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Wang Chongyang


Wang Chongyang

Wang Chongyang (11 January 1113 – 22 January 1170)was a Song Dynasty Taoist who was one of the founders of Quanzhen Taoism in the twelfth century. He is one of the Five Northern Patriarchs of that school of Taoism. Jinyong's popular wuxia novels include a character based on Wang Chongyang.

Wang Chongyang
Wang Chongyang

Born Wang Zhongfu in 1113, Wang Chongyang grew up in a wealthy family and received a classical education as well as training in the martial arts.

It is thought that Wang Zhe first wanted to start a rebellion against the Jin Dynasty that then ruled North China. But, according to tradition, in the summer of 1159 when he was 48 years old, he met two Taoist immortals in a pub, Zhongli Quan and Lü Dongbin, who provided him with training in secret Taoist rituals. He changed his name to Zhe and adopted the Taoist name Chongyang.

In 1160 he met one of the immortals again who provided him with five written instructions, the "Ganshui xianyuan lu." According to tradition those written instructions included the names of two men who would later become his disciples, Ma Yu and Tan Chuduan. In a state of delirium, Wang Chongyang then dug himself a grave near Mount Zhongnan that he called the "Tomb of the Living Dead," and lived in it for three years.

At the end of the three years, Wang Chongyang filled in the grave and built a hut on top of it, called "Complete Perfection Hut." He lived in the hut for another four years, continuing his Taoist studies and teaching others. During that time, he met Tan Chuduan who became Wang's disciple after Wang cured Tan's illness. Qiu Chuji and Tan traveled around the local towns and villages with Wang as he founded five Taoist congregations. Later, Wang Chongyang's teachings were referred to the "Teachings of the Complete Perfection" (after the hut) and his branch of Taoism became known as the Quanzhen ("Complete Perfection") school.

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