How The Moon Affects Our Longevity
In China, there seems to be a big festival every
other month. In October, the first Full Moon is
the Mid-Autumn Festival also called the Harvest
Moon. As in most traditions, special foods are
served at this time of the year, particularly, the
Moon Cake. It is a kind of cookie with various
fillings and different artistic patterns on the
surface depicting the legends of the festival.
Generally, it is round, as the Mid- Autumn
Festival is a time for family reunions, and
“round” has a similar pronunciation with “reunion”
in Chinese. During the festival, people sacrifice
these cookies to the moon as offerings, eat them
for celebration and present them to relatives and
friends for good wishes.
Years ago, there was a kind of “grand preceptor
cookie,” thick at the center and thin on the edge
which was the “first ancestor” of the Moon Cake.
In the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD), sesame and
walnuts were introduced into China, and round
cookies filled with these ingredients appeared. In
the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD), the name “moon
cake” was used for the first time and gradually
became well-known nationwide. It was not until the
Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 AD) that the custom of
eating these cookies during the Mid-Autumn
Festival formed. It was also during this period
that the cookie makers printed the famous on the
moon cake, which made the cookie much more popular
among common people and gradually a must for the
Here is the story of the moon cakes:
A long, long time ago, people’s lives followed the
schedule of the Sun. They would get up and start
working at sunrise and go to sleep and rest at
sunset. The sun brings light and warmth, and
people would plant in the Spring and harvest in
the Fall, making a simple living through farming
and hunting. In this ancient time, there lived a
man named Yi. Legend has it that when Yi was five,
he went missing on a nearby mountain and did not
return until he was twenty. By then, he had grown
into a strong and imposing man. Of his
disappearance, Yi said that he had met an unusual
person on the mountain who took him as a disciple
and taught him martial arts, especially archery.
He was trained to never miss a target. In no time,
Yi’s skill at archery became well known and people
said that he was the greatest archer ever.
The Making of a Marksman
There is a popular story about Yi’s archery skill.
Once while Yi was visiting with a friend, a goose
happened to fly overhead. His friend looked up at
the goose, pointed to it, and asked Yi, “Can you
shoot it down?”
Yi looked at the goose and asked his friend, “Do
you want it alive or dead?” His friend suggested,
“Shoot its left eye.”
Yi did not reply, but simply drew his bow and shot
an arrow with a steady hand. The goose fell to the
ground as soon as the arrow flew. His friend ran
over to take a look and exclaimed, “Marksman,
Yi asked, “Is it through the left eye?”
His friend shook his head and said, “Though it is
the right eye and not the left, surely that was
still very difficult!”
However, despite this praise, Yi felt ashamed and
disturbed and could not forget his miss. He
practiced archery even more diligently and
perfected his skill more and more.
A Heavenly Meeting
Yi’s wife, Chang’E, was the most beautiful woman
in the village and she was said to be virtuous and
gentle. She took care of their home and cared
deeply for her husband. The couple lived in
harmony and happiness.
One day, Yi went out hunting as usual. He chased
after a deer on a mountain. As it began to get
dark, suddenly the deer disappeared and Yi found
himself in front of a huge mansion. Yi was puzzled
to see such a dwelling in the remote mountains and
it looked as if it was a palace. While he stood in
wonderment, the door opened and a child came out
and said, “The Queen Mother of the West would like
to invite General Yi in.” Yi followed the child
inside and saw an elegantly dressed, noble lady
sitting in the middle of a hall lit by
candlelight. He realized this must be the Queen
Mother of the West and hurried to pay homage.
The Queen Mother greeted him with a smile; “I
trust all has been well with you since we last saw
each other, General?”
Yi did not understand what she meant but felt she
looked familiar, so he could only nod in
“I invited you here today to tell you that you
descended to Earth bearing the mission to save the
world,” the Queen Mother said. “I will give you a
hand today. Once the task is successfully
completed, you will be able to return to Heaven
and be reinstated as an immortal.”
Yi was bewildered and could do little else but nod
Divine Gifts for a Heavenly Mission
The Queen Mother asked the child to take out a bow
and a set of arrows. They were obviously too
peculiar to have been made by human hands; the bow
was red and the arrows seemed to be made of jade.
Yi could not tell what they were made of; still,
he accepted them with great respect.
The Queen Mother then said, “Now, General, with
these, you can save the people from disaster.”
Yi still did not understand, but nodded and raised
both his hands high to thank his divine patron.
The Queen Mother then asked the child to retrieve
a white jade bottle. The bottle was exquisitely
carved, truly lovely. The Queen Mother said,
“General, you must remember, the liquid inside
this bottle is the essence of all things in Heaven
and on Earth— it is a magic potion for
immortality. Guard it well, and once you succeed,
you and Chang’E can drink this potion to achieve
immortality and ascend back to Heaven.”
She then ordered the child to take the general
back to his home as it was getting late. Yi bowed
to thank the Queen Mother for her gift, and as he
lifted his head everything before him disappeared.
As if in a trance, Yi suddenly found himself in
front of his own home. Only the jade bottle in his
hand and the bow and arrows tucked at his waist
reminded him that what he had experienced was
indeed real and not a dream! Yi entered his home
and shouted to Chang’E, “Come here, and see. I met
an immortal today!” Upon hearing him, Chang’E
hurried over and asked, “What is it? Why have you
returned so late today?”
Yi shared his adventure with his wife. Chang’E
looked at the bow and held up the jade bottle,
surprised and delighted. She could not help
believing him and said, “It sounds like you truly
were once from the Heavens. Otherwise, why would
the Queen Mother of the West call you a general?”
The couple chatted and wondered what kind of
disaster could possibly happen that Yi would need
to save the people with a divine bow and arrows.
Would barbarians invade again? They pondered to no
Yi Shoots Down the Suns
Many uneventful days passed. However, since the
Queen Mother had said it would be so, they
remained vigilant. Then one day, ten suns rose in
the sky! Suddenly, the whole world was on fire.
Trees and grass were scorched, and the earth was
parched as lakes, rivers, and oceans boiled away.
Hundreds of thousands of people had no place to
hide to escape the heat of ten suns and they died.
Only a few thousands that were able to find
shelter in deep caves survived. They only dared to
come out after sunset to search for food. However,
the plants and animals, fish and birds, nothing
was spared by the scorching suns. Odd beasts and
poisonous insects took the opportunity to feed on
mankind and humankind was facing extinction.
People cried out for help; they knelt down and
begged the immortals in the Heavens to save them.
The entire Earth emitted a sorrowful wail.
What had happened? Well, the Heavenly Emperor had
ten sons, all of whom were suns. They lived in a
sacred mulberry tree on the shore of the East Sea.
They were supposed to be on duty in the sky in
turns, one for each day of a cycle of ten days.
One day, they were bored with being alone in the
sky each day, so they decided to rise together.
This proved disastrous for the human world.
Yi and Chang’E then realized that their mission—
what the Queen Mother of the West had foreseen—
was to save the world from the misguided sons.
They were saddened by the people’s suffering, so
they took the divine bow and arrows and set off
toward the highest and nearest mountain. To their
surprise, the bow and arrows generated a large
halo that surrounded them and protected them from
the ten scorching suns. After climbing ninety-nine
lofty mountains, crossing ninety-nine turbulent
rivers, and going through ninety-nine craggy
valleys, Yi and Chang’E arrived at the shore of
the East Sea and climbed to the summit of a
towering mountain there. At the foot of the
mountain, there was a vast sea above which the ten
suns shone relentlessly. Chang’E told Yi: “Let’s
reason with them. If they can correct their
mistakes, and be on duty in turns like before,
let’s not kill them.”
Yi nodded, and shouted to the sky: “All but one of
you must go back. You are endangering humans!” The
suns looked down at him but ignored his request.
Yi got very angry. He mustered all his strength
and raised the divine bow to shoot. Chang’E helped
by handing the arrows to him one by one. The
arrows flew through the air making a thunderous
sound that shook everything.
With the first shot, a sun fell out of the sky;
the second shot brought down two suns, and the
third arrow took out four at once! The fourth and
fifth arrows flew like bright comets across the
sky and lit up the whole world. They each knocked
down one sun. Five divine arrows killed nine suns
and the heat immediately abated. Only one sun was
left shining in the sky.
Chang’E Flies to the Moon
When Yi was about to shoot down the last sun,
Chang’E stopped him, saying that the world could
not be without a sun for even a day, that
everything living needed the sun to grow. She
asked him to spare the last sun for the benefit of
the people. In no time, the Earth cooled down.
Water miraculously reappeared in tens of thousands
of rivers, oceans again had waves that crashed
upon the shores. Grass and trees turned green
again. People stepped out from the underground
caves and cheered Yi, expressing their gratitude
to him. They praised Yi, loudly calling out his
name. Their deafening shouts shook the ground and
reached the Heavens. Yi was very pleased with
himself as he returned home with Chang’E to drink
the precious potion given him by the Queen Mother.
He was still thinking about the scene of tens of
thousands of people in jubilation and praising
him. Chang’E took the bottle out and drank half of
it while Yi strutted around with his hands behind
his back. When she handed the bottle to Yi, he was
so excited that he turned too suddenly and knocked
the bottle over. The bottle broke into pieces, and
the liquid spilled out and seeped into the ground.
They both stood in shock, staring at each other,
and Yi didn’t know what to say. Then Chang’E felt
her body becoming lighter and lighter. As she was
about to fly up off the ground, she quickly
grabbed the rabbit that she liked most and cradled
it in her arms. Yi tried to grab his wife but did
not succeed. He could only watch, stunned, as
Chang’E flew higher and further away. Chang’E,
with the rabbit in her arms, flew to the moon.
Thus ends the tale of Yi shooting down the suns
and Chang’E flying to the moon.
Elders say that at night when the sky is clear, if
you look at the moon carefully, you can see the
shadows of a house. That is the Moon Palace where
Chang’E now lives. People can also see a little
bunny pounding herbs under a tree. It is said that
the herbs are prepared for Yi by Chang’E, with the
hope that he can eat them, come to Heaven, and
reunite with her. In her honor, the moon cakes are
eaten on the Harvest Full Moon as she saved the
last sun and became an immortal.
In Chinese Daoism, there are many formulas and
exercises that increase your chances for a long
and healthy life that I have learned from my
teachers over the last thirty-five years. The
Recharging Qi gong program is one of the longevity
programs that will enhance your life and
well-being. Although the Recharging Qigong program
is an ancient longevity exercise program and it is
rare to be able to get these teachings, you can
still get your copy as long as they last.
I wish you the best in your Health, Wealth and
Dr. Wu Dhi