chapter  XVI
The Mystical Meaning of the Journey Through the Underworld
Pages 15

The opening lines of the Vanguard’s answers summarise briefly the personal adventures of the soul and in a sense overlap the Cosmic adventures of all souls, as depicted in the Traditional History. Therefore the soul comes from the East, the place of Light, and descends into matter. Its early experiences are in the Red Flower Pavilion, representing the maternal womb, as we know from other points in the ritual, to which reference has already been made. We are told on page 77 of Volume I “that it was here that the Master of Hung instructed me,” which clearly refers to his youthful instruction in the orthodox religion of the country. This is made abundantly clear by the fact that the chapters numbered 108, which is the combined number of the Celestial and Terrestrial Powers, and implies that the simple lessons taught at his mother’s knee contained the germs of all knowledge and moral instruction necessary for his salvation. That they were elementary lessons is shown by the statement that “the Master taught me the three bonds and the five virtues”, that is to say, those fundamental principles of right conduct on which civilised communities rest. That it was the traditional knowledge that is imparted to him was implied by the fact that the chapter which he particularly studied was that of Wan-chang, one of the books of Mencius, the ancient Chinese philosopher. We may therefore say that the candidate shows that he has learnt the principles of moral truth and justice, and has made himself acquainted with the liberal arts and sciences. Further he is shown that these lead even to the throne of God Himself by the reference to the five sections, which we are told deal with “the principle of Heaven, the principle of Earth, the principle of the Gods, the principle of Man and the principle of Oneself.” The candidate has also learnt that “the three principles are established together and one principle is common to all three.” Thus Heaven, Earth and Man, although a triad, are also one and indivisible, made one by the principle of Light.