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Glossary and Character Taxonomy  Breakdown by Country of Origin   Bibliography   Table of Contents    The Best of the Encyclopedia

Jigong. Daoji (?-1209 C.E.) was an eccentric Buddhist monk who ate meat, regularly patronized prostitutes, rebelled against the mainstream Buddhist establishment, and did good works along the coastal parts of Zhejiang Province. After his death he was incorporated into Chinese popular culture and become “Jigong” (Sir Ji), the mad monk who fights against corrupt authority. In 1898 the Chinese author Guo Gangrui fictionalized Jigong in Pingyan Jigong Zhuan, which had thirty-nine unauthorized sequels by other authors appear though 1926.

Jigong is an insane monk who comes down from his mountaintop hermitage to help the disadvantaged of China while bringing order and justice to the corrupt and powerful. In the course of these events Jigong is forced to deal with and occasionally defeat supernatural forces, beings and monsters. His enemies range from local bullies to lust-filled monks to corrupt officials to evil female animal spirits and succubi. Jigong is aided by a group of Nüxia/Wüxia.

* I'm including Jigong in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because of his historical importance. Jigong was a figure from actual Chinese popular culture and folk mythology who came to represent a doctrine of good works and rebellion against the corrupt Buddhist establishment. The forty novels about him showed him in a similar light. The Jigong of popular myth and the Jigong of the novels were both primarily concerned with helping the poor and bringing justice to the powerful--sentiments that resonated enormously with Chinese readers and which provided a strong counter-narrative to establishment-friendly fiction. Too, the Jigong novels combined martial arts adventure and mystery-solving, which was another popular move with readers. 

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