张道陵，字辅汉。子房八世孙。身长九尺二寸，庞眉广颡，朱顶绿睛，隆淮方颐，目有三角，伏犀贯顶，垂手过膝。龙蹲虎步，望之俨然。汉光武建武十年，生于天目山。母初梦大人自北魁星中降至地，以蘅薇香授之。既觉，满室异香，经月不散，感而有孕。及生日，黄云笼室，紫气盈庭，室中光气如日月。七岁通《道德经》、河洛图缉之书，皆极其奥。举贤良方正，身虽仕而志在修炼。入蜀，爱蜀中溪岭深秀，遂隐于鹤鸣山。弟子有王长者，习天文，通黄老，相与炼龙虎大丹。三年丹成，真人年六十余，饵之，若三十许人。与王长入北嵩山，遇绣衣使者，告日:“中峰石室藏《上三皇内文》《黄帝九鼎太清丹经》，得而修之，乃升天也。”于是真人斋戒七日，入石室，跫然有声，掘地取之，果得丹书。精思修炼，能分形散影。每泛舟池中，诵经堂上，隐几对客，杖黎行吟，一时并起，人皆莫测。西城房陵间有白虎神，好饮人血，每岁其乡杀人祭之，真人召其神戒之，遂灭。又梓州有大蛇，时吐毒雾，行人中毒辄死，真人以法禁之，不复为害。顺帝壬午岁正月十五夜，真人在鹤鸣山梦觉，惟闻銮佩珊珊，天乐隐隐。瞪目东瞻，见紫云中素车一乘，车中一神人，容若冰玉，神光照人，不可正视。车前一人敕真人曰：“子勿惊怖， 即太上老君也。 真人礼拜。老君曰:“近蜀中有六大鬼神，枉暴生民，深可痛惜。子其代吾治之，以福生灵。则子功无量，而名录丹台矣。”乃授以正一盟，威秘篆，三清众经九百三十卷。符篆、丹灶、秘诀七十二卷。雌雄剑二把，都功印一枚。且曰:“与子千日为期， 后会阆苑。”真人乃叩头，领讫。日味秘文，按法遵修。时有八部鬼帅，各领鬼兵动亿万数，周行人间，暴杀万民，枉天无数。真人奉老君诰命，佩盟威秘篆，往青城山置琉璃高座，左供大道元始天尊，右置三十六部真经。立十绝灵幡，周匝法席。鸣钟扣磬，布龙虎神兵。众鬼即挟兵刃矢石来害真人，真人举手一指，化为一大莲花拒之。鬼众复持火千余炬来，真人举手一指鬼反自烧，遥谓真人日曰：“师自住峨嵋山，何为来侵夺我居处?”真人日曰：“汝等残害众生，所以来伐汝，摈之西方不毛之地，奉老君命也。自今速当远避，勿复行病人间，如违即当诀戮无留种。”鬼王不服，次日复会六大魔王，率鬼兵百万环攻，真人乃以丹笔一画，众鬼尽死，惟六魔王仆地不能起，叩头求生。真人不顾，复以丹笔一裁，此山遂分为二。六魔王欲度不能，始大声哀求，愿往西方娑罗国居止焉。真人乃许之，倒笔再画，六魔群鬼悉起，真人命王长肩一大石为桥度之。真人犹欲服其心，谓之曰:“试与尔各尽力。”六魔曰:“惟命。 ”真人投身入火，即足履青莲而出。鬼帅投火，为火所烧。真人入水，乘黄龙而出。鬼帅入水，为水所溺。真人以身入石，透石而出。鬼帅投石，才入一寸，真人咒神符一道，左手指之，鬼毙。右手指之，复生，鬼帅左右指无生无死。鬼帅化八大虎犇攫而来，真人化一狮子逐之。鬼帅化八大龙欲来擒师，真人化金翅鸟啄龙目睛。鬼帅作五色云，昏暗天地，真人化五色日炎光辉灼，云即流散。鬼帅变化技穷，真人乃化一大石，可重万余斤，以藕丝悬之鬼帅营上。令二鼠争留其丝欲堕，鬼帅同声哀告，再不虐害生民。真人遂命六大鬼王归于北酆，八部鬼帅窜于西域。鬼众犹踌躇不去，真人乃口敕神符一道，飞上层霄，须臾风雨雷电，刀兵毕至，群鬼灭影而遁。真人至苍溪县云台山，谓王长曰:“此山乃吾成功飞腾之地也。”遂卜居修九还七返之功。一日复聆銮珮天乐之音，真人整衣叩伏，见老君千乘万骑来集，云际徘徊不下。真人再拜，老君乃命使者告曰:“子之功业，合得儿真上仙。晋昔使子入蜀，但区别人鬼以布清静之化，而子杀鬼过多，又擅兴风雨、役使鬼神，阴景刎颈，杀气秽空。殊非大道好生之意，上帝正贵子过，所以吾不得近子也。子且退居，勤行修谢。晋待子于无何有乡，上清八景官中。”言讫，圣驾升去。真人遂依告文，与王长迁鹤鸣山。谓弟子赵升日:“彼处有妖，当往除之。”及至，值十二神女笑迎于山前，因间曰:“此地有成泉何在? ”神女日:“前大湫是毒龙处之。”真人遂书一符，化为金翅鸟，向湫上盘旋。毒龙惊，舍湫而去，遂得咸泉，后居民煮之有盐。十二神女各出一玉环来献。曰:“妾等愿事箕帚。”真人受其环，以手缉之，十二环合而为一。谓曰：“吾投此环于井中能得之者，应吾夙命也。”神女竞解衣入井，争取玉环。真人遂掩之盟日:“令作井神，无得复出。”彼方之民，至今不罹神女之害，而获咸井之利。真人重修二十年，乃复领赵升、王长往鹤鸣山。一日午时，忽见一人黑帻绢衣佩剑，捧一玉函进曰：“奉上清真符召真人游阆苑。”须臾有黑龙驾一紫辇，玉女二人引真人登车，旋踵至阙，群仙礼谒。良久忽二青童朱衣绛节前导，曰：“老君至矣。”乃相与腾空而上，至一殿，金阶玉砌。或谓真人日:“将朝太上元始天尊也。”真人整衣趋进殿上，移时，殿上敕青童，谕真人以正一盟威之法，使世世宣布为人间天师，劝度未悟，仍密谕飞升之期。真人受命，乃复还鹤鸣山。桓帝永寿元年正月七日五更初，长、升见空中老君驾龙舆，命真人乘白鹤同往成都，重演正一盟威之旨，说北斗、南斗经毕，老君复去。真人欲留其神迹，乃于云台西北半崖间，举身跃入石壁中，自崖顶而出，其山因成二洞。九月九日，在巴西赤城渠亭山中，上帝遣使者持玉册授真人正一真人之号，谕以行当飞升。真人乃以盟威都功等诸品秘篆，斩邪二剑，玉册玉印以授其长子衡。日谓长、升日:“尚有余丹，二子可分饵之，今日当随吾上升矣。”亭午群仙仪从毕至，天乐拥道于云台峰，白日升天。时真人年一百二十三岁也。(明洪自成《逍遥墟经》卷一)
(Also known as: Zhang Dao Ling)
Zu Tian Shi is described to be a tall and strong man with a height of 2.13m. He has a broad forehead and thick eyebrows, red head with green triangular-shaped eyes, high nose and a square chin. His hands were so long that they exceeded his knees. He was solemn and brave, squated like a dragon and walked like a tiger. He was born in Tian Mu Mountain (天目山) in Han Dynasty. His mother used to have a dream of the descent of the northern Kui star (北魁星), and she was given a scented plant. She awoke to find an extraordinary fragrance that lingered in her room for months. Thereafter, she became pregnant. The time Zhang Dao Ling was born, the courtyards were permeated in colored clouds, and his room was filled with auspiciousness and was shining like beams from the sun and the moon.
Zu Tian Shi was extremely intelligent since birth, he could thoroughly comprehend the essence of Dao De Jing (道德经), the holy book of Taoism; as well as geography and mystic diagrams at the age of seven. He later passed the Imperial Examination and became a government official. After retiring from his government work, Zhang Dao Lin retreated into He Ming Mountain of Sichuan and lived in seclusion. His major follower was Wang Chang, an astrologer and a Taoist, they worked together to experiment Taoist alchemy, and to develop a pill called “Long Hu Da Dan” (龙虎大丹). In three year, this pill was successfully made. When Zhang took this pill, even though he was already over sixty years old, he got rejuvenated. He started to learn supernatural powers and had successfully controlled several demons so that they could do no more harm to people. Afterwards, Zhang Dao Ling was appointed by Tai Shang Lao Jun to start a Taoist sect called “Zheng Yi Meng Wei Dao” (正一盟威道). He was given a formal title as a “Celestial Master”; and was also given nine hundred and thirty scriptures of Tao, other secret literatures, two swords and a seal. He founded an orderly structure for Taoism known as the way of the Five Pecks of Rice (五斗米教). In this authority of alliance, twenty-four zhi (治) were set up. A zhi was more than a management unit, it was also a place where people could find internal peace and external harmony in an orderly manner
Throughout the following decades, Zhang Dao Ling was dedicated to Tao and learned to refine the balance in confronting evils with mercy. He was well known for curing people with talismans, holy water and saving people from danger and disaster. According to an old literature, Zu Tian Shi rose to heaven at the age of one hundred and twenty-three.
Zu Tian Shi refers to the Celestial Master Zhang Dao Ling. There are 2 statues for worship. The first one is made of colored stone, located in Tian Shi Temple of He Ming Mountain. This deity wears a lotus crown, with two round eyes, and a face of solemnity in expelling demons. He rests one hand on his knee and makes a mudra with the other one。 He is being escorted by two other colored stone statues respectively for Wang Chang Zhen Ren (王长真人) and Zhao Sheng Zhen Ren (赵升真人), both are marshalls wearing precious swords and standing on mascots. The second statue is located in Tian Shi Temple of Dao Yuan Sheng Cheng (道源圣城), bronze with gold gilt, the deity looks bold and powerful.