The Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure
Origin of the Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure
The Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure ( 靈寶天尊 Lingbao Tianzun ) is one of the Three Pristine Ones ( 三清 Sanqing ), the highest divinities of Daoism. Formerly, he was called the 'Lofty Saint of Highest Clarity, Supreme Jade Emperor and Sovereign of the Great Dao' ( 上清高聖太上玉皇大道君 Shang Qing Gao Sheng Tai Shang Yu Huang Da Dao Jun ). In the Chart of the Ranks of the Perfect Souls , he was in the middle position of the second rank, second only to the Primeval Lord of Heaven ( 元始天尊 Yuanshi Tianzun ), who is in the middle of the first rank. He was called the 'Supreme Sovereign of the Great Dao' ( 太上太道君 Taishang Dadaojun ) in the Tang Dynasty, until the Song Dynasty when he was called 'Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure' ( 靈寶天尊 Lingbao tianzun ) or 'Sovereign of the Numinous Treasure' ( 靈寶君 Lingbao Jun ). According to the Great Grotto Book of Pervasive Perfection ( 《洞真大洞經》 Dong Zhen Da Dong Jing ) cited in Seven Slips of a Cloudy Satchel ( 《雲笈七籤》 Yun Ji Qi Qian ),"the essence of vital breath of the jade morning and purple clouds of best auspices, which were brilliant like jade and glorious like gold, combined with the Original Spirit and dwelt in the mother's womb, and were transformed into a man." This was the Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure. According to the Brief Account of the Numinous Treasure ( 《靈寶略記》 Lingbao Lueji ), the Supreme Sovereign of the Great Dao dwelt in the womb of Hongshi in Nunayu Country in the west, and meditated in the jade womb mansion for 3700 years. Then he was born at the side of Danxuan Hill, Mt. Fuluo, and was named Qidu and nicknamed Shangkaiyuan. When grown up, he was awakened to Dao and perfection and, wishing to be enlightened, he sat under a dead mulberry tree and meditated. After 100 days, the Primeval Lord of Heaven descended and taught him ten subtle scriptures of the Great Vehicle Law of the Numinous Treasure."
Administering and Assisting the High Immortals
The Lofty Saint of Highest Clarity, Supreme Jade Emperor and Sovereign of the Great Dao, was an assistant of the Primeval Lord of Heaven. Since receiving the scriptures and laws, he lived in the Highest Clarity Realm ( 上清境 Shangqing Jing ), the second highest position among the 36 heavens. As the ruler of the Sun Palace of Stamen Pearls ( 蕊珠日闕 Reizhu Rique ), he governs the Seven Purple Chambers of Light ( 七映紫房 Qiying Zifang ) which are guarded by Golden Lads and Jade Maidens, each numbering 300,000. For him, the ten thousand Spirits pay respect, the Five Virtes hold talismans, the higher perfected ones attend the morning rites, and the heavenly emperors hold charts.
Salvation by the Numinous Treasure
According to the Pervasive Mystery's Book of Original Deeds ( 《洞玄本行經》 Dong Xuan Ben Xing Jing ), the Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure saves people by using the Laws of the Numinous Treasure. During the 9900 billion eons from original creation to the first year of the Crimson Light Cycle ( 赤明元年 Chiming Yuannian ), the people he saved are as numerous as grains of sand and dust. Whenever an inquisitive man with affinities raises questions, the Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure teaches kindly and generously. He has 36 transformations and 72 apparitions, and can correspond immediately to the wishes of the people in tens of thousands of places.
Worship in Temples
In the Halls of the Three Pristine Ones ( 三清殿 Sanqing Dian ) of Daoist temples, the Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure always appears to the left of the Primeval Lord of Heaven, with an S-Shaped Ornamental Object ( 如意 Ruyi ) in his hand. In large-scale Daoist rituals, the Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure also appears to the left of the Primeval Lord of Heaven. The divine birthday of the Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure is the summer solstice, in the middle of the fifth lunar month. The Heavenly Lord of the Numinous Treasure is the major divinity of folk worship ritual during the summer solstice.