We talked about the Heavenly Dog in our last episode. In Chinese mythology, people sometimes get confused about the Heavenly Dog with another holy dog called XiaoTianQuan 哮天犬， Howling Celestial Dog . Maybe due to they are both furious mythical dog living in the heaven. Today we are going to talk about the owner of XiaoTianQuan. His name is ErLangShen 二郎神. ErLang means the second boy. Shen means god.
ErLangShen is a god with a third eye and is a folk god related with hydrology and agriculture. He is well-known maybe also due to some famous myths about him including his epic fight with the Monkey King in the book Journey to the West 西游记,which we will talk about in the future.
There are a few variations about who he is. Some historians think the origin of worshiping ErLangShen was based on the governor LiBing 李冰 and his son who contributed to the constructions of the irrigation system DuanJiangYan 都江堰 that also prevented flooding the region of ChengDu Plain 成都平原 . This is backed to Warring States period about the year 250 BC. Local people built temples dedicated to the Two Kings Temple to honor them.
In the book Journey to the West , he is the nephew of the Jade Emperor 玉皇大帝, the second son of the Jade Emperor’s sister YaoJi 瑶姬. His father is a normal person whose last name is Yang 杨. That’s why his name is ErLang Shen. There are some interesting stories about ErLangShen saved his mom that we can talk in the future.
The most popular version of ErLangShen is based on the book Investiture of the Gods 封神演义 , a 16th century Chinese novels in gods and demons during the Ming dynasty 明朝. The stories is set from Shang dynasty 商朝 to Zhou dynasty 周朝， around 1046 BC ~ 256 BC. A lot of stories we talk about are and will be from this book so we will mention it in the future.
In the book Investiture of the Gods, it says ErLanShen’s name is Yang Jian 杨戬. He is depicted as a Chinese warrior. Different from Journey to the west, he is the second son of Jade Emperor’s brother instead of his sister. He is the apprentice of YuDingZhenRen 玉鼎真人, a Taoist immortal. He was a general working for JiangZiYa 姜子牙, a Chinese noble helping King Wu 武王of Zhou dynasty 周朝 overthrow the Shang dynasty 商朝. JiangZiYa has a lot of interesting stories that we can talk about in the future. So far you can see ErLangShen is in a lot of stories. Today we are just giving some general information about him.
His is usually depicted as a noble and powerful warrior god that vanquishes demons and monsters and who embodies justice. He has enormous strength and is capable of 72 transformations like the monkey king. His weapon is a three-pointed spear with double-edged saber 三尖两刃枪. His best companion is his faithful dog Howling Celestial Dog 哮天犬 that has the ability to attack and subdue demons. In the book Investiture of the Gods , it is a white dog with a thin waist however for some reasons, in most pictures you see today they appear to be black. Now we are finally talking about his third eye on his forehead, “the Eye of Heaven” 天眼. It differentiate truth from lies and sees through deceptions and disguises. It can also fire highly destructive energy blasts of power that destroy anything it hits like a laser gun. If you have seen the Japanese cartoon Dragon Ball, and know the character Tien Shinhan who is based on ErlangShen, you will understand more about what I was talking about.
哮天犬 Howling Celestial Dog
西游记 Journey to the West
成都平原 ChengDu Plain
玉皇大帝 Jade Emperor
封神演义 Investiture of the Gods
杨戬 Yang Jian
King Wu 武王of Zhou dynasty 周朝