The Primeval Lord of Heaven
Origin of the Primeval Lord of Heaven
As one of the Three Pristine Ones ( 三清 Sanqing ), the Primeval Lord of Heaven ( 元始天尊 Yuan Shi Tian Zun ) is one of the highest divinities of Daoism. He was born from the Vital Breath ( 氣 Qi ) of Spontaneity ( 自然 Ziran ) in the Anterior Supreme Non-Being ( 太無之先 Tai Wu Zhi Xian ). Initially, he was called the Primeval King of Heaven ( 元始天王 Yuan Shi Tian Wang ). The Book of Pillow Secrets ( 枕中書 Zhen Zhong Shu ) by Ge Hong of the Eastern Jin dynasty says: "In the great chaos before Yin and Yang divided, no form existed. Without Heaven and Earth, and the sun and moon, it was like a choatic and blackist-yellow ( 玄黃 Xuan Huang ) egg. But already, Perfect Man Pangu, as the essence of the universe, called himself the Primeval King of Heaven and existed freely there. After creating Heaven and Earth by dividing them, the Primeval King of Heaven discarded his body and traveled with his brilliant spirit throught the heavens. Seeing the Holy Maiden of Supreme Origin ( 聖女太元 Sheng Nu Tai Yuan ) and loving her purity, he transformed into blue light and entered her mouth. Carried by the Holy Maiden for twelve years, he was born out of her back. Whether moving on still, speaking or silent, he was always surrounded by colorful clouds. Because in his former life he was Pangu and the Primeval King of Heave, he was called the Primeval Lord of Heaven. The Comprehensive Mirro of the Perfect Immortals Who Embodied the Dao ( 歷世真仙體道通鍳 Lishi Zhenxian Tidao Tongji ) explained his name as follows: "(the character) Yuan means origin; (the character) Shi means the beginning. The Original Vital Breath ( 元氣 Yuanqi ), transforming into the man who created the world, becomes Pangu; transforming into the patriarch who rules Heaven, he becomes the Primeval Lord of Heaven.
Living in the highest abode of Heaven
The Chart of the ranks of the Perfect Souls ( 真靈位業圖 Zhenling Weiye Tu ) by Tao Hongjing, an imminent Daoist of the Qi and Liang dynasties, says that the place where the spirits dwell is the Triple Origin Palace of Jade Clarity ( 玉清三元宮 Yu Qing San Yuan Gong ). The Primeval Lord of Heaven lives in the middle position of the upper first rank, i.e., in the Jade Clarity Realm ( 玉清境 Yu Qing Jing ). Living higher than the other thirty-five heavens, the Primeval Lord of Heaven occupies the highest position in Heaven. In the Jade Clarity Realm, there are pavilions of purple clouds and mansions of green clouds. All the immortals duly go to the Jade Clarity Realm to pay respect to the Primeval Lord of Heaven.
Salvation with the Secret Dao
The History of the Sui dynasty says the Primeval Lord of Heaven exists eternally. Every time Heaven and Earth come into being, he inaugurates the new kalpa and saves people by teaching them the secret Dao." All those he saves are upper-ranked immortals, such as the Supreme Venerable sovereign ( 太上老君 Tai Shang Lao Jun ), the Supreme Elder ( 太上丈人 Tai Shang Zhang Ren ), the Imperial Man of Inborn Perfection ( 天真皇人 Tian Zhen Huang Ren ), and the Heavenly Emperors of the Five Directions ( 五方天帝 Wufang Tiandi ) as well as the Immortal Officials. ( 仙官 Xianguan ) "
In most Daoist temples, there is a Hall of the Three Pristine Ones, where the middle position is occupied by the sculpture of the Primeval Lord of Heaven with a Pearl of Original Chaos ( 混元珠 Hun Yuan Zhu ) in his hand. In large-scale Daoist rituals, the names or the sculptures of the Three Pristine Ones are also worshiped, with the Primeval Lord of Heaven in the middle position. The holy birthday of the Primeval Lord of Heaven is the first days of the Lunar Year, but some folk people also worship him on the inter solstice.