The Secret of Longevity
Ever since I was a child, I have heard of Taoists who can prolong life. But people like Chao Paoyi, Shü, and Chang Yuanmeng all lived to about a hundred, and died just like any other people. After I came to Huanchow, I heard of Chu Yuanching at Foukuang, who enjoyed a high reputation and was regarded as a master by many high officials. But he, too, died of an illness in a violent paroxysm. However, he really could transmute gold and left some gold and power behind, now in the hands of the government. I am beginning to wonder whether such immortals ever existed, or whether they do exist but are not seen by people. Or are we all mistaken? Is it not possible that the stories in the ancient books about Taoists who never died are just like the cases mentioned above and exaggerated by the writers?