When we turn our attention to the deities that are worshipped in Taoism, we discover that the triad or trinity, which was just mentioned as being at the top of that hierarchy, is made up of three Supreme Gods, each of whom resides in his or her own Heaven. These three Heavens, also known as the San Ch’ing, which translates to “Three Pure Ones,” were created from the three airs, which are subdivisions of the one primordial air. This term is also attributed to the sovereigns that rule in each of these Heavens.
Yü Ching is said to be the first Heaven. The first of the Taoist triad’s three members rules from inside it. It is said that he lives atop Jade Mountain. The passageway leading into his palace is referred known as the Golden Door. He is the origin of every piece of truth, just as the sun is the origin of every ray of light.
His name is Yüan-shih T’ien-tsun or Lo Ching Hsin, according to several accounts; nonetheless, he is also known as T’ien Pao, which literally translates to “the Treasure of Heaven.” Some people believe that the name of the one who rules over this first Heaven is Yü Huang, and most people believe that he is the one who holds the position of ultimate authority. Even though the Three Pure Ones are higher on the totem pole than he is, the Pearly Emperor has been given the responsibility of overseeing the whole globe. He has the power of the whole universe in the palms of his hands. Heaven, or more accurately Heaven itself, is the relative of this man. He is Heaven.
Ling-pao T’ien-tsun, also known as Tao Chün, is a member of the triad who holds the position of ruler of the second Heaven, which is known as Shang Ch’ing. There is no information provided on where he came from. He is responsible for safeguarding the holy writings. Since the beginning of the world, he has always been there. He calculates time, separating it into several epochs. He sits above the world, which gives him the ability to control the flow and interaction of the yin and the yang, the two most fundamental aspects of the natural universe, as well as the relationships between them.
The Taoist theory is said to have been formulated by Ling-pao T’ien-tsun. Taoists believe that Lao Tzu, the proponent of the correct ideology, resides in the third Heaven, known as T’ai Ching. He is also known as T’ai-shang Lao-chûn, which translates to “the Most Eminent Aged Ruler.” Another name for him is Shên Pao, which means “the Treasure of the Spirits.” Under a variety of aliases, he has presented himself as the mentor of emperors and monarchs, as well as the transformative force behind subsequent generations.
This three-tiered Taoist Heaven, also known as the three Heavens, came into being as a consequence of the Taoists’ desire to compete with the Buddhists on an equal playing field. They replace the Tao, also known as Reason, the Classics, and the Priesthood for Buddha, the Law, and the Priesthood respectively.
In terms of the administration of the Taoist Heavens, Yü Huang is in possession of a registry that contains the names of eight hundred Taoist divinities in addition to a large number of Immortals. All of these individuals are classified as belonging to one of three groups: Saints (Shêng-jên), Heroes (Chên-jên), or Immortals (Hsien-jên), with each group inhabiting one of the three Heavens in a certain sequence.