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"Those who grow, live and die. The stagnant pool is immortal, while the clear flowing river dies an uncountable number of deaths."
Lao Ge's proverb about his method to achieve immortality.[1]

Immortality is a topic that has garnered considerable interest around the world. Two people are known who claimed to have discovered ways to become immortal: Lao Ge and Hundun. Their methods differed considerably and have not been fully confirmed to work, although both lived far beyond regular human lifespans.


Spirits are de facto immortal, as they can lose their forms and even their personalities, but not truly die.[2] Accordingly, humans have the potential to become spirits and no longer be bound to their mortal bodies. However, such humans usually die before transcending to spirithood, or gradually lose their old selfs due to becoming spirits.[3] In contrast, only a handful of spirits were capable of assuming physical forms in the mortal world, and doing so required them to give up their immortality.[4]

Secret to immortality[]

Kyoshi presents her fans

Avatar Kyoshi was a disciple of Lao Ge, who claimed to have unlocked the secret of immortality.

Accordingly, people have tried to find other ways to become immortal for centuries. Lao Ge, also known as Tieguai the Immortal, claimed to have unlocked the secret at some point; it was rumored that he was more than two hundred years old.[5] He even hinted at being more than four thousand years old by the 3rd century BG.[6] He had numerous disciples, most of whom hoped to become immortal themselves.[1][7] One of his disciples was Avatar Kyoshi, who learned his methods[1] and went on to live for 230 years.[8][9]

Hundun claimed to have unlocked the secret of immortality during his exile in the Spirit World, where he spent thousands of years. He tried to use the method by killing Avatar Korra, but was destroyed by her.[10]


Lao Ge's method was focused on keeping order in one's body. As aging was the result of the body deteriorating on "the smallest, most invisible levels" without repairing this damage, Lao Ge argued that one could stop this process by keeping an inventory of one's parts and putting all things which had fallen out of order back into their places. To do so, there was no need for deeper spirituality; the method was instead focused on using one's mind, for example through concentrated mediation. However, Lao Ge's method essentially meant that an individual had to choose one state - at which point the inventory was created - and maintain it forever. The body would no longer grow or change.[1]

Hundun claimed that one could become immortal by extracting the chi of an Avatar, which would result in killing the latter in the process.[10]


  • Two pieces of literature, namely the "Book of Legacy" and "Scroll of Knowledge", allegedly contained the secrets to immortality.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Twenty-Three, "Questions and Meditations". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  2. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Rift Part Three (November 5, 2014), Dark Horse Comics.
  3. Bryan Konietzko on the DVD commentary for "A New Spiritual Age"
  4. Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Filoni, Dave (director). (December 2, 2005). "The Siege of the North, Part 2". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  5. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Fourteen, "The Introduction". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  6. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Twenty-One, "Preparations". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  7. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Twenty-Six, "The Challenge". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  8. From older Welcome to Republic City online game, originally on Nick.com. Game now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Korra - Avatar Kyoshi.
  9. Escape from the Spirit World: Avatar Kyoshi Online Comic Book
  10. 10.0 10.1 Hedrick, Tim, Hamilton, Joshua (writers) & Shirahama, Eiro, Jin Ahn, Sung (directors). PlatinumGames (October 21, 2014). The Legend of Korra. Activision.
  11. Descriptions, Avatar: Generations. Navigator Games & Square Enix Mobile London (August 11, 2022). Square Enix.