One of the most famous immortal in the 8 Immortals is Lu Dongbin (also spelled as Lu Dongpin, Lu Tong Pin, Dongbin Lu), I believe to some extent he is even more famous than Chung Li-Chuan. In fact, there are more records about Lu Dongbin than Chung Li-Chuan, and some Taoist priest consider Lu Dongbin as the leader or chief of the Eight Immortals. However, if you study the story of the Eight Immortals there are records that states that Lu Dongbin is a student or disciple of Chung Li-Chuan, thus the more common belief is that Chung Li-Chuan is the chief of the 8 Immortals and that Lu Dongbin is the de facto leader of the group. In the official counting of the Eight Immortals he usually comes third, but the chronological line-up of their names is not in any way related to their capabilities and hierarchy.
In my post about the Eight Immortals, I mentioned that they are largely considered as legendary beings this is because it is unclear whether they truly lived in the past or not. However, that is not true about Lu Dongbin. Lu Dongbin is a confirmed historical figure.
Lu Dongbin’s real name is Lu Yan during the Tang Dynasty. Lu is his family name and Yan is his given name. It is largely believed that when he was born, instead of a pungent smell of blood, the room was filled with a very sweet smelling fragrant aroma. Some records states that he has always been an intelligent student with so many academic achievements.
In his older age it is said that he learned the alchemy and Tao under the guidance of Chung Li-Chuan. Some Taoist scripturess states that Lu Dongbin became a very good exorcist of people who are possessed by bad spirits. He is also able to drive aways bad chi, bad luck cause by evil spirits.
It is because of his life as mortal that when he became an immortal he is largely associated with scholastic luck. More than being an immortal that bestows scholastic luck, he is also an immortal that we can call on when we need protection from unseen forces. His secondary power is his ability to heal illnesses.
His implements are the double edged sword that he uses to slay evil spirits and a flywhisk that he uses to cure illnesses.
Chung-li Chuan, also spelled as Zhungli Quan, is said to be to the chief of powerful Taoist collective immortals – THE EIGHT IMMORTALS. He is also said to be the most ancient of all the Eight Immortals, although some Taoist scholars and priest would argue that it’s actually Lu Dongbin, also spelled as Lu Dongpin.
Chung-li Chuan is believed to have been born during the Han Dyansty, and he is usually depicted as a fat man with big, rounded, bared stomach or belly. His magical implement is a feather fan, which he uses to bestow the blessing of good health. It is also said that he is able to revive the people who are seriously ill to good health by using his feather fan. On top of that, by using his fan he is also able to revive people who’ve died, the only pre-requisite for him to perform this magic is that he has to be absolutely sure that the dead person really deserves to be alive again and that he as a living person he is able to become a blessing to others. Furthermore, his fan is said to be able to change bad luck into good luck.
It is also written in religious texts that when Chung-li Chuan was born, the room where he was born was magically filled with beams of light. It was also said that his parents believed that he was an old soul because he continued to cry for seven days and night, as if complaining about his mortality.
There is a Taoist temple in Taiwan that is dedicated to the Eight Immortals, specifically to Immortal Chung-li Chuan. One devotee shared with me a story about how her daughter who was seriously ill was restored back to health when she prayed to Chung-li Chuan. As a sign of thanksgiving, the woman would always bring a colorful feather fan as an offering Chung-li Chuan every feast day of the Eight Immortals.