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Lao Jun (老君)

Chinese. Name for Lao Tzu, i.e. the founder of Taoism (fig.), in his deified form. His deification began in the 2nd century BC, when he already was a legendary figure, reported to have lived to an unusually high age. He became one of the most important deities during the Late or Eastern Han Dynasty. According to legend, the was born in China over 4,000 years ago. Because he was in his mother's womb for many years, he was born with white hair. He is the chief sage of the Taoist faith and is also credited with inventing the well-known Yin-Yang symbol. Additionally, he is the master of the Eight Immortals. Some followers of the Tao-te Ching consider him to be an emaciation of the primordial chaos, while other Taoists question his divinity altogether. He is also known as Tai Shang Lao Jun (太上老君), i.e. ‘Supreme Old Master’ (fig.), with Tai Shang (太上) being a title of respect for Taoists, conferred onto him since he is one of the highest deities of religious Taoism, besides Yuan Shi Tian Zun, i.e. the ‘Celestial Venerable of the Primordial Beginning’. Lao Jun is sometimes transcribed Lao-jun.