The Three Pure Ones

3 pure ones

The Three Pure Ones or Sanqing (三清) are the Trinity of Daoism. They are the pure manifestation of the Dao and the origin of all conscious beings. Their Chinese name has also been translated as the Three Pure Pellucid Ones, the Three Pristine Ones, the Three Divine Teachers, the Three Clarities, or the Three Purities.

Each of the Three Pure Ones represent one of the three essential fields of the body: jing (essence, the source of life), qi (energy or the force that allows us to move our bodies) and shen (spirit, the vitality behind jing and qi).

The Three Pure Ones are also manifestations of Primordial Celestial Energy. The first Pure One is universal or heavenly qi  (all the planets, stars and constellations as well as the force of creation and universal love).

The second Pure One is human plane qi (energy that exists on the surface of our planet and sustains human life).

The third Pure One is earth chi (all of the forces inside the planet as well as the five elemental forces).

As they are manifestations of energy, the Three Pure Ones are formless. However, to illustrate their role in Creation, they are often depicted as humans, sometimes dressed in robes of different colours that represent the kind of qi they manifest: Heaven (blue); human (red); and earth (green or yellow).

Chapter 42

Out of Tao, One is born;
Out of One, Two;
Out of Two, Three;
Out of Three, the created universe.
The created universe carries the yin at its back
and the yang in front;
Through the union of the pervading principles it
reaches harmony.

To be “orphaned,” “lonely” and “unworthy” is what men hate most.
Yet the princes and dukes call themselves by such names.
For sometimes things are benefited by being taken away from,
And suffer by being added to.

Others have taught this maxim,
Which I shall teach also:
“The violent man shall die a violent death.”
This I shall regard as my spiritual teacher.

~ ‘Chapter 42’, Daode Jing, translated by Lin Yutang

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