Li Qingyun: Longevity Methods of a 250-Year-Old Taoist Immortal
The Immortal: True Accounts of the 250-Year-Old Man, Li Qingyun is a large book covering many aspects of Li’s teachings and life, and since it is a direct translation of Yang Sen’s Chinese edition, it can be more challenging to navigate the teachings. Stuart’s purpose in translating The Immortal was to present that work as Yang Sen intended, and he didn’t provide any personal in-depth commentary and instructions to clarify the teachings. This book then fills in the gaps regarding Li Qingyun’s advice and instructions for attaining health and longevity.
The first chapter, The Fundamentals of Longevity, starts out with basic, but unique, regimes on acquiring longevity. The second chapter, Foods and Herbs for Longevity, covers more clearly the herbs Li Qingyun and Yang Sen recommended for improving health and life span. The third chapter, Sex and Longevity, explains what Li Qingyun meant by the sexual practices of Refining the Rosy Clouds. The fourth chapter, The Eight Diagrams Elemental Exercises, more popularly called Eight Brocades, includes a detailed look at these exercises. The fifth chapter, Embryonic Breathing and Longevity, delves into Li’s teachings on Opening the Three Passes and Embryonic Breathing Qigong methods named after the two primary images from the Book of Changes (易經, Yi Jing)—Qian (Creativity of Heaven) and Kun (Receptivity of Earth). The sixth chapter, The Six Qi, is about the practice of the Six Healing Sounds used for both the cure and prevention of illness and disease, and as a meditation practice. The seventh chapter, Calming the Mind, is about regulating the mind and calming the spirit, the very roots of maintaining good health and acquiring longevity.
These seven chapters provide a clear path for improving health and attaining longevity. You may not incorporate all of them into your daily practice, but you’ll find numerous little regimes and insights that can prove most useful in your daily life. The intention of this book is not to convince you to take on all the practices, even though that would be quite effective, but to select those elements you find useful and appropriate to your life and schedule.