Zhang Daoling

Zhang Daoling

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Zhang Daoling

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Zhang Ling (; 34–156), style name Fuhan (), was an Eastern Han Dynasty Taoist hermit who founded the Way of the Celestial Masters sect of Taoism, which is also known as the Way of the Five Pecks of Rice.

He is also known as Zhang Daoling (), Celestial Master Zhang (張天師), Ancestral Celestial Master (祖天師) or Zhengyi Zhenren (正一真人) to Taoists. Zhang is sometimes pictured riding on a tiger. In some Taoist sects, Zhang, along with Ge Xuan, Xu Xun and Sa Shoujian, are called the "Four Celestial Masters" (四大天師).

Biography

Zhang traced his ancestral home to Feng County, Jiangsu, and was said to be a descendant of Zhang Liang. He was born in the tenth year of the Jianwu era during the reign of Emperor Guangwu of Han. He started reading the Tao Te Ching at a young age and studied in the Taixue (Imperial Academy) before. He served as a magistrate in Jiangzhou, Ba Commandery (present-day Chongqing) during the reign of Emperor Ming of Han.

Zhang later retired and led a reclusive life at Mount Beimang, where he practiced ways of achieving longevity. When invited to serve as a boshi (equivalent of a present-day professor) in the Imperial Academy, he claimed that he was ill. Emperor He of Han summoned him thrice to serve as the Taifu (Imperial Tutor) but he refused again.

According to tradition, in 142, Laozi appeared to Zhang on Mount Heming, and informed the hermit that the world was coming to an end, to be followed by an era of Great Peace. Laozi...
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