Description: You need
a tutor for Chinese, and through your roommate’s boyfriend’s friend you find
him. One shitty study session, some mistakenly sent texts, and a retry later,
you find that he’s isn’t as horrible a teacher as you thought.
A/N: If my Chinese is
shit, let me know. I used translate for part of it bc it’s been a month since I
even looked at anything related to my Chinese class, and unlike the character in this all of my Chinese is shitty.
Not just my speaking. (Translations at bottom)
The following Great Deities are listed in the order of importance recognized by Taoist religious communities. First come the Earlier Heaven deities:
He is Lao-tzu deified. He is recognized by all Taoists as the patriarch of the Taoist religion. The name T’ai-shang Lao-chun was first used in the Ling-pao scriptures of the third century CE and was quickly adopted by orthodox religious Taoism. T’ai-shang Lao-chun, the highest deity in the Taoist pantheon, is the embodiment of the Tao and the incarnation of the primordial origin, the undifferentiated vapor, and the source of life. Thus, he is sometimes called the Emperor of the Undifferentiated Realm (Hun-yuan Huang-ti).
The Three Pure Ones (San-ch’ing)
They are the three emanations of the T’ai-shang Lao-chun. They are the Celestial Lords of the Three Pure Realms: Jade Pure (Yu-ch’ing), Great Pure (T’ai-ch’ing), and High Pure (Shang-ch’ing). The Jade Pure Realm is the domain of the Celestial Lord of the Ancient Beginning (Yuan-shih T’ien-tsun); the Great Pure Realm is the domain of the Celestial Lord of the Sacred Spirit (Ling-pao T’ien-tsun); the High Pure Realm is the domain of the Celestial Lord of Virtue (Tao-te T’ien-tsun). In the hierarchy of Taoist deities, the Three Pure Ones are the deities next highest to T’ai-shang Lao-chun.
The Three Pure Realms represent three levels of Taoist immortality and enlightenment. The Jade Pure Realm is the Realm of Wu-chi. It is the highest level of immortality, and to rise to this realm is to attain complete union with the Tao. The Great Pure Realm is the next level of immortality. It is the Realm of T’ai-chi, and to rise to this realm is to exist in a state where subject and object are differentiated but are integral parts of the Tao. The third realm, the High Pure, is the Realm of Pa-k’ua, and to attain this level of immortality is to live a long life on earth in harmony with nature and humanity.
The Three Pure Ones have a special meaning for practitioners of internal alchemy. They represent the pristine and original pure state of the three internal energies. All people are endowed with these energies in their mother’s womb. The Jade Pure is original spiritual energy (shen); the Great Pure is original vital or breath energy (ch’i); and the High Pure is original generative energy (ching). The three pristine energies emerge when the yin and yang energies of the female and male copulate. The goal of internal alchemy is to refine and transform internal energies into the pristine form given to us when we were conceived.
The Jade Emperor (Yu-ti)
He is the ruler of the celestial realm. Some Taoist sects identify the Jade Emperor as an incarnation of the Celestial Lord of the Great Pure Realm (Ling-pao T’ien-tsun), giving him the titles Great Celestial Lord Jade Emperor (Yu-huang Ta-t’ien-tsun) and High Emperor of the Mysterious Realm of the Sacred Spirit (Hsuan-ling K’ao-shang Ti).
The Jade Emperor is the governor of human destiny. His celestial abode is the star Tzu-wei and he sits there to judge humanity. He grants health, longevity, and prosperity to those who have accumulated good deeds and punishes those who have done unethical deeds by taking away health and longevity.
The Celestial Lord of the Great Beginning (T’ai-i T’ien-tsun)
He is a subordinate of the Jade Emperor. He presides over the realm of the dead. T’ai-i T’ien-tsun is recognized as the deity who taught humanity the ceremonies of the Festival of Chung-yuan (Middle Season, or Festival of the Officer of the Terrestrial Realm). He is the symbol of compassion and his compassion extends to all souls, both living and dead. Thus, his festival is also known as the Festival of All Souls.
The Seven Star Lords of the Northern Bushel
These are deities who live in the seven stars of the Northern Bushel (Big Dipper) constellation. They are subordinates of the Jade Emperor and they carry messages of his verdicts regarding an individual’s destiny.
In Taoist belief, each individual is born under the guardianship of one of the seven stars. This guardian, or birth star, is responsible for the individual’s health and longevity. If a person’s health is good, the guardian star will be bright; if the health is poor, the guardian star will be dim. On the first and fifteenth days of each lunar month and on the first seven days of the ninth lunar month, the deities of the Northern Bushel descend to the mortal realm to proclaim the judgement of the Jade Emperor to humankind. The Seven Star Lords also report to the Jade Emperor the good and bad deeds of those in their charge. Based on the reports, the Jade Emperor will reward or punish, according to the individual merit. Because human health and longevity depend on their reports to the Jade Emperor, the Seven Star Lords of the Northern Bushel are considered to be the masters of health and longevity.
The Seven Star Lords are attended by the Left and Right Guardians. These stars, which are themselves celestial deities, reside in constellations to the left and right of the Northern Bushel. The Seven Star Lords and the Two Guardians are sometimes called the Nine Kings of the Northern Bushel.
For internal alchemists, the stars of the Northern Bushel have a special meaning. In a cosmology in which the North Pole Star represents the unmoving and permanent underlying reality of the Tao, the seven stars of the Northern Bushel represent the moving and changing aspect of the Tao. The Northern Bushel constellation is associated with the element water, and it symbolizes the generative energy in the body. The direction north and the element water being associated with yin, the Northern Bushel constellation therefore also symbolizes the essence of yin energy.
The Southern Bushel Stars
On the other hand, these gods are associated with prosperity. There are six stars in this group and each is accompanied by a young attendant. It is said that the lords of the Southern Bushel are fiery and quick-tempered, and their actions are swift and uncompromising.
For internal alchemists, the Southern Bushel is associated with the element of fire and the essence of yang energy. The Southern Bushel constellation represents the fire of vital or breath energy of the middle t’an-tien in the region of the solar plexus.
Source: Taoism: An Essential Guide by Eva Wong. 1997. Print. Pgs.147-54.