What are the soul, the three components of the Hun, and the
seven components of the Po?
I Ching states: “I is aligned to Heaven and Earth. Thus it encompasses the Tao of
Heaven and Earth. It explains not only the observable world, but also the unobservable
world of spirits. It embraces the law of beginning, end, and regeneration of all phenomena
and matters. It knows that all matters are formed by spirits and vitality, and the soul
governs the changes of the matters.”
The generic term “soul” is actually a trichotomy of the soul, Hun, and Po. The soul is
the pivot of a man’s life or death. When the human body grows, the soul disperses into
the nerve ending to form the Hun and the sensual organs to form the Po. The Hun
consists of three components: the first component is the Sheng-hun (the Spirit of Growth),
the second is the Jue-hun (The Spirit of Awareness), and the third is the You-hun
(The Spirit of Thought and Inspiration). (You-hun is what most people refer to
when they speak of “soul.”)
The Po in the sensual organs, i.e., the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind, generates
the six desires. The six sensual organs then generate the seven emotions of happiness, rage,
sadness, joyousness, love, hatred, and lust. These are the seven components of the Po.
When one deals with other people and attends to various daily chores, his Po generates
desires and emotions and is expanded by converting into physical energy. That also depletes
the souls to the extend that it cannot be restored to its original True Self and cannot
return to God’s kingdom.
While the True Self is the essence of the human life, the Hun and the Po are the human life.
That is why all Saints preached the doctrine of practicing both the True Self and the life.
The Qi of Hun and Po is just like an invisible bond linking the soul and the body.
They function as a medium synchronising the soul and the body. The Qi of Hun and Po
is called the “silver ribbon.” When the True Self resides in the body, one is alive.
When the True Self departs from the body, one dies. When a person is alive, his Hun
resides in the liver and his Po resides in the lung. When the Hun and Po reside in the
body, one is alive. When the Hun and Po leave the body, one dies. The You-hun is
the seed for the cycle of birth and death, and rebirth. When a person dies, his Sheng-hun
stays at the funeral hall while his Jue-hun stays at his grave. His You-hun reports to Hell
for judgment. It is the You-hun which becomes a human or ghost, a Saint or a Sage,
the good or the bad, or an animal. The True Self is the first to enter the body before
birth and the first to leave the body upon death.
At the moment an infant gives his first cry, the Hun enters his body. When the Hun enters
the body, the True Self is connected with the Qi of Hou-tien (oxygen); the Hun is now
dependent on the body to manifest itself. If the You-hun does not enter the body, even
with the True Self, the infant cannot live. That is why infants must cry at the time of birth
in order to live.
The Po depends on the coagulation of vitality and the Qi in in Hou-tien for existence.
It takes forty-nine days after birth for the seven components of the Po to become fully
established. Similarly, the seven components will not totally vanish until forty-nine days
The word “It” in the statement of the Heart Sutra “It cannot be created or destroyed.
It cannot be contaminated or purified. It cannot be enhanced or degraded.” refers to
the True Self. The True Self cannot be drowned in water, nor burned in fire. The True
Self resides in a different body for every life, just like one moves from a house to another;
the True Self does not change. The True Self always resides in the Right Portal. It reigns
the entire body without entering nor exiting. That is why in order to practice Tao,
one must first focus his effort on the True Self.