Originally, he headed the administration of Heaven but -- like a wise ruler -- entrusted that task to his assistant Yu-huang. The importance of Yu-huang later came to exceed that of Yuan-shi tian-zong. At the beginning of each age or aeon he transmits the Ling-pao ching, the Scriptures of the Magic Jewel, to subordinate deities. Those in turn instruct mankind in the teachings of the Tao. Yuan-shi tian-zong is also believed to rescue souls caught in the various hells and sets them free.
Yuan-shi tian-zong is said to be without beginning and the most supreme of all beings, in fact, representative of the principle of all being. From him all things arose. He is eternal, limitless, and invisible.
Yuan-shi tian-zong is also known as Tian-bao-jun, Lord of the Heavenly Jewel.