Daniel Reid

Simon & Schuster

1989, 2001

ISBN 0-7434-0907-8


pages 348-349

One of the most remarkable cases of longevity to spill over into the twentieth century is that of the Chinese herbalist and Taoist adept Lee Ching-yuen, who maintained his youthful vigor, sexual potency and perfect health throughout a long, active life. Lee died in 1933, shortly after marrying his 24th wife, and it remains a matter of historical record in China that he was born in 1677, during the early years of the Ching dynasty. That made him 256 years old when he died, for those who wish to count the years. Lee died with all his own teeth and hair, and those who knew him say that he looked about 50 when he was already over 200.
Lee Ching-yuen left clear-cut guidelines for those who wish to follow his footsteps and emulate his example. He followed three primary rules in his regimen:

•    Never hurry through life. Take it slowly, take it easy, and take your time. He instructed his students to always keep a quiet heart, sit as calmly as a tortoise, walk as sprightly as a bird, and sleep as soundly as a dog.
•    Avoid extreme emotions of all kinds, especially as you grow older. Nothing drains energy from the body as rapidly, nor disrupts the functional harmony of vital organs as completely, as strong outbursts of emotion.
•    Observe a daily physical regimen of exercise and breathing. The duration and intensity of your regimen are not nearly as important as its daily regularity.

In addition, he gave three specific guidelines regarding diet:

•    Do not overeat on hot summer nights. It causes stagnation of blood and energy.
•    Eat extra quantities of nourishing foods on cold winter mornings. It provides the extra essence and energy the body needs to compensate for having to keep warm in cold weather.
•    Adopt a primarily vegetarian diet, supplemented by life-prolonging medicinal herbs.