Monday, January 3, 2011

Eight Immortals: Zhongli Quan

Zhongli Quan is one of the oldest of the Eight Immortals, considered the most ancient and to be the leader of the Eight Immortals by some. Zhongli Quan is also known as Zhongli of Han, Han Zhongli, the True-Yang Ancestor-Master and Master of the Cloud-Chamber. He is usually depicted as a bald man with a long beard, bare bellied and with a bare chest while holding his talisman, a fan that can revive the dead. Zhongli Quan is the patron of military operations.

This immortal was a general who was sent on an expedition against and enemy up north where he sadly lost the war. Due to this loss Zhongli Quan became a fugitive who rode alone through wild and mountainous country, it is on this journey a man met at a village taught Zhongli Quan a process for attaining longevity, knowledge of divine elixirs and something called ‘Green Dragon Swordsmanship’.

There are several stories of how Zhongli Quan attained immortality, one is that he lost a battle with an enemy and fled to the mountains here Zhongli Quan met five Taoists who gave him the teachings of immortality. Several hundred years after this happened Zhongli Quan taught Lu Dongbin, another of the Eight Immortals.

Another story tells how Zhongli Quan met a old Taoist master in a forest who gave Zhongli Quan the prescriptions on how to attain immortality upon request. One story tells how during a famine Zhongli Quan made silver coins by magic and distributed these very coins to the poor, and one day a wall of the place Zhongli Quan taken as a hermit collapsed during meditation, behind the fallen wall it was discovered that there was a jade vessel containing how to attain immortality which was followed.

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