The Amazing Story Of The Oldest Man On Earth: He Lived 256 Years
Li Ching-Yuen, also known as Li Ching-Yun found the secret fountain of youth, as he was reportedly the oldest human on Earth, having lived 256 years. His 1933 obituaries which were featured in Time Magazine and the New York Times stated that he had outlived 23 wives and his amazing lifespan exceeds by far the oldest living person up to date, who lived 122 years and 164 days.
Li Ching-Yuen claims to have been born in 1734, but controversial birth records attest that he was born in 1677 in Qi Jiang Xian, Szechun province. So what was the secret to his long life? Lets find out.
According to the records, Li Ching-Yuen was born in 1677 and died in 1928. The secret to his success? Li was a medicine physician, an expert in herbs, qigong master, and tactical consultant. As far as he would admit, Li said that his secret to a long life was:
“Keep a quiet heart, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon and sleep like a dog.”
He told these wise words to Wu Pei-fu, a warlord of Republican China from 1916 to 1927. It was on this occasion when Li Ching-Yuen’s picture was taken, and by the looks of things, he looked young and reinvigorated.
From Birth to 256 years:
It’s of no surprise that here is not enough information about the first years of his life, but we do know that by the time he was ten years old he was already a wonder child who had learned a lot and who had already traveled to Kansu, Tibet, Annam, Siam and Manchuria for his passion to gather herbs.
After his initiative journeys in the world of herbs, he immigrated to Kai Hsien where he met some well renown Taoist masters who taught him internal alchemy and chi kung, but also, the secret art of how to use herbs for a long and healthy life. Apparently, after learning the secrets of martial arts and herbs, Li Ching-Yuen went on to sell the herbs he collected.
At the age of 71, in 1749, Li joined the army of provincial Commander-in-Chief Yeuh Jong Chyi, undertaking the role of a martial arts teacher and tactical advisor.
In 1928, after returning home, one year later from his visit to Wang Xien, Szechuan, the old man died of natural causes, and General Yang Sen ordered his team to investigate the truth to his story.
The old man claimed to have been born in 1734 and to have lived 197 years, but the crew of investigators, lead by a professor and dean at Minkuo University by the name of Wu Chung-chien found records which proved that Li was born in 1677. Some documents attested that the Imperial Chinese Government congratulated him on his 150th and 200th Birthdays.
The picture of Li Ching-Yuen shows not a man of over 200 years, but a joyful 60-year-old… so what is the key to his longevity? Just the herbs?
Li avoided drinking hard liquor or smoking, he took his meals at regular times, he had a vegetarian diet and he was known to frequently drink wolfberry (also known as goji berry) tea. Apart from that, Li went to sleep early and also got up early, and as far as exercising is concerned, Li sat up straight with his eyes closed and hands in his lap, at times not moving at all for a few hours.
Does Meditation Help With Longevity?
Scientists have discovered that meditation has numerous benefits for our bodies, with tests showing that meditation reduces the natural aging of the brain, preventing brain shrinkage:
“This mental shift decreases the negative effects of stress, mild depression, and anxiety. There is also less activity in the amygdala, where the brain processes fear.”Source
Bodyshock: The Amazing Story behind the 256 Year-Old Man
By Chris Ingham Brooke – Chief Graffiti Artist
Li Ching-Yun. Image from The People’s Republic of China
Was he really that old? Could he have forgotten his own birthday or exaggerated his claim? Environmental Graffiti investigates.
The Secrets to an Interminable Life
“Keep a quiet heart, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon and sleep like a dog.” These were the words of advice Li gave to Wu Pei-fu, the warlord, who took Li into his house to learn the secret of extremely long life.
Li maintained that inward calm and peace of mind were the secrets to incredible longevity. His diet after all, was mainly based on rice and wine.
From 0 to 256
Unsurprisingly, not much is known about Li Ching-Yun’s early life. We know he was born in the province of Szechwan in China, where he also died. We also know that by his tenth birthday, Ching-Yun was literate and had travelled to Kansu, Shansi, Tibet, Annam, Siam and Manchuria gathering herbs. After that, it gets a bit fuzzy…
Apparently, for over one hundred years, Li continued selling his own herbs and then subsequently sold herbs collected by others. He also (according to Time) had six-inch long fingernails on his right hand.
You might be thinking that he looked decrepit, shrivelled, leather-like and creepy, however sources at the time were astonished at his youthfulness. Was this suspect? Was Li Ching-Yun as old as he claimed he was, or was his birthday a clerical error or exaggeration?
Let’s take a brief look at both sides…
The Nine Lives of Li Ching-Yun
By his own admission he was born in 1736 and had lived 197 years. However, in 1930 a professor and dean at Minkuo University by the name of Wu Chung-chien, found records “proving” that Li was born in 1677. Records allegedly showed that the Imperial Chinese Government congratulated him on his 150th and 200th Birthdays.
So the question is, had he forgotten his own birthday? Was this even the same Li Ching-Yun?
Looking at all of this from a medical and documented perspective: Jeanne Louise Calment, a French woman who died in 1997 so far holds the title for the person who has roamed the earth the longest: 122 years, which is a phenomenal length of time.
That means, that if the records discovered by Wu Chung-chien were accurate, Li Ching-Yun’s age would surpass the official record by more than 130 years. Is this even medically possible?
The detail, which seems to prove both arguments and debunk them at the same time, is Li’s youthful appearance, noted in a 1928 article from the New York Times. Visually and physically, he appeared to look like a typical 60 year-old. Does this therefore signify a superhuman body capable of lasting one quarter of a millennium, or is the story of Li Ching-Yun based on a series of half-truths, lies or exaggerations?
Unfortunately, we may never know. You may draw your own logical conclusions.
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