What is the meaning of “Constantly guard the six doors
and don’t let the soul pass by” in Scriptures?
The Six Doors are the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind.
If these doors are not guarded, one’s will wanders in and out
through them; so not only a practitioner of Tao will never attain
Tao, he might even return to the cycle of birth, death and rebirth
upon his death. Why? The eyes, ears, nose and tongue are doors
leading to rebirth as four kinds of animals, and are also known as
the four paths of birth.
If one desires for sights excessively, his soul will leave the body
through the eyes upon death. He is destined to be born again as
birds for others to watch and enjoy. If one listens to heresies
excessively, his soul will leave the body through the ears. He
is destined to be born again as domesticated animals for others
to order. If one desires for aroma excessively, his soul will
leave the body through the nose. He is destined to be born again
as insects to taste all filth and bad odours and will die of sucking
and biting their victims. If one likes to slander others or criticize
others, his soul will leave the body through the mouth. He is
destined to be born again as aquatic lives. This is because the
mouth is symbolized by kan in the eight trigrams, which also
symbolizes water or scales.
For those who practice heresies, do not practice filial devotion,
and perform wicked deeds, they will be punished in future lives.
This is the eternal law of karma. For those few who practice their
virtues and perform good deeds but are not meant to encounter
Tien-Tao during their lifetime, they will be rewarded in their future
lives by being born in rich, powerful or influential families, enjoying
wealth, power or fame. Once their rewards are exhausted, their souls
still return to the Underworld. These are the six paths in the cycle of
birth, death and rebirth.
Realizing the consequences of the six paths, Lao-tzu taught others
to constantly guard these six doors to avoid souls passing through
them. The five external doors – the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and
body – are relatively easy to guard; however, the internal
door – the mind – is difficult to guard. The mind, resides in the
spleen, is called Yin-shen (the yin spiritual image). To tackle this,
Taoism devised a dumb technique: concentrating one’s mind at the
Right Portal constantly. This method lets the True Fire of old yang
(the aureole) refine Yin-shen. If one practices this technique
continuously as if he is retarded or slow, he can attain a calm
mind and have clear wisdom after a hundred days. With prolonged
practice, one will act according to his True Nature and need
not guard his Six Doors anymore.