Thursday, September 11, 2008

Zhang Guolao

Elder Zhang Guo is one of the Eight Immortals. He is known as Master Comprehension-of-Profundity .

Elder Zhang Guo was a Taoist occultist- who lived on Mount Tiáo in the Heng Prefecture during the Tang Dynasty. By the time of Empress Wu, he claimed to be several hundred years old. He also declared that he had been Grand Minister to the Emperor during a previous incarnation. Zhang Guo Lao was known for wandering between the Fen River & Chin territories during his lifetime and was known to travel at least a thousand li per day.

Zhang Guo also had a love for wine and winemaking. He was known to make liquor from herbs and shrubs as a hobby. Other members of the Eight Immortals drank his wine, which they believed to have healing or medicinal properties. He was also known to be a master of Taoist or Qigong and could go without food for days, surviving on only a few sips of wine.

He was the most of the eight immortals, as one can see from the kung fu style that was dedicated to him — which includes moves such as delivering a kick during a back flip, or bending so far back that your shoulders touch the ground.


In the twenty-third year of the reign-period K'ai Yüan of the Emperor of the Tang dynasty, he was called to the city of Luoyang in Henan, then the Eastern Capital of Tang and was elected as a Chief of the , with the honourable title of "Very Perspicacious Teacher".

It was just at this time that the famous Taoist Yeh Fa-shan, thanks to his skill in magic and necromancy, was in great favour at Court. The Emperor asked him who this Chang Kuo Lao was. "I know," replied the magician; "but if I were to tell your Majesty I should fall dead at your feet, so I dare not to speak unless your Majesty will promise that you will go with bare feet and bare head to ask Chang Kuo to forgive you, in which case I should immediately revive." Hsüan Tsung having promised, Fa-shan then said: "Chang Kuo is a white spiritual bat which came out of primeval chaos." No sooner had he spoken than he dropped dead at the Emperor's feet.

Hsüan Tsung, with bald head and feet, went to Chang Kuo as he had promised, and begged forgiveness for his indiscretion. The latter then sprinkled water on Fa-shan's face and he revived. Before long Chang Kuo claimed to feel sick and asked to return back to the Tiáo Mountains in Hêng Chou and was reported to have died there. When his disciples opened his tomb, they found it empty...

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