Ji Gong was a Chan Buddhist monk of the Southern Song Dynasty in China. He was born with the name of Li Xiuyuan. Ji Gong was famous for his wild and eccentric behavior while openly breaking monastic codes (such as openly drinking wine and consuming meat, although the meat he ate came from animals that had died due to natural causes), but was still compassionate by nature and possessed supernatural powers.
By the time of his death, Ji Gong became a folk hero in China and was invoked as a folk religious deity. Ji Gong is often invoked by oracles to assist in worldly affairs. Buddhists also invoke Ji Gong in folk stories and koans.
Ji Gong can usually be seen smiling in tattered monastic robes, and usually carries a bottle of wine in his right hand, and a fan (believed to be magical) in his left hand. He wears a hat with the Chinese character Fo, meaning "Buddha". He can also be seen holding his shoes in his right hand. Because of his carefree nature, he is rarely ever shown with a serious facial expression.
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