By Mark Weeks – Author of Code of the Conqueror – The Journey
Many, many blood-thirsty moons ago in the year 1222, the Great Khan readied himself to meet with the Master Taoist, Changchun; who was said to be three hundred years old and held the elixir of life in his palms.
Genghis, approaching sixty, had grown painfully aware of his own mortality with every passing season. And now, intrigued by his chief-advisor, Yelu-Chucai’s incessant claims that the Master could teach him the secrets of longevity, requested an audience.
After nearly four years of traveling the grasslands of Central Asia and covering some ten-thousand kilometres from his temple on the Shandong peninsula, the time had finally arrived for the Master to reveal all.
Inside the great yurt, with the heat of early summer pressing down upon them in the Afghan mountains, the Great Khan welcomed his guest. Genghis sat cross-legged on a broad gold throne, his hair, moustache and goatee were now completely white. But, his eyes still blazed as they had always done, fierce enough to paralyse the boldest of hearts.
They spoke through an interpreter, as the frail Master described himself as a mere hermit of the mountains and pronounced it was the will of Heaven that they that they should finally meet. The privileged onlookers had difficulty in seeing who was more in awe of the other.
Genghis asked respectfully, ‘What medicine of Long Life have you brought me from afar?’ The Master replied, ‘I have means of protecting life, but no elixir that will prolong it.’
Far from being distraught, the Great Khan was pleased with the Master’s candour and instead readied himself for the main purpose of the trip, as conceived by Yelu-Chucai. And, this was to receive the Holy Immortal, as Genghis called him, and accept instruction on good living and good ruling. This, he believed would energise his whole being. The visit culminated in a discourse by Changchun on the Dao, the Way that underpins all things in Heaven and Earth.
In November 1222 Genghis had part of this discourse recorded for history in both Mongolian and Chinese, which reads…
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