Wu Meng's Piety to his Mother

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Living in the period of the Wei and Jin dynasties, Wu Meng was a Daoist of the sect which, with Perfect Man Xu Xun at the core of its pantheon, became famous for its strong faith in filial piety. There were many stories about Wu's piety in books like the History of the Jin Dynasty ( 《晉書》 Jinshu ) and Biographies of Twelve Perfect Sovereigns ( 《十二真君傳》 Shier Zhenjun Zhuan ). One story was about his piety to his mother. In the story, he was so worried mosquitoes would bite his mother that he used to sit on her bed, feeding them with his own blood, before asking her to sleep. This story sounded strange, but mirrored the importance of filial piety in Chinese culture. Even in the Master Who Embraces Simplicity ( 《抱朴子》 Baopuzi ), one of the earliest Daoist books, the author had absorbed filial piety into the Daoist cultivation system. The tradition of piety with Xu Xun at its core stressed filial piety, claiming its tradition was mandated by instructions of the Bright King of Filial Piety ( 孝道明王 Xiaodao Mingwang ). In the tradition, filial piety was a moral principle as well as a key to cultivation. It claimed that filial piety would channel people to their origin just as the Book of Dao and its Virtue ( 《道德經》 Daode Jing ) stressed a return to the infinite. In the later periods, the Book of Filial Piety ( 《孝經》 Xiaojing ) became a Daoist scripture. The Portraits of Twenty-Four Filial People was carved in some Daoist temples, highlighting the important roles the tradition played in Chinese society.