Han Xian-zi quan-z^uan

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


pp. 235-250 – 17. "Manifesteth Transformations; Is Entangled in Love".

p. 236 magical productions

"behold, the empty jar filled up with wine. ... Altogether he poured 365 cups from a single jar."

"behold, out of the slab grew several green leaves with a stem rising from them. On top of the stem a lotus flower opened, golden and fresh."

pp. 237-238 his divine home

p. 237

"my home is within the Gate of Southern Heaven, ... just beside the Great Ultimate Palace of the Dragon Empyrean". "Only the Jade Emperor’s residence is called the Great Ultimate Palace of the Dragon Empyrean".

"It is always pleasant there, never cold. Five-colored auspicious lights are constantly present as deities assemble. Monkeys present fruit, and deer hold flowers in their mouth."

p. 238

his deposition : "The deponent declares his rank among the immortals. ... I have resided all my life between Heaven and Earth, with my constant residence in the Penglai Islands. ... I have received the Dao methods transmitted by the Lord Lao and have become enlightened to the Mysterious Perfection. By day I travel on simurghs and cranes to the Penglai Isles, at night I fly on clouds to stay at the immortals’ pavilions. I honor the lords of the South Pole and the Eastern Florescence as my landlords, and the Northern Dipper and the Western Mother as my neighbors. ... I am the Immortal Minister of Great Veil Heaven Who Widely Brings Relief, Greatly Propounds Transformation by the Teachings, and Opens the Primordium to Apply the Techniques of the Dao."

pp. 239-240 his confession of his human identity

p. 239

" "My uncle is a Minister of Rites. ... My uncle is Han Yu, styled Tuizhi. My aunt is Mme. Dou, who has appointed a wife of the second rank. ...

p. 240

My study name is Han Xiang, my style Qingfu. At three years of age I lost my father, at seven my mother. From then on I was raised by my uncle and my aunt. At nine I studied books, at twelve I studied the Dao. At fifteen I married Luying, the precious daughter of the scholar Lin.""

pp. 242, 244 his description of his lifestyle during exile

p. 242

" "I boiled sealwort ... And ate my fill of them ... . ...

In a stone gong there always bubbled a clear spring,

In an earthen bowl often floated mysterious wine."

I lived in that excellent place, the Zhongnan Mountains, ...

p. 244

I read the Yellow Court Scripture from beginning to end.

I understood the Mystery and ... awakened to the Unborn."

"Han Zhongli opened his shrine and expounded his teachings,

Lu: Dongbin transmitted the methods and taught the Dao. ...

I ascended as a companion of the immortals"".

pp. 245-246 advice imparted by him

p. 245

" "your longevity will be like that of Heaven,

And you will joyfully attain eternal life without aging. ...

p. 246

If wealth is extensive it harms its owner;

A high official injures himself. ...

When rebirth is imminent,

Chickens fly,

Hares rush about –

Until their eyes are fixed in the stare of death.""

pp. 246-247 the fetching of a divine banquet from heaven

p. 246

" "I have a little present I would like to give you on this occasion . ...

It’s in the Azure Grotto-Heaven. ...

p. 247

I’ve already dispatched the immortal youths Cool Breeze and Bright Moon to the immortality peach banquet in the Azure Grotto-Heaven to borrow forty dishes with which to congratulate you on your birthday. ..."

... the official got up to see the two youths, who possessed the ineffable appearance of immortals, descend from the sky into their midst. ... "In our flower basket are precious delicacies from Heaven and jade nectar from the Jasper Pool," they replied. ... Then Cool Breeze took the things out of the flower basket one by one, and Bright Moon arranged them one by one on the tables. ... the dishes were all extraordinary things rarely seen or heard of."

pp. 248-250 temporary transmutation of a partition-wall into a mountain for strolling on

p. 248

" "What if I paint a mountain on that partition wall there and we go for a walk with the lords?"

"The partition wall already has a unicorn painted on it," Tuizhi told him. ...

"I’ll call down the unicorn first, before I paint the landscape." ... "Beast, what are you waiting for that you still haven’t come down?" he shouted loudly. With a sound as if Heaven fell down and Earth collapsed, the unicorn jumped down from the wall, ran out the door, and stood guard in front of it without moving. Xiangzi then took a straw broom and randomly swept it over the partition wall. And, lo and behold, ... now it was transformed into real mountains and real waters. ...

p. 249

Xiangzi ... waved to the officials and called ..., "... why don’t you ... lords climb the mountain and walk around for a while." Very excited, the officials all followed him up the mountain. After a while they had to cross a river by way of a single log. Below, the water fell into an abyss with a sound like roaring thunder, the foam white like snowy silk. It was very frightening to tread on this log. ...

When Xiangzi ... pushed once with his hand, ... the

p. 250

officials were suddenly back in the hall. On the partition wall was as before a unicorn, and the immortal youths and Xiangzi were gone."

"Clearly the divine immortals’ road was at hand,

But alas, ordinary mortals would not walk it."


pp. 251-264 – 18. "Emperor Respectfully Welcometh; Indignant Protest"

p. 252 magical peaches fetched from heaven

on the __ spur of the heavenly mountain

there is a peach tree having fruit the size of a __

if a __ eateth one,

it becometh an __












immortal crane

"Right away two immortal youths descended from the sky, each carrying a tray of peaches".

pp. 253-256 his admonitions; the white cat; his report, guided via his teachers, to heaven; approval for his plan from the Jade Emperor

p. 253

"I admonish you to turn back soon and seek a friend beyond this world. ...

Is it not better to be like Zhang Liang, who retired from his office

And went to roam with Master Red Pine?"

p. 254

"Suddenly a white cat belonging to the household ran in and ate it all up. Immediately it changed into a white phoenix and flew off into the sky." {This white cat ought to be a member of the group of animals (on p. 252) on the directional mountain-spurs, in this case on the northeast.}

p. 255

"Xiangzi flew on his cloud straight to the Zhongnan Mountains to visit his teachers Zhong and Lu:. ... As soon as they had heard what Xiangzi had to say, the two masters ascended with him to the gate of Southern Heaven and reported to the Jade Emperor. ... When the Jade Emperor heard this report, he ... sent out the ministers of the Celestial Office to check the records. They reported back that according to the records, Han Yu of Changli County in Yongping Prefecture had originally been the Attendant Great General of the palace. Because he ... smashed a crystal cup, he had been banished to be reborn in the human world. ...

Xiangzi replied. "... I’ll transform my clapper into a bone of Shakyamuni Buddha.

p. 256

Together we will go to the imperial court and present the bone to Emperor Xianzong. Once my uncle Han Yu remonstrates with Xianzong, the emperor ... will exile him as a prefect to Chaozhou. On the road in the Qin Mountains, I will make his horse die and his servants scatter. Then I will deliver him." The Jade Emperor approved the proposal and sent Lan Caihe off to accompany Xiangzi."

pp. 257, 259 the emperor’s dream; arrival of the relic-bone

p. 257

"Xiangzi sent a dream spirit to the palace to give a dream to the emperor. ... Xiangzong saw in his dream ... a deity in golden armor, holding a bow in his left hand and two arrows in his right. He shot the arrows at Xianzong and they hit the center of his golden crown. Xianzong awoke with a start ... . The next morning he summoned his officials and said, "We had a dream last night. ... Does it bode it or well?" Holding his tablet of office before his chest, Scholar Lin knelt before the throne and reported, "... A man holding a bow and two arrows is the character fo ("Buddha"). ..."

Just then, two foreign monks arrived in front of the Palace of the five Phoenixes. They were carrying a large ... casket ... . The casket contained ... rosy light and auspicious pneuma. In loud voices the monks called, "Emperor of the Great Tang, listen! The Buddha ... sent ... to instruct the Elder Gold Cicada, who ascended the Thunder Clap Monastery in Western Heaven ... . [p. 468, n. 18:1 "Elder Gold Cicada is the earlier incarnation of Tripitaka, the fictionalized monk Xuanzang in Journey to the West (Xiyou ji). See chapter 12 of that novel."] ...

p. 259

Now here is a finger bone left behind by the World-Honored One when he returned to Heaven. It weighs nine pounds and six ounces and was located at the Phoenix Soaring Monastery. It is said that it was displayed once every thirty years and that year was always one of bountiful harvests and peace. We have come especially to present it to Your Majesty ... . ...." ...

When Xianzong saw the auspicious light and swirling pneuma, he was overjoyed."

pp. 260-263 praesentation of a remonstrative memorial to the emperor

p. 260

"Minister of Rites Han Yu ... submitted the following memorial to Emperor Xianzong :"


emperor __

reigned __ years

and lived __ years


‘Yellow’ [Huan]




S^ao Hao




Z^uan Xu











p. 261

"Emperor Gaozu ... determined to eradicate Buddhism."

p. 262

Those "worshipping the Buddha ... will cauterize the crowns of their heads, burn off their fingers, ... hacking off their limbs and mutilating their bodies".


"And the feudal lords of olden times when making a visit of condolence even within their own state still would not approach without sending a shaman to precede them and drive away all evil influences with a branch of peach wood."

p. 263

"the Buddha should indeed possess the power to bring down evil".


pp. 265-280 – 19. "Banished to C^ao-z^ou, Tui-z^i Traveleth; Rowing Boat"

pp. 265-266 commutation of death-sentence to banishment

p. 265

"From among the lines of civil and military officials, Cui Qun, Li Gui, and others stepped forward together. They took off their black silk caps, laid down their ivory tablets, discarded golden girdle and purple robe, and ... memorialized, "Yu’s words were ... the utmost loyalty. We hope that Your Majesty will ... not ... discourage ... remonstrations by officials."

Xianzong said, "What Yu said ... was ... that ever since

p. 266

the Eastern Han dynasty worshipped the Buddha, the emperors all suffered premature deaths ... . ..."

... many nobles related to the emperor by marriage also spoke up for Yu. Thereupon Xianzong ... annulled Yu’s death penalty. Instead he was to be banished to a ... remote place ... . From among the ranks a minister of personnel rushed forward and, holding his tablet, memorialized, "These days Chaozhou in Guangdong Province is afflicted by a crocodile ... . ... Why not demote Han Yu and send him to fill this post?""

pp. 267-268 departure on journey by Tui-z^i

p. 267

"Mme. Dou ... hurriedly packed the luggage and ordered Zhang Qian and Li Wan to set off together with Tuizhi. ...

p. 268

Han Xiangzi and Lan Caihe observed Tuizhi ... at the ... parting from his home, and Scholar Lin ... accompanying him to the ten mile waystation".

pp. 268-270 arrangements by Xian-zi concerning the travel by Tui-z^i

p. 268

Xian-zi "said to Lan Caihe, "Brother, let’s ride ahead on a cloud to the Blue Pass road and wait there for my uncle’s arrival. ..."

"In my view, we should ... ask the masters Zhong and Lu: to prepare a device to help deliver him," Lan Caihe said. ...

p. 269

Lan Caihe arrived with the masters Zhong and Lu:.

Xiang ... said, "My uncle is already on the way to Chaozhou. ... Unless we let him taste the bitterness of suffering to the full, his dedication to the Dao will not be steadfast. I have ordered a messenger deity to call on the wind god to raise a storm, and the snow god to let snow fall for one month ... . Master Lan and I will change

on one occasion into ferry boatmen,

on another occasion into fishermen angling in a mountain torrent;

then we’ll change into woodcutters come to fell trees in the mountains, and

then into farmers with bamboo hats and hoes on our shoulders.

On yet another occasion we will materialize a village full of beautiful women looking for a live-in husband. On this occasion my uncle will suffer being bound and hung from a tree. ...

If after that he still doesn’t have a change of heart, we’ll have to order the earth god of Blue Pass to send the spirits Thousand Mile eyes and Wind Ears in the shape of fierce tigers who will carry off Zhang Qian and Li Wan into the mountains, where they shall cultivate themselves. Then, only my uncle will be left with his mount to climb Blue Pass. ... When his horse is dead and he is all alone, then we will deliver him. ..."

"It’s a very suitable approach," the two masters said. ...

p. 270

Both astride blue simurghs descending from the Jade Stairs,

They see each other off at the White Cloud Stairway of Jasper Heaven. ...

Having deliberated with the other immortals, Xiangzi ... drew a river on the ground that would block Tuizhi’s way. He changed his clappers into a boat".

pp. 275-277 how Tui-z^i was ferried across a river

p. 275

Having arrived at that river, "Tuizhi’s whole party, including the horse, got on the boat. ... Tuizhi ... asked, "Boatman, where is your home?"

"My home is in the Dipper Ox Palace of the Azure Cloud Empyrean."

"The Dipper Ox palace of the Azure Cloud Empyrean is the dwelling place of divine immortals. ..." ...

p. 276

Tuizhi thought to himself, "Everything this boatman says fits my own person. It’s really as if he were a divine immortal." ...

p. 277

As they were talking, they reached the other bank. Tuizhi and his party jumped out of the boat. While Zhang Qian was fumbling in the purse for money to give to the boatman, the latter and his ferry vanished, as did the great river with its roaring waters."

pp. 278-279 experiencing a windstorm

p. 278

"suddenly black cloud appeared and a great wind arose. ... Tuizhi said, "... I compose a ‘Rhapsody to the Wind,’ ...

It shakes the Dipper Ox Palace, ...

It blows over the Palace of Responding to Perfection, ...

p. 279

It blows apart the Eastern Ocean where the Crystal Palace is laid bare,

While on Western Blossom Mountain the Agate Palace shakes. ...

The Precious Palace of Thunderclap collapses completely.

I see the White Parrot and red Lotus Terraces of Mount Putao shaking unsteadily,

And the blue-haired lions and Bailai elephants ... rolling about uncontrolled.

... Gods cry out and ghosts are wailing. ...""


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