“I am the Patricarch of Hades”

Yesterday we left Lu You passing Copper Factory Mountain and  arriving at Phoenix Hill. Today he reaches Attracting Blessings, which used to be Blue Flower, where King Nine once lived…. confused?  Read on……

Day 7/21

 

Finally I reached the Attracting Blessings Abbey at Phoenix Hill. The abbey was ravaged by fire and sword more than forty years ago, and has only been recently restored. It has five or six devotees of Daoism , and the abbot, Chen Tingrui, comes from Yiwu county in Wu prefecture. He says that this foundation is the ancient Blue Flower abbey. There once was a Mr Zhao from Reed Port Town whose father was a tea merchant. Mr Hao had had the given name King Nine when he was a child. At the age of 13 he became seriously ill and his father had carried him off to the Blue Flower Abbey. That night Mr Zhao dreamed that an old man had been leading him up a high mountain, and had told him,

 

“I am the Patriarch of Hades”.

 

The old man took out some cedar twigs for him to eat. Later he dreamed again of the old man who taught him several hundred characters of a celestial Seal Script. Empeor Taizong summonses him to an audience and ordained him as a Daoist priest.

 

When he died his disciples were going to bury him but his coffin became too heavy to carry. His mother said “I am sure there is something extraordinary going on with my son” and ordered them to open the coffin. It turned out there was no corpse at all, just his sword and sandals; so they buried the coffin on the spot.

 

The tomb is still there today, it is referred to as the Tomb of the Sword.

Day 7/22

 We crossed the Great River and entered the channel of the Ding Family Island before continuing once more on the Great River. Since leaving Dangtu the weather has been delightfully fresh, the ripples smooth as a mat. In the distance, white clouds and ranges of green hills serve as a foil one to the other, and all day we seem to be journeying though a painting quite forgetting the hardships of travel.

 We passed Copper Mountain country without going in, and in the evening moored at the mouth of Water Narrows. People who live by rivers and lakes call the place where the currents divide into separate channels a “narrow” as in Wang Anshi’s line

In East River trees shed their leaves and the waters divide into narrows.

from Grand Canal Great River, Lu You’s 12tch Century Travel Diary.

The photo at the top is from above mentioned book, and shows Mr Lu’s journey up the Yangzi River.