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Sanctuary of Tao
The Protection of Life Scripture
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The Protection of Life Scripture

taoist texts Nov 21, 2022

This short scripture was most likely composed during the Tang dynasty (618 to 907 CE). The primary message and wisdom to be obtained from it are the realization of the dual mystery of the Dao—being is just non-being and non-being is just being.

When a person attains this wisdom, it is called “illumination,” and illumination cuts off all delusion, the Six Roots (the organs, functions, and consciousnesses of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind), and all wrong influences. Therefore, great spiritual beings thus surround and protect this scripture from all negative forces and spirits, who wish to destroy it because it reveals the wisdom of the dual mystery of Dao that allows people to attain the “naturally-just-so” and illumination, namely to attain the mind of Dao.

Because this scripture reveals true sagely wisdom, people are encouraged to distribute it, read, recite, and even carry it upon their person for protection. Since the scripture is protected by a great host of spiritual beings, the person reading, reciting, and carrying the scripture will likewise be protected.

The scripture is attributed to the Exalted One (Lao Zi), who introduces and explains the basis of the scripture. Heavenly Worthy (Jade Purity, the Heavenly Worthy of Primordial Causation and the main deity of the Three Pure Ones) spoke this scripture at the Palace of the Five Luminaries in the Forest of the Seven Treasures. The Forest of Seven Treasures is a metaphor for the Three Origins and Four Images that reside in the human body—namely, Primordial Essence, Qi, and Spirit, and the four Yi Jing images of Qian (Heaven), Kun (Earth), Li (Fire), and Kan (Water)—the Seven Treasures. The Palace of the Five Luminaries is a metaphor for the transmuted and illuminated essences of Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire within the human body—the Five Elements.

Basically, this means these spiritual places all exist within the Mind of Dao, which is to say the Original Spirit of every human being.

Hence, those who are illuminated see this forest and palace; those who are not illuminated cannot see them. This scripture, then, is a powerful means by which the spirits protecting it can come to the aid of mortals to become illuminated and thus end their suffering and delusion—to become immortal.

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