The Jade Emperor

lord-of-heaven-with-others-china

The Jade Emperor (玉皇) is the chief of the Daoist gods. His names include Heavenly Grandfather (天公Tiān Gōng) and the Great Emperor of Jade (玉皇上帝Yu Huang Shangdi or 玉皇大帝Yu Huang Dadi).

The Jade Emperor is said to have inherited his post from the first of the Three Pure Ones, the Jade Pure One (Yuqing 玉清), also known as The Celestial Worthy of the Primordial Beginning (Yuanshi Tianzun 元始天尊). In time, the Heaven-honoured One of the Dawn of Jade of the Golden Gate (金闕玉晨天尊) will replace Yuanshi Tianzun.

The Jade Emperor lives in his palace in heaven with his wife the Jade Empress, Tianshang Shengmu (天上聖母, Holy Heavenly Mother), who is often conflated with Mazu (媽祖), and their large family.

Worship of the Jase Emperor:

The Jade Emperor’s Birthday (天公誕) is said to be the ninth day of the first lunar month.[10] On this day Taoist temples hold a Jade Emperor ritual (拜天公bài Tiān Gōng, literally “heaven worship”) at which priests and laymen prostrate themselves, burn incense and make food offerings.

In the morning of this birthday, Chinese, Taiwanese as well as Hokkien and Peranakan Malaysian Chinese and Singaporean Chinese who practice BuddhismTaoism and other traditional Chinese religions set up an altar table with 3 layers: one top (containing offertories of six vegetables (六齋), noodles, fruits, cakes, tangyuan, vegetable bowls, and unripe betel, all decorated with paper lanterns) and two lower levels (containing the five sacrifices and wines) to honor the deities below the Jade Emperor.[10] The household then kneels three times and kowtows nine times to pay homage and wish him a long life.[10]

In PenangMalaysia, a focal point of the Jade Emperor’s Birthday celebrations is Thni Kong Tnua, which gained worldwide fame as one of the featured locations for The Amazing Race 16.[11] The temple, built in 1869, is located at the foot of Penang Hill at the Air Itam suburb near George TownPenang‘s capital city.[12] Aside from Thni Kong Tnua, the Chew Jetty in the heart of George Town is another focal point of the Jade Emperor’s Birthday celebrations; the festivities in this particular location was captured for a 2014 Malaysian film, The Journey.[13]

~ From Wikipedia

N.B. The most interesting thing I’ve read about the Jade Emperor is that one of his secondary wives is the Horse Head goddess, who cares for silkworms. Unfortunately, I don’t think she actually has the head of a horse, but was merely spirited away after a horse’s skin wrapped itself around her.

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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

Continue reading “The Three Pure Ones”