The 256 Years Old Man’s Single Word Advice on Longevity

Qing Yun Li was born on May 3, 1677 and died on May 6, 1933. He was survived by his 24th wife, a woman of 60 years. Li supposedly produced over 200 descendants during his life span. He lived 256 years and was the longest living human in the record.

His single word advice on longevity is: Peace. He considered his long life coming from his peaceful activities in his life time. Li spent most of his life in the mountains, practiced meditation, and was skilled in qigong and martial arts.

longevity and peace

In his “Tortoise-Pigeon-Dog” theory, he described that the secret of his long life is:

  • Keep a quiet heart
  • Sit like a tortoise
  • Walk sprightly like a pigeon
  • Sleep like a dog

Apparently, peace was the hallmark for his longevity. Here were some ways he practiced his peaceful life.


Li was Taoist and practiced Taoist Meditation, which were associated with the religion of Taoism. The practice including concentration, mindfulness, contemplation, and visualization. It is a kind of sitting exercises, including flat sitting, kneeling sitting, natural cross, single cross, double cross, etc. In meditation, the methods of heart adjustment, breath adjustment, body adjustment, and mind adjustment are used to achieve refinement and qi training. As a master of meditation, he could achieve whatever peace he desired for his body and mind.


Li spent most of his life in the mountains and had a close contact with nature. Human are part of the nature. Based on the Taoism, there are three realms, the heaven, the earth, and the human. Man is the law of the earth, the earth is the law of the sky, and the heaven is the way. Nature is the highest state of following things and letting things go.

One of the best meditations is meditation in nature, which is outside in natural surroundings. This helps you to enliven the basic intelligence of nature in your awareness and physiology. Your being resonates with the sight of a flower, sound of birds, feeling of the breeze. These experiences wake something up inside of you, and help to set your lives into a more natural rhythm.

In the nature meditations, you focus your awareness on the experience of nature, sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Feel the temperature of the air on your skin, the feeling of the breeze and the sun. Notice the sounds around you: birds, bees, crickets, flowing water … Listen to the symphony of nature.

As you meditate, you can see where your attention is naturally drawn, or purposefully scan for different experiences. You can also focus on one experience and notice the experience in greater detail. If it is a bird’s song, notice the quality of the sound , as if you are going more deeply into the sound, the peaceful nature sound.


It is apparently that simple life is the theme of Li’s life. He simplified everything, just wanted to live in a rough life, and purified his thoughts. You know that life is the most taboo of “greed”, and there will be more greed and delusion, that cumbersome thing that’s too much. Life is always busy, overwhelmed with stress and piles of useless stuff.

It is important to simplify your thought first and decide what is truly matter? With your focus in your life, you then declutter your life and focus on the things that matter. You are certainly on the way to a genuinely happy longevity life.


Li tried his best to resolutely cut off all vulgar bonds. He lived in the forest gully, slept in the cliff creek, and finally found a cliff cave in a secluded valley. He cut off all vulgar conditions and meditated on it. All of this was for concentration and comprehension.


Li practiced deep concentration, which is completely free of distractions. It is difficult for a person to cultivate to be completely free of distracting thoughts, but it is possible to cultivate to a state where there is basically no distracting thoughts, and the generation of distracting thoughts can be controlled.


Li practiced respect for life. All life is sacred, so one must never kill. Killing takes away the priceless gift of life, and therefore must always be wrong.


Li practiced harmonious life with the earth and one other. Nowadays, you know that you need to live in harmony with the universe. Cleaning yourself and your surroundings can be a microcosmic way to live in harmony with the universe. Sun is the center of universe and has antiseptic qualities. Natural light for the sun has a built-in quality that cleans and purifies your earth. When you clean your surroundings, you’re capturing the positive quality of the sun.

Living in harmony with each other is essential for you to achieve your longevity. In a world filled with division, criticism, and competition, it is easy to forget the basic principle for you to gain longevity. In this world, we depend on many different components to create the whole system and you must learn to work together as humanity in order to establish harmony. Instead of thinking the world revolves around one person or one nation, it’s best when we put many minds or many nations together to create a higher perspective. You need to have healthy collaboration, constructive debate, sharing of ideas, and building upon each others’ success so that you could reach happy harmony with each other.


With all above practices, Li was certainly calm with all he dealt with. He lowered or calmed his heart and his requirements for everything, there is no excessive requirement for the material. He treated others with lenientness, did not get into the corner when things happened, and automatically adjusted emotions when confronted with conflicts.


Li ultimately gained and mastered his longevity holy grail, Peace. His heart is always in peace. Further, he was constantly refining himself, reviewing his shortcomings and behaviors, tempering his personality, and purifying his souls.

Li had a peaceful live and lived in a philosophy of Taoism living. To him, it was meaningless to work towards physical immortality. As a Taoist, he extended his live indefinitely.

One thought on “The 256 Years Old Man’s Single Word Advice on Longevity

  1. I am particularly impressed with the story of Li Ching-Yun. I have been looking at the only picture taken of him, and he still looks like a strong man, even a few years before his death. his picture was taken in 1927 when the National Revolutionary Army General Yang Sen invited him to his residence in Wan Xian, Sichuan.

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