestial Trunk and Terrestrial Branch as one's birth-year). they must worship their own Year Spirit and pray for health and good luck. Way to Immortality The ancient people considered Mt Tai as the way to heaven and "equal to heaven" in height. people built altars at the summit to requite the merit of Heaven." Mt Tai was the first of the Five Sacred Mountains9 and revered as the Ancestral Mountain10. "There have been 72 kings who worshiped Heaven at Mt Tai and Earth at Mt Liangfu. Hence she filled Mt Tai with her soul. 22 of the Seven Slips of a Cloudy Satchel13. Only one of them. temples of the Sacred Mountain of the East have 72 or 75 offices in charge of the Life Registers14 of men and immortals. Worship in Temples The divine birthday of the Great Eamperor of the Sacred Mountain of the East is the 28th of the third lunar month. the original Essential Matter was brought into existence and the light was given off.e. the statue of the boy breaking to pieces and the statue of the maiden sinking into a pool. is commonly called the "Mt Tai Granny". According to Casual Chats in the Pine Hut. According to Vol. where all things begin at the intercourse of Yin and Yang. leads 5900 spirits and is in charge of life and death. the Goddess of Mt Tai. a noble man of Fengfu county of the Prefecture of Sunning in the Kingdom of Xinui. But it was during the reign of emperor Zhen of the Northern Song dynasty that the Goddess of Mt Tai received her title. and once presented herself to the Queen Mother of the West. he stayed in the imperial tent. which. and became the Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud. Later. emperor Zhen of the Song dynasty went to the east to hold sacrificial rites. the Primordial Lady of the Emereald Cloud. She understood human relations at the age of three. the hall collapsed and the statues fell. Shi Shoudao. etc. i. wearing high hats and robes made of feather. the Yellow Emperor sent seven Jade Maidens to build the Daiyue Temple on Mt Tai." Since the Han and Wei dynasties. a stone statue emerged. Mt Tai for Cultivation and Refinement in Huanghua Grotto. death and longevity. as the general of ghosts. "There are a Gold Box and a Jade Book in which are recorded the length of each man's life. gave birth to their dignified and intelligent daughter Yuye.. also known as the Heavenly Immortal Jade Maiden of East Mt Tai. and when he returned. was found to be the statue of the Jade Maiden. named her Daughter of the Saintly . It is said that during the reign of emperor Ming of the Han dynasty.e. According to the Investigations on the Jade Maidens quoted in the Biographies of the Jade Maidens written by Wang Zhigang of the Ming dynasty. the Office of Luck and Longevity16. When he washed his hands in the pool. burnt incense and held Ritual Offerings to welcome the Perfect Man of the Western Kunlun Mountains. Temples worshiping the Great Emperor of the Sacred Mountain of the East hold celebrations and large-scale rituals for praying for longevity. After the death of relatives. One version says that she is the daughter of the Spirit of Mt Tai. "The Mt Tai Sovereign. Three years later when she succeeded in Refining Elixirs. It is recorded that there is a goddess on Mt Tai in the books Jottings of Rarities and Miscellaneous Stories and Investigations into the Divine of the Jin dynasty. According to a lengend cited in the Comprehensive Explanations to Customs12. i. The born is doomed to die. people hold Yellow Register Rituals(16) for the early salvation in Heaven of the souls of the dead." Therefore. there were carved Golden Boys and Jade Maidens on the mountain before the reign of emperor Rensheng of the Han dynasty." On the unearthed Tomb-Quelling Talismans of the Han dynasty. But another version says that she was formerly the daughter of mortals. When she was fourteen. So the emperor ordered officials concerned to build a shrine to worship her. Cultivated and attained Dao. But during the Five Dynasties. the Great Emperor of the Sacred Mountain of the East has been in charge of men's life. such as the Office of Quick Rewards15. and his wife Mrs Jin. These seven Fairies. one finds the inscription "belonging to Mt Tai after death. and another version says that she was originally a Heavenly Immortal and a Divine Maiden. after being taken out of water and washed. The Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud Origins of the Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud: The Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud.Mt Tai lies in the East. she entered Tiankong Mountain. the Stone Chamber of the Mountain Peak.. Opinions vary on her origins. studied Daoist Skills at seven. and so the Mt Tai Spirit knows the length of man's life. commanded the heavenly generals and divine soldiers in the mansion of Mt Tai to inspect all the virtuous and evil deeds and life and death in the human world by order of the Jade Emperor. travel and marriage. around which spring has come and the flowers are in blossom in the area of Mt Tai. It is said in the District Gazetteer of Wanping and other sources that in old days. Bi. Some say that there are 36 drums in the Thunder Agency and one supreme commander keeps each of them. the temple fair to celebrate the divine birth of the Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud was held from the tenth to the eighteenth day of the fourth lunar month in the area of the High Bridge and Miaofeng Mountain in Wanping. and hence 24 supreme commanders. namely the five supreme commanders Deng. She had vast magic powers. There are many supreme commanders in the Thunder Agency. cured the sick and saved patients. and devotees who make and redeem vows crowd every place from the foot to the top of the mountain. and "women of the whole city went to resort to her and prayed that they would bear children". Influence on the people: The Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud. Liu. Xin and Pang. and whose portraits are set up to be enshrined in some Daoist temples. The shrine was called the Shrine of Revelation of Truth. It indicates that the Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud protects the health and safety of women and children in secret. Worship: Since the Ming and Qing dynasties and up to this day. Beijing. Chief Supreme Commander Deng: . the popular worship of the Granny of Mt Tai has always been quite prosperous. trade. The Five Supreme Commanders of the Thunder Agency Origins of the Five Supreme Commanders of the Thunder Agency: The Five Supreme Commanders of the Thunder Agency1 refer to the five supreme commanders of the Thunder Agency2 under the administration of the Heavenly Lord of Universal Transformation Whose Voice of Thunder Resonates With the Origin of the Nine Heavens 3. most widespread among the people. which should be regarded as the origin of today's Shrine of the Emerald Cloud on the summit of Mt Tai. so as to make the barren become pregnant and the pregnant have a natural delivery. so there are 36 supreme commanders.Emperor. Its name was changed into the Temple of Numinous Correspondence during the years of Hongzhi. who was ordained as Immortal Perfect Woman. There are many temples in the north where the Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud is enshrined. and later changed again to the Shrine of the Emerald Cloud. granted her the title "Heavenly Immortal Jade Maiden and Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud". Throngs of visitors went there in an endless stream. It is said among the people that one of the statues of the maids of the Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud holds an infant in her arms. It was extended into a temple during the years of Chenghua of the Ming dynasty. Pilgrims who ascend to the top of the mountain to burn incense and offer sacrifices to the Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud. The birthday of the Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud is on the 18th day of the fourth lunar month. and protected all the affairs of farming. Others say that there are 24 Heavenly Sovereigns4 who summon clouds and rain and guard the teachings. The Five Supreme Commanders of the Thunder Agency are the five ones frequently seen in Daoist scriptures and books. and shouted between heaven and earth so as to block the holes in the sky. Tianhua was originally a Thunder Spirit11. The Remaining Stories about Cauldron-Casting7 quotes the Personal Records of the District of Changshu8. According to the Comprehensive Collection of Investigations into the Divinities of the Three Doctrines since their Origin 10. and did not drown when falling into the middle of the river during his childhood. Getting older. Later. Xin Xing's mother was scared to death by the thunderbolt on the Mountain of Divine Thunder. hail. who was concealed underground and reincarnated in the fields. and Xin Xing held his mother's corpse. who was a native of Yongzhou. That autumn had a good harvest. Great Spirit in Charge of Laws and Decrees 9". It is said that he "has bright silver teeth". ordered him to be in charge of the twelve Thunder Courts 15 and to assist the Highest Emperor of the Mysterious Heaven 16 in killing the gods of plague and using spirits. the Thunder Spirit transformed into a Daoist priest and offered his apology. Surrounded by large serpents. His given name is Zhong. a sudden gale struck and a heavy shower suddenly fell. Since he had a good command of the gestures of the Five Thunders. and a heavy rain fell as expected. Then Xin changed his form. The emperor named him the Perfect Sovereign of Creation and Benevolence 17. Supreme Commander Xin of the Thunder Fast: Supreme Commander Xin was formerly named Xin Xing and styled Zhenyu. When Nuna failed to patch the holes in the sky. for the characters Bi and Hua are alike. weeping. and the name Bi. and "is surrounded by fire". Supreme Commander Bi assisted the Spirits of Fire and Water13. and the Jade Emperor18 ordered him to be in charge of various kinds of affairs of the prince palace of the Thunder Agency. He Cultivated and Refined 12 himself under the Lulu Cliff. the Thunder Spirit: Supreme Commander Bi was formerly called Tianhua. and benefited the people and the country. there was a Mountain of Divine Thunder19 in the area of Yongzhou. he refined the battle formation of fire. checked the activities of demons. At the moment he was born. the flame lit up the sky. he was able to summon wind and rain. and of the interrogation and summoning of the Thunder Agency. and became the master of dragons. he was sent to be the page boy of Perfect Man Luo.Deng is the chief one among the five supreme commanders. According to the Comprehensive Collection of Investigations into the Divinities of the Three Doctrines since their Origin. Due to poverty. and attacked those who were not benevolent or upright. He controlled the dryness and wetness of Heaven and Earth. and after being nourished by the breath of stalactites for 1. calling him "Supreme Commander Deng. his . The Jade Emperor appointed him Supreme Commander Bi of the Thunder Agency. He was born in a fishing boat on the Minjiang River. He is called in the Supplementary Records of the Listener5 as "General Deng of Heavenly Origin who Interrogates and Summons Demons 6". and responded immediately after being asked. he was given his birth. Supreme Commander Bi. Moved by his extreme filial piety. wind and thunder of five colors. and presented to him twelve fire elixirs for him to eat. he was given the name Tian (field) for he was born in the fields. helped the Yellow Emperor 14 kill Chiyou. he was fed by bees.000 years. which indicates that he is in charge of laws and decrees. Supreme Commander Liu who is in charge of affairs: Heavenly sovereign Liu had the given name Hou and lived in the Jin dynasty. there was a bolt from the blue in the daytime. his head changed into that of a monster. the emperor prayed in the Shrine of Heavenly Sovereign Liu. One year when the eastern capital suffered severe droughts. " The Father of Thunder had a human form. the Father of Thunder changed into the shape of a beast again. the spirit in charge of thunder. and a protruding belly". It implies that the rumble of thunder is the sound of drugs knocking each other. a human's head. the spirit in charge of lightning. the Daoist priests worshiping the Thunder Sprits abstain from eating meat. in order to vanquish the demons in the nether world and exterminate the old evils. is called Father for it is masculine. It is said that the 15th day of the sixth lunar month is the divine birthday of Supreme Commander Xin. The titles and number of the supreme commanders who are worshiped may vary due to the differences in the local cultural and historical background of the Daoist priests in different places. The post . Yet Pang Qiao was kind in heart and actions. The Father of Thunder and the Mother of Lightning Origins of the Father of Thunder and the Mother of Lightning: The Father of Thunder. On that day. travelling back and forth in the heavens. he was devoted to his duty of guarding the gate of heaven. his hair and horn are three-foot long.mouth into a beak. The worship of thunder and lightening originated in ancient times. Worship: The Hall of Heavenly Generals21 is always founded in some large Daoist temples to enshrine the Supreme Commanders of the Thunder Agency or some other heavenly generals. and never failed. During the Wei. and eliminating the evil demons and ghosts in the nether world and this world". Supreme Commander Pang with a Golden Sword: Supreme Commander Pang was formerly named Pang Qiao and styled Changqing. According to the annotation of Wang Yi of the Han dynasty. where the Father of Thunder is claimed to have "a dragon's body. and is called the Father of Thunder. and can also be called the Sacred Mother of Golden Light or Lady Lightning. With a golden sword in hand. and can also be called the Master of Thunder or the Thunder Spirit. Hearing of his extreme filial piety and absolute sincerity. The Mother of Lightning. with a dagger in his left hand and a mallet in the right and five drugs under his feet. The Jade Emperor appointed him Supreme Commander. "the phoenix warns me. he was born in a poor family who had been ferrymen for generations. According to the Comprehensive Collection of Investigations into the Divinities of the Three Doctrines since their Origin. Fenglong "is also called the Master of Thunder". in order to pray for the blessings of gods. But the Father of Thunder of the Han dynasty recounted by Wang Chong of the Han dynasty in his Judgements on Opinions "appears like a strong man. I order Fenglong to ride clouds in search of the imperial concubine Mi". Investigations into the Divine says that the Father of Thunder "has red complexion and mirror-like eyes. This is known as the "Thunder Fast" 20. But it is common to take the Supreme Commanders of the Thunder Agency as the gods guarding the teachings and relieving the distressed to pray to. the Jade Emperor appointed him Supreme Commander of the Vital Breath of Chaos. and the Master of Thunder tells me what I don't possess. his shoulders into wings. and he has a form like the six domestic animals and rhesus monkeys". He was never impartial to those who traveled by ferry and helped people in emergency and difficulty." Also. who. is called Mother for it is feminine. together with the Supreme Commander Bi. so it must be in the shape of a beast. Jin and Southern and Northern dynasties. "was responsible for affairs in the five directions. Far-off Journey by Qu Yuan of the Warring States contains the following sentence: "the left is guarded by the Master of Rain and the right by the Father of Thunder. He is made to hold a string of drugs in his left hand and push a drumstick with his right hand as if beating drugs. his Encountering Sorrow says. Records about the Father of Thunder are numerous in the Book of Mountains and Seas. e. A string of five drugs hang from the top of his hand to the sides around his body. During the Tang and Song dynasties. just like human's resounding sighs".of lightning was held by the Father of Thunder in ancient times. has three eyes in the forehead. calling her "the Sacred Mother of Golden Light" or "Lady Zhupei". while the moving skill refers to the rumbling of the thunderbolt". The statue of the Mother of Lightning appears like a woman. the populace has given thunder and lightning the meaning of "punishing evil-doers and advocating good-doers". the Father of Thunder was ordered to be in charge of receiving and sending off. Heaven strikes and kills those who give people something dirty to eat or drink. "the Envoy Mother of Lightning Xiu is named Wenying". took the Father of Thunder and the Mother of Lightning to be the major spirits to whom people offer sacrifices. Generally speaking. and striking the ruffians to death. He crosses his legs with a drug under his left foot. the Spirit of Lightning turned into the Mother of Lightning. and whose complexion is as red as a monkey. According to Remaining Stories about Cauldron-Casting. and the title of Father of Lightning did not appear until the Han dynasty. "the Father of Thunder and the Mother of Lightning are ordered to open the way facing the sky to foreign countries". He holds an iron sickle in the left hand and an iron beetle in the right. crimson skirt and white trousers. and is called the Mother of Lightning and the Heavenly Sovereign Xiu. Thunder and lighting indicate righting wrongs in accordance with Heaven's decree. the Mother of Lightning took a name. grows two wings on his back. and "they kill people who are claimed to have hidden misdeeds. After the Song and Yuan dynasties. punishing hidden misdeeds. the swift thunder and lightning break trees. and looks as if he is going to strike. saying. Su Shi of the Song dynasty wrote a line. and feet like hawk's claws. and "as for the skills of Dao. jaw long and sharp. Both the novels Journey to the West and Journey to the North of the Ming dynasty mentioned the Mother of Lightning. who exposes chest and stomach. an eminent Daoist priest of the Tang and Five Dynasties. and looks elegant with mirrors in both her hands. "Wuyi ruled with disregard for principles and was struck to death by thunder". The Records of Carriages and Dresses in the History of the Yuan Dynasty mentions that in the army. Worship: The Father of Thunder and the Mother of Lightning are always enshrined in some large Daoist temples. But since the pre-Qin days and the two Han dynasties. Du Guangting. assigning and discharging thunder in the application of the skills. In many of the rites for praying for rain or snow that are recorded in his Great Collection of Daoist Skills. there was "the flag of the Mother of Lightning" on which the spirit was portrayed in the form of a woman who was "dressed in reddish garment. The statue of the Father of Thunder looks like a strong man. the motionless skill refers to the intercourse of dragon and tiger. summoning. destroy houses and kill people sometimes". The Daoist priests of the Divine Heaven sect and the Pristine Subtlety sect after the Northern Song dynasty applied Thunder Skills. Cui Zhiyuan of the Tang dynasty says. As a divinity subordinate to the Heavenly Lord of Universal Transformation Whose Voice of Thunder Resonates With the Origin of the Nine Heavens (i. He is called the Father of Thunder and the Heavenly Sovereign Jiang. "In mid summer. The divine birthday of the Father of Thunder is the 24th day of the sixth lunar month. Functions: The functions of the Father of Thunder and the Mother of Lightning were formerly to administer thunder and lightning. both of her hands giving off light". The section "Fabrications about Thunder" in Wang Chong's Judgements on Opinions says. Daoist believers worship the Father of Thunder and the Mother of Lightning only when they pray for rain and snow and few . A Collection of Daoist Skills says that the basis of Thunder Skills is the "Vital Breath". "command the Father of Thunder and the Mother of Lightning". the Thunder Patriarch). Basic Annals of the Yin Dynasty in the Records of the Historian says. The rumbling sound is the voice of Heaven that flares up. and the Fifty-Four Dragon Kings and Sixty-Two Divine Dragon Kings6 which are distinguished according to all things in Heaven and on Earth. The section "On the Dragon King2" in the Book of Divine Incantations of the Supreme Pervasive Abyss3 lists the names of the "Dragon Kings of the Five Emperors4" which each correspond to one direction. if there was a long drought or if it kept raining for a long time. and the governor-general of river courses was ordered to offer sacrifice to him regularly. the ranks of kings and nobility were conferred upon the Five Dragons9. and so timely torrential rain falls to moisten the fields. the Yellow Dragon Spirit14 was titled the King of Trustful Correspondence15. and Divides Water"21. and delivers all living creatures from torment with aid of the Dragon Kings of various heavens. the Primeval Lord of Heaven 22 comes to the country on clouds in five colours and preaches the Orthodox Law. "when the fields of the country are arid and produce no food crops. The first emperor of the Song dynasty continued to follow the Tang dynasty rules for offering sacrifice to the Five Dragons. In the second year of Daguan during the reign of emperor Hui of the Song dynasty (AD 1108). During the reign of Emperor Xuan of the Tang dynasty. Worship: All kinds of literary records and the folklores of various places have different statements about the divine birthday of the Dragon King. But the spirit tablets for the Father of Thunder and the Mother of Lightning are still set up in large-scale Daoist rituals of fasts and offerings. Reveals Correspondence. and the Black Dragon Spirit18 was titled the King of Numinous Beneficence19. the Red Dragon Spirit12 was titled the King of Kind Beneficence13. . following the rites for worshiping the Master of Rain 8. the temples enshrining the Dragon King were as common as those enshrining the City God23 and the Earth Spirit. and no one can find a solution". rid people of scorching weather and worries. Whenever the weather was unfavorable. the Dragon Spirit of Canals20 was titled the "Dragon King Spirit who Prolongs Protection. the populace would go to the Dragon King Temple to burn incense and make vows in order to pray for good weather and for the Dragon King to bring the rivers under control. The section "On the Dragon King" in the Book of Divine Incantations of the Supreme Pervasive Abyss says.worship them specially. and it became a popular belief among the people that the Dragon King regulates rivers and watercourses. The Dragon King Origins of the Dragon King1: The Dragon is one of the four spirits of ancient Chinese mythology. the White Dragon Spirit16 was titled the King of Righteous Salvation17. Functions: Thus the functions of the Dragon King are to conjure up clouds and rain. The Green Dragon Spirit10 was titled the King of Extensive Benevolence11. the "Dragon Kings of the Four Seas5" which each correspond to one sea. In the second year of Tongzhi of the Qing dynasty (AD 1863). a shrine was set up in Longchi by imperial order and the position of Altar Official7 was established for offering sacrifices to the Dragon King. In old days. It can become big or small and make seas dry when it sucks. the son of Gonggong is the Master Xuanming". "according Zuo's Commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals14. the Controller of Destinies6. He is called the Master of Rain and the Heavenly Sovereign Chen. The Rain Spirit of ancient China has an early origin." Constellation Bi is one of the Seven Western Constellations11 of the 28 constellations. the Senior Official 15 of Zheng. So the Master of Rain is the Constellation Bi". "the Master of Rain is Shangyang. and Shangyang is a divine bird with a single claw. the worship of the Dragon King 19 born out of Buddhism gradually began to replace the Master of Rain. Wang Yi of the Han dynasty annotated it. it rains in torrents. After the Tang and Song dynasties. "Ping is Pingyi. the Master of Wind7 and the Master of Rain". "Master" refers to a spirit. Zheng Xuan made a commentary on it. "when the moon is far away from the Constellation Bi. But now the sacrificial rites particularly held for the Master of Rain are rarely seen because the worship of the Master of Rain has gradually been replaced by that of the Dragon King in modern times. Because the rain moistens the land. "master means multitude. His divine birthday is on the 20th day of the 11th lunar month. Rain's merits are so extensive and great that only rain is titled Master". It conjures up rain when its image appears in the sky. the Father of Thunder24 and the Mother of Lightning25. the Master of Rain. Here the Master of Rain is regarded to be a constellation. The Comprehensive Collection of Investigations into the Divinities of the Three Doctrines since their Origin 18 took the Master of Rain to be a divine bird. He means. The Comprehensive Explanations to Customs 13 says. and so does the wind. Qu Yuan's Questions on Heaven12 says. "it rains at Ping's command". kings offer sacrifice to it in order to repay its contribution". "the Spirit of the Master of Rain10 is the Constellation Bi. saying. Functions: In the name 'Master of Rain'. "brings birth to everything. The Rain Spirit may also be conceived in a human form. The Jin dynasty Investigations into the Divine 16 says. But rain is different. and does meritorious deeds to human beings. whose right hand seems to be sprinkling water. saying. It may rain everywhere under heaven within a morning. The "Great Master of Sacrificial Rites 3" in the Rites of the Zhou4 mentions "burning firewood to worship the Controller of the Center 5. "Chisongzi is the Master of Rain during the time of the Holy Farmer 17". "the Master of Rain is the Constellation Bi8". Thunder shakes ten thousand li. Cai Yong of the Eastern Han dynasty says in his Independent Judgement9. The statue of the Master of Rain is always a black-bearded robust man with a jar in his left hand where there is a dragon.The Master of Rain Origins of the Master of Rain: The Master of Rain1 is the Rain Spirit2. Some Daoist temples also set up halls to enshrine the Earl of Wind 23. and "an altar must be set up in each prefecture" so that the rites could be held simultaneously with kings' sacrificial rites. who is also called Pingyi or Xuanming. saying. The Important Documents of the Tang22 says that the worship of the Master of Rain was promoted to a sacrificial rite of the middle rank. Xuanming is in fact the Master of Rain. the name of the Master of Rain". Water is extensive in the soil. averted disasters by praying to Xuanming". and even reaches the Supreme Mountain 21. The spirit tablet of the Master of Rain is . It is the Spirit of the Master of Rain". According to the section Sacrificial Rites20 of the Comprehensive Explanations to Customs. and "Zichan. Worship: The worship of the Master of Rain was already classified as one of the country's sacrificial rites during the Qin and Han dynasties. Worship: The worship of the Earl of Wind was already classified as one of the country's sacrificial rites during the Qin and Han dynasties. Cai Yong of the Eastern Han dynasty says in his Judgements on Opinions. and "the Wind Queen". The section The Great Master of Sacrifial Rites in the Rites of the Zhou mentions "burning firewood to worship the Controller of the Center. "the Master of Wind is the Constellation Ji". It concerns benefiting seasons and breeding the world. The Earl of Wind was also called Feilian in the area of Chu. and it was required that "an altar be set up in each prefecture" so that the rites could be held simultaneously with kings' sacrificial rites. Important Documents of the Tang says that the worship of the Earl of Wind was promoted to be a sacrificial rite of the middle rank. and the Master of Rain". while Feilian is tailing behind me". only those whose life and jobs are closely connected with the Earl of Wind offer sacrifices to him alone. "when the moon is far away from the Constellation Ji. From this we know that the Master of Wind is the Constellation Ji". The worship of the Earl of Wind in ancient China has an early origin. Some Daoist temples also set up halls to enshrine the Earl of Wind. Among common Daoists. it raises sand. Wind is a major factor of weather. There is a line in Qu Yuan's Encountering Sorrow. Functions: The functions of the Earl of Wind are to "govern the rising and fading of wind in the eight directions and master the symptoms of clouds of the five colors". and so on. It does meritorious deeds to human beings. the Master of Rain. It conjures up wind when its image appears in the sky". for the Master of Rain to be worshiped along with other spirits. Jinzhuo annotates Feilian as having "a deer's body. Here the Wind Spirit is seen as a constellation. the Controller of Destinies. "Auntie Feng". But the most common version is the one that takes the Constellation Ji to be the Earl of Wind. He is called the Earl of Wind and Heavenly Sovereign Fang. who is also called the Master of Wind. saying. which says: "Wangshu is going in front of me.merely set up at large-scale Daoist rituals of Fasts and Offerings 26. The divine birthday of the Earl of Wind is the fifth day of the 10th lunar month. the Master of Wind. The section Sacrificial Rites of the Comprehensive Explanations to Customs says that the Earl of Wind "shakes with thunder and moistens with rain so as to give birth to everything. Here the Wind Spirit is taken to have an animal form. so kings offer sacrifice to it in order to repay its contribution". The Constellation Ji is one of the seven Eastern Constellations of the 28 constellations. the Father of Thunder and the Mother of Lightning. Feilian. The statue of the Earl of Wind is always a white-haired elderly man with a wheel in his left hand and a fan in his right hand that seems to be fanning. After the Tang and Song dynasties. Zheng Xuan made a commentary on it. Guo You annotates it to be "the name of a beast with long hairs and wings". while most Daoists worship him only at large-scale Daoist rites of Fasts and Offerings. "the spirit of the Earl of Wind is the Constellation Ji. a sparrow's head. the Earl of Wind was once called "Auntie Wind". The Earl of Wind Origins of the Earl of Wind: The Earl of Wind is the wind spirit. a horn. . Jibo. a snake's tail and a leopard's stripes". He means. so it was sometimes regarded as a goddess.