Yan Emperor ShenNong/炎帝神农

Journey through Yan Emperor's era, witnessing the birth of agriculture, mystical rituals, and the quest for immortality in ancient China.

The Flame Emperor began guiding the people in making plows and hoes. He personally worked in the fields, toiling diligently, and various grains flourished abundantly. Under the influence of the Flame Emperor’s supreme moral virtue, all things could feel his divine virtue. Lingzhi mushrooms displayed extraordinary colors, fairy grass produced beautiful ears of grain, and on the land, red lotus flowers grew abundantly, with their lotus leaves as luxuriant as umbrella canopies. Dewdrops, carrying fragrant scents, fell from the leaves drop by drop, accumulating into ponds. Therefore, the Flame Emperor used these ponds as places to raise dragons.

Red auspicious grass proliferated and spread across the interconnected roads, and colorful clouds permeated the dense vegetation. The Flame Emperor constructed a circular high altar for worshipping the morning sun and adorned jade steps for paying tribute to the moonlight. A celestial orchestra played harmonious music, and people lived in peace and contentment, bringing tranquility to the world. Eight different instruments made from various materials could play music in harmony, and the Flame Emperor’s virtue nourished the trees and mountains. During this time, floating clouds sprinkled droplets known as “Xiajiang,” and those who drank the “Xiajiang” could achieve enlightenment, immortality, and eternal life.

There is a luminous jade called “Night Bright.” If you were to throw it into the water on a dark night, the jade would float on the surface and emit light. During this time, the Flame Emperor gradually transformed the primitive and simple way of life from the Paoxi era and clarified the purpose of ritual and music systems. There was a red bird that brought nine ears of grain, and when these nine ears of grain fell to the ground, the Flame Emperor picked them up and planted them in the fields. Those who ate the nine ears of grain would achieve immortality. People mined copper from the Junhuan Mountain. Junhuan was the name of the mountain. At the foot of the mountain, there was a golden well with white clouds swirling above its mouth. When people ascended the well, a thunderous sound echoed from below. The gold within the well was soft and could be used to make ropes.

Xiao Qilu said, “Respectfully following the principles of the ‘I Ching’ (Book of Changes), Fuxi governed the ancient society. He observed the heavens above, examined the earth below, and sought to understand the laws of celestial and terrestrial changes, planning for the management of all affairs within and outside the country. Fuxi’s moral virtue was already complete in the chaotic state before heaven and earth took shape, and his profound teachings were transmitted in the most intricate manner. Therefore, his deeds are recorded in pictorial books, and his virtues are documented in the ‘He Tu’ and ‘Luo Shu’ writings. Fuxi transformed the material world of the primordial era and the primitive customs of the ancient people of his time. The positions of the three realms—Heaven, Earth, and Humanity—were established, and the meanings of the four moral principles—propriety, righteousness, integrity, and shame—began to spread.”

The system of ritual and music was established from this point onward and has been handed down through generations. These social rules have evolved and been inherited from one generation to the next. The ‘Ba Suo’ records his ancient laws, while the ‘Jiu Qiu’ describes his profound teachings. Fuxi’s moral virtue is fully extolled in ancient books and inscriptions and is recorded in historical records. Later generations studied the classics of the past, examined ancient documents, compiled all these deeds on wooden tablets and bamboo slips, referenced various ancient texts, collected the sayings of many scholars, and conducted detailed investigations to verify their authenticity.

Speaking of the era of the Flame Emperor, according to the “Classic of Mountains and Seas,” it is said: “Tangting Mountain produces crystals that can float on the water’s surface. The trees in the land of Wulu have many patterns.” If one does not adhere to the true essence of morality and the simple customs, grasp the profound intent within, and align with the changes of the four seasons, harmonizing the vital spirit of all things with the virtue of the Flame Emperor, then how can auspicious signs manifest on their own? Therefore, these achievements moved heaven and earth with the Flame Emperor’s virtue, and with sincerity evident, even the underground earth gods would not hide their treasures, desiring only to wholeheartedly eliminate misfortune. The people of the minority ethnic groups would also surely submit. As for “descending dew to form a pond, nurturing dragons to cultivate a garden,” this tradition persisted through the Xia Dynasty, continuing from generation to generation, and there were even officials responsible for raising dragons at that time. Examining ancient classics, the era of Shen Nong can be firmly established.



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