Honor your Father and your Mother so that you may live a long time on the land that God has given you. (Exodus 20:12)
Li Ching-Yuen or Li Ching-Yun who died May 6, 1933, was a Chinese herbalist who supposedly lived to be over 256 years old. He claimed to have been born in 1736, but disputed records suggest 1677. Both alleged lifespans of 197 and 256 years far exceed the longest confirmed lifespan of 122 years and 164 days of the French woman Jeanne Calment. His true date of birth was never determined. He was reported to be a martial artist, herbalist and tactical advisor.
Whereas Li Ching-Yuen himself claimed to have been born in 1736, Wu Chung-chieh, a professor of the Chengdu University, asserts that Li was born in 1677 in Qijiang County, Sichuan province. According to a 1930 New York Times article, Wu discovered Imperial Chinese government records from 1827 congratulating Li on his 150th birthday, and further documents later congratulating him on his 200th birthday in 1877. In 1928, a New York Times correspondent wrote that many of the old men in Li’s neighborhood asserted that their grandfathers knew him when they were boys, and that he at that time was a grown man.
One of Li Ching-Yuen disciples, the Taijiquan Master Da Liu told of his master’s story: when 130 years-old Master Li would have encountered in the mountains an older hermit, over 500 years old, who taught him Baguazhang and a set of Qigong with breathing instructions, movements training coordinated with specific sounds, and dietary recommendations. Da Liu reports that his master said that his longevity “is due to the fact that he performed the exercises every day – regularly, correctly, and with sincerity – for 120 years.” Returning home, he died a year later, some say of natural causes; others claim that he said to friends: “I have done all I have to do in this world. I will now go home.” After Li’s death, General Yang Sen investigated the truth about his claimed background and age and wrote a report about his findings that was later published.
He worked as a herbalist, selling lingzhi, goji berry, wild ginseng, he shou wu and gotu kola along with other Chinese herbs, and lived off a diet of these herbs and rice wine. Li had also supposedly produced over 200 descendants during his life span, surviving 23 wives.
The article “Tortoise-Pigeon-Dog”, from the May 15, 1933 issue of Time reports on his history, and includes Li Ching-Yuen’s answer to the secret of a long life:
- Tranquil mind
- Sit like a tortoise
- Walk sprightly like a pigeon
- Sleep like a dog
Yang Jwing-Ming, in his book Muscle/Tendon Changing and Marrow/Brain Washing Qigong, says that Li Ching-Yuen was a Chinese herbalist skilled in Qigong who spent most of his life in the mountains. In 1927, the National Revolutionary Army General Yang Sen (揚森), invited him to his residence in Wann Hsien, Szechuan province, where the picture shown in this article was taken.
Chinese General Yang Sen wrote a report about him, A Factual Account of the 250 Year-Old Good-Luck Man (一个250岁长寿老人的真实记载), in which he described Li Ching Yuen’s appearance: “He has good eyesight and a brisk stride; Li stands seven feet tall, has very long fingernails, and a ruddy complexion.”
Stuart Alve Olson’s 2002 book “Qigong Teachings of a Taoist Immortal: The Eight Essential Exercises of Master Li Ching Yuen” teaches the practice of the “Eight Brocade Qigong” learned with the Taijiquan Master T. T. Liang (Liang Tung Tsai), who learned it from the General Yang Sen.
According to legend, Li Ching Yuen was the creator of Jiulong Baguazhang (or Nine Dragons Baguazhang).
The Taoist Master Liu Pai Lin (劉百齡), who lived in São Paulo, Brazil from 1975 until 2000, had in his classroom another photograph of Master Li Ching Yuen unknown to the West. In this photo his face is clearly visible, as are his long and curled fingernails. Master Liu had met him personally in China, and considered him as one of his Masters. He used to say that Master Li answered to him that the fundamental taoist practice is to learn to keep the “Emptiness” (Wuji). Master Liu’s son, Master Liu Chih Ming, teaches the 12 Silks Qigong in CEMETRAC, as transmitted by Master Li.
There are additional photos of Master Li Ching Yuen in a 1986 article in a Qigong specialist publication.
Many cultures around the world, particularly in India, Tibet and China, tell of remarkable longevity achieved by spiritual (yogic and taoist) adepts. Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi with Immortal sage, Babaji and Peter Kelder’s The Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth being examples.
256 Year Old Chinese Herbalist Li Ching-Yuen, Holistic Medicine, and 15 Character Traits That Cause Diseases
The herbalist had 23 wives and raised more than 200 children
According to the official records, herbalist Li Ching-Yuen was born in China in 1677 (although he himself claimed that he was born in 1736). Throughout his long life, he constantly practiced herbalism and martial arts. In 1930, the New York Times newspaper printed an article in which they published official Chinese government documents that were uncovered. These documents, dating back to 1827, contained official congratulations on Li Ching-Yuen’s 150th birthday. Later documents, dating back to 1877, contained official congratulations on his 200th birthday.
How did he do that?
Li Ching-Yuen expressed his longevity formula in one sentence: “Retain a calm heart, sit like a turtle, walk swiftly like a pigeon, and sleep like a dog”.
Let’s add a few more interesting historical facts to this story. Chinese army general Yang Sen invited Li to visit him, and offered him an opportunity to teach Chinese soldiers martial arts. The general could not believe how youthful his guest was, even though he had reached an age of 250 years old.
Li Ching-Yuen died on the 6th of May in 1933. He told his students that he had completed all his tasks in this lifetime, and he was now ready to come home.
Is this a true story? No one knows the truth, but if you read this story using your heart and not a limited rational mind, then you can understand the subtle meaning of it and learn a lot more.
It is possible to find other interesting stories about Western health prodigies and Eastern Yogis who lived for over 100 years. Not only did they survive for this long, they also thrived—youthful, active, and full of enthusiasm. What could we learn from them?
Holistic medicine is all that we need
These days, even modern medicine agrees: 70% of all illnesses materialise because of negative thoughts or emotional stress. Illnesses attributed to this cause are called “psychosomatic,” and they are the biggest headache of the whole mainstream healthcare system.
Sometimes several days of elevated stress is all that is needed to open up a gastric ulcer. Sometimes several years of it is all it takes to develop diabetes or heart disease, not to mention poor general health, lowered productivity, and lack of happiness. Doctors and scientists unanimously agree that our thoughts directly affect the activity of our organs and the state of our bodies in general. Ancient medicine is classified as holistic, because it takes care not only of the physical body, but also of the psyche, as well as one’s personal lifestyle. This method allows one to remove the cause of the illness, rather than merely treating the symptoms, therefore stopping it from reappearing. Modern medicine, on the other hand, deals with the consequences of the illness—bodily ailments. This is why the illness often comes back, since the cause of the illness is not actually being treated.
This is where one of the biggest secrets to health reveals itself—our thoughts can heal us. There are multiple recorded stories that discuss people who were severely ill and healed themselves with the power of thought, despite doctors losing all hope. One of such impressive story tells us about Morris Goodman, who, in 1981, was involved in a plane crash and was supposed to die due to irreversible spine damage and a punctured diaphragm. The man’s life was supported by a breathing ventilator, and the only movement he could do was blinking. However, this man was aware of the power of thought, and in just a few days successfully regenerated his own diaphragm and could breathe independently. He also consciously regenerated his damaged spinal cord and started to move all of his limbs. Doctors could not understand the situation at all because this just “could not be happening.” After a few months, however, Morris Goodman began to walk again, and eventually fully recovered. This is only one of many cases that are happening all around us. Thoughts cannot only make the body ill, but can also help it recover from incurable diseases.
Causes of hard to cure diseases from a different angle
The ancient ayurvedic health sciences not only prove the existence of psychosomatic illnesses, but also present a list of specific illnesses caused by specific character traits. What else could the thoughts be dependent on if not on the character?
Here are a few examples that could explain the causes of disease you or your loved ones may be suffering from:
- Jealousy – causes oncological diseases, weakens the immune system.
- Vengefulness – causes insomnia and throat diseases.
- Inability to find a solution to a situation – causes lung diseases.
- Lacking moral principals – causes chronic diseases, infections, and skin diseases.
- Being too categorical or unwavering in beliefs – causes diabetes, migraines, and inflammations.
- Lying – causes alcoholism, fungal infections, and weakens the immune system.
- Aggressiveness – causes gastric ulcers, acid reflux, and warts.
- Reticence – causes schizophrenia and kidney diseases.
- Cruelty – causes epilepsy, asthma, and anemia.
- Seeking conflicts – causes thyroid enlargement.
- Apathy – causes diabetes.
- Inconsistency or being fickle – causes infertility.
- Being rude or insulting – causes diabetes and heart diseases.
- Anxiety – causes digestive system disorders, heart, and skin diseases.
- Greed – causes oncological diseases, obesity, and heart diseases.
How can we know this is truth? Many great things in this world can only be tested by experience and not by thinking about them. Ayurveda is an ancient science that still works today and is used by many great people.
An interesting fact is that it is enough to cure your character, and the relevant diseases go away permanently. This is especially important to know for those who suffer from diseases such as diabetes and cancer, for which modern medicine does not have a cure yet.
Three ways to live healthfully and truly feel good
It will involve working on yourself—however, this investment will pay off greatly in the long run. Here are three methods, tested throughout three millenniums:
- Start monitoring your thoughts. Spend five minutes every evening writing down how you felt that day. Remember the situations you encountered and emotions you felt. What negative character traits does that uncover? What do you plan to do tomorrow to start improving yourself and to change those particular character traits? It is very important to write everything down.
- Try to think more about things that make you happy. This is the miracle of positive thinking. When you concentrate on the things that you like, it’s as if you move to a different frequency of vibrations, and the body starts to heal itself. Even better, there will be a greater number of good things in your life, because everything you think about becomes reality, including the problems that bother you. Concentrate on things you enjoy and watch how everything begins to change.
- Try out meditation. During meditation, the body and mind rest and heal themselves. You can read more about meditation in the article “How To Own A New Ferrari And Be As Smart As Einstein, Just By Calmly Sitting On Your Couch”.
Illness is simply our body’s signal about an incorrect (or, rather, non-beneficial) lifestyle. Firstly it manifests as anxiety, fear, and negative thoughts. Only then, if no effort is made to work on oneself, the body sends a more powerful signal to get your attention and make you think about what you are doing wrong, in the form of physical symptoms.
Leave only the useful and meaningful things in your life. Because everything that is useful to you is always useful to others.