What is the meaning of “If one can understand One, Two, and Three, one can learn to become an Immortal?”







Tao itself cannot be named, so “One” is forced to represent it. This is why “Tao gives rise to One.” The essence of Tao is quiescent. When it is quiescent to the extreme, motion comes about. When there is motion, Heaven and Earth are created. This is why “One gives rise to Two.” Heaven and Earth are “Yang” and “Yin.” All things in the cosmos are interactions of Yang and Yin. Heaven created mankind, and mankind is in between Heaven and Earth. This is why “Two gives rise to Three.” When Heaven and Earth, and Mankind – the “Three Powers” of the cosmos – are established, all things flourish in accordance with God’s will. This is why “Three gives rise to everything.”


The exquisiteness and wonderment of One permeate through the universe. If a person can truly understand the word One, he surely can become a Saint or a Sage. Emperor Sun gave the following advice to his successor, Emperor Yu, “The Human Nature is precarious; the True Nature is obscure; be refined and be One; be amenable and uphold the center.” The word “center” in the sentence really is the word One. This word One is the Dharma passed on from one Saint to another. If one wants to trace the root of the word One, one must sincerely receive Tien-Tao. It is only after one received Tien-Tao can he really be enlightened about the true origin of the word One. The saying “To talk about Tao one goes no further than one’s body. To hammer iron one goes no further than the anvil” implicated the root of One. One of the Saints illustrated this point by saying “If you look inside yourself, you will discover it.” These are all sincere words.


One is one’s True Self. In Heaven, it is the Truth and Order. In human, it is the soul. The soul is One. The yin Qi and yang Qi (yin and yang spirits) in human form Two. The vitality of a human body is Three. This is why if a person understands the true meaning of One, Two and Three, he can learn to be an Immortal. Tao encompasses everything in the cosmos. If one can unify with Heaven and Earth to become One through actions and inactions (yang and yin), he will attain the true Tao.