7 Taoist Masters


pp. xv-xxii – 0. "Introduction"

pp. xvi-xvii historicity

p. xvi

"The authorship of Seven Taoist Masters is unknown. The literary style suggests that it was written during the middle part of the Ming dynasty".

p. xvii

"History records that the disciple Ch>iu Ch>ang-ch>un was befriended by Kublai Khan and was appointed court high priest during the reign of the first Yu:an emperor, T>ai Tzu. ... Ch>iu Ch>ang-ch>un ... went on to found the Lung-men ("Dragon gate") sect of Taoism."

pp. xviii-xix meanings of the names of Wan C^>un-yan & of his 7 disciples






rebirth of yan



bright, pure pill



no 2nd way



aeternal spring [season of the year]



longevity, aeternal life



forever enlightened, aeternal enlightenment



the antient


pp. 1-6 – 1.

pp. 1-2 the setting

p. 1

"During the Sung dynasty ... in Shensi Province there was a small village ... called Ta-wei. Most of the villagers belonged to the Wang clan."

p. 2

"The beggars said, "If your compassion and charity are sincere, you will give without expecting anything in return. ..." ... The beggars found themselves standing in front of a tall, bearded man about forty years old. ... This man was named Wang T>ieh-hsin."

p. 5 flower-spirits of enlightened souls

"Empty-Mind Ch>ang had walked across the water and returned ... with the lotus flowers in his hand. He handed the flowers to Wang and said, "... these flowers ... are the spirits of seven enlightened souls destined to be your disciples. ... Look for me by the bridge"".


pp. 7-13 – 2.

p. 8 coded names of the 2 immortals

"the identities of the beggars were hidden in their names. The first beggar was named Gold-Is-Heavy. If the Chinese characters for "gold" and "heavy" were put together they formed the word Chung.

As for Empty-Mind Ch>ang, if the Chinese character ch>ang were to lose the strokes in the center (that is, "emptying its heart or mind"), it would become the word lu:. Chung and Lu: were the beggars’ real names. Clearly, Chung and Lu: were Chung-li Ch>u:an and Lu: Tung-pin, two of the famous Eight Immortals."

p. 10 guises of the 2 immortals

"Suddenly the two beggars were transformed into two men with striking appearances. One was dressed in a simple short tunic and pants. His tunic opened to reveal a tuft of hair on his chest. The hair on his head was neatly tied into two knots next to his ears. His beard was long ... . He head a goose-feather fan and carried a gourd on his back. This was none other than the immortal Chung-li Ch>u:an.

The other man was dressed in a long yellow Taoist robe. Around his topknot was tied a scarf. ... His beard was long ... . ... Tied around his back was a long sword to cut through the illusions of ephemeral things. He was the Patriarch of Pure Yang, Immortal Lu: Tung-pin."

pp. 11-12 instructions from the 2 immortals

p. 11

"Immortal Lu: then taught Wang the methods of

"erecting the foundation,"

"positioning the cauldron and the stove,"

"stoking the fires," and

"gathering the herbs and sealing the container." ...

pp. 11-2

Immortal Lu: then said to him, "After you have attained the Tao, you should go to Shantung Province and gather the seven disciples who are destined to be guided by you to the Tao. ..."

p. 12

The two immortals were transformed into a beam of bright light and disappeared."


pp. 14-19 – 3.

pp. 14-15 internal transformation into an immortal; a visit to heaven

p. 14

"Wang was now left in peace to practice internal alchemy. ... this went on for twelve years, during which time Wang was able to achieve the internal transformation that allowed his spirit to leave and enter his body at will. ... Wang gave himself a Taoist name : Wang Chu>ung-yang. "Ch>ung-yang" means recovering the essence of yang.

One day as e was meditating, he heard a clear voice calling his name. The voice said, "Wang Chu>ung-yang, ascend to the heavens immediately for instructions from the Heavenly Lords." Wang’s spirit ascended to heaven and saw the Lord of the Star T>ai-pa (White Tiger) standing there to greet him. ... the scribe of the Heavenly Lord read from a scroll : "Wang Chu>ung-yang, your efforts ... are

p. 15

acknowledged by the Guardians of the Tao. You ... have achieved the status of an immortal. You are given the title "Enlightened Master who Opens the Way." Go to Shantung Province immediately and find the seven persons who are destined to be your disciples. When you have helped them attain the Tao, your rank in the immortal realm will be raised." ...

The Lord of T>ai-pa added, "... We shall meet again at the gathering of the immortals when the Empress of Heaven summons us to taste the peach of immortality."

p. 17 miraculous travel underground; hibernating

"On the day of his disappearance from his home, Wang used his magical abilities to pass through walls and journey under the ground until he was far from his village. ... Passing the area known as Mount Chung-nan, he ... decided to stay there as a hermit and wait for the time when people would be ready to accept the Tao. Tunnelling into a hill, he found a cave. There he lay down, ... and, like an animal hibernating in winter, slowed down his bodily functions, conserving the energy for the day when he would emerge from the cave."

pp. 17-19 autobiography of Lu: Tung-pin; peach-tree of the immortals; directions

p. 17

"Wang had been in the cave for half a year when one day he heard a loud sound. The earth shook and a large crack split his cave open, revealing a shaft of bright light from the sky. The beam of light slowly transformed itself into the figures of Immortal Lu: and Immortal Chung-li Ch>u:an. ...

p. 18

Immortal Lu: continued. "... I went to the kingdom of Chin ... . There I found the prime minister of the kingdom to be a virtuous man, and I imparted to him the teachings of the Tao. This man immediately resigned his office ... . He has now attained the Tao and has been given the Taoist name Liu Hai-ch>an.

Liu journeyed south and gave the teachings to Chang Tzu-yang. Chang Tzu-yang became the patriarch of Southern School of Taoism. From the seven lines of transmission which originated from him came the Seven Taoist Masters of the Southern School.

For Chang Tzu-yang taught Hou Hsing-lin.

Hou Hsing-lin transmitted the teachings to Hsu:eh Tao-kuang.

Hsu:eh tao-kuang taught Chen Chih-hsu:.

Chen Chih-hsu: taught Pai Tzu-ch>ing.

Pai Tzu-ch>ing gave the teachings to Liu Yung-nien and Pang Ho-lin. ...

Your seven disciples ... will form the Northern School of Taoism and be known as the Seven Taoist Masters of the Northern School. ...


Immortal Chung-li Ch>u:an ... said kindly, "...

p. 19

the meeting of the immortals in the celebration of the flowering of the immortal peach is imminent. The peach tree grows on the mountain K>un-lun, where it flowers once every thousand years. It fertilizes a seed once every thousand years, and the seed ripens into a fruit once every thousand years. Three thousand years must pass before a fruit of the peach tree ripens. The ripened peach is large as a melon, red, and shiny, and even one bite of it would lengthen your life by one thousand years. The Empress of Heaven ... has invited all those whose names are entered in the roll of the immortals to share the fruit. The Seven Taoist Masters of the Northern School are on the invitation list, but in order to attend the celebration they must have attained the Tao by then. ...

In the first era of humankind, a thousand mortals attained immortality.

In the second era, a few hundred will achieve immortality. These immortals will return to the earthly realm to help others leave ... after their deeds are acknowledged by the Empress of Heaven at the celebration. ...""

p. 19 determination to go to S^an-tun; travel thither

Wan C^>un-yan "finally understood. Humbly he said, "... I shall go to Shantung and search for my seven disciples."

Immortal Chung-li Ch>u:an added, "Remember, go where the land meets the sea, where horses are plenty ... in the rolling hills."

The two immortals disappeared and Wang immediately set out for Shantung Province. He journeyed to a county called Ning-hai (meaning "settlement by the sea")".


pp. 20-24 – 4.

pp. 20-21, 23 exhortation of Ma Yu: by his wife Sun Yu:an-c^en

p. 20

Sun Yu:an-c^en "replied, "The works of the Three Emperors, the heroes Yu: and Shun, ... are now nothing. ..." ...

p. 21

Sun Yu:an-chen continued. "... we should seek out a teacher who can lead us to the path of immortality so that our spirits will be freed from the earthly realm. ... Taoist classics of internal alchemy ... describe how"


the __ energy

can be transformed into __ energy








how the __

can be cultivated to __



return to the void



merge with the Tao.

p. 23

"Whether a foundation is shallow or deep can be seen in a person’s mental ability, physical condition ... . Those with shallow foundations may be born ill of health, lack intelligence, ... or suffer deformities. Those with deep and strong foundations will be born with good health, possess high intelligence".

p. 23-24 willingness to teach, on the part of Wan C^>un-yan

p. 23

"During the years Wang Ch>ung-yang had stayed at Ning-hai County, he had continued to refine his magical abilities and internal cultivation. He was now able to see into the future and anticipate many happenings. ...

p. 24

He now realized what Immortal Chung-li Ch>u:an had meant when he said, "Look where they are plenty of horses." (The word for "horse in Chinese is ma, as in the family name of Ma Yu:.) He knew that the gathering of his seven disciples would begin with Ma Yu: and his wife."


pp. 25-29 – 5.

pp. 26, 28-29 illusory nature of prosperity

p. 26

Sun Yu:an-c^en said, "Many people think they are fortunate when they are rich, but they do not know that their riches imprison them."

p. 28

Sun Yu:an-c^en said to her husband, "Husband, the land and property we own, even the trees in the garden and the rice in the fields, are not really our won. they belong to the land, and the land belongs to everyone. We were

p. 29

merely given the opportunity to be caretakers for a while. During one lifetime we may have much, in another lifetime we may have nothing."

p. 29 donation of wealth

Wan C^>un-yan "replied : "I need your wealth to construct a retreat for seekers of the Tao. Your wealth will also provide for the daily necessities of these people so that they will not have to worry about earning a living and can devote all their time to Taoist training.""


Eva Wong (translatrix) : Seven Taoist Masters. Shambhala Publ, Boston, 1990.