Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty toured the new moon to pray for immortals and gods

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Statue of Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty



It was built by Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty when he returned from his tour in the new moon to pay tribute to the Yellow Emperor and pray for Immortals

Compared with the ancient emperors such as yanzhao, Qiwei and Qinshihuang, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty was more enthusiastic about worshiping gods and seeking immortality. Thanks to the historical records of Fengchan, we have a full understanding of the activities of seeking immortality in the Han Dynasty.

In the Warring States period, a group of alchemists had been formed, but they were severely weakened by the first emperor of Qin. At the time of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, due to the emperor’s sincere belief and advocacy, the wind of seeking immortality flourished again, with a scale and momentum far greater than that of the previous generation, and the power of alchemists was revived, far beyond that of the Qin Dynasty.

Although Emperor Wu was a good Confucian, he was also influenced by Huang Lao thought. Huang Lao’s natural and innocent side seems to have no influence on him. He only loves Huang Lao’s magical side. He ascended the throne at the age of 17 and “especially worshiped ghosts and gods”. The first alchemist who influenced Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty was lishaojun. Emperor Wu had an old bronze ware. He questioned the young gentleman. The young gentleman replied: This is the bronze ware of Duke Huan of Qi Dynasty. Later, Emperor Wu was proved to be a relic of Duke Huan’s time, so he “took the young king as God and people hundreds of years old”. Knowing the age of an old bronze ware can be done with some knowledge and experience. It is logical to infer that Shaojun has considerable knowledge. However, Emperor Wu and others judge that Shaojun is an immortal and a person who has lived for “hundreds of years”, which is a bit incredible. After succeeding in his first attempt, Li Shaojun enticed the young Emperor Hanwu to seek immortality on the sea. Therefore, Emperor Hanwu sent alchemists to the sea to seek the birth of penglai’an, and engaged in “turning the pill into gold”. The consequence of Emperor Wu’s action was that “the strange and circuitous alchemists of Yan and Qi on the sea had more effects than before, and they even talked about God’s affairs”. Lishaojun later fell ill and died. Emperor Wu “thought that he could not die.”.

Two years after Li Shaojun’s death, Emperor Wu became fascinated by the alchemists Shaoweng and Luan da. Shao Weng was killed by Emperor Wu for fraud. Emperor Wu saw Luan Da “Da Yue”. Why? Because he had already regretted killing Shaoweng, “he hated his early death and regretted his endless remedies.”. Luan Da is handsome and “dare to speak up”:

I tasted the sea and saw the peace period and the envy of the family… My teacher said, “gold can be made, the river can be blocked, the medicine of immortality can be obtained, and immortals can be killed.” “If I fear that I will follow Wencheng (a young man), then all the alchemists will cover their mouths. I dare to speak evil.”

In order to appease Luan Da, Emperor Wu disguised the fact that he killed Shaoweng and said that he died of poisoning by eating horse liver. Luan DA at the moment has already figured out the psychology and intelligence of Emperor Wu, so he said to Emperor Wu hard to get:

Ministers and teachers do not ask for help from others. People ask for help. If your majesty wants to send it, you should honor his emissary. Now there are relatives. Treat them with guest courtesy. Don’t humble them. Make everyone wear their seal of faith, but you can make them speak to God and man. The man of God is willing to do it or not, so he can honor his envoy, and then he can do it.

Your emissary, this emissary can not be someone else, but Luan Da himself. How can others know his “teacher”! Emperor Wu immediately worshipped Luan as a general of Wuli. One month later, he let Luan wear four gold seals: General Tianshi, general Dishi, general Datong and general Tiandao. Luan Da was also made Marquis, with a first-class class class, a thousand children and servants, as well as chariots, horses, curtains and utensils. Emperor Wu also betrothed one of his daughters to Luan da. When the princess married Luan Da, she brought gold with her. Emperor Wu also visited Luan mansion in person. He sent envoys to express condolences and send gifts in an endless stream.

At that time, Luan Dagui shocked the world, making everyone greedy. People in Yanqi said that they had forbidden prescriptions and could become immortals. That year, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty was 44 years old. He was looking forward to Luan Da bringing him immortals. However, Luan didn’t invite immortals, so he couldn’t live in Chang’an for a long time, so he went east and said that he had gone to the sea to find his master.

Soon after Luan Dadong left, another alchemist gongsunqing appeared in Emperor Wu’s palace. That year, fenyin dug up an ancient tripod, and gongsunqing told a story about the Yellow Emperor becoming an immortal:

The Yellow Emperor collected the copper from the first mountain and cast the tripod at the foot of Jingshan mountain. When the tripod is completed, the Dragon droops its beard to greet the Yellow Emperor. The Yellow Emperor rode on, and more than 70 officials from the Imperial Palace went up. The dragon was there. Yu Xiaochen was not allowed to go up, but learned to hold the dragon’s beard, pull it out, fall, fall the bow of the Yellow Emperor. When people looked up to the Yellow Emperor, they held his bow and beard. Therefore, later generations named his place Dinghu and his bow Wu.

Despite the losses of Shaoweng and Luan Da, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty still believed gongsunqing’s words. He said, “if I could become an immortal like the Yellow Emperor, I would regard leaving my wife and children as taking off my shoes and ears.” So he worshiped gongsunqing and asked him to go to Taishi mountain to wait for God for himself. At the same time, the preparatory work for Fengchan began. Later, he went to Mount Tai for the great ceremony of Fengchan, the fundamental purpose of which was to seek immortality.

Among the alchemists of the Han Dynasty, gongsunqing probably had the most thorough understanding of Emperor Wu’s eagerness for immortality. That winter, he claimed that he had found traces of immortals in the Zhen City in Henan Province. Emperor Wu rushed there excitedly to see the “immortal human trace”, but it was a hollow joy. In addition to being disappointed, he hated gongsunqing and wanted to accuse him. Unexpectedly, gongsunqing calmly replied, “Immortals don’t ask the Lord for anything. The Lord has asked him for something. If it wasn’t for a long time, immortals wouldn’t come.” Emperor Wu was so convinced that he ordered prefectures to build roads and famous mountains to build palaces and temples in order to attract immortals. In order to wait for immortals, the whole country took action. This kind of trouble was in full swing under the temptation of gongsunqing. It was irresistible.

In the winter when Emperor Wu was 46, he first went to the tomb of the Yellow Emperor in Qiaoshan to offer sacrifices to the Yellow Emperor. In March of the next year, he ascended Taishi mountain. It is said that he heard “long live” from the officials at the foot of the mountain. After going down the mountain, Emperor Wu went straight to the East China Sea. Now the people in Shandong seem to be crazy, “there are tens of thousands of people who say strange things.”. Despite the “unsubstantiated”, Emperor Wu continued to increase ships and ordered thousands of people who claimed to have seen the sacred mountain on the sea to go to sea to seek the so-called Penglai immortal. Gongsunqing took the emperor’s talisman and led a large number of followers. When he came to Donglai to wait for immortals in some famous mountains, he claimed that “when he saw the Lord at night, he would be several feet long, but he would not see it. His tracks were very large, like birds and animals.” Emperor Wu hurried to Donglai again and watched the huge footprints in person. Whether it was coincidence or pandering, his ministers also said that when they saw an old man holding a dog and said “I want to see Grandpa”, they disappeared. Emperor Wu decided that this man was an immortal and lived there. At the same time, he asked the alchemists to take the Royal car to look for this “immortal” everywhere. More than a thousand people were sent out this time.

Because there was no result, Emperor Wu left Donglai for the time being. By the way, he became a Buddhist monk on Mount Tai in April. However, he never forgot to seek immortality. Encouraged by the alchemists, he “readily met them several times, but looked east to the sea, hoping to meet Penglai Yan.” The picture of seeking immortality more than 2000 years ago seems very absurd today. An emperor of the largest country in the East, with his ministers and countless people, stood by the sea, hoping to see Penglai fairy mountain and immortals. In those days, the mirage just didn’t appear. If it did, we don’t know what Emperor Hanwu and his subjects would have thought and acted at that time.

Gongsunqing played the most important role in Emperor Wu’s quest for immortality. In the second year of Yuanfeng (109 B.C.), gongsunqing made another comment to the 54 year old emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty: Immortals can be seen, but the emperor is too hurried to see you. Then gongsunqing put forward for the first time the idea that “immortals are good buildings”. Emperor Wu built high-rise buildings in Chang’an and Ganquan mountains. This can be written down in the history of Chinese architecture. The tall buildings built in Chang’an at that time were called “Fei Lian GUI Guan”; Ganquan’s is called “the view of benefiting and prolonging life”. Later, a higher “Tongtian platform” was built in Ganquan. This “Tongtian platform” was quoted from the old instrument of the Han Dynasty when Tang Sima Zhen annotated the historical records: “go to Chang’an for 200 Li and see the city of Chang’an.” He also ordered people to prepare the house utensils used by the immortals under those tall buildings, waiting for the arrival of the immortals all the time.

Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty also ordered people to expand and build Zhang palace, which was “a place for thousands of families”. Jianzhang palace is a large palace complex that can be compared with the Afang palace of the first emperor of Qin Dynasty. There are not only palaces and observation halls on all sides, but also tiger circles and large pools, which are called Taiye pool. In the pool are sacred mountains such as Penglai, abbot and Yingzhou. The “God platform” and “Jinggan building” of Jianzhang Palace are more than 50 feet high and belong to other buildings and observation halls.

On the one hand, Emperor Wu built large-scale buildings to wait for immortals. On the other hand, he came to the east coast three times in person, hoping to meet the immortal. However, there was no result. The historical records of Fengchan book said: “there was no success in waiting for the gods and men in the temple of scholars Fang, who went to the sea to seek Penglai. However, those waiting for the gods of Gongsun Qing still had no effect based on the deeds of adults. The son of heaven was increasingly tired of the strange and circuitous words of scholars Fang, but he eventually became obsessed with the truth. Since then, the gods in the temple of scholars Fang have become more numerous, but their effect can be seen.” This passage has two meanings worth noting: one is that although the alchemists have never found the immortal, Emperor Wu is a little tired of their strange and circuitous talk. But he still had hope; Clearly, “its effect can be seen”, that is to say, Emperor Wu still “hopes to meet its truth”. The second is the social consequences of Emperor Wu’s belief in Fang Shi and his desire for immortality: those who speak of the gods in the ancestral hall will make up for the masses. Sima Qian’s criticism was very implicit. It seemed that he did not involve the interference of large-scale immortality seeking activities on the economic activities and the corruption of the social atmosphere at that time. However, his criticism was very bold and sharp. If we compare Sima Qian’s different comments on Emperor Wen of Han Dynasty, we may see more clearly:

Taishi Gong said: Confucius said: “the world must be followed by benevolence. A good man can win and kill even if he has ruled the country for a hundred years.”. What a statement! Hanxing, to Xiaowen more than 40 years, Germany to Sheng also Oh, how kind!

The praise and praise for Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty are beyond expression. However, he did not seem to give any praise or criticism to Emperor Wu’s act of worshiping gods and seeking immortality, saying that he only truthfully recorded what he saw and heard following Emperor Wu, so that later generations could watch and admire it. However, at this time, silence is better than sound. Sima Qian’s disparagement of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty is silent. People with a clear eye can see it at a glance. Sima Qian was deeply dissatisfied with Emperor Wu’s quest for immortality and its tragic consequences, which later generations can see clearly. In the book of Han Dynasty, it is said that Emperor Wu built many high-rise buildings in order to make immortals live forever, resulting in the consequences of “exhausting people’s financial resources and extravagance”, “the world is wasted, people are displaced, and half of the people die of material accidents”.

The activity of seeking immortals by Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty was a farce to satisfy his selfish desires, which had a negative impact on people’s economic and social life at that time. Culturally, it spread the thought of immortals and alchemy, and formed a unique group of alchemists. Later, Taoism in the Eastern Han Dynasty absorbed the magic of immortals, and the alchemists gradually transformed into Taoists. Under the leadership of Taoists, the thought of immortals and the activities of seeking immortality were still inexhaustible. For example, the great poet Li Bai said that “seeking immortality in the five mountains is not far away, and he likes to travel in famous mountains all his life”. Like emperor Wu, he also had a dream of immortality.

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