On June 5th 2008, Cheng An, one of my junior fellow disciples, informed
me via email that the Taoist master of ours, Li Z. L., made his way
to immortalization¢Ùthat day, which consisted with my expectation factually,
whereas differed emotionally. As the primary disciple of him, telepathy
had always been haunting midst the two of us. Being so engaged abroad,
however, I failed to attend his funeral in person and had no choice
but to coordinate matters by emails.
During the first half year of 2007, I returned to Chinese mainland and
paid a special visit to him, my deeply-indebted Taoist master. Definitely
aware of the fact that there would not be ample mundane time for him,
I went back a couple of months later, accompanying him along the very
last Spring Festival in his life. Originally considering, careful attendance
would have contributed to his recuperation to some extent so that relatively
more time could be afforded. However, being extremely composed towards
demise, Master Li had long ago made his testament to me and determined
to depart whenever destined to, dropping entire secular affairs and
In retrospect, when domestic Taoist cause just resumed in the 1980s,
I initiated myself at ¡°Tai Qing Gong¡± Taoist Temple of Mount Lao Shan,
holding my very first conversation with Master Li Z. L. He then directly
imparted me cardinal Inner Alchemy formula without reservation. From
then on, every time we probed into that issue together, he would often
choose to express himself in a way concisely, figuratively, yet profoundly,
which aroused subtle inspirations deep down in my heart. Nevertheless,
he insisted on delivering sermons only towards appropriate minds. There
once came two Taoist laymen hoping to be sermonized. Yet, he mentioned
to me that they failed to harmonize with each other soon after their
Dwelling east to the San Huang Palace with Master Wang Z. Z., heavy
humidity, produced by the ceaselessly flowing spring right outside his
room, exacerbated his arthritis. Acquainted that I happened to had learnt
acupuncture with my grandfather, he asked: ¡°Cheng Yang, would you please
carry out acupuncture therapies on my legs?¡± The subsequent period¡¯s
treatments brought about conspicuous convalescence, which endowed with
him greater dexterity on foot. Meanwhile, what impressed me the most
was that the flowing energies within the meridians of his body appeared
extraordinarily vigorous via acupuncture, pretty distinct from ordinary
Constantly in compliance to creeds recorded in Taoist scriptures, Master
Li cultivated perfect modesty and courtesy at heart. Based on etiquette
of ¡°Tai Qing Gong¡±, members make obeisance¢Úwhenever encountering
each other on the road. Further deference was supposed to be presented
towards those seniors, just like Master Li. Although it was perfectly
OK for him to just nod back, he would always respond with greater sincerity.
Even if stuffed in hands, when juniors make obeisance to him, he dropped
the stuff down the ground at all time in order to respond wholeheartedly.
In spite of a Taoist proverb indicating that the Long Men Clan, to which
we all belong, doesn¡¯t value hierarchy position that much and senior
masters are very likely to be addressed as senior follow disciples by
junior members, Master Li adhered to prostration in the presence of
visiting Long Men Clan superiors, even to those from other clans. Such
unequaled modesty, humility and self-discipline are profoundly venerated
and valued by tomorrow¡¯s Taoist outstanding achievers.
Gentle and genial as he was, Master Li justly defended junior Taoists
when they were unfairly treated. I recall once in a conference held
at ¡°Tai Qing Gong¡±, the principal of that time arbitrarily decided
to dismiss a junior immediately. There was no one but Master Li arguing
firmly against unjust treatments even though that junior was not a disciple
of his own. The young Taoist¡¯s membership was eventually restored,
who is now taking a post in China Taoism Association, completely unaware
of his benefactor. All the above-stated demonstrate a highly-appreciated
Taoist virtue: it makes the real benefaction when the benefactor willingly
After transferred to China Taoism Association in 1989, I visited him
back annually, along with a couple of companions sometimes. Although
with no telephone available, he could always foresee, arranging our
accommodations opportunely in advance. We were especially moved by once,
when he ordered a dinner of rich dishes for us, yet only a simple dish
of stir-fried tomatoes with vegetable soup for his own.
Master Li had abandoned sleep for decades; instead, he practiced all
night long. Such stoical sedulity endued him miraculous Bu Dao Dan¢Û.
The San Wei Zhen Huo¢Ü produced within the palm of his hands could easily
melt a candle in a short while. Besides, Master Li acted as a perfect
personification of rejuvenation by the preservation of his rubicund
complexion and rarely whitened hair. As a nonagenarian, he was also
deeply impressed by the unloosened eyelids, which are scarcely seen
even among middle-aged laities, due to their inevitable decrepitude.
Decades in pursuing Taoism enabled him to perceive the preexistences
of humans within seven preceding transmigrations, yet he never mentioned
to anyone indiscreetly. Invited to give medical therapies to the needy
from time to time, more often than not, he managed unbelievable restoration
towards incurable diseases. Our conversation I recorded on phenomena
and efficacies of his solitary practice in the remote mountain during
his fifties becomes material of great value.
At the request of the Autonomous University of Madrid at 1999, I was
ratified to sermonize overseas by China Taoism Association as well as
the National Religions Office. Informed that inspiring news, rejoicingly
he said to Cheng Fa (another fellow junior disciple of mine): ¡°Cheng
Yang is sermonizing on behalf of ancient Taoist sacred gods!¡± Regrettably,
however, I was no longer allowed to call on him hands down since then.
In 2007, I returned along with overseas disciples at invitation of the
International Tao-Te-Ching Forum. As soon as its conclusion, I visited
him back at "Tai Qing Gong" Taoist Temple of Mount Lao Shan,
where I spent seven unforgettable years studying and practicing Taoism
with the help of Master Li since the age of 18. Delighted to see me,
he first inquired my age, highly complimenting my wonderfully-preserved
complexion through Inner Alchemy in such age. He then lauded my achievements
in Spain and also advised my longer stay at the pleasantly cool mountain
until autumn time.
Ascribed to the reconstruction of "Tai Qing Gong" at that
time, Master Li dwelled westward with insufficient daylight, accumulating
drainage and an outdoor toilet, which contributed to nothing but humidity
and inconveniency. Cheng Fa originally planned a new domicile with northward
direction, adjacently-located bedroom, living room and kitchen, as well
as an indoor toilet, indispensable for the aged. However, the matter
remained undecided due to the failure of unanimity. When touring new
constructions of "Tai Qing Gong" with Jian Yuan¢Ý Li, I suggested
settlement at the soonest. Since there remain a decreasing number of
elder Inner Alchemy achievers in the domestic Taoist circles, desirable
living conditions are supposed to be provided for them.
I planned beforehand to leave in the third morning and travel southwards.
Knowing my departure, unexpectedly, Master Li then refused to dine.
Despite my stuffed schedule, I managed to postpone for one more day.
After having breakfast the following morning, I meant to chat with him
before I really had to go. Yet, he merely held back by remaining silent
with eyes closed all along. Finally I promised him to revisit in just
a few months. Arriving at the Xu Zhou airport, I was reassured by a
message from Cheng Fa that they would implement Master Li¡¯s new domicile
as soon as possible. Solicitous about his condition back in Spain, I
emailed my domestic disciple for times, entrusting him to send my words
to Cheng Fa about the requisite attendance upon our master.
A couple of months later, I carried out my promise by returning to Mount
Lao Shan again, celebrating Chinese New Year with him together. While
informed my arrival in advance, he said: ¡°he (referring to the author)
knows exactly about it¡±, which implied my awareness of his limited
time stored in the future. On February 2nd 2008, when I showed up with
my own disciple Xin Ze, I noticed that his eyes were blurred with tears.
We hold long-time conversations during those days, about my overseas
career, his journey on Inner Alchemy, as well as his posthumous affairs,
etc. The heavy snow then led to extreme frigidity in the Temple. Still,
he refused to enjoy the heating and air-conditioner installed in his
new residence. In order to prolong his life, I purchased him a wide
variety of nutriments from the city of Qing Dao. However, he ate an
extremely small amount of food, while persisting in his practice devotedly
night and day.
February 6th was the day before Chinese New Year. In terms of an old
custom, all members of "Tai Qing Gong" would assemble in Hun
Yuan Palace reciting Taoist scriptures from 11 pm. Master Li insisted
on his attendance, which greatly worried us. The irresistible frigidity
outside could pose threat on anyone of his age. Master Li, whereas,
attired in his vestment more than one hour in advance. Cheng Fa reckoned
that it would take at least an hour for Master Li to walk to Hun Yuan
Palace. Failing to dissuade him, I wrapped his neck and mouth in a new
towel, telling Cheng Fa to accompany him back soon after prostration
in any case. His trip went intermittent. The coldness got him so breathless
that he could only manage several steps at a time. Out of the west garden,
Xin Ze suggested carrying him on the back. Unaccustomed to that, Master
Li proceeded independently. When arriving at the bottom of a steep stone
stairs, ultimately he said: ¡°Let¡¯s get back. I can hardly go any further.
¡± As if relieved of a heavy load, carefully, we attended him back to
his place. Even though not reaching the final destination, the long
struggling trip outdoor made perfect demonstration of his faithful religious
belief and great perseverance, touching everybody present.
When he got back, instead, he prostrated by offering joss sticks in
front of the altar. Accomplishing the rite in Hun Yuan Palace about
one hour later, Jian Yuan Li, accompanied with the Taoist ensemble,
prostrated to Master Li celebrating the New Year. Meanwhile Jian Yuan
Li said: ¡°This room is filled with Taoist future gods!¡± The following
days were occupied with visiting worshippers far and near, including
two lamas coming all the way from Tibet with their sacred Ha Da¢Þ presenting
Before taking my departure back to Spain after the New Year, I asked
Cheng Fa to make an appointment with Master Li¡¯s son, conferring matters
regarding present attendance and posthumous arrangements. Then could
I leave with reassurance. ¡¡
I nourish great pride on the discipleship of such a Taoist master of
brilliant achievement and transcendent virtue, whose consummation keeps
imposing unfailing inspirations upon up-and-coming Taoist successors
for ever and ever.
¢Ù Immortalization: Taoist
way of demise, by voluntarily raising one¡¯s spirit out of the body
to stay as eternal as the Tao in the universe.
¢Ú Taoist obeisance: arching both hands in front of the chest with one
of them overlapping the other. What¡¯s worth mentioning, for male, the
left hand should be above the right one, the center of which palm containing
the left¡¯s thumb, contrarily for female, both of which carries sacred
¢Û Bu Dao Dan: verbatim translated as Sleepless Inner Alchemy, managed
merely by advanced achievers, who practice Inner Alchemy all night long
without the necessity of sleep. In fact, it brings about preferable
refreshment than sleep.
¢Ü San Wei Zhen Huo: converged physical energies via Inner Alchemy,
able to engender incredible powers, such as supernormal corporeal heat
and strength, unachievable by ordinary people.
¢Ý Jian Yuan: a high-ranking office in Taoist community, similar to
an abbot in Christianity.
¢Þ Ha Da: a long rectangular piece of white fabric, presented particularly
by Tibetan to convey reverential respect or warm welcome.