Making Transcendents, cap. 7

pp. 187-188 praeternatural attainments of transcendents

p. 187

"Wang Chiao and Chi Song ...

inhaled the harmony of yin and yang,

consumed the essences of Heaven and Earth,

expelled the old when exhaling while

taking in the new in inhaling,

raised themselves up to tread the void,

rode clouds and coursed through the mists."

Huai-nan-zi 20:353-4

p. 188

"ascend into the void,

tread amidst phosphors,

ride in a cloud-chariot with a rainbow canopy,

sup on mist from the aurora of dawn,

inhale the purified essence of "mystic yellow."

What one drinks there is liquor of jade and juice of gold;

what one eats is excrescences of blue and efflorescence of vermilion;

one dwells in halls of agate and chambers of jasper;

for travel, one roams aimlessly in Grand Purity."

Nei-pian 51-2

pp. 190, 192-193 travel by adept accompanied by family or by relative

p. 190

"Yin Changsheng ..., having received from his teacher the Scripture of the Divine Elixir of Grand Purity (Taiqing shendan jing ...), ... made the elixir it prescribed but "took only half a dose so as not to immediately finish the process of ascending to Heaven. ... He traveled all around the world, with his wife and children in tow; his whole family all achieved longevity without aging," ... Tang Gongfang ... (in a stele inscription) and Liu An (in widespread legend ...) are said to have taken their whole families with them into transcendence by sharing their elixirs; in Liu’s case, even his chickens and dogs ascended with the family".

p. 192

"there was a master of the Dao who excelled at divinations ... Chuqi approached and requested a divination [of his brother’s whereabouts]. The master said, "...

p. 193

on Goldflower Mountain. ..." Chuqi followed the master ... and ... found his brother. ... "Sheep get up!" Chuping shouted, and at this the white tocks all stood up and turned into several myriad head of sheep. ... Together they ate pine resin and fuling fungus. When they had done this for 5,000 days, they could disappear at will; they cast no shadows in sunlight and had the complexions of youths. ... ... They changed their surname to Chi ... . Chuqi changed [his style] to Luban ...; Chuping changed his to Songzi ... ."

pp. 195-196 Li C^an-zai

p. 195

Li C^an-zai "took in one son each from the families of ... his disciples, the Zeng and the Kong households. Each of the boys was seventeen or eighteen. ... Changzai gave each of the boys a green bamboo stave and sent them back home with instructions to place them at the spot where they slept at home ... . The two boys did as told ... . No one in the families saw the boys, but ... their coffins were opened and inspected, and only a green bamboo stave was found in each. [fn. 32 : "A closely similar episode is related in Ge Hong’s Inner Chapters 2, but there it is attached not to Li Changzai but to Li Yiqi."] ...

p. 196

More than seventy years after this, Changzai suddenly left ... some of his disciples found him living on Tiger Longevity Mountain, where he had taken yet another wife and had had sons. Generations of people kept seeing him, always the same as before, so they called him Ever-Present."

p. 202-204 Huan-di ("Yellow Thearch"), according to the Traditions of Exemplary Transcendents

p. 202

"The Yellow Thearch was titled Xuanyuan. ... As an infant he could already speak; sagely, he knew the future ... . He considered himself master of clouds and had the appearance of a dragon. He selected the day of his diappearance and ... he was returned to Mount Qiao and ... the mountain collapsed, revealing his coffin to be devoid of a corpse; only his sword and shoes were within.

The "Book on Transcendence" (Xian shu ...) says : The Yellow Thearch collected copper [or bronze] from Mount Shou and with it cast a tripod at the foot of Mount Jing : when it was complete, a dragon with a long trailing beard descended to welcome him, and the Thearch thus rose into the heavens. His courtiers and ministers seized hold of the dragon’s beard and thus followed the thearch upward; but because they had kept hold of the Thearch bow, ... the bow fell to earth ... . {cf. falling of the bow of [>ugaritic] >aqh.t} ... This is why later generations take the place to be Tripod Lake {cf. tripod (GM 154.g) from lake Tritonis in Argonautica} and call his bow the Crow’s Cry." {cf. the bow (GM 22.1) of Artemis, who shot at (GM 50.c) Koronis (‘crow’ GM 50.2)}

p. 203

"Xuanyuan may not be caught up or held on to." ("ME", p. 159, l. 53)


"the Thearch’s ministers, to commemorate him, built a temple to house his chair and staff ..., while others preserved his hat and robe". (Nei-pian 13:241)

GM = Robert Graves : The Greek Myths. 1955.

"ME" = Paul Kroll : "An Early Poem of mystical Excursion". In :- Donald Lopez (ed.) : Religions of China in Practice. Princeton U Pr, 1996. pp. 156-165

pp. 206-207 (written for, and approved by emperor Wu [of Former Han], "as if he were drifting away on the qi of the clouds and already roaming in space between heaven and earth" :-) Si-ma Xian-ru’s Da-ren Fu (‘Great-Man Rhapsody’), as quoted in full in S^i-ji 117:3052-62

p. 206

The royal adept, "beginning on the Central Continent, ... first flies east, then north to Taiyin ..., seeking perfected persons; he greets gods of the Northern Dipper ... . Returning to Taiyi ... asterism, he follows the transcendent Ziming of Lingyang ... . ... He has two other named transcendents (one of them Xianmen ...) as his footman and page, while the physician Qi Bo, who served the Yellow Thearch in this capacity, prepares a superior recipe for him. The god Zhurong ... goes ahead to clear the path of noxious qi. Riding in a cortege of a myriad cloud-topped chariots, he summons the god Goumang ... to go along with him as well. With this growing entourage he then turns south, visiting Yao and Shun on their respective mountains ... . The ruler and his party press on to encounter the creatrix Nu:gua ...; Pingyi ..., god of the Yellow River, is summoned to chastise the lords of wind and rain when the sky grows threatening. Gazing toward Mount Kunlun, they knock on Heaven’s gate and enter the Celestial Thearch’s palace, then depart, taking jade maidens with them. The protagonist then spies the Queen Mother of the West, a white-haired crone living in a cave lair, a three-legged crow her only servant, and utters ... : "... thus one must attain long life and not die ... ."

p. 207

... the ruler now turns his chariots about, aking for Buzhou and Youdu in the north, inhaling and ingesting vapors, dining on excrescences, blossoms, and gem flowers. ... He then quickly presses on, leaving the bounds of the known cosmos to continue northward, going out through the Dark Pass and Cold Gate at the northern extremity of reality.

Earth vanishes beneath him,

Heaven recedes above,

gazing into the blackness he can see nothing,

listening in the silence he can hear nothing;

"mounting the void, he ascends on high, surpassing all, companionless, to dwell alone."" {cf. [Jaina] arhant’s transcendent attainment of kaivalya ‘solitude’; like this Rhapsody, Jainism was patronized by the rulers}

p. 209 He-s^an Gon (‘River-Dwelling Sire’), according to Traditions of Divine Transcendents

When visiting by the traveling emperor, "the Sire clapped his hands, sat down, and then rose straight into the air until he was several dozen feet above the ground. Looking down, he made this reply : "Above, I do not reach as far as Heaven; ... below, I do not dwell on the earth. ...""

pp. 211-213 hagiography of Zuo Ci, pursued by Cao Cao & by Sun Ce

p. 211

"his was a way of the left." [fn. 86 : "Zuodao ..., ... a deviant, heteroprax religious path." {source of Vama-acara ‘left/perverse teaching’ in India}]


"Next, by means of a trick involving a floating wine-cup, he creates a diversion allowing him to escape".


"They had the sheep counted. {counting sheep = falling asleep} Originally there had been an even thousand of them, but now there was one extra, {1,001 is a number reckoned of deities in Daoism; and of >arabian Nights (nights for falling asleep)} so they knew that Ci had indeed transformed himself." {"Lamb of God"}

p. 212

"When the guards there were ready to torture ... Ci, there was one Ci inside the cell door and other Ci outside it, and they did not know which one to torture. ... As they were leading him out, Ci suddenly vanished. ... It was announced [that they were searching for a man who] was blind in one eye {"if thine eye be single ..."} and wearing a linen cloth wrapped on his head and a one-layer gown. ...

Later, as someone was traveling in from Jingzhou, they saw Ci".


"the ruler of Wu, Sun Ce, ... whipped his horse and brandished his spear as he chased Ci. Ci, who was wearing wooden clogs, podded slowly along leaning on his bamboo stave all the while, but neither Sun nor his troops could catch up with him. ...

p. 213

Ci crossed the Yangzi River, ... and entered a cave in Lesser Gua Mountain."

p. 213 praeternatural immobilization of the night-patrol

"Yang Qing often returned late from his disciples’ homes after dark. One time the Commander-in-Chief ran into him after dark. ... Qing also barked an order to his attendant spirits : "Tie up all of these night travelers!" Qing then went on his way, leaving the Commander and all his men and their horses, several dozen in all, immobilized there. The next morning, ... Qing loudly proclaimed : "Release all those who were detained last night for traveling after dark!" Only then was the Commander able to go."

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