What is the meaning of “If one can understand One, Two and Three,
one can learn to become an Immortal”? (41)
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, 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 centre.” The word “centre” 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.