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Chinese Idioms - 【成语故事】壶中天地

Posted by vann0000 February 13, 2009 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: idiom, jar, realm, tao, 成语故事, 壶中天地

【成语故事】壶中天地 -- Realm in a Jar

(Clearwisdom.net) The saying "Heaven and Earth in a Jar" is a Chinese idiom derived from a story of the Yuntai Taoist Temple caretaker Zhang Shen from the Donghan Dynasty (25-220) who always carried a liquor vessel, and called a realm inside the jar the "Jar Heaven." Thus, people called him the "Jar Gentleman."

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About three hundred miles away from Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, there is a Yuntai Mountain, which is a sacred place in Taoism. According to records from Taoism, Zhang Daoling (34-156), who was called the Zhengyitian Teacher, brought 370 of his disciples to Yuntai Mountain to cultivate.

Soon after, he saw that the temple didn't have a caretaker yet, so he then assigned disciple Zhang Shen to be the Temple caretaker. Under Zhang Shen's careful management, the Temple became more and more prosperous.

There was a gentleman called Shi Cun who strongly wished to cultivate in Taoism and to become an immortal. He heard that Zhang Daoling assigned a deity called the Jar Gentleman as caretaker in the Yuntai Temple, so he went there to learn from the Jar Gentlemen. There is a remarkable story behind his nickname.

It was discovered that Zhang Shen carried a liquor jar with him all the time. Whenever he chanted an incantation, there would be a realm displayed inside his jar with a sun, a moon, stars, a blue sky, earth, mountains, woods and grasslands, flowers, temples and houses, etc. Even more mysterious was that every night, Zhang Shen would put his jar on the floor, and slip into the jar to sleep after chanting incantations to enjoy his deity realm. He called his realm inside the jar the "Jar Heaven." Thus, people called him the "Jar Gentleman."

In the several thousand years of Chinese history, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism formed the colorful divine culture in China, and passed on many cultivation stories. People that do not believe in gods may think these are fairy tales or myths, but they are actually true historical events. Modern people use "A Realm in a Jar" to describe a Taoist heaven, or a realm that is beyond the dusty everyday world. If we can change our rigid ordinary mentalities, then maybe we can find ourselves in another realm, like the "Heaven and Earth in a Jar."

【成语故事】壶中天地

这则成语来源于《云笈七鉴·二十八治》:后遇张申,为云合治官,常悬一壶,如五升器大,号“壶天”,人谓“壶公”。

离成都一千多里的地方,有一座云台山,那里是著名的道教圣地。据道家书籍记载,被尊为正一天师的张道陵,曾经带着三百七十名弟子来到云台山修行。

不久,张天师看到道观没人管理,就派弟子张申为云台道观主持。在张申的悉心管理下,云台道观的香火越来越兴旺了。

当时有个名叫施存的人,一心学道,想成为一个长生不老的神仙。他听说云台山上有张天师派驻的神仙壶公,便不远万里,来到云台山向壶公学道。神仙壶公就是云台道观的主持张申,他所以称为神仙壶公,还有一段神奇的故事。

有一次,人们意外的发现,张申身上有一把酒壶,只要他念动咒语,壶中便会展现出日月星辰、蓝天大地、崇山峻岭、花草树木、亭台楼阁等各种奇景。更令人惊奇的是,到了晚上,张申把宝壶放在地上,念了咒语后,便钻進壶里睡觉,尽情享受里面的神仙世界。他把壶中的天地称为“壶天”,所以,人们称他为“壶公”。

几千年来在中华大地上儒、释、道三家思想交相辉映,构成了色彩纷呈的中华神传文化。这其中,有许许多多丰富多彩的修炼故事,不信神的人以为这是神话或是传说,其实这些修炼故事都是历史的真实。现代人用成语“壶中天地”表示道家所说的仙境,或比喻超凡脱俗的境界,可是如果我们改变一下僵化的常人观念和思维方式,或许我们也会发现“壶中天地”,别有洞天呢!

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