Monday, September 22, 2008

Chapters of the Chinese Taoist Association

This is a list of chapters of the Chinese Taoist Association. There are several hundred local Taoist associations in . The below is a listing of the most relevant provincial, municipal and city-level Chinese Taoist Association chapters. The general headquarters are based in Beijing, at the White Cloud Temple.

Provincial chapters

* Liaoning Taoist Association - since 1976 - headquarters at Supreme Clarity Temple, Shenyang
* Gansu Taoist Association - since 1985 - headquarters at White Cloud Temple of Lanzhou
* Hunan Taoist Association - since 1986 - headquarters at Triple Origin Temple, Nanyue Mountain
* Shanxi Taoist Association - since 1986 - headquarters at Eight Immortals Temple, Xi'an
* Henan Taoist Association - since 1987 - headquarters at Central Mountain Temple, Mount Song
* Anhui Taoist Association - since 1991 - headquarters at King Yu Shrine, Mount Tu
* Shandong Taoist Association - since 1992 - headquarters at Emerald Cloud Temple, Mount Tai
* Sichuan Taoist Association - since 1962, dismantled during , resumed in 1993 - headquarters at Green Ram Temple, Chengdu
* Jiangsu Taoist Association - since 1993 - headquarters at Mount Mao Temple, Mount Mao
* Hubei Taoist Association - since 1993 - headquarters at Eternal Spring Temple, Wuhan
* Guangdong Taoist Association - since 1994 - headquarters at Temple of Emptiness, Mount Luofu
* Fujian Taoist Association - since 1997 - headquarters at Immortal Pei Shrine, Fuzhou
* Hebei Taoist Association - since 1997 - headquarters in Shijiazhuang
* Qinghai Taoist Association - since 1997 - headquarters at Earth Tower Temple, Xining
* Zhejiang Taoist Association - since 1999 - headquarters at Embracing Simplicity Temple, Hangzhou

Municipal chapters

* Shanghai Taoist Association - since 1956, dismantled during , resumed in 1985 - headquarters at White Cloud Temple of Shanghai
* Chongqing Taoist Association - since 1998 - headquarters at Venerable Sovereign Grotto

Prefectural and city chapters

* Guangzhou Taoist Association - seat: Triple Origin Temple of Guangzhou
* Xi'an Taoist Association - seat: Eight Immortals Shrine
* Hangzhou Taoist Association - seat: Embracing Simplicity Temple
* Shenyang Taoist Association - seat: Supreme Clarity Temple
* Chengdu Taoist Association - seat: Green Ram Temple
* Wuhan Taoist Association - seat: Eternal Spring Temple
* Fuzhoun Taoist Association - seat: Nine Immortals Shrine, Mount Yu
* Suzhou Taoist Association - seat: Mysterious Sublimity Temple
* Changsha Taoist Association - seat: Cloudy Mountain Temple, Mount Yuelu
* Wenzhou Taoist Association - seat: Purple Cloud Temple of Wenzhou
* Qingdao Taoist Association - seat: Supreme Clarity Temple of Qingdao


The portmanteau chaordic refers to a system that blends characteristics of and . The term was coined by Dee Hock.

The mix of chaos and order is often described as a harmonious coexistence displaying characteristics of both, with neither chaotic nor ordered behavior dominating. Some hold that nature is largely organized in such a manner; in particular, living organisms and the evolutionary process by which they arose are often described as chaordic in nature. The chaordic principles have also been used as guidelines for creating human organizations -- business, nonprofit, government and hybrids -- that would be neither nor .

Kunlun Nu

Kunlun Nu was a wuxia romance written by ''P’ei Hsing'' during the Tang Dynasty. The Hero of the tale is a Negrito slave that uses his supernatural physical abilities to save his master's lover from the harem of a court official.


It takes place during the ''Ta-li'' of and follows the tale of a young man named ''Ts’ui'' who enlists the aide of ''Mo-lê'', his negrito slave, to help free his beloved who was forced to join the harem of a court official. At midnight, Mo-lê kills the guard dogs around the compound and carries Ts’ui on his back while easily jumping to the tops of walls and bounding from roof to roof. With the lovers reunited, Mo-lê leaps over ten tall walls with both of them on his back. Ts’ui and his beloved are able to live happily together in peace because the official believes she was kidnapped by and did not want to make trouble for himself by pursuing them. However, two years later, one of the official’s attendants sees the girl in the city and reports this. The official arrests Ts’ui and, once he hears the entire story, sends men to capture the negrito slave. But Mo-lê escapes with his dagger and flies over the city walls to escape apprehension. He is seen over ten years later selling medicine in the city, not having aged a single day.

Taoist influence

Mo-lê’s gravity defying abilities and agelessness suggests the fictional character is a practitioner of esoteric life-prolonging exercises akin to Chinese immortals. According to a tale attributed to the Taoist adept Ge Hong, some hunters in the Zhongnan Mountains saw a naked man whose body was covered in black hair. Whenever they tried to capture him he “leapt over gullies and valleys as if in flight, and so could not be overtaken." After finally ambushing the man, the hunters learned it was in fact a 200 plus year old woman who had learned the arts of immortality from an old man in the forest.
*''Kunlun Nu Yedao Hongxiao'' .

Jing (Chinese medicine)

This article is part of the philosophy of CAM and series of articles.

Jīng is the Chinese word for "essence", specifically kidney essence. Along with and , it is considered one of the ''Sanbao'' 三寶 of Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM. Jīng is stored in the kidneys and is the most dense physical matter within the body . It is said to be the material basis for the physical body and is '''' in nature, which means it nourishes, fuels, and cools the body. As such it is an important concept in the internal martial arts. Jīng is also believed by some to be the carrier of our heritage . Production of semen, in the man, and menstrual blood , in the woman, are believed to place the biggest strains on jīng. Because of this, some even equate jīng with semen, but this is inaccurate; the jīng circulates through the 8 extraordinary vessels and creates marrow and semen, among other functions.

One is said to be born with a set amount of jīng and also can acquire jīng from food and various forms of stimulation Theoretically, jīng is consumed continuously in life; by everyday stress, illness, substance abuse, sexual intemperance, etc. Pre-natal jīng by definition cannot be renewed, and it is said it is completely consumed upon dying.

So, this jīng is considered quite important for longevity in TCM. Many disciplines related to are devoted to the replenishment of "lost" jīng by restoration of the post-natal jīng. In particular, the internal martial arts and the Circle Walking of Baguazhang may be used to preserve pre-natal jīng and build post-natal jīng - if performed correctly. Commonplace in China is the sight of on sale in herb shops, at a wide range of prices - Kung Fu classics fans may remember it used as a plot element at the start of Drunken Master 2. Rénshēn, particularly Korean and Chinese, is said to bolster the jīng and a common medicinal recipe is to add to porridge along with cinnamon, goji berries and ginger for a sweet, warming breakfast when the weather starts to turn cold in Autumn.

An early mention of the term in this sense is in a 4th century BCE chapter called "Inner Training" of a larger text compiled during the Han dynasty, the .

Jīng should not be confused with the related concept of , nor with jīng , which appears in many early Chinese book titles, such as the , and , the fundamental text on all the knowledge associated with tea.

Internal alchemy

Internal alchemy, also called spiritual alchemy, is a term used for different esoteric disciplines focused on balancing internal and energies. In China, it is an important form of practice for most schools of Taoism. In Europe, it is considered to be a central practice of Rosicrucianism and Hermeticism.. Historically, it has borrowed the symbolism and terminology of classical alchemy, employing them in process and metaphor to spiritual development.

The term is also used to translate various terms used in the native languages of some east Asian Taoist and Buddhist practices. Neidan and Tantra are considered forms of internal alchemy, but western commentators often focus on sexual practices.


Internal alchemy, like the more general alchemy from which it derived, focuses on transmuting energies and substances. The practices focus on restoring balance and elevating spiritual vitality. The goals of internal alchemy are improved health, longevity and peacefulness. Practitioners often seek immortality or reunion with God or another divine source.

The energies and substances of the body are described in metaphor. Elements, metals and humours have all been used to classify and define characteristics of the human system. Internal alchemists map the body, noting which routes energy move through and which areas are associated with particular "elements". Examples include the Sephiroth of Kaballah, the seven seals of esoteric Christianity, the seven Hindu chakras and the Chinese .

Medicinal alchemy

In many cultures, notably those of the East, diseases and medical ailments were thought to be due to imbalance in the afflicted person's internal alchemy, or a weakness of one's life spirit. Consequently, medical treatments were a mix of supernatural appeals and pharmacology, using spells, amulets, and repulsive herbs to "banish" evil influence or strengthen the spirit.

Il Taoismo

Il Taoismo is a work by esoteric writer Julius Evola. Published in 1972 by Mediteranee.

Hongjun Laozu

Hongjun Laozu is said to be the teacher of the Three Pure Ones in some branches of Taoism. His name means the "The Great Primal Originator" or "The Great Primal Homogeneity" or "The Great Balancer". There is a saying that " there was Hong-Jun before there was heaven". He could be said to be the Head of , but in the mythological stories he seldom shows up on earth.

Homosexuality and Taoism

It is difficult to determine a single position on homosexuality in Taoism, as the term Taoism is used to describe a number of disparate religious traditions, from organised religious movements such as Quanzhen to Chinese folk religion and even a school of philosophy. The vast majority of adherents live in China and among Chinese Diaspora communities elsewhere, and so attitudes to homosexuality within Taoism often reflect the values and sexual norms of broader Chinese society .

The Taoist tradition holds that males need the energies of females, and vice versa, in order to bring about balance, completion and transformation. These energies thought to be best obtained through heterosexual relations. Passionate homosexual expression is usually discouraged because it is believed to not lead to human fulfillment.

Taoism stresses the relationship between yin and yang: two opposing forces which maintain harmony through balance. Heterosexuality is seen as the physical and emotional embodiment of the harmonious balance between yin and yang.

However, Taoist nuns are said to have exchanged love poems during the Tang dynasty.

History of Taoism

The history of Taoism stretches throughout Chinese history. Originating in prehistoric China, it has exerted a powerful influence over Chinese culture throughout the ages. Taoism evolved in response to changing times, its doctrine and associated practices revised and refined. The acceptance of Taoism by the ruling class has waxed and waned, alternately enjoying periods of favor and rejection. But it was always the backbone of most of chinese society. Most recently, Taoism has emerged from a period of suppression and is undergoing a revival in China.

Early origins

Taoism's origins may be traced to prehistoric Chinese religions in China; to the composition of the ''Tao Te Ching'' ; or to the activity of Zhang Daoling . Alternatively, one could argue that Taoism as a religious identity only arose later, by way of contrast with the newly-arrived religion of Buddhism, or with the fourth-century codification of the Shangqing and Lingbao texts.

Other accounts credit Laozi as the teacher of both Buddha and Confucius. In some sects of religious Taoism, Laozi had thirteen incarnations, including the Three August Ones and Five Emperors, up until his last as Laozi who lived over 800 years. They correlate early Taoism with ancient picture writing, which they associate with mysticism and ancestor worship.

Han Dynasty

In the early Han Dynasty, the Tao came to be associated with or conflated with the . A major text from the Huang-Lao movement would be the ''Huainanzi'', which interprets earlier Taoist teachings in light of the quest for immortality. Zhang Daoling claimed to have begun receiving new revelations from Laozi and went on to found the sect as the "First Celestial Master". He performed spiritual healing, and collected dues of five pecks of rice from his followers . Zhang Daoling's major message was that the world-order would soon come to an end, and be succeeded by an era of "Great Peace" .Their activities did hasten the downfall of the Han Dynasty, largely because Zhang's grandson set up a theocratic state into what is now Sichuan province. The same could be said of their contemporaries and fellow Taoists, the Yellow Turban sect. Laozi received imperial recognition as a divinity in the mid second century CE. The Yin and Yang and theories date from this time, but were not yet integrated into Taoism.

The name ''Daojia'' comes from the Han Dynasty. In Sima Qian's history it refers to immortals; in Liu Xiang it refers to Laozi and Zhuangzi. ''Daojiao'' came to be applied to the religious movements mentioned above. The two terms were used interchangeably until modern times. The earliest commentary on the ''Dao De Jing'' is that of Heshang Gong , a legendary figure depicted as a teacher to the Han emperor.

Three Kingdoms Period

During the Three Kingdoms Period, the Xuanxue school, including Wang Bi, focused on the texts of Laozi and Zhuangzi. Many of the school's members, including Wang Bi himself, were not religious in any sense. Wang Bi mostly focused on reconciling Confucian thought with Taoist thought. Because the version of the Tao Te Ching that has been passed on to the present is the one that Wang Bi commented upon, his interpretations became very influential as they were passed on alongside the Tao Te Ching. In addition, his commentary was compatible with Confucian ideas and Buddhist ideas that later entered China. This compatibility ensured Taoism would remain an important aspect of Chinese culture, and made the merging of the three religions easier in later periods, such as the Tang dynasty.

Six Dynasties

Taoist alchemist Ge Hong, also known as Baopuzi was active in the third and fourth centuries and had great influence on later Taoism. Major scriptures were produced during this time period, including The Shangqing and scriptures received at Maoshan. The Shangqing revelations were received by Yang Xi, a relative of Ge Hong's; the revelations emphasised meditative visualisation . They spoke of the Shangqing heaven, which stood above what had been previously considered the highest heaven by Celestial Master Taoists. Yang Xi's revelations consisted of visitations from the residents of this heaven many of whom were ancestors of a circle of aristocrats from southern China. These Zhen Ren spoke of an apocalypse which was to arrive in 384, and claimed that only certain people from this aristocratic circle had been chosen to be saved. For the first century of its existence, Shangqing Taoism was isolated to this aristocratic circle. However, Tao Hongjing codified and wrote commentaries on Yang Xi's writings and allowed for the creation of Shangqing Taoism as a popular religion. The Lingbao scriptures added some Buddhist elements such as an emphasis on universal salvation.

Also during the Six Dynasties period, the Celestial Master movement re-emerged in two distinct forms. The Northern Celestial Masters were founded in 424 century by Kou Qianzhi, and a Taoist theocracy was established that lasted until 450 CE. After this time, the Northern Celestial Masters were expelled from the Wei court and re-established themselves at Louguan where they survived into the Tang Dynasty. The Southern Celestial Masters were centered at Jiankang (modern-day Nanjing, and were likely made of those adherents who fled Sichuan and others who fled from Luoyang after its fall in 311 CE. These various followers of The Way of the Celestial Master coalesced to form a distinct form of Taoism known as the Southern Celestial Masters, who lasted as a distinct movement into the fifth century.

Tang Dynasty

Taoism gained official status in China during the Tang Dynasty, whose emperors claimed Laozi as their relative. However, it was forced to compete with Confucianism and Buddhism, its major rivals, for patronage and rank. Emperor , who ruled at the height of the Tang, wrote commentaries on texts from all three of these traditions, which exemplifies the fact that in many people's lives they were not mutually exclusive. This marks the beginning of a long-lived tendency within imperial China, in which the government supported all three movements. The added the ''Tao Te Ching'' to the list of classics to be studied for the imperial examinations.

Song Dynasty

Several Song emperors, most notably , were active in promoting Taoism, collecting Taoist texts and publishing editions of the ''Daozang.''

The Quanzhen school of Taoism was founded during this period, and together with the resurgent Celestial Masters called the is one of the two schools of Taoism that have survived to the present.

The Song Dynasty saw an increasingly complex interaction between the elite traditions of organised Taoism as practised by ordained Taoist ministers and the local traditions of folk religion as practised by spirit mediums and a new class of non-ordained ritual experts known as ''fashi''. This interaction manifested itself in the integration of 'converted' local deities into the bureaucratically organised Taoist pantheon and the emergence of new exorcistic rituals, including the Celestial Heart Rites and the Thunder Rites.

Aspects of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism were consciously synthesised in the Neo-Confucian school, which eventually became Imperial orthodoxy for state bureaucratic purposes.

Yuan Dynasty

While Taoism suffered a significant setback in 1281 when all copies of the ''Daozang'' were ordered burned, this holocaust gave Taoism a chance to renew itself. ''Neidan'', a form of internal alchemy, became a major emphasis of the Quanzhen sect, whose practitioners followed a monastic model inspired by Buddhism. One of its leaders, Qiu Chuji became a teacher of Genghis Khan before the establishment of the Yuan Dynasty. . Originally from Shanxi and Shandong, the sect established its main center in Beijing's . Before the end of the dynasty, the Celestial Masters sect again gained preeminence.

Ming Dynasty

In 1406, emperor Zhu Di commanded that all Taoist texts be collected and combined into a new version of the ''Daozang.'' The text was finally finished in 1447, and took nearly forty years to complete.

Qing Dynasty

The ruin of the Ming Dynasty and the subsequent establishment of the Qing Dynasty by the Manchus was blamed by some literati on religion, specifically Taoism. They sought to regain power by advocating a return to orthodoxy in a movement called ''Hanxue'', or 'National Studies.' This movement returned the Confucian classics to favor and completely rejected Taoism. During the eighteenth century, the imperial library was constituted, but excluded virtually all Taoist books. By the beginning of the twentieth century, Taoism had fallen so much from favor that only one complete copy of the ''Daozang'' still remained, at the White Cloud Monastery in Beijing.

Nationalist Period

Guomindang leaders embraced science, modernity, and Western culture, including Christianity. Viewing the popular religion as reactionary and parasitic, they confiscated some temples for public buildings, and otherwise attempted to control traditional religious activity.

People's Republic of China

The Communist Party of China, officially atheistic, initially suppressed Taoism along with other religions. During the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, many Taoist temples and sites were damaged and Monks and priests were sent to labor camps.

Persecution of Taoists stopped in 1979, and many Taoists began reviving their traditions. Subsequently, many of the more scenic temples and have been repaired and reopened.

Taoism is one of five religions recognised by the PRC, which insists on controlling its activities through a state bureaucracy . Sensitive areas include the relationship of the Taoists with their sect's lineage-holder, who lives in Taiwan, and various traditional temple activities such as astrology and shamanism, which have been criticised as "superstitious".

Taoism in the Occident

In the 1927-1944 the chief propounder of Taoism for the Western World was Prof. Henri Maspero in Paris.
Michael Saso was the first occidental to be initiated as Taoist priest; he subsequently served also as co-editor of ''TAOIST RESOURCES'', the only English-language academic journal to be devoted entirely to Taoism.

Today, many Taoist organizations have been established in the Occident.


Grotto-heavens are a type of sacred site. Grotto-heavens are usually caves, mountain hollows, or other underground spaces. Because every community was supposed to have access to at least one grotto, there were many of them all over China. They were first organized systematically in the Tang Dynasty by Sima Chengzhen and Du Guangting. The most sacred of these sites were divided into two types: The ten greater grotto-heavens and the thirty-six lesser grotto-heavens.

The ten greater grotto-heavens are as follows:

*Wangwu shan grotto 王屋山
Visual narrative of Mt. Wangwu -->
*Weiyu shan grotto 委羽山
*Xicheng shan grotto 西城山
*Qingcheng shan grotto 西玄山
Visual narrative of Mt. Qingcheng -->
*Xixuan shan grotto 青城山
*Luofu shan grotto 赤城山
Visual narrative of Mt. Luofu -->
*Chicheng shan grotto 罗浮山
*Linwu shan grotto 句曲山
*Gouqu shan grotto 林屋山
Visual narrative of Maoshan -->
*Kuocang shan grotto 括苍山


Fulu is a term for Taoist practitioners in the past who could draw and write supernatural talismans, ''Fu'' , ''Shenfu'' which they believed functioned as summons or instructions to deities, spirits, or as tools of exorcism, as for ailments. It is believed by Taoists that in the past the ability to write Shenfu had been once decreed by their deities to authorized priests or ''daoshi''. Lu is a register and compilation of the membership of the daoshi as well as the skills they were able to use. These practitioners are also called ''Fulu Pai'' or the ''Fulu Sect'' made up of daoshi from different schools or offshoots of Taojia.

One of the earliest classical scripture referring to Fu was the Huangdi Yinfujing although it does not contain specific instructions to write any talisman. In a Taoist guidance book called ''Tiantang Yiuji'' it was described by ''Lingbao Tianjun'' in chapter six how mortals were once able to perform special feats such as the Disha 72 ways, in which the ability to write and draw Shenfu was skill No.67.

The second chapter of each of the three grottoes in the Daozang is a record of the history and feats of the Fulu Sect.

Five Supremes

Five Supremes, the ''Five Elders'' or the ''Five Olds'' were five beings transformed or transmogrified from the Xuanxuan Shangren made up of ''Chi Jingzi'' , ''Shui Jingzi'' , ''Mu Gong'' , ''Jing Mu'' , ''Huang Lao'' , at the center and four cardinal points of the compass.

Jing Mu and 'Mu Gong were responsible for the creation of all lives by breathing qi into an incubator ''ding''. A male and female child were born from this breath of life. The excess qi escaped and became other forms of lives on earth.

The Five Supremes also correspond to the Wu xing or the Five Elements in Taoism, and had once reincarnated as the heads of the five religions on earth in a bid to reclaim yuanling, the original beings from the realm of the living back to heaven.

Dragon Gate Taoism

The Dragon Gate Taoism is a sect of the Complete Reality school of Taoism, which integrated Buddhism and Confucianism into a comprehensive new form of Taoism. Complete Reality Taoism eventually spread all over China during the Middle Ages, and still continues in existence today. Numerous classics and texts of this school have been translated into English over the last ten years. Complete Reality Taoism is generally divided into two main traditions, Southern and Northern.

The Dragon Gate sect of Taoism is an offshoot of the Northern school. Its spiritual descent is traced to the thirteenth-century master, who was one of the great disciples of Wang Chongyang. Chang-chun means the "Eternal Spring". The master of Eternal Spring was one of the sages who advised Genghis Khan to preserve the ancient civilization of China after the Mongolian conquest, over eight hundred years ago. Genghis Khan appointed Chang-chun overseer of religions in China, and the Dragon Gate sect thus played a critical role in the conservation of Chinese culture.


Diyu is the realm of the dead or "hell" in Chinese mythology. It is very loosely based upon the concept of combined with traditional Chinese afterlife beliefs and a variety of popular expansions and re-interpretations of these two traditions.

Ruled by , the King of Hell, Diyu is a maze of underground levels and chambers where souls are taken to atone for their earthly sins.

Incorporating ideas from Taoism and Buddhism as well as traditional Chinese folk religion, Diyu is a kind of purgatory place which serves not only to punish but also to renew spirits ready for their next incarnation. There are many deities associated with the place, whose names and purposes are the subject of much conflicting information.

The exact number of levels in Chinese Hell - and their associated deities - differs according to the Buddhist or Taoist perception. Some speak of three to four 'Courts', other as many as ten. The ten judges are also known as the 10 Kings of . Each Court deals with a different aspect of atonement. For example, murder is punished in one Court, adultery in another. According to some Chinese legends, there are eighteen levels in Hell. Punishment also varies according to belief, but most legends speak of highly imaginative chambers where wrong-doers are sawn in half, beheaded, thrown into pits of filth or forced to climb trees adorned with sharp blades.

However, most legends agree that once a soul has atoned for their deeds and repented, he or she is given the Drink of Forgetfulness by Meng Po and sent back into the world to be reborn, possibly as an animal or a poor or sick person, for further punishment. One description of Diyu can be found in the Jade Record.

Eighteen levels of Hell

In Taoist and Buddhist mythology, hell is made up of ten courts, each ruled by one of the 10 Kings and 18 levels in which wrongdoers are punished.

In some literatures, there are references to 18 types or subtypes of hells, or 18 hells for each type of punishment, rather than just 18 levels of hell. In some literatures, there are different types of punishment on each level.

The concept of '18 levels of hell' started in the Tang Dynasty. The Buddhist text ''Jian Di Yu Jing'' mentioned 134 worlds of hell, but was simplified to 18 levels of hell for convenience.

#Chamber of Wind and Thunder – People who kill and commit heinous crimes out of greed are sent here for punishment.
#Chamber of Grinding – Wealthy men who do no good and waste food are ground into powder in this chamber.
#Chamber of Flames – People who steal, plunder, rob and cheat are sent here to be burnt.
#Chamber of Ice – Children who ill-treat their parents and elders are sent here to be frozen in ice.
#Chamber of Oil Cauldrons – Sex offenders such as rapists, lechers, adulterers are fried in oil in this chamber.
#Chamber of Dismemberment by Sawing – Kidnappers and people who force good women into prostitution suffer the fate of being sawn in this chamber.
#Chamber of Dismemberment by Chariot – Corrupt officials and landlords who oppress and exploit the people are dismembered by a chariot in this chamber.
#Chamber of Mountain of Knives – People who cheat customers by earning more than they should, profiteers who jack up prices and cheat on the quality of goods are made to shed blood by climbing the mountain of knives.
#Chamber of Tongue Ripping – Gossips who stir trouble and liars suffer the fate of having their tongues ripped out in this chamber.
#Chamber of Pounding – Cold-blooded murderers are pounded in this chamber.
#Chamber of Torso-severing – Scheming and ungrateful men have their torsos severed in this chamber.
#Chamber of Scales – Crooks who oppress the innocent, people who cheat on the quality of goods and daughters-in-law who ill-treat their in-laws have hooks pierced into their body and hung upside down.
#Chamber of Eye-gouging – Peeping toms who go around peeking and leering have their eyeballs gouged out in this chamber.
#Chamber of Heart-digging – People with evil hearts have theirs dug out in this chamber.
#Chamber of Disembowelment – Instigators, hypocrites and tomb-robbers have their bowels dug out in this chamber.
#Chamber of Blood – Blasphemous crooks who show no respect to the gods suffer the fate of being skinned in this chamber.
#Chamber of Maggots – Crooks who use loopholes in the law to cheat and engage in malpractice are being eaten alive by maggots in this chamber.
#Chamber of Avici – Crooks who have committed heinous crimes, brought misery to the people and betrayed the ruler are placed on a platform above an inferno. The unlucky ones fall off the platform into the inferno and burn while the lucky ones remain on the platform. These spirits are never to be reincarnated.

Alternate names in Chinese language

Among the more common names for the Underworld are :
*地獄 - dìyù the underworld prison
*地府 - dìf? the underworld mansion
*黃泉 - huángquán the yellow spring
*陰間 - yīnjiān the shady space
*陰府 - yīnf? the shady mansion
*陰司 - yīnsī the shady office
*森羅殿 - shēnluó diàn the court of Sinluo
*閻羅殿 - yánluó diàn the court of
*九泉 - ji?quán the nine springs
*重泉 - chóngquán the repeating spring
*泉路 - quánlù the spring road
*幽冥 - yūmíng the serene darkness
*幽壤 - yūr?ng the serene land
*火炕 - hu?kàng the fire pit
*九幽 - ji?yū the nine serenities
*九原 - ji?yuán the nine origins
*冥府 – míngf? the dark mansion
*阿鼻 - ābí , a Buddhist term, from Sanskrit , the hell of uninterrupted torture, last and deepest of eight hot hells
*足跟 - zúgēn the heel of the foot, also means hells
*酆都城 - Chéng, name of a city imagined to contain an entrance to Diyu

And terminologies related to hell:
*奈何橋 - the bridge of helplessness
*望鄉臺 - the home viewing pavilion
*油鍋 - the deep frying wok, one of the tortures in hell.
*三塗 - the three tortures, burn by fire , chop by knife , torn apart by beasts .


Daozang , meaning "Treasury of Dao" or " Canon", consists of almost 5000 individual texts that were collected circa C.E. 400 . They were collected by Daoist monks of the period in an attempt to bring together all of the teachings of Daoism, including all the commentaries and expositions of the various masters from the original teachings found in the Dao De Jing and Zhuang Zi. It was split into Three Grottoes, which mirrors the Tripitaka division. These three divisions were based on the main focus of Daoism in Southern China during the time it was made, namely; meditation, ritual, and exorcism.

These Three Grottoes were used as levels for the initiation of Daoist masters, from lowest to highest .

As well as the Three Grottoes there were Four Supplements that were added to the Canon circa C.E. 500. These were mainly taken from older core Daoist texts apart from one which was taken from an already established and separate philosophy known as Tianshi Dao .

Although the above can give the appearance that the Canon is highly organised this is far from the truth. Although the present-day Canon does preserve the core divisions there are substantial forks in the arrangement due to the later addition of commentaries, revelations and texts elaborating upon the core divisions.


#The First Daozang
#*This was the first time an attempt was made to bring together all the teachings and texts from across China and occurred circa C.E. 400 and consisted of roughly 1,200 scrolls
#The Second Daozang
#*In C.E. 748 the Tang emperor Tang Xuan-Zong , sent monks to collect further teachings to add to the Canon.
#The Third Daozang
#*Around C.E. 1016 of the Song dynasty, the Daozang was revised and many texts collected during the Tang dynasty were removed. This third Daozang consisted of approximately 4500 scrolls.
#The Fourth Daozang
#*In C.E. 1444 of the Ming dynasty, a final version was produced consisting of approximately 5300 scrolls.

Constituent Parts

Three Grottoes 三洞 C.E. 400

#Authenticity Grotto 洞真部: Texts of Supreme Purity tradition
#*This grotto is concerned mainly with meditation and is the highest phase of initiation for a Daoist master.
#Mystery Grotto 洞玄部: Texts of Sacred Treasure tradition
#*This grotto is concerned mainly with rituals and is the middle phase of initiation for a Daoist master.
#Spirit Grotto 洞神部: Texts of Three Sovereigns tradition
#*This grotto is concerned mainly with exorcisms and is the lowest phase of initiation for a Daoist master.

Each of the above Three Grottoes then has the following 12 chapters

#Main texts 本文類
#s 神符類
#Commentaries 玉訣類
#Diagrams and illustrations 靈圖類
#Histories and genealogies 譜錄類
#Precepts 戒律類
#Ceremonies 威儀類
#Rituals 方法類
#Practices 像術類
#Biographies 記傳類
#Hymns 讚頌類
#Memorials 表奏類

Four Supplements C.E. 500

#Great Mystery 太玄部: Based on the Dao De Jing
#Great Peace 太平部: Based on the Taiping Jing
#Great Purity 太清部: Based on the Taiqing Jing and other texts
#Orthodox One 正一部: Based on the Way of the Celestial Masters tradition.

Daoism-Taoism romanization issue

In English, the words Daoism and Taoism are the subject of an ongoing controversy over the preferred romanization for naming this native Chinese philosophy and Chinese religion. The root word "way, path" is romanized ''tao'' in the older Wade-Giles system and '''' in the modern Pinyin system. The sometimes heated arguments over ''Taoism'' vs. ''Daoism'' involve sinology, phonemes, loanwords, and politics – not to mention whether ''Taoism'' should be or .

First, some linguistic terminology and notations need to be introduced. Phonetic transcription is shown with the enclosed in square brackets , and phonemic transcription is enclosed within virgules or forward slashes / /. In articulatory phonetics, "" is an articulation that involves an audible release of breath. For example, the /t/ in ''tore'' is "aspirated" with a noticeable puff of breath, but the /t/ in ''store'' is "unaspirated." The IPA diacritic for aspiration is a superscript "h", , and normal unaspirated consonants are not explicitly marked. "" or "voicing" distinguishes whether a particular sound is either "voiced" or "unvoiced" . Examples of IPA phonation diacritics include voiceless , voiced , breathy voiced , and creaky voiced .

Phonology of and its English approximations

Disregarding tone, , in Mandarin, is pronounced . This pronunciation cannot be accurately reproduced in English by an untrained speaker. The argument between the proponents of ''Dao'' and ''Tao'' hinges on not which of the two is correct, but which of the two spellings read outloud will better approximate the original Chinese.

The initial Chinese sound, a represented by the IPA symbol , exists in English -- but never as an initial. You can find it instead in words such as "stop" or "pat". An initial ''t'', as in "tap", is in English pronounced as -- that is, an aspirated version of ? , its . The natural English pronunciation of the word spelled ''Tao'' is therefore . In standard , however, and are not allophonic, but represent two distinct . In fact, does not merely sound wrong, it sounds like a different word -- "peach", or "cover" .

The alternative English spelling, ''Dao'', results in another mispronunciation, . The initial consonant is , a . However, is not a phoneme in Mandarin, which has no voiced plosives, therefore the initial voicing of is not significant to the Chinese listener. What ''is'' significant is that, unlike the English , is ''not'' aspirated in word-initial position. Therefore the English-speaker's seems more similar to the desired Chinese than the alternative , even though both are technically equally incorrect, one because of voicing, the other because of aspiration. Only the aspiration error is phonemically important to the Chinese listener.

The linguist Michael Carr explains:
The provenance of the pronunciation with of ''Taoism'' is a gap in the English phonemic paradigm for the unvoiced unaspirated in ''dào'' 'way'. This Chinese phoneme is nearer to the pronunciation of English voiced unaspirated in ''Dow'' than the voiceless aspirated in ''Taos'', but it is neither. The Chinese aspirated vs. non-aspirated phonemic contrast is almost the opposite of the English voiced vs. unvoiced contrast. In certain positions, English non-aspirated consonants can occur as variants of aspirated ones. Stops after initials in English *e.g., ''spy'', ''sty'', ''sky'') are unvoiced unaspirated and close to the phoneme in 'way', but these are not highly voiced, and the English distinction can be analyzed as one of aspiration, with voicing redundant and predictable.

Romanizations of

The history of transcribing spoken Chinese is lengthy and inconsistent. Sinologist Paul Kratochvil describes how Westerners predictably misheard Chinese unvoiced consonants, such as the unvoiced unaspirated in 道 .
Since the great majority of people who first attempted to transcribe Chinese were not linguists , their endeavour was marred by a lack of systematic approach and many contemporary European misconceptions about language. Even more than two hundred years later, during the last century, when Western specialists in Chinese, who had by that time created the discipline known as sinology, designed the early forms of numerous transcriptions used today, the first mistakes of enthusiastic missionaries, envoys and business men were not fully eliminated. In fact their traces can be seen even today.

There are numerous rival systems for the Romanization of Chinese for Standard Mandarin pronunciation. Compare these transcriptions of Chinese 道 : Wade-Giles ''tao'' or ''tao''4 , Legge romanization ''t?o'', Latinxua Sin Wenz ''dau'', Yale Romanization ''dàu'', Mandarin Phonetic Symbols II ''dau'', Hanyu Pinyin ''dào'', Tongyong Pinyin ''daˋo'', Gwoyeu Romatzyh or National Romanization ''daw'', Zhuyin fuhao ㄉㄠ, and Cyrillic ''дао''.

Romanization systems use one of two arbitrary ways to represent the Chinese phonemic opposition between aspirated and unaspirated consonants. Take for example, Chinese unaspirated "way" and aspirated "peach". Some systems, like Wade-Giles ''tao'' 道 and ''t'ao'' 桃, introduce a special symbol for aspiration; others, like Pinyin ''dao'' 道 and ''tao'' 桃, use "d" and "t". In English and other languages, "d" and "t" indicate a voiced and unvoiced distinction, which is not phonemic in Chinese.

From a theoretical perspective, both ''tao'' and ''dao'' transliterations if pronounced according to English spelling conventions are equally close to, or far from, the Standard Mandarin pronunciation of 道 . However in practice, most English speakers think the Chinese pronunciation sounds more like an English initial than an English initial because the Chinese pronunciation is unaspirated. Therefore, some argue that ''Dao'' is in that sense more "accurate" than ''Tao''.

An inherent problem with the arcane Wade-Giles use of apostrophes to differentiate aspiration is that many English readers do not understand it, which has resulted in the frequent mispronunciation of ''Taoism'' as instead of . Alan Watts explains using Wade-Giles "in spite of its defects" but writes: "No uninitiated English-speaking person could guess how to pronounce it, and I have even thought, in a jocularly malicious state of mind, that Professors Wade and Giles invented it so as to erect a barrier between profane and illiterate people and true scholars."

The ''Taoism/Daoism'' loanword

In loanword terminology, English ''Taoism/Daoism'' is a "calque," "loan-rendering", or "hybrid" that blends a borrowed word with a native element, for example, '''') blends Chinese Pidgin English ''chop'' with English ''stick''. ''Taoism/Daoism'' is one of a few Chinese ''-ism'' borrowings, along with ''Confucianism'', ''Mohism'', and ''Maoism''.

According to the ''Oxford English Dictionary'' , the first recorded occurrences of the relevant words were ''Tao'' 1736, ''Tau'' 1747, ''Taouism'' and ''Taouist'' 1838, ''Taoistic'' 1856, ''Tao-ism'' 1858, ''Taoism'' 1903 , ''Daoism'' 1948, ''Dao'' and ''Daoist'' 1971.

Carr contrasts the English pronunciations of ''gung-ho'' and ''kung-fu'' to differentiate borrowings deriving from spoken and written Chinese. The ''OED'' records the first usage of ''gung-ho'' in 1942 and of ''kung-fu'' in 1966 . ''Gung-ho'' is more "correctly" pronounced because it was first imported from spoken rather than written Chinese. Nevertheless, many English speakers read the Wade-Giles ''kung-ho'' as . '''' is commonly mispronounced instead of owing to confusion over Wade-Giles romanization of unaspirated ''k'' vs. aspirated ''k''' .
Many Anglo-Chinese borrowings besides ''Taoism'' are mispronounced because of romanization. A commonly heard example is the ''Yijing'' "Book of Changes" which, owing to Wade-Giles "''I Ching''," is usually cacologized as taking ''yi'' 'change; easy' in false analogy with English ''I''. In most cases, Pinyin romanization more accurately represents Chinese pronunciations than Wade-Giles; English speakers would read the martial art "''Tai Ji Quan''" closer to ''tàijíquán'' 'great ultimate fist' than "''T'ai Chi Ch'üan''."

More generations of English speakers have learned about China through Wade-Giles than through Pinyin . The English word ''Taoism'' is unquestionably older and more familiar than ''Daoism''. However, in academia and international politics, there have been continuous trends towards adopting pinyin, which is widely used in the Western study of the Chinese language and official in the People's Republic of China. Hanyu Pinyin has become the international standard for Chinese romanization, used by the United Nations, the International Organization for Standardization , and similar associations.

While sinologists increasingly prefer the term ''Daoism'', traditionalists continue using the well-known ''Taoism''. Some scholars consciously adopt "''Daoism''" in order to distinguish the Chinese philosophy and religion from what "''Taoism''" embodied in the 19th- and 20th-century Western imaginations. Girardot, Miller and Liu explain, "earlier discussions of the Daoist tradition were often distorted and misleading - especially in terms of the special Western fascination with the 'classical' or 'philosophical' ''Daode jing'' and the denigration and neglect of the later sectarian traditions."

Lexicography of ''Taoism''

English dictionaries provide some insights into the ''Daoism''-''Taoism'' problem. For over a century, British and American lexicographers glossed the pronunciation of ''Taoism'' as , but more recently they corrected it to , and added ''Daoism'' entries.

Carr analyzes how English dictionaries gloss ''Taoism'''s pronunciation, comparing 12 published in Great Britain and 11 published in the United States .
Pronunciations are given in various dictionary respelling systems, rather than IPA, but for purposes of discussion, they are divisible into four types: , , , and . The first is strictly "correct," the second and third are partially so, depending upon descriptive/prescriptive policies, and the last is inaccurate. Since many, if not most, English speakers pronounce ''Taoism'' as , it can legitimately be listed as an alternate. Dictionaries are justified in glossing if they follow a convention of giving preferred pronunciation first, or as if they give common pronunciation first .
Within Carr's sample, most American dictionaries gloss , while most British ones gloss and have been slower to add the rectification. The respective first accurate glosses for ''Taoism'' were "''douizm; tou''-" and "Also Daoism and with pronunc. " .


As detailed above, proponents for both sides of the ''Daoism''-''Taoism'' controversy make valid arguments. Some prefer Wade-based ''Taoism'' because it is more familiar than ''Daoism'', and because the borrowing is a fully assimilated English word that presumably should be unaffected by foreign romanizations. However, many of these traditionalists will accept using pinyin for more recent Chinese borrowings. Others prefer pinyin-based ''Daoism'' because the international community largely accepts Hanyu Pinyin as the standard Chinese romanization, and because it is consistent with other English changes, viz. pinyin ''Beijing'' replaced Wade ''Pei-ching'' or Chinese Postal Map Romanization ''Peking''. In conclusion, three illustrative outcomes of ''Daoism'' vs. ''Taoism'' are given from publishing, library, and Wikipedia spheres.

First, publishing houses have profit concerns about changing romanizations of foreign books. There are more English translations titled Tao Te Ching than Dao De Jing, seeing as it is more familiar to native speakers. However, some academic publishers have abandoned Wade-Giles in favor of pinyin; Columbia University Press changed the titles of Burton Watson's translations from "Chuang Tzu" to "Zhuangzi" and from "Han Fei Tzu" to "Hanfeizi".

Second, libraries have independent concerns about revising legacy Wade-Giles catalogs to contemporary pinyin. After the Library of Congress converted to pinyin in 1997, librarian Jiajian Hu listed three reasons why they deemed Wade-Giles unsatisfactory and added four more.
*First, it had phonetically redundant syllables.
*Second, it failed to render the Chinese national standard pronunciation.
*Finally, it wasn't able to show the semantic distinctions between multiple readings of single characters. …
*The Pinyin system of romanization of Chinese is now generally recognized as the standard through the world. …
*Most users of America libraries today are familiar with the pinyin romanization of Chinese names and places. …
*The use of pinyin romanization by libraries also will facilitate the exchange of data with foreign libraries. …
*Pinyin has more access points than Wade-Giles for online retrieval.

Cihang Zhenren

Cihang Zhenren is a Daoist ''zhenren'' "Perfected Person" who is identified with the Buddhist bodhisattva Guan Yin. Cihang Zhenren supposedly originated as a Daoist '''' "transcendent; immortal" and became a bodhisattva because of his endless willingness and effort in helping those in need.

In some Daoist records, Cihang Zhenren was said to one of the twelve disciples of Yuanshi Tianzun. In some Daoist temples, under the statute of Cihang Zhenren, there usually is a golden lion with eight additional smaller heads, which is known as the Nine Headed Golden Lion. It is said that the Immortal Cihang Zhenren can appear in the human realm in 32 different human forms , some of which are male, others female.

There are three anniversaries of Cihang Zhenren that have been celebrated – The first is on the nineteenth day of the Flower Moon . This was the day Cihang Zhenren prayed for the dead to be liberated from hell and blessings for the living . The second is on the nineteenth day of the Lychee Moon . This was the day he subjugated Ningbo Xianzi and successfully gained . The third is on the nineteenth day of the Chrysanthemum Moon . This was the day Cihang Zhenren achieved immortality.

Chinese creation myth

In Scroll One Chapter One of Pantao Yen Log or The Feast of Immortal Peaches, Daozu Laozi introduced the genesis starting with the definition of Tao, in simpler less ambiguous descriptions than the starting chapter in Tao Te Ching. Tao according to Daozu is the infinite primodial '''', out of which came a supra-being Xuanxuan Shangren . This supra-being first transformed into the Daoist Trinity Three Pure Ones and later manifested at the cardinal south as another ''Chi Jingzi'' , cardinal north ''Shui Jingzi'' , cardinal east ''Mu Gong'' , cardinal west ''Jing Mu'' , in the cardinal center ''Huang Lao'' were formed, collectively also revered as the Five Supremes as all are over ten thousand years old.

Genesis and Creation

Creation of lives including man was by ''Jin Mu'' and ''Mu Gong'' after they breathed qi into an incubator ''ding''. A male and female child were born from this breath of life. The excess qi escaped and became other forms of lives on earth. Supra-beings such as Xuanxuan Shangren and the Five Supremes were not themselves Yuanren beings but more primordial concepts of creation.

In a follow up book called Tiantang Yiuji 天堂遊記 the same creation story was narrated and given more details in Chapter Four and Chapter Seven. Xuanxuan Shangren transformed into the Three Pure Ones and again transformed to the ''Five Elders'' or Five Supremes before the first man and woman were incubated. They were allegorically the same as Pangu from the Chinese mythology and Adam and Eve of Christianity.

In Chinese mythology, a second folkloric version of genesis described the beginning of the universe started out as a black egg in which the Earth, heavens, and Pangu exist together as one. Pangu cracks open the egg, thus creating the universe. Pangu then creates Earth and Sky. Nüwa made the first members of mankind from yellow clay. This is believed to be an allegorical tale of the ''Division-Genesis'' in Tao Te Ching, partially in I Ching and re-stated in Tiantang Yiuchi. Out of Tao, the primodial infinite ''Nothingness'' or came ''Taichi'', which then split into the binary yin and yang or ''Two Aspects'' , yin and yang slitting into the ''Four Realms'' and from which begets or ''Eight Symbols'' , and from which every beings were created. The following texts were traceable to the legendary emperor Fuxi:

無極生有極, 有極是太極,
太極生兩儀, 即陰陽;
兩儀生四象: 即少陰、太陰、少陽、太陽,
四象演八卦, 八八六十四卦

Shouyuan and Yuanling

It was further explained in Tiantang Yiuchi by Lao Tsu who is ''Tai Ching'' 道德天尊 that from the seeds in the first man and woman begets a total of 9.6 Billion ''original souls'' ''Yuanling'' 原靈 , with a qualifier that all living sentient‘beings’ were not limited to 9.6 Billion. The fall of man was given an explanation as these ''yuanling'' were muddied on earth.

The purpose of Souyuan or the Chinese Judgment Day was intended to induct these fallen from the realm of the living back to the heaven. There were two previous Shouyuan which guided some 400 million souls back to heaven. Currently the world is at the third period of Judgment Day called in many guidance books and Sift Text dictation as ''Sanhui Shouyan'' .

Chinese alchemy


Neither in China nor in the West can scholars approach with certitude the origins of alchemy, but the evidences in China appear to be slightly older. Indeed, Chinese alchemy was connected with an enterprise older than metallurgy — i.e., medicine. The magical drug, namely the "elixir of life" , is mentioned about that time, and that most potent elixir, "drinkable gold", which was a solution of this corrosion-resistant metal, as early as the 1st century BC — many centuries before it is heard of in the West. The ''Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic'' which is the basis for Traditional Chinese Medicine details the search for methods to increase health and longevity and was reputed to have been written during the legendary Xia Dynasty ca. 2100 BC–1600 BC

Although non-Chinese influences are possible, the genesis of alchemy in China may have been a purely domestic affair. It emerged during a period of political turmoil, the Warring States Period , and it came to be associated with Taoism — a mystical religion founded by the 6th-century-BC sage Laozi — and its sacred book, the ''Daodejing'' .

The oldest known Chinese alchemical treatise is the ''Chou-i ts'an t'ung ch'i'' . In the main it is an apocryphal interpretation of the ''I Ching'' , an ancient classic especially esteemed by the Confucians, relating alchemy to the mystical mathematics of the 64 hexagrams . Its relationship to chemical practice is tenuous, but it mentions materials and implies chemical operations. The first Chinese who is reasonably well known was Ge Hong , whose book ''Baopuzi'' contains two chapters with obscure recipes for elixirs, mostly based on or arsenic compounds. The most famous Chinese alchemical book is the ''Tan chin yao chüeh'' , probably by Sun Ssu-miao . It is a practical treatise on creating elixirs for the attainment of immortality, plus a few for specific cures for disease and such other purposes as the fabrication of precious stones.

Altogether, the similarities between the materials used and the elixirs made in China, India, and the West are more remarkable than are their differences. Nonetheless, Chinese alchemy differed from that of the West in its objective. Whereas in the West the objective seems to have evolved from gold to elixirs of immortality to simply superior medicines, neither the first nor the last of these objectives seems ever to have been very important in China.

Chinese alchemy was consistent from first to last, and there was relatively little controversy among its practitioners, who seem to have varied only in their for the elixir of immortality or perhaps only over their names for it, of which one Sinologist has counted about 1,000. In the West there were conflicts between advocates of herbal and "chemical" pharmacy, but in China mineral remedies were always accepted. There were, in Europe, conflicts between alchemists who favoured gold making and those who thought medicine the proper goal, but the Chinese always favored the latter. Since alchemy rarely achieved any of these goals, it was an advantage to the Western alchemist to have the situation obscured, and the art survived in Europe long after Chinese alchemy had simply faded away.


Chinese alchemy has three major aspects, firstly the doctrine which involves explanation and commentary of various methods, and then two practical types of method which may be classified as Waidan or 'external elixir' method and Neidan or 'internal elixir' method. Although the symbolism of the two methods have many similarities the basic difference is that Waidan compounds an elixir often from herbal or chemical substances outside of the body whereas Neidan compounds the elixir from the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and involves cultivation of substances internal to the body through practises such as breathing exercises, Taoist Yoga and meditation, in particular the manipulation of three substances in the body known as 'the three treasures'. The three treasures are:

1. the generative force or Jing sometimes translated as 'essence'

2. the breath, sometimes translated as internal energy or Ch'i

3. the spirit or shen.

These substances are also associated with locations in the body where the alchemical firing process can take place known as the 3 dantians:

The lower dantian is located 1.3 inches below the navel and is also called the golden stove.

The middle dantian is in the heart

The upper dantian is in the brain just behind a point directly between the eyebrows, also known as the Third Eye.

This method of achieving immortality was passed on by the patriarch Lu Tung-ping:

Lu Tung-pin and his teacher, Chung-li Ch'uan, were two of the "Eight Immortals”, pa-hsien. While a fugitive after an abortive Chinese military expedition against Tibet, Chung-li Ch'uan encountered Master Tung-hua. He "earnestly begged for the secrets of immortality. Master Tung-hua thereupon imparted to him not only an infallible magic process for attaining longevity, but also the method to produce the Philosopher's Stone."

The original stone tablet which graphically describes the method can be found at the White Cloud Temple in Beijing.

Another account of Lu Tu-ping's method can be found in The Secret of the Golden Flower:

"The Tenet of the Golden Flower of Great Duality" is one of the most important Taoist classics on the theory of cultivating the elixir. The author of this classic is attributed to the famous Chinese immortal Lu Dongbin who is believed to have lived on earth for more than 800 years.


*Taoist Yoga by Lu K'uan Yu, Rider 1970, ISBN 0712617256
*Doctrine of the Elixir by R.B.Jefferson, Coombe Springs Press 1982, ISBN 0900306157
*Spiritual Disciplines, Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks the Paper entitled ‘Spiritual Guidance in Contemporary Taoism’ by Irwin Rouselle, published by Princeton University Press 1985, ISBN 0691018634
*Secret of the Golden Flower Wilhelm, Harcourt 1970, ISBN 0156799804
*Sivin, Nathan.
**"Chinese Alchemy: Preliminary Studies", Monographs in History of Science, Harvard University Press, 1968.
**, from Medicine, Philosophy and Religion in Ancient China", Variorum, 1995, chapter 1.
**, from Joseph Needham et al., "Science and Civilisation in China", Cambridge University Press, 1980, pp. 210-305.

Chinese Taoist Association

Chinese Taoist Association , founded in April 1957, is the main association of Taoism in the People's Republic of China. It is recognized as one of the main religious associations in the People's Republic of China. Dozens of regional and local daoist associations are encapsulated into this overarching group, which is encouraged by the government to be a bridge between Chinese Taoists and the government, to encourage a patriotic merger between Taoism and government initiatives. The group also disseminates information on traditional Taoist topics, including forums and conferences. The association was a major sponsor of the 2007 International Forum on the Tao Te Ching.

The Chinese Taoist Association advocates the recompensation of losses inflicted on Taoism by the Cultural Revolution. Taoism was banned for several years in the People's Republic of China. Recently, the central government of China has supported and encouraged the Association, along with other official religious groups, in promoting the "harmonious society" initiative of President Hu Jintao.

The Chinese Taoist Association advocates ecology. This can be explained by the fact that Taoism places a special significance to nature. As they put it, people should live in harmony with nature instead of trying to conquer it.


Taiyi Shengshui

Tàiyī Shēngshǔi was written about 300 BC during the Warring States period.

It is a Taoist creation mythology. The opening lines are:


The Great One Gave Birth to Water.
Water returned and assisted The Great One ,
in this way developing heaven .
Heaven and earth ,
in this way developing the "gods above and below".
The "gods above and below" repeatedly assisted each other,
in this way developing Yin and Yang.

Commentators describe Taiyi as a representation of Heaven , an impersonal "Watery Chaos" . At least one scholar interprets this as the "Supreme One", possibly Shangdi.

The Taiyi Shengshui was written on 14 bamboo strips in the Chu script. It was discovered in 1993 in Hubei, Jingmen. It is part of the Guodian Chu Slips .

Taiping Jing

Taiping Jing is the name of several different texts. At least two works were known by this title:

:*, ''Pinyin'' tiān guān lì bāo yuán tàipíng jīng, 12 Chapters, contents unknown, author: Gan Zhongke 甘忠可
:*, ''Pinyin'' tàipíng qīng lǐng shū, 170 Chapters, only 57 of which survive via the Daozang, author: unknown

Taiping Jing usually refers to the work which has been preserved in the Daozang. It is considered to be a valuable resource for researching early Daoist beliefs and the society at the end of the . , the leader of the Yellow Turban Rebellion, based his form of Daoism on this work.

The contents of Taiping Jing are diverse, but primarily deals with subjects such as heaven and earth, , Yin and yang and the sexagenary cycle.


The soul, according to many and beliefs, is the , or consciousness, unique to a particular living being, defined as being distinct from the body and survives the death of the body. In these beliefs the soul is thought to incorporate the inner awareness of each being, and to be the true basis for consciousness, rather than the brain or any other or part of the biological organism.
Some religions and philosophies on the other hand believe in the soul having a material component. Souls are usually considered to be . Many beliefs hold they exist prior to incarnation.

The concept of the soul has strong links with notions of an afterlife, but opinions may vary wildly, even within a given religion, as to what may happen to the soul after the death of the body. It also shares as a Proto-Indo-European language root of spirit.


Modern English '''' continues ''sáwol, sáwel'', first attested in the 8th century , cognate to other Germanic terms for the same concept, including ''saiwala'', Old High German ''sêula, sêla'', Old Saxon ''sêola'', Old Low Franconian ''sêla, s?la'', Old Norse ''sála''. The further etymology of the Germanic word is uncertain. A common suggestion is a connection with the word ''sea'', and from this evidence alone, it has been speculated that the early Germanic peoples believed that the spirits of deceased rested at the bottom of the sea or similar. A more recent suggestion connects it with a root for "binding", Germanic ''*sailian'' , related to the notion of being "bound" in death, and the practice of ritually binding or restraining the corpse of the deceased in the grave to prevent his or her return as a ghost.

The word is in any case clearly an adaptation by early missionaries to the Germanic peoples, in particular Ulfila, apostle to the Goths of a native Germanic concept, coined as a translation of '''' "life, spirit, consciousness".

The Greek word is derived from a verb "to cool, to blow" and hence refers to the vital breath, the animating principle in humans and other animals, as opposed to "body".
It could refer to a ghost or spirit of the dead in Homer, and to a more philosophical notion of an immortal and immaterial essence left over at death since Pindar. Latin '''' figured as a translation of since Terence. It occurs juxtaposed to e.g. in :
:Vulgate: ''''
:KJV "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

In the Septuagint, translates ''nephesh'', meaning "life, vital breath", in English variously translated as "soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion"; e.g. in :
:Vulgate ''
:KJV "And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth."
Paul of Tarsus used and specifically to distinguish between the Jewish notions of ''nephesh'' and ''ruah'' .

Philosophical views

The Ancient Greeks used the same word for 'alive' as for 'ensouled'. So the earliest surviving view might suggest that the terms soul and aliveness, were synonymous - perhaps not that having life, universally presupposed the possession of a soul as in Buddhism, but that full "aliveness" and the soul were conceptually linked.

quotes Pindar in saying that the soul sleeps while the limbs are active, but when one is sleeping, the soul is active and reveals in many a dream "an award of joy or sorrow drawing near".

Erwin Rohde writes that the early pre- belief was that the soul had no life when it departed from the body, and retired into Hades with no hope of returning to a body.

Socrates and Plato

Plato, drawing on the words of his teacher Socrates, considered the soul as the essence of a person, being, that which decides how we behave. He considered this essence as an incorporeal, eternal occupant of our being. As bodies die the soul is continually reborn in subsequent bodies. The Platonic soul comprises three parts:
# the logos
# the thymos
# the
Each of these has a function in a balanced and peaceful soul.

The logos equates to the mind. It corresponds to the charioteer, directing the balanced horses of appetite and spirit. It allows for logic to prevail, and for the optimisation of balance.

The thymos comprises our emotional motive, that which drives us to acts of bravery and glory. If left unchecked, it leads to ''hubris'' – the most fatal of all flaws in the Greek view.

The eros equates to the appetite that drives humankind to seek out its basic bodily needs. When the passion controls us, it drives us to hedonism in all forms. In the Ancient Greek view, this is the basal and most feral state.


Aristotle, following Plato, defined the soul as the core essence of a being, but argued against its having a separate existence. For instance, if a knife had a soul, the act of cutting would be that soul, because 'cutting' is the essence of what it is to be a knife. Unlike Plato and the religious traditions, Aristotle did not consider the soul as some kind of separate, ghostly occupant of the body . As the soul, in Aristotle's view, is an ''actuality'' of a living body, it cannot be immortal . More precisely, the soul is the "first actuality" of a naturally organized body. This is a state, or a potential for actual, or 'second', activity. "The axe has an edge for cutting" was, for Aristotle, analogous to "humans have bodies for rational activity", and the potential for rational activity thus constituted the essence of a human soul. Aristotle used his concept of the soul in many of his works; the ''De Anima'' provides a good place to start to gain more understanding of his views.

There is on-going debate about Aristotle's views regarding the immortality of the human soul; however, Aristotle makes it clear towards the end of his De Anima that he does believe that the intellect, which he considers to be a part of the soul, is eternal and separable from the body.

Aristotle also believed that there were four parts of the soul. The four sections are the calculative part and the scientific part on the rational side; these are used for making decisions. The desiderative part and the vegetative part on the irrational side, responsible for identifying our needs.

Avicenna and Ibn al-Nafis

Following Aristotle, the -, Avicenna and Ibn al-Nafis, further elaborated on the understanding of the soul and developed their own theories on the soul. They both made a distinction between the soul and the spirit, and in particular, the doctrine on the nature of the soul was influential among the . Some of Avicenna's views on the soul included the idea that the immortality of the soul is a consequence of its nature, and not a purpose for it to fulfill. In his theory of "The Ten Intellects", he viewed the human soul as the tenth and final intellect.

While he was imprisoned, Avicenna wrote his famous "Floating Man " thought experiment to demonstrate human self-awareness and the substantiality of the soul. He told his readers to imagine themselves suspended in the air, isolated from all sensations, which includes no contact with even their own bodies. He argues that, in this scenario, one would still have self-consciousness. He thus concludes that the idea of the is not logically dependent on any physical , and that the soul should not be seen in relative terms, but as a primary given, a . This argument was later refined and simplified by René Descartes in epistemic terms when he stated: "I can abstract from the supposition of all external things, but not from the supposition of my own consciousness."

Avicenna generally supported Aristotle's idea of the soul originating from the heart, whereas Ibn al-Nafis on the other hand rejected this idea and instead argued that the soul "is related to the entirety and not to one or a few s". He further criticized Aristotle's idea that every unique soul requires the existence of a unique source, in this case the heart. Ibn al-Nafis concluded that "the soul is related primarily neither to the spirit nor to any organ, but rather to the entire matter whose temperament is prepared to receive that soul" and he defined the soul as nothing other than "what a human indicates by saying ".

Thomas Aquinas

Following Aristotle and Avicenna, St. Thomas Aquinas understands the soul as the first principle, or act, of the body. However, his epistemological theory required that, since the intellectual soul is capable of knowing all material things, and since in order to know a material thing there must be no material thing within it, the soul was definitely not corporeal. Therefore, the soul had an operation separate from the body and therefore could subsist without the body. Furthermore, since the rational soul of human beings was subsistent and was not made up of matter and form, it could not be destroyed in any natural process. The full argument for the immortality of the soul and Thomas's elaboration of Aristotelian theory is found in Question 75 of the Summa Theologica.

Religious views

Bahá'í beliefs

The Bahá'í Faith affirm that "the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel."
Bahá'u'lláh stated that the soul not only continues to live after the physical death of the human body, but is, in fact, immortal. Heaven can be seen partly as the soul's state of nearness to God; and hell as a state of remoteness from God. Each state follows as a natural consequence of individual efforts, or the lack thereof, to develop spiritually. Bahá'u'lláh taught that individuals have no existence previous to their life here on earth and the soul's evolution is always towards God and away from the material world. They add that understanding of ''anatta'' provides an accurate description of the human condition, and that this understanding allows "us" to go beyond "our" mundane desires. Buddhists can speak in conventional terms of the "self" as a matter of convenience, but only under the conviction that ultimately "we" are changing "entities". In death, the body and mind disintegrate; if the disintegrating mind is still in the grip of delusion, it will cause the continuity of the to bounce back an arising mind to an awaiting being, that is, a fetus developing the ability to harbor consciousness. Thus, in some Buddhist sects, a being that is born is neither entirely different, nor exactly the same, as it was prior to .

However, Shirō Matsumoto noted a curious development in Mahayana Buddhist philosophy, stemming from the Cittamatra and Vijnanavada schools in India: although this school of thought denies the permanent personal selfhood, it affirms concepts such as Buddha-nature, Tathagatagarbha, Rigpa, or "original nature". Matsumoto argues that these concepts constitute a non- or trans-personal self, and almost equate in meaning to the Hindu concept of , although they differ in that Buddha-nature does not incarnate.

In some Mahayana Buddhist schools, particularly Tibetan Buddhism, the view is that there are 3 minds: ''Very-Subtle-Mind'', which isn't disintegrated in incarnation-death; ''Subtle-Mind'', which is disintegrated in death, and is "dreaming-mind" or "unconscious-mind"; and ''Gross-Mind''. Gross-Mind doesn't exist when one is ''sleeping'', so it is more impermanent even than Subtle-Mind, which doesn't exist in death. Very-Subtle-Mind, however, does continue, and when it "catches on" or coincides with phenomena again, a new Subtle-Mind emerges, with its own personality/assumptions/habits and ''that'' someone/entity experiences the karma on that continuum that is ripening then.

One should note the polarity in Tibetan Buddhism between ''shes-pa'' and ''rig-pa'' . The concept of a person as a ''tulku'' provides even more controversy. A ''tulku'' has, due to heroic austerities and esoteric training , achieved the goal of transferring personal "identity" from one rebirth to the next . The mechanics behind this work as follows: although Buddha-nature does not incarnate, the individual self comprises ''skandhas'', or components, that undergo rebirth. For an ordinary person, ''skandhas'' cohere in a way that dissolves upon the person's death. So, elements of the transformed personality re-incarnate, but they lose the unity that constitutes personal selfhood for a specific person. In the case of ''tulkus'', however, they supposedly achieve sufficient "crystallization" of ''skandhas'' in such a manner that the ''skandhas'' do not entirely "disentangle" upon the ''tulku's'' death; rather, a directed reincarnation occurs. In this new birth, the ''tulku'' possesses a continuity of personal identity/commitment, rooted in the fact that the consciousness or ''shes-pa'' has not dissolved after death, but has sufficient durability to survive in repeated births. Since, however, subtle-mind emerges in incarnation, and gross-mind emerges in periods of sufficient awareness ''within'' some incarnations, there isn't really any contradiction: very-subtle-mind's original nature, that is irreducible mind / clarity whose function is knowing, doesn't have any "body", and the coarser minds that emerge "on" it while it drifts/wanders/dreams aren't continuous. Any continuity of awareness achieved by tulku is simply a greater continuity than is achieved by/in a normal incarnation, as it continues across several, is only a difference of degree.

Many modern Buddhists, particularly in , reject the concept of rebirth or reincarnation as incompatible with the concept of ''anatta'', and typically take an agnostic stance toward the concept. Stephen Batchelor discusses this issue in his book ''Buddhism Without Beliefs''. However, the question arises: if a self does not exist, who thinks/lives now? Some Buddhist sects hold the view that thought itself thinks: if you remove the thought, there's no thinker to be found. A detailed introduction to this, and to other basic Buddhist teachings, appears in ''What the Buddha taught'' by the Buddhist monk Walpola Rahula.

Others see the Buddha's warning that those who believe that a permanent self does not exist are just as gravely mistaken as those who believe that one does, and understand that he taught that both views were erroneous and could not capture the actual truth of the matter, speculations along those lines would only cause suffering rather than its removal. .

Some say that the self endures after death, some say it perishes. In the Theravada Buddhist view, both are wrong and their error is most grievous. Theravadins believe that if one says the self is perishable, the fruit they strive for will perish too, and at some time there will be no hereafter. Good and evil would be indifferent. This salvation from selfishness is without merit. Theravada Buddhism's stance on many beliefs of soul after Death are explained in the .

Christian beliefs

In the of ancient Israel, is the statement "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it" . Nowhere, however, in the Jewish scriptures, is there a notion of the soul existing apart from its embodiment in the individual person. References to the soul's origin include Genesis 2:7 and 1 Corinthians 15:45
Christians tend to understand the soul in moral rather than philosophical terms. In this understanding, when people die their souls, which have been formed by the good or evil deeds that the person has done, will be judged by God as being worthy or unworthy of salvation. Though virtually all branches of Christianity-- , mainline Protestants, Catholics and Eastern Orthodox-- teach that Jesus Christ plays a decisive role in this salvific process, the specifics of that role and the part played by individual persons or ecclesiastical rituals and relationships, is a matter of wide diversity in official church teaching, theological speculation and popular practice. Some Christians also believe that if one has not repented of their sins, they will go to Hell and suffer eternal separation from God. Variations also exist on this theme, e.g., which hold that the unrighteous soul will be destroyed instead of suffering eternally. Others recognize the not only righteous as those who will equally inherit eternal life in Heaven and enjoy eternal fellowship with God, but include babies and those with cognitive or mental impairments, as well as all the righteous saints who lived before Jesus came.

Various opinions

Some regard the soul as the immortal essence of a human - the seat or locus of human will, understanding, and personality - and that after death, God either rewards or punishes the soul. Different groups dispute whether this reward/punishment depends upon doing good deeds, or merely upon believing in God and in Jesus.

Other reject the idea of the immortality of the soul, citing the Apostles Creed's reference to the "resurrection of the body" . They consider the soul to be the life force, which ends in death and is restored in the resurrection. Theologian Frederick Buechner sums up this position in his 1973 book Whistling in the Dark: "...we go to our graves as dead as a doornail and are given our lives back again by God just as we were given them by God in the first place."

, one of western Christianity's most influential early Christian thinkers, described the soul as "a special substance, endowed with reason, adapted to rule the body". Some Christians espouse a trichotomic view of humans, which characterizes humans as consisting of a body , soul , and spirit , however the majority of modern Bible scholars point out how spirit and soul are used interchangeably in many biblical passages, and so hold to dichotomy: the view that each of us is body and soul. Paul said that the "body wars against" the soul, and that "I buffet my body", to keep it under control. Philosopher Anthony Quinton said the soul is a "series of mental states connected by continuity of character and memory, is the essential constituent of personality. The soul, therefore, is not only logically distinct from any particular human body with which it is associated; it is also what a person is". Richard Swinburne, a Christian philosopher of religion at Oxford University, wrote that "it is a frequent criticism of substance dualism that dualists cannot say what souls are.... Souls are immaterial subjects of mental properties. They have sensations and thoughts, desires and beliefs, and perform intentional actions. Souls are essential parts of human beings..."

The origin of the soul has provided a sometimes vexing question in Christianity; the major theories put forward include , traducianism and pre-existence. According to creationism, each individual soul is created directly by God, either at the moment of conception or some later time . According to traducianism, the soul comes from the parents by natural generation. According to the preexistence theory, the soul exists before the moment of conception.

Roman Catholic beliefs:
* The present Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the soul as "the innermost aspect of humans, that which is of greatest value in them, that by which they are most especially in God's image: 'soul' signifies the ''spiritual principle'' in humans."
* At the moment of death, the soul goes either to Purgatory, Heaven, or Hell. Purgatory is a place of atonement for sins that one goes through to pay the temporal punishment for post-baptismal sins that have not been atoned for by sufferings during one's earthly life. This is distinct from the atonement for the eternal punishment due to sin which was affected by Christ's suffering and death.
* The Catholic Church teaches the creationist view of the origin of the soul: "The doctrine of the faith affirms that the spiritual and immortal soul is created immediately by God."

See also Limbo

Other Christian beliefs:
* views are somewhat similar in essence to Catholic views but different in specifics, specifically about what happens after death: after death, the soul is by God, and then sent to either or . At the Last Judgment, God judges all people who have ever lived. Those deemed good at that time go to or .
* Protestants generally believe in the soul's existence but do not generally believe in Purgatory. Protestant views on other issues are more varied.
* The soul sleep theory states that the soul goes to "sleep" at the time of death, and stays in this quiescent state until the Last Judgment.
* The "absent from the body, present with the Lord" theory states that the soul at the point of death, immediately becomes present at the end of time, without experiencing any time passing between. There are some, however, who believe this theory to be invalid. This group would argue that the Apostle Paul was merely saying that he would rather be present with the Lord versus living in his earthly body.
* believe that we are all created out of the dust of the earth and became living souls once we received the breath of life based on the Genesis 2 account of humanity's creation. They believe that we are mortal and when we die our breath leaves our body, our bodies return to the soil. They believe that we are mortal until the resurrection from the dead when Christ returns to this earth and grants immortality to the faithful. In the meantime, the dead lie in the earth in the sleep of death until Jesus comes.
* believe that the main definition of the term "Soul" is a combination of spirit and body, disagreeing with the view that the soul has a consciousness or sentient existence of its own . They affirm this through Genesis 2:7 "And breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
* believe that the soul is the union of a spirit, which was previously created by God, and a body, which is formed by physical conception later.
* Jehovah's Witnesses view the Hebrew word NePHeSH in its literal concrete meaning of 'breath', making a person who is animated by the 'spirit of God' into a living Breather, rather than a body containing an invisible entity such as in the popularized concept of Soul. Spirit is seen to be anything powerful and invisible symbolized by the Hebrew word RUaCH which has the literal meaning of wind. Thus, Soul is used by them to mean a person rather than an invisible core entity associated with a spirit or a force which leaves the body at or after death. . When a person dies, their spirit "leaves" them meaning that they have stopped breathing and their fate for any future existence rests solely with God, who Jehovah's Witnesses believe has the power to recreate the whole person and restore their existence. This is in line with their belief that Hell represents the grave and the possibility of eternal death for unbelievers rather than eternal torment. See Strong's Concordance under "soul", with the Biblical meaning that animals and people are souls, that souls are not immortal, but die; soul means the person; life as a person........

Hindu beliefs

In Hinduism, the Sanskrit words most closely corresponding to soul are "Jiva/Atma", meaning the individual soul or personality, and "Atman", which can also mean soul. The Atman is seen as the portion of Brahman. GOD is described as Supreme soul. Hinduism contains many variant beliefs on the origin, purpose, and fate of the soul. For example, advaita or non-dualistic conception of the soul accords it union with Brahman, the absolute uncreated , in eventuality or in pre-existing fact. Dvaita or concepts reject this, instead identifying the soul as part and parcel of Supreme soul , but it never lose its identity. That is where we as an individual get an identity. According to scriptures, this identity exists eternally; the soul never dies. It only transmigrates from one body to other body.

The Bhagavad Gita, one of the most significant puranic scriptures, refers to the spiritual body or soul as Purusha . The Purusha is part and parcel of God, is unchanging , is indestructible, and, though essentially indivisible. It is made up of three components:



It has form "Vigrha".

Presence of soul is perceived by its consciousness. According to Bhagavad Gita, all living entities are soul proper. When soul leaves the body, then it is called death. That means, DEATH is transmigration of soul from one body to another body . Soul transmigrates from one body to another body based on their Karmic reactions.

Islamic beliefs

According to few verses from Qur'an though the following information can be deduced: In part 15 verse 29, the creation of humans involves Allah "breathing" souls into them. This intangible part of an individual's existence is "pure" at birth. It has the potential of growing and achieving nearness to God if the person leads a righteous life . At death, the person's soul transitions to an eternal afterlife of bliss, peace and unending spiritual growth until the day of judgement where both the body and soul are reunited for judgement at which point the person is either rewarded by going to heaven if they have followed God's commands or punished if they have disobeyed him .

From the Hadith we understand that Allah assigns an Angel to "breathe" soul into an embryo after 40 days of pregnancy.

Generally, it is believed that all living beings comprise two aspects during their existence: The physical and the non-physical . The non-physical aspect, namely the soul, is one's soul-related activities like his/her feelings and emotions, thoughts, conscious and sub-conscious desires and objectives. While the body and its physical actions serve as a "reflection" of one's soul, whether it was good or evil, and thus "confirms" the extent of such intentions.


According to Jainism, Soul exists as a reality, having a separate existence from the body that houses it. Every living being from a plant or a bacterium to human, has a soul. The soul is differentiated from non-soul or non-living reality that consists of: matter, time, space, medium of motion and medium of rest.

For Jains, - the realization of the soul and its salvation- are the highest objective to be attained. Most of the Jaina texts deal with various aspects of the soul i.e. its qualities, attributes, bondage and interaction with other elements, and its salvation through the right views, right knowledge and right conduct. Following are the quotes on soul from ''Pancastikayasara'', a first century CE Jaina text authored by '''Acarya Kundakunda'':

#The qualities of soul and its states of existence are described in Verse 16 - ''The Jiva and other Dravyas are real. The qualities of jiva are cetana i.e. consciousness and upoyoga i.e. knowledge and perception, which are manifold. The soul manifests in the following form as a deva i.e. demi-god, as a human, as a hellish being or as a plant or animal.''
#The permanency and the modes of soul are described in Verse 18 – ''Though the soul experiences both birth and death, it is neither really destroyed nor created. Decay and origin refer respectively to the disappearing of one state and appearing of another state and these are merely the modes of the soul.''
#The cycle of transmigration of the soul until it attains Nirvana or liberation is described in Verse 21 – ''Thus Jiva with its attributes and modes, roaming in samsara , may lose its particular form and assume a new one. Again this form may be lost and the original acquired.''

In another text, BHAVAPAHUDA, gatha 64, Acharya Kundakunda describes soul as thus:

: || ''arasamaruvamagandham avvattam cedanagunasamaddam''
: ''janamalingaggahanam jivamanidditthasanthanam'' ||

This is translated as follows:
:''The soul is without taste, colour and cannot be perceived by the five senses. Consciousness is its chief attribute. Know the soul to be free of any gender and not bound by any dimensions of shape and size.''

Hence the soul according to Jainism is indestructible and permanent from the point of view of substance. It is temporary and ever changing from the point of view of its modes. Māhavīras responses to various questions recorded in Bhagvatisūtra demonstrates a recognition that there are complex and multiple aspects to truth and reality and a mutually exclusive approach cannot be taken to explain such reality:

:Gautama : Lord! Is the soul permanent or impermanent?
:Māhavīra : The soul is permanent as well is impermanent. From the point of view of the substance it is eternal. From the point of view of its modes it undergoes birth, decay and destruction and hence impermanent.
The soul continuously undergoes modifications as per the karma it attracts and hence reincarnates in the following four states of existence -
# as a Demi-God in Heaven, or
# as a tormented soul in Hell, or
# as a Human being on Continents, or
# as an Animal, or a Plant, or as a Micro-organism.

The soul is always found to be in bondage since the beginingless time and hence continuously undergoes the cycle of birth and death in these four states of existence until it attains liberation .

The Jaina beliefs on the soul can be summarized as under:
* The souls are classified as – mundane which are non liberated souls and liberated souls who have achieved Godhood by combination of right views, right knowledge and right conduct.
* Mundane souls are further classified on the basis of evolution of senses and faculties that it possesses. E.g., humans are classified as five sense souls and Plants and Microbes are classified as single-sensed souls.
* Consciousness characterized by Perception and Knowledge is the intrinsic qualities of Soul.
* There are quite large number of species of life forms in four states of existence in which a soul transmigrates an a continuous cycle until it achieves salvation.
* A Supreme Being as a creator and operator of this universe does not exist. A soul is the master of its own destiny. It is its own lord. The suffering and liberation of the soul are not dependent on any divine grace. It attains salvation by its own efforts.
* Every soul has the capacity to achieve Godhood in its human birth. This is achieved by removing the accumulated Karmas.
* Liberation is permanent and irreversible. The liberated soul which is formless and incorporeal in nature experiences infinite knowledge, omniscience, infinite power and infinite bliss after liberation.
* Even after liberation and attainment of Godhood, the soul does not merge into any entity , but maintains its individuality.

Jewish beliefs

Jewish views of the soul begin with the book of Genesis, in which verse 2:7 states, " formed man from the dust of the earth. He blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being."

The Torah offers no systematic definition of a soul; various descriptions of the soul exist in classical rabbinic literature.

Saadia Gaon, in his ''Emunoth ve-Deoth'' 6:3, explained classical rabbinic teaching about the soul. He held that the soul comprises that part of a person's mind which constitutes physical desire, emotion, and thought.

Maimonides, in his ''The Guide to the Perplexed'', explained classical rabbinic teaching about the soul through the lens of neo-Aristotelian philosophy, and viewed the soul as a person's developed intellect, which has no substance.

In Kabbalah the soul is understood to have three elements. The Zohar, a classic work of Jewish mysticism, describes the three elements as ''nephesh'', ''ru'ah'', and ''neshamah''. They are differentiated thusly:

*''Nephesh'' - The living mortal being; it feels hunger, hates, loves, loathes, weeps, and most importantly, can die . The nephesh is simply an "air-breather". Animals also are a nephesh , but plants do not. It is the source of one's physical and psychological nature.

The next two parts of the soul are not implanted at birth, but are slowly created over time; their development depends on the actions and beliefs of the individual. They are said to only fully exist in people awakened spiritually:

*''Ruach'' - the middle soul, or spirit. It contains the moral virtues and the ability to distinguish between good and evil. In modern parlance, it equates to psyche or ego-personality.

*''Neshamah'' - the higher soul, Higher Self or super-soul. This distinguishes man from all other life forms. It relates to the intellect, and allows man to enjoy and benefit from the afterlife. This part of the soul is provided both to Jew and non-Jew alike at birth. It allows one to have some awareness of the existence and presence of God. In the Zohar, after death ''Nefesh'' disintegrates, ''Ruach'' is sent to a sort of intermediate zone where it is submitted to purification and enters in "temporary paradise", while ''Neshamah'' returns to the source, the world of Platonic ideas, where it enjoys "the kiss of the beloved". Supposedly after resurrection, ''Ruach'' and ''Neshamah'', soul and spirit re-unite in a permanently transmuted state of being.

The ''Raaya Meheimna'', a Kabbalistic tractate always published with the Zohar, posits two more parts of the human soul, the ''chayyah'' and ''yehidah''. Gershom Scholem wrote that these "were considered to represent the sublimest levels of intuitive cognition, and to be within the grasp of only a few chosen individuals":

*''Chayyah'' - The part of the soul that allows one to have an awareness of the divine life force itself.

*''Yehidah'' - the highest plane of the soul, in which one can achieve as full a union with God as is possible.

Extra soul states

Both Rabbinic and kabbalistic works also posit a few additional, non-permanent states to the soul that people can develop on certain occasions. These extra souls, or extra states of the soul, play no part in any afterlife scheme, but are mentioned for completeness.

* ''Ruach HaKodesh'' - a state of the soul that makes prophecy possible. Since the age of classical prophecy passed, no one receives the soul of prophecy any longer.

* ''Neshamah Yeseira'' - The supplemental soul that a Jew experiences on Shabbat. It makes possible an enhanced spiritual enjoyment of the day. This exists only while one observes Shabbat; it can be lost and gained depending on one's observance.

* ''Neshamah Kedosha'' - Provided to Jews at the age of majority , and related to the study and fulfillment of the Torah commandments. It exists only when one studies and follows Torah; it can be lost and gained depending on one's study and observance.

For more detail on Jewish beliefs about the soul see Jewish eschatology.

Sikh Belief

Sikhism considers SOUL to be part of Universal Soul, which is GOD . Various hymns are cited from the holy book "" that suggests this belief. "God is in the Soul and the Soul is in the God." The same concept is repeated at various pages of the SGGS. For example: "The soul is divine; divine is the soul. Worship Him with love." and "The soul is the Lord, and the Lord is the soul; contemplating the Shabad, the Lord is found."

Taoist View

There is a constant 9.6 billion souls or primordial beings called yuanling according to two books on Taoist beliefs, which would reside in the realms of heaven, earth or hell depending on the state of purity. Souls which are pure, in tune with tao or ways of tao elevate to heaven while the opposite to hell. All people have souls, borne in a state corresponding to their previous incarnate, and will either cleanse or clutter its purity as they live out their lives. Although unsupported by any academic or scientific research, the practice of Xiuzhen in the prescribed manner is a catharsis process that will rid the body of worldly dirt. Within the human body, Jing Qi Shen correspond to the Three Jewels or the Three Treasures and are reigned by the Three Pure Ones. This is also the Taoist quest for immortality.

The soul has two manifestations, the or soul and the or soul. The pò is linked to the dead body and the grave, whereas the hún is linked to the ancestral tablet. There could be multiple pò and hún for each person.

According to two guidance books, the mechanism of Judgment Day is called Souyuan and the world is currently in the third Souyuan. The first reclaimed some 200 million beings as did the second Souyuan, making the population in heaven some 400 million strong.

Other religious beliefs and views

In Egyptian Mythology, an individual was believed to be made up of various elements, some physical and some spiritual. See the article ''Egyptian soul'' for more details.

Some s believe that it will become possible to perform mind transfer, either from one human body to another, or from a human body to a computer. Operations of this type , raise philosophical questions related to the concept of the Soul.

Crisscrossing specific religions, the phenomenon of and belief in the existence of otherkin also occur. One can perhaps better describe these as phenomena rather than as beliefs, since people of varying religion, ethnicity, or nationality may believe in them. Therianthropy involves the belief that a person or their soul has a spiritual, emotional, or mental connection with an animal. Such a belief may manifest itself in many forms, and many explanations for it often draw on a person's religious beliefs. Otherkin hold similar beliefs: they see their souls as partially or entirely non-human, and not necessarily of this world.

Another fairly large segment of the population, not necessarily favoring organized religion, simply label themselves as "" and hold that both humans and all other living creatures have souls. Some further believe the entire universe has a cosmic soul as a spirit or unified consciousness. Such a conception of the soul may link with the idea of an existence before and after the present one, and one could consider such a soul as the spark, or the self, the "I" in existence that feels and lives .

In , the soul is considered to be an exact replica and spark of the Divine. The purpose of Surat Shabd Yoga is to realize one's True Self as soul , True Essence and True Divinity while living in the physical body.

G.I. Gurdjieff taught that nobody is ever born with a soul. Rather, you must create a soul during the course of your life. Without a soul, Gurdjieff taught that you will "die like a dog".


The consensus among and biologists is that the mind, or consciousness, is the operation of the brain. They often fuse the terms mind and brain together as "mind/brain". or bodymind. Science and medicine seek accounts of the observable natural world. This stance is known as Much of the scientific study relating to the soul has been involved in investigating the soul as a human belief or as concept that shapes cognition and understanding of the world , rather than as an entity in and of itself.

When modern scientists speak of the soul outside of this cultural and psychological context, it is generally as a poetic synonym for ''mind''. Francis Crick's book ''The Astonishing Hypothesis'', for example, has the subtitle, "The scientific search for the soul". Crick held the position that one can learn everything knowable about the human soul by studying the workings of the human brain. Depending on one's belief regarding the relationship between the soul and the mind, then, the findings of neuroscience may be relevant to one's understanding of the soul.

A search of the research literature database shows the following numbers of articles with the indicated term in the title:
#brain – 167,244
#consciousness – 2,918
#soul - 552

An oft-encountered analogy is that the brain is to the mind as computer hardware is to computer software. The idea of the mind as software has led some scientists to use the word "soul" to emphasize their belief that the human mind has powers beyond or at least qualitatively different from what artificial software can do. Roger Penrose expounds this position in ''The Emperor's New Mind''. He posits that the mind is in fact not like a computer as generally understood, but rather a quantum computer, that can do things impossible on a classical computer, such as decide the halting problem . Some have located the soul in this possible difference between the mind and a classical computer.


In his book '''', E. O. Wilson took note that sociology has identified belief in a soul as one of the universal human cultural elements. Wilson suggested that biologists need to investigate how human genes people to believe in a soul.

Daniel Dennett has championed the idea that the human survival strategy depends heavily on adoption of the intentional stance, a behavioral strategy that predicts the actions of others based on the expectation that they have a mind like one's own . Mirror neurons in brain regions such as Broca's area may facilitate this behavioral strategy. The intentional stance, Dennett suggests, has proven so successful that people tend to apply it to all aspects of human experience, thus leading to animism and to other conceptualizations of soul.

Popular culture

In '''' and '''', souls play a particularly prominent role in the history of the characters and , both who have been cursed with their souls, thus allowing them to feel guilt and grief at their past crimes and motivating them on their path to redemption.

In '''', the main antagonist Sylar, according to Molly Walker, 'sees into your soul'.

In the film '''', the character of Elliot Richards sells his soul to the Devil for seven wishes, but after six of the wishes backfire on him, his seventh unselfish wish negates the contract and prevents the Devil from acquiring his soul

In the '''' series, the main villain of the series, Lord Voldemort, manages to achieve a form of immortality by creating six horcruxes, fracturing his soul into seven pieces; even if his physical body is destroyed his soul is still present in the horcruxes, thus preventing him from moving on to the afterlife as long as the horcruxes exist.

In the TV series '''' many characters have "sold" their souls as part of deals.

In the TV series ''Charmed'', the half-demon Cole Turner possesses a soul as part of his human heritage, granting him the capacity to feel real human emotions, including falling in love with protagonist Phoebe Halliwell; one episode features the sisters going up against a demon who takes the souls of others in exchange for deals.

In the film ''The Chronicles of Riddick'', the antagonist of the film, the Lord Marshall of the Necromongers, has the ability to remove the souls of his adversaries, apparently subsequently banishing them to some unknown location; only the film's hero, Riddick, is shown to be able to stop him from claiming his soul.

In the anime series '''', souls played an important role in several episodes, with many of the villains stealing the souls of others for their own ends; the protagonist, Yugi Mutou, also shares his body with the soul of an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh.

Souls play a prominent part in various comic storylines; in DC Comics, for example, the hero Ragman draws his power from the corrupted souls that make up his cloak, tapping into their abilities and experiences in an attempt to redeem them, while the character Sebastian Faust seeks to regain his soul after his father sold it at birth in exchange for the ability to command magic . The characters of Hawkman and Hawkgirl also have souls as a key part of their origin, with the two of them being the reincarnated souls of two Ancient Egyptians who discovered technology and formed an almost spiritual bond with the Nth metal wings that they discovered. The storyline ''Underworld Unleashed'' featured several villains selling their souls to the demon Neron in exchange for greater powers

In Marvel Comics, the demon is also known to exchange souls for bargains, such as the deal he made with Johnny Blaze that resulted in Blaze becoming the first , or his deal with Cynthia von Doom- the mother of Doctor Doom- that kept her soul imprisoned until Doom was able to free her with the aid of Doctor Strange. The Fantastic Four on one occasion recovered the soul of deceased member the from Heaven after his death.

Additional references

* Batchelor, Stephen. ''Buddhism Without Belief - aha''.
* Cornford, Francis, M., ''Greek Religious Thought'', 1950.
* Rohde, Erwin, ''Psyche'', 1928.
* Swinburne . ''The Evolution of the Soul''. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
* Stevenson . ''Cases of the Reincarnation Type, Volume I: Ten Cases in India''. University Press of Virginia
* Stevenson . ''Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation''. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia
* Stevenson . ''Cases of the Reincarnation Type, Volume IV: Twelve Cases in Thailand and Burma''. University Press of Virginia
* Stevenson . ''Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects''. Praeger Publishers
* Wilson . ''The State of Man'': Day Star, Wake Up Seminars. 1996.
*Aad Guru Granth Sahib. 1983 . Publishers: Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar. .

Further reading

*, ''Search for the Soul'' , Thomas Y. Crowell Publishers, 1979
*, ''Brain & Belief: An Exploration of the Human Soul'' , Aegis Press, 2004