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Taoism Trinity

Updated on December 7, 2010
The Three Pure Ones
The Three Pure Ones

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity, one of the most important in the Christian faith, teaches the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one divine Being.


The trinity concept is also the most important in Taoism faith, the Trinity of Taoism is called San Qing (三清) Three Pure Ones, including Yu Qing (玉清) the Jade Purity, Shang Qing (上清) the Supreme Pure One, The Tai Qing (太清) Grand Pure One.


The Christian Trinity are united in One, whilst Taoist Trinity are produced by One. The Taoist classic, the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu, tells us:

The Tao produced the One, the one produced Two, the two produced the Three; the three produced all the myriad beings.


Here, the One is Tai Chi, Two are Yin and Yang, and The Three are the Three Pure ones.


The Jade Purity is also known as "The Universal Lord of the Primordial Beginning" (元始天尊, Yuanshi Tianzun), The Supreme Pure One is also known as "The Universal Lord of the Numinous Treasure" (靈寶天尊, Lingbao Tianzun), and The Grand Pure One "The Universal Lord of the Way and its Virtue" (道德天尊, Daode Tianzun) or the "Grand Supreme Elder Lord" (太上老君, Taishang Laojun).


According to the Great Penetration Classic (太洞經), the arrangement of the the trinity of the Taouists is as follows:


The Jade Pure One penetrates into the abstracted (洞真), the Supreme Pure

One penetrates into the mysterious (洞玄), and the Grand Pure One penetrates into the spiritual (洞神).


Taoist temples specially built for San Qing are called Palace or the Hall of The Three Pure Ones. Usually the Universal Lord of the Primordial Beginning is placed in the middle, symbolizing the original state of the world. On his left side is the Universal Lord of Numinous Treasure and on the right side is the Universal Lord of the Way and its Virtue.

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