Han Xian-zi quan-z^uan, cap. 5-9

"The complete story of" (p. xv) Han Xian-zi


pp. 65-77 – 5. "Cutting down the Hibiscus; Waiting at the City-Gate"

p. 65

"What difference is there between human life and the dream of Southern Bough?

["a dreamer living a lifetime in the Ant Kingdom of Southern Bough (Nanke), before awakening" (p. 462, n. 5:1) {emmets : "Each was once an Indra." (Brahma[n]-vaivarta Puran.a -- HI)} {Indra was taught about dreams by Praja-pati (according to ChU 9:12, cited in, e.g., SHI, p. 50); as well as about dreamless sleep (ChU 11:1), and about immortality (ChU 12:1)}] ...

Soon the Dragon’s Daughter will offer up her pearl, and

A crane mount will come circling down from the Nine Heavens."

HI = http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/2003-June/033481.html

ChU = Chandogya Upanis.ad

SHI = Prabhavananda : The Spiritual Heritage of India. Vedanta Pr, Hollywood. http://books.google.com/books?id=zupDCwE73O0C&pg=PA50&lpg=PA50&dq=

pp. 74-75 physical description of Han Xian-zi

"His hair is bound in a yin-yang pattern.

He wears a dark brown patched robe.

He beats a fisher drum, sings Daoist prayers, and

wears tied hemp sandals."


pp. 78-88 – 6. "Abandoning His Family Bonds; a Transformed Beauty Tempeth".

p. 80 from apparitional house to Z^on-nan mountains is 108,985 li.

p. 81 "those girls in brothels are called ‘older sisters.’ "

p. 83 "Whenever ascetics see a woman, they’re like leeches stinging for blood – all they want is to penetrate inside."

p. 84 ""I won’t let you go," the girl replied. "If you want the official settlement, I’ll start screaming and say that you, an ascetic, have raped a girl of good family. ... I’ll have the local official send you to the magistrate. He’ll ... display you in a cangue ... . ... If you agree to ... marry me, ... That’s the private settlement.""

p. 85 the 2 itinerant Daoists

"they possessed divine powers that could lift up the heavens and

pull up the earth, and well as

magical methods that could stir up the sea and

overturn the rivers.

They would tip over their gourds and let fly a thousand rays of auspicious pneuma.

They would swish about their flybrushes and gather up ten thousand kernels of golden elixir."

p. 86 return of a prodigal son to his parents


pp. 89-98 – 7. "Tigre and Snake Block the Road; Monsters and Daimones Flee from Perfect Fire".

p. 90 "little Daoist ... must have been born from a hollow mulberry tree, or else come into the world by bubbling up from a river." "A tiger ghost called out, and a mountain elf responded."

p. 92 legendary snakes

"the white dragon who, disguised as a fish, fell into Yu Qie’s net" ["a white dragon which, when swimming about in the form of a fish, loses an eye when shot at by the fisherman Yu Qie ... . The dragon accuses Yu Qie in front of the Celestial Emperor" (p. 463, n. 7:2)]

"Sunshu Ao, who buried the double-headed snake ... in Chu" ["As a boy, Sunshu Ao ... (6th cent. BCE) came across a double-headed snake lying on the road." (p. 463, n. 7:4)]

"Peigong of Han, who punished with his sword the snake who blocked the road" ["One of the exploits of Liu Bang ..., the founder of the great Han dynasty." (p. 463, n. 7:5)]

p. 92 "The two masters Zhong and Lu: ... materialized the snake and the tiger to frighten".

pp. 93-95 the daimon judge under the Yellow Sand Tree; Perfect Fire




"A hideous head, like that of a snake-dragon coming out of an earth-hole. ...

His body an indigo overlayed with red, long teeth in his blue face."


" "... I particularly like to eat the liver and gall of living people .... . ..." ...

the demon judge ... raised the flames ... and fanned the smoke ... . .... In the smoke and flames appeared ... monstrous things long and short, big and small. ... Ten thousand maggots crowded together, a rank odor fell onto the earth, and a thousand ants accumulated. ... But fortunately Xiangzi ... spat out a flaming red Perfect Fire, which ... emerges from the Cinnabar Field and passes out through the throat. ... without smoke, it jumps from the Niwan Palace, its brilliance shaking the silvery sea. Blazing ..., dazzling red, it shoots straight up to the constellations of Dipper and Herdboy. ,,, Soaring and red, this


fire distantly rushes into the Milky Way. ... Truly your mind’s spirit terrace has its own seeds --- ... they are produced in the heart’s vermilion palace ... .

When Xiangzi spewed forth this Perfect Fire, three feet and three inches high, it scattered all the demons."

pp. 95-98 Z^on-nan mountains




Green cliffs and azure ranges ..., soaring loftily to touch the layered clouds. Red precipices and blue peaks tens of thousands of feet high, rocky summits linking up with the higher realms. ... It really is the place of the grottoes of gods and immortals, a ladder to the Penglai Isles. ...


As Xiangzi hastened up the mountain, ... a signboard with golden letters was visible. ... In a cave in the distance he saw an immortal sitting on a stone bed. ... Just then he heard the sound of a flute in the distance. When he looked carefully, a herdsboy, astride a black ox, was riding by in the woods. ... And really, the herdsboy rode the ox straight over to Xiangxi and called on him to climb up on its back. The herdsboy sat before him, playing on his flute ... . ...


"If you are talking about that Zhongli," replied the herdsboy, "He’s a hot-tempered, covetous demon. ... Daoist Lu: ... played selfishly with White Peony, sold false ink in Dingzhou, and hawked poor combs in Xunyang. ... Zhong and Lu: ... are not far from here. I can take you there all right.""


pp. 99-111 – 8. "Numinous Sign to the Upper Realm; the Elixir Cauldron".

p. 99 Cauldron & Stove

"If the spirit is settled, the Jade Cauldron will be firm and settled.

If the mind is busy, the Elixir Stove will be unfocused."

pp. 100-102 the ride on ox-back, and the reception by the 2 masters at their hermitage


ride & reception


a neighbor to the hermitage : "When they had walked on another fifteen paces, five hundred blue birds came flying, circled around the bodhisattva three times, and left again. {divine blue cuckoos of Bon?} After a while celestial standard-bearers led the bodhisattva up to the heavenly realm."


approach to the hermitage : "Xiangzi descended from the back of the ox and ran on for several miles, skipping like a swallow and leaping like a snow goose in his excitement."


arrival at the hermitage : "a young Daoist ... asked, "Would you be the crane boy from the mouth of the Xiang River in Cangwu Prefecture?" ... The Daoist youth went inside and reported Xiangzi’s presence to the two masters Zhong and Lu:. They said, "Han Xiang is the crane boy. ..." ...


Master Zhong called to Master Lu:, "... you take him on as your disciple.""

pp. 102-103 semi-retired officials as denizens of Z^on-nan mountains




"There is a sort of person who ... withdraws into these mountains and never enters the city or the gates of officials, so as to increase his reputation. Important persons who meet him on the road treat him respectfully, like a lucky star or an auspicious cloud ... . ... And everyone will say that he is a good fellow. ...


‘I never intended to seek riches and prestige; who would have known that riches and prestige would come after me?’ "

p. 103 the 3 isles of Pen-lai

"Penglai is located at the center of the ocean ... . The distance between its eastern, western, southern, and northern shores is five thousand miles each way, so that it is square in shape. Because it is wide on top, it is [like unto] Mount Kunlun.

On that mountain there is a copper pillar {cf. rN~in-ma "Copper Mountain" island}, its height reaching into the sky. This is the so-called Pillar of Heaven. Its circumference is three thousand miles, and it is perfectly round ... . At its foot there is a stone building, which houses the nine government offices of the immortals. On the pillar’s top there is a great bird, whose name is Rare. Facing south, its extended right wing covers the Royal Lord of the East and its left wing the Queen Mother of the West. {this would imply a round world, with the bird ‘Rare’ at ‘Copper Mountain’ (Billings in Montana, or else Timmins in Ontario?), right wing-tip reaching ‘the East’ (Nippon?) and left wing-tip ‘the West’ (Britain?).} On its back there is a narrow area without feathers which stretches for nineteen thousand miles." {"Barren Ground" in District of MacKenzie, Northwest Territories?}

Once a year the Queen Mother of the West {lady Zane Grey, Mary queen of Scots, or Elizabeth the "Fae:ry Queen"?} ascends its wings to go to the Royal Lord of the East {the Mikado?}. ... On the bird the inscription says, "There is a bird named rare, its beak red and its golden eye glittering. It does not cry and does not eat. ...’

Above there is a palace of gold, jade, and crystal, surrounded by embroidered clouds that dazzle the eye and a vermilion mist that gives off nine rays of light. This is the office of the Overseers of Destiny of the Three Heavens".

pp. 105-106 the Golden Elixir




"The Golden Elixir is composed of the unified pneuma of Former Heaven ... . It is the mother ..., and is therefore called the Lead Tiger [Tigress]. "One’s own perfected pneuma came into being after the separation of Heaven and Earth. It is the son ..., and therefore called the Mercury Dragon. ...

The Mercury Dragon and the Lead Tiger [Tigress] combine in the Divine Chamber to produce a sacred embryo".


"With two hexagrams per day, we arrive at sixty hexagrams in a month. {should be 61, as a solar month is 30 ˝ days} ...


The accomplished person ... If he moves zi and wu, the tally and the fire, in accordance with the sun’s varying lengths of day and night and the moon’s increases and decreases over time, then he will secretly unite with the Great Dao and complete the Great Elixir."

pp. 106-107 guarding the Elixir Cauldron; Xian-zi’s visions of his own family


Cauldron & family


"Then they took Xiangzi to a pure house, quite unli8ke the dwelling of ordinary mortals. Variegated clouds hovered about its roof; simurghs and cranes soared above it. In the main room stood an elixir cauldron ... . From it, purple flames gave forth a light that brilliantly illuminated ... .Several jade maidens sat around the cauldron, and a green dragon and a white tiger where placed at its front and back. ... After a short while ten thousand chariots and a thousand horsemen ...


suddenly covered the cliffs and valleys all around, their shouting so loud it startled Heaven and shook Earth. Among them was a man more than ten feet tall, his body covered in golden armor, its brilliance dazzling the eye. ...

Suddenly thousands of fierce tigers and poisonous dragons, lions, vipers, and scorpions struggled forward ... . Some jumped over his head, others coiled around his arms. After a short while they disappeared. Then thunder rolled and lightning struck. The sky darkened, heavy rain poured down, and ... Within a very short time the courtyard was filled with water ten feet deep. ...

After a while the rain stopped and the ox-headed underworld soldiers and horse-faced ghost kings surrounded him on all sides, holding spears and lances, knives and tridents. They set a large cauldron in front of Xiangzi, filled with a hundred gallons of seething oil ... . They had already seized Xiangzi’s wife Luying and held her at the bottom of the stairs. They flogged her until ... Luying cried out to Xiangzi, "... Now I’ve been seized by ghost soldiers and cannot bear the pain. ..." ... Suddenly Luying vanished and the ghost soldiers scattered. Instead Xiangzi now saw King Yama of the Tenth Court of Hell. He was seated ..., and a hundred prisoners were kneeling ..., among them Xiangzi’s mother, Mme. Zheng, and his father, Han Hui. He heard King Yama give the order to ... pound and grind the prisoners ... . The sounds of screaming and wailing reached everywhere.

After a short while the sky cleared and the stars shone forth. All the extraordinary phenomena had vanished."

pp. 109-110 Daoist sexual practices : woman’s 3 Peaks; 5 sexual activities


sexual practice


"A woman’s mouth, nose, and tongue are her Upper Peak.

The two hollows beneath her tongue ... connect with the meridian of the lower intestine.


... you have to such fast on the tip of the woman’s tongue ... . Then the Jade Spring will surge forth from the Flowery Pond ... .


Taking the clear pneuma in her nose, you send it down to the Elixir Field ... . This is called the Upper Lotus Flower Peak.


A woman’s two breasts are her Middle Peak. When you copulate, you knead her nipple with your hands. ... Inside there is a perfected pneuma, ... derived from the gallbladder among the Three Cavities. ... This is called the Middle Lotus Flower Peak.


A woman’s vagina is her Lower Peak. As the numinous turtle enters the tripod, ... you draw in her essence. This is called the lower Lotus Flower Peak.


As for the Secret Formula in Five Characters, it is ‘Concentrating, inhaling, locking, absorbing, and contracting.’


‘Concentrating’ means stabilizing one’s ... double spinal passes. ...


‘Inhaling’ means that at the time of copulation you have to think of your jade stalk as a conduit of pneuma ... to ... have it penetrate the Niwan Palace.


‘Locking’ means that you must tightly lock the Human gate. ...


‘Absorbing’ means to take her essential pneuma while entering very slowly ... .


‘Contracting’ means that during copulation you must pull in your ribs ... .


The formula says, ‘Inhale after concentrating,

lock after inhaling,

absorb after locking,

contract after absorbing.’ ...

If you observe the required speed at each stage, you will naturally attain immortality and live forever like the sun and the moon."

["This outline of sexual technique is a paraphrase of Exposition of Cultivating the True Essence by the Great Immortal of the Purple Gold Splendor (Zijin Guangyao Daxian xiuzhen yanyi ...)" (p. 464, n. 8:11)]

p. 111 the completed Great Elixir

"They saw the light of the moon and the glitter of the stars, the curtains brilliantly illuminated, the pearl completed, the size of a millet grain, and a dazzling golden flower. ...

The two masters took it up in their hands and placed it in a dish one inch square on the elixir platform. They ordered Xiangzi ... to inhale the elixir through his nose {snuff} and let it rise to the Niwan Palace. His perfected pneuma then naturally descended into the sea of primordial pneuma, where it surged up in waves, merging with the elixir.

Thereupon his ordinary body was changed ... and transformed."

"pay court to the Northern Palace.

In the light of nine-colored clouds ride soaring simurghs."


pp. 112-122 – 9. "Name is Recorded at the Purple Office; 2 Shepherds Recognize a Divine Immortal".

pp. 112-113 the return to heaven




"Having spent a hundred and two autumns in the world ...,

He joyfully gathers all the seeds of the mushroom field.

The light arises in the silver sea, ...

Pneuma is gathered in the Flower Pond, the water flows upstream.

The Golden Tripod is filled with the Dragon and the Tiger,

In the Jade Pot Mercury and Lead are distinguished.

... he will soon return to the Isles of Penglai".


"After Xiangzi had escaped his mortal body and transcended the world, ... the two masters Zhong and Lu: led him on a journey beyond the seas, ... visiting the immortals and perfected of many generations, as well as the Daoists of the Penglai Isles. They traveled across the sky ..., roaming widely in the clouds, ... gazing at the scenery of the realm of the immortals. ...


Their spirit traveled to the Purple Office in the Jade Pond,

Their names were inscribed in the grottoes of the Cinnabar Terrace."


"the Jade Emperor ascended his throne in the Precious Palace of the Dragon Empyrean. Bells rang without being struck. drums sounded without being beaten to summon {in a total of 8 * 3 = 24 grottoes : cf. the "twenty-four" in Apokalupsis of Ioannes 4:4}

the celestial immortals of the upper eight grottoes,

the divine immortals of the middle eight grottoes,

the terrestrial immortals of the lower eight grottoes, and

the numberless unassigned immortals.

They all arranged themselves in lines and proceeded to the Great Immortality Peach Assembly.

The two masters Zhong and Lu:, together with Xiangzi, also left their grotto-heaven, to ... proceed to the Jasper Pool to attend the assembly. However, when the divine general who guarded the gate of Southern Heaven saw Xiangzi approaching from afar, he locked the gate with his golden key and would not let him in. ... Xiangzi advanced with the steps of Yu and blew off the golden lock with a breath of perfected pneuma of Former Heaven.


The immortals ascended to the Golden Palace, where they saw ... :

Jasper Heaven high and wide {"And the building of the wall of it was of jasper" (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 21:18). "The first foundation was jasper" (ibid., 21:19).},


the Jade Throne majestic {"there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald" (ibid., 4:3). [green emerald = green jade.]} ...;


emperors and kings seated upright {"And round about the throne were ... seats : and upon the seats I saw ... elders sitting" (ibid., 4:4).}, empresses and concubines lined up in orderly ranks.


On both side stars were arrayed in rows {"seven stars" (ibid., 1:16)} ... .


Jade ornaments were wound around the halls; on the Jasper Terrace fluttered colorful festoons.


Auspicious clouds hovered {"Behold, he cometh with clouds" (ibid., 1:7).};


in the Precious Pavilion fragrant smoke stirred the senses. Indistinct the shapes of phoenixes and simurghs; floating and sinking in the shadows of gold and jade.


Above were set beacon towers {"lamps of fire burning before the throne" (ibid., 4:5)}, emitting purple lightning {"And out of the throne proceeded lightnings" (loc. cit.)} of eightfold preciousness.


In the middle were arranged several layers of green jade tablets, bearing a thousand flowers in blue-green pots.


On the feast tables {"marriage-supper" (ibid., 19:9)} were placed phoenix marrow and dragon liver, monkey lips and bear claws.


In the flasks were Precious Pearl {cf. Hellenistic pearl liqueur, quaffed by, e.g., Kleopatra} and Amber brew, purple wine, and fragrant liqueur." {cf. wine at marriage-supper in Kana (Euanggelion of Ioannes 2:9-10)}

p. 116 bestowals & enfeoffment conferred upon Han Xian-zi by the Jade Emperor

"We bestow upon you three golden writs which give you control,

above, of the thirty-tree heavens;

in the middle, of good and evil in the human world; and

below, of the underworld."

"We bestow upon you a headdress representing sun and moon,

the purple eight trigrams robe of the immortals, and

a densely woven flower basket which contains unfading flowers and fruits of eternal spring {cornucopia}; furthermore

you shall have a heaven-reaching fisher drum whose two ends represent yin and yang, and

two clappers with which you can subdue dragons and tigers."

"We enfeoff you as the Immortal of Universal Deliverance Who Opens the Primordium and Performs Magical Techniques, Greatly Initiating Transformations by his Teachings."

"We shall order the two generals Ma and Zhao to accompany you and be at your disposal."

p. 117 bestowals upon Han Xian-zi by the Queen Mother of the West

"The Queen Mother said, "I bestow upon you three golden tablets.

The first lets you investigate the thirty-three Heavens, the eighteen levels of Purgatory, good and evil, life and death.

The second golden tablet gives you authority over the dragon kings of the four seas, and over the thirty-six celestial generals, who will all follow you and obey your commands.

With the third golden tablet you control wind and clouds, thunder and rain,

the city and earth gods of all districts, regions, counties, and cities, as well as

the Yama Emperors of the ten courts of Purgatory."

p. 117 the 2 categories of praeternatural light

"a will-o’-the wisp ... If a bluish and shining light in the evening that moves back and forth above the ground, now closer, now further away – that’s a demonic fire.

This fire now is a shiny yellow and it penetrates the Heavenly Court. Besides, it’s just noontime. From these circumstances we can tell that a divine immortal is in that place."

p. 118 accoutrements of Han Xian-zi

on head

"a court official’s cloth of black silk, with two rings in the shape of an old dragon’s eyes dangling from the back, burnished"

from above

"were suspended two green gauze bands representing yin and yang."

dressed in

"a purple ribboned robe, inlaid with the seven stars, and adorned with the patterns of the Northern Dipper and the Eight Trigrams."

around waist

"was tied a Lugong sash made of the beards of nine dragons woven together into a double grain ear patters."


"were shod with flat-soled boots for ... traversing seas, and walking on clouds and mists."

in hand

"held a brightly polished fisher drum made from a sturdy pine branch".


Yang Erzeng (trans. by Philip Clart) : The Story of Han Xiangzi. U of WA Pr, Seattle, 2007.