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  • Writer's picture Даосская Ассоциация России

Who are the 3 officials?三官大帝

Cheng Bohan


Three Officials Deities are deities in Chinese belief, and in ancient China, there were rituals for worshiping the Sky, the Earth, and the Water. According to ancient texts, the right to perform these rituals for the Sky, the Earth, and the Water belonged to the emperor, while common people could only worship their ancestors and household kitchen god. The Three Officials Deities are the Sky Official, the Earthly Official, and the Water Official, each responsible for different domains and duties:


Sky Official: The Sky Official Deity is usually seen as an official in the celestial realm responsible for managing cosmic and celestial affairs. They are regarded as enforcers of cosmic laws and associated with astronomy, celestial phenomena, and seasonal changes. They bestow blessings upon people.



Earthly Official: The Earthly Official Deity is in charge of the Earth and land. Their duties include maintaining the fertility and stability of the land, protecting farmland, and ensuring the well-being of farmers. The Earthly Official also grant forgiveness for people's sins.



Water Official: The Water Official Deity governs bodies of water, including rivers, lakes, and oceans. They are considered guardians of water and can protect people from water-related disasters. They alleviate hardships in people's lives.


During the Eastern Han Dynasty, the Celestial Master Zhang practiced the worship of the Three Officials Deities and wrote sacred letters to them as a method for healing and seeking blessings for Daoist followers. Those who believe in the Three Officials Deities typically worship them in specific Daoist temples, seeking various blessings and protections, such as bountiful harvests, peace, health, and forgiveness of sins. This belief has had an impact in various regions of China, especially in rural areas, where temples dedicated to the Three Officials Deities are highly significant.


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