Monday, 25 March

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Qingcheng Hill

Monday, 25 March


At 7.30 in the morning Adjutant General Wang invited us to breakfast at the hostel. When we were in Britain, the former Prime Minster, Lloyd George, had invited me as a treat for breakfast. Hu Hanmin and Sun Fo treated us as it was also an acceptable custom in Britain. However, it was the first time for me in China. I suppose the host must have his own reason for doing so. The custom of treating here is to check beforehand whether the guests are available or not then they will be invited, so the treat will rarely clash with others. This is much better than the practice in Guangdong and Shanghai where the guests always had to go to some ten-odd rounds of banquets, which is like those of famous prostitutes.

At 8.15 we left the hostel. (We were heading to Guan county but the roads were not in a good condition because of last night’s shower.) We went to the Provincial government hall, on the invitation of the Teachers’ Training Conference, to attend the closing ceremony. Sun Fo spoke for four minutes on using education as a tool for nation-building. Though it was not bad it was not a topic on which Sun Fo was proficient, which was not as substantial, refined in language and touching to audiences as when he talked about international issues.

At nine o’clock we departed Chengdu and left by the West Gate. The road was so slippery after the rain and also it was under maintenance, so the cars moved quite slowly. On several occasions we encountered difficulties, so we needed to leave the cars and direct the natives to use rocks to fill the mud, or we paid people to lift the cars. We felt very nervous along the way. Guan county was originally not that far away, which was about 60 kilometres. But because the highway was in disrepair there were many lorries jamming the way, also the road was so slippery that we did not arrive at the county seat until 12.30. County magistrate, Yang Qingfang (楊晴舫), treated us to lunch at the county office. At two o’clock, after lunch, we took sedans to Qingcheng Mountain. As the sedan-carriers were all opium smokers, even though the carriers were increased to four, progress was slow. Zeng Qihui even fell to the ground, but fortunately, he was not hurt. The carriers needed to take a rest every forty-five minutes, which is totally different from the workers in the southeast. On the way we viewed the Zhaogong mountain from afar. Snow was piled up on the summit, which made it look quite wonderful. Zhaogong mountain was originally named Damian mountain, which is the highest among the mountains in Qingcheng. According to the Daoist canon it was said to be one of the seventy-two lands of fortune in which Xialuo Zhenren resided. During the Sui Dynasty Zhao Yu(趙昱) and his elder brother (趙冕) lived in seclusion there so the mountain was so named. (It was commonly circulated as Zhao Gongming 趙公明[1] but it was incorrect. ) Zhao Yu’s character was of Chongming who lived in seclusion in Qingcheng. Yangdi of the Sui Dynasty summoned him but he did not respond to it. Zhao Yu was then forced to the capital and given high honours but he was not moved. He begged instead to be the prefecture chief. He was then appointed as the prefecture chief of Jiazhou. When the Sui dynasty was in upheaval he disappeared. I heard there are many relics there. But the mountain was very steep, and the cloud and mist always shielded it. During spring, and in winter, snow piled up so high that visitors rarely went there. Those who visited Qingcheng did not dare visit the mountain. The boat we took for passing Minjiang used the hydraulic power of the rapids. The method was like this. People used bamboo rope to tie the boat horizontally in line with the upper stream. Then they would use one end of the rope and attach it to the boat. The other end was tied with a bamboo circle horizontally. The water flow pressed the boat hard. The helm of the boat would rotate left and right using the hydraulic power to direct the ship to move left and right. This was really a good use of hydraulic power. We passed Yutangchang, and the sedan-carriers had meals there. We also had to have tea and chat in this small tea house. We continued our trip half an hour later. We then took a rest again at the Changshenggong. At six o’clock we reached Tianshidong at Qingcheng mountain. The Daoist in-charge, Peng Chunxian(彭椿仙), led us to the hostel we were to live in selected by the County government. Tianshidong was built during the reign of Daye in the Sui Dynasty. During the Tang dynasty it was renamed Changdaoguan, while in the Song dynasty, Zhaoqingguan. Now it is still named Changdaoguan. Qingcheng mountain was the sacred place of Daoism. According to historical records, the emperor searched for dao from Ningfeng Zheren. He honored Qingcheng with the title of “Wuyuezhangren”. According to anecdotes, Laozi (老子) met Guanyinzi (關尹子) here. In the Han Dynasty, Zhang Daoling mastered the art of dao here for quite a long time, therefore in Tianshi’s biography, for this reason, the name of Tianshidong was distinguished. (It is said that while Tianshi was mastering the art of dao, he was not successful and was enticed by devils. Thence he returned to Longhu mountain and was still unsuccessful. Afterwards he went there again to exorcise the devils.) We had supper here, and Deputy Director Wang of the Security Bureau, who was a native of Guan county, was already there to prepare all sorts of things and he received us. We went with him uphill and talked about many anecdotes related to it.  Changdaoguan was quite spacious inside and the reception rooms were also fine. Quite a number were to stay for a long time. Inside Changdaoguan there was brewed wine made of the wild fruits from the mountain. Deputy Director Wang called it “spring wine of Qingcheng”, which tasted the same as red wine.

[1] The name of the Chinese deity governing fortune.