“Heaven and Earth In A Jar” an ancient Taoist tale

2 min read

The saying “Heaven and Earth in a Jar,” is a Chinese expression that originated from a story regarding the Yuntai Taoist Temple caretaker, Zhang Shen.  He apparently always carried a jar with him saying there was a world inside the jar and he called the realm “Jar Heaven.” Thus, people called him the “Jar Gentleman.”

About three hundred miles away from Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, there is a Mountain called Yuntai Mountain. It’s so mysterious and beautiful that Taoists revere it as sacred.

In Ancient times Zhang Daoling (34-156),  was called the Zhengyitian Teacher and he brought 370 of his disciples to Yuntai Mountain for spiritual cultivation.

He saw that the temple didn’t have a caretaker so he assigned disciple Zhang Shen to be the Temple caretaker.

Under Zhang Shen’s careful management, the Temple became more and more prosperous.

There was a man named Shi Cun who wished to cultivate Taoism. He wanted to achieve spiritual immortality.

He heard that Zhang Daoling assigned a deity called the Jar Gentleman as caretaker in the Yuntai Temple, so he went there to learn about spiritual cultivation

Why was he called the Jar Gentleman?

Apparently, Zhang Shen carried a jar with him all the time. Whenever he chanted,  a world would appear inside the jar with a sun, a moon, stars, a blue sky, earth, mountains, woods and grasslands, flowers, temples, and houses.

What was even more astonishing, Zhang Shen would put his jar on the floor every night and slip into the jar to sleep. He called his realm inside the jar the “Jar Heaven.” Thus, people called him the “Jar Gentleman.”

During the long several thousand years of Chinese history, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism have been forming a divine culture in they passed on many stories related to spirituality.

People who do not believe may think these are fairy tales or myths.

“A Realm in a Jar” describes heaven or a realm that is the same as this world but exists in another form beyond our world.

If we can just open our minds and change by simply believing in our own potential, perhaps we may suddenly find ourselves experiencing a wondrous realm like “Heaven and Earth in a Jar.”

Listen to the beautiful audio video below  — Heaven in a Wild Flower 

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