Celebrating the Birthday of Patriarch Lu
Today, May 6th (14th day of the 4th month in the lunar calendar), we celebrate the birth of Patriarch Lu. Patriarch Lu is better known as Lu Dong Bin (呂洞賓) of the Eight Immortals. Like a number of Chinese deities, Patriarch Lu was a real person who lived during the Tang Dynasty (618–690, 705–907). As a deity, Patriarch Lu is honoured and worshipped by many.
Patriarch Lu is known for his kindness and his willingness to help people cultivate the Dao. There are many stories about his trials and how he became an immortal. The one I liked most is regarding alchemy. His teacher Zhongli Quan (鍾離權) once offered to teach him how to turn ordinary metal into gold. Patriarch Lu asked his teacher what are the benefits of learning this? And how long will it last? To which his teacher told Lu, the change isn't permanent. To which Lu stated that he won't learn such arts, as it does not help people. In later years, he earned the title of Chunyang Tzu (純陽子) or The Sage of Pure Yang. Lu was also instrumental in the founding of this Complete Reality school (全眞派) of Daoism. Which is why he is known as Patriarch Lu. However, in popular culture, he is known as a member of the Eight Immortals.
So why is Patriarch Lu relevant to Taiji? Well, Patriarch Lu was a master of internal alchemy, which is a key component of internal martial arts such as Taiji. Whilst Zhang San Feng is known as the one who created the Taiji we now know. Internal alchemy and the Daoist arts (health and martial) existed before Zhang San Feng's time. The Complete Reality School were influential in spreading Daoism and internal alchemy across China.
Chinese people celebrate the birth of Deities, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout the year. They are much like Saints Days in Christianity. I do make the effort to honour those who I have a strong affinity with. With Patriarch Lu, I've always been inspired by his deeds and achievements. As a student of Taiji, I feel that it is appropriate to honour Patriarch Lu's role in the internal arts and in Daoism.
Thank you for reading my blog.
Seven Taoist Master, Eva Wong
Liao-Fan's Four Lessons, Yuan Liao-Fan
Daoism and the Immortal Lu Dong Bin, Internal Arts International
Combat techniques of Taiji, Bagua & Xingyi, Lu Shengli
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