Ancient Cultivation Stories: The Origin of the Princess Ridge at Mount Hua

[Chinese folklore is full of ancient stories of cultivation, immortals and taoists. These stories reflect the depth to which the concept of cultivation permeates the whole of Chinese culture, tradition and history. These stories are not directly related to Falun Gong, but are included on Clear Harmony because they are of interest to western people, providing an insight into the deep cultural tradition of cultivation practices in China.]

Princess Nan Yang (or Princess of the Southern Sun) of the Western Han Dynasty married Wang Xian, a relative of Wang Mang [1] who was ruling China at the time.

The Princess had always admired the philosophy of living one’s life without pursuit and longed for cultivation in the Tao [2]. She dreamt of the peace and prosperity that the country had previously enjoyed under the reigns of Emperors Wen and Jin of the Han Dynasty. Legend had it that under Emperor Wu, deities would often show themselves in front of people. One day she shared her yearning with her husband, “The country is in chaos now. As a woman, I do not have the ability to help restore the country’s peace. However, I can at least conduct myself with peacefulness, cultivate according to the Tao, and retreat into the mountains, away from the chaos and fierce pursuits for fame and wealth that exist in society. I believe that my life span will be extended if I lead my life in this way. If I choose to pursue what everyone else pursues in this unstable and inconstant world, I will only end up exhausting myself and wandering from place to place.” However, Wang Xian had a different expectation for his life. He wished to dedicate himself to Wang Mang in the royal court.

The Princess of the Southern Sun had no choice but to leave for Mount Hua on her own where she cultivated in solitude in a hut. After many years of focused cultivation, the Princess attained a level where she could communicate with the spirits of truthfulness. Then she abandoned the hut. Some claimed that they had seen the Princess riding on a white cloud, soaring from an abyss past a deadly cliff, and finally disappearing into the heavens. When the rumour reached Wang Xian, he went up to Mount Hua looking for the Princess. He climbed from mountain to mountain, and from ridge to ridge, earnestly trying to locate his wife with desperate and regretful tears, but the Princess was nowhere to be found. He was surrounded with deafening silence up on the empty mountain. Still, he continued his desperate search until one day he found a pair of red shoes left by the Princess. He tried to pick them up but they had turned into rock and were attached to the ground.

Since then that ridge has been called the Princess Ridge. A famous scholar Pan Anren [2] even wrote a biography for the Princess of the Southern Sun. This story has been circulating in China throughout the generations.

[1] Wang Mang (45 B.C. – 23 A.D.) was a prime minister of the Western Han Dynasty who usurped the throne.

[2] Tao (daow) 1. Also known as "Dao," a Taoist term for "the Way of nature and the universe"; 2. enlightened being who has achieved this Tao.

[3] Pan Anren was also known as Pan Yue. (247 – 300 A.D.) He was a scholar of the Western Jing Dynasty. He was originally from Zhong Mo County of Yin Yang, or today’s Henan Province in China. His ten scrolls of literary works were collected in A Collection of Prominent Books and Essays. Zhang Fu from the Ming Dynasty also included his literary works in The Collection of Literature by 130 Scholars in the Han, Wei, and the Six Dynasties.

A Collection of Stories of Deities

Chinese version available at

You are welcome to print and circulate all articles published on Clearharmony and their content, but please quote the source.