Ge Xuan

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Biography of Ge Xuan (Immortal Elder Ge)

Ge Xuan (Immortal Elder Ge), styled Xiaoxian, was a native of Danyang in the state of Wu during the period of the Three Kingdoms (AD 220-280). Born in a distinguished family of official status, he was intelligent and wise from birth. Eager to learn since childhood, he read extensively about the Confucian classics and commentaries on them, philosophical works and historical records, and by the age of 16 enjoyed great fame on the North bank of the Yangtze River. He loved the philosophy of Laozi and Zhuangzi by nature, and hated to pursue an official career. When both of his parents passed away during his teens, he keenly realized the variability of life, thus making up his mind to study Dao. Hence he lived in seclusion on famous mountains, visited extraordinary persons, ate ganoderma lucidum and setose thistle, and diligently and strenuously engaged himself in self-refinement. Then he attained Immortality and was called Immortal Elder Ge.

Study of Dao

Ge Xuan visited Lingyue Mountain, Chicheng Mountain, Luofu Mountain and the like, followed the Immortal Zuo Ci and received Daoist scriptures such as the Immortals' Book of Liquefied Gold of the Nine Elixirs. His constant practice of fasting and observance of commandments moved the Venerable Sovereign and the Perfect Man of the Supreme Ultimate, who descended to Tiantai Mountain and imparted to him some scriptures such as those of the Numinous Treasure, in 36 volumes. Long afterwards, the Supreme Venerable Sovereign, together with three Perfect Men and their tens of thousands of attendant officials, commanded the Immortal Official of Scriptures Wang Sizhen to take out 360 volumes of scriptures such as the Great Grotto of the Pervasive Origin, and scriptures of the two methods of the Highest Clarity fast and the six methods of the Numinous Treasure fast. Ge Xuan thoroughly followed the instructions of the Supreme Venerable Sovereign. Through diligent and persistent refinement, he was capable of strolling on mountains and in seas, producing many selves and changing form, and was especially good at healing and exorcism. It was recorded in the History of Wu in the Annals of the Three Kingdoms that Ge Xuan once travelled with Sun Quan, who was fond of Daoist techniques, and was valued by him. Quan founded the Temple of Dongxuan espacially for him. Ge Xuan's disciple Zheng Yin learned Magical Skills from him.

Attaining Immortality

One day, Ge Xuan told his disciple Zhang Gong, "The Emperor forced me to stay with him, so I have no time to make great elixirs. I will leave the world at noon on August 11th." On that day, Ge Xuan, who was neatly dressed, entered his room and lay down. Then his breathing stopped but his complexion didn't change. The disciple burnt joss sticks and looked after him for three days and three nights. A strong wind suddenly rose at midnight, thundering. When the wind ceased, the disciple lighted the candle again but couldn't find Ge Xuan. He just saw that Ge Xuan's clothes were on the bed, and the waistband was even not untied. The next morning, he asked the neighbours whether there had been a gust. They all said no. The wind must have risen only in that room. Ge Xuan had attained Immortality and left. He was ordained as Prime Minister of the Inner Heavenly Left Court of the Supreme Ultimate'. He is called in Daoism 'the Perfect Sovereign and Protector in Correspondence with the Eternal Dao'. He is also respectfully addressed as "Immortal Elder Ge of the Supreme Ultimate" by common people.