China Movement of seeking to become immortals and gods

 Faced with the sorrow of “When can life return after death?” and “Enjoy wine and song while we can, for life is short” (famous poem lines in ancient China), of course, great people like First Emperor of Qin Dynasty, Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty, Second Emperor of Tang Dynasty and so on, were not willing to succumb to the fate of “A man seldom lives to be seventy years old”. Here we’ll learn Great Venture and Great Tragedy.

 Unlike Westerners in pinning their hope on the other world and pinning their hope on the immortality of the soul, the Chinese have always believed in eternal life and always been striving to gain that eternal life directly through their own efforts. Ancient Chinese were crazy about the pursuit of longevity, seeking the eternal existence of both flesh and soul, and seeking to become immortal.

 The movement of seeking to become immortal began at least from the Spring and Autumn Annals and Warring states (476-221 BC) period. According to Records of Warring States, “A guest offered a drug of immortality to the King of Jing.” At that time, there were already people engaged in the seeking and making of drugs for immortality. According to Records of the Historian, many kings, such as King Wei of State Qi, King Xuan of State Qi, and King Zhao of State Yan, sent people to enter the sea to look for the three godly mountains of Penglai, Fangzhang and Yingzhou, as the legend said there were many gods in the mountains and there were drugs for immortality there. Thus, a great movement of seeking gods and seeking immortality began.

 In the time of Qin Shihuang, the movement of seeking immortality grew to its heyday. Qin Shihuang paid a high price in order to seek an eternal life. He gathered many necromancers who were skillful in arts of immortality and sent them to all parts of the country to look for drugs of immortality. He was fooled by some of his subjects such as Lu Sheng, Xu Fu, but he never stopped the struggle of searching for the drug of immortality, and finally all his efforts were in vain. In the period of Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty, people all over the country were active in looking for the god mountain and seeking immortality. After all such movements of looking for the god mountain overseas failed completely, there was hardly anyone dreaming about that. People began to doubt about the way to beg for gods, but started to take another way, that is, relying on their own to become immortal, thus, they began the process of making cinnabar by melting gold, firmly believing that taking the gold cinnabar might help people to become immortal. From then on, gold-refining or alchemy became a lasting movement in Chinese history. The first emperor who took the gold cinnabar was Li Shimin, the very famous second emperor of the Tang Dynasty, but he lost his life because of that…

 Qin Shihuang (First Emperor of Qin Dynasty), Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty and Second Emperor of Tang Dynasty were among the few hero emperors in China’s history, and Mao Zedong commented on them in his famous poem “Qinyuanchun, Snow” as “emperors appearing once in a thousand years”. None of them were fatuous, all of them had great talent and bold vision, but they set their supreme goal at “becoming immortal”, and did no spare any price for it!

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