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Qiu Chuji
Qiu Chuji
Painting of Qiu Chuji.
Some attributes
First Name: Qiu Chuji
Second Position: Daoist
Third Nationality: Chinese
Other attributes
Fourth Allegiance: Dragon Gate sect of Taoism
Fifth Born: 1148
Sixth Died: 23 July 1227 (aged 79)

Yin and Yang svg

The Yin and Yang Symbol with white representing Yang and black representing Yin.

220px-YuanEmperorAlbumGenghisPortrait

Genghis Khan as portrayed in a 14th-century Yuan era album.

Qiu Chuji (traditional Chinese: 丘處機; simplified Chinese: 丘处机; pinyin: Qiū Chùjī; 1148 – 23 July 1227), also known by his Taoist name Changchun zi (Chinese: 長春子; pinyin: Chángchūnzi), was a Daoist disciple of Wang Chongyang. He was the most famous among the Seven True Daoists of the North. He was the founder of the Dragon Gate sect of Taoism attracting the largest following in the streams of traditions flowing from the sects of the disciples.

Qiu Chuji, whose original name is unknown, was born on the 19th day of the first lunar month in the 8th year of the Huangtong era of the Jin dynasty (1148) in Bindu Village, Qixia County, Dengzhou Prefecture, Shandong Province. Since childhood he had no interest in Confucianism but was keen on immortality practice. At the age of 19, he renounced the worldly life and was initiated into Daoism.

In 1219, Genghis Khan ordered Qiu Chuji to visit him in a letter dated 15 May 1219 by present reckoning. Qiu Chuji left his home in Shandong in February 1220 and journeyed to Beijing. Learning that Genghis had gone West, he spent winter there. In February 1221, Qiu Chuji left, traversing eastern Mongolia to the camp of Genghis' youngest brother Otchigin near Lake Buyur in the upper Kerulen - today's Kherlen-Amur basin.

From there he traveled southwestward up the Kerulen, crossing the Karakorum region in north-central Mongolia, and arrived at the Altai Mountains, probably passing near the present Uliastai. After traversing the Altai he visited Bishbalig - modern Ürümqi - and moved along the north side of the Tian Shan range to Lake Sutkol, today's Sairam, Almaliq (or Yining City), and the rich valley of the Ili.

From there, Qiu Chuji passed to Balasagun and Shu City and across this river to Talas and the Tashkent region, and then over the Syr Darya to Samarkand, where he halted for some months. Finally, through the Iron Gates of Termit, over the Amu Darya, and by way of Balkh and northern Afghanistan, Qiu Chuji reached Genghis' camp near the Hindu Kush.

Qiu Chuji, had been invited to satisfy the interest of Genghis Khan in "the philosopher's stone" and the secret medicine of immortality. He explained the Taoist philosophy and the many ways to prolong life and was honest in saying there was no secret medicine of immortality. Genghis Khan honoured him with the title Spirit Immortal. Genghis also made Qiu Chuji in charge of all religious persons in the empire. Their conversations were recorded in the book "Xuan Feng Qing Hui Lu".

Returning home, Qiu Chuji largely followed his outward route, with certain deviations, such as a visit to Hohhot. He was back in Beijing by the end of January 1224. From the narrative of his expedition, "Travels to the West of Qiu Chang Chun" written by his pupil and companion Li Zhichang, we derive some of the most vivid pictures ever drawn of nature and man between the Great Wall of China and Kabul, between the Aral and Yellow Seas.

Of particular interest are the sketches of the Mongols and the people of Samarkand and its vicinity, the account of the land and products of Samarkand in the Ili Valley at or near Almalig-Kulja, and the description of various great mountain ranges, peaks and defiles, such as the Chinese Altay, the Tian Shan, Bogdo Uula, and the Iron Gates of Termit. There is, moreover, a noteworthy reference to a land apparently identical with the uppermost valley of the Yenisei.

After his return, Qiu Chuji lived in Beijing until his death on 23 July 1227. By order of Genghis Khan, some of the former imperial garden grounds were given to him for the foundation of a Daoist Monastery of the White Clouds that exists to this day.

Qiu Chuji appears as a supporting character in wuxia novel "The Legend of the Condor Heroes" by Jin Yong (Louis Cha). He befriends Guo Jing after learning that the latter learnt from his senior Ma Yu. Guo helps him recover when he was injured by Lingzhi Shangren.

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