The Cultivation Story of the Daoist Master Su Xian Gong

PureInsight | November 11, 2002

Su Xian Gong's birthplace was Guiyang, and he lived in the northeast part of the city. He obtained the Dao during the time of Han Wen Di. He was famous in his village for his filial piety, but his father passed away when he was a young child.

Su Xian Gong worked hard every day, no matter what the weather. He was also not picky about the food he ate, and was happy with plain tea and simple dishes. Because his family was poor, he once had a job as a cowherd. He and the children from the village took turns putting the cows out to pasture. When Su Xian Gong herded the cows, they wandered around him and didn't run away. At dust, the cows went back by themselves without being driven. But when the other children were herding, the cows ran everywhere and sometimes crossed into a dangerous area. Those children asked Su Xian Gong, "What miracle did you come across that keeps the cows from running away?" Su Xian Gong answered: "This is a secret that I can't let you know about."

Su Xian Gong often rode on the back of a deer. One day, while he and his mother were eating their meal, the mother said, "We don't have fish for dinner, could you go buy some?" Upon hearing this, Su Xian Gong immediately put down his chopsticks, took some money, and left. A little while later, he returned with several fish. After the meal, his mother asked where he bought the fish, and he answered that he bought them from the market in town. "Town is more than 60 kilometers from here, and the roads are dangerously steep," said his mother. "How could you go and come back so quickly? Are you trying to trick me?" His mother was just about to beat him when Su Xian Gong kneeled down before her: "When I bought those fish, I met my uncle shopping in the market. Uncle said that he was coming to visit us tomorrow. Mother, you might ask him about it when he comes." Upon hearing his words, Su Xian Gong's mother did not beat him but agreed that it would be reasonable to leave the matter till the next day when the uncle came. Next morning, the uncle came as expected and said that he met Su Xian Gong buying fish in town the day before. Su Xian Gong's mother was astonished, and at that moment understood that her son was a supernatural being.

Su Xian Gong once carried a bamboo stick, and it was said that this stick was actually a dragon. One day, Su Xian Gong was very busy cleaning his room, tidying up his house, and repairing the fence. Some friends asked him, "Are you inviting anyone to visit?" Su Xian Gong answered, "The immortals are coming." Instantly, a purplish red cloud and mist spread over the sky in the northwest. More than ten white cranes flew in the cloud towards Su Xian Gong's home and lightly landed right in front of the gate. Surprisingly, those white cranes transformed into a group of handsome teenagers between 17 and 18 years old. They carried themselves gracefully and in a dignified manner. Su Xian Gong greeted them respectfully and was very serious. Then he knelt down before his mother and said, "Today your son must become an immortal, according to Heaven's will. The honor guard has arrived to pick me up, so I must leave and will no longer wait upon my mother. Please forgive your son!" Both mother and son were full of tears and emotion. The mother then asked, "After you leave, whom shall I rely on?" Su Xian Gong said, "A pestilence will happen next year. The well in our yard and the orange tree beside our house will look after you on my behalf. The only things you need to do are fetch a liter of water and pick an orange leaf, as these can save a patient's life. Besides that, I have left you a cupboard. If you need something, you just knock on it and tell it what you want. It will then deliver them to you. However, mother, absolutely do not open the cupboard." After saying these words, he walked through the gate, hesitating with slow steps. He could not bear to part with his mother. Finally he jumped and flew into the cloud, and rode on the purplish red cloud with the flock of cranes surrounding him. They all were flying towards the Heavenly Palace.

The next year, as the revered Su predicted, a huge pestilence spread throughout the country. Victims from far and near went to Su's mother for help. She did what her son told her and treated the patients with the water from the well and the orange leaves. There wasn't anyone who could not be cured. If something was needed, the mother knocked on the cupboard and got everything she wanted. After three years, the mother finally began wondering about the cupboard and decided to open it. Two white cranes flew out of it and from then on, the cupboard no longer supplied what she asked for. Su Xian Gong's mother lived for one hundred years and one day, and passed away without illness. The villagers held a funeral for her according to the custom. After she was buried, the purplish red cloud suddenly appeared and enveloped the top of the Niupi Mountain, which was located in the northwest section of town. Sobbing could be heard from the cloud. The villagers knew that it was Su Xian Gong weeping for his mother.

The town officials and all the villagers trekked to the bottom of the mountain to hold a memorial ceremony. Su Xian Gong spoke to them, "Thank you for coming such a long distance to comfort me. You don't need to take the mountain pass when you return. I'll let you walk on a big road back your village, but never ever turn your head around to look." As soon as he finished his words, a bridge appeared and crossed over the mountain, reaching directly to the town. But without thinking, one of the officials turned around to glance at it and the bridge soon collapsed into the river and disappeared. Meanwhile, a blue-green dragon circled the ground and slowly left. Afterwards, two cinnamon bamboo trees grew from the place where Su Xian Gong wept for his mother. When it was not windy, the hanging bamboo would bend to sweep the tomb and always kept the ground clean. Three years later, the weeping of Su Xian Gong could no longer be heard from the clouds, and a white horse was often seen wandering on the top of Niupi Mountain. So the name of the mountain was changed into White Horse Ridge.

Years later, a white crane flew over and stopped on the town hall located in the northeast part of the village. Some people tried to hit it with a slingshot. The white crane marked a signboard with its claws. The claw marks formed the following words: "It is still the old town, but the people are not the old people. I came back here once in 300 circles of sixty years. I'm Su Xian Gong, why were you trying to hit me with your slingshot?" Afterwards, all the cultivators of the Dao burned incense and prayed to Su Xian Gong at his old home on the first day of the circle.

Translated from:

Add new comment