The Legend of Li Ching-Yuen

In the province of Szechwan in China lived until last week Li Ching-yun. In China where Age means something he was a great man. By his own story he was born in 1736, had lived 197 years. By the time he was ten years old he had traveled in Kansu, Shansi, Tibet, Annam, Siam and Manchuria gathering herbs. He continued to gather herbs for the rest of his first 100 years. He lived on herbs and plenty of rice wine. When asked for his secret of long life. Li Ching-yun gave it readily: “Keep a quiet heart, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon and sleep like a dog.” The “Scholar War Lord” Wu Pei-fu. not satisfied with this formula, took Li into his home and was lectured on “how to get the most out of each century” by maintaining “inward calm.” Some said he had buried 23 wives, was living with his 24th. a woman of 60, had descendants of eleven generations. The fingernails of his venerable right hand were six inches long. Yet to skeptical Western eyes he looked much like any Chinese 60-year-old. In 1930 Professor Wu Chung-chieh, dean of the department of education at Chengtu University, found records that the Imperial Chinese Government had congratulated one Li Ching-yun in 1827 on his birthday. The birthday was his 150th, making the man who died last week—if it was the same Li Ching-yun, and respectful Chinese preferred to think so—a 256-year-old.


Li Ching-Yuen

Qigong Teachings of a Taoist Immortal: The Eight Essential Exercises of Master Li Ching-Yun
by Stuart Alve Olson
ISBN 0892819456


  1. Keep a quiet heart by “sitting like a tortoise and walking sprightly like a bird, and to sleep like a dog.” Li Ching-yun (quote from Qigong Teachings of a Taoist Immortal p. 33)

  2. I am looking for a person whose name sounds like Li jingyan(g) and who (once) lived in Makassar/Indonesia; he was associated to Longhushan Dao centre; sometime in the 20th century answered a challenge of a Singaporean/Malayan kungfu master, thrusted 1 blow and ordered people to take him home to die. Li had students in Indonesia.
    Anybody could shed some light on this figure, whether he is the same Li Qingyuan or another figure?

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