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.