Han Xian-zi quan-z^uan, cap. 10-13

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


pp. 123-136 – 10. "Turtle & Egret Bring Calamity upon Themselves; Singing Daoist Songs".

pp. 130-131 a man at various ages



his ordinary condition (metaphor)

possibility for attainment



"just the right age to cultivate himself"

"pill of golden elixir"



"He’ll sleep with a living ghost"

"Cinnabar Sand"



"like a silkworm in a cocoon"

"rush mat or felt rug"



"many sexual relations"

"essence and spirit"



"like sesame seed ... roasted out"

"primordial yang"



"honey locust pods are crushed"

"should live to a hundred"



"fearful ... like a goat"

"joyful together"

pp. 132-133 sexual defeat of a man by a woman




"Dragon spittle among the bedsheets ["the famous concubine Baosi ... was conceived when her mother came into contact with dragon saliva" (p. 465, n. 10:7)] marks the beginning of the struggle;

Brocade petals ["infatuation with a woman" (loc. cit.)] are like a defeat at the enemy’s hands on the field."


"Yet you still dwell in the Pavilion of Linchun." ["the private abode of ... the last emperor of the Chen dynasty, who was known for his infatuation with his harem." (p. 465, n. 10:8)]


"Alas that the young girl

Should conceal a sword."


pp. 137-154 – 11. "In Disguise; a Stone Lion is Transformed into Gold".

p. 142 numbers

"In all the fifteen circuits and all the 358 prefectures, there is only one Zhongnan mountain range. ...

It is 108,785 miles by road".

p. 143 potentials of body-parts

"The crown of my head

is like Mt. Tai,

my feet

tread the Great Earth,

my hands

carry the sun and the moon,

I wear the blue sky at my waist

as a cudgel."

pp. 143-144 the 2 Xian-zi-s

p. 143

"Big Xiangzi is a man from Changli County in Yongping Prefecture ... . He is a disciple of the long-browed great immortal Li and is about a thousand years old."

p. 144

"[Little] Xiangzi imitates the Three August Emperors, wearing clothes made of grass and eating leaves."

pp. 144-149 various songs & sayings

p. 144

"years have passed ...,

Which I spent refining cinnabar sand in the Azure Sky grotto palace."

p. 146

"After ten days, the embryo body gives off a fragrance.

When there is a body outside the body,

the perfected being manifests itself."

p. 148

"An old saying goes, ‘A hundred years are like a fire flaring up,

a lifetime is like a floating bubble in the water.’ "

p. 149

"Though the sun stands high I am still asleep ... .

After getting up, I transmute myself some gold."

"I can sell wind, thunder, rain, and snow,

I can change stone to gold and sliver".

pp. 150-151 transmutations of stones




"Xiangzi manifested his divine powers and blew a mouthful of pneuma towards Sleeping Tiger Mountain. And really, not one little stone was left."


"Xiangzi said ... "... I’ll make that stone lion come walking in by itself." ... Xiangzi placed the handkerchief on the lion. ... Xiangzi blew a mouthful of immortal’s pneuma on the lion, which moved as if it were alive and came bounding inside."


But the lion soon "stopped and again became a gate-guarding stone lion". In order to achieve a permanent transformation, "Xiangzi once more placed the handkerchief on the lion. He let a grain of golden elixir roll from his bottle gourd and placed it in the lion’s mouth. He spat a mouthful of water on the lion, ... and then, pointing with his right hand, shouted, "The white tiger of the western mountain ... green dragon of the eastern sea ... – thereby they are transmuted in a lump of purple-gold frost. Transform now!"

Suddenly Heaven and Earth turned dark. After a while, a rosy light appeared, so intense one had to shield one’s eyes from its glare, and auspicious pneuma abounded in many colors. When Xiangzi removed the handkerchief to look, the lion had turned into gold."

p. 152 attempted pilfering, by Mme. Dou’s 2 servant-men, of elixir-pills out of Xian-zi’s bottle-gourd

"Zhang Qian tipped the gourd and let a pill roll out. However, when it rolled into his hand, it changed into a flame, which he tried in vain to drop.

Li Wan did not believe it and poured out another pill, but it changed into a variegated snake which coiled around his palm."


pp. 155-172 – 12. "Ascendeth the Southern Shrine; Dragon King Boweth".

pp. 165-167 snowfall-inducing ritual, by the Caelestial Heart Orthodox Method of the 5 Thunder Spirits




paraphernalia required :

10 new tables,

10 yellow flags,

10 flag-bearers,

10 earthen jars,

10 rush mats,

"a pig’s head,

a pot of wine, and

ten steamed buns"


Xian-zi devoured "the pig’s head and the big steamed buns".


While Xian-zi slept, in his dream he "was performing a sleeping prayer. While he was asleep ..., his yang spirit went straight to the gate of Southern Heaven. The celestial general guarding the gate ... led Xiangzi straight up to the Precious Palace of the Numinous Empyrean for an audience with the Jade Emperor. ... The jade Emperor quickly transmitted a decree commanding the dragon kings of the four seas, as well as the Rain Master and Wind Count ... . When he raised his hand, without fail there was to be wind, and when he brought his hands


together, snow was to fall."


Xian-zi took a flag from the hands of the attendant in the __

waved to toward the __ corner, and

called, "Dragon King __,

why is there no __?"




Ao Yin





Ao Run


p. 171 manifestation of dragon-kings & of their entourage

"Xiangzi waved a yellow flag toward the sky and shouted, "Dragon kings of the Four Oceans, quickly manifest your true appearance!" Before he had finished, the four dragon kings could be seen in the sky, writhing and dancing, flanked by innumerable

prawn spirits and

turtle generals,

crab masters and

fish earls."


pp. 173-189 – 13. "Riding an Auspicious Cloud; Discoursing on Complete Perfection".

p. 174 instance of levitaion

"Xiangzi ... waved his hand and a multicolored cloud lifted him up into the air."

p. 177 a praediction of blessings for the future

"an extraordinary person will come from the western land

to protect your reign for ten thousand years and

prolong the people’s blessings for a hundred million years."

pp. 177-178 the longevity-banquet


longevity __

longevity comparable with that of "ageless immortals of __"


fruits on platters

the Southern Mountain


inscriptions on golden cauldrons



the Pen-lai Isles




star of South Pole



the East




numinous c^un tree


pp. 180-181 speech by Xian-zi at his uncle’s birthday-party




"My home is under the astral palace of the northern Dipper, and

I play leisurely among the white jade towers of Southern Heaven."


"know that days pass quickly like the shuttle on the loom and

that time flies like an arrow".


"Health in old age" is like unto

"the lingering cold of the spring"

"the remaining heat of autumn"

"a bright lamp that has burned all night"

"the moon at dawn"

"dew on branches"

"frost on a wooden bridge"

"floating bubbles on water"

"snow on mountain peaks"

p. 181 riddles accurately answered by Xian-zi


its answer

"Why did you come here?

I can divine the moon on the horizon and light the lamp under water.

If there is no dust on the rock, how can you come to a conclusion?

By having the body riddled with a thousand iron awls.

Can there be an inextinguishable fire in a stove?

Pour down a great river and pour it over the stove."

Xian-zi correctly interpreted the sign of 2 stalks of grass and the head of someone seated "on the wooden crossbeam of the second gate" as an invitation "to drink tea."

p. 184 grandiose self-description by Xian-zi

"In the time it takes to turn my back,

Heaven and Earth become narrow;

in the twinkling of my eyes,

sun and moon darken.

In my hand

the pillars of Heaven are lined up;

under my feet

the waves of the ocean are calmed.

The mountains

are my teeth;

moss and plants

are my hair-roots.

The sands of the River of Eternity

are my food;

through my pores

shine the stars."

p. 185 former incarnations of Lao-zi

in the reign of __

Most High Lord Lao manifested himself as __

1st of the 3 Sovereigns

"Ritual Master of the Ten Thousand Methods"

2nd of the 3 Sovereigns

sir Pan Gu

Fu Xi

"Master Denseflower"

the Divine Farmer

"Master Great Attainment"

the Yellow Emperor

"Master Far-reaching Attainment"


"Master Following Response"


"Master Red Essence"

emperor Ku

"Master Lu-tu"

emperor Yao

"Master Who Has Completed His Striving"

emperor S^un

"Master Yin-s^ou"

king Tan

"Master Xi-ze"

p. 185 biography of latest incarnation of Lao-zi

"At the time of Tang Jia he divided his spirit and tranformed his pneuma and

lodged in the womb of the Jade Maiden of Mystery and Wonder

for eighty-one years, until he was born under a plum tree

in Quren Village of Lai District of Ku County in the land of Chu.

Pointing to the plum tree, he took Li (‘plum’) as his surname;

his personal name was Er (‘ear’),

his style Boyang, and

his posthumous name Dan.

In the time of King Wu of Zhou, he served first as palace librarian, then as archivist.

In the time of King Zhao, he crossed the Hangpu Pass,

on which occasion he delivered the guardian of the pass, Yin Xi.

Later he descended at the Black Sheep Shop in Shu

to meet again with Yin Xi and together with him

deliver the barbarian lands beyond the desert.

It was only in the time of King Mu that he returned to China.

In the age of King Ping, he left China again

to bring transformation to the kings of Su and Lin.

Again he returned to China. ...

In the seventh year of King Jing, Confucius inquired after the Dao with Lord Lao. ...

In the time of King Lie, he traversed the state of Qin.

After Duke Xian of Qin had inquired with him after his destiny,

Lao left by the San Pass.

In the reign of King Nan, he flew up to Mount Kunlun.

In the Qin dynasty, he descended to the banks of the Gorge River, where,

under the name of Elder on the River, he instructed Master Anqiu."

p. 186 a further self-characterization by Xian-zi

"I come without a shadow, I leave without a trace.

I disperse myself to become pneuma, I gather myself to become form.

I pass through metal and stones and suffer no obstruction.

I endure as long as Heaven and Earth.

The time it takes for rocks to rot and oceans to dry up is just a moment for me."

pp. 186-187 the meaning of the components of ‘complete perfection’

p. 186

definition of ‘completeness’ :

"When one’s essence and pneuma are not wasted, and

the yang spirit is not dispersed;

when one supplements the elixir fields and

opens the stomach lodge;

when one lives without disease in eternal youth for a thousand years"

p. 187

definition of ‘perfection’ :

"when cold and heat do not affect one and

water and fire cannot harm one"

p. 187 description of subconscious (automatic) mental activity

Flying by birds and diving by fishes are taken as examples of this.

The mental process is said to be intermediary between deliberation and non-deliberation.

"The space between the presence and absence of deliberation is called the movement of heavenly force. ... That by which the force is moved is Heaven.

All things are moved by the force and are sent to oblivion by the force.

And in each case it is due to their Heaven-endowed nature."

p. 187 Xian-zi’s excuse for his own not kowtowing

"yesterday ..., I didn’t make it in time to the gate of Southern Heaven ... .

Next I tried the Penglai Isles,

then the Peach Spring Grotto, but each time I was too late.

When I finally got to the Chaoyang Grotto at Mount Hua in Shaanxi,

its gate also was closed. Those two idlers Cool Breeze and Bright Moon

wouldn’t let me in. I hurried towards

the Bixia Grotto at Mount Wudang, but on the way

I happened to see the goddess Bixia Yuanjun,

who told me she was on her way to somewhere else.

And so I returned to the gate of Southern Heaven and

napped for a while on the Seven Stars Rock.

All that strenuous walking has overtaxed my back."

p. 187 poe:m describing the affairs of the immortals

"A mulberry orchard changes into an ocean, an ocean into an orchard -- ...

Riding the mists and mounting clouds,

why would I count the days?

Eating clouds and swallowing pneuma,

I don’t notice the passing years."

p. 188 exploitation of commoners by the nobles

"A long line of nobles in purple gowns, ... they give themselves heroic airs. ...

The good wine in their glasses is the people’s blood,

The rich mutton they have minced is the people’s fat.

... those in office do not aid the people, ... they wrongly receive ... emoluments."


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