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Making TranscendentsAscetics and Social Memory in Early Medieval China$
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Robert Ford Campany

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833336

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833336.001.0001

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Bringing Transcendents Down to Earth

Bringing Transcendents Down to Earth

(p.1) Chapter 1 Bringing Transcendents Down to Earth
Making Transcendents

Robert Ford Campany

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter considers the passage in Ge Hong’s Traditions of Divine Transcendents, which narrates how the pill, “efflorescence of vermilion” had granted an adept named Ling Shouguang two hundred years of life without any diseases, as well as resurrection after death. Over a hundred days after Ling Shouguang’s funeral and burial, his coffin was dug out and found empty except for an old shoe. The concept of the empty coffin with an old shoe points to an esoteric technique, known as shijie or “escape by means of a simulated corpse.” The adept eluded the spirits who enforced lifespan limits, in order to live past his destined time of death.

Keywords:   Ge Hong, Traditions of Divine Transcendents, Ling Shouguang, shijie, lifespan limits, efflorescence of vermilion

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