Peach Blossom Shangri-la 

I was drawn to the garden this morning. As I turned the cool soil with my fingertips and planted a row of seeds, a light, fresh breeze played through the leaves of the trees at the forest edge, and ever so gently swung the graceful, hanging branches of a tall willow. 

Dew drops hung on the grass tips, which were still wet where the sun hadn’t yet reached them. Birdsong filled the fresh spring air.

I was reminded of a story, in this quiet, blissful little morning corner of the world…which I will share with you today.

Peach Blossom Shangri-la 

(As translated and proofed by Rick Davis and David Steelman)


During the Taiyuan era of the Jin Dynasty there was a 

man of Wuling who made his living as a fisherman.  Once 

while following a stream he forgot how far he had gone. 

He suddenly came to a grove of blossoming peach trees.

It lined both banks for several hundred paces and included not a 

single other kind of tree. Petals of the dazzling and 

fragrant blossoms were falling everywhere in profusion. 

Thinking this place highly unusual, the fisherman advanced 

once again in wanting to see how far it went.

The peach trees stopped at the stream’s source, where the 

fisherman came to a mountain with a small opening through 

which it seemed he could see light.  

Leaving his boat, he entered the opening. 

At first it was so narrow that he could 

barely pass, but after advancing a short distance it suddenly 

opened up to reveal a broad, flat area with imposing houses, 

good fields, beautiful ponds, mulberry trees, bamboo, and the 


The fisherman saw paths extending among the fields in 

all directions, and could hear the sounds of chickens and 


Men and women working in the fields all wore clothing 

that looked like that of foreign lands.  The elderly and 

children all seemed to be happy and enjoying themselves.

The people were amazed to see the fisherman, and they asked 

him from where he had come.  He told them in detail, then the 

people invited him to their home, set out wine, butchered a 

chicken , and prepared a meal.  Other villagers heard 

about the fisherman, and they all came to ask him questions.  


Then the villagers told him, 

“To avoid the chaos of war 
during the Qin Dynasty our ancestors brought their 
families and villagers to this isolated place and never left 
it, so we’ve had no contact with the outside world.”  

They asked the fisherman what the present reign was. 

They were not even aware of the Han Dynasty , let alone the Wei 

and Jin. 

The fisherman told them everything he knew in great 

detail, and the villagers were amazed and heaved sighs. 

Then other villagers also invited the fisherman to their homes, 

where they gave him food and drink.  After several days 

there, the fisherman bid farewell, at which time some 

villagers told him,

“It’s not worth telling people on the outside about us.”


The fisherman exited through the opening, found his boat, and 

retraced his route while leaving markers to find this place 

again.  Upon his arrival at the prefecture town he went to 

the prefect and told him what had happened.  The prefect 

immediately sent a person to follow the fisherman and look 

for the trail markers, but they got lost and never found the 


Liu Ziji of Nanyang was a person of noble 


When he heard this story he was happy and planned 

to visit the Shangri-la, but he died of illness before he 

could accomplish it.  After that no one else ever looked for 

the place.

The End!

It was written in China in 421 CE, during a time of political instability and national disunity. The author, Tao Yuan Ming, was thought to be the greatest poet during the centuries between the Han and Tang dynasties, known as the Six Dynasties period

Click to listen and learn more about the History of this story!