呂洞賓

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1988 / 7月

文‧莊伯和提供 圖‧莊伯和提供



唐人呂巖,字洞賓,八仙之一,是最家喻戶曉的仙人了。儒教稱他為純陽夫子,道教稱妙道天尊,佛教稱文尼真佛,雜教稱呂仙祖,俗稱仙公;在元代時,他更被封為「純陽演正警化孚佑帝君」。

民間百姓信仰他,立廟奉祀,像台北名勝指南宮(仙公廟)就香火鼎盛;同時呂洞賓也是不少行業的祖師,如理髮、算命、製墨業者,甚至乞丐都拜他。

像知名度這麼高的仙人,必然留下許多傳說故事,其成仙過程,必然也較戲劇化。這堨u舉鍾離權在終南山中前後十次試煉他的經過。

第一試,洞賓自外歸來,忽見家人皆病死。他心無悔恨,只準備加以厚葬,但不久死者都復活了。

第二試,洞賓在市場售貨,顧客只給他一半的價錢。他無所爭執,任他們提貨而去。

第三試,洞賓元日出門,遇乞丐求施,他給與錢物,但乞丐貪求無厭,並破口罵他,洞賓惟再三笑謝。

第四試,洞賓在山中牧羊,遇一餓虎奔逐群羊,他獨以身擋之,護羊下山,虎轉身也失去蹤影。

第五試,洞賓居山中草舍讀書,見一位十七、八歲之女子,容華絕世,光豔照人。她自言歸寧母家,天黑迷路,只得借此少憩;然後百般調弄,洞賓不為所動。如是三日,女子才離去。

第六試,洞賓郊遊歸來,家產盡為強盜打劫一空,洞賓了無慍色,躬耕自給,忽掘出黃金數十斤,但只速加掩埋,一無所取。

第七試,洞賓買銅器,發現竟都是金器,即訪賣主,原璧歸趙。

第八試,有瘋狂道士販藥,言明只賣十天,又說此藥服者立死,再世得道,洞賓買了藥,道士說:「你可以趕快準備後事了。」但洞賓服藥後,全然無恙。

第九試,春日水漲時節,洞賓與眾人涉水,至中流,風濤掀湧,眾人畏懼,洞賓端坐不動。

第十試,洞賓獨坐一室,忽見奇形怪狀鬼魅無數,欲前來擊殺,他絕無所懼;復有夜叉數十,執一死囚,血肉淋漓,號泣道:「你前世殺我,今當償命。」洞賓說:「殺命償命,可也。」於是起來拿刀要自盡,忽聞空中一叱聲,鬼神皆不見。

這時候,有一人撫掌大笑而下,即鍾離權也。

在現實社會堙A考試本是正常的晉身之階,舉凡升學、就職、升級、入仕,考試往往是必經的一關。就精神層次而言,試煉也被視為進入某一境界的條件,像成仙固然可以靠吃仙果、服仙丹、得天書等等如願;但十試洞賓,更發人深省。他首先克服的是人性的弱點,而且中國人一向戒人勿陷身於酒色財氣之阱,呂洞賓的無比勇氣,自然已超乎凡人,甚至無畏生死,而至超凡入聖的境地了。

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EN

Lu Tung-pin

Chung Po-ho /photos courtesy of Chung Po-ho /tr. by Peter Eberly


Lu Yen (courtesy name Tung-pin) of the T'ang Dynasty (618-907) is perhaps the best known of China's Eight Immortals, or hsien-jen, and is honored by Confucianists, Taoists, and Buddhists alike.

The common people worship him as a god and have raised many temples in his honor, one example being Taipei's popular Chih-nan Kung, or Hsien Kung Miao. He is also the patron deity of various occupations, including barbers, fortune-tellers, ink makers, and even beggars.

A figure of such widespread renown has inevitably been the subject of many anecdotes and legends. Related here is the story of how he was tested ten times by Chung-li Ch'uan of Chunghsan Mountain before becoming an immortal.

In the first test, Lu returned home to find that his family had all taken sick and died. Untouched by grief or remorse, he simply prepared an elaborate funeral for them, and soon they all returned to life.

In the second test, he was selling things in the marketplace, but the customers would pay him only half the price. Instead of quarreling about it, he let them take the goods and go.

In the third test, he went outside on New Year's Day and met a beggar seeking alms. Lu gave him what money he had but the beggar was insatiable in his demands and cursed him abusively. Lu just laughed it off.

In the fourth test, Lu was herding sheep in the mountains when a hungry tiger attacked the flock. He single-handedly guarded the sheep from the tiger and led them down the mountain, and the tiger turned around and disappeared.

In the fifth test, he was studying in a straw hut in the mountains when he saw a 17- or 18-year-old girl of breath-taking beauty standing before him. She said that she had lost her way in the dark and asked to rest with him for a while. She tried every way she could to allure and entice him, but Lu remained unmoved and after three days she finally left.

In the sixth test, Lu returned home from the outskirts of town and found that all his property had been stolen by bandits. Without a trace of resentment, he took to laboring in the fields to supply his wants. There he dug up ten catties of gold, but he quickly buried them again without taking any.

In the seventh test, he found that a bronze vessel he had bought was really made of gold. He returned it at once to the seller.

In the eighth test, a crazy Taoist was peddling medicine, proclaiming that anyone who took it would die at once yet attain the Way in his next life. When Lu bought some, the Taoist said, "You'd better make funeral arrangements," but Lu took it without any harm.

In the ninth test, Lu and a group of people were crossing a river during the spring floods. When they came to the middle the wind and waves suddenly surged up. The rest of the passengers were terrified but Lu sat calmly and still.

In the tenth and last test, Lu was sitting alone in a room when a swarm of monstrous ghosts and demons rushed in as if to kill him, but he was absolutely unperturbed. Then a band of yakshas came in with a chained and bloody corpse who howled, "You killed me in your previous life, and now it's time to pay me back." "A life for a life," Lu replied, "fair enough." He stood up, picked up a knife, and was about to kill himself when a shout rang out overhead and the ghosts and demons disappeared.

A man floated down laughing and clapping his hands. It was Chung-li Ch'uan.

Tests are a common enough experience in everyday life, whether in school or on the job, but in this story they serve as a measure of spiritual enlightenment. Drinking an elixir, eating a magical fruit and acquiring a celestial book are well-known ways of achieving immortality, but the ten tests of Lu Tung-pin provide us with even more food for reflection on the weaknesses of human nature and the quest for spiritual attainment.

 

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