Three Pure Ones

The Three Pure Ones (Chinese: 三清; pinyin: Sānqīng) also translated as the Three Pure Pellucid Ones, the Three Pristine Ones, the Three Divine Teachers, the Three Clarities, or the Three Purities are the Taoist Trinity, the three highest Gods in the Taoist pantheon. They are regarded as pure manifestation of the Tao and the origin of all sentient beings. From the Taoist classic Tao Te Ching, it was held that "The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three; Three produced All things." It is generally agreed that: Tao produced One - Wuji produced Taiji; One produced Two - Taiji produced Yin and Yang . However, the subject of how Two produced Three has remained a popular debate among Taoist Scholars. Most scholars believe that it refers to the Interaction between Yin and Yang, with the presence of Chi, or life force

In religious Taoism, the theory of how Tao produces One, Two, and Three is also explained in an interesting manner. In Tao produces One - Wuji produces Taiji, it represents the Great Tao, embodied by Yuánshǐ Tiānwáng (混沌無極元始天王) "Heavenly King of the Void and Chaotic Primordial Beginning" at a time of pre-Creation when the Universe was still null and the cosmos are in disorder; manifesting into the first of the Taoist Trinity, Yuanshi Tianzun. Yuánshǐ Tiānzūn oversees the earliest phase of Creation of the Universe, and is henceforth known as Dàobăo (道寶) "Treasure of the Tao". In One produces Two - Taiji produces Yin Yang, Yuánshǐ Tiānzūn manifests into Lingbao Tianzun who separated the Yang from the Yin, the clear from the murky, and classified the elements into their rightful groups. Therefore, he is also known as Jīngbăo (經寶) "Treasure of the Law/Scripture". While Jīng in popular understanding means "scriptures", in this context it also mean "passing through" and the Laws of Nature of how things are meant to be. In the final phase of Creation, Daode Tianzun is manifested from Língbăo Tiānzūn to bring civilization and preach the Law to all living beings. Therefore, He is also known as Shībăo (師寶) "Treasure of the Master".


Each of the Three Pure Ones represents both a deity and a heaven. The first heaven is Yu-Qing, and it is found in the Jade Mountain, The entrance to this heaven is named the Golden Door. "He is the source of all truth, as the sun is the source of all light". The Grand Pure One (Lao-Jun) rules over the heaven of Tai-Qing. The Supreme Pure One (Ling-Bao Tian-Song) rules over the heaven of Shang-Qing. The Three Pure Ones are often depicted as throned elders.


Schools of Taoist thought developed around each of these deities. Taoist Alchemy was a large part of these schools, as each of the Three Pure Ones represented one of the three essential fields of the body: jing, qi and shen. The congregation of all three Pure Ones resulted in the return to Tao.


The first pure one is universal or heavenly chi. The second pure one is human plane chi and third pure one is earth chi. Heavenly chi includes the chi or energy of all the planets, stars and constellations as well as the energy of god (the force of creation and universal love). Human plane chi is the energy that exists on the surface of our planet and sustains human life and the earth force includes all of the forces inside the planet as well as the five elemental forces.

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As the Three Pure Ones are manifestation of Primordial Celestial Energy, they are formless. But to illustrate their role in Creation, they are often portrayed as elderly deities robed in the three basic colours from which all colours originated: Red, Blue and Yellow (or Green) depending on personal interpretation of colour origins by additive or subtractive means. Each of them holds onto a divine object associated with their task. Yuánshǐ Tiānzūn is usually depicted holding the Pearl of Creation, signifying his role in creating the Universe from void and chaos. The Ruyi held by Lingbao Tianzun represents authority: the second phase of Creation where the Yang were separated from the Yin and the Law of Things were ordered in place. Lingbao Tianzun then took his seat on the left of Yuanshi Tianzun. Later, when all is complete, Daode Tianzun took his place on the right, with the fan symbolizing the completion of Creation, and the act of fanning represents the spreading of Tao to all Mankind.

Read more about Three Pure Ones:  The Jade Pure One, The Supreme Pure One, The Grand Pure One

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