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Yuanshi Tianzun (Chinese: 元始天尊; pinyin: Yuánshǐ Tīanzūn), the Celestial Venerable of the Primordial Beginning or the Primeval Lord of Heaven, is one of the highest deities of religious Taoism. He is one of the Three Pure Ones (Chinese: 三清; pinyin: Sānqīng), and is also known as the Jade Pure One (Chinese: 玉清; pinyin: Yùqīng). He resides in the Heaven of Jade Purity. It is believed that he came into being at the beginning of the universe as a result of the merging of pure breaths. He then created Heaven and Earth.
In Taoist mythology
He once was the supreme administrator of Heaven but later entrusted that task to his assistant Yuhuang, the Jade Emperor. Yuhuang took over the administrative duties of Yuanshi Tianzun, and became the overseer of both Heaven and Earth. At the beginning of each age, Yuanshi Tianzun transports the Lingpao ching (or "Yuanshi Ching"), the Scriptures of the Magic Jewel, to his students (who are lesser deities), who in turn instruct mankind in the teachings of the Tao.
Yuanshi Tianzun is said to be without beginning and the most supreme of all beings. He is in fact, a representation of the principle of all being. From him all things arose. He is eternal, limitless, and without form.
Role in Fengshen Yanyi
In Fengshen Yanyi, Yuanshi Tianzun is a superior man who has maintained his will for generations. He would be known as the master of Mount Kunlun, in which he had many disciples—one of such being Jiang Ziya. In time, Yuanshi Tianzun would tell Jiang that it would be time to head down to the world in order to attain a level of wealth and honor. Because Jiang Ziya was destined to assist in the creation of the new Zhou Dynasty - as like Nezha - Yuanshi Tianzun would stay loyal to heaven's will and effectively send Jiang away to his new destiny. After telling Jiang what to do through a poetic format, Yuanshi Tianzun says his final words of farewell to his student.
- Xu Zhonglin or Lu Xixing. "Ch. 15". Investiture of the Gods. pp. 173–174.