The Northern Dipper Scripture (Beidou Jing)
Parting Clouds Daoist Press is thrilled to present its translation of The Beidou Jing, or The Perfected Scripture of the Upmost Profoundly Numinous Northern Dipper That Prolongs Life and Affects Fundamental Destiny. As its title suggests, this Scripture allows a glimpse into the complexities of Daoist metaphysics, including time and space, as well as the nature of our existence and its causes. Through this Scripture we are presented with a clear view of the exciting dynamics of Daoist ritual text. It proposes some of the finest nuances of Daoist doctrine, and answers some fundamental questions pertaining to cyclic rebirth, ethical development, and the soteriological efficacy of ritually performed Scripture. It tackles the often confusing issues surrounding the implications of one’s astrology, and how that corresponds to karmically defined destiny and the effects of previous causes upon our lived experience.The Beidou Jing expresses our relationship to, and reliance upon, the seven visible, and two invisible, stars of the Northern Dipper. Through this, we see an illustration of this Daoist astro-deity, how these celestial bodies are deified, and how celestial position and movement play into the abilities and features of the deified forms. It further provides us with a ritual reading and practice to be performed throughout the calendar year, on the allotted days, by which the practitioner can effect change in the events that lie just beyond the horizon. As it states in the Scripture, “My destiny is none other than me,” meaning that a practitioner is not bound by, and can change, one’s life destiny. By performing these recitations and heeding the doctrines herein, a practitioner has the tools to alter the outcomes that have been set in motion in this life, as well as from previous incarnations. Lastly, the importance of this Scripture memorializing an interaction, many years ago in Chengdu, Sichuan, between Taishang Laojun and the Celestial Master, should not be overlooked. At its heart, this bequeathment is the testimony of a means to salvation, a means to end suffering, and a means to improve our world, even when all appears lost.The current Scripture, along with the Morning, Evening, and Noon Altar Recitations, form the main corpus of liturgical texts common to most Quanzhen Longmen Daoist temples. They are known collectively as the Four Immortal Scriptures, and contain within their covers the predominance of the essential doctrines. This translation completes this collection, and it is our sincere hope that they serve you well, that they are a comfort to you, and that they aid your practice.