The Philosopher Qiu Chuji
Our vineyard芒鈧劉s location is associated with one of most important thinkers and historical figures in North China. Qiu Chuji in the early part of the 13th Century was a major figure in the development of Daoism but would also become a political player after coming to the attention of Genghis Kahn, who at the time ruled an empire stretching from the Bohai sea to Budapest. Qiu came to prominence when the Great Kahn, searching for the secret of eternal life, called for an audience with him. Qiu travelled from Shandong to Afghanistan for the meeting and not only survived to return to Shandong, but claimed to have influenced the Kahn with his doctrine of tolerance and love for his fellow men.
Universal love is not a quality that springs to mind when you think of Genghis Kahn. However, Qiu芒鈧劉s persuasive teachings were first praised and then adopted by the Mongolian leader, and the philosopher was appointed as a Chinese cultural ambassador to foreign states. With the Kahn芒鈧劉s blessing, Qiu became the dominant force in Chinese Daoism; spreading his message that 芒鈧淲u Wei芒鈧劉 (inaction) was the purest expression of the soul and the true origin of the Daoist self-cultivation. Qiu believed that following a simple way of life would allow the natural virtue of the heart to shine; thus all human desires first had to be purged. Particular care was to be taken over cultivation of the 芒鈧渃haracter of the soul芒鈧劉 since, in Qiu芒鈧劉s words 芒鈧渢hat which constitutes our nature is our spirit; that which constitutes our character is our qi芒鈧劉. The philosopher also compiled an exhaustive gauntlet of physical tests for anyone seeking Daoist perfection. At the most basic level, adherents had to leave home to join a monastery, abstain from sex, and curb sleep and indulgence in food.
Qiu Chuji settled near the site of what is now our vineyard. His charitable acts to neighbouring villages swiftly found him favour with the locals. It is also claimed that Qiu gave local farmers the gift of cultivating fruit, which has led to Yantai being acknowledged internationally as 芒鈧淐hina芒鈧劉s orchard芒鈧劉. The locals here have not forgotten their debt of thanks to the philosopher. A temple to Qiu, beneath the hill which now bears his name, was destroyed in 1949, as a symbol of bourgeois superstition. But on one night in January every year, thousands come to the site to worship Qiu as a Daoist Immortal, lighting a bonfire and letting off fireworks. There are now plans to restore the temple in Qiu Chuji芒鈧劉s honour.