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Li Ching-Yuen

Li Chung Yun

Birth name Li Ching Yuen (李清雲)
Born May, 1677 (alleged)
Szechuan, China
Died May 6, 1933 (aged 256)
Szechuan, China
Occupation Professor

Li Ching-Yuen or Li Ching Yun (Pinyin: lǐ qīng yún;Traditional Chinese: 李清雲) (Szechuan, China, circa 1677 A.D. - 1933 A.D.) is said to be one of the oldest persons who ever lived, reportedly dying at 256 years of age.

Additional recommended knowledge


The secret of longevity

The article "Tortoise-Pigeon-Dog", from the May 15, 1933 issue of TIME magazine reports his history (follow the reference among the "External links").

The Time's article "Tortoise-Pigeon-Dog" registered Master Li Ching Yuen's answer about his secret of long life:

  • Keep a quiet heart,
  • sit like a tortoise,
  • walk sprightly like a pigeon
  • and sleep like a dog.


Li Chung Yun was born in 1677 in Chyi Jiang Hsie, Szechuan province. He spent most of his life in the mountain ranges gathering herbs and knowledge of longevity methods.

In 1748, when he was 71 years old, moved to Kai Hsien to join the Chinese army as teacher of the martial arts and as a tactical advisor

In 1927 Li Ching-Yuen was invited by General Yang Sen to visit him in Wann Hsien, Szechuan. The general was fascinated by his youthfulness, strength and prowess in spite of his advanced age. His famous photo was obtained there.

Returning home, he died a year later, some say of natural causes, others claim that he told friends that "I have done all I have to do in this world. I will now go home.", and then allowed his spirit to depart.

After Li's death, General Yang Sen investigated the truth about his claimed background and age. He wrote a report that was later published. In 1933, people interviewed from his home province remembered seeing him when they were children, and that he hadn't aged much during their lifetime. Others reported that he had been friends with their grandfathers. The truth about his long life may never be solved.

References about Master Li Ching-Yun

Li's obituary was printed in the New York Times, Time Magazine, and other publications. The Time Magazine article says that in 1930 Professor Wu Chung-chieh, from Chengdu University, found records from the Chinese Imperial Government congratulating Li Ching Yuen in his 150th birthday in 1827.

In his book "Ancient Secrets of Youth" Peter Kelder brings a remarkable tale about Li Ching Yuen, told by one of his disciples, the Taiji Quan Master Da Liu. He told that at 130 years old Master Li encountered an older hermit in the mountains who taught him Baguazhang and a set of Qigong with breathing instructions, movements training coordinated with specific sounds, and dietary recommendations. Da Liu reports that his master's said that his longevity "is due to the fact that I performed the exercises every day - regularly, correctly, and with sincerity - for 120 years."

Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming, in his book "Muscle/Tendon Changing and Marrow/Brain Washing Chi Kung." says that Li Ching-Yuen was a Chinese herbalist skilled in Qigong who spent most of his life in the mountains. In 1927 the National Revolutionary Army General Yang Sen (揚森), invited him to his residence in Wann Hsien, Szechuan province, where the picture shown in this article was taken.

Chinese General Yang Sen wrote a report about him, "A Factual Account of the 250 Year-Old Good-Luck Man.", where he described Li Ching Yuen's appearance: "He has good eyesight and a brisk stride; Li stands seven feet tall, has very long fingernails, and a ruddy complexion."

Stuart Alve Olson wrote in 2002 the book "Qigong Teachings of a Taoist Immortal: The Eight Essential Exercises of Master Li Ching-Yun". In this book he teaches the practice of the "Eight Brocade Qigong" learned with the Taiji Quan Master T. T. Liang (Liang Tung Tsai), who learned it from the General Yang Sen.

The praticants of Jiulong Baguazhang, also known as Nine Dragon Eight Diagram Palm, claims that his art was conceived by the Daoist sage Li Ching-Yuen (follow the reference among the "External links").

The Taoist Master Liu Pai Lin (劉百齡), who inhabited São Paulo, Brazil, from 1975 until 2000, had in his classroom another photograph of Master Li Ching Yuen unknown in occident. In this photo his face is clearly visible, as are his long and curled fingernails. Master Liu had met him personally in China, and considered him as one of his Masters. He used to say that Master Li answered to him that the fundamental taoist practice is learn to keep the "Emptiness" (Wu Wei). Master Liu's son, Master Liu Chih Ming, teaches in CEMETRAC the 12 Silks Qigong, as transmitted by Master Li.

Chinese herbalist

Li Ching-Yuen is also reported to be a real Chinese herbalist, proponent of the use of Gotu Kola and others Chinese herbs to conquer longevity.

An interesting sidelight was thrown upon the unique properties of fo-ti-tieng (Gotu Kola) by a 107 year old Indian sage named Nanddo Narian, who claimed that the herb provides the missing ingredient in a man's diet, without which, he can never control disease and decay. He found it to be, in practice, the finest of all herbal tonics and nutrients.

Doubts about his real age

It is not likely that his age will ever be authenticated, and most medical authorities doubt such mortality is humanly possible. According to the legend, during the course of his lifetime he had 23 wives and about 200 descendants.

Although not recognized in the occidental world, the Chinese records, if accurate, would make Li Ching-Yuen by far the oldest man in the world, surpassing the official record (even any other claimed age) by more than 100 years.

By contrast, the longest confirmed, documentable lifespan is of a French woman, Jeanne Louise Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122 years.

The Taiji Quan Master Wong Kiew Kit wrote about Li Qing-Yun in his homepage, answering to his readers' questions: "I am not sure whether the Good Luck Man, Li Qing Yun, was a real person or just a myth, but he is certainly an inspiration to us."

See also

  • Longevity
  • Longevity myths
  • Longevity claims


  • Da Liu. "Taoist Health Exercise Book." Putnam Publishing Group, New York, 1983.
  • KELDER, Peter. "The Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth." Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, 1998. ISBN 0-385-49162-X
  • LIU, Pai Lin (劉百齢); HAYASHI, Yoshitsugu (林義貢); and SHIODA, Kenichi (塩田憲一). "Taoist Chi Kung Secret Transmission." [秘伝 道家氣功] Japan, Publisher: たま出版, 1995. ISBN 4-88481-426-6
  • OLSON, Stuart Alve. "Qigong Teachings of a Taoist Immortal: The Eight Essential Exercises of Master Li Ching-yun" Healing Arts Press, 2002. ISBN 0-89281-945-6
  • Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming. "Muscle/Tendon Changing and Marrow/Brain Washing Chi Kung: The Secret of Youth." YMAA Publication Center, 1989. ISBN 0-940871-06-8.
  • REID, Daniel "The Complete Book of Chinese Health and Healing." Shambhala, 1994. ISBN 1-57062-071-7
  • Yang Sen (General). "A Factual Account of the 250 Year-Old Good-Luck Man." (Er Bae Wuu Shyr Suey Ren Ruey Shyr Jih). Published by the Chinese and Foreign Literature Storehouse (Jong Wai Wen Kuh), Taipei, Taiwan.

External links (article's references)

  • [1] "Tortoise-Pigeon-Dog" Article From the May 15, 1933 issue of TIME magazine.
  • [2] "Qigong Teachings of a Taoist Immortal: The Eight Essential Exercises of Master Li Ching-yun" by Stuart Alve Olson (Amazon Books)
  • [3] Account from the book on taoist yoga, "Muscle/Tendon Changing and Marrow/Brain Washing Chi Kung" by Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming (1989).
  • [4] Excerpt from Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming's book, from YMAA's site.
  • [5] A Story of Master Li.
  • [6] More on Li Ching Yuen - from Da Liu.
  • [7] Google Answers - Longevity.
  • [8] Jiulong Baguazhang, also known as Nine Dragon Eight Diagram Palm, conceived by the Daoist sage Li Ching-Yuen.
  • [9] The History of Jiulong Baguazhang.
  • [10] Li Ching Yuen: The most famous user of Gotu Kola (known in China as fo-ti-tieng)
  • [11] Wong Kiew Kit answer's to readers questions, the Question 10 is about Li Qing-Yun.
  • [12] Portuguese Wikipedia's Article about the Taoist Master Liu Pai Lin.
  • [13] CEMETRAC - Centro de Estudos da Medicina Tradicional e Cultura Chinesa (Brazilian site, in Portuguese.)
  • [14] Li Ching-Yuen obituary as printed in the New York Times
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Li_Ching-Yuen". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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