Qiu Chuji

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The Life of Patriarch Qiu Chuji

Qiu Chuji ( 丘處機祖師 Qiu Chuji Zushi ) (1148-1227) from Xixia of Dengzhou (in today's Shandong province) was also named Qiu Tongmi, and had the Daoist name Changchunzi. He became a Daoist at the age of 19, and the next year revered Wang Chongyang as his master. Qiu ascetically cultivated Dao for thirteen years in Panxi and Longmen by living in caves or by begging for food, wearing a palm-bark cape everyday. So he was called 'Palm-Bark Cape Gentleman' ( 蓑衣先生 Suoyi Xiansheng ). In the 28th year of Dading (1188) he was called in to the royal palace by Emperor Shizong of the Jin dynasty, and consequently became famous. In the 14th year of the first Yuan emperor (1219), Emperor Taizu sent messenger official Liu Zhonglu for Qiu. The next year, after Qiu went to the Western Regions with eighteen of his disciples, he was revered as "Immortal", and the Emperor conferred him the title 'Patriarch' ( 宗師 Zongshi ) in charge of religions over the country. After his ascending to the rosy clouds, Emperor Shizu conferred him the title 'Perfect Man Changchun, Daoist Preacher and Leader ( 長春演道主教真人 Changchun Yandao Zhujiao Zhenren ). During his life, Qiu instituted the Dragon Gate Sect ( 龍門派 Longmen Pai ) of the Complete Perfection Tradition ( 全真道 Quanzhen Dao ).

Qiu's Thought

Qiu followed the essence of Wang Chongyang's thought with his unique elaboration, advocating that Daoists should lead an ascetic personal life and benefit other people, do good deeds, and cultivate their virtue. He hoped that the outer practice of Dao by doing benevolent deeds could contribute to inner cultivation, in order to finally attain the goal of the Golden Elixir for immortality. Through the elaborations of his disciples, his ideas and thought developed into a systematic theory of mind and spiritual essence centered on Dao and the Heavenly Dao, which was aimed at returning to the origin of one's invariable mind and constant spiritual nature. Moreover, Qiu paved the two independent and complementary ways of inner cultivation of mind and spiritual essence as well as outer practice of Dao by doing good deeds in order to realize Dao.

His Works

  1. On Nourishing Life by Waxing and Waning ( 攝生消息論 Shesheng Xiaoxi Lun )
  2. Direct Pointers to the Great Elixir ( 大丹直指 Dadan Zhihi )
  3. Pan Stream Essays ( 蟠溪集 Panxi Ji )
  4. Record of the Auspicious Gathering with Daoists ( 玄風慶會錄 Xuanfeng Qinghui Lu )
  5. Essays on Advocating Dao ( 鳴道集 Mingdao Ji )


Qiu Chuji founded the Dragon Gate Sect of the Complete Perfection Tradition, whose disciples were Zhao Daojian, Song Daoan, Yin Zhiping, Sun Zhijian, Xia Zhicheng, Song Defang, Wang Zhitan, Yu Zhike, Zhang Zhisu, Qu Zhiguo, Li Zhichang, Zheng Zhixiu, Qi Zhiyuan, Mu Zhiqing, He Zhijian, Yang Zhiqing, Pan Dechong. Yin Zhiping, one of his disciples, succeeded Qiu not only as the head of Complete Perfection Tradition, but also developed Qiu's thought and cause.