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Yin Xi
- Qin Shi Bu #18
尹喜 1
琴史補 #18 2

Above: Yin Xi
Laozi 4

Yin Xi, nicknamed Guan Yinzi, was also called Guan Yin and later Wenshi. The Annals of History, which tells of his receiving scripture from Laozi,5 refers to Yin Xi as Prefect of the Pass Yin Xi.6

About 70km west of Xi'an, at Louguan Tai,7 there is a temple by a mountain range that claims to be the place where Yin Xi was the gatekeeper. When Laozi arrived at Louguan Tai on his path out of the world, Yin Xi persuaded him to write a book, the result being the Dao De Jing (also called Laozi) in two folios. Laozi then disappeared westward, riding on an ox.

The original entry in Qinshi Bu is as follows.

Guan Yinzi, named Xi, was a gate (關 guan) official. When Laozi came by the gate, Yinzi left his post and followed him. He wrote a book in nine volumes. The 漢志 Han Annals put him in the section of Daoists. (Yin) Xi once said, As for people who are good at playing the qin, if they are sad then the sound is filled with pathos; if they are thoughtful then the sound is hesitant; if they are resentful then the sound is irresolute; if they are yearning then the sound is elegantly grand. This sadness, thoughtfulness, resentment and yearning does not come from hands, from bamboo, from silk, or from tong wood: it comes from having the heart matched with the hand and the hand matched with the 物 object. 人有道者莫不中道 People who have Dao always are centered in the Dao.

The Dao De Jing is quoted and paraphrased in the qin melody Qingjing Jing.8

From top: 3
Temple to Yin Xi at Louguan Tai
At the top of the hill
The path west from here

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a
separate page)

1. Yin Xi 尹喜
The sources for this entry are given as 前漢書 Qian Han Shu; and 關尹子三極篇 San Ji, a chapter of Guan Yinzi (42402.18: ancient title, but only survives from Song dynasty). 7802.82 尹喜 Yin Xi, which has an illustration from 三才圖會 Sancai Tuhui, says 字公度 his style name was Gongdu, and that the book was called 關尹子 Guan Yinzi. It does not mention 關尹 Guan Yin or 文始 Wenshi.

2. Six lines (Return)

3. Photos by JT, 2005 (Return)

4. Both images from Liexian Quanzhuan, a Ming expansion of Liu Xiang's Han dynasty Liexian Zhuan (Return)

5. See his biography and another image. (Return)

6. 關令尹喜; see the footnote at GSR VII, p.22. (Return)

7. 樓觀台 Louguan Tai (Louguan Terrace)
Today Louguan Tai is a national park. West of here is a gravesite said to be that of Laozi. 15776.84 樓觀谷 Louguan Gu (Louguan Valley) seems refer to this location; it is in 五台縣 Wu Tai District, west of Xi'an, but there is no mention of Louguan Tai or of Yin Xi. However, Yang Gang, pp. 1002/3, has poems by 岑參 Cen Shen, Su Dongpo and others that mention it as Lou Guan. (Return)

8. 清靜經 (Return)

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