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Wang Chongyang - Founder of Quanzhen Sect


Wang Chongyang was born into a rich family in 1112. When he was young, he was able to study and practiceWushu(martial arts) well under superior conditions. At the age of 20, he took the selective examination for civilians, but failed due to his offence to the examiner. However, Wang Chongyang was good at martial arts, so he went to take the examination for military officers, and this time he succeeded. It is for this reason that he has been depicted as a Taoist with marvelous feat in novels or folk tales. As the initiator of a sect he is usually calledZushiye(founder of the sect) in Taoism, Wang Chongyang is therefore regarded as theZushiyeinQuanzhenSect.

1159 was an extremely important year for Wang Chongyang, for he met an immortal byGanheRiver, who taught him some Taoist arts. From then on, he began to practice Taoism intently. Ever since he met the immortal, he abandoned his family by committing them to his father-in-law, and went toZhongnanMountainfor self-cultivation. He also dug a grave there, and named it "the tomb of the living dead". On the one hand, through practicing Taoism there, he hoped to acquire a new life; on the other hand, he refused to live under the same blue sky with the invaders by living in the grave. Three years later, he came out of the grave, filled it up with earth, and establishedQuanzhenSect. Thereafter, his pupils set up a Taoist temple at the place where the tomb once stood.

Through all sorts of hardships and strenuous work, he got more and more disciples and strengthened the influence ofQuanzhenSect a great deal. Among his pupils, seven were well known asQuanzhenqizi(true seven), some of whom were even adored and given preferential treatment by emperors at that time.

The story about Wang Chongyang and his disciples has become a main topic of the later folk tales and popular literature.

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