Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Li Ching-Yuen: Inner Quiet and a Daoist Life of 256 Years

Benjamin Hoff mentions a curious story in his book, the Tao of Pooh (in short, the Tao of Pooh is a book illustrating the principles of Taoism through the characters of A.A. Milne's Winne the Pooh):

"In 1933, newspapers around the world announced the death of a man named Li Chun Yun [a Time article titled Tortoise-Pigeon-Dog is notable for spreading the news of this man's life to the Western world]. As officially and irrefutably recorded by the Chinese government, and as verified by a thorough independent investigation, Li had been born in 1677. When over the age of two hundred, he had given a series of twenty-eight, three-hour-long talks on longevity at a Chinese university. Those who saw him at that time claimed that he looked like a man in his fifties, standing straight and tall, with strong teeth and a full head of hair. When he died, he was two hundred and fifty-six years old.

When Li was a child, he left home to follow some wandering herbalists. Int he mountains of China, he learned from them some of the secrets of the earth's medicine. In addition to using various rejuvenative herbs daily, he practiced Taoist exercises, believing that exercise which strains and tires the mind and body shortens life. His favorite way of traveling was what he called "walking lightly." Young men who went for walks with him when he was in his later years could not match his pace, which he maintained for miles. He advised those who wanted strong health to "sit like a turtle, walk like a pigeon, and sleep like a dog." When asked for his major secret, though, he would reply, "inner quiet.""

Li Ching Yuen (also spelled Li Chun Yun) himself believed that he was born in 1736. Certain Chinese documents, however, led some to believe that he was born in 1677. Much of the evidence verifying his lifespan is unsubstantiated, and much of what people say about his age is speculative. What do you think?

"I have done all that I have to do in this world. I will now go home." Some believe that these were Li Ching Yuen's last words. No matter the years that this remarkable man lived, it still seems to me that he found peace with himself and this Earth. He had truly found his "inner quiet."

How do you feel you achieve "inner quiet"?

by Edie


  1. This is almost unbelievable. It seems to me that he devoted his entire life to living and then keep on living. Either that or he's allergic to death. What amazes me more is that he's so old, it's not certain when he was born.

  2. I think its pretty incredible that someone can live so much time. Even though it sounds impossible, I do believe in his life time, because I have seen people who are 200 years old. Now, about the herbs, I'm not sure if I believe that, because it could be some kind of witchcraft.

  3. Maybe achieving inner quiet is about living a stress free life. Plus it has to be fun sleeping like a dog and sitting like a turtle. But when you think about it turtles are almost always sitting pigeons almost never walking and dogs either always sleep or never do.

  4. I agree with Gio's first statement. I have heard that people that live a stress free life live longer, and people who live a STRESSFUL life live shorter. Hmmm, maybe to live longer, school shouldn't exist, so our lives wouldn't be as stressing! jajaja, nope, I have to say that there are people who are undergoing even worse situations that just a bunch of homework and tests...so I shouldn't complain.

  5. The point of living a long life is so you can enjoy more of it. If that means living unhealthy and boring life is it worth it. Or is it better to live a short life filled with fun, happiness and bacon burgers.