Pre-Heaven and Post-Heaven in Taoism

Taoism knowledge

The word Pre-Heaven and Post-Heaven is not easy to understand for most people today because it is really an inaccurate translation which leads people to think about before and after “Heaven”. Given how many stories and movies are created today based on the “Heaven” of Taoism, with tons of ancient Chinese looking emperors and such, most people will think that the Pre-and-Post-Heaven is related to that kind of Heaven, while it’s completely off and not related at all in the real world. Here we will bring you some solid knowledge of our lineage and lead you to understand this term correctly and why you should care about it.

Principle of Pre-Heaven and Post-Heaven

The word heaven is not a nice word to use for sure because most people thinks of heaven as a place in the sky with gods and deities. The word in Chinese for these two terms is Seen-Tin先天and Hau-Tin後天, which you can really say before “sky” and after “sky”.

The sky is not the physical sky that you see with clouds and birds flying. The sky is a word used as a word to categorize things into this group, just like how we use the word gold, water, wood, fire, and earth for the five elements. They are not words of absolute but a metaphor, and it’s used to categorize things into groups.

The principle of this Pre-Heaven and Post-Heaven is rooted from the main concept of Tin, Dei, Yun, which again is mostly confused to be heaven, earth, and human, like what most people thinks of as there are three worlds that are sandwiched together. This principle or concept is a universal principle that describes how things are born in nature, and it explains the patterns of any happenings.

Let’s sum it up, in short, you can take away the word Heaven and put in the word “happening”. It is before and after something really happens to take action. For example, you have a party that starts tomorrow at 12 noon, and now you are all thinking and planning about it. Anything before 12 tomorrow noon is considered in the Pre-Heaven stage because nothing really happened yet. After 12, the party started and no matter what happen afterward, it’s all considered the Post-Heaven stage. As you can see, it’s a principle that you can put into anything.

The Tin (sky) stage of happening is all about the non-moving, non-physical, resources, thinking, intention, backend work of things, and it’s all about the resources that bring together to a happening.

The Dei (earth) stage of happening is all about the intaking of elements, processing and the internal workings of things to get it happen, like the internal making of something to happen to reality.

The Yun (human) stage of happening is all about the finalizing, launching and consuming of the final product of what you are trying to make happen or give birth to.

If you put this principle to something like cooking a meal, the first 3 stages of Tin are all about the intention, motivation and putting your motivation to process, nothing has really been done or planned. 

During the 4th stage is when you start to put things to thoughts, and the 5th stage is when you ponder and think!  The 5th stage is when you are done thinking and now you are comparing your plan to what’s in the kitchen to see if it’s doable or not. These are the 3 Dei (earth) stages for internal processing.

When things are good, you move on to the 7th stage which starts your YUN (human) period. The 7th stage pushes things to action and you will launch out your ideas to reality. Then when it’s physically doing, then you are at the 8th stage, burning off the fuel inside, to make things happen. Then, at last, the 9th stage is when you are finishing your job. When things are done, then 10 will complete everything and a new cycle will begin again.

There goes the principle of Tin, Dei, Yun, which most people thought of it as the heaven, earth, and human. It’s also the foundational concept in Taoism that explains the principle of how things can happen and cycle to the next happening in nature, with the theory of 9, which we call 9 stars. 

The word star does not mean the physical star in the sky, it’s a word used to describe “when something is born”, which here is when a process is done and the spark moment of when the next can begins, there goes a star point. As you can see, outsiders who do not have the proper teaching and guidance in a Taoism lineage can be easily confused by reading all those books and materials out there. Even a Chinese can be confused, because it’s not easy to understand how all these words that are filled with zillions of deeper meanings inside and not just to be interpreted by their surface meanings.

Why Should You or a Taoist Care About it

Now that we have got the concept and principle roughly covered, we all understands that the word Pre-Heaven means before happening, which is mostly anything from stage 1 to 4. Anything passes stage 5, it will be Post-Heaven because it has begun the “creation process” even it’s done internally, or mentally. Sometimes we say that it is best to not let a kid even have the chance to think about doing something bad, instead of stopping them when they start thinking and doing it. That’s true because intention, motivations, and subconsciousness are all in stage 1 to 3 process, then thinking comes in the later stages around 4 to 5. When you can stop the kid from even having the intention of something, you stop it before it gets to the Post-Heaven stages and it will be much easier to avoid anything “to happen” later. When the kid is already pondering about something, it’s after stage 5 already. When something is created in nature, no matter how much it got created, it is not erasable, and you can only destroy it or push it to finish as soon as possible for things to recycle back to neutral and back to “Pre-Heaven”.

Besides how this theory is applied to everyday life, it is also used in Taoism for explaining a lot of things, especially when it gets to the energy work, magic, and such. In order to understand the deeper meaning of these things, one must ordain into a lineage to learn under the proper guidance of a sifu over a period of time to accumulate the knowledge, because it’s too complex to explain in short to anyone.

The Yuen-Sun of a person is considered to be in the Pre-Heaven dimensions, which we categorize it in dimension one. The Yuen Sun is something that you have even before your soul was born or created. 

The soul, or what we call Wun Paak魂魄of someone, is considered a Post-Heaven Yin body of us, or you can say it’s a Post-Heaven non-physical body of us, which locates in dimension 6. It is completed and all developed in that “dei” zone and not in the same dimension as our physical dimension here.

The bones and flesh body, which is what we mostly refer to as the physical body, is the Post-Heaven Yang body of us, and it is located in the dimension 8 zone.

The 3 main “white” dimensions, 1-6-8, is what we call the Saam Baak三白in Taoism terms. These are the three major dimensions that contain things in complete form. The dimension one contains our Yuen Sun元神 or our faat-sun法身.  Dimension 6 contains our soul and the Ling Sun靈身. Dimension 8 contains our physical body. As you can see, we can sense and reach our soul with some effort, because it is already over the D5 stage, and it has gone Post-Heaven, which makes it easier to sense. Our Yuen Sun and Faat-Sun is in dimension one, and is not possible to sense or reach anymore because we are already born in this world,

What Powers your Life – Yuen Sun

The Yuen Sun affects us greatly, and it gives our life a certain pattern, leading us to a certain direction. By cultivating Taoist magic, you will build the bridge between your Yuen Sun and your physical body, to connect the two better, and allows your Yuen Sun to feed you with more essence, or give you help when you need. This then shapes the foundation of the path of cultivating the “Tao”, meaning that you are cultivating to get a better circulation between you and the Yuen Sun, your leading essence force.

In our article of "What is Taoism", we have explained that the cultivation of you and your Yuen Sun sets the foundation for a Taoist training, and it’s not possible to be done without the cultivation of Taoist magic. Just by doing some tai chi, martial arts, and some normal meditation will not put you anywhere near this field of touching your own Yuen Sun at all, because these are all Post-Heaven energy workings and cannot touch the Pre-Heaven elements.

Advanced Magic and Thunder Magic with Pre-Heaven Energies

The reason why you must know about these Pre-Heaven and Post-Heaven theories in Taoism, is because we are working with energies and elements of different dimensions, and the disciple must be very clear about what comes from which dimensions, and so they will know what kind of energies they are dealing with and what they are really doing.

For example, in the article of “Thunder Magic in Taoism”, we have mentioned that thunder magic is about infusing and injecting Pre-Heaven energies into the post-heaven inner energy system of something. Which means, you must be able to draw the pre-heaven energies from dimension one and such, in order to even get started with thunder magic cultivation. What categories as dimension one or Pre-Heaven energies? The Yuen Sun elements or the altar’s dimension one elements.

Understanding the theories and principle of Pre-Heaven and Post-Heaven is very important in Taoist magic because it tells the disciples how to analyze and understand their own spiritual body structure, and where they should be drawing powers from for doing a certain type of work, drawing out a certain type of energy. For example, when we put the sword finger at the forehead to gather up energies, we know we are going to take in Pre-heaven essence or energies that do not move or do anything. These energies sit still and can be infused to things as resources, like topping things with more cash and raw materials. As a contrast, getting energies from the tummy area, is all about the “dei” system energy, getting the processing powers and these energies are used for doing work, helping you to cause effect and do things. When we need to empower a FUto add more “working power”, then there is the need for this type of energy.

The concept of Pre-Heaven and Post-Heaven is used in Taoist magic and Taoism materials all the time. It’s not as hard as it seems when you have the proper guidance under a sifu, learning in a lineage like ours. These special words and terms are taught bits by bits, while you communicate with the sifu(s) and learn things in small portions. Just like when you start learning your first language, your parents teach you a few words and you accumulate your vocabularies as you grown up and stick around the family Taoism can never be learned properly by reading books or through anything but a real human being. The main reason is because it’s too complex, and there is a lot of things to ‘inherit’ and not just to learn. When you inherit something in Taoism, such as Taoist magic, there are a lot of Pre-Heaven elements and things transferred and authorized to you, opening up things for you, and building the bridge for your future to walk on – such as guiding you to be able to connect to your own Yuen Sun and witnessing it yourself instead of just believing it all your life about something you can’t touch or see. 

learn taoism

As we have said in the article about “What is Taoism”, the way how Chinese defines a religion is very different from the west. Taoism is a religion, but it’s not like how it is in the west where people defines religion as a belief system. Taoism is defined as a religion as a path or lineage of teaching and inheriting things that are accumulated and gathered up by the earlier generations. The word Tao for Taoism basically leads you back to your own Tao, the spiritual essence or planetary body of yourself, the Yuen Sun. Learning Taoism or Taoist magic is not about just acknowledging and agreeing to some theories and concepts. Being a Taoist, like a disciple in our lineage, you learn Taoist magic / Sun Gung, and you can touch the Pre-Heaven matters, work with your Yuen Sun and work toward the path of connecting to your own Yuen Sun with the powers you will be building up while learning in the lineage. All these things that make one from a believer into a witness are not possible to be done by just being a fan of the theory and concepts. You need a proper sifu to guide you and teach you the way to get there, and you need to inherit the power and methods to get there instead of trying to reinvent the wheel today.

You might be interested in becoming a Taoist and learn these things for real, which can benefit your life greatly, and also leading you to develop power that you can use to protect yourself and your loved ones with Taoist magic. Ordain and learn Saam Law Sun Gung, then you can start witnessing and experiencing it yourself. There is no restrictions or requirements to start learning in stage one, and you can already start seeing the power after being ordained, because the lineage will give you support for power before you can develop your own. You see, that’s why you get into a lineage, and not bump around the forest on your own. Join us and become a dragon today!