Making Transcendents, cap.s 5-6

pp. 130-50

cap. 5.

pp. 151-85

cap. 6.

p. 131 pillow containing charms, according to Ge Hon’s Traditions of Divine Transcendents

"he saw an old man hoeing ... . A white light several dozen feet tall was above his head. {this pillar of light over the head is also characteristic of S.ufi-s, Mormon-s, etc.} ... The man gave this reply : "... A man of the Dao taught me to avoid grains, to eat ... atractylis ..., and also to make a pillow for the [internal] spirits. Inside this pillow are thirty-two objects, twenty-four of them corresponding to the twenty-four qi, eight of them corresponding to the eight winds. I ... reverted to youth. I became able to walk three hundred li in a day. ...""

p. 132 deer-pulled carriage, according to Ge Hon’s Traditions of Divine Transcendents

Liu Gen said : "I entered Mount Huayin. There I saw a person riding a carriage drawn by a white deer, followed by ... four jade maidens each of whom was holding a staff hung with a colored flag and was fifteen or sixteen years old." (The divine personage in the chariot was named Han Z^on.)

p. 135 a visit to Lao-jun, according to Ge Hon’s Traditions of Divine Transcendents

hagiography of S^en Li : "when he first ascended to Heaven, he ... saw only Lord Lao. Lord Lao was seated facing east. ... Cloud vapors in five colors [and] "mystic yellow" [billowed about] ... . ... In the courtyard grew trees of pearl and jade ..., and dragons, tigers, and other ... creatures cavorted among them. ... The four walls were covered in talismanic writings. As for the person of Lord Lao himself, he was about ten feet tall; his ... body radiated light. In a little while, jade maidens brought out a golden table on which were jade cups filled with medicinals. They bestowed these on Xi, saying, "This is a divine elixir. Whoever drinks it will not die. {"This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die." (Euanglion of Ioannes 6:50)} ... Drink it all ... ." {"drink ye all of it." (Euanglion of Matthaios 26:27)} After they had consumed this medicine, they were given two jujubes ... and some strips of dried meat. ...

Then he suddenly felt as if he were asleep, and he was already back on earth."

pp. 136-137 an approach to the moon

p. 136

Xian Man-du (who was called c^i-xian ‘the Banished Transcendent’ by the people of He-don) said (upon returning after a 3-year absence) : "I suddenly found myself lying down, and several transcendents took me up into the heavens until we were a few li from the moon. I saw that above and below the moon is was ... dark ... . At the place where we stopped near the moon, it was bitter cold. I was feeling hungry ... when a transcendent gave me a cup of Flowing Aurora (liuxia ...) to drink, after which I was not hungry for several months."

Lun-hen Jiao-s^i 325

p. 137

Xian Man-du (who was called c^i-xian ‘the Banished Transcendent’ by the people of Pu-ban in He-don) said : "We meditated in the mountains for three years. Then a transcendent came to welcome us, and together we all mounted a dragon and ascended into the heavens. After a while I ... look down at earth, which appeared dim and dark; we ... were already extremely far from earth. ... When we reached heaven, we first passed through golden halls where the beds were of gold and the tables of jade ... . A transcendent then gave us a cup of Flowing Aurora, after drinking which we felt no hunger or thirst. ...

In former times Liu An, Prince of Huainan, ascended to heaven and had an audience with the Thearch on High, ... so he was ... put on guard duty at the celestial latrine for three years. ..." {cf. Bauddha legend that god Indra was assigned to carry away the faeces of the Buddha; and Maori myth of the origin of color of sunset from blood of hero who was defaecating from the sky.}

Bao-pu-zi Nei-pien Jiao-s^i 20:350

pp. 139-140 eye-witness description of antiquity by 4,000-year old man (as reported by Ge Hon)




Gu Qian "said of himself that he was 4,000 year old ... . ... He offered intimate, personal descriptions of the ancient rulers Yao ... and Shun ... (Yao’s strange eyebrows, Shun’s double pupils). ... He


described in detail Confucius’ appearance and physiognomy ... . ... Gu claims that he had known each of these figures personally and had advised them on portents ... . ... "Those at the time who recognized [what Gu was doing] treated it as a joke and laughed"". (NP 20:347-8)

{cf. similar alleged eye-witness description of antiquity by St. Germaine to the French royal court in the mid-18th century Chr.E.; this likewise was intended as entertainment for the nobility.}

p. 141 eye-witness description of the divine world by Cai Dan (told by Cai Dan at Wu-yuan to Wu Wen, the future governor of C^en-du, as reported by Ge Hon)

"He had ... been assigned to shepherd several of Lord Lao’s dragons, ... including this favorite, a dappled mount {cf. "light yellow dragon with some green spots" (XPWD)}, but ... engrossed ... in games of "sixes" (liubo ...) with other low-ranking transcendents, and ... had been consigned to weed a large area at the foot of Mount Kunlun for ten years. Finally Woquanzi ... and Wangqiao ... – well-known figures eulogized in the Han-era Traditions of Exemplary Transcendents – had come to inspect his conduct ... . ...

Cai specialized in vivid, catalogue-like descriptions of the wonders of Mount Kunlun. He describes

its height and distance from the bottom of the sky;

the "tree grains" that cap its summit, a single stalk enough to fill a cart;

{enormous stalks of grains were described in the writings of Papias (Fr. 4)}

trees of jade, pearl, langgan ..., and other gems;

{living trees of jewels were later described in the Sukhavati-vyuha}

shiny jade fruits, melons, melons, and plums, washed in jade well water;

{living jewel fruits were later described in the 1,001 Nights "EL"}

the music produced by all these wondrous trees when the wind blows through them;

{music-producing trees were described in MV 3.226-227: pp. 221-222}

the numerous gateways and towers of Kunlun, guarded by fantastic animals such as enormous serpents and hornets;

the rivers that flow down from its slopes; and

the names the gods who bar the gates to ordinary folk, Cai having been able to enter thanks to his possession of talismans and tallies bestowed by Lord Lao."


Papias, Frag. 4 in Irenaios, Hair., v. 32

"EL" = "Enchanted Lamp"

MV = J. J. Jones (translator): The Mahavastu, Vol. III. The Pali Text Society, London, 1956.

pp. 148-149 eye-witness description of marvels in remote countries

p. 148

Gan S^i "was a native of Taiyan. ... He ... ingested ... asparagus root. ... He remained in the human realm for three hundred years, then entered the King’s Chamber Mountain and departed as a transcendent."

Traditions of Divine Transcendents

p. 149

Gan S^i said : "My original teacher was surnamed Han and named Ya. [They were together at Nan-hai.] ...

In the western and of Kucha [Jushi, a tribal confederation in what is now Xinjiang], the males are born with their spleens protruding from their backs. ...

If you take a pair of five-cun-long carp, coat them with [a certain] medicine, and throw both of them into hot {boiling} oil, the one that is medicated will swim about freely as if in a pond; the other will quickly be cooked and ready to eat." {Tailika (Tilopa) "catching fish and frying them alive before eating them" (W) : "frying live fish ... and the fish returned, alive, to their lake." (MB, p. 253)}

Bian-dao Lun (‘Disputations on the Dao’) by Cao Z^i, as quoted in Hou Han S^u 82B.2750

W =

MB = Vessantara : Meeting the Buddhas. Windhorse Publications, 1993.

pp. 160-161 how a spirit was whipped while occupying a female medium

p. 160

"Ge Xuan once stayed as a guest in someone’s home while passing through Wukang. The host ... had commissioned a female spirit-medium to

p. 161

call down a god on his behalf ... . Xuan then commanded the Five Earls [fn. 31 : "demon-subduing spirits ... known variously as the Five Earls or Five Hegemons (wuba ...)"] to apprehend the god [through the medium], take him out, tie him to a post, and whip him. The medium then seemed to be led outside by invisible beings. Upon reaching the courtyard, the medium hugged a pole as her gown was removed, then ... a whipping sound was heard".

p. 162 non-attempts to cure the incurable

As concerning Li C^an-zai, "Whenever he treated those who were seriously ill, they would recover within three days; lesser cases would recover in a single day. Those whom he could not cure he did not treat at all."

C^en C^an "remained on Linen Island [fn. 37 : "This is a small isle off the coast of Guiji, mentioned ... in Ge Hong’s Inner Chapters (NP 4:85)"] for over six hundred years. ... Whenever any of the people ... were ill, they took vessels and asked for some offering water ... from him; on taking it, they would be cured. But if according to their allotted lifespan they were due to die, Chen Chang would give them no water."

p. 164, fn. 43 instances of prognostication


Qi-lon Min "("Cry of the Dragon-Mounter ...") warns of imminent flood"

Lie-xian Z^uan item 45 = DZ 294 2:3a-b


"Several times, You Bozi helped members of the Su clan avoid disaster or attain good fortune"

Lie-xian Z^uan item 29 = DZ 294 1:14a-b


"Yin Si divines by lunascopy"

S^en-xian Z^uan


C^en Wu-din "understands the speech of animals"

S^en-xian Z^uan


"Guo Pu divines the cause of an illness; it lies in the fact that someone ... once cut down a great tree and killed the snake they found inside it"

Sou-s^en ji 3:15


"When Bo Shanfu spoke of any person’s fortunes from past times onward, ... it was as if he had seen them himself. He also knew whether what was about to happen was auspicious or inauspicious"

S^en-xian Z^uan


"Liu Jing knew the auspiciousness or inauspiciousness [of future events]"

S^en-xian Z^uan


"Yang Yuan ... had especially good understanding of celestial patterns and ... prognosticatory weft texts (chenwei). He could predict the flourishing or decline of all beings in the heavens and among men and could foretell fortune and misfortune in the nine provinces as easily as if he were gazing at them on his palm"

S^en-xian Z^uan

p. 165 prognostication from eggs blessed by lord Mao (the founder of S^an-qin), according to the S^en-xian Z^uan

"people established temples to Lord Mao ... . He would converse with them from inside a screen. In his comings and goings, ... sometimes he would change himself into a white crane. ... They would always bring ten cooked eggs and place them inside the screen. In a moment, he would throw them back, one by one. The people would take them home and crack them open." (Then the people could foretell their future according to the appearance of the yolks.)

pp. 166-168 several obnoxious temple-residing deities, according to the S^en-xian Z^uan

p. 166


"Ge Xuan once passed by a temple, the god of which often forced travelers to dismount ... . ... Xuan then ... threw a talisman up into the temple treetops. The birds there all fell down dead, and within a few days, all the trees had withered {cf. fig-tree withered by Iesous} ...; and soon thereafter ... a fire ... burned the temple entirely to the ground."



"There was an old temple, and inside the compound was a tree above which a light would often appear. <amy who stayed beneath that tree met violent deaths, and birds and beasts did not dare to nest in it. So Liu Ping exorcised it. ... the tree withered and died, and an enormous serpent, seventy or eighty feet long, was found hanging dead in its branches."



"Luan Ba was ... promoted to the post of Governor of Yuzhang district. [fn. 51 : "located in modern Nanchang district, Jiangxi Province"] Before he was made Governor of Yuzhang, there had been a god in the temple at mount Lu [fn. 52 : "located in Jiujiang district, Jiangxi Province"] , who would converse with people, ... and

p. 167


throw its cup n the air. The god could make the wind blow on Lake Gongting in two directions at once, so that travelers in either direction would have the wind in their sails. ... And so he [Luan Ba] set out, inquiring in many areas in the shrines at mountains and rivers, seeking the tracks of this demon. he traced it to the Qi domain [fn. 54 : "located in modern Linzi district, Shandong province"], where it had assumed the form of a student. ... The Governor, furthermore, not knwing that this really was a demon, had given him his daughter in marriage, and a son had been born of the match. ... Meanwhile, Ba ... wrote a talisman ... and gave it to the governor, saying, "Give this to your son-in-law ... ."

p. 168


When he had received the talisman, the son-in-law ... came out. On seeing Ba at a distance, his body already changed into that of a fox, but his face was still that of a human. Ba cursed him ... that he turned completely into a fox. ... At once, without Ba’s lifting a hand to cause it, the fox’s head was severed and fell to the floor. ... The boy to whom the governor’s daughter had given birth had already changed back into fox form."

p. 169 interactions between Wu Men & Gan Qin, during the Jin dynasty

statement upon return from the world of the dead : "suddenly he saw Lord Wu facing north and pleading for his release. The king [of souls of the dead] therefore released him from his shackles and ordered him to return. [On the way back] they were welcomed and received at whatever offices and bureaus they passed, and everyone extended invitations to Lord Wu, who acted as if he were of equal status to them all."

You-min Lu 74

p. 169, fn. 59 "on one occasion Wu Meng went into the grass as the hunters’ fire closed in from all sides, and the animals of the area all flocked to him for protection, the fire unable to reach them – at which point the terrified Gan Qing repented."

Dao-xue Z^uan, as quoted in TPYL 666:7a-b

TPYL = Li Fan : Tai-pin Yu-lan

pp. 170-171 divine entertainment by Wu Men, according to S^u-yi Ji by Zu C^on-zi (429-500 Chr. E.), as collected in LX, based on Fa-yuan Z^u-lin 31:521b; TPYL 41:5b-6a; and TPYL 66:1a-b

p. 170

"Atop Mount Lu ... they saw an old sire sitting beneath a cassia tree using a jade cup to receive sweet dew. He proffered it to Meng, who passed it around to all disciples. Then they proceeded to a place where they saw ranks of towers and capacious buildings, jade rooms and gold chambers, tinkling and sparkling;

p. 171

the radiance dazzled the eyes, and there were too many precious gems and jade vessels to recognize or name. ... They were served "jade salve" all day long."

LX = Lu Xun (ed.) : Gu Xiao-s^uo Gou-c^en

p. 171, fn. 67 adepts selling or begging in markets, according to the Lie-xian Z^uan

item 4

C^i-jian Zi-yu "sometimes sold string in the market".

" 13

"Xiao Fu, when young, was a shoe repairman in the market at Quzhou".

" 23

"Ge You sold sheep that he carved from wood".

" 27

"Kou Xian, a fisherman, sold some of his catch, ate some, let some go".

" 33

"Jiu Ke (The Alehouse guest) was an employee in a wine shop in the market of the capital of the state of Liang".

" 36

Z^u-ji Wen "(The Old Man Who Summoned Chickens) sold chickens and eggs, but later ... left to raise fish elsewhere".

" 37

Z^u Z^on "sold pearls in the Guiji market".

" 44

Du-zi "(The Herder) was seen at the foot of a mountain selling peaches and plums in winter".

" 49

C^an Ron "sold a purple herb to dyers".

" 53

Yin S^en "was a beggar in the market".

" 56

"Fu Lu: sold pearls, jewels, and jades he had collected on Fangzhang Isle".

" 66

"Nu: Ji (Lady Ji) sold wine in the market at Chen, and later, after acquiring a manual on sexual arts ..., she practiced those arts with young male clients at her tavern".

p. 172 the Box-carrying Master, according to the Lie-xian Z^uan

"Fuju xiansheng ... [the Box-carrying Master] always carried on his back a box [with equipment] for polishing mirrors; he frequented the markets of Wu asking to polish mirrors ... . ... Later, during an epidemic, he went to the doors of all the households to give out his drugs, saving myriads without accepting any money at all. ... Later he withdrew to a promontory on Mount Wu from which to dispense drugs to people by lowering them down. When he was about to depart, he said to those below, "It is my desire to return to Mount Penglai. I’m going to make a divine spring for you up here." One morning, water of a whitish color flowed".

p. 174 effect one one’s deeds in Scripture of the Jade Seal, as cited in Ge Hon’s Bao-pu-zi Nei-pien 3:53-54

diminution of life-spans by the deity "Director of Allotted Lifespans"

evil deed

diminution by __


a mark


a count

# of good deeds required for transcendences

good deeds

__ transcendence





Robert Ford Campany : Making Transcendents. U of HI Pr, Honolulu, 2009.