The Achievements of Taoist Practices
There are many various achievements that can be obtained by different practices, but a large number of them are considered unreal achievements obtained by incorrect practices, or Side-Gate teachings.
In Taoist terms, the midmost gate alludes to the correct and true teaching, while the other gates, which are not at the midmost place, are called Side-Gates. Side-Gate teachings are considered somewhat incorrect or distorted, however, they may also approach ( but not guaranteed to reach ) Tao, in an indirect or slower manner. And furthermore, there are still some other practices that are considered evil. Side-Gate practices include Chinese handwriting practice, traditional Chinese painting practice, martial art practice, etc.
Now here we will only select a few well-known achievements that are widely accepted as obtained by correct practices, and give some brief descriptions on them.
1. Ghostly Immortal
This is the lowest acknowledged achievement.
A Ghostly Immortal discovered his own soul by practicing meditation, and became able to control it, so that his soul ( which is called "ghost" after his death ) can leave his body although he is not dead, and travel everywhere swiftly, and then return to his body. When his body becomes old, his soul can move to a young body of another person, this is called House-Robbing.
The "house" here refers to the body, which is the house of soul. House-Robbing exiles the original resident soul of the body, this is against the law of transmigration / reincarnation, therefore the practitioner has to pay for his robbing, to balance the principle of universe, which means, this will consume a great deal of merits of the practitioner. Because of this, he must not do House-Robbing frequently, even if he has the ability to do so.
However, by this way the practitioner's soul can continuously move from one body to another, so it seems that theoretically, he can live in the world forever, until the world is destructed. Thus, this practitioner can be called an "immortal", though his flesh body is not truly immortal.
2. Earthly Immortal
An Earthly Immortal has an immortal flesh body, which will not be destructed by aging, but may be damaged or killed by physical attacks. An Earthly Immortal has successfully blocked the leaking of life energy, so that his flesh body will not become old, and as long as his flesh body is not damaged, he can live in the world forever, till the end of the world. But it is said that if this Earthly Immortal has not enough virtuous merits, some heavenly punishments may come and destroy his body, and then he will be forced to enter the cycle of reincarnation again.
There are various ways to achieve Earthly Immortality, the most common way among them is to cultivate the Inner Dhaan ( Elixir ). Other ways may be receiving a Dhaan of Immortality directly from a celestial divinity, or taking some mysterious herbs, etc.
An Earthly Immortal may always appear as a child, or a young one, or a middle-aged one, or an old one, but their bodies will never become too old that their souls must leave. An Earthly Immortal who looks old has robust energy actually, and may be able to appear as young immediately if he wishes. A mundane person can hardly tell if that was a normal old one or an Earthly Immortal.
3. Heavenly Immortal
A Heavenly Immortal had successfully refined his soul and made it holy; he had united the spiritual energies within his body and become the Holy One. His inner world had become like a nuclear reaction stove, or like the inside of the sun, so he can transmute a material into another material, such as, transmuting a cheap metal into pure gold. He had also purified his physical body and mundane desires with the Fire of Reality, a.k.a. Fire of Wisdom, and then achieved the indestructible body, a.k.a. Mind-Created Body, which is invisible to mundane eyes, but can also appear before mundane eyes if he wishes. This mysterious body is the uncreated energy of the Holy Source, it can appear as any form in the mundane world, such as a human being, a beast, a plant, a mountain, a temple, etc., or appear as a Rainbow Body, a.k.a. Light Body; and it can also disperse and be everywhere, while invisible to the mundane eyes. By achieving this body, one is called a Real Person.
A Real Person, while having that holy and indestructible body, a.k.a. Vajra Body, no longer needs his flesh body, so he can choose to continue to live in his flesh body, or abandon it. He can continue to exist without his flesh body, and he is not dead, not a ghost, but a divine being. However, if he hasn't accumulated enough virtuous merits, he may not be allowed to migrate to a heaven or a holy world. Therefore many Taoist ancestors, after achieving Immortality, use the power of their Golden Dhaan to make panaceas, to heal others for free, and accumulate virtuous merits. When the quantity of virtuous merits meets the standard, the heavenly messengers will descend, and then the successful practitioner can follow the messengers and migrate to the heaven. However, this is greatly different from a ghost being sent to the heaven after his death, because a Real Person has paid off all his karmic debt, saved all living beings within his flesh body, and converted his flesh body into a sacred one, that is, he is the Savior of his kingdom, which is his flesh body. If he did not practice the holy work, his flesh body would decay and destruct, and all living beings within it would die, but he saved them all, therefore his merits are numerous, his virtue is great, and his Tao is infinite and unimaginable.
When a Heavenly Immortal leaves this mundane world and migrates to a heaven or a holy world, he may manifest various scenes, which can be categorized as follows:
I. Flesh Bodies that Will Never Decay
A Heavenly Immortal, having migrated to the heaven, may leave his flesh body in this world, as an evidence of his successful cultivation. Without any anticorrosive treatments, his flesh body, which is considered dead by mundane people, will not decay, and his hair and nails may continue to grow. Therefore his flesh body can remain in this world for a long period. He does this out of compassion, to tell other people of the world that there is true Tao to seek.
II. Ascending during the Daytime
A Heavenly Immortal may also choose to ascend to a heaven or a holy world during the daytime, and there could be many witnesses around. In this case, the immortal one does not abandon his flesh body, instead, he flies up with his whole flesh body, ascend higher and higher, and his flesh body converts into light or rainbow gradually during this process, and finally disappears completely. And besides this wonderful scene, the witnesses may also hear heavenly music, smells heavenly fragrances, and sees other divine beings.
III. Ascending together with the whole family
A Heavenly Immortal, who had accumulated very great many merits, can ascend to a heaven or a holy world in this way. In this case, not only the immortal one himself, but all his family members, and all his pets, can also ascend together to the heaven or holy world. This is called Baad Tzaak Fei Sing in Cantonese, which literally means Pulling the Whole House and Ascending together.
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