Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Legend Of Peach Blossom Cave (桃花洞的传说)

In the mysterious far east, two pure lands are believed to have existed on the surface of this earth. One of them is a more well-known Shambala which is also said to be the pure land of Kalachakra. The other is a lesser mentioned ‘peach blossom cave’. Some scholars believed the actual ‘peach blossom cave’ is located in mainland China and they substantiated their findings with some assumptions. However, the truth is still remained to be solved as to date.

When I was practising ‘five thunder palm’ (五雷掌) with my Miao () Taoist master, he told me about the legend of the Peach Blossom Cave according to old Miao legend. It was said that the so-called ‘Peach Blossom Cave’ was Miao ancestors’ pure land where the crops grow in abundance and everyone was living happily for thousands of years. Unfortunately, this piece of pure land was discovered by the Qin Shi-huang’s (秦始皇) army and the Qin army ransacked this Peach Blossom Cave. This sudden attack caused Miao tribe to dispersed all over China and Indo-China.  As time goes by, this secret pure land of Miao tribe is gradually forgotten and its location is only being told in legends.

Perhaps of this influence, I was ‘fortunate’ enough to enter into Peach Blossom Cave through vivid dreams and again met with my old Miao master there for many occasions to receive his advices and teachings.

There is only one record written by a Chinese scholar in Eastern Jin Dynasty, who is known as Tao Yuan-ming (陶渊明) on the ‘Record of Peach Blossom Stream’ (桃花源记):

During the year 376AD, around the Eastern Jin (东晋), a fisherman in Wuling (武陵) rolled his boat upstream for quite some time and suddenly he saw many peach blossom trees growing on both river banks. The peach trees stretched over a distance of a few hundred steps. All of the trees were purely peach trees and no other tree species were found in between. The grass was fresh and green. There were many fallen flowers on the banks. This fisherman felt very strange, so he proceeded to the edge of the peach blossom forest.

The edge of peach blossom forest was the originated place of a stream. A mountain then came into view. There was a small cave on the mountain and twinkling of lights could dimly be observed. So the fisherman alighted his boat and walked towards the cave. The cave passage seemed to be very narrow at first which could only allow one person to pass through. After walking for a distance of a few more steps, the front view suddenly became widened and bright.

There was a vast piece of land, the houses were built in organized rows, the land was fertile wit beautiful lakes and swamps. Mulberry trees and bamboos were grown in abundance. Mud paths between rice fields criss-crossed. The singing of birds and howling of dogs could be heard forming the symphony of a village life. Farmers were working in the field. People in that places worn costumes that are foreign and distinct from the outside world of that time. All of the people, young and old were very happy and at ease.

As the fisherman walked by, people in the Peach Blossom Cave were very surprised to see him. They asked the fisherman where he was from. After the fisherman told those enquirers, he was invited to their houses and prepared sumptuous meals to treat him. One of the elders told the fisherman that their ancestors came to this place to escape the war during Qin Dynasty. All of them decided to stay put and hide themselves from the civilization. Slowly, all of the villagers were cut off from the outside world.

After staying for a few days in the Peach Blossom Cave, the fisherman decided to return home. The villagers asked the fisherman to keep a secret of their hiding place and he agreed. On his way back, the fisherman made some marks so that he could return to the Peach Blossom Cave again. When he was eventually back to the town, the fisherman visited the town mayor and told the mayor his experience in the cave.

On hearing the fisherman’s story, the mayor dispatched a team of his followers to the Peach Blossom Cave but the place could not be found.

As the story goes, there were many attempts over the years to search for this Peach Blossom Cave. Some people said the location of this Peach Blossom Cave is in Shanxi (山西) but I doubt it is a physical place on this earth. Anyway, maybe you will have the opportunity to visit this cave sometime in future too.

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