The Proper Story of Lu Dong Bin spoken by Chan Master Xu Yun Lao He Shang (Old Monk Xu Yun)   Story can be found on :   The Dao Immortal   Forty-three generations of Chan masters have passed since the Sixth Patriarch held high the Dharma Lamp. Forty-three generations of seekers have found the Way, guided by his Light.   No matter how confirmed a person is in another Path, he can be guided by Chan. When sunlight comes through the window, it does not illuminate some sections of the room while leaving other parts in darkness. The entire room is lit by the Sun's Truth. So, any person, no matter which Path he has chosen, can receive the benefits of Chan's Lamp.   Take the famous case of the Dao Immortal Lu Dong Bin.   Lu Dong Bin was the youngest and most unrestrained of all the Dao Immortals. Actually, you could say that he was pretty wild. At least that's how he started out.   In his mortal days, he was called Chun Yang... a native of Jing Chuan who lived at the end of the T'ang Dynasty. That was more than a thousand years ago, but those days weren't so different from ours. If a young man wanted to get ahead, he needed an education. In our time, he'd get a college degree. But in those days, he had to pass the dreaded Scholar's Examination. If a fellow couldn't pass this exam, he had to give some serious thought to farming.   Well, Chun Yang tried three times to pass the Scholar's Examination, and three times he failed. He was frustrated and depressed. He knew he had let his family down, and that he hadn't done much for himself, either. It was his own professional future that he had doomed.   So Chun Yang did what a lot of desperate young people do, he started hanging out in wine-shops trying to drink himself to death.   The path that alcohol takes went in the same direction for Chun Yang as it does for anyone else: it went straight down. As the old saying goes, first Shun Yung was drinking the wine, then the wine was drinking the wine, and then the wine was drinking Shun Yung. He was in pretty bad shape by the time the Dao Immortal, Zhong Li Quan, chanced to meet him in one of those saloons.   The Dao Immortal took an interest in the young man. "Instead of trying to shorten your life with wine," he said, "why don't you try to lengthen your life with Dao."   Instead of a short, miserable life, Zhong Li Quan offered Chun Yang a long, happy life. It sounded like a good deal. Chun Yang might not have had what it took to be a government bureaucrat, but he certainly had everything required to try spiritual alchemy.   Chun Yang had nothing else to do with his time so he had plenty of opportunity to practice. He was definitely motivated. I suppose that he had become aware of how far down he had gone, that he'd hit bottom, so to speak. When a person realizes that he doesn't have anything to lose by looking at life from another point of view, he's more open to new ideas.   So Chun Yang had the motivation and the opportunity. It only remained to acquire the means. And that was what Zhong Li Quan was offering to supply. He'd teach him the necessary techniques.   Chun Yang threw his heart and soul into the mastery of what is called the Small Cosmic Orbit, a powerful yoga practice that uses sexual energy to transmute the dross of human nature into the Gold of Immortality. He got so good at it he could make himself invisible or appear in two places at once.... That's pretty good.   One day he decided to fly over Chan Monastery Hai Hui which was situated on Lu Shan mountain. Saints and Immortals can do that, you know. They're like pilots without airplanes... or parachutes.   While he was flying around up there, he saw and heard the Buddhist monks chanting and working hard doing all the ordinary things that Buddhist monks do. So, to show off his powers and mock the monks' industry, he wrote a little poem on the wall of the monastery's bell tower:   With Jewel inside my Hara's treasure, Every truth becomes my pleasure. When day is done I can relax My Mind's without a care to tax. Your mindless Chan a purpose lacks.   Some such bad poetry like that. Then he flew away. Every day that the Abbot, Chan Master Huang Lung, looked up at the bell tower he had to read that awful poetry.   One day while the former Chun Yang - he was now known as the Immortal Lu Dong Bin - was flying around the vicinity of the monastery he saw a purple umbrella-shaped cloud rising over the monastery. This was a clear indication that something very spiritual was going on and so Lu Dong Bin thought he'd come down and take a look.   All the monks were going into the Dharma Hall so he just disguised himself as a monk and followed them in. But he couldn't fool old Abbot Huang Lung.   "I don't think I'll expound the Dharma, today," growled Huang Lung. "We seem to have a Dharma Thief in our midst."   Lu Dong Bin stepped forward and arrogantly bowed to the Master. "Would you be kind enough," he challenged sarcastically, "to enlighten me to the meaning of the expression, `A grain of wheat can contain the universe and mountains and rivers can fit into a small cooking pot.'" Lu Dong Bin didn't believe in the empty, egoless state. He accepted the false view that the ego somehow survives death.   Huang Lung laughed at him. "Look! A devil guards a corpse!"   "A corpse?" Lu Tun Pin retorted. "Hah! My gourd is filled with the Elixir of Immortality!"   "You can drag your corpse throughout eternity for all I care," said Huang Lung. "But for now, get it out of here!"   "Can't you answer my question?" taunted Lu Dong Bin.   "I thought you had all the answers you needed," Huang Lung scoffed. He remembered the poem.   Lu Dong Bin responded with fury. He hurled his dreaded sword, the "Devil Slayer", at Huang Lung; but the Master merely pointed his finger at the flying sword and it stopped in mid-flight and dropped harmlessly to the floor. The Immortal was awestruck! He had never imagined a Chan master could be so powerful. Contrite, he dropped to his knees in a show of respect. "Please, master," he said, "I truly do wish to understand."   Huang Lung softened towards him. "Let's forget the second part about the cooking pot," he said generously. "Instead, concentrate on the first part. The same mind that gives form to an arrangement of matter which it names `a grain of wheat' is the same mind that gives form to an arrangement of matter which it names `a universe'. Concepts are in the mind. `Mindless Chan,' as you previously put it, is actually the practice of emptying the mind of concepts, of judgments, of opinions, of ego." Then he added, remembering the poem probably, "Especially the concept of ego!"   Lu Dong Bin brooded about the answer until he suddenly understood it. As long as he discriminated between himself and others, between desirable and undesirable, between insignificant and important, he was enslaved to the conceptual world, he was merely an Arbiter of Illusions. Nobody in his right mind wants to be that! And certainly no Dao Immortal wants to spend his life, or all eternity, either, judging between lies, deciding which ones are more convincing than others.   Overjoyed, Lu Dong Bin flew up to the tower, erased his old poem and substituted another:   I thought I'd mastered my small mind, But t'was the other way around. I sought for gold in mercury But illusion's all I found. My sword came crashing to the floor When Huang Lung pointed at the moon; I saw the light, his truth broke through And saved me none too soon.   Unfortunately, Enlightenment didn't make him a better poet.   The point, however, is that Lu Dong Bin, despite being a Dao Immortal, was able to benefit from Chan. He so appreciated the Three Jewels - Buddha, Dharma, Sangha - that he actually acquired the title of Guardian of the Dharma. Of course, it wasn't necessary for him to convert and call himself a Chan Man. The whole lesson of his Enlightenment was that names are meaningless, so he continued being a Dao Immortal. Only now, because he understood so much more, he immediately rose through the ranks of the Immortals; and though he was the youngest of them all, he became the most prominent. Under his inspired leadership, the Daoist Sect in the North really began to thrive. Lu Dong Bin was called the Fifth Dao Patriarch of the North.   Down South, another great Daoist, Zi Yang, also attained Enlightenment after reading Buddhist sutras. He became known as the Fifth Dao Patriarch of the South...   ...but that's another story.