Taoist Master Cheng Xiangong

Ouyang Ziyun, Ed.

PureInsight | November 11, 2002

Cheng Xiangong's true name was Wu Ding and he lived in Wuli, Wu County, Guiyang City. Born in the late Han Dynasty, he was already seven feet tall at age thirteen. He was a minor official who worked at the county government and spoke very few words. He looked different from ordinary people and had a presence about him. Cheng had a big heart and never flattered those superior to him. People all said he was foolish. Because he had a natural talent, he was able to understand the Taoist scriptures at a young age by reading on his own.

One day, he went on an errand to the capital and passed Changsha City on his way back. He could not find a hotel, so he slept in the wilderness. Suddenly, he heard someone talking in the tree, "Let's go to Changsha to buy the drug." Cheng Xiangong looked up and saw two white cranes sitting in a tree and he was surprised. In a street in Changsha, he saw two people walking with white umbrellas. Cheng Xiangong approached them and invited them to dinner. After the meal, the two people left without any thanks. Xiangong followed them for a few miles until the two people asked, "Do you want something from us, after following us for so long?" Xiangong said, "I was born in a low place and I heard you have a Taoist way that can obtain eternal life, so I followed you." The two people exchanged a smile and took out a book from a jade box. They flipped through the book and found Cheng Xiangong, or Wu Ding's name in it. They gave Cheng Xiangong two pills and asked him to swallow them. The two people said to Cheng Xiaogong, "You should obtain the Dao and become an earthly god." They then sent him home. From then on, Cheng Xiangong knew the answers to all the secrets in the world and he could even understand the language of beasts and birds.

After returning home, the county government sent Xiangong to deliver the county chief's salary to him. The chief's name is Zhou Xin and he was good at recognizing outstanding people. He asked Xiangong's name when he saw him and Xiangong said, "My name is Cheng Wuding, and I am a minor official at the county government." The chief liked Cheng Xiangong and kept him at his side. Soon, the chief promoted Cheng to zhubu (chief secretary). Once, Xiangong was talking with his colleague and a flock of sparrows were chirping. Xiangong began laughing. When asked why he laughed, Xiangong said, "A cart overturned in North Street and the rice is all over the place. The sparrows are telling each other to go there for the rice." The colleagues did not believe it and sent someone to go check, and it was indeed as Cheng Xiangong had said.

The rich and powerful people of the government all complained to the chief for promoting Cheng Xiangong, a person of lowly birth, into the government. The chief said, "You don't know the true reason." A dozen days later, the chief invited Cheng Xiangong to live with him. At the beginning of the next year, the government celebrated the New Year and more than three hundred people gathered and held a party. They asked Xiangong to host a wager game. After one round, Xiangong suddenly contained a mouth of wine and spat it toward the southeast direction. Everyone was shocked and thought badly of him. Only the chief said, "There must be a reason for it." He asked Xiangong what was the reason and Xiangong said, "Linwu County caught on fire and I was extinguishing the fire with the wine." The guests all laughed and called it nonsense. On the next day, the etiquette official reported to the chief that Xiangong was rude at the celebration party, and the chief sent someone to Linwu County to investigate. In the end, Zhang Ji from Linwu County reported, "On the New Year's Day, the county government was holding a celebration, and the government hall suddenly caught fire around 3 p.m. The fire started from the northwest direction. It was sunny and no cloud was in the sky. The south wind blew and the fire spread quickly. Suddenly, dark clouds came from the northwest direction and went directly toward the county. When the clouds reached the county, great rain poured down and the fire was instantly put out. Strangely the rain smelled of wine." People were greatly shocked and they realized Cheng Xiangong was not an ordinary person.

Later, the chief built a house for Cheng Xiangong at the west corner of the county. Cheng Xiangong moved in with his mother, brother and two children. Two years later, Xiangong asked for a leave for illness from the chief and went home to rest. Unexpectedly, he died four days later, and the chief held a funeral for him himself.

Two days later, people had not yet taken off their funeral clothes. Xiangong's friend came to the county from Linwu City and met Xiangong on a mule walking toward the west. He asked Xiangong, "It's almost dark, where are you going?" Xiangong said, "I'm going to Mixi and will come back soon. I forgot my sword at home before I left and I put my shoes on the chicken cage. When you pass by my home, please tell them to put them where they belong." This friend came to Xiangong's family but heard cries of sorrow, and he was greatly surprised, saying, "I was just talking with Xiangong at Wuchanggang and he said he was going to Mixi and will come back soon. He also told me to ask you to put away his sword and shoes, how can he die so quick?" His family said, "His sword and shoes were buried with him, how can they be outside?" Therefore, they went to the chief and asked him to decide. The chief decided to open the casket to check. In the casket, there was only a blue bamboo stick about 2.3 m long but Cheng Xiangong's body was not there. They then realized that Cheng Xiangong had become a god. Later, people called Wuchanggang, the place where he passed on a mule, Luogang. Luogang is located ten miles west of the county.

(Story from Shen Xian Zhuan [Stories of gods])

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2002/10/7/18808.html

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