Chinese New Year is coming. Chances are, one of the homes you visit will have a statue or picture of a Taoist Immortal. Well, here’s something that will be an interesting conversation starter (or, a conversation ender – depending on your relationship with your relatives).
If you’ve never seen a Taoist immortal, here’s a sample picture:
Look at that! He’s smiling so happily.
Anyway, Taoist immortals are always depicted with ENORMOUS foreheads. They’re not usually worshipped – some do, but most don’t. Most people have statues of Taoist immortals only because of its symbolic meaning or with the hope of getting some good luck or some blessings.
They’re called Taoist immortals because these people were the ones who supposedly undertook Taoist self-cultivation techniques, and have acquired immortality. Some have even made it as far as to acquire divinity.
Getting a HUGE forehead is a sign of the success of their self-cultivation, as well as the vast amount of wisdom and knowledge that have acquired over the process.
Now… Do you want to know how their foreheads have grown so large? (Here’s a disclaimer: You might get grossed out by the answer, so please brace yourself!)
Here’s an extract from one of my class readings last year (it was a module on Taoist Traditions). The article came from an Encyclopedia of Taoist Studies:
Did you read that?
The Taoist Immortals developed such HUGE foreheads because they engaged in sexual activity, but stopped just before ejaculation. And then, they used meditation techniques to channel all that semen up to the head to REPAIR THE BRAIN!!! Yes, they have HUGE foreheads because their brains have been thoroughly nourished by their own semen!!! It’s a head full of— Nevermind. You get the picture. O_O
I still remember the class we had. The professor asked us what were our thoughts about the encyclopedia readings. All of us unanimously responded: SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?! EEEEEW!!!
Anyway… I can’t see images of Taoist immortals the same innocent way again. Look at this picture again:
His smile doesn’t look so innocent anymore, yeah?
CANNOT UNSEE!!! AHHHHH!!!!!
Anyway, yeah… This will definitely liven up discussions during Chinese New Year, or it’ll just kill all discussions leaving you with an awkward silence.
Haha… I’ll leave you to decide if it’s worthwhile telling this to your relatives. One year after learning this fact, I’m still pretty amused by it.