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The Overlapped Worlds on Earth,
for Mortals and Immortals

16 July 2008
 

Unlike gods who are born as heavenly beings, immortals, in Daoist concept, are initially humans who have acquired celestial quality through transformation by way of yin-yang and five agents cultivation, which help them to achieve a near eternal life span - comparing to that of mortals - and gain superman abilities.

The world where immortals reside is said to be a series of mysterious heavenly realms, but their actual localities are in fact overlapped with the terrestrial domain, that could be a mountain, an island, or simply a grotto, a rock, with Penglai (蓬莱), Fangzhang (方丈) and Yingzhou (瀛洲) in the middle of the East Sea being the three most well-known immoral lands.

According to the descriptions of Daoism texts, although the mythical immortals do not live far away from that of mortals, they nevertheless have a very different live style of their own: they don't eat tangible foods, but draw their nutrition from pure yang qi; they don't build their houses with bricks or concretes, but gold and jade; they don't ride horses or donkeys, but dragons. As for flying without having wings, travelling on water and in earth, altering their appearances in an instant are just some of their basic living skills.

In Leisuier Travel (《逍遥游》), Zhuangzi (庄子), considered one of the most important Daoist figures, describes vividly an immortal world in his observation (or perception):

“藐姑射之山,有神人居焉,肌肤若冰雪,绰约若处子,不食五谷,吸风饮露,乘云气,御飞龙,而游乎四海之外。”

Mount Miaogushezhi, a place dwelled by immortals, whose skin is white like snow, whose food is pure yang qi, whose transportation are clouds and dragons, and who constantly travels around, in and out our mortal world and beyond.

In classic Daoist writing, The Doctrine of Peace (《太平经》), the higher beings are categorized into six grades: gods (神人) who rule the heavens, Perfect Men (真人) who govern the earth, Immortals (仙人) who administrate the weather, Daoists (道人) who guide fortune, saints (圣人) who manage people and sages (贤人) who assist saints. These beings are credited by Daoism as six forces which help keeping the world at peace.

In his famous Daoist work Embrace the Simplicity (《抱朴子》), Ge Hong divides immortals into three groups: those at the lower level are the Terrestrial Immortals (地仙) born from their earthly remains; those at the middle level are the Human Immortals (人仙) transformed directly from people and live in forests and mountains; and those at the top level are the Celestial Immortals (天仙) risen to the heavens from earth without going through reincarnation trial.

Pre: A Sacred Daoist Mountain
Next: Higher Beings in Daoist World

 
 
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The Consequence of Switching Off Your Mobile Phone

A doctor calls his patient, “I have bad news and worse news”.

“What's the bad news?” asks the patient.

“You only have 24 hours to live,” said the doctor.

“That's bad enough”, moans the patient. “How can the news possibly be worse?”

The doctor replies, “I've been trying to contact you since yesterday, but your mobile phone was switched off.”

Baby's advise: When you don't have immortal's super abilities, it's wise to keep your mobile phone switched on.

 

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