God of Longevity Shou Xing

These three universal energies are Fu (happiness), Lu (wealth) and Shou (longevity). People who are not developed think that they are something external rather than something internal . . . However, the ancient Taoists knew that what appears to be external takes its source from the internal. The source of Fu or happiness is the spirit or the head which is associated with the energy of Heaven. The source of Loh or wealth is the mind or the chest. The ancient developed people associated the chest with the energy that extends itself outwards to other people. This energy is also known as compassion. The source of Shou or longevity is the lower abdomen. The ancient ones associated the lower abdomen with earthly reproductive or sexual energy. That was the main ancient Taoist teaching.

Fuk Luk Sau, commonly referred to as the Gods of Blessings, Prosperity and Longevity are one of the most popular gods/deities in Chinese history. There are countless legends of the Fuk Luk Sau aiding and bestowing kindness on worthy mortals throughout the lands. Technically, they were originally astrological stars (hence the original name of Fuk Luk Sau were the Three Star Gods) which showed the traditional culture of the Chinese people who long for: happiness, prosperity and longevity.

In this website, you will discover more information regarding Shou Xing.

Shou Xing - God of Longevity

This character represents 'long life'. According to Chinese folklore, Longevity is described as wise, knowledgeable and capable of ruling the world. During festivals, a Chinese family normally worships the symbols or pictures of Longevity to express gratitude for granting the elders in the family a long life.

When old people celebrate their birthdays, families and friends love to use the drawings of Shou as gifts. Pictures of Shou were often drawn on birthday cakes. Such a gesture would embody the filial wish that family elders or birthday person might live as long as the legendary mountains of the south, with health and good fortune to match.

The God of Longevity is the 3rd god of the Gods of Good Fortune. The God of Longevity was originally a stellar God, Shou Xing or the Star of Longevity or the Star of the South Pole. Shou Xing occupied a very important position in star worshipping. The worshipping of stars in royal ceremonies continue throughout the ages even though dynasties rose and fell. People strongly believe that the stellar deity could control the fate of the country. In addition, he was thought to possess the power to decide the life span of mortals. At a period of time, he was endowed with human qualities and Shou Xing eventually become known as Nan-ji-Xian-weng - "the Old Man of the South Pole" or the God of the South Pole. This is one of the most recognisable deities in Chinese literature.

The God of Longevity has a long wisped beard and an enormous high bald head. He always carries a long knotted staff and pumpkin gourd, in which it holds the water of life. In the other hand, he holds the peach of immortality and sometimes there is a crane on top. Both items are symbols of immortality. Symbolically he is represented as a mushroom or a turtle.

According to legend, Shou Xing was born after nine years of waiting in his mother's womb. One night, a young woman stood outside her house and looked up at the sky. She was surprised to see a very bright star and and she pointed it out to her husband. Her husband told her that it was the Star of the South Pole and that tonight, the star was brighter than usual.

A neighbour who had also heard the conversation, came out to see, suddenly the Star of the South Pole disappeared. At that precise moment, the young woman began to feel unwell and therefore, the couple retired for the evening. In the middle of the night, the young woman was a woken by the sound of a young boy. He cried hysterically and told her that she was his mother and he was in her womb, but she had to wait for ten years before he could be born. The young woman was terrified and woke her husband. She told him what she heard and then it struck her, could she be carrying the Star of the South Pole? They went outside to find the Star of the South Pole and it had disappeared.

Nine years later, the young woman was showing all the signs of pregnancy, however it was such an unbearable wait. One day, she was being reflective and asked her son when he would come out. Suddenly, she felt something happening and she heard her son telling her that it wasn't time yet, and said that in the tenth year, when the eyes of the stone dragon turns red, he would be born. So, it would be another year before their child would come. The neighbours heard this story and suggested that the husband paint the stone dragon's eye red with pig's blood. The trick worked and their son was born after 9 years of pregnancy. Thus, the parents named him Shou Xing, since the mother became pregnant when she looked at the Star of the South Pole.

However, to everyone's surprise, Shou Xing was totally bald. This was because his mother did not carry him to full term. As Shou Xing grew up, unfortunately, his hair did not grow. His parents tried to reassure him that it would grow, but nevertheless he was still bald as the day he was born.

Because of his bald head, Shou Xing was embarrassed to go out in public and often went to the hills and practised meditation and The Way. He sensed that something was calling him there everyday. Eventually, Shou-Xing decided to travel deep into the hills, where no one else had dared to travel. He had a calling. People asked him where he was going and he replied he was going to the hills and would come back when it was time.

After 1000 years and nine generations later, Shou Xing finally returned to the village.

He looks had changed. He had a long beard now that was down to his waist. In his left hand he had a walking stick with a pumpkin gourd tied to it. In the right hand, he had the peach of immortality. By now is was the era of Jiayou during the Song Dynasty. Shou Xing went to Bianliang.

His strange looks drew attention from many people. When the officials heard about him, they told the Emperor Renzong. As a result, the Emperor was curious to know more about this old man and thus, Shou Xing was brought before the Emperor. The Emperor asked him who he was and how old he was. Shou Xing did not answer and asked for some dates and wine to drink. After drinking nearly 7 glasses "dou" of the Emperor's best wine and not saying a word, the Emperor was not impressed and sent him on his way. Shou Xing left the palace and head for the country path out of town.

The next day, the Star Observer, came to see the Emperor. He told him that he saw the Star of Longevity descend upon the throne and that the old man he saw yesterday could have been the Stellar God of Longevity. The Emperor was furious that he did not get to ask Shou Xing the secret of long life. He order his men to bring him back. However, Shou Xing could not be found.

A man who had come to the city yesterday, reported that he saw Shou-Xing walking on a country path in front of him, and as he turned the corner he was stunned, as he saw Shou-Xing ascend to Heaven in a cloud of smoke.

The Star of Longevity had been endowed with a human form. Shou Xing was now know as the Old Man of the South Pole or the God of the South Pole. From this point, there are many stories about the God of the South Pole bestowing more years to mortals. One of which is a very well known folklore about Yan Chao's encounter with the God of the South Pole.

During the period of the three kingdoms, a fortune teller by the name of Guan Lu in the State of Wei. He was brought to see a boy named Yan Chao, and he told the child he had bad luck written on his face and that he would only live till he was 19 years old. His parents were devastated by the sad news and they pleaded to Guan Lu to help. He told them to go and pray at the Temple of the Goddess of Mercy and he would return tomorrow afternoon to advise them.

On his return, he advised Yan Chao to go alone into the forest tomorrow and bring with him a jar of wine and dried meat. In the forest he would notice two men playing draughts under a mulberry tree. He should offer them wine and meat, but under no account answer any of their questions. Everyone was lost on how that would help, but nevertheless, Yan Chao followed the fortune teller's advice.

The next day, Yan Chao carried the food and wine into the forest. From afar, he could see that there were two men with white hair playing draughts in the shade of the tree. Yan Chao, however, could not believe his eyes. He offered the two men wine and meat and did not say a word. When the men had partaken of the wine and meat, they discussed how they might best thank the boy for his hospitality. In the end they decided to reverse the digits of the number of years the boy could be expected to live, thus changing 19 into 91. Yan Chao was overjoyed.

On returning to the village, he was later told that one of the players had been the God of the North Pole, who determines the day on which people are born, and the God of the South Pole, who fixes the dates of death.

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 God of Longevity ?Shou Xing