Date of Lecture: June 18, 2002
Our Honored Master led our striving in this world for fourteen years, and during that time he gave us guidance about the stages of Onset, Clearing, and Nascence as they relate to ideas of rescue from apocalypse. Now we are entering the epochal stage of Nascence, and since Tiandi Jiao is a religion which presides over Nascence, we need a full understanding of this stage.
Above in Di-Jiao Palace, Our Master’s Workings Extend from Heaven to Humanity and the Netherworld
In the first five years after our Master passed away, he was occupied exploring far-reaching laws of the non-physical realm. The non-physical realm has its natural laws, just as the physical realm does. Our existence on earth is a process of learning earthly natural laws. When spirits leave their corporeal bodies and return to the cosmos, they find different regimes of natural law in the cosmos. Our teaching text, A New Realm, says the universe has five levels of natural law.(1) Though our Master perfected a raynon body before returning to the non-physical realm, he had to acclimate himself to non-physical spatial modalities, as well as non-physical laws of life-force and living. By earthly calculations of time this occupied him for five years. So on Celestmas Day of the year geng-chen, five years after our Master’s passing, in my capacity as Second Shouxi in the human world, I pleaded with Tiandi our Hierarch that the First Shouxi be appointed to preside over Di-Jiao Palace. Under authority from the Birthless Holy Palace and the Golden Seat of Rule, Di-Jiao Palace disseminates the Lord’s true Dao to all planets with intelligent life in the cosmos. An important reason for my plea was that during those five years I was here in the human world directing Church administration in the Ultimate Hall. The questions we submitted to the non-physical realm were forwarded level by level to the Golden Seat of Rule. As an administrative system, this involved too many complicated steps. The Di-Jiao Palace is the innate Ultimate Hall, so if the First Shouxi could serve as Director of the Di-Jiao Palace, this would help integrate operations above and down below. During Celestmas of the year geng-chen, the Lord our Hierarch named First Shouxi as Director, but he would not take office for a year. During this time he would be studying under Mysterian of One CH’I Harmony, who was then Director. From last year, that is xin-si, when First Shouxi took formal office as Palace Director, there was a dramatic change right away in Church affairs and governance in our earthly Tiandi Jiao. Di-Jiao Palace is a center which integrates operations in the heavenly, earthly, and netherworld realms.
Celestmas of the xin-si year was when the epochal stage of Nascence was declared. The Lord our Hierarch also appointed First Shouxi to be Sovereign of the Nascence Stage; in this way, Nascence-stage workings across the universe can be coordinated under the Di-Jiao Palace, to be implemented in the three realms. Srivers in earthly Tiandi Jiao should understand the characteristics of Nascence, so that here in the physical world we can attune with First Shou’s non-physical workings in this time of Nascence. We represent our Master in the human realm as we carry out timely work of rescue and teaching. In this way we will fulfill our mission for this phase.
The apocalypse can be broken down into six phases of “Onset, Clearing, Leveling, Nascence, Bounty, and Unity.” For the past few generations we were going through Onset, Clearing, and Leveling. Now we are entering Nascence, which will develop into Bounty and Unity. To understand Nascence, we need to understand the goal it is developing towards, which is Bounty and Unity. And these two phases are best grasped through comparison. What are Bounty and Nascence? They are the worlds of Prosperity and then Unity that were held up as cultural goals in the Chinese tradition. We can read about them in the Ninth Chapter “Unfolding of Propriety” of the Records of Propriety.
The Worlds of Prosperity and Unity in Chinese Tradition
When the great Dao is actualized, one world will be for all. Capable and worthy men will be chosen leaders; trust and harmony will be pursued in human relations. Thus people will not only treat their own kin as kin; they will not only treat their own children as children. Thus the old will die in dignity, they strong will use their abilities, young ones will be fostered, bereaved and crippled ones will be cared for. Each man will have his due, each woman will find a partner. Hating to let useful articles go to waste, they will not hoard for themselves; hating to see strength left untapped, they will exert it for the common good. Thus stratagems will die away; brigands and rebels will stop their pillage. Outer doors will not be locked. This will be the time of Great Unity.
Then we read about the world of Minor Prosperity:
At present the Great Dao is not manifest, and the world is divided by private interests. People treat only their own kin as kin, and their own children as children. Useful articles and strength are used for personal advantage. Great men therefore set up ritual, to make the cities more stable. Propriety and honor were a means of to bring order: the relation prescribed between ruler and minister was proper, between father and child, sincere; between brothers, peaceful; between husband and wife, harmonious. Later, institutions were set up, and land boundaries were established. Men with fighting ability and intelligence were promoted; people sought merit for the sake of rewards. Thus many strategies and policies were devised, and military forces were active. Yu, Tang, King Wen, King Wu, King Cheng, and the Duke of Zhou were chosen under such circumstances. These six noble leaders gave careful attention to ritual; they upheld honor and trust. They were honest about their mistakes, and did not use punishments cruelly. Their codes were plain and consistent. When officials deviated from this approach, people felt it as a calamity. This ideal is called Minor Prosperity.
In terms of Chinese history, the initial epoch began with the Yellow Emperor. Then passing through the phases of Onset, Clearing, Leveling, Nascence, and Bounty, we come to the legendary sage-emperors Yao and Shun. Confucius admired this era and considered it Great Unity. Yu of the Xia dynasty passed the throne to Qi, and from there private interests dominated. This began a new phase of Onset. From there we pass through the Shang and Western Zhou and come to the Eastern Zhou (the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period). With the Warring States period we enter another phase of Nascence, but this did not develop into Bounty and Unity. Instead, human hearts were degraded during the Qin and Han, causing a regression back to Onset. The Three Kingdoms and Wei-Jin dynasty were a Clearing phase, and Southern Dynasties period was a time of Leveling. The Tang dynasty entered a time of Nascence, but wouldn’t you know it! Human degradation during the Northern Dynasties period led to another regression, through another ordeal of Onset. Then we pass through the Onset, Clearing, and Leveling phases of the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing. The beginning of the Republican period went back to Onset, and now we are entering Nascence again.
The ideal of Nascence lies in the hope of springtime—that vitalization will lead to a world of Bounty and Unity. But it can also regress to Onset, Clearing, and Leveling. Nascence is a watershed that emerges from Onset, Clearing, and Leveling to produce great transformation. Our hope is uttered in our “Daily Prayer”: “May human hearts be restored to innocence, may they embrace the Dao and rejoice in virtue, so the human holocaust can be dissolved.” Restoring hearts to innocence means going back to Yao and Shun’s time, it is the world in a time of Bounty and Unity. When human culture reaches the phase boundary of Nascence, it can develop in a good way toward Bounty and Unity, or it can regress to Onset, Clearing, and Leveling. The stages of the three-phase apocalypse are joined together, and each develops according to the moral tendency of human hearts. We look at human hearts to determine the future. In Chinese history we have seen order and disorder. Order belongs to Nascence, when a hundred flowers bloom and all types of birds sing out. After this hopeful time comes disorder. The empire is unified only to divide, divided only to unify. If we can use Nascence to go beyond the apocalypse, to reduce or avert disaster, this will usher in Bounty and Unity.
Religious Conflict Comes from Disorderly Profusion of Religion in Nascence
Our Master pointed out the three ultimate concerns of Tiandi Jiao: The first is “religious unity.” Our Master observed that when the tide of affairs moves toward ideological polarization among people, in time this can lead to religious wars. Religious zeal gives rise to strong exclusiveness and self-centeredness. If religions only understand exclusion and expansion, the world will face continuous wars. The destruction of the World Trade Center last September was an act of religious war. It is a religious war incited by fundamentalists of the Islam, Christian, and Jewish faiths. It has turned into a war of terrorism and counter-terrorism which continues to affect world peace. This religious crisis comes from what our Master called the “disorderly profusion of religion in Nascence.” That is why he spoke of unity among religions, and called on them to “respect difference and cherish similarities.” His other two ultimate goals were for “world unity,” which is the Bounty phase, and “anthro-celestial unity,” which would be the Unity phase. If Nascence moves in a good direction, it will enter one of these phases, but if it takes a bad direction, it will regress to Onset, Clearing, and Leveling. But unlike previous apocalypses, due to mankind’s highly developed technologies, the three-phase apocalypse will be on a greater scale than ever: the killing power of weapons is greater than ever; the destructive potential is worse. We just came through three phases that should have alerted us to the destructiveness of nuclear weapons. If humanity cannot achieve religious unity during this Nascence phase, and if we cannot enter Bounty and Unity, mankind faces crueler destructive forces than ever before. As our Master put it, this will cause absolute obliteration of bodies and souls.
To Survive and Develop, Humanity Must Look to an Accord between Science and Religion
I can affirm that the next century will see protracted development in the phase of Nascence, and this phase will by no means be confined to our planet. This is happening in the multidimensional universe. We cannot use our past ideas of Onset, Clearing, and Leveling to understand the present Nascence. In the foreseeable future on our planet, we can quote our Master on what will develop: “The sky is being engulfed; the earth is being engulfed; the netherworld is being engulfed.” The human world is a world engulfed with people. World population is already at 6.5 billion, and by 2020 there will be 8 billion. In 2025 it will climb to 10 billion. We can say the planet is getting overburdened with people. With too many people, the earth is strained. Survival space is gone, and there are shortages of essential resources. Of the earth’s 500 million square kilometers of surface area, there are only 130 million square kilometers of land. Oceans take up three fourths of the surface area. By 2050, mankind will face an overburdened sky, an overburdened earth, and an overburdened society. There will be only two ways to survive: 1) advance outward toward the stars and 2) turn inward to seek space for survival. Otherwise, people will compete for survival and take what they need from each other. People will go in for large-scale massacres and destruction, and there’s no telling where the death will stop.
As we already know, whether we advance toward the stars or develop toward the oceans, science is of central importance, because human survival will depend on scientific breakthroughs. The future world will be a world of continuous scientific innovation. But as technology develops further, human desires will increase all the more. The more our desires increase, the more we need religious guidance, and this leads to the phenomenon of religious profusion. Thus there are two directions of development during Nascence: one is science and one is religion. This is why our Master demanded that Tiandi Jiao be a scientific religion, that it be allied with science. He has already pointed out this direction for us. Tiandi Jiao is responsible for offering guidance in the Nascence phase, because Tiandi Jiao embraces the ultimate concerns of religion unity, world unity, and anthro-celestial unity. Our path of edification is compatible both with scientific inquiry and upright faith. In the Tiandi Jiao Church Charter, Chapter 26 “Spiritual Edification,” Article 23 (‘Our Church’s Foundation’) has this to say: ” Based on our Church’s ultimate aims of 1) equality of sacred and mundane and 2) anthro-celestial union, this Church guides us to aspire and try hard; to strive positively; to grasp a new cosmic realm for human life; to see the conditions of our era clearly; to enlarge the domain of thought for human survival; to work toward the goals of religious unity, world unity, and anthro-celestial unity; to pull the world back from destruction’s edge and onto the path of peace, to work toward consistent, correct, eternal faith that humanity can embrace in unison. Thus spiritual edification for our Church’s preaching personnel will be based on studying our teaching text and disseminating the Lord’s True Dao.” ”
Chinese People Are Crucial in Bringing Nascence to Fruition
What is the phase of Nascence? If it moves in a destructive direction, it will be even more horrible than the nuclear strikes of Onset, Clearing, and Levelling. Our Master made this revelation in a talk to students at the Tianren Institute:
1. “When will the six phases of apocalyptic destiny come to a conclusion? Has Heaven made a binding rule about this? What is the Nascence phase? Why is the Chinese term ‘nascence’ coined from the word “spring”? Before the “three unities” our Church seeks can come about, first there must be a phase of Nascence. In Nascence we say that a hundred flowers bloom “with strong energy,” with all the lushness of springtime. It is a time of religious profusion.”
“According to my experience, if a nuclear war breaks out before Nascence, then we may not have a Nascence. Now Tiandi Jiao has revived, and our strivers don’t calculate their own advantage; they put everything into their prayer chants. Thus we reached our initial aim of averting nuclear holocaust, which is a great event in our destiny. Heaven has made the necessary adjustments. Some spirit-beings were supposed to respond to this holocaust, but for now they will be given other things to do. They will be called back.”
2. “China is a key player in the three-phase apocalypse. Right now we are in ‘Onset, Levelling, and Clearing,’ but eventually we will get to ‘Nascence, Bounty, and Unity.’ America and Russia look like the key players now. But the ones who finally complete the three-phase apocalypse, who make the transition beyond Nascence, will be the Chinese. Chinese are the key players.”
3. “How long will these six apocalyptic phases go on? I dare not say. We’re in Leveling now. Once we get to Nascence, don’t tell me we’ll go through another Onset? What is Nascence? It means many ways of thinking are in flower. It should be a time of felicity! But as destiny works itself out, Nascence means that some population has to be bled off. It may not be by cannons or bombs or nuclear weapons as in modern warfare. In the future there may be another way of dealing death. People on the earth may kill each other off, or extraterrestrials may throw the earth out of equilibrium.”
4. “Once Leveling is over, you’ll have all the problems connected with Nascence. A hundred systems of thought will contend. Things that you could never dream of will happen; there will things that we don’t see in modern industrial society. There will be contrivances we cannot imagine.”
With Genuine Self-Tempering, We Strengthen Faith and Purify Hearts
We are facing the real advent of Nascence; we face the profusion of religions. Our faith in the Lord will not change. Our faith is based on the teaching text, scriptures, the Church Charter, and genuine self-cultivation. First we seek stability, then we seek development. Nascence is a time for many systems of thought to bloom like flowers, for all types of birds to sing. It is also a time for distilling a hundred kinds of venom, for a Walpurgis Night of beasts. It is a time when you may see demons dancing. It is a time when numerous ideologies and religious beliefs contend. All sorts of voices, views, and theories will be in circulation. We believe that the free blooming of many flowers is a peaceful vista, but what about poisons being distilled and beasts dancing? These are also potent images of disorders that beset our modern age. We need upright faiths, accepting of religious pluralism, which are “moved by a kindred Dao” to purify hearts and edify minds. Only then can there be scenes of peace before men’s eyes.
Another point is the scarcity of our planet’s resources, which gives human science no choice but to work toward “producing something from nothing.” Development of religion and culture is also “producing something from nothing.” Strivers in our earthly Church need to have a firm grasp on the fifteen dharma-treasures left by our First Shouxi. By means of our scriptures and dharma-treasures we strengthen our faith in the Lord of Heaven. This is our key to fulfilling our mission of teaching and rescue during this phase.
In the “Appendix” to the Church Charter our Master wrote:
“The miraculous facts taken together are sufficient to prove that the Lord of Heaven loves the Chinese people. More than that, he loves the unbroken root of our Chinese culture, because China’s culture is the Lord’s true Dao. Right now the unbroken root of China’s culture is planted deeply in Taiwan. Thus we in Taiwan need to follow Nature and move toward the mind of Heaven. We should shoulder the responsibility of reviving the Lord’s true Dao and Tiandi Jiao in Taiwan. This is how we will avert nuclear war and rescue suffering beings.”
We have our root in Chinese culture, and in this culture we find the Lord’s true Dao. Facing the new challenges of Nascence, the trials of a new era, we should undertake our mission with confidence.
(1) According to A New Realm, the fifth level of spiral harmony includes all lower spiral harmony regimes.