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Hsien The Immortals

The spiritual beings of primary importance in religious Taoism are the Immortals (Chinese Xian or Hsien).

First introduced in the Chuang-Tzu and perhaps intended by the author to be allegorical, these super-humans or "perfected persons" (chen jen) came to be worshipped and emulated by Taoists. Some even seek to locate them, in the hope of asking them their secret of immortality.

In the Chuang-Tzu, the Immortals dwell far away in an untroubled place, where they experience an effortless existence of physical freedom. They are ageless, eat nothing but air, drink nothing but dew, and enjoy the power of flight. They exemplify the Taoist virtue of spontaneity - they are nothing other than their essential nature.