THE ANCIENT TAOIST PRINCIPLE OF RECIPROCITY
IF YOU DO ME A FAVOR, I WILL RETURN A GREATER FAVOR TO YOU BUT IF YOU HURT ME, I WILL NOT OFFER THE OTHER CHEEK. IF YOU INSULT ME, I WILL PUNCH YOU; IF YOU PUNCH ME, I WILL BREAK YOUR ARM; IF YOU BREAK MY ARM, I WILL BREAK YOUR LEG; AND IF YOU BREAK MY LEG, I WILL PUT YOU IN A COFFIN

36 Heavens Of Taoism

Base on the Taoist Scripture - Yun Ji Qi Qian (云笈七签) - The Seven Slips of a Cloudy Satchel, Volume 21 - Ministry Of Heaven and Earth (卷二十一“天地部”), There are altogether 36 levels of Heavens.

The Taoist Heavens are Divided into Ten Directions (十方世界).

The Thirty-Two Heavens arising out from the Great Matrix (元纲 - Yuan Gang) are located in the four cardinal directions, with eight heavens per cardinal direction.

To these four directions can further be added Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and Northwest, as well as above and below. In addition to these Thirty-Two Heavens, there are also four other Heavens. All of these Heavens are distributed among the Eight Directions, as well as above and below, for a total of ten directions (十方世界).

List of the Thirty-Six Heavens Of Taoism

The Original Matrix of the Great Tao gave birth to Thirty-Two Heavens. These Heavens are subject to calamities , Live & Death and universal cycles (Kalpas); they therefore undergo birth and death. The other four Heavens are not subject to Kalpas: they include the Three Pure Heavens (三清界 - San Qing) , and the Great Overarching Heaven (大罗天 - Da Luo Tian). In total, there are Thirty-Six Heavens.

The Thirty-Two Heavens:

The Eight Heavens of the East
1) 太皇黄曾天 - Tai Huang Huang Ceng Heaven
2) 太明玉完天 - Tai Ming Yu Wan Heaven
3) 清明何童天 - Qing Ming He Tong Heaven
4) 玄胎平育天 - Xuan Tai Ping Yu Heaven
5) 元明文举天 - Yuan Ming Wen Ju Heaven
6) 七曜摩夷天 - Qi Yao Mo Yi Heaven

The above 6 Heavens belong to the Realms Of Desire (欲界) - Realms Of Secular Life (現世界 - Xian Shi Jie). In this Realm, there is visible form and desire, men and women have intercourse, and give birth to descendants.

7) 虚无越衡天 - Xu Wu Yue Heng Heaven
8) 太极蒙翳天 - Tai Ji Meng Yi Heaven

The Eight Heavens of the South
9) 赤明和阳天 - Ci Ming He Yang Heaven
10) 玄明恭华天 - Xuan Ming Gong Hua Heaven
11) 耀明宗飘天 - Yao Ming Zhong Piao Heaven
12) 竺落皇笳天 - Zhu Luo Huang Jia Heaven
13) 虚明堂曜天 - Xu Ming Tang Liao Heaven
14) 观明端靖天 - Guan Ming Duan Jing Heaven
15) 玄明恭庆天 - Xuan Ming Gong Qing Heaven
16) 太焕极瑶天 - Tai Huan Ji Yao Heaven

The Eight Heavens of the West
17) 元载孔升天 - Yuan Zai Kong Shen Heaven
18) 太安皇崖天 - Tai An Wang Ya Heaven
19) 显定极风天 - Xian Ding Ji Feng Heaven
20) 始黄孝芒天 - Si Huang Xiao Mang Heaven
21) 翁重浮容天 - Weng Chong Fu Rong Heaven
22) 无思江由天 - Wu Si Jiang You Heaven
23) 上揲阮乐天 - Shang She Ruan Le Heaven
24) 无极昙誓天 - Wu Ji Tan Shi Heaven

The above 18 Heavens (虚无越衡天 - Xu Wu Yue Heng Heaven TO 无极昙誓天 - Wu Ji Tan Shi Heaven) belong to The Realms Of Form (色界 - Se Jie) - Realms Of  Tai-Ji (太极界 - Tai Ji Jie). In this Realm there is form but no desire; there is no sexual intercourse and people are directly born out of Vital Breath.

The Eight Heavens of the North
25) 皓庭霄度天 - Hao Ting Xiao Du Heaven
26) 渊通元洞天 - Yuan Tong Yuan Dong Heaven
27) 翰宠妙成天 - Han Chong Miao Cheng Heaven
28) 秀乐禁上天 - Xiu Le Jing Shang Heaven

The above 4 Heavens (皓庭霄度天 - Hao Ting Xiao Du Heaven TO 秀乐禁上天 - Xiu Le Jing Shang Heaven) belong to The Realms of Formlessness (无色界 - Wu Se Jie) - Realms Of Wu-Ji (无级界 - Tai Ji Jie) . In this Realm there is neither desire nor form; common people cannot see the people in this Realm, it can be seen only by Perfect Men, Immortals.

The Realms Of Desire, Realms Of Form and Realms Of Formlessness, are collectively known as The Three Realms (三界).

29) 无上常融天 - Wu Shang Chang Rong Heaven
30) 玉隆腾胜天 - Yu Long Teng Sheng Heaven
31) 龙变梵度天 - Long Bian Fan Du Heaven
32) 平育贾奕天 - Ping Yu Jia Yi Heaven

The higher 4 Realms of Formlessness are known as Si Min Zhi Tian (四民之天) / Shi Fan Tian (四梵天).

The Heavens of the Three Pure Ones (三清 - San Qing):

33) 太清境大赤天 - Tai Qing Jing Da Chi Heaven
- Heaven of Supreme Clarity (Tai Qing Heaven)
- Dao De Tian Zun (道德天尊) - Tai Shang Lao Jun (太上老君) resides here

34) 上清境禹余天 - Shang Qing Jing Yu Yu Heaven
- Heaven of Highest Clarity (Shang Qing Heaven)
- Ling Bao Tian Zun (灵宝天尊) resides here

35) 玉清境清微天 - Yu Qing Jing Qing Wei Heaven
- Heaven of Jade Clarity (Yu Qing Heaven)
- Yuan Shi Tian Zun (元始天尊) resides here

The Highest Level Of Heaven

36) 大罗天 - Da Luo Heaven - The Great Overarching Heaven

The 4 Highest Realms together are known as Sheng Jing Si Tian (圣境四天).

Thirty-five of the Thirty-Six Heavens are part of the Great Overarching Heaven (大罗天). The Great Overarching Heaven (大罗天) is infinite, while other heavens are all finite. It is the highest heaven, transcends all the other heavens, and has no limits. In space, the universe is infinite.

The Three Realms (三界) and outside

The Thirty-Six Heavens are divided into Three Realms (三界). The Three Realms are the Realm of Desire, the Realm of Form, and the Realm of Formlessness.

Altogether 28 heavens are included in the Three Realms (三界) . They are subject to Calamities and Kalpas (Universal Cycles). Those who are born in or enter these heavens do not escape from Reincarnation and Karma.

Outside of the Three Realms are a further eight heavens. Those who Cultivate Dao and leap out of the Three Realms can escape from Kalpas, Karma, and Reincarnation.

The Three Realms are the Realm of Desire, the Realm of Form, and the Realm of Formlessness

The Realms of Desire contains Six Heavens, from the Tai Huang Huang Ceng Heaven (太皇黄曾天) to the Qi Yao Mo Yi Heaven (七曜摩夷天). In this Realm, there is visible form and desire, men and women have intercourse, and give birth to descendants.

The Realms of Form includes Eighteen Heavens, from the Xu Wu Yue Heng Heaven (虚无越衡天) to the Wu Ji Tan Shi Heaven (无极昙誓天). In this Realm there is form but no desire; there is no sexual intercourse and people are directly born out of Vital Breath.

The Realms of Formlessness is made up of four Heavens, from the Hao Ting Xiao Du Heaven (皓庭霄度天) to the Xiu Le Zhi Shang Heaven (秀乐禁上天). In this Realm there is neither desire nor form; common people cannot see the people in this Realm, it can be seen only by Perfect Men, Immortals.

Outside of the Three Realms, the heavens can be divided into several levels including the Four Pure Heavens, the Three Pure Heavens (三清 - San Qing) and the Great Overarching Heaven (大罗天 - Da Luo Tian).

The Four Pure Heavens are also called the Four Heavens of the Seed People, from the Wu Shang Chang Rong Heaven (无上常融天) to the Ping Yu Jia Yi Heaven (平育贾奕天). They are called the Four Heavens of the Seed People (种民 - Zhong Min) because those who enter this realm have already escaped from the cycle of reincarnations; at the time of a Kalpa, they do not die but become the seeds of the people of the next Kalpa.

The Three Pure Heavens (三清 - San Qing) are also called the Three Pure/Pristine Realms (三清境 - San Qing Jing) , and are governed by the Supreme Venerable Sovereign (太上老君 - Tai Shang Lao Jun). The Great Overarching Heaven (大罗天 - Da Luo Heaven) is above all other Heavens and en-globes the entire universe. It is infinite, and contains the Jade Capital Mountain(玉京山 Yujing Shan) where the Primeval Lord of Heaven (原始天尊 - Yuan Shi Tian Zun) - ( 太上老君 Tai Shang Lao Jun) resides.

Outside of the Three Realms, everything is pure Vital Breath of Dao. All is formless and invisible; it is the abode of the Immortals (神仙 - Shen Xian). When they unite together they become forms; when they disperse they become Vital Breath; self-dependent, they wander about unfettered. In the Great Overarching Heaven, all is Pure Vital Breath (道氣 - Dao Qi). The Highest level of Cultivation of Immortality is the level of the Golden Immortality (金仙 - Jin Xian) of the Great Overarching Heaven (大罗天 - Da Luo Tian).

Note that the San Qing(三清) - San Qing - Three Pure Ones), which consist the Yuan Shi Tian Zun (元始天尊), Ling Bao Tian Zun (灵宝天尊) and Dao De Tian Zun (道德天尊) - Tai Shang Lao Jun (太上老君), are the highest divine in Taoism, and they are the Great Tao in divine forms.
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