The Heritage of Tao
Before the existence of mankind, the power of creating mankind
was on Tao. After mankind appeared, the duty of human procreation
was on mankind. A human life is formed by combining the physical
body with the soul. Souls come from Tao which means that it is Godís
will for souls to be the dominion on Earth. Thus, we all have missions.
Souls are confined in the Hou-tien,10 which means that souls must be
refined in order to escape from the Hou-tien.
At the beginning of Heaven and Earth when mankind just descended,
souls were pure and perfect. Only since Si Phase and Wu Phase have
human intellect sprout, and mankind has begun to act as the dominion.
But the soul and the body were together for such a long time that the
soul took on the habits of the body. The affinity to the material world
caused souls to become dominated by emotions and desires, and their
original attributes were lost. Mankind believed that the body was the
self and believed in materialism. Unknowingly the balance and
harmony among men, animals, plants and all things were disrupted.
Men started to kill animals for food, thence caused catastrophes and
brought about the six paths of reincarnation.
In order to let his lost children realize the mistakes and thus return
to the right path, God descended Tien-Tao - His True Light (including
True Fire and True Water) - onto capable Saints to establish a link -
the unseen thread - between mankind and God. These Saints spread
words of Godís existence, love and Tao, so that mankind would seek
Tien-Tao, follow Tao and return to Godís kingdom. They lighted up
the world. They maintained the bridge between God and mankind.
They are the Patriarchs of Tao. This bridge is called the Heritage
The first Saint of mankind was Fu-xi Shi. He was born in China
about seven thousand years ago. He observed the astrological signs
and physical phenomena; by studying natural laws and orders,
he attained Tao. He used Xian-tien Order of the trigrams* to
disclose the essence of Heaven and Earth, and the Origin of mankind.
This was the beginning of the descending of Tien-Tao.
Then, there was Shen-nong Shi who tasted all plants and herbs to
identify medicines and the edible. The third Patriarch was the
Yellow Emperor Xuan-yuan Shi, the first Emperor of China.
Under his reign, houses were constructed, clothes fabricated,
tools and containers made, Chinese characters invented, propriety
defined and musical notes standardized. Furthermore, orders of
the society, i.e., the very backbone of ethics and morality, were
established. Rules, duties and proprieties between rulers and
subjects, parents and children, men and women, among siblings,
etc, were all devised. Only then was the true social order for
mankind established in China. After the Yellow Emperor,
Shao-hao, Zuan-xu, Emperor Ku, Emperor Yao and Emperor
Sun (five Saints) continued the Heritage of Tao respectively.
Emperor Yao and Emperor Sun followed Godís will in governing
China and created a harmonious society that satisfied all the people.
At that time, Tao permeated throughout the society. Emperor Yao
and Emperor Sun started to pass the essence of Tao from one
Patriarch to another. Then King Yu, King Tang, King Wen,
King Wu and Duke Zhou (five Saints) continued the Heritage
successively. From Fu-xi Shi till Duke Zhou was the Green
Yang Period. It was the period that God descended Tien-Tao -
the unseen thread to Godís kingdom - onto admirable rulers who
governed the world with Tao according to Godís will. There were
eighteen hundred and eighty-six years from the Yellow Emperor
to Duke Zhou.
In the Zhou Dynasty (around 1000 B.C.), Chinese civilization
reached a peak. Both material and intellectual developments
flourished. However, as a decline would always follow a peak,
the Zhou Dynasty started to deteriorate when King You inherited
the throne. He was not upright and his orders could not be
implemented throughout the country. The government became
corrupted. Trickeries and robberies were common. Godís will
had been distorted. Thus King You was not granted the Holy Mission.
After King You, the Red Yang Period began and the Heritage of
Tao was carried on by the scholars. Unlike emperors and kings,
who could rule and lead subjects to follow Godís will, scholars
did not have authority and could only use teachings based on the
Truth to inspire people to bring out the goodness within themselves
and seek for the lost origin. Since teachings were carried out by
religions, it was a period of spreading Tao by religions. The first
three great religions appeared in the world about three thousand
years ago, and they were Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism.
Lao-tzu was born in China. He was the first scholar to maintain the
Heritage of Tao. He taught that Wu-Wei24 was the method of
returning to nature - Tao. He conveyed the essence of Tao to
Confucius before he went west. Once Confucius received the
essence of Tao, he exclaimed ďLao-tzu is so mysterious and
profound as a dragon that can fly to Heaven and hide in deep
waters.Ē A legend says that Lao-tzu travelled to the West and
transmitted the essence of Tao to a prince. As he was passing
through Fort Han-gu, the commissioner of the Fort, Guan Yin-zi,
begged him to stay. So Lao-tzu wrote five thousand words down
in Tao-teh Ching and proceeded westward. He was respected as
the founder of Taoism.
After Confucius received the essence of Tao, he carried on the
mission of spreading Tao. He travelled through many states to
spread the Truth. He edited the Scriptures written down by
ancient Saints and clearly stated that these Scriptures are the
everlasting Truth and the unalterable principle and guideline for
human behaviour (benevolence, justice, propriety, wisdom and faith).
The Great Learning left by Zeng-zi and The Doctrine of the Mean
written by Zi-si embed the profundity and mysticism of Tao.
Confucius was respected as the founder of Confucianism.
Confucius conveyed the essence of Tao to Zeng-zi. Zeng-zi
conveyed It to Zi-si. Zi-si conveyed It to Mencius. By the time
Mencius received the essence of Tao, China was in turmoil.
It was the Warring States in Chinese history. States were
independent and constantly waged wars against the others.
Human mind was unpredictable and heresies prevailed.
There wasnít anyone who could continue to carry on the mission
of spreading Tao, and the Heritage of Tao ceased to continue in
China. Beginning with Fu-xi Shi and ended with Mencius, there
were eighteen Saints who carried on the Heritage of Tao in China,
and they were called the First Eighteen Patriarchs of Tao in the East.
About three thousand years ago, an admirable prince was born in
the West. He was Sakyamuni Buddha who gave up his princedom
to practice Tao in deep forest at a young age. At thirty-five, he was
enlightened, thus carried on the mission of spreading Tao. He was
respected as the founder of Buddhism. After lecturing for forty-nine
years, he passed on the essence of Tao to his first disciple
Mahakasyapa, who became the first Patriarch of Tao in the
West. Since then, Buddhism carried on the Heritage of Tao
in the West until Patriarch Da-Muo Zu-Shi (Bodhidarma)
came to China.
One thousand years after Lao-tzu, Confucius and Sakyamuni
Buddha, two more Saints appeared in the western world and took
on the mission of spreading Tao. They were Jesus Christ and
Prophet Mohammed. In accordance with the cultural backgrounds,
time and environment, they devised the most effective and the most
acceptable methods of spreading Godís Truth in different regions,
and became the founders of Christianity and Islam. As Jesus became
a martyr of Tao, he left Gospels of God in The New Testament.
After Prophet Mohammed returned to Heaven, he left the words
of Allah in The Koran. However, after Jesus Christ and Prophet
Mohammed, there wasnít any Saint like them to receive the essence
of Tao and carry on the missions of Christianity and Islam.
There were twenty-eight Patriarchs of Tao in the West. They
were Mahakasyapa, Ananda, Sanavasa, Upagupta, Dhritaka,
Michaka, Vasumitra, Buddhanandi, Buddhamitra, Parsva,
Punyayasas, Asyaghosa, Kapimala, Nagarjuna, Kanadeva,
Rahulata, Sanghanandi, Sanghayasas, Kumarata, Jayata,
Vasubandhu, Manura, Haklenayasas, Sinha, Vasiastia,
Punyamitra, Prajnatara and Da-Muo Zu-Shi (Bodhidharma).
When Da-Muo Zu-Zhi received the essence of Tao, India was
in turmoil. There were numerous heresies, thus the essence of
Tao could not be passed on in India. Comprehending a bright
purple light coming from the East, in inspiration, Da-Muo Zu-Shi
realized Godís message that the East was a harmonious place and
he should seek for a successor there. Thus he travelled eastward
and reached China when Emperor Wu of the Liang Dynasty
(from 502 A.D. to 550 A.D.) was reigning the southern half of China.
Da-Muo Zu-Shi showed that he was with the True Tao by displaying
the miracle of crossing a river using only a reed. He passed on the
essence of Tao to Hui-ke and said ďI bring no word with me from
the West. My practice purely emphasizes on the heart and the True
Self. If one can transcend the cycle of birth, death and rebirth only
by reciting Sutras, how would ancient Saints attain Tao when there
wasnít any Sutra? Therefore, I convey the essence of Tao to you
through the meeting of our hearts and the passing of the secret
verbal message.Ē Da-Muo Zu-Shi started to use the robe and the
elm bowl as the insignia of The Patriarchate in China. Then, the
essence of Tao was transmitted from Hui-ke to Sen-can, Dao-xin,
Hong-ren and Hui-neng in succession.