As we have explained before in our “what is Taoism” article, there are many different sects and lineages of Taoism, but they are all not the sane. Some cultivate for a lower level of achievement, and some cultivate for something higher. To read the statement above properly, you would need to let go of your definition of lower and higher, as in higher is always the better, stronger, or the more prestigious ones. We are not grading Taoism like a karate belt method, it’s just that some people are cultivating for this and some cultivating for that. In this world, some likes to be a doctor, some likes to be a programmer, and some likes to be an artist, not everyone likes to do the same thing, because we are all different.
In this article, we will talk about the Celestial Realm and how it relates to Taoism or the gods and deities you used to see or hear from most sects.
Different Types of Taoism
There are a few types of Taoism out there regardless of their lineage or sects name, you can differentiate them very easily by seeing how they think, what they practice or the kinds of knowledge they promote. Keep in mind that we are not grading the sects, we are just categorizing the different “stages” or level of achievements in Taoism, and it does not mean that a sect or lineage is bonded to this achievement level. For example, someone cultivating in a sect that is cultivating a lower level can also achieve the next stage above, depending on the fate and encounters of the disciple themselves.
Again, we do not consider any “believers” or “fans” of Taoism theory to be a true Taoist yet. They are believers, but not a Taoist, because they aren’t even stepping into the door of Taoism yet. We have explained this in our “what is Taoism” article already, and it’s pretty clearly why we do not consider the western way of a “Philosophy Taoist’ a real Taoist yet. You can say that the philosophy Taoist are a fan of this route, and could be potentially a Taoist though.
The first type of Taoist focuses on the local bodies, which we call the local 3 bodies. That includes your pre-heaven body that is called the Faat-Sun 法身 in dimension one, and this is your spiritual energy body. The second body is the dimension 6, post-heaven “Yin” body, which we call the spiritual soul energy body, the Ling Sun 靈身. At last, is the dimension 8, post-heaven “Yang” body, which is what we call the physical body. They are like 3 overlapping photoshop layers or like how you and your heat-energy-field is like, they are overlapping, co-existing, and living together.
The first type of Taoist will focus on only the local 3 bodies, meaning that they will cultivate a lot of physical things such as Tai Chi, Chi Kung, Nei Gong and all sorts of things like that, just to achieve the state of connecting back to their pre-heaven body, the Faat Sun 法身. That is their whole primary goal and focus, and you might see some Taoist spending their whole life digging into their practices just to touch this pre-heaven dimension, and this is pretty popular in the ancient time, which people call it the internal alchemy practice. There isn’t much magic involved yet, but you still need a proper sifu to guide you the way and help you to “unclog” the channels so that you can connect back to the pre-heaven body in dimension 1 while doing the cultivation.
A step up from the first type goes the second type of Taoist that will step into the realization of a higher zone, which is what we call their Yuen Sun (Yuan Shen) the spiritual planetary body. To get there, they need to cultivate the spiritual soul body, ling wun 靈魂. In this zone, you will be seeing Taoist doing a lot of work on meditation and other things that require them to do internal training, building up energies internally to fire them upward to witness their own spiritual planetary body, then Yuen Sun. This is a little step that made the Taoist being able to see their new goal, which is to be able to get into this spiritual planetary body and touch it. Once they did it, they are then labeled as Duck-Doe 得道 meaning they have achieved the Tao.
While these people have achieved the second stage, it’s pretty cool and fun, but it is also where they will then start to get into contact with the corresponding dimension 6 elements – the celestial realm. In this stage, the Taoist will have 2 stages to face.
The third stage is where the Taoist gets into the dimension 7 which is before they can reach the celestial realm (dimension 6 above), and in this area, there are tons of spiritual beings, including many dead beings, monster looking beings and many crazy wild things. If the Taoist is at this stage, you can see that they start to get into a lot of mediumship, possession, or worshiping practice. Tons of sacrificing, bloody actions, self-destruction, cutting and slicing their body with sharp knives for blood, and things like that. You can see this kind of “Taoist” in a lot of Asian cultures, such as Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and such.
Some Taoist will pass through this stage and go into the stage 4 zone, which is what the Celestial Realm is, and we call this the 神霄 Sun Siu zone. This stage is what most people can see the “gods or deities” as in like they are a living being high above. These Taoist will then get into much less violent behaviors, and you can see them getting more into a magic and ritual work stage. These Taoists believe in praying and worshiping gods, deities, as if they are real people that were once on earth, and they believe in worshiping the “ancient gods” too. There are many Taoist in the world in this zone too, and it should be actually one of the most common types or level of Taoist today. These people will emphasize on theories and doing rituals more, at the same time they will ditch the mediumship and stop all the bloody practice because they are not in that stage anymore.
To go beyond this stage is pretty hard because most people cultivating in the Celestial Realm is usually seen as the highest level of cultivation in Taoism already. Most people cultivate their whole life to try to themselves safely travel back to their own Yuen Sun like what we mentioned in the “Taoism and death” article. By cultivating nicely and being guided by the gods and deities due to their dedication and contribution credits throughout their life, the Taoist then will be granted the privilege to have themselves with their spiritual planet be pulled up to the celestial realm, and in another word, they will become the deities there too. That is also why some Taoist worship their master and make a statue for them after they “passed away and ascended”, because this master did it and made it to the celestial realm after death, and is now beaming down a line to help the other disciples following them. Therefore, they make a statue to connect to their master and so there is a way to receive help from this new “deity’ that is giving the help to them from above, bringing the other ones up to the celestial realm.
In Chinese, people say this is the stage of achieving to become a Sun Sin 神仙, meaning that you are a being in this Sun Siu (celestial realm) who can beam a line of connection back down to your people and give them assisting power, for helping them to success in their later cultivations. Some of these masters who are up there in celestial realm might also beam down scriptures, FU talismans, or even other things to their disciples.
Not a lot of people can achieve this stage of directly communicating with the celestial realm In history, but a few remarkable ones are like the founder of Mao Shan Upper Pure Sect, with the 3 disciples following the founder who can connect to celestial realm and beamed down many Taoist magic, scriptures, medicine formulas and such for their later disciples.
In Taoism, they call this action of directly beaming down things from the celestial realm deities 降真 Gong Junn, which translates to something like information being beamed down or dropped down like a parachute with a box of goodies floating down. This stage is very fun but hard to achieve because you can be encountering something bad or some evil spirits can be tricking you in the way, and so that splits up the Taoists into two groups now.
Both Jee Sifu, Gum Sifu and Yee Sifu and some other sifu of our lineage also have the ability of beaming things from Celestial Realm before. Now they have moved on and advanced into the next stage as described in the next section.
While one group of Taoists are those who got in connection with the real celestial realm above who is giving support to their disciples behind, another type are the Taoist who went offshoot and connected with something else in the lower zone, which got them into all sorts of offshoots and there go the possession mediums and magic in the folks magic category where people learn from the dead or other spirits in the other dimensions and build their lineages up.
Why do People Want to Be a Deity?
Many people are confused about why people want to be an immortal or a deity in Taoism, and the answer is actually pretty simple.
Just like on earth, people want life to be better, and also their people behind to enjoy life better. So we all strive to cultivate something to improve life, and then build something to help our children or future generations to get better. In Taoism, people cultivate to achieve better health, life and such.
After death, going back to your own spiritual planetary body is not fun too, because it is a life that can go on for a long time, yet you are still stuck in this place yourself, which is pretty lonely. Going to the celestial realm got you a nice world or society, and people can regroup or reunite together, plus have the power to beam a line down back to their people, like a form of distance communication, sending support and still being in the “family” with your lineage, isn’t that fun? You might not believe it, but people who succeed going there got their disciples who also succeed in communicating back to their masters, and that is why they do it seriously, and its proven real as steel by their own people who practice in the lineage themselves.
Why are the gods and deities just helping anyone? Well, it’s pretty simple. You don’t know them and they don’t know you, why and how shall they help you? That is why people must build a stronger and stronger relationship with these deities and gods above by doing their practices and even getting ordained into the lineage to get your line hooked up.
When you are a part of the family, then you can get a line hooked to you, that’s basically how simple it gets. If there are no lines from you to the “person” in the celestial realm, then there is no way for them to transmit anything to you.
That is why for most religions, you cannot just believe it, you have to ordain or go through a ceremony that is done by the master or priest who holds the authority to accept you into the family. Taoism, Buddhism or even Christianity and such are all the same, they all require such process to get you “hooked up”.
Being in a lineage of these “Celestial realm” style of Taoism is pretty common and easy, and you basically just hope for the best to happen to you after death. You might not go to the celestial realm unless you are like a master level Taoist, but at least you should be safe to be back to your own spiritual planet and keep cultivating to be pulled up later on.
Your Tao and Lineage
What is a Tao for your path, that is a question. Why did we say that all Taoist lineages are not the same? Most people think that just because they are all categorized as Taoism, then it’s all the same and going to the same place at the end. That is actually very not true. As you can see in our article of “what is Taoism”, the definition of Tao is the leading essence that carries the whole system to a certain path or direction. Therefore, if you are in a lineage of Taoism or a sect of Taoism, you are following the paths of the master before you, or the founder above, that hooked their line to you when you ordain. When you die, you are going to your Yuen Sun, but the next station you are aiming to go for is being pulled up by the people in the celestial realm.
In another word, if you are in sect A with the person in the celestial realm named John, you are only going to John’s town when you are done here. There is another sect, sect B, which goes to Tommy’s town, and they are both in the same universe, but maybe different country or even planet! What is your Tao? If you ordain into one lineage and also ordain into another, you are basically trying to say that you want to go to the east and also to the west at the same time. You cannot do that, and so you will end up going nowhere.
Beyond the Celestial Realm of Taoism
Taoism is not limited to what Tao you can achieve, and of course, you can also go pass through the celestial realm, but not many can achieve this level because it takes a lot of courage and guts to do so. In order to do so, the master needs to be successful in the cultivation in the Celestial Realm stage, and then be able to pass through it, ditching their opportunity to be going to this world which allows them to keep on connecting back to their disciples or the people behind. After doing so, there is a breakthrough ahead, which is where the lineage of Saam Law Sun Gung is at, the stage of Pre-Heaven before Pre-Heaven, a world that exists even before the celestial realm was born, and we call this the Dai Law Tin 大羅天, or Da Luo Tian in Mandarin.
Both Jee Sifu and Gum Sifu did go through the training from other sects in the past and are over with the celestial realm direct contact stage that they achieved after the graduation from Mao Shan Upper Pure Sect. As said before, they have to detach from the sect to break through the limit and got into the direct contact with this celestial realm after finishing and getting over this stage, then the stage of Dai Law Tin was discovered and achieved.
Going to Dai Law Tin isn’t an ideal choice for a lot of people, because you have to let go of the opportunity of being a deity in the celestial realm and also live a life that requires you to keep working and cultivating to live in Dai Law Tin, instead of an already-cultivated family or lineage in the celestial realm. However, our lineage has gone forward and moved on, which brought the lineage to a higher level of achievement, rewarding them to another level of enlightenment, with more wisdom being discovered, more knowledge being found.
In our earlier article on “what is god in Taoism” and “what are statues for in Taoism”, you might read that we say that we do not worship or pray in Taoism, and that is correct, because we do not do that in our lineage since our Tao is not a person (deities or whatever) in the celestial realm. Our Tao is not a being, and our Tao is ourselves, in another word, we cultivate to unite ourselves back to one piece and be able to control ourselves fully after death, then go and be reborn in Dai Law Tin as the complete beings, and there goes our new life. Therefore, our Tao by then is the energy of nature, the energy of Dai Law. In another word, we are united back with nature and not to a family or person before us.
There is a lot to “let go” to achieve this stage in Taoism, and so many people might be worshiping a “Saam Ching statue” and claim that they are worshiping a certain person etc. While that is correct for their sect or lineage, it is totally not the case for our lineage. We have statues but we never worship anything or pray to any beings. Our article on “purpose of statue” already explained that.
Deities or Energies, Which is Right?
Just like here, you can see we say that it is all energies and energy work with the magic and altar, and we don't pray or worship. Some Taoist may say they pray to some gods or deities all the time and they also have statues and FU Talismans etc. Most people are confused about which is the right version, and what is the real deal.
As said before, there are many sects and lineages in Taoism, and they are all different. One can only speak for their own sect. If they are worshiping a deity, they are doing so. For us, we are over that stage and we understand how magic work and so to us, we also see their statues as just nothing but "energy work" (that is connected to a deity they worship). There are many deeper theories in Taoism that is hard to understand if you are not learning directly from a lineage, and that is why you need to ordain to learn.
As you can see, even a few sects are categorized as Taoism in general, but their Tao and their theories can be totally not the same inside the lineage. Therefore, this will affect your route after-death greatly too. Some might be curious about what happen after the death of a disciple of our lineage, and we have already got that covered in our previous article!
Feel free to ordain and learn Saam Law Sun Gung today if you like to learn more!