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Religions in China - Peng Zu 彭祖


Peng Zu 彭祖 "Ancestor of Peng" is a Daoist immortal. He is also known by the names of Peng Yi 彭翦, Peng Jian 彭鏗, Qian Jian 籛鏗 etc. and is said to have been a grandson of Zhu Rong 祝融, son of the mythological emperor Zhuan Xu 顓頊. His own father was called Lu Zhong 陸終. Under Emperor Yao 堯 he was given rule over the city of Pengcheng 彭城 that gave him his name "Ancestor of Peng". Peng Zu had two sons, Wu 武 and Yi 夷, who later lived in recluse in the mountains of the south that were later called the Wuyi Range 武夷山. It is said that Pengzu possessed a healing power. For the sick he sealed up the energetic vapours (qi 氣) within the body, had them circulated and attacked the sick organs. When he ate the bark of cinnamom trees and pine seeds, he was able to ride on the clouds and the winds and could travel from place to place with utmost velocity. At the end of the Shang period 商 (17th-11th cent. BCE) he was eight hundred years old. The 49 wives he had been married to had all died long before him, just like his 54 sons. Peng Zhu then ascended to the sky and vanished. There was a Peng Zu shrine in Liyang 歷陽 that the people visited to pray for rain. In Fengfu 扶風 in Shaanxi is Changming Monastery 長命寺 where Peng Zu's birthday is celebrated annually.
The story of Peng Zu is told in a lot of books containing biographies of Daoist immortals, like the Shenxianzhuan 神仙傳, Liexianzhuan 列仙傳, or Lishi zhenxian tidao tongjian 歷世真仙體道通鑒.

Source: Li Jianping 李劍平 (ed. 1998), Zhongguo shenhua renwu cidian 中國神話人物辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), vol. p. 614.

February 21, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail