Lu Tung Pin is one of the most popular of the Eight Immortals (The Eight Immortals themselves are Taoist folk heros drawn from a cross section of society that represent the eight different conditions of life: youth, old age, poverty, wealth, nobility, the populance, the masculine, and the feminine. Their personalities and exploits are revealed in myths and ledgends, they have acheived popularity as individuals and it is not unusual to find an altar in a temple dedicated to one of them.)
Lu Tung Pin is venerated for two reasons. Firstly because he is associated with medicine and the elixir of life. He knows the formula for the elixir of life and his potions and charms can heal the sick. Lu Tung Pin is also the doctor of the poor.
As a young man Lu Tung Pin met up with a fire dragon who gave him a sword. This sword was called Chan-yao Kuai, the Demon-Slayer which allows him to have control over evil spirits destroying, capturing or taming them if he is invoked correctly; but to Lu Tung Pin this sword was not a weapon for killing enemies but a symbol for conquering passion, aggression, and ignorance.
Lu Tung Pin considered compasion to be the essential means of attaining perfection.
As a young man Lu Tung Pin travelled towards the capital and along the way met the immortal Chung Li-ch'uan, who was warming up some wine. After drinking some of the wine Lu fell asleep and dreamt that he was a wealthy and powerful official who lived the rich life for fifty years until a crime caused his family to be banished and exterminated. When Lu awoke he found that only a few moments had passed but the dream brought him to his senses and he decided to forgo the life of an official and follow Chung Li-ch'uan into the mountains. There Lu learned the secrets of alchemy and the art of swordsmanship. He transformed the methods of Outer Alchemy (wai-dan) into those of Inner Alchemy (nei-dan).
Lu Tung Pin from a 19th Century wood cut
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