Ling Zhi – “Spiritual Vegetable Meat” or Reishi mushroom
Pharmaceutical Name: Ganoderma Lucidum
In a small Chinese village a long time ago there lived a dedicated student with a great ambition to pass the empirical examinations to become a government official. This student was so ambitious that the local villagers called him Mr. Ambition (Mr. Zhi Xiang).
Having failed these exams a dozen times however, Mr. Ambition decided to shift his ambition and become a Taoist monk instead. Enjoying longevity as a monk, he thought was more important than becoming a government official.
And so Mr. Ambition put the mundane world behind him and went on to stay in a temple on the mountain. There, he became a dedicated Taoist monk, fasting regularly and eating nothing but vegetables.
After living as a Taoist monk for less than a year, one day Mr. Ambition saw his image in the mirror, and to his great horror saw that he had lost so much weight that he looked like a pale, malnourished clump of skin and bones. He got so scared about his health that he immediately left the temple and returned to the mundane world.
Mr. Ambition made a fortune through his construction company not long after returning to the city, but he still had poor health.
One day, while digging the hole to build a large apartment building, his workers came across a strange object in the ground. With its thick flesh and soft body, it almost looked like a huge human hand.
Everyone was scared, especially Mr. Ambition. He was superstitious and anxiously wondered, “Could this be a bad omen for me? Would the building collapse after its completion?” After consulting friends, he decided to summon a fortune-teller to shed light on the situation.
“This object signals a real disaster for you,” said the fortune-teller. “How can I prevent this disaster?” asked Mr. Ambition, his face turning pale. “I would do anything.” Image courtesy of Oshims Herbal Pharmacy
After a long pause, the fortune-teller said, “You could turn the upcoming disaster into good luck if you had the courage to eat that strange object.”
Mr. Ambition was initially shocked at the suggestion, but soon agreed to it, and started eating the big fleshy object that night for dinner. It was such a large object, it took him several days to finish. And it didn’t taste as bad as he had anticipated; in fact, he quite enjoyed its flavour.
Several days after he finished eating this fleshy object, Mr. Ambition began to feel dramatic changes in his body. His complexion improved considerably, he put on weight, his grey hair regained its sheen and return to its original black colour; and he looked and felt much younger than his age. Overall, he felt really great!
A few months later, an old Taoist monk from another temple who was also wise in the use of herbs passed by the construction site where Mr. Ambition was working. Spotting the younger spritely man, he stopped and said, “My friend, you look different from other people. Did anything extraordinary happen to you recently? Have you eaten anything unusual? Let me take your pulse.”
Mr. Ambition sat down with the monk. After taking his pulse, the monk said, “Sir, did you possibly eat something that looks like a big human hand?”
Mr. Ambition admitted that he had and told the monk the whole story. The monk replied, “That strange object that you ate is a powerful herb called “spiritual vegetable meat”, and now that you’ve eaten it, you no longer belong to this mundane world. You ought to come with me to the temple on the mountain, where you can be a Taoist monk and enjoy great health and longevity.
Mr. Ambition took his advice and went with him to the temple, where he lived a very long, healthy, peaceful life.