Hao Datong

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Life of Hao Datong

Hao Datong (1149-1212) was named Lin and styled Taigu, and had the courtesy names Tianranzi and Guangningzi. He called himself the Daoist Priest of Remote Antiquity( 太古道人 Taigu Daoren ), and had the Sacred Name ( 法名 Faming ) Datong. He was a native of Ninghai (present-day Muping, Shandong). Hao Datong was expert at Laozi's and Zhuangzi's philosophy and at the Science of Changes, and skilled in divination by means of the milfoil ( 卜筮 Bushi ) and by means of the Eight Diagrams ( 占卦 Zhangua ). In the seventh year of Dading of the Jin dynasty (1167), he was converted to the Complete Perfection Doctrine ( 全真教 Quanzhen Jiao ). In the 15th year of Dading, he was suddenly enlightened while begging in Wozhou, and then cultivated himself ascetically under a bridge, and was called the "Wordless Gentleman" ( 不語先生 Buyu Xiansheng ). Having successfully mastered the Nine Circle Skill ( 九轉功 Jiuzhuan Gong ), he went to the North to do missionary work. During his lifetime he created the Huashan sect of the Complete Perfection Tradition, and after his death, emperor Shizu of the Yuan dynasty bestowed on him the sobriquet "Perfect Man of Broad Peace and Pervasive Tranquility of Remote Antiquity" ( 廣寧通玄太古真人 Guangning Tongxuan Taigu Zhenren ), ranked among the "Seven Perfect Ones of the North" ( 北七真 Bai Qizhen ).


Hao Datong and his disciples absorbed the ideas on mind and nature of Chan Buddhism ( 禪宗 Chanzong ) and of the rationalistic Confucian school, and developed a theory on mind and nature, based on the mind and characterized by the triad of mind, nature and Dao. One's ego-mind and the true mind are the key of the theory on mind and nature; they are also called the body of mind. The categories such as nature, Dao and spirit coexist simultaneously. The central issue of the theory is to purify the wicked mind and comprehend one's own mind thoroughly. Correspondingly, all the problems in the process of Cultivation and Refinement ( 修煉 Xiulian ) can be eventually summed up as how to thoroughly understand one's ego-mind and obliterate the worldly mind.


  1. On the Ease of Embracing the Three Teachings ( 三教人易論 Sanjiao Ruyi Lun ),
  2. Direct Preaching ( 示教直言 Shijiao Ruyi Lun ),
  3. Explanation to the Scriptures on Mind ( 心經解 Xinjing Jie ),
  4. Explanation to the Scriptures on Salvation from Misery ( 救苦經解 Jiuku Jing Jie ),
  5. Interpretation of the Three Ways Unified and Normalized of the Book of Changes ( 周易參同契釋義 Zhouyi Cantongqi Shiyi ),
  6. Essays of the Daoist Priest of Remote Antiquity ( 太古集 Taigu Ji ).


The Daoist lineage of Hao Datong was great, and most of the disciples were natives of Ninghai. The celebrated ones included the successive disciples Fan Yuanxi and Wang Zhijin, the Perfect Man of Mt Pan ( 盤山真人 Panshan Zhenren ). Fan Yuanxi, whose Daoist name was "Master of Mysterious Communication" ( 玄通子 Xuantongzi ), was the descendant of Fan Zhongyan and the first outstanding disciple of the Complete Perfection Tradition. Wang Zhijin authored an illuminated and elaborate theory on mind and nature.