The Journal of Daoist Philosophy and Practice SUMMER 2011
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The Ox Herding Chart of Chan Buddhism
Global Warming A Meta-Physical Perspective Cloud Wanderers The Empty Vessel China Tour
The Master on the Mountain A Conversation with Master Zhong Yunlong and more!
The Empty Vessel
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The Empty Vessel
Summer 2011 Volume 18 Number 4
Conduit or Container by Francesco Garripolli
The Ox Herding Chart of Chan Buddhism by Hu Xueshi
Global Warming A Meta-Physical Perspective by Stephen Elliott
Cloud Wanderers The Empty Vessel China Tour by Solala Towler
The Master on the Mountain A Conversation with Master Zhong Yunlong
Tao Is the Source of All Universes by Dr. & Master Zhi Gang Sha "Be Here Now" Perfecting the Practice of Presence by Daniel Reid
Our cover: Daoist qigong instructor Jiang Wei in Wudang Mountains. Photo by Anya Ishtara
Along the Way
What is Daoism? “The Dao that can be described is not the eternal Dao.” So begins the Daodejing of Laozi written some 2,500 years ago. How then, to describe the indescribable? How to fit into words that which is beyond words? The Dao can only be pointed to, or referred to, say the ancient sages. It cannot be held, only experienced. It cannot be touched, only felt. It cannot be seen, only glimpsed with the inner eye. Dao, then, is the Way, as in direction, as in manner, source, destination, purpose and process. In discovering and exploring Dao the process and the destination are one and the same. Laozi describes a Daoist as the one who sees simplicity in the complicated and achieves greatness in little things. He or she is dedicated to discovering the dance of the cosmos in the passing of each season as well as the passing of each precious moment in our lives. Daoism was already long established when Laozi wrote the Daodejing. It originated in the ancient shamanic roots of Chinese civilization. Many of the practices and attitudes toward life were already established before Laozi’s time. For many centuries Daoism was an informal way of life, a way followed by peasant, farmer, gentleman philosopher and artist. It was a way of deep reflection and of learning from Nature, considered the highest teacher. Followers of the Way studied the stars in the heavens and the energy that lies deep within the earth. They meditated upon the energy flow within their own bodies and mapped out the roads and paths it traveled upon. It is a belief in life, a belief in the glorious procession of each unfolding moment. It is a deeply spiritual life, involving introspection, balance, emotional and spiritual independence and responsibility and a deep awareness and connection to the earth and all other life forms. It requires an understanding of how energy works in the body and how to treat illness in a safe, non-invasive way while teaching practical ways of maintaining health and avoiding disease and discomfort. Daoist meditation techniques help the practitioner enter deeper or more expansive levels of wakefulness and inner strength. But most of all, it is a simple, natural, practical way of being in our bodies and our psyches and sharing that way of being with all other life forms we come into contact with. Today in China and in the West, Daoism is sometimes divided into two forms, dao jio and dao jia; or religious Daoism and philosophical Daoism. Many scholars argue that there are not two distinct forms of Daoism and in many ways they are right. There is really a great intermingling of the religious form of Daoism and its various sects and the philosophical Daoism of Laozi and Zhuangzi. But many people who follow the Dao do not consider themselves religious people and do not go to temples and are not ordained as priests. Rather these two forms exist both side by side and within each other. As it says in the opening lines of the Daodejing: “Dao or Way that can be spoken of or described in words is not eternal Dao.” It is up to each of us to find the way to the Way in our own way. What we try to do with The Empty Vessel is offer articles and information to help you, our dear readers, to do that.
The Empty Vessel
The Empty Vessel A Journal of Daoist Philosophy and Practice Publisher The Abode of the Eternal Tao Editor and design Solala Towler Proofreading Jack Woltz
The Empty Vessel: A Journal of Contemporary Daoism is published quarterly by The Abode of the Eternal Tao, 1991 Garfield Street, Eugene, Oregon 97405. E-Mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web site: www.abodetao.com. Subscriptions are $20 per year (U.S. funds). Please send address changes to: The Empty Vessel 1991 Garfield Street, Eugene, Oregon 97405. ©2011 by The Abode of the Eternal Tao, all rights reserved. The Empty Vessel is not responsible for opinions or statements expressed by authors or for advertisers' claims. Advertising rates are available by writing to The Empty Vessel, 1991 Garfield Street, Eugene, Oregon 97405, calling 800-574-5118 or emailing email@example.com. Statement of Purpose The Empty Vessel is dedicated to the exploration and dissemination of Daoist philosophy and practice. It is open to sharing the various traditional and contemporary teachings in a nondiscriminatory manner. We at The Empty Vessel believe that it is in using these practices and attitudes of the ancient achieved ones in a timely and contemporary manner that we can best benefit from them and in doing so, be able to effect change in the world around us.
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Chi, Yoga, Reiki, meditation practitioners, and spiritual cultivators. It promotes philosophy and methods of self-healing, positive mind and health preservation. Yang-Sheng merges traditional lifenurturing knowledge with modern scientific research & clinic evidence; combines ancient wisdom with our own experience to support our daily practice and well-being. Your contribution, participation, and sharing are truly welcomed and appreciated. Editor-in-chief: Solala Towler
Publisher: Kevin Chen, Ph.D.
Associate Editors: Mantak Chia, Christina Beara, Aiguo Han, Ph.D. Roger Jahnke, OMD, Joy Stellar, Michelle Wood, & more… Project1
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Along the Way As you can see by the information on the last page, we are up to new things with The Empty Vessel. It has been 19 years now that we first started publishing. We have struggled for all of these years to produce an interesting, relevance and inspiring journal. Some of you have stuck with us for all of these years! Now it is time for us to evolve and grow and move into an even more interesting format. As Daoists we are dedicated to growing and staying flexible. As the Old Boy says: When we are born we are supple and tender like a young plant. When we die we become rigid and unyielding. The ten thousand beings, including plants and grasses, when young are soft and pliable. At their death they are dry and brittle. Therefore we say that the stiff and unyielding are the companions of death. The soft and yielding are the followers of life. In this way, an army may be strong but it will be defeated. A mighty tree will be cut down. The great and mighty will fall while the soft and yielding will overcome. (76) So this is what we are doing here at the Abode – remaining flexible, open to new experiences, new ways of looking at the world, new ways of being and doing. I feel excited and exhilarated as well as more than a little uneasy as the ground that I have known for so many years shifts under me. But I feel that I am being led and that this change will actually bring The Empty Vessel and the Abode of the Eternal Dao to another level! I am also deeply indebted to my good friend Francesco Garripolli who is the founder of the EnergyArtsGlobal project. It is with his guidance and belief in a magical and abundant universe that I am able to make the changes that it will take to move the Abode into a whole new world! (See his article on page 6 to see what I mean). I would also like to thank the wonderful Naoka Chindo who is also doing a great deal to make this happen! Mahalo to you both! I hope to see some of you at the NQA national conference in August in King of Prussia, PA See their website at NQA.org for info on this fun, fulfilling and fantastic event!
Solala Towler, editor
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Conduit or Container? Francesco Garripolli
To see yourself as a Container is to live in a world of limits and scarcity. To see yourself as a Conduit is to live in a world of abundance.
believe that the underlying concepts and belief systems that we hold about life affect everything from the way a technique works to the actual physics involved in any action. The things we do in life do not stand alone. There are no fixed rules that allow something to simple “happen” in an independent way. How and what we feel, think, and believe about something totally affects the outcome. That said, I see that many people hold a certain belief that can curtail their development and self-healing as it relates to Qigong. This belief system revolves around how we “see” ourselves…Whether it was taught to you by a teacher or whether you simply found yourself accepting it, you hold the belief that “you” (energetically and physically) are either a “Container” or a “Conduit.” This may sound funny, but answer the following four questions and please just answer with the first response that come to your mind: 1) When I practice Qigong, Tai Chi, Yoga, Reiki or other energy art, I feel… a. I am gathering energy and storing it. b. I am channeling energy and being recycled by it. 2) When I breathe during my personal practice… a. I fill up with air and hold it. b. I fill up with air and let it go simultaneously. 3) When my body feels sick or uncomfortable… a. I feel my Qi is low. b. I feel my Qi flow is blocked. 4) When I am feeling tired or exhausted… a. I feel I have run out of Qi. b. I feel my Qi is stagnant. Ok, not how you answered either “a” or “b” (you need to commit to one of the other, whichever feels the strongest pull). If you answered with even one “a” you are living with a belief system that you are in the Container category. If you only answered with one “a” then we may be dealing only with semantics. If you answered with two or three “a” answered, then we need to play with these concepts for a bit. The Empty Vessel
If you answered with all “b” answers then you are a full-fledged Qi Conduit so please pass “Go” and collect your 200 dan tians… Now granted, we can get into some philosophical discussion here and split hairs over the details and words, but I have a simple goal here in sharing this exercise. My hope is to get you to rethink the way you see your body/ mind/spirit. To see yourself as a Container is to live in a world of limits and scarcity. You will always be concerned with making sure you are “full” and you will begin to worry when you are less than full. A Container can only hold so much. You will always “want” more. The Container compares itself in capacity to other Containers, always externally referencing, looking outside to be satisfied. This is the way of the ego, driven by fear. You will be happy when you are full and sad when you are empty. This is the roller coaster world of the ego/fear/belief system for the Container category of Qigong practitioners. To see yourself as a Conduit is to live in a world of abundance. You will embrace the infinite nature of our Universe and sense your immersion in boundless Qi. A Conduit can channel the whole of the Universe while holding onto nothing. Every breath you take will pass through you and you will receive exactly what you require. Your inhales are as fulfilling as your exhales, knowing that each release is a cleansing and an offering to the world. The Conduit is focused on living self-reflection and inner flow…infinite connection to every atom in the Universe and you see everything as a reflection of self, as the infinitude of existence, our Dreaming, constantly passes through us. The Conduit doesn’t need to store Qi… the Conduit knows she is Qi and immersed in an infinite field of Qi. Access is implicit in the Way of the Conduit. I suggest you revisit these four questions above now that you’ve read this…see if any of your “a” answers have changed…and if they haven’t maybe this has inspired you to question a little deeper and embrace the Way of the Conduit. Peace… Francesco Garri Garripoli is the author of Qigong – Essence of the Healing Dance and Tao of the Ride. He teaches worldwide and through a series of Qigong instructional DVDs with Daisy Lee. The director and producer of the PBS documentary, Qigong – Ancient Healing for the 21st Century, Francesco works to support families and youth through his non-profit www.KahunaValley.org. His newest venture, www. WujiTech.com, offers powerful online software solutions for coaching, mentoring, health tracking, consulting, and personal development. For more on his and Daisy’s work with Qigong, visit www.WujiProductions.com.
The Ox-herding Chart of Chan Buddhism and the Enlightenment Process It Tells Rewritten and translation by Hu Xuezhi edited by Muriel Kirton
Editor's note: This article, by our Wudang friend Hu Xuezhi, may list Chan Buddhism in the title, but we felt that there was such a lot that was real Daoism in the article that it would be of interest to our readers. For many years, the English translation of the Oxherding Chart of the Chan Sect of Buddhism has attracted a great deal of interest and attention, and has been the subject of intensive study by Western readers. The illustrated poem was composed in classical Chinese, which unfortunately means that, for many readers in mainland China today, the meaning can be difficult to grasp, since the opportunities to study classical Chinese literature are limited. As things stand, the Chart seems to have gained much more popularity in America and Japan than in mainland China where people nowadays would rarely hear of it being used or referred to by mainland Chan Buddhists. Several years ago, I read a martial arts novel by Huang Yi, which had a title along the lines of “Shatter the Emptiness into Many Pieces”, He made liberal use of the poem from the Ox-herding Chart to describe how, in the course of his study and practice, the hero of the novel progressed step by step towards the attainment of immortality. However, as regards the tangible nature of his achievements, we are merely offered descriptive words and phrases about the nature of the mind and the hero’s diligent advancement towards ‘sudden enlightenment’. We are in no sense given descriptive details or an explanation regarding the regulation of the breath or the deployment of Chi. In the practice of inner alchemy (immortality study), it would be characterized as ‘talk concerning only mercury, as yet without lead.” You can easily deduce from this that the author is simply a poet or literary scholar of the Wei and Jin Dynasty, whose interest lay in crafting metaphysical and mythical stories compiled from a mix of different elements and components lifted from Chan literature. However, after a detailed/careful reading and contemplation of both the Chart and the accompanying poems, I was suddenly struck by the realization that the Ox–herding Chart reveals many of the features that define the practical process of inner alchemy practice (immortality study). There may be some Buddhists or scholars from the Chan Sect who would refute my observation, but after many The Empty Vessel
days of meditation, it seems that I feel more certitude about my assertion. Let me explain. I had a sudden insight that the chart can be understood as an illustration that depicts the sequence of progressive stages leading to the attainment of immortality, with each stage being described and characterized by different symbols, each holding a specific meaning. As we know, for the Chan sect, there is Chan poetry, and for immortality practice there is NeiDan (inner alchemy) poetry. Chan poetry is often characterized by the subtlety of a full moon located far beyond the pointing finger, whereas NeiDan poems most often feature highly metaphorical, artistic concepts which lie somewhere between that which can be perceived, and that which is totally beyond any perception whatsoever. Immortality teaching does not talk about ‘immediate or sudden enlightenment’, nor does it make assertions such as “All things created by cause and its accessory conditions have no reality.” Similarly, it does not promote concepts such as “immediately become an immortal.’’ Yet its gradual and progressive approach can lead to success, when followed systematically from the beginning, and pursued without the omission of any necessary steps. Nonetheless it seems to hold little attraction for practitioners from the Chan sect, even though it truly leads upwards, like a super-straight ladder. Although the Chan sect often talks about immediate, or sudden, enlightenment and the realization of full attainment free from all hindrance, we should not take that to mean that we are freed from the need to apply effort, either prior to, or subsequent to, reaching that attainment. Otherwise, Huineng (the sixth patriarch) would not have been required to toil over the grindstone for nine months before reaching his attainment, nor would he have been required to run to join a hunting team, and thereafter embark on practices that lasted for nineteen years. Later on, when he began to teach, what did he teach? In the beginning he taught the chant “Prajna Paramita’’ (Reaching the Other Shore). To speak truthfully, the goal of the Chan Sect is to arrive at a state of mutual affinity between teacher and disciple, while for the study of immortality the goal rests on the infusion of varying levels of Yang Qi. In essence, both lie well beyond the descriptive faculty of either spoken or written language, as regards the authentic aptitude, ability and skills involved. 11
The study of Chan and its subtlety, lies in Chan’s allegoric connotations, or ‘the understanding which is gained in an instant’. This incorporates a rational element, but leaves no opening for any form of speculation. Only mutual affinity can prompt the sudden perception and understanding of the allegorical meaning, which primarily arises from the attained idea that “all things that are produced by cause and associated conditions have no reality,” and “the mind remains unimpeded, no matter what.” The subtlety of immortality study however, lies in the Mysterious Pass, which serves as the only channel of communication connecting both the Pre-heaven and Post-heaven domains. The Mysterious Pass lies neither within nor outside the corporeal body and neither within the interior nor the exterior. It presents itself only when the interior resonates with the exterior, so allowing the natural to concur with the artificial, with the prerequisite that both Shen and Chi are already sufficient for the process. We can use the analogy of love to illustrate the state of being: the feeling of love between a woman and a man arises spontaneously, and the majority of people know that love cannot be forced. Similarly, both emptiness and naturalness begin to meet in harmony and communicate with each other, though both vary in the degree to which they become apparent. You may perhaps wonder whether it is possible for immortality study/internal alchemy and the study of Chan to meet up with each other in one place, or on one thoroughfare, without there being obstacles between them? Let us read the following passage which is an excerpt from Chuang Tzu, entitled “The Fasting of the Mind”, translated by Victor H. Mair “I have nothing further to propose,” said Yen Hui. “I venture to ask you for a method.” “Fasting,” said Confucius. “I shall explain it for you. If you do things with your mind, do you think it will be easy? Bright heaven will not approve one who thinks it will be easy.” “My family is poor,” said Yen Hui, “and it’s been several months since I’ve drunk wine or tasted meat. May this be considered fasting?” “This is fasting suitable for sacrifices, but it is not fasting of the mind.” “I venture to ask what ‘fasting of the mind’ is,” said Hui. “Concentrate your mind-will. Hear not with your ears, but with your mind; not with your mind, but with your Chi. Let your hearing stop with the ears, and let your mind stop with natural concordance. Chi, however, is vacuous and empty, accommodating all. There is none but Tao who dwells in the empty vacuity. And becoming empty and vacuous is the fasting of the mind.” “Before I am able to exercise fasting of the mind,” said Yen Hui, “I truly have an identity. But after I am able to exercise it, I will no longer have an identity. Can this be called emptiness? “Exactly so!” replied the master. “Let me tell you. Enter and roam about this realm, but without any awareness of what the 12
realm is. In the event of arrival in it sing in concert with it; in case of no arrival in it stop at the cessation. Let the door open and close, by its own course. House all as an undivided whole and lodge in that which takes the course all in its natural way. Then you are close to it. To leave no footprints is easy; to walk on no ground is difficult. “If you are impelled by human feelings, it is easy to be false; if you are impelled by nature, it is hard to be false. I’ve only heard of creatures that fly with wings, never of creatures that fly with nonwings. I’ve only heard of people knowing things through awareness, never of people knowing things through unawareness. Observe the void – the empty room emits a pure light. Good fortune lies in stopping when it is time to stop. If you do not stop, this is called ‘galloping while sitting.’ Let your senses communicate within and rid yourself of the machinations of the mind. Then even myriad things are transformed. It is that to which Yao and Shun bound themselves, and that which Fuhsi and Chich’u exercised all their lives. All the more is it suited for the masses.”
The famous inner alchemist Chen Yingning once wrote 24 stanzas of NeiDan poetry. Below, we have selected two for your appreciation: The first poem Ultimate reality shines forth, illuminating the grains of sand which line the banks of the river Ganges Those of the world, the sages, the enlightened, all, at their origin, sharing one common source. Each, when free of thoughts arising, converging in stillness towards complete expression, Yet, when moved by just one single sense, is already eclipsed by clouds. Ridding oneself of all affliction. And to what end? The addition of illness! Drawing near to true thusness. And to what end? The emergence of a diverging path! Meekly following the predestined relationship as it arises and keeping the mind free of hindrance. And to what end? Nirvāna, birth and death, do but compare to hollow flowers floating in the air.
The second poem Overcome emptiness, free yourself of accumulated kalpa and endure for a billion years, Bid farewell to the canoe that ferried us to the far shore. End your endless search for the countless tomes written on immortality, even though you know the final words have not yet been composed. So what is meant by ‘the final words’? Are they words that could not be uttered, or words that the author did not wish to voice? The answer, provided by Chen
Yingning, is that the author did not dare not to voice the words, since it may have alarmed the readers. So exactly what words were they? To find the answer let us turn to the illustrations and consult the poems of the chart.
Ode to the Ox-herding Chart 1. The untamed Ox outside the herd
Ferociously, the ox bellows and, free of all constraints, Thrusts about with its crooked horns, Racing wildly round the mountain To where the river turns away, and the road stretches off into the far distance. A bank of black cloud hangs over the opening to the valley, And who can tell how much destruction is wrought to the young seedlings Tr a m p l e d u n d e r f o o t i n t h e f a r m e r ’s f i e l d ! Here the ox is a metaphor for the heart-mind, which has not been reined in or subjected to any form of discipline. It prefers to be free and uncurbed, chasing after whatever it finds desirable or congenial, pleasing or compelling, even at the expense of physical and emotional wellbeing. Accordingly, all possible means should be employed to tame it and take it in hand. This concept seems to correlate more closely to the methods of the Taoist alchemist than the practitioner of Chan Buddhism. A propos, Lao Tzu said in chapter 12 of the Tao Te Ching: The five colours make the eyes blind; The five notes make the ears deaf; The five flavors rob the mouth of taste. Riding and hunting make the mind wild; Therefore, The Yellow Emperor went to see Master Kuang Ch’eng, to ask about the administration of the body: Master Kuang Ch’eng sat up with a start. “It is excellent, this question of yours! Come, I will tell you about the Perfect The Empty Vessel
Tao. The essence of the Perfect Tao is profoundly obscure and vague; the subtlety of the Perfect Tao is profoundly elusive and still. See nothing, hear nothing, enfold Shen in quietude and the body will go right , of its own accord. Be still, be pure, do not labor your body, do not churn up your Jing, and then you can live a long life. There is nothing to be beheld by the eyes, nothing to be heard by the ears, nothing to be known by the heart, thus your Shen shall guard the body, and the body will thereby enjoy a long life. Cherish that which is within you, block off what is outside you, too much knowledge will do you harm. If the poem was intended to characterize the teachings of the Chan sect, it would not talk about the unruliness of the heart-mind (ox) when the heart-mind is the main issue under consideration. Otherwise, slaughtering the ox with a sharp sword would not be the answer to the problem (Particularly since Zen Buddhism is opposed to killing). Similarly, if it is intended to characterize (the teachings of) the six patriarchs of the Chan sect, we might expect to be given the directive “keep dusting it to prevent it from incurring the least speck of dust.” So, why then does the word “forgetfulness” appear in later poems? The concept of “forgetfulness” reflects the approach of Huang Tzu where you readily find passages such as “To be forgetful in sitting meditation”, which advocates combining the heart-mind with the breathing (listening to the breath), and allowing the heart mind and breath to harmonize and become at one with each other. Thereafter, falling into forgetfulness of both breath and heart-mind, forgetting about everything, in complete oblivion and without intervention, following whatever arises or fades away.
2. The Initial Taming of the Ox
Taking a rope, I run it through the nose of the ox, and cling fast! His first attempt to go haring off is well rewarded with burning pain from the lash of the whip ! But, with the determined strength of ingrained, wild inclinations, He struggles against all change and modification. Now the ox-herd boy must bring his full abilities to bear 13
on his struggle to transform the ways of the ox! In meditation people may initially find it difficult to keep their thoughts and mind quiet, since the heart-mind is easily drawn by objects and attractions outside itself. This can be likened to young schoolchildren who cannot remain silent or sit motionless (a requirement that, in the Chinese education system, reflects the behavior traditionally expected of children in kindergarten or junior schools!). For them it truly is agony since they are forced to comply). Most people know that it is difficult to tame a wild ox, especially if, whip in hand, you mount on its back and order it to head east or west. In that situation, you know that you risk falling from its back, or even falling to your death, when the ox runs amok. Therefore, the best solution is to “cling fast to a rope that runs through the nose of the ox’’, thereby easily directing the ox to move in any direction you choose, and avoiding the risk of being thrown from its back. In fact, from the standpoint of an alchemist, such a rope denotes the breath. For a novice in meditation, it indicates that the heart-mind should rest upon the breathing. Yet, for most practitioners, it is certain that they will encounter difficulties created by the heart-mind that remains at large, and refuses to come under control. To facilitate the process, additional methods should be introduced, such as counting the breath, or using reverse breathing (expanding the abdomen when exhaling, and contracting it when inhaling). This clarifies the words Now the ox-herd boy must bring his full abilities to bear on his struggle to transform the ways of the ox!
3. Beginning the Process of Modification
All day long, still handling the rope with no less strength, The ox-herd boy grows accustomed to the gradual forgetfulness, and tiredness. Start with counting the breath, and after some time, you may find that the heart-mind has been gradually been freed of much of its delusional thinking, and begins to follow the inhaling and exhaling of the breath without the need for assistance. Even though stray ideas may at times arise, the heart-mind will soon be back on track with the breath once again. Accordingly, the experience arises of “wading across rivers or sailing through clouds, the ox begins to follow instinctively, one step at time.” However, from time to time, the attention of the heartmind must be re-focused upon the breath, lest it should resume its former course, and again wander around with no constraints. At the beginning such intensity of effort may be very tiring, but with time, practitioners slowly become accustomed to it, and the feeling of tiredness disappears in a natural fashion. Here, we refer to “The Ode to the Mythical Source and the Grand Tao,” written by Chao Wen Yee to elucidate: When, one day, attainment is achieved, it is a fully free excursion. Reflecting upon the process of refining and cooking, you will sigh over the effort expended Through striving, even though, in truth, no diligence was required, Since the work requires only the fostering of the primeval Shen. It is regrettable that the mind prefers to be active. At this critical time, whether to hone, or be set free, all is held within the palm of your hand!
4. Looking back
With modifications and adjustments, he steadily tempers the wildness of the ox, Winning its slow but sure submission. Wading across rivers or sailing through clouds, the ox begins to follow instinctively, one step at a time. 14
In the course of time, as meritorious endeavors successively bear fruit Little by little, it comes to pass that wildness reaches its end, And, slowly, frenzied force becomes meek gentleness. Summer 2011
Yet, being not yet sure this will remain constant and unchanged The mountain boy still holds the rope tethered within his hands. After the practice of counting the breath, together with listening to the breathing, it is less difficult to tame the heart-mind than before. Its unruliness begins to be worn down, and, unconsciously, it begins to cleave to the breath. However, this is still not the right time to enter the second phase, which is “to listen with Chi”, since the heart-mind and breath have not yet been fully unified. Taoist inner alchemy books prefer to use metaphor. The heart-mind is likened to women, and the breath to men, and the combining of the two is signified through the symbol of sexual intercourse. This has led to considerable confusion, resulting in the theory of dual cultivation between men and women, which continues to be a popularly held concept in the western world. It should be understood to be but metaphor, and should not be interpreted as one of the paths to enlightenment, as most false masters claim. Although, at this stage, the heart-mind and breath begin to attach to each other, it is necessary to ‘set the intent’ to keep them conjoined, in order for them to hold together. Thus, “The mountain boy still holds the rope tethered within his hands.”
together has simply become a prolongation of excess ‘attachment’ , which is unnecessary, since the two have gradually united to form a ‘oneness’ that cannot readily be split apart. This state is known as “to listen with Chi.” Even though there may occasionally be moments when the senses become active, and dispassionately enter the non-conscious domain, it will have no effect due to the fact that the heart-mind, for no one knows how long a period of time, has entered into a state of ‘being in love’ with the breath. Therefore, there is no longer any need to deliberately listen to, or continue to count the breath. 6. Free of hindrance
Completely at ease, dozing or falling asleep, at will, on the open ground , No longer driven onwards by the whip, free as the air. Happy under the green pines, the ox-herd boy sits steadily And peacefully plays a gentle tune that tells of more than any happiness.
Beside the old stream, under the shade of green poplar trees, Allowing the rope to drop from his hands, or tightening it up, All has been accomplished in its own way. By nightfall, green clouds roam high above the meadow, The ox-herd boy is returning, yet the rope hangs loose. At this point, the condition of “the heart-mind and breathing depending upon each other” has already been attained. Any further intention to hold them joined The Empty Vessel
The stage attained at this point should be termed the stage where both Shen and Chi are unified to form a oneness, which lies well beyond the phase of “the heartmind and breathing depending upon each other,” since the consciousness has gradually blurred, leaving only a very small percentage of lucid awareness, and even this is almost unconscious of any breathing. It is, however, not the emptiness of nothingness as described by Buddhism, but an intimation of spontaneous circulation in operation, in which the senses and breath are both transformed into two different types of energy. One is Shen and the other is Chi. The former enters the latter while the latter embraces the former. So, you can see the changes that have taken place throughout the process: firstly listen to the breath, then ‘enjoy and engage with its company’, and ‘get along with’ the breath, then become closer and 15
merge with it to “feel” the manifestation initiated by the transforming force of great nature — the spontaneous circulation. One famous Taoist scripture, called the 100Word Monument, reads “sit to listen to non-chord song, run unimpeded into the core mechanism of Creation by ridding yourself of the obscurity of illusion. Peacefully playing a gentle tune that tells of more than any happiness.” Up to now, can you perceive something from these words or something beyond these words? For illustration, let us consider the poem “Admonition on Regulating Breathing” by Zhu Shih (a great philosopher in the Ming Dynasty). Nose white, I have sight of it; Relaxed, and at ease, come join with it and enjoy the accord. Becoming quieter and quieter, it seems it spreads widely, expanding out like the spring marsh where fish roam; For a long time immersed in constant motion, whereupon all then seems to converg , like insects gathering together to sleep through winter. In diffusion, opening to accommodate all, and in turn, closing to hibernate, The wonder of it is beyond words! Who, then, is the master of it all? Only the dominance of non-mastery is worthy of such greatness. At this time the dominance of non-mastery begins to play its part and, of its own accord, the situation arises of being “No longer driven onwards by the whip, free as the air.”
7. Following the natural course
Willow bank and green ripples dissolve into the sunset, Leisurely fingers of gray fog stretch out, grass spreads in velvet green . Hunger is served with food, thirst quenched with drink, at all times true to the manner and affinity of their occurance. Stretched out on the stone, the ox-herd boy lies soundly asleep. 16
Here, “sleeping” lies at the core of the meaning behind the words, which in turn, correlate with the main characteristics of immortality study. From the perceptions of the initial stage, to the later state of oblivion, from the combination of Shen and Chi to the involvement in the spontaneous motion of ‘unified oneness’, success lies upon the precept which directs us “to follow the natural course,” without any intervention. Eventually, this brings about “natural evaporation, natural convergence and natural cessation.” (if there is nothing at all, what is left for us to follow around?) At this point, the practitioner has reached the stage where the heart-mind stops at the natural concordance, and the listening stops at the ears. Accordingly, we can say that all perception and consciousness gradually come to an enduring standstill, or reach a state which is dominated by ‘constant standstill’. You may construe this to mean a state of sleep. However, the fact is that when ordinary people sleep, they are in the company of dreams; when practitioners sleep, they are completely free of dreams, since all consciousness comes to a standstill. It rests, or “is deprived of all functionality”. Or, to express it in other words, the difference between the awakened state and the sleeping state disappears. So, the ox-herd boy falls soundly asleep. Here we borrow a passage from Chuang Tzu for better understanding (translated by Victor H. Mair) “How do I know that love of life is not a delusion? How do I know that fear of death is not like being a homeless waif who does not know the way back home? When the state of Chin first got Pretty Li, the daughter of the border warden of Ai, she wept till her robe was soaked with tears. But after she arrived at the king’s residence, shared his fine bed, and could eat the tender meats of his table, she regretted that she had ever wept. How do I know that the dead may not regret their former lust for life? “Someone who dreams of drinking wine at a cheerful banquet may wake up crying the next morning. Someone who dreams of crying may go off the next morning to enjoy the sport of the hunt. When we are in the midst of a dream, we do not know it’s a dream. Sometimes we may even try to interpret our dreams while we are dreaming, but then we awake and realize it was a dream. Only after one is greatly awakened does one realize that it was all a great dream, while the fool thinks that he is awake and presumptuously aware. ‘My excellent lord!’ ‘Oh, thou humble shepherd!’ How perverse they are! “Both Confucius and you are dreaming, and I too am dreaming when I say that you are dreaming. This sort of language may be called enigmatic, but after myriad generations there may appear a great sage who will know how to explain it and he will appear as though overnight!”
8. Reciprocal forgetfulness White ox in white clouds,
other.” Therefore, you can see the importance of forgetfulness during the process of enlightenment! It should be noted that unilateral forgetfulness merits no reward whatsoever at this point. A state of reciprocal forgetfulness must manifest simultaneously. Once this stage has been attained, we might ask where the heart-mind now resides? Where are the measures, processes and methodologies you should adhere to? Where is the ego? Where are all phenomena? “White clouds, full moon in brightness, all things are as they are, each following their own path to east or west, just as they are”.
Chuang-tzu said: “Undo the Jing and the Shen to transcend life’s state of existence.” This attainment is a great liberation, when compared to the former state of bondage within which people cocoon themselves through their attachments. In this context, most people prefer to use the term “forget” to replace “undo.” But, in fact, by this stage, ‘forgetfulness’ has already lost both its meaning and its function.
Free of intention, the man remains liberated from his mind, as does the ox. White clouds make a shadow of the moon above , and a shadow of white clouds is cast by the moon below. White clouds, full moon in brightness, all things are as they are, each following their own path to east or west, just as they are. In the Chan sect, white clouds is a metaphor often used to illustrate the state free of hindrance, which is gained by ridding the self of attachment (to ego, to dharmas). This is reflected in the white ox. People are advised to pay more attention to how the ox changes its color from black to white, and how the words ‘white clouds’, ‘full moon’ or ‘free as the air’ are used in the poems which accompany the pictures. At this stage, we should describe the state as ‘a reciprocal forgetfulness of both Shen and Chi’. All phenomena that fall within the realm of our conscious mind begin to crumble and the reciprocal binding, or the bonds and attachments that connect all phenomena, begin to unravel. Everything seems to come to rest at the same root, on the same footing, and all things become transparent to each other. Or, to put it another way, the barrier between all phenomena begins to collapse. Yes, man forgets about the ox, and the ox forgets about man. Man forgets about his cognizing objects (objects of cognition) and the cognizing objects forget about man---the binding between the faculty of cognition and the cognizing objects (cognition of objects) begins to fade away. Thus reciprocal forgetfulness manifests. In the words of Buddhism, reciprocal forgetfulness is the disappearance of the attachment to ego and to dharma – and the cognition that everything has inherent nature. Chuang-Tzu said, “Both fish and waters of river and lake reciprocally forget about each other; both people and all the means (measures, processes and methodologies, etc) they reciprocally hold on to, forget about each The Empty Vessel
9. Shining in independence
The ox is nowhere to be found, Thus the ox-herd boy has nothing in which to engage himself. Nothing is there, save a lonely wisp of cloud suspended between green peaked cliffs. Clapping his hands and singing in a high pitched voice, he beckons down the moon, Only to find on his return that yet another mountain ridge awaits him! Here we borrow a passage from Chuang Tzu for clarification. Nan-po Tse-kuei said to Nu-Yu, “You are advanced in years, and yet your complexion is that of a virgin. How can this be?” Nu-Yu replied, “I have obtained Tao.” 17
“Could I obtain Tao by studying it?” asked Nan-po Tsekuei. “No! How can you?” said Nu-Yu. “You are not that type of person. I rememberPuliang-I. He had all the talent to become a sage, but not the way to become a sage, whereas I had the way to become a sage but without the talents of a sage. But do you think I was indeed able to teach him to become a sage? Had things not been thus, in seeking the way to accomplish the sage’s Tao, it would have been an easy matter to identify someone with a sage’s talents. I patiently kept watch over him, and talked to him. In three days, he could put the world outside himself. Again I kept watch over things for seven more days, and, at that point, then he could leave all concerns outside himself. I waited for another nine days, after which he could put all beings outside himself. After putting all beings outside himself, he was able to achieve the thorough awakening of the dawn. After he could achieve the thorough awakening of the dawn, he then had a clear vision of absolute independence, and after that, he could do away with past and present. After he could do away with past and present he was able to enter the domain where life and death are no more. That which causes life to die does not itself die; that which gives life to life does not itself live. This is the kind of thing it is: there is nothing it does not let go, and nothing it does not greet with welcome. There is nothing it does not destroy, and nothing it does not completely fulfill. This is the meaning of ‘attaining peace amidst confusion and strife.’ After the confusion and strife, completion is attained. Here let us pay attention to the following sentence: ”After he could achieve the thorough awakening of the dawn, he then had a clear vision of absolute independence’. The meaning in this context is ‘shining in independence’ or ‘independent shining’. In Chinese Pin Yin it is called “Shen Du.” This is a thing of subtlety, which is
subject to neither increase nor decrease, shining over all of heaven and earth and composed of one complete ball of brightness. When a single full moon rises high in a clear sky, an unlimited number of moons shine in the rivers and lakes. If we talk about its exterior- it is infinite, if we talk about its interior - nothing can be held within it. Thus we see that the barrier between interior and exterior disappears, indicating the absoluteness, or total independence, which is attained once the realm of relativity, where all things remain relative to each other, has been transcended. Yet, it is still not the end since ‘a state of being’ continues to exist, albeit in a completely different realm. Accordingly, that state of being continues to operate as a barrier, or an illusion, based upon the remains, or the corpses, of the deceased. Those who have some knowledge of Buddhism theory will understand that this stage denotes several stages within the process called ‘Cultivating-Way’, the fourth of five enlightenment phases (accumulation stage, beneficial practice stage, seeing-path stage, cultivatingWay stage and gaining-fruit-of-Buddhahood stage
10. Double annihilation
Both man and ox are nowhere, free of any footprints that can be traced! The light of a bright full moon shines over all, penetrating everything without exception. If, in the end, you enquire about the workings and methods of it all, Wild flowers and fragrant grass all nod as the breeze comes on. Here we see all that all traces and deceased corpses have been disposed of. You may ask about the meaning of the ‘traces and deceased corpses’. In fact, it signifies the traces or corpses of deceased, sullied habituation and both afflictive hindrance and noetic hindrance. These are so insubstantial and of such a degree of subtlety, that any attempt to divest ourselves of them is such a truly challenging undertaking, that many people fail in their endeavour, or only partially complete the task. Let us borrow a few words from Chuang Tzu: “This is the kind of thing it is: there is nothing it does not release and let go, and nothing it does not greet with welcome. There is nothing it does not destroy, and nothing it does not conclude. This is the meaning of ‘attaining peace amidst confusion and strife.’ After the confusion and strife, the completion is attained. Thus you can well understand the words. If, in the
end, you enquire about the workings and methods of it all, Wild flowers and fragrant grass all nod as the breeze comes on. Why? Because the mountain still is the mountain, the river still is the river. So you may therefore ask whether anything has changed. No! The wild flowers and fragrant grass are all shaking their heads! From the times of Zhang Ziyang, there have been instances where fellow students from both immortality study and the Chan sect have met together. Some students of immortality study had failed to gain practical progress because of their attachment to the so-called “being”, “elixir pill”, “small water wheel”, “large water Summer 2011
FROMTaoist SOLALA TOWLER AsNEW a long-term embracer, Master Hu began his study wheel”, “medicinal substance”, “firing process” and of Taoism from 19 years old when China still hesitated at so on. Therefore, they turned to the Chan sect to seek CHA THE WAY OF TEA, A WAY OFDue LIFE door of opening up TEA to theAS outside world. to a weak a breakthrough, and thus introduced many ideas andDAO:the constitution he got ill often so various medicines had always concepts typical of immortality study into Chan. There is In China, the art and practice of drinking tea is12rooted Daoism; it emerged been his close friend since years in old. To discharge the halittle to be found concerning wind, fire, water, and earth in from a philosophy that honored a lifehe oftried graceKungfu and gratitude, balance andsets, rassment by illness bare-handed form Chan poems, but they are often filled with descriptions harmony,of fulfillment and enjoyment — what the ancientrun, Chinese called Qigong Cha weapons manipulation, long-distance basketball, natural scenery. Similarly, many people who have studied a variety of schools, secret herbal medicine formulas, and Dao, or the Way ofofTea. Buddhism and Confucianism have also failed to make so on. At last, Qigong practice brought a eventual recovery progress, and they, in turn, have sought a solution from anda fascinating from that time on through he began devote his efforts upon Cha Dao takes us on journey thetoWay of Tea, from its orithe study of Taoism, Buddhism and their study of enlightenimmortality study. Hence, terminology used in Buddhism gins in the sacred mountains and temples of China through its links to Daoist Heorisnon-striving an expert inand internal alchemy practice because and Confucianism frequently appears in immortality concepts such as ment. wu wei the Value of Worthlessness, to he traveled many places within to search for the affinity Tea Mind andmany the Japanese spirit of China Zen. Interspersed is a the poetry. Thus we arrive at the present situation. whichbetween answers from Taoist and of Buddhist hiding in liberal helping of quotes from themany great tea masters the past hermits and traditional is dominated by the convergence of Taoist immortality deep and secluded places. Master Hu offers workshops tea stories from China and Japan. The unique health benefits of tea are alsoand study, Buddhism and Confucianism. classes online and inhistory, the mystical Wudang Mountains. explored and a chapter is devoted to the characteristics and properties He can be reached through his website at www.taoiststudy.com. of 25 different tea varieties. “Both fish and waters of river and lake reciprocally forget
about each other; both people and all the means (measures, This book will interest tea lovers as well as those who want to learn more processes and methodologies, etc) they reciprocally hold on to, about tea culture, Daoist and Zen thought and practice, and Asian history forget about each other.” Let us make an effort so that Budand culture. dhism, Confucianism and Taoism might all reciprocally forget about each other, and walk upon the grand pathsays “Cha Dao is not only a wonderful book on tea, its history, and A reviewer leading to the eternal Tao! the joy of appreciating its warmth, aroma, and its many flavors, but is also an $16.95 + $5 s&h from Abode of the Eternal Tao 541.345.8854 or your local bookstore (autographed copies available)
excellent primer on Daoist thinking and living. I loved this book. It informed me about tea and the customs surrounding it, lifted my spirit, and sharpened my mind. For those who enjoy tea, it deserves a place on your bookshelf."
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A Meta-Physical Perspective Stephen Elliott In 1979, The National Academy of Sciences estimated that a doubling of carbon dioxide levels from that of pre-industrial times will result in a global temperature increase of between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius. In 1985, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) affirmed these estimates. In a December 1989 report to Congress, EPA estimated that by 2100 sea level will rise by .5 to 2 meters due to melting glaciers and icecaps. Also, that a 1 meter rise in sea level will result in a loss of about 10,000 square miles of US coastal area. The report also projects changes in global climate patterns. These include increasing temperatures, changing rainfall, and other weather phenomena. Some models forecast hotter dryer weather for parts of the planet that are already hot and dry, increasing the expanse of existing deserts. Other areas may experience dramatically increased rainfall and tidal inundation. Increased carbon dioxide and the resultant “greenhouse effect” is credited with global warming, the primary source of the CO2 increase being the combustion of fossil fuels. CO2 levels have increased 35% since their pre-industrial revolution levels, contributing to a global temperature increase of about 0.74°C since the late 19thcentury. The linear trend for the past 50 years is 0.13°C per decade, nearly twice that for the past 100 years. On the current path, by the end of the 21st century, carbon dioxide levels can be expected to be 75 to 350% above preindustrial levels. (Source: www.ncdc.noaa. gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html) Population growth and industrialization of the planet are driving the numbers ever upward. Carbon dioxide is the present focus of global warming science – but is CO2 the problem or a symptom? For that matter, is global warming itself the problem or a symptom of some larger planetary change? Western science has a fascination with symptoms and a penchant for focusing on the symptom as opposed to understanding the root cause. We know this orientation to be rooted in the profit motive that now dominates much of the global paradigm. Nowhere is this more evident than in the practice of Western medicine where entire branches of medicine have been dedicated to the treatment of symptoms as opposed to a focus on the underlying etiology. The Empty Vessel
Of course, the danger of focusing on the symptom is that it results in an incomplete diagnosis, and in the end, while the symptom may be altered or alleviated, if the root cause is not apprehended and addressed, the patient’s underlying condition will continue to deteriorate. In this case the patient is the planet. As it relates to Earth, science describes the problem as a “high fever”, and it offers that this high fever is due to a “specific pathogen” – excess CO2. Therefore, by addressing the matter of CO2 production, the “crisis” is addressed. Certainly, there is truth to CO2 and the greenhouse affect but is this the whole story? Is the diagnosis complete? Is it possible that there is a greater meta-physics at work, one that involves the essential balance of Yin and Yang on planet Earth?
The Fu Xi Bagua To explore this possibility we need to turn to the 7000 year old Bagua– the 8 Trigrams at the heart of the Yi Jing. The Bagua is thought to have been created by Fu Xi, one of China’s three legendary Emperor Immortals, circa 5000 B.C.E. It holds many meanings and secrets. A central animus of the Bagua is an essential, complete metaphysical model of nature – its manifestation, and mechanics. Suspended between Yin and Yang, the Bagua is comprised to varying degree of the 4 primordial elements Heaven, Earth, Fire, and Water, these 4 occupying the cardinal positions. All worldly phenomena emanate from and in time return to “wuji”, the center, this being “the process” of manifestation and de-manifestation. 21
surrogates that are capable of action to do their bidding in the world. For this reason, they create Fire and Water, which they conceive through their union.
The Universe Suspended Between Yin And Yang And Composed Of The Four Elements Wind, Lake, Mountain, and Thunder are quintessential examples of phenomena that arise via the interaction of Heaven, Earth, Fire, and Water. Via the union of each of the trigrams with each other, the 4 become 8. Via the combination of the 8 with each other, the 8 become the 64 hexagrams of the Yi Jing. Via the combination of the 64 with each other, Lao Tzu’s "10,000 things” come into being. But our interest is in exploring the “mechanics” underlying the process – the essential workings by which Heaven and Earth work to affect and maintain the balance of Yin and Yang and to nurture and perpetuate life on planet Earth. To this end, we must understand the role of the Four Elements. Due to their purity, Heaven and Earth are themselves inert. They exert a “force” but are incapable of action. Heaven is Yang, Yang, Yang, and Earth is Yin, Yin, Yin, and that’s it. They are like the two poles of a magnet.
Heaven and Earth Produce Fire And Water Via Their Union Fire is Heaven’s agent – Fire is 2/3 Heaven and 1/3 Earth. Water is Earth’s agent – Water is 2/3 Earth and 1/3 Heaven. Their impurity endows them with their characteristic nature and dynamism. For this reason Fire and Water are able to move, adapt, and change. Fire and Water give the tai ji diagram “dynamism.” In a pure meta-physical sense, they are “alive.” Fire’s essential “role” is that of converting Yin (Earth – matter with substance, for example “wood”) into Yang – Heaven, the ethereal, “gas.” It does this through the act of “burning”, a process by which the Yin and the Yang are “recycled”, Yang ascending to Heaven and Yin returning to Earth. Water’s role is that of converting Heaven into Earth. This action can be seen in the growth of flora and fauna, which as they grow, amass Earth (elements) and reach toward Heaven. The process of birth and growth (life as we know it) depends on Water – specifically “precipitation.” Precipitation brings Yang essence from Heaven, inseminating life with Yang force.
The Four Primordial Elements Describe The Wheel Of Life
Heaven and Earth Represent The Forces Of Yin And Yang
Because of their inertness, they need the “agents” or 22
Together, the 4 Primordial elements describe the wheel of life, birth (germination), growth, maturation, and death. The cycle applies to flora and fauna alike, both kingdoms having examples of annuals and perennials. Heaven and Earth manage the planet via their judicious use of Fire and Water (where “rain” is the form) to promote life and maintain the balance of Yin and Yang, which in the greater scheme of things must remain equal. Because Fire and Water are the meta-physical embodiments of Yin and Yang they must also ultimately exist Summer 2011
in equal measure. With the dawn of humankind’s ability to “make Fire”, Heaven and Earth lost their proprietorship over the 4 elements, for many thousands of years humankind making Fire as we’ve seen fit. But, while we’ve made Fire, we don’t possess the ability to makes its complement, “Water”. While Fire and its fuel – Earth, ultimately depend on Water, for practical purposes Water is finite. Fire is not. Consequently, by making Fire humankind has contributed to the gradual diminishment of Yin (Earth) and the excess of Yang (Heaven). Without Fire civilization as we know it would never have gotten off the ground, no metal, no machines, no electricity – no civilization. Virtually every aspect of civilized life literally depends on “electrical energy”, most of it coming from the “burning of Yin” in one form or another, thus creating a global Yin deficiency and Yang excess. This “burning” includes all burning from the flame of a candle to the coal fired power plant. It’s hard for us to comprehend the volume of Earth that has been burned over the millennia. It is estimated that in 2007 alone, 7 billion tons of coal were burned, and this number is increasing rapidly. Annual oil consumption, currently estimated at 1000 barrels per second, has similarly mind boggling numbers which are also increasing rapidly. Heaven and Earth have the imperative and the power to restore Yin by creating Water (rain), which only they can do. They accomplish this by increasing the amount of Water carried by the clouds. They accomplish this by increasing the area of the Earth’s surface that is covered by Water, hence increasing evaporation. They accomplish this by taking Water out of reserve, i.e. glaciers and icecaps, thereby raising sea levels and expanding the area of the planet covered by Water, increased evaporation resulting in increased water borne by the clouds and increased rainfall upon the land. Under natural conditions, increased rainfall would result in increased organic growth which over time would restore Earth’s Yin essence, coal, oil, etc., but man is clearing this The Empty Vessel
new growth, again for purposes of profit. It is clear that fossil fuels contribute to global warming but what of nuclear power? The prevailing view is that it does not contribute to CO2 production and is therefore without global warming risk. But, in the context of Yin and Yang, the burning of uranium may be far more detrimental than coal or oil relative to its contribution to Earth’s Yin deficiency – as uranium is the rarest and most Yin of Earth’s elements and cannot be refreshed even via Heaven and Earth’s restorative processes. This is because uranium is of cosmic origin and is not created via Earthly processes. The proliferation of nuclear power plants during the latter half of the 20th century may have something to do with the steep rise in temperature (a Yang indication) over the last 50 years as opposed to the last 100 – burning of uranium may be many times more detrimental in terms of disrupting the balance of Yin and Yang.
This article offers a hypothesis that man’s “burning” of Earth is creating a global Yin deficiency, and as long as man continues to “burn Earth”, we can expect Heaven and Earth to counter our actions with increasing sea levels, and resultant “rainfall”. This suggests that unless “burning” ceases, sea levels will continue to rise and all of the planet’s ice will be brought to bear on the problem. In 2004, a team of scientists from the US Geological Survey estimated that if all of Earth’s ice were to melt it would raise sea level by 215 feet or about 65 meters above today’s sea level. This would reduce the land surface area to a mere fraction of what it is today. If correct, mankind must ultimately develop and rely on non-burning forms of energy, which are presently limited to harnessing the natural phenomena of Water, wind, and solar, Water and wind being in increasing supply as global warming continues. Is CO2 then not responsible for global warming? Yes, it is certainly a contributing “pathogen”, one that science can detect and measure – but it may be folly to consider it the problem. Stephen Elliott is a long time student and teacher of Taoist arts. He is the author of Wuji Qi Gong And The Secret Of Immortality and The New Science Of Breath. He resides with his family in north Texas. To find out more about Stephen, visit www.chiarts.net and www.coherence.com
Cloud Wanderers The Empty Vessel China Tour 2011 Solala Towler This year's China tour began with a wonderful flight on a new-to-me airline â€“ Korean Air. The service, even on the coach section, was superb. From the ergonomic seats to the screen on the back of the seat in front of you, (with your own remote to scroll through the many films, documentaries and music cd's) to the free slippers to wear on the flight â€“ it was all quite wonderful. And they bow to you when you leave the plane! We landed in Beijing after a long flight (12.5 hours to Seoul, two hour layover there then two more to Beijing). After a night's rest and refreshment (much too short) we flew to Hangzhou, where we were met by our guide/ translator extraordinare, Dana Xu. We spent the morning getting cash and traveler's checks cashed at the bank, which too way too long (note to self, never bring traveler's checks to China, they don't knew what to do with them!). Finally we were done and after lunch went to the tea farm where they grow the delicious Dragon Well (Lung Jing) tea! This is the tea I drink every morning at home and it is always a thrill to be able to buy the fresh tea (first pick even) here where it is grown. After drinking much tea and buying of much tea our group went through the gift shop where I got my favorite green tea candy and a green tea pillow! That night we went to an amazing and mind blowing show on West Lake, directed by the famous Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou. (If you haven't seen the opening to the Beijing Olympics get a copy. It is way over the top, with 1,000 people in white silk doing taiji, 2000 drummers etc.) The stage is just under the waterline so it looks as though all the many many participants are walking on water. The lights, the music (by Kitaro) and the ancient costumes made for a truly breathtaking experience! We stayed in a sort of bed and breakfast (only with the breakfast in the restaurant a few doors down). It was a big house with each room having its own very special ambience/decoration. I volunteered to lug my bag to the top floor and was rewarded with a huge room with its own tea table and beautiful beamed ceiling! One afternoon we went to the Chinese Medicine museum, which is a nice sort of old musty place covering the long history of Chinese medicine, with a huge pharmacy that smelled so good (love that Chinese herb smell!). On our last afternoon in Hangzhou Dana threw us a party! She invited two wonderful musicians, one on dizi (flute) and the other on hammer dulcimer (the 24
name of this instrument is escaping me right now). My old friend Feipeng came by with his wife (who brought a whole bunch of really yummy Chinese snacks). The musicians played, we ate, Dana sang us some lovely songs (including one in Tibetan!), we ate some more, I played a very short piece on the dizi, we snacked some more, some calligraphers were there to do calligraphy for us (including one for me that says Cha Dao), we snacked a little more and then Dana's cousin sang for us (including one of his favorite songs, the theme from Titanic, which is a very hard to song to sing acapella but he did a great job!). After a few days sightseeing, eating, strolling around the lake, eating, shopping, eating etc. we flew to Wuhan where we caught one of the new "fast trains" to our destination of Wudang. The time went by so pleasantly, chatting with each other, eating various strange Chinese snack foods and watching the countryside fly by outside our windows (the train goes about 170 miles per hour). Once we got to the bottom of Wudang we lugged our baggage up a few flights of stairs and caught the bus to the top, where we would be staying. (No private cars are allowed on the mountain, a World Heritage Site). That night we met with Master Hu Xuezhi, a local Daoist and Buddhist teacher I had met last year. (See his article on the famous Ox Herding chart page page 7). While having dinner my friend Richard asked him about studying nei dan and the first thing he said was. "You have to become a farmer." What he told us later is that this was a metaphor for the idea that it is very difficult to do serious nei dan practice until you are old enough to retire from responsibilities. He emphased, over and over again, that one must learn to be still to clarify the mind. We must also be able to become "unresponsive to outside stimulation." (A real problem in the West as well as in the New China where so many things are clamoring for our attention 24 hours a day.) The next morning we met our teacher, Jiang Wei, who came up the one hour bus ride from the bottom of the mountain where he lives, to meet with us. H ewas a very warm and friendly Daoist who studies with Master Zhong Yunlong (see interview with Master Zhong following this article.) It was a very simple yet elegant style he taught us, short enough to learn in the small amount of time we have with him. In the afternoon we went to the Purple Heavenly Temple and had lunch with the Daoist students there. (When the cook saw a bunch of mei guo ren (Americans) Summer 2011
called Daoist tea is made up of wild green tea and wild ginseng and another that changed the taste of plain water when drunk after three tiny cups of tea!) The next day we went to see my old friend Jiaye who lives in a cave up behind one of the temples. He was happy to see us (basically he is happy to see anyone he is so friendly and kind). While we were visiting with him a Chinese film crew came by and shot some footage of us interacting with the hermit. They were thrilled to see some Westerners there as not many know about this old hermit they called Old Grandfather. They were making a documentary for Chinese television about the masters in Wudang and were filming in all four seasons, including winter, which can get very cold up there!
Photo by Solala Towler
eating there he was very puzzled and asked Dana why we were interested in eating such simple food!) The fare was simple yet very tasty. One of the nights on our stay in Wudang was a full moon so we all trouped up to the roof of our hotel and Richard let us on a lovely full moon meditation where we got to swallow "moon cream" while I played my "magical mystical medicine flute." The next day we went on a three hour hike to Nanyue Temple, an ancient temple built into the side of a mountain (see photo right). They have a wonderful teahouse at the top where several of us sat drinking cup after tiny cup of wonderful tea. (One
Nanyue Templein Wudang (Photo by Jennifer Dorosz)
Some of the wonderful food in China! (Photo by Sarah Braat) The Empty Vessel
It was sometime in this day that I christened our group The Cloud Wanderers, an old term for Daoists, who often traveled from one temple or mountain or master to another, in what is called "free and easy wandering" in the Zhuangzi. In our free time various members of our group would wander off all over the mountain. (Once you get there you can take the public buses anywhere for free.) At one point we went to Happy Valley to see the wushu show there. It had to be the best one yet as there were so many young people up there jumping and leaping and brandishing all kinds of weapons yet no one lost their head (or even an arm). At the end a guy in his eighties comes out and leaps about with a large broadsword! Then we hiked down to Monkey Valley and saw monkeys! (There is a funny sign there that says "Don't stroke the macaques" as well as one down by the creek that says "Don't catch the crabs." Wudang is just such a magical place for me. 25
Group practice (Photo by Solala Towler) Our qigong teacher in Wudang, Jiang Fei (Photo by Solala Towler)
The group with our qigong teacher (Photo by Solala Towler)
Monkeys! (Photo by Solala Towler)
mountain where we were to meet with Master Zhong at his school. That's when a very curious thing happened. We got caught in the dreaded "Chinese people do not respect lines whatsoever." It is so interesting to me that as nice and polite and friendly Chinese people are, when it comes to standing in line or getting on a bus or train in an orderly manner it's every person for themselves! I have been elbowed in the ribs by elderly Chinese ladies and if you don't watch your step you will get stepped on! We were standing here in the rain, covered in our mismatched ponchos when a whole group of Chinese tourists, all decked out in identical purple ponchos came up behind us. Then, once the bus arrived it was every purple poncho for themselves as they swarmed in front of us and we had to fight to get on the bus. Fortunately one of our members staked out a section
Hiking its many many trails and visiting ancient temples where people have been cultivating for hundreds of years fills me with excitement and helps me to reestablish my own practice. Whenever a Daoist walks by with their topknot and ancient style of dress, there seems to be a tangible power field around them, they are so grounded and strong in their practice and in their being! The weather gods were smiling on us for most of the trip and we had wonderfully warm and sunny days. The day to go to the Golden Summit was pretty foggy (no one could see a thing when they reached the top) but it was fun anyway. The last day we were there it was really raining and we had to gather with all of our luggage by the side of the road to catch the bus down the Our friend Jiaye, the Bee Daoist with his bee friends (Photo by Solala Towler)
Full moon meditation with Richard Lieherer (Photo by Solala Towler)
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of the bus for us and another member, a very strong massage therapist, grabbed everyone's luggage and heaved it up into the bus so we could get on! Once our bus made it to the bottom of the mountains we walked to the Wudang San Feng Academy to meet the grandmaster of Wudang mountains, Master Zhong we spent a delightful hour or so drinking tea and visiting. After we took the train to Wuhan again we spent the night in a hotel by the train station (where we had a memorable lunch the first time we took the train where they served us Szechuan french fries!) The next morning we flew to Beijing for the last few days of our journey. One of the high points of the trip came in Bejing where I was able to end a three-year 27
Tea time in the Wudang Mountains (Photo by Jennifer Dorosz)) My three-year quest finished at last! (Photo by
The Long Wall (Photo by Dahlia Gordon)
quest for Moonlight Tea! My friend Wu Zhongxian had told me about a special tea grown in the southlands of Yunan province by a tribal people called the Yi. They are still very connected to their shamanic traditions and they pick this tea according to their shaman's instructions when the moon is in certain signs. Then they dry it under the full moon so that it draws in the yin energy of the moon. The result is 28
a sort of light puer type of tea with many yin, relaxing qualities. He told me to go to the famous Tea Market in Bejing but I had been told the last two years that the Tea Market was only for wholesalers. This year though, when some of the group went to the "Long Wall" four of us ventured to the tea market. It turned out to be a whole neighborhood of tea shops! Fortunately Wu had given me the phone number and booth number of his friend who carries the Moonlight Tea and I was able to find it and lo and behold, I got the Moonlight Tea! (See photo above). Now that I am home I am enjoying drinking tis tea and tasting the flavor of China! And so another journey to the Middle Kingdom has ended and as usual, Dana Xu did a magnificent job hosting us. She is not just our tour guide but our China friend! While it is not required that everyone interested in Daoism and qigong travel to China it is always such a joy to travel to the areas where people have been cultivating for hundreds if not thousands of years! China has changed so much since I first started going there in 1993, much of it for the better, (except of the unbelievable traffic in all the cities) but it is still a very different culture indeed that the West. I am so grateful to all the wonderful people who took the time to welcome us to China and to the teachers who took the time to share some of their knowledge with us. Now that I am home and have caught up on my sleep, I can drink my Moonlight Tea, lay my head back on my green tea pillow and remember the wonderful sights and soudns of China as well as the taste of Szechuan french fries! To learn about future travels to China see our website at www.abodetao.com. Summer 2011
YOU ARE INVITED TO THE EIGHTH ANNUAL TAOIST GATHERING:
Dr. Alex Feng and Charlene Ossler of Zhi Dao Guan, The Taoist Center, in Oakland, CA invite you to participate in the Eighth Annual Taoist Gathering October 21-23, 2011 at Samuel Merritt University Health Education Center, Oakland, CA – a weekend devoted to the study, practice, and Community of Taoism. Theme of "Immortality from a Daoist Perspective." Keynote by Dr. Hirsh Diamant: "Lao Zi’s 14 Characters – Reflections on Immortality." Panel Discussion on Immortality Practices by Practitioners, Scholars, Teachers Friday evening Taoist Class and Meditation followed by two days of provocative Taoist presentations, meditation, qi gong, and other forms of practice, ritual and exploration. $125 Early Bird registration for the full weekend – $100 if you mention this Empty Vessel Ad! (if registering via the web site simply enter “Empty Vessel” when you are asked for a coupon)
$175 after September 15th
Information at www.thetaoistcenter.com or write/call Zhi Dao Guan at 3824 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland CA 94619. 510-336-0129; email@example.com Attendees praise this unique annual event:
“ For A Taoist, this Gathering is like coming home!” “Energizing! Inspirational!” Join us as we continue this adventure in The Dao!) The Empty Vessel
2012 USA Health Preservation Association Invitation to China taiji/qigong/ kung fu Study Certification Program Beijing, Xian, Wudang Mountain, Guilin, Yangshuo, Shanghai With Master Jianye Jiang
April 10 – 24, 2012 April 10 Leave for China April 11 Beijing Today’s tour starts with Tiananmen Square followed by The Forbidden City, in which 24 emperors lived, from 1421 until 1911. Hu tong tour by rickshaw in the afternoon. This tour will take you to the old residential quarters and a visit to a private home. Welcome dinner, Peking Roast Duck. April 12 Beijing Start the day with a visit to the Temple of Heaven, one of the most photographed buildings in the world. It was the place where the emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties worshipped heaven and prayed for an abundant harvest. Then we will visit an unrestored section of the Great Wall and enjoy climbing the wall! Acrobat show in the evening. April 13 Bejing/Xian Tour the famous Summer Palace, China’s largest and best preserved Imperial Garden. Here we will take a boat ride on the beautiful Kunming Lake. After a visit to the Bird’s Nest, national stadium of the Olympic Games in 2008 we will take an afternoon flight to Xian, capital of ancient China for 13 dynasties. April 14 Xian Today’s highlight is the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, the eighth wonder of the world. The Chinese Herb Market, Tangdai Art Museum, then dumpling dinner.
April 15 Xian Today starts with a visit to the city wall, built in Ming dynasty (1368-1644 CE). Taiji practice with Master Jiang on the wall. Then visit Wild Goose Pagoda, located in a peaceful garden. Later in the afternoon we will drive to Huxian county, where you will get the opportunity to meet and get to know farmers, and be treated to dinner at the home of a farmer’s family. They will demonstrate the making and cooking of a Chinese noodle dinner. April 16 Xian/travel to Wudang Mountain After breakfast we will have a 3-hour ride to Wudang Mountain, with beautiful views of the countryside on the way. We will stay on the mountain for 3 nights. Afternoon visit at a gong fu school. Evening taiji practice with Master Jiang. April 17 Wudang Mountain There will be a morning class with a Daoist priest of Wudang. After lunch we will visit Prince’s Shop, Purple Cloud Palace and South Cliff. April 18 Wudang Mountain April 19 Wudang Mountain A morning taiji class with Wudang master. After lunch go to Golden Peak by cable car, the essence of Wudang Mountain. One more opportunity to practice taiji, feeling the spirit of energy there. Bus back to Xian and fly to Guilin in afternoon.
April 20 Guilin Tour starts with Reed Flute Cave, the Fupo Hill and Tea Farm, where you will see tea bushes, witness tea processing and enjoy a tea ceremony. In the evening a walking tour around the beautiful lake. April 21 Guilin. Yangshuo River overnight river cruise Board a riverboat and sail on the Li River, surrounded by majestic limestone formations, mist-covered hills and bamboo groves. Lunch will be served on board. Disembark in Yangshuo in the afternoon and have some free time in the bustling market town. April 22 Guilin/Shanghai Morning flight to Shanghai, the most sophisticated city in China. It was the “Paradise of Adventurers” in the past and is now China’s commercial center. Visit the Yuyuan Garden in the old section of Shanghai. April 23 Shanghai Today’s tour begins with the Jade Buddha Temple. Then we will proceed to the Bund, from where you can see the traditional and modern Shanghai. After a Mongolian barbecue lunch the afternoon is free to explore Shanghai city. (Shanghai Expo is optional). In the evening we will have out farewell dinner banquet. April 24 Shanghai/USA Depart Shanghai and arrive home the same day.
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Trip price: $2399/ 20 people and up (price will be adjusted according to number of people attending.) Includes: All air transportation in China, all meals and banquets, hotel (double occupancy). Single room $560 extra. Also included is study tuition, admission charges to temples and tourist attractions, performances and shows. Not included: Round trip airfare from USA to China and back, VISA fee, travel insurance (required), departure taxes. Tips to driver, porter, local and national guides. Shifu Jianye Jiang was born in 1950 and has studied Wushu since he was 5 years old, learning from wellknown masters such as Yu Mingwei, Yu Hai, and many others. He received a BA and master's degree from Qufu University and Shanghai Physical Education Institute. A national and international judge in China and the U.S., he is also a master calligrapher and winner of national and international awards. Sales of his calligraphy have garnered more than $10,000; all of which was donated to the Shandong Disabled Association. He has also acted in movies produced in China, Australia, and Japan. For more information or to register contact the Abode of the Eternal Dao at 541.345.8854 or write to solala@ abodetao.com.
The Master on the Mountain
A Conversation with Master Zhong Yunlong Can you give us some advice on how to integrate Daoism with a very busy, modern lifestyle?
(Photo by Sarah Braat)
On the last day of our sojourn in Wudang we met with Master Zhong Yunlong at his school, the Wudang San Feng Academy, named after the famous Daoist master Zhang San Feng. Master Zhong took some time out of his busy schedule to sit and have some tea with our group and answer questions. Master Zhong, known as the Grandmaster of Wudang has been practicing the Daoist arts for many years and he exudes a warm and deeply rooted presence. Thanks to our indefatigable guide and translator Dana Xu, we were able to ask many questions and receive answers that reflected his years of cultivation in this magical realm of Daoist China.
Master Zhong (Dana translating). Since you are here we call it yin yuan. It’s like fate that has brought us together. So if you have questions please feel free to ask and he will try to answer them. 32
It’s also a big problem in China! To always be nervous is very bad for your health. Daoist health practices are very popular for people who have neck problems as well as neck and spine. So we have lots of organizations to help people to cure those problems. It’s good to have a little spare time each day to work on yourself and to read some books on Daoism and allow your mind to become calmer. You can see a lot of people up on the mountain with long hair and the Daoist clothing but many of them are not real Daoists. Some of them are interested in Daoism and Buddhism but they still have their own common people’s life. But they respect Daoism. They don’t live in temples but some of them still live at home with their families. They spend time practicing and reading about Daoism. Others live in the temple and have a master there that they learn from. But still they are not real Daoists. They are called ju shi. Ju shi is a really popular term since ancient times for great poets who were interested in Buddhism and Daoism. (Editor’s note: These people were often called the literati Daoists.) You must cultivate for along time to become a real Daoist. There are a lot of rules. They are very strict. So many of the people on this mountain (Wudang) they are not real Daoists. What do you consider to be a real Daoist? Daoism has a long history and during this long history there were lots of generations and different masters. To be a real Daoist you must know all the history of your generation or linage. That’s very important. Secondly, you must have a very good understanding about Daoism and you must have long hair. You must grow it for at least three years! Why do they grow their hair long and what is the sigSummer 2011
nificance of their topknot? First, to be natural. And topknot here is a double loop, representing taiji â€“ yin and yang. It takes time for them to make that. It is not the usual one. This is a special way they do here on Wudang. They call it taiji hair. He says that to become a student of Daoism you must begin from your head! Is there any significance to where the topknot is placed on the head? Yes, it is on the top of the head on the bai hui point, where yin and yang meet. This is a very important point in TCM as well as in qigong and taiji. How does he feel about the rebirth of Daoism in modern China? He said that Daoism does not develop well in China now. There are very few people who really understand Daoism. Daoism is very different from Buddhism. Buddhism incorporates lots of themes to grow the religion bigger and bigger. But Daoism is different. They never tell you to be a Daoist (proselytize). They never say that. They believe in letting things go a natural way. He says that in ancient times a real Daoist was a natural scientist. He must be very knowledgable about lots of things. And Daoism does not connect to politics at all. Daoism influenced TCM a lot. They have a very deep connection. TCM is very different from Western medicine. In Western medicine if you have a pain here and it gets worse and worse then they will cut it. But The Empty Vessel
(Photo by Sarah Braat)
TCM will never use that way. They use acupuncture to help the person to recover. He also says that the computer, one of the most popular things these days, has the earliest knowledge from Daoism. (Editorâ€™s note: I believe what he is referring to here is the binary system, originating with the Yijing (I Ching), which was used in the original computer code language.) So Daoism is different from many other religions. Many other religions have been used as tools by the politicians. Daoism is really a natural science and its reach into many subjects is very broad. The knowledge of Daoism is very deep and not everyone can understand it. This is one of the reasons that, historically, Daoism has not developed very well. But now and in the future he and his friends will do a better job to develop Daoism. In the West we talk about two different kinds of Daoism. Dao Jia or what is sometimes called HuangLao or philosophical Daoism and Dao Jio or religious Daoism. About Dao Jia, you know that jia means family right? Dao Jia means a people who have an idea about a kind of religion. This goes back to thousands of years ago. Many of these people were connected with wu (shamanism). According to historical records, a thousand years ago there were these Dao Jia, which has a much longer history than Dao Jio, which is the Daoist religion. The Daoist religion was founded two thousand years ago by Zhang Dao Ling (Tianshi or Heavenly Masters sect). There were lots of masters then that they called Dao 33
Jia but they were not organized. From the time of the Yellow Emperor (Huangdi) to the time of Laozi, all these can be called Dao Jia. Then from the time of Zhang Dao Ling there has been the Daoist religion. One of the most famous writers in modern China once said that Chinese culture is rooted in Daoism. So now is a very special period. Today everything is too modern, too scientific! Many people are getting depressed. Most children today are near sighted because they watch too much TV and computers. So in this special period maybe Daoism can have a very good effect on lots of health problems. So that is what the Daoists are going to do to have more contribution to people’s health. There is nei dan and wei dan in Daoism. Wei dan is about external alchemy. That was very popular in the past but now, because the country has so many professional organizations to study that but there is less interest in that. Nei dan is the most important part of Daoism, to cultivate inside – things like qigong, tai ji. When you practice those breath is very important.
Master Zhong Yunlong is an orthodox Wudang Internal Kung Fu successor of two great Wudang Taoist masters and senior priests: Guo Gaoyi and Zhu Chengde.
Do you have any advice for people who want to study nei dan in the West?
You can get more information on Master Zhong and his school at wudangsanfengacademy.org.
Several of his students now live in America and they are not only proficient in martial arts but in nei dan. They have their own students there and some of them come here to learn nei dan also. Do you feel that you need to have a teacher, instead of a book or something like that to practice nei dan? Nei dan is a very complicated and even dangerous thing. So it’s better to have an experienced master. If you practice nei dan well it can not only be good for health but good for your wisdom. But if you practice in the wrong way it’s very dangerous. What words of wisdom can you give us that we can take home with us that will help us? Practice what you have learned here each day when you go home. That will be very helpful. It’s not just a form, it includes a lot. I would like to ask how other practices, like painting, calligraphy and music fit into the whole Daoist lifestyle. Of course they do. They will help a lot. Of course, with Chinese painting, it is not like Western painting. In this style of painting you must put your qi, jing and shen into it. Painting and calligraphy help to cultivate your heart and your qi a lot. He hopes everybody here can tell more people about Daoism when you go home so that Daoism can serve more and more people in the future. To serve everyday in the world, that is Daoism. And he would like to welcome you back again! 34
When Wudang Taoism first opened to the outside world, Master Zhong Yunlong was sent, from 1985 to 1987, by the Wudang Taoist Association, to unearth Wudang martial arts which were now only being practiced outside the temple. The Wudang Taoist Association established the first Wudang Taoist Martial Arts Team and Master Zhong was the foremost member of the team. In 1989, Master Zhong replaced the senior Taoist priest Guo Gaoyi as the "Wudang Taoist Association Martial Arts Chief Coach". At the same time, he was appointed as the principal and chief coach of the Wudang Taoist Kung Fu School by the Wudang Taoist Association. This was the first time Wudang Kung Fu was formally shown in public. From 1995 to 2000, Master Zhong occupied an important role as the Principal for both the Mount Wudang Zi Xiao Temple and the Taoist Academy.
The 5th Annual Internal Martial Arts Taiji Gala and Competition in Wu Dang Mountain, Shi Yan City, Hubei Province China, also known as the birthplace of Taiji is being hosted by the Wu Dang Tourism Zone and the Wu Shu Bureau of Wu Dang. The gala is October 9-15, 2011. Internal Martial Arts practitioners and admirers will gather from all over China and the world to pay their respects to this ancient tradition. The city is celebrating Zhang Sanfeng's role as the creator of Taiji and Wu Dang's historic role in the development of Taiji. The entire city is being decorated with bronze statues of Sanfeng Taiji masters, masters from other lineages, and representations of each of the Sanfeng Taiji 13 movements. In addition to the competitions, there will be Taiji and Nourishing Life arts demonstrations and workshops on topics such as Qigong, Taiji, Internal Martial Arts, Xing Yi, Ba Gua and Tai Yi forms. Folk art, music, ceremonies at the temples, and Kung Fu shows, with a special Kung Fu show by the Sanfeng Academy Wu Shu team will also be taking place during the event. This is a wonderful event for competitors, family, friends, and those with an interest in the healing arts or for those that would like to partake in this festive opportunity to visit Wu Dang. The ancient Taoist Temple grounds and the city’s museum will be open for those with an interest in the history and mystical foundations of this UNESCO World Heritage site. For more infomation on this event Please contact Kristina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lost Secret of Immortality a conversation with Barclay Powers
The Lost Secret of Immortality is an award-winning film (Best Spiritual Documentary at the New York International Film Festival, 2011) and is based on the book of the same title. The film and book link together the Golden Embryo of Daoist alchemy, the Reality Body of Tantric Buddhism, the Philosopher’s Stone of the Western alchemical tradition, the Rainbow Body of Tibet and the Kundalini tradition of India. The film predicts that the future of science will be focused on these secrets of enlightenment. We sat down with the author/filmmaker Barclay Powers recently to ask him a few questions about his project. What is the goal for you with this multi-media project (which includes a book, a film, a graphic novel and soundtrack album)? This project is intended to make the alchemical secret of enlightenment available to a world-wide audience. I feel that once modern science understands the physiological basis of inner illumination, the modern concept of human potential will radically expand. This paradigm shift represents the ultimate evolution of consciousness and completely restructures Darwinian theory, which unfortunately, does not include enlightenment. I think that the most important idea here is that there is a divine spark of super-consciousness at the physical core of all human beings. It looks to me like you have woven together many strands of mysticism from many different cultures, all pointing towards the same goal. How did you get interested in such a project? I have studied the concepts underlying Chinese inner alchemy for many years and have found that it transmits a fundamental, perennial spiritual science that was also the original goal of Western science when it was called the Philosopher’s Stone, in the Hermetic tradition. Similarly, very few scholars have made the connection between the Reality Body of Buddhism and the Golden Flower of Daoist neidan practice. The book and film is the first attempt to explain the secret of inner illumination as a cross-cultural paradigm shift. Of all spiritual/alchemical traditions Daoism has a clear, scientific methodology that has been successfully proven for thousands of years. I feel the concept of the three treasures (jing, qi, shen) is actually the lost secret of immortality. The Empty Vessel
It was also very exciting to work with The Empty Vessel and film the masters in the Wudang mountains and Qinchengshan for the movie. Your film reminded me a bit of What the Bleep, in that it uses various kinds of animation to present certain concepts like the Golden Embryo, the Rainbow Body and Emanation Bodies in a way that the viewer can get a visual sense of them. I think this is the first time that the neidan practices of Daoism have been presented so that people can visually understand the concept of things like embryonic enlightenment. Thank you, we worked for years to refine the animation sequences so that they worked for a Western audience. In addition to the film, we also have a book and a graphic novel that is being turned into a music video to accompany the new soundtrack album which is in postproduction right now. The idea with the graphic novel and the new music video is to reach the 18-25 year old audience, who has never been exposed to a clear explanation of the complete evolution of consciousness – the goal of being human. We intend to have musical events which will include a screening of the film at multiple locations world-wide to enable as many people as possible to experience a film that points them toward the ultimate inner truth and challenges both the scientific and religious establishments of our time. Many people have studied taiji, qigong, yoga and meditation without understanding that the alchemical firing process is the key to real inner illumination and ultimate self-discovery. I found the material on the Rainbow Body or what in Daoism is called “the dissolution of the corpse” very interesting and not something you see very often. Yes, I find it fascinating that in many of these traditions the physical body is described as “frozen light,” which has the potential to dissolve into its essence – pure energy – at the highest level of spiritual cultivation. How will people get a chance to see this film? The film is playing globally and will be opened in selected cities on an ongoing basis. For more information please visit our website at www.lostsecretofimmortality. com. 35
Tao Is the Source of All Universes Dr. & Master Zhi Gang Sha
Tao is the source of all universes. Tao creates One. In fact, Tao is One and One is Tao. One creates Two. Two is Heaven and Earth, yang and yin. Heaven and Earth interact to produce all souls and all things in all universes, but they all come from Tao. To study and practice Tao is advanced soul study and practice. It is most important to understand that everything has a Tao. I explained above the Tao of eating, the Tao of sleeping, and the Tao of soul healing. In fact, there is a Tao for every aspect of your life. For example, business has a Tao. A relationship has a Tao. To realize the Tao in any aspect of life is to follow the spiritual principles and laws to ensure your success in that part of life. Take healing as another example. How can all of a personâ€™s sicknesses in the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies be healed? What is the Tao of healing? To heal all sicknesses in these four bodies, the Tao of healing can be summarized in one sentence: 36
The Tao to heal all sickness is Shen Qi Jing He Yi Shen represents all souls in the whole body, including the souls of systems, organs, and cells. Qi represents all energies in the whole body, including the energies of systems, organs, and cells. Jing represents all matter in the whole body, including the matter of systems, organs, and cells. A personâ€™s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies are made of soul, energy, and matter. Any kind of sickness is due to an imbalance in and the separation of Shen Qi Jing. To join Shen Qi Jing as one is to balance the whole body. To join Shen Qi Jing as one is to return to Tao. Remember the process of reverse creation of Tao that I shared in chapter 1: all things....Three....Two...On....TAO return to Summer 2011
Shen Qi Jing He Yi (pronounced shun chee jing huh yee) is to return to Tao. I am honored to share this highest divine secret to heal and transform all life. This highest secret can be summarized in one sentence: To return to Tao is the solution for healing, rejuvenating, transforming, and enlightening all life. How can one apply Shen Qi Jing He Yi to heal all sicknesses? This is the way to do it. Apply the Four Power Techniques that I shared in my book Power Healing: The Four Keys to Energizing Your Body, Mind, & Spirit. Body Power. Sit up straight. Put the tip of your tongue as close as you can to the roof of your mouth without touching it. Put one palm on your abdomen. Place your other palm over this hand. Soul Power. Say hello: Dear Divine, dear Tao, dear saints in Heaven. I am honored to invoke you to request healing for (state your healing request silently or aloud). Mind Power. Visualize the Jin Dan (golden light ball) rotating counterclockwise in your Lower Dan Tian, a foundational energy center located in your lower abdomen. A renowned ancient Chinese statement about spiritual healing is: Jin guang zhao ti, bai bing xiao chu “Jin” means golden. “Guang” means light. “Zhao” means shine. “Ti” means body. “Bai” means one hundred, which represents every or all. “Bing” means sickness. “Xiao chu” means to remove. Therefore, “Jin guang zhao ti, bai bing xiao chu” (pronounced jeen gwahng jow tee, bye bing shee-ow choo) means: Golden light shines; all sicknesses are removed. Visualizing a golden light ball rotating counterclockwise in your Lower Dan Tian is absolutely one of the most important Tao healings for all sicknesses. Sound Power. Sing or chant: Shen Qi Jing He Yi Shen Qi Jing He Yi Shen Qi Jing He Yi Shen Qi Jing He Yi Shen Qi Jing He Yi Shen Qi Jing He Yi Shen Qi Jing He Yi . . . The Empty Vessel
Sing or chant for three minutes now. Remember, I explain in the beginning of every book of the Soul Power Series that when I ask you to spend time to practice, do not skip the practice. Three to five minutes of practice per time is vital for healing, rejuvenation, and life transformation. In fact, to heal chronic and life-threatening conditions, you must practice at least two hours per day in total. My new teaching is that the fastest way to heal is to sing or chant all the time, either silently or aloud. Every moment of singing or chanting is healing and transforming. The more you sing or chant, the faster you could heal. Shen Qi Jing He Yi is a mantra. This mantra is extremely powerful, beyond words and comprehension. Practice more and more. A great healing result is waiting for you. Mother Earth is in a transition period, with many natural disasters, conflicts between nations and religions, communicable diseases and other sicknesses, wars, financial challenges, and all kinds of problems for humanity and Mother Earth. How can we apply Tao to serve humanity and Mother Earth at this critical historic period? All problems in humanity, Mother Earth, and all universes are due to imbalance in and separation of Heaven, Earth, and human beings. To help humanity, Mother Earth, and all universes rebalance and reunite, I will share an extremely powerful Tao practice. This practice is so powerful that we cannot use any words and thoughts to explain or comprehend it. This Tao practice can be summarized in one sentence: Tian Di Ren He Yi “Tian” means Heaven. “Di” means Mother Earth. “Ren” means human being. “He yi” means join as one. Therefore, “Tian di ren he yi” (pronounced tyen dee wren huh yee) means Heaven, Earth, and human being join as one. This is one of the highest philosophies of Tao. Tian Di Ren He Yi is Heaven, Earth, and human being returning to Tao. Remember that to return to Tao is the solution for everything in your life, the lives of your loved ones, the life of humanity, and the lives of all souls. In one sentence: To return to Tao is the way of all life. From TAO I: THE WAY OF ALL LIFE by Dr. Zhi Gang Sha. Copyright ©2010 by Heaven’s Library Publication Corp. and Dr. Zhi Gang Sha. Reprinted by permission of Atria Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. NY.
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The Empty Vessel
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“Be Here Now” Perfecting the Practice of Presence Daniel Reid
A lament often heard from modern Western novices on ancient Eastern spiritual paths soon after receiving their first introductions to the depth and complexity of the practices is, “Why is it all so complicated!” This is particularly true of those who choose the highly disciplined practice paths designed to awaken awareness, such as the “Complete Reality” (chuan jen) branch of Chinese Taoism and the “Great Perfection” (dzogchen) path of Tibetan Buddhism. The Empty Vessel
Years ago, at a retreat in India with my first Tibetan teacher, the great Kagyupa meditation master Kalu Rinpoche, someone asked the venerable lama why the foundation practices he taught were all so complicated. His reply crackled with the swiftness and clarity of lightning: “Because the human mind is so complicated, that’s why! It takes complex methods to dismantle the complex delusions the ego constructs to blind the mind to the light of truth. Truth itself is as simple and clear as the morning sun. In fact,” he said, sweeping his hand around the room, “the truth is right here in front of you, right now, this very moment, but you just don’t have the eyes to see it!” It’s true: the Tao of “Complete Reality” and the “Great Perfection” of the awareness which reflects it like a mirror are utterly simple, self-evident, and everpresent, here and now. There is nothing to seek: all we need is the vision to see. It’s our human minds that are complex and tricky, not awareness and reality. Both Buddha and Lao-tze stated very clearly that the disciplines they taught were designed to awaken the ignorant and enlighten the blind; those who know the truth and see how simple it is don’t need the discipline of practice. Most of us, however, spend a lot of time and energy weaving elaborate veils of illusion around our minds, like silkworms in their cocoons, to protect our delicate egos and desires from rupturing in the radiant light of awareness which we keep locked deep inside our hearts. Despite our barriers of doubt and fear, it’s always here within us, each and every moment, a treasury of wisdom, love, and power waiting for us to claim it by awakening to its luminous presence. Depending on how deep asleep we are in our dream worlds, the work of waking up can be easy or difficult, fast or slow. Either way, the first step is to dodge the tricks our egos play to distract our attention 41
from practice and lull us back to sleep, and find a way to steer our minds directly to the luminous clarity of our original awakened state. The entire corpus of complex practices taught in the traditional schools of Taoist and Buddhist cultivation boils down to a single simple teaching that can be summarized in three words : “Be here now.” This is the keystone that supports the entire foundation of all the practices. This precept has become such a popular “New Age” slogan that it’s usually dismissed as a trite cliché, but it nevertheless remains the essential link connecting all the major Eastern practice lineages, and it holds the key that unlocks the gate to success in them all. Let’s take a closer look at this supreme yet simple teaching, word by word, and see how it works.
“To Be or Not to Be…”
When you stop doing and just be, your energy remains at rest in its original potential state.
That’s the basic question in the quest for enlightened awareness: to be aware or not to be aware. It’s also the choice one makes when choosing to follow the Taoist and Dzogchen paths of practice, which are designed to awaken the practicioner to a direct experience of being present in the primordial state of awareness. This is a state of being that can only be experienced when you stop doing. That means withdrawing the energies of body, breath, and mind from their ordinary expressions of “doing” in activity, speech, and thought, and resting instead in the stillness and silence of simply “being.” In Taoist tradition, the deliberate withdrawal of energy from the active state of doing into the still state of being in order to experience the nature of awareness is called wu wei (“not doing”). In Buddhism, this basic meditation practice is known as shamatha (“dwelling in tranquility”). Disdained in modern life as a waste of time, “sitting still doing nothing,” which is the Chinese term for “meditation,” is in fact an indispensable condition for all spiritual discovery. Meditation is your ticket for a front-row seat in the theater of complete reality, where the curtain doesn’t rise until you sit still and be quiet. Life in the world today spurs us into a constant gallop of non-stop activity and traps our attention with a relentless onslaught of sensory distractions, allowing us little chance to slow down, stop moving, stop talking, stop thinking, and simply savor the essential flavor of being alive, being aware, and being present in the moment. “Being” involves a totally different state of mind than “doing.” It’s a totally different expression of energy that 42
reveals a completely different dimension of experience. Doing manifests our energy in a dynamic state of activity—action, speech, and thought—hooking our attention in the temporal dimension of linear time and space. Doing always has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and activity always manifests in a finite field of space and time. When you stop doing and just be, your energy remains at rest in its original potential state, permiting your attention to experience the still depths of your mind in its basic state of awareness. Energy at rest abides in a state of infinite potential, and stillness is the boundless crucible of all creation. This is the immortal dimension of pure awareness, the primordial source from which all temporal form and activity arise and to which they all return, like waves rising and falling on the ocean. If the mind is like an ocean, then awareness is like the water: always calm and quiet deep down inside, but constantly rippling with waves of activity on the surface. In order to experience the nature of the ocean’s water before it forms itself into waves, you must sink down below the surface and submerge yourself in its depths. All forms of doing—activity, speech, and thought— give rise to movement, and all movement creates the illusion of linear time, with a beginning, middle, and end. Not doing (wu wei) makes time collapse in the infinite stillness and radiant space of being in primordial awareness, which has no beginning, middle, or end. When you stop moving, speaking, and thinking, time stops and awareness expands into infinity, dissolving all dualistic boundries between self and other, here and there, now and then. What you realize in this still and silent state of awareness is that everything arises from and returns to its original source—the empty, luminous, infinite potential energy of the primordial state. Here’s how Lao-tze expressed it in the Tao Teh Ching: Something formless yet complete That existed before heaven and earth, Without sound, without substance, Dependent on nothing, unchanging All pervading, unfailing. . . It’s true name I do not know : “Tao” is the nickname I give it. The nickname the Buddha gave it is “Dharmadatu:” “the way things are.” “To be or not to be” is therefore the first choice you make when embarking on the path of cultivating awareness. There is nothing particular to do to reach the primordial state of enlightened awareness, because you’re already there before you start. However, it takes a lot of practice stop interfering with it and simply let it be. You must arrive at the realization that it’s already here within Summer 2011
you, right now, and learn to recognize its radiant light. This is the path as well as the goal of all the practices taught by the masters of theTao and the Dharma - to be present in awareness.
“Here , There, and Everywhere. . .”
Taoists refer to body, breath, and mind as the “Three Treasures” of life. Buddhists call them the “Three Gates” of energy. Keeping these three vehicles of our life force working together in harmony, rooted in the same ground of being and doing, is an essential point of attention on the path of awareness. This seems simple enough in principle, but in practice it’s not so easy because the human mind is like a monkey: it hops here, there, and everywhere, leaving body and breath elsewhere. Training the mental monkey to sit still and pay attention to where your body is here and now, is a primary task of practice that takes time and patience. Body and breath are always right here, firmly rooted like flagpoles at your present location. Where else could The Empty Vessel
they possibly be? It’s the mind that’s always drifting away to another place and time, floating to and fro like a leaf in the wind. Left unattended, the mental monkey is always hopping around out “there,” leaving body and breath stranded like a car without a driver in the traffic of life. As the monkey wanders off to worry about the future, romp through the past, chase fantasies, chat with phantoms, and meander through mental mazes far removed from the present locus of body and breath, it takes along a big supply of your vital energy, burning it frivolously in the bonfires of random thought and robbing your body of its essential fuel of life. The breath grows shallow and irregular, the body loses balance, and vital functions stagnate, while the mind fritters away the energy upon which the whole system depends. The solution to this problem is to focus the spotlight of attention on your breath, and to shift your breathing from autonomic to voluntary control. Since breath and body are inseparably linked, conscious breathing keeps the mind firmly grounded in the body, here and now. All you need to do to make this transition is summon the intent to steer your attention away from the monkey’s madcap maneuvers and lock it onto the perpetual flow of breath in and out of the body, and to feel the body’s rhythmic response to the movement of the breath. Follow the breath in, follow the breath out; feel your belly rise, feel your belly fall. Your breath and your belly are completely real, and they are both always right here at home in your body. You may therefore use the breath and the belly as buoys to keep your mind anchored in reality, rather than letting it wander away with the monkey. That’s why conscious abdominal breathing is such an important foundation practice in both Taoist and Buddhist systems of cultivating awareness. All this may sound, as they like to say in Australia, “too easy, mate!” And in fact it is easy, once you get the hang of it, but like everything else in life that’s worth doing well, it takes practice to get it right. Verily it is said, “practice makes perfect,” but the practice does not always need to be so complicated. It can be as easy yet profoundly effective as breathing, if you pay attention to the way you’re doing it. The Great Perfection of enlightened awareness is only a breath away, but to realize that you must pay attention to your breathing and not get distracted by the monkey’s mental marvels. The Taoist adept Liu I-ming clarifies this point in Awakening to the Tao: 43
The Tao is simple and convenient. There is no need to seek afar, for it is right here at home … It is utterly simple, utterly easy, there is no difficulty involved … The ridiculous thing is that foolish people seek mysterious marvels, when they do not know enough to preserve the mysterious marvel that is actually present … So many Taoists seek at random, all the while casting aside the treasure at hand.
“It’s Now or Never…”
The “treasure at hand,” described by Taoists as the “precious pearl” and by Buddhists as the “wish-fullfilling gem,” is the luminous, infinite potential energy of fully awakened awareness. This jewel is always shining right here within our own mind and body from the day we are born until the day we die. It’s not something we must seek elsewhere. “What is of real value is in ourselves,” writes Namkhai Norbu in The Mirror, “in our own original state: this is our wealth.” This original state of awareness is known in Buddhism as bodhicitta (“awakened mind”) and in Taoism as wu-dao (“realization of truth”), and it’s our most precious possession in life, an infinite source of wisdom, compassion, and power waiting for us to reclaim it. However, because we look for truth in “mysterious marvels” outside ourselves, rather than turning to the infallible source within, and because we habitually mistake material possessions for wealth and force for power, most of us go through life without ever discovering the real treasure of truth, vision, and infinite potential which we all carry within us every moment. The moment itself is the ultimate marvel, and presence in the moment paves the way to mastery of all mysteries. What could be more marvelous than the infinite energy of creation that unfolds each moment in all the myriad forms of the universe, pulsing like a heartbeat from the twinkle of distant stars to the murmur of the sea, from the wind in the trees to the hum of the bees, from the radiance of a rainbow to the glow of a candle. The light of pure awareness reflects all the manifold creations of universal energy right here within our own minds, moment by moment, as clearly and unconditionally as a mirror. Since everything manifests from the same basic energy, every moment reveals the fundamental mechanism of creation and vibrates with the mysterious marvel of life. In order to become aware of all this , we must keep our attention on the mirror of the moment and practice the
perfection of presence. Presence of mind in the immediate moment permits us to experience the infinite marvels of the eternal present. After we’ve learned to anchor our minds here in our bodies by using breath as a buoy, we must then free our minds from the trap of linear time by realizing that it’s always “now,” and that the present moment is therefore timeless and eternal. A single moment of direct experience in the eternity of the present teaches us more about the true nature of time and reality than a lifetime of study and thinking. Most people spend their entire lives roaming across the frozen mindscapes of a dead past and unknown future, completely ignoring the vibrant present, except for those rare moments when reality suddenly grabs their attention with the proverbial Zen slap in the face. The fragmented segments of linear time as measured by the tick-tock of the clock produce the artificial mental paradigm of a chronological past and an imaginary future that stretch infinitely in opposite directions from the fleeting moment of a swiftly passing present. Presence in the stillness of the eternal moment produces the opposite effect—a direct experience of indivisible whole time in the seamless eternity of now. This experience awakens awareness of the timeless present as the only reality, and shatters the illusion of past and future projected through the lens of linear time. What we learn from the practice of presence is that the only “real time” is now and that the present is the dimension of eternity. It’s always “now,” and the present is always here where we experience it, reflecting the whole universe in the mirror of the eternal moment. The only reason most people are blind to the vision of complete reality which every moment reflects is because they rivet their attention on the express train of thought that’s constantly running through their heads, rather than dwelling tranquilly in the stillness of the timeless present. Someone once wrote, “Time is space thinking.” Since the mind is essentially empty, like space, it follows that “time is mind thinking,” which is the mental form of “doing.” When mind stops thinking, i.e. “doing,” and dwells instead in the stillness of “not doing” (wu wei), time stops, and mind experiences the timeless state of presence in the eternal moment, i.e. of “being here now.” Stillness doesn’t do, it just is. Stillness is therefore the master of presence: it teaches you how to “be here now” and experience Complete Reality in the Great Perfection of awareness in the
Most people spend their entire lives roaming across the frozen mindscapes of a dead past and unknown future, completely ignoring the vibrant present.
eternal moment. In Carlos Casteneda’s books, Don Juan teaches Carlos essentially the same lesson when he says that we can “stop the world” and experience the pulse of eternity simply by stopping the “internal dialogue” in our heads. We are always in the present moment, here and now, and it provides the only view of the world that’s not imaginary. The past and future are mental constructs, but the present is the living ground of awareness and the cradle of creation. In “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior”, Dan Millman states that the most profound lesson his teacher ever taught him was contained in the declaration, “There are no ordinary moments.” Every moment is extraordinary because it always reflects a complete and perfect picture of the whole universe, like a flawless gem of awareness. However, in order to perceive reality with the flawless vision of the moment, we must perfect the pratice of presence. As we begin to awaken to the infinite potential of presence in the eternal moment, we also begin to realize that the primordial awareness through which The Empty Vessel
we experience presence is as immortal as the moment---that our awareness is something that “is not born and does not die.” We realize that the infinite luminous energy of awareness is the very source of the world which we perceive through our senses, and that we are always the authors of our own lives, free to set the stage and write the script as we wish. That’s why Tibetan teachers describe the “Clear Light” of primordial awareness as a “wish-fulfilling gem.” The Dzogchen master Namkhai Norbu refers to the experience of undistracted awareness in the moment as “instant presence.” When you practice instant presence, you experience the waves of the world rising and falling in the infinite ocean of awareness, and you realize that the world you perceive is never separate from the awareness which perceives it, just as the images reflected in a mirror are inseparable from the mirror which reflects them, and the waves rippling and roaring on the surface of the ocean are inseparable from the still and silent water in the depths from which they arise. The world we experience is a product of our awareness, not a separate reality. It’s very important to recognize the distinction between the reflections and the mirror, and to realize that the waves on the ocean are just a fleeting form of the water below, for one is impermanent and inconstant while the other is immutable and immortal. In order to enjoy the ephemeral play of life’s energies, we must avoid attachment to their passing forms and not mistake the servant for the master, for it is not the impermanence of things in life that causes us sorrow, but rather our attachment to impermanent things. Instant presence makes this distinction clear, for it teaches us to value the treasure that we can never lose—the luminous pearl of primordial awareness. Taoist and Dzogchen teachings place such strong emphasis on being aware of our real condition, as it is here and now in the present moment, because this is where we’ve always been and always will be—in the very center of our experience of the universe, which unfolds like a flower from the luminous heart of our awareness. Our experience of the world is always complete and perfect just as it is at the moment. In real time , there is no past or future, only the eternal present, and as soon as we stop thinking, the timeless perfection of the moment blossoms. When we rest our minds tranquilly in stillness (shamatha), the moment is all there is. In an interview in the Winter 2003/04 issue of Dragon Mouth, Liu Ming notes this point as follows: “Rather than offering transcendence, the teaching introduces us to where we actually are. . . the 45
place we really are is the place we’ll be forever. There’s nothing missing in the experience we’re in.” It’s also important to realize that the Great Perfection of awareness in the present moment can only transform our lives and liberate our minds from illusion if we learn to apply it in the active “doings” of daily life as well as in the still “non-doing” of meditation. Otherwise it’s just a formal exercise that ends with each meditation session and has no practical value in daily life. Even when the body is busy doing something, the mind should experience the activity with the instant presence of awakened awareness. The whole point of cultivating awareness in the non-doing stillness of meditation is to bring the awakened state of presence into the doings of daily activity. “In order to realize the inseparability of meditation and daily activities,” states Dzogchen master Namkhai Norbu, “we must apply the practice twenty-four hours a day.” This means, for example, practicing instant presence while frying a fish, pouring a cup of tea, driving a car, or embracing a partner in sexual union. To do this, you must keep your attention fully focused on the nature of the activity your body is doing in the present moment and be aware of how your energy is manifesting in that activity, here and now, on the spot. Feel the sizzle of the frying fish in the handle of the pan; observe the hydrodynamics of the tea pouring from the pot; be alert to the manifold mechanics of operating the car; experience the energy of your partner in sexual embrace rising like a tide on the sea. While meditation allows us to experience our energy in its still state, the activity of daily life lets us experience the way our energy manifests in movement. Both aspects are equally real and equally important, and instant presence is the key to experiencing the nature of both as they manifest in the perfection of the moment. “A true practicioner,” writes Namkhai Norbu in The Mirror, “can appear to drink and laugh like others in a pub, but we can be sure that, without assuming the meditation posture, he is continuing in his state of presence.” Both Taoist and Dzogchen teaching include specific methods that help the practicioner learn how to maintain the state of instant presence in the midst of ordinary activity. Often refered to as “moving meditation,” these practices are designed to integrate inner stillness of mind with outer movement of body, and to unify the states of “being” and “doing,” awareness and action. In Taoist
tradition, various forms of chi-gung such as Eight Brocades, Tai Chi, and Pa Kua are practiced to harmonize body, breath, and mind in smooth rhythmic movements of the body synchronized with the natural flow of the breath, all balanced by presence in a meditative state of mind. Chi-gung develops the ability to engage naturally in the external activities of daily life while remaining in a calm state of awareness inside. In Dzogchen, yantra yoga is practiced as a form of “moving meditation” to bring body and mind into a balanced state of awareness that fuses inner stillness with outer movement. Chi-gung and yantra yoga train practicioners to integrate stillness with movement, and to experience the mind’s essential emptiness as well as its intrinsic energy, without getting distracted by either. Moving meditation should be applied to ordinary activities “until,” as Namkhai Norbu notes, “there is no longer any distinction between meditation and life.” “The Precious Human Existence” In Western religions, people generally disdain their bodies as obstacles to salvation and view the world we live in as a sink of sin and corruption, far removed from a future paradise to which they hope to gain entry after death by behaving in a way prescribed by clerics during life. This view rejects our own experience of life in this world as a valid source of truth and instead demands faith in unproven dogma in exchange for a dubious promise of eternal bliss in an uncharted heaven that can only be reached in death. This is not a good bargain and a highly risky investment of our faith. Better by far to work with the resources life has given us, here and now. Never dismiss your body as a viable vehicle for reaching the goal of enlightened awareness, for without it you don’t stand a chance of success. Your body is the only anchor that keeps your mind grounded in reality and lets you to learn the lessons life has to teach you. By paying close attention to your body and its experience of the world, you prevent your mind from wandering off into false realms of fantasy and dissipating your energy in illusory distractions. Always utilize your breath as a bridge to keep your mind and body linked together in the present moment by breathing consciously at all times, not just while practicing meditation, chi-gung or yoga. Breath is the most effective tool we have for keeping our minds aware of what our bodies are doing in the present moment, and for synchronizing the microcosmic pulse of our personal energy with
In Western religions, people generally disdain their bodies as obstacles to salvation and view the world we live in as a sink of sin and corruption
the macrocosmic pulse of universal energy. By using breath as a metronome, we can harmonize body, breath, and mind in an integrated state of awareness that allows us to experience the real time of the eternal present rather than the artificial time of past and present conjured by linear thinking. The “bottom line” is this : if we wish to attain the Great Perfection of enlightened awareness and understand the Tao of Complete Reality, we must do it here and now, in this body, in this life, while we still have the “precious pearl” of primordial light to illuminate our way. We must always remember that the Clear Light of immortal awareness resides only in the hearts of living beings, and that at death the spiritual Light in our hearts returns to its original source in the primordial heart of the universe. The Light does not illuminate the dark night of death, so unless we merge our minds with the immortal Light in life, while we still have the chance, we will die with minds still clouded in illusion and wander aimlessly through the dark corridors of the illusory astral realms. Known in Tibetan Buddhsim as the bardo (“in-between state”) and in Chinese Taoism as chung-yin (“middle shade”), these astral realms include all of the heavens, hells, and “other worlds” ever imagined by the human mind, and after death they trap the unenlightened minds of those who invested belief in their falsehood during life. The only way out of these shadowy realms of delusion is to get another chance at winning the prize of immortal awareness by getting another life and another body with a heart of Light to serve as a vehicle for practice. Tibetan teachers compare the chance of gaining another human body to the chance that a blind turtle swimming aimlessly in the bottom of the ocean will rise to the surface and stick its head through a ring tossed randomly into the water. Those aren’t very good odds, which is why Tibetan masters always refer to this life we have here and now as the “precious human existence:” because it offers us the precious opportunity to receive the teachings and gives us the vehicle of a human body to practice the methods which can lead us directly to the radiant treasure of enlightenment and the “precious pearl” of immortality. The Great Perfection of awakened awareness is
not attained by rejecting, transforming, or transcending the human condition. It can only be discovered through direct experience of the world as it is, here and now. When you practice instant presence in all aspects of your life, each and every moment has the extraordinary potential to reflect the whole truth of reality in the mirror of your mind and awaken you to the Great Perfection of your own enlightened awareness. There is nothing to reject, nothing to transform, nothing to transcend, and nothing particular to do, because the Clear Light of awareness is always shining here and now in your own heart. All you need to realize it is presence. In closing, I would like to quote the last line of my favorite Tibetan prayer. It’s a call to all one’s teachers to ask for their blessings on the path of practice, and it neatly summarizes the essence of everything written above:
Never dismiss your body as a viable vehicle for reaching the goal of enlightened awareness, for without it you don’t stand a chance of success.
The Empty Vessel
“Grant us your blessings that we may attain the supreme accomplishment of being aware in the Clear Light of Great Perfection, right now, immediately, here in this very place!”
Daniel Reid was born in 1948, in San Francisco, and spent his childhood in East Africa. After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in East Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 1970, and a Masters of Arts degree in Chinese Language and Civilization at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 1973, Reid moved to Taiwan, where he spent 16 years studying and writing about various aspects of traditional Chinese culture, focusing particulaly on Chinese medicine and ancient Taoist health and longevity systems. In 1989, he relocated to Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he continued his research and writing until 1999, when he immigrated with his wife Snow to the Byron Bay region of Australia, where he now makes his home. Dan and Snow have plans to establish a High Mountain Oolung Tea plantation in northern New South Wales. His published books include The Tao of Health, Sex, and Longevity, Complete Book of Chinese Health & Healing (Guarding the Three Treasures in British edition), Handbook of Chinese Healing Herbs, Complete Guide to Chi Gung, and Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine. His health latest title is The Tao of Detox: The Natural Way to Purify Your Body for Health & Longevity, and his most recent publication is My Journey in Mystic China: Old Pu’s Travel Diary” (Inner Traditions, USA), his translation of the writer John Blofeld’s memoirs of China from 1930-48, which Blofeld wrote entirely in Chinese at the end of his life. More information on Daniel's work is available on his website: www.danreid.org
The Essential Qigong Training Course
A Complete Home Study Course on DVD and Audio CD This Essential Qigong Training Course includes
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• 59-page study guide with detailed instructions to guide you through our training each day • All-new material integrated with meditations and exercises from the Ken Cohen classics Qi Healing, Qigong, and The Practice of Qigong • Five audio CDs covering every phase of qigong theory and practice, including 25 rare meditation exercises. • Three DVDs of essential teachings and hands-on exercises, including a complete 90-minute programmable workout.
Ken Cohen is a renowned China scholar and qigong master. Author of the internationally acclaimed book The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy $99 plus $10 shipping and handling Healing and more than 200 journal from The Abode of the Eternal Dao articles, he recently won the leading 1991 Garfied St Eugene, OR 97405 international award in Complemen541-345-8854 tary and Alternative Medicine. 48
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This first textbook (644 pages) includes a thorough understanding of the creation and development of the bodyâ€™s energetic fields, ancient metaphysical theories of tissue formation, and the evolution of ancient Chinese energetic medicine.
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This second textbook (616 pages) includes a thorough understanding of ancient Chinese esoteric alchemy, metaphysical theories of projecting the Soul, Spirit, and Qi, Daoist Sorcery, Psychic Attacks, and Demonic or Spirit Oppression/Possession, as well as the practical Medical Qigong applications used to treat such conditions.
Volume 3 - Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy - Differential Diagnosis; Clinical Foundations; Treatment Principles and Clinical Protocols
This third textbook (580 pages) includes a thorough understanding of the ancient metaphysical theories of Chinese energetic medicine, including Qi diagnosis, Materializing and Dematerializing Energy, Discovering and Removing Energetic Cords, Long Distance Scanning (Moving Clairvoyance), Breath Incantations (Mantras) and Medical Talismans, Hand Seals (Mudras), the ancient Daoist use of the Magic Mirror, Advanced Energy Cultivation and Qi Emission Techniques, Vibrating Palm Cultivation Techniques, and other practical clinical applications of energetic medicine. Volume 4 - Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy - Prescription Exercises and Meditations; Treatment of Internal
Diseases; Pediatrics; Geriatrics; Gynecology; Neurology and Energetic Psychology
This fourth textbook (592 pages) includes a thorough understanding of ancient Daoist and Buddhist energetic exercises, secret meditations, advanced energetic theories, the treatment of Stroke, Paralysis, M.S., Parkinsonâ€™s Disease, as well as other related medical fields of study practical applications of Chinese energetic medicine.
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This fifth textbook (570 pages) includes a thorough understanding of the Medical Qigong treatment protocols and prescription homework used successfully in both China and the U.S. for the treatment of various types of cancer. Written by an internationally recognized Grandmaster and Professor of Medical Qigong training who specializes in cancer treatment.
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Send check or money order to: Abode of the Eternal Dao 1991 Garfield St Eugene, OR 97405 or call: 800-574-5118/541-345-8854.
The Empty Vessel
Reviews Originally published in 1989, our friends at Singing Dragon have brought out a new edition of this fine book. This a quite wonderful and magical book, filled with the gorgeous photography of Si Chi Ko. In it Chungliang, one of the first taiji teachers to come from China to the West, writes not only about the external movements of taiji but of the spirit as well. In lines like the following he takes us on a journey into the magical realm of taiji.
The Chinese Book of Animal Powers by Chungliang Al Huang Singing Dragon Hardcover, 32 pages $18.95 "A great way to learn about the animal powers is to draw the animals and their symbolsâ€”and the best way to draw them is to dance them." So says the author, who has done an admirable job drawing each animal in a Chinese brushwork style. Also included is an explanation and description of each animal and how they might manifest in your life. This is the kind of book that works very well for children as well as adults, the pictures do such a good job embodying the power of each animal.
Do not forget that the only Tai Ji tools is the human body, already perfectly attuned to move in the Tai Ji way. We must learn not to interfere with its organic functioning, but instead, to trust it. Practice each time like it was the first time. Let your practice be like the sun rising anew each morning.
The Lost Secret of Immortality by Barclay Powers Golden Elixir Productions Softcover, 206 pages $16.95
Tai Ji Beginner's Tai Ji Book by Chungliang Al Huang Singing Dragon Softcover, 80 pages, $18.95
Quantum Soup Fortune Cookies in Crisis by Chungliang Al Huang Singing Dragon Oversieze softcover, N e w a n d e n l a rg e d edition 160 pages, $24.95 Another favorite of mine, this is a entertaining and e n l i g h t e n i n g ro m p through Daoist and Z e n c u l t u re , f i l l e d with stories, jokes, aphorisms and many wonderful examples of Chungliang's dancing calligraphy. It is the kind of book that you into at any point and get new insights and new ways of looking at the world. One of my favorites says "The benefit and wisdom of laughter is now crystal clear. And why do so many of us insist on cheerless sobriety? Our third eye is shut tight or turned inward with a frown. Turn the eye around and take a good look at some of our cosmic jokes. Take the s out of cosmic and enjoy what's left." Simple yet deep wisdom from a heart-felt teacher of joy in movement.
An interesting book, which is a companion piece to the movie of the same name, this book takes a look at the immortality or enlightenment practices in Western alchemy (The Philosopher's Stone), Tantric Tibetan (Six Yogas of Naropa, Three Bodies or Trikaya), Hinduism (Kundalini) and Daoist neidan practices (Three Treasures and the Golden Embryo). There are also sections on shamanism, quantum physics and Chinese sexual yoga. The book starts out with some historical references to the Tibetan practice of The Rainbow Body, wherein, upon death, the practitioner's physical body disintegrates rapidly, shrinking down to a very small size or leaving just a few wisps of hair and fingernails. This is similar to the Daoist idea of "corpse liberation." Equating the Philosopher's Stone, the Zen idea of Seeing Your Original Face (the one you had before you were born) and the Golden or Immortal Embryo this books is a great resource guide for anyone interested in field of cross fertilization of spiritual paths and practices. Indeed we do live in exciting and amazing times! In ancient times one had to go through strenuous and often dangerous travels to study with different teachers. Today we have so much information and inspiration at our fingertips with the Internet and books like this one. The most important thing, though, is to be able to really apply ourselves in both learning these practices and then using them in our on-going spiritual cultivation practice. This book is a good guide to these ancient practices of the West and East which, including the eve- growing field of quantum physics, we can transform ourselves and our world.
Directory Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. Three year academic and clinical program. We offer classes in Oriental medicine, acupuncture, and Chinese herbology. Masterâ€™s degree is accredited. Financial aid and China internships are available. Preparatory to national certification and state licensing examinations. (503) 253-3443 for information, literature. Genesee Valley Daoist Hermitage Residential facility. Qigong, sustainable gardening, meditation for self cultivation. Chinese herbs, massage, Daoist healing toharmonize chronic disorders. PO Box 9224, Moscow, Idaho 83843-1724. (208) 285-0123. Tidewater Tai Chi Center has been offering classes and workshops in tai chi, chi kung, meditation, self cultivation practices and other Taoist arts in Norfolk and Virginia Beach since 1974. For information call 757.533.9092. Send email to email@example.com or visit www.tidewatertaichi.com. Taoist Arts Center. Wu Style Tai Chi, Chi Kung, Meditation. Traditional Taoist arts offered in a friendly and cooperative environment. Classes, Workshops, Private Instruction. Director: Susan Rabinowitz, 342 East 9th Street, NYC 10003. (212) 477-7055. www.taoist-arts.com The Alaska College of Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture & Massage Therapy. 2636 Spenard Rd., Anchorage, AK 99503. Offering course work in a full spectrum of Asian Studies including Taiji, Qigong, Meditation, Medical QiGong, Taoist Herbology, Massage Therapy, with advanced study in Thai Yoga Massage and Tui Na Acupressure Massage and a three year Masters program of study in Acupuncture. We offer year round full or part-time schedules of study. We feature biannual Spring and Fall Health and Wellness Festivals where participants can study cutting edge information with our expert staff and visiting masters from around the globe. Traveling to Alaska? Check out our website and make sure our classes and workshops are in your plans. www.touchoftao.com. (907) 279-0135 White Cloud Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico offers learning opportunities to people of all ages. Certification programs in Taoist Studies, Energy Medicine and Chi Nei Tsang: External Qi Healing. Weekly Tai Chi and Qigong classes. Qigong Research and Retreats. Continuing Education for Massage, Nursing and Acupuncture. Ask about retreats. (505) 471-9330, www. whitecloudinstitute.com. The Empty Vessel
Qigong Alliance International is a global Qigong and Tai Chi organization with members from over 50 countries. We believe the practice of Qigong and Tai Chi enhances health and well-being, and brings harmony and balance to those who practice, and to our planet. Our mission is to serve our global Qi community and people everywhere by providing information and education on the benefits of Qigong, Tai Chi and other subtle-energy modalities. We offer: free general membership and several levels of professional and support memberships, teacher/school referrals, networking opportunities, and sponsor Qigong Tours to China & Tibet. Qigong Alliance International (800) 341-8895 www.QiCentral.org Qigong & Daoist Training Center offers certification in qigong and Daoist training and ordination as a priest: qigong, TCM, Daoist Cultivation practices, and Daoist Zuowang Meditation. Michael Rinaldini, founder, American Dragon Gate Lineage, received authorization to train/ordain others by Chinese Daoist Master Wan Sujian. Level 4 NQA Certified Qigong Teacher. www. dragongateqigong.com. 707 829-1855 The Taoist Institute offers studies and services in Chinese qigong, tai chi chuan, Daoist weddings, shamanic energy & Reiki healing. Director: Dr. Carl Totton. 10630 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, CA, 91601 (818) 760-4219. www.taoistinstitute.com. Embrace The Moon School for Taijiquan and Qigong is located in Seattle, Washington. Embrace The Moon offers classes in the full Chen Taijiquan & Luohan Gong Qigong curriculums to all ages and fitness levels as well as offers extensive teacher training and advanced development programs in these systems. Founder & Chief Instructor Kimberly Ivy has 35 years of experience in the Martial Arts (Judo, Aikido, Taijiquan), Qigong & Yoga. She holds black belts in Judo & Aikido, and is ranked 6th Duan Wei by the International Wu Shu Association. Ms. Ivy is a 20th Generation Disciple of Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang and among the senior international Luohan Gong students of Grandmaster Gaspar Garcia. More information on the school can be found at www. embracethemoon.com. Ms. Ivy is available for seminars on the topic of your choosing. Contact her to schedule at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (206) 789-0993.
Tools for Living the Dao Books Daoism Workbook for Spiritual Development of All People by Hua Ching Ni
Summarizes thousands of years of traditional teachings and littleknown practices for spiritual development. There are sections on ancient invocations, postures for energy channeling, stories and sections on emotional independence and a balanced life and Taoist spiritual practices. A good primer for beginning Taoists. Softcover, 240 pages. $14.95
The Complete Works of Lao Tzu by Hua-Ching Ni
Lao Tzu's timeless wisdom provides a bridge the subtle spiritual truth and practical guidlines for harmonious and peaceful living. Mater Ni has included one of the only English translations of the Hua Hu Ching, a later work of Lao Tzu which has been lost to the general public for a thousand years. Softcover, 212 pages. $13.95
The Taoist Inner View of the Universe by Hua-Ching Ni
This presentation of Taoist metaphysics provides guidance for one's own personal life transformation. It offers a glimpse of the inner world and immortal realm known to achieved Taoists and makes it understandable for students aspiring to a more complete life. Softcover, 218 pages. $16.95
Tao, the Subtle Universal Law by Hua-Ching Ni
Most people are unaware that their thoughts and behavior evoke responses from the invisible net of universal energy. The real meaning of Taoist self-discipline is to harmonize with universal law. To lead a good stable life is to be aware of the actual conjoining of the universal subtle law with every moment of our lives. This book presents the wisdom and practical methods that the ancient Chinese have sucessfully used for centuries to accomplish this. Softcover, 165 pages. $12.95
The Esoteric Tao Teh Ching by Hua-Ching Ni
Offers instruction for studying the Tao Teh Ching and reveals the spiritual practices "hidden" in Lao Tzu's classic. These include in-depth techniques for advanced spiritual benefit. This version gives the esoteric meaning of the Tao Teh Ching as revealed to the virtuous leader of the Han Dynasy, Emperor Wen by an unusual old man called "The Old Gentleman on the River." Softcover, 192 pages. $13.95
Mysticism: Empowering the Spirit Within by Hua-Ching Ni
"Fourteen Details for Immortal Medicine" is a chapter on meditation for women and men. Four others are devoted to the study of 68 mystical diagrams, including the ones on Lao Tzu's tower. Softcover, 200 pages. $13.95
Nurture Your Spirits by Hua-Ching Ni
Spirits are the foundation of our being. Hua-Ching Ni reveals the truth about "spirits" based on his personal cultivation and experience so that you can nurture your own spirits, which are the truthful internal foundation of your life being. Softcover, 176 pages. $12.95
The Tao of Philosophy by Alan Watts
This collection of essays compiled from lectures and seminars presents the words of Alan Watts, as he spoke them, on issues of great signifďťżicance
Harmony: The Art of Life by Hua-Ching Ni
Harmony occurs when two different things find the point at which they can link together, Hua-ching Ni shares valuable spiritual understanding and insight about the ability to bring harmony within one's own self, one's relationships and the world. Softcover, 208 pages, $16.95
Moonlight in the Dark Night by Hua-Ching Ni
The difficulty for many people in developing their spirituality is not that they are not moral or spiritual enough, but they are captive to their emotions. This book contains wisdom on how to guide emotions. It also includes simple guidance on how to balance love relationships so your life may be smoother and happier and your spiritual growth more effective. Softcover, 168 pages, $12.95
The Mystical Universal Mother by Hua-Ching Ni
An understanding of both masculine and feminine energies is crucial to understanding oneself, in particular for people moving to higher spiritual evolution. Hua-Ching Ni focuses upon the feminine through the examples of ancient and modern women. Softcover, 240 pages, $14.95
Eternal Light by Hua-Ching Ni
Hua-Ching Ni presents the life and teachings of his father, Grandmaster Ni, Yo San, who was a spiritually achieved person, healer and teacher, and a source of inspiration to Master Ni. Deeper teachings and insights for living a spiritual life and higher achievement. Softcover, 208 pages, $14.95
Enlightenment: Mother of Spiritual Independence by Hua-Ching Ni
The inspiring story and teachings of Master Hui Neng, the father of Zen Buddhism and Sixth Patriarch of the Buddhist tradition, highlight this volume. Hui Neng was a person of ordinary birth, intellectually unsophisticated, who achieved himself to become a spiritual leader. Softcover, 265 pages, $12.50
8,000 years of Wisdom, Volume I and II by Hua-Ching Ni
This two-volume set contains a wealth of practical, down-to-earth advice given by Hua-Ching Ni over a five-year period. Drawing on his training in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Herbology, and Acupuncture, Hua-Ching Ni gives candid answers to questions on many topics. Vol. I Includes dietary guidance, Softcover, 236 pages, $18.50 Vol. II includes sex and pregnancy guidance, Softcover, 241 pages, $12.50
Internal Growth Through Tao by Hua-Ching Ni
In this volume, Hua-Ching Ni teaches about the more subtle, much deeper aspects of life. He also points to the confusion caused by some spiritual teachings and encourages students to cultivate internal growth. Softcover, 208 pages, $13.95
Wandering on the Way: Early Tales and Parables of Chuang Tzu by Victor H. Mair
Complete with an authoritative introduction on Chuang Tzu and his place in Chinese thought and history as well as a glossary of key terms and concepts. Softcover, 402 pages, $18
in the spirit of Taoist thought. They reveal the author's appreciation for the wisdom inherent in the course and current of nature. Hardcover, 96 pages. $16.95
Tao Te Ching translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English
One of our favorite translations of this timeless and sublime work! The text captures the true poetry of Lao Tzu's work and Jane English's wonderful nature photographs illustrate perfectly the philosophy of the sage. Oversize softcover, 174 pages. $18
Chronicles of Tao by Deng Ming-Dao
This volume combines the trilogy of The Wandering Taoist, Seven Bamboo Tablets of the Cloudy Satchel, and Gateway to A Vast World under one cover. A wonderful way to receive Taoist instruction through a story form. This is the tale of Kwan Saihung's training from boyhood, in an ancient Taoist temple high in the Huashan mountains, to adulthood in America. Full of rich characters, Taoist practices and philosophy, and kung fu adventure! Softcover, 476 pages. $19
365 Tao by Deng Ming-Dao
This volume of daily meditations is the perfect thing for bathroom reading or for daily reflection. Deng Ming-Dao's years of training in self-cultivation shine through in these short yet deeply felt passages. Softcover, 380 pages. $16
Scholar Warrior by Deng Ming-Dao
Subtitled An Introduction to the Tao in Everyday Life , this book contains sections on medicine, chi gong, herbs, meditation, finding one's purpose in life, diet, sexuality, death and transcendence. Softcover, 351 pages. $23
101 Lessons of Tao by Luke Chan
A collection of lighthearted yet thought-provoking stories. Illustrated with pen and ink drawings. A good way to experience the wisdom of the sages while being entertained by the ever interesting vagaries of human existence. Softcover, 152 pages. $12.95
Daoist Mystical Philosophy by Livia Kohn
A central text of medieval Daoist mysticism. Written by an unknown author, probably of the Northern Celestial Masters at Lougan, in the late 15th century C.E. it closely resembles the Daode Jing in structure and contents. Edited and commented on several times until the twelfth century, the text played an important rĂ´le in the Tang religious thought. With an excellent in-depth introduction by Livia Kohn, one of the leading experts on medieval Daoist thought and practice. Softcover, 285 pages. $24.95
Women in Daoism by Catherine Despeux & Livia Kohn
Outlines the status and roles of women in the Daoist tradition from its inception to the present day. It describes the historical development and role of Daoist women in Chinese society; focusing on the different ideals women stood for as much as on the religious practices they cultivated. Softcover, 296 pages, $25
Daoist Body Cultivation edited by Livia Kohn
exercises, sexual practices, Qigong and Tai quan. Ultimately aiming to energetically transform the person into a spiritual and transcendent being, Daoist cultivation techniques have proven beneficial for health time and again and can make in important contribution to the world today. Softcover, 243 pages, $24.95
Chuang Tsu: Inner Chapters by Gia-Fu Feng & Jane English
Companion volume to their superb Tao Te Ching, once again the translation, calligraphy and nature photography combine to make an exhilarating presentation of the master of sublime ridiculousness. Softcover, 164 pages. $18
Chuang Tzu: The Inner Chapters by Solala Towler
A new rendition of the classic Taoist text. Solala Towler's brilliant commentary and empathetic interpretation of these timeless tales demonstrates the profound implications of this great work for the modern age. Oversize softcover, 170 pages, 22.95
Cha Dao: The Way of Tea, Tea as a Way of Life by Solala Towler
The art and practice of drinking tea is rooted in Daoism and emerged from a philosophy that honored a life of grace and gratitude, balance and harmony, and fulfillment and enjoyment â€“ what the ancient Chinese called Cha Dao, The Way of Tea. Cha Dao takes us on a fascinating journey through the Way of tea from its origins in the sacred mountains and temples of China, through its links to Daoist concepts such as wu wei or non-striving and the value of worthlessness. This book will interest tea lovers, as well as those who want to learn more about tea culture, Daoist and Zen thought and practice, and Asian history and culture. Softcover, 172 pagers, $16.95
The 12 Chinese Animals by Zhongxian Wu
The Chinese horoscope holds the key to a better understanding of self and others, and to living a life of harmony. Not just your year of birth, but also the month, day and hour have significance in true Chinese astrology. Master Zhongxian Wu explains how to find your power animal symbolise and how to learn from their wisdom. Using the 12 animal symbols as a guide, you will learn how to better understand your personality and make choices that profoundly influence your health, relationships, career, and finances, allowing you to live up to your greatest potential. Harcover, 189 pages, $18.95
The Chinese Book of Animal Powers by Chungliang Al Huang
The powers unleashed by Chungliang Huang's masterful brush paintings will send centuries of wisdom and energy coursing through you. We know these animal energies reside deep within us and it is Master's Huang's genus to release them through his guiding words and swirling brushstrokes. Year by year, month by month, day by day, Chungliang is our laughing, dancing, shape-shifting guide to an ancient realm of knowing. Hardcover, 32 pages, $18.95
Harmonizing Yin and Yang: The Dragon-Tiger Classic by Eva Wong
A translation of a concise Taoist alchemical manual along with its two most important commentaries. Covers external alchemy, sexual alchemy and internal alchemy. Softcover, 146 pages. $14.95
a comprehensive volume by a dedicated group of scholars and practitioners that coves the key preaches of medical healing, breathing, diets,
The Empty Vessel
Everyday Tao by Deng Ming-Dao
This companion volume to 365 Tao offers clear, specific directions on bringing the Taoist spirit into our work, our relationships, and other aspects of our everyday lives. Softcover, 256 pages. $15
The Tao of Zen by Ray Grigg
A must-read for anyone interested in the influence of Taoism on Zen Buddhism. This book llustrates how much of what we think of as uniquely Zen—such as love of spontaneity; connection to nature; belief in direct experience; non-reliance on sutras, rituals and priests; love of paradox; human and "foolish wisdom"—all come directly from Taoism. Softcover, 357 pages. $16.95
Entering the Tao by Hua Ching Ni
A valuable anthology of Master Ni's work, culled from prolific writings; it provides a good overview of his work. There is advice and inspiration on many aspects of life, from the physical to the spiritual. A good introduction to this contemporary Taoist master's work. Softcover, 158 pages. $13
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
A playful and fun way to learn Taoism, using the stories of Winnie the Pooh. A great book for that friend who you want to introduce to Taoism in an entertaining and endearing fashion. Softcover, 158 pages. $11.95
Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition translated by Jonathan Star
Contains not only a new translation but provides verbatim translation of each verse—including Chinese character, pin yin as well as all possible English meanings. Also contains commentary as well as further definitions of Chinese characters, a concordance as well as Wade giles to Pinyin conversion. A great way to delve deeply into this ancient classic as well as derive your own version of Laozi's work. Hardcover, 349 pages. $32.95
Taoism: The Road to Immortality by John Blofeld
In this comprehensive study, John Blofeld explains the fundamental concepts of Taoism, tells many stories of ancient masters, and provids incisive reflections on Taoist verse. Taoist yoga, a little known aspect of Taoist practice, is also discussed in detail. He also writes in a colorful and unique way about his visits to Taoist hermitages in China and his interchanges with contemporary masters. Softcover, 195 pages. $16
Taoism: Way Beyond Seeking by Alan Watts
Transcribed lectures from between 1968 and 1973 covering such topics as "The Philosophy of the Tao," "Being in the Way," and "Landscape, Soundscape," Entertaining and illuminating lectures by one of the great bridges between East and West of this century. Softcover, 109 pages. $10.00
Daoism and Chinese Culture by Livia Kohn
A long-awaited textbook that introduces the major schools, teachings, and practices of Daoism, this work presents a chronological survey that is thematically divided into four parts: Ancient Thought, Religious Communities, Spiritual Practices, and Modernity. It offers an integrated vision of the Daoist tradition in its historical and cultural context, establishing connections with relevant information on Confusionism, Chinese Buddhism, popular religion, and political developments. Softcover, 228 pages. $14.95
Cultivating Stillness: A Taoist Manual for Transforming Body and Mind translated by Eva Wong
Written between the second and fifth centuries, this book is attributed to T'ai Shang Lao-chun, the legendary figure widely known as Lao-tzu. It was a principle part of the Taoist canon for many centuries. Accompany-
ing commentary, written in the nineteenth century by Shui ching Tzu, explains the alchemical symbolism of the text. Softcover, 136 pages. $15
A Gathering of Cranes: Bringing the Tao to the West by Solala Towler
In this volume of interviews with nine well-known authors and teachers who have brought Taoism from China to the West, we learn the wisdom and experiences of Taoism, including: meditation, qigong, taiji, Chinese medicine and the guidance on how to live a healthy and long-lasting life—mentally, spiritually and physically. Softcover, 149 pages. $12.95
Cultivating the Energy of Life by Eva Wong
A translation of the Hui-Ming Ching and its commentaries, one of the most important Taoist classics on the arts of longevity. Discusses the practices of the Microcosmic and Macrocosmic Orbits, the role of breath in circulating energy, and the conservation of procreative energy in a straightforward and concrete way. Softcover, 113 pages. $10
The Tao of the Tao Te Ching by Michael Lafargue
Interprets the concept of "Tao" in the Tao Te Ching as a spiritual state of mind cultivated in a particular school of ancient China, a sate of mind which also expressed itself in a simply but satisfying life-style, and in a low-key but effective style of political leadership. Softcover, 270 pages, $21.95
Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching by Robert G. Henricks NEW
A new translation based on the recently discover Ma-wang-tui texts. These texts, which were buried in 168 BCE are more than five centuries older than any others known This ground breaking work reassess the story and significance of this well-known text and its role in the development of Taoism in early China. Softcover, 283 pages, $20
The Essential Chuang Tzu by Sam Hamill & J.P. Seaton NEW
A compendium of wisdom stories, verses, fables, conversations and anecdotes. At turns playful and acerbic, these writings present a philosophy of life that is politically radical and deeply spiritual. Hardcover, 170 pages, $22.95.
The Taoist Classics The Collected Translations of Thomas Cleary
Masterful translations of some of the essential texts of Taoism. Volume I New Tao Te Ching Chuang-tzu Wen-tzu The Book of Leadership and Strategy Sex, Health, and Long Life Softcover, 485 pages. $24.95
Volume II Understanding Reality The Inner Teachings of Taoism The Book of Balance and Harmony Volume III Vitality, Energy, Spirit The Secret of the Golden Flower Immortal Sisters Awakening to the Tao Softcover, 561 pages. $24.95
Volume IV The Taoist I Ching I Ching Mandalas Softcover, 456 pages. $24.95
Tales From the Tao by Solala Towler
Teaching stories from Chuang Tzu and Lieh Tzu along with passages from the Tao Te Chin as well as original stories form the author. Lavishly illustrated with photographs from China, Nepal and Tibet. Oversize softcover, 250 pages. $22.95 Small Harcover, 192 pages, $12.95 Small Hardcover Spanish version, 192 pages, $12.95
Qigong/Chi Kung Internal Alchemy by Hua Ching Ni
" Ancient spiritually achieved ones used alchemical terminology metaphorically for human internal energy transformation. Internal alchemy intends for an individual to transform one's emotions and lower energy to be higher energy and to find the unity of life in order to reach the divine immortality." Another valuable book from this contemporary Taoist master. Softcover, 288 pages. $15.95
Cosmic Fusion by Mantak Chia
Cosmic Fusion exercises establish the spiritual body firmly in the lower abdomen, where chi energy is gathered and distributed to all parts of the body--and into all creation. The fully illustrated exercises in this book also show how to collect and channel the greater energies of the stars and planets. By “fusing” all these different energies together, a harmonious whole is created, a unity of what is above and below. Softcover 272 pages, 208 color and b/w illustrations, $18.95.
The Way of Qigong by Kenneth S. Cohen
A truly comprehensive book on qigong, including theory, scientific basis for qigong, qigong basics, a complete qigong workout, self-healing massage and the Dao of diet. Also includes extensive appendices. A great book for beginners! Softcover, 428 pages. $14.95
Complete Guide to Chi-Kung by Daniel Reid
The author is able to achieve an impressive balance between modern scientific knowledge and the ancient wisdom of the Taoist sages. Good for anyone who plans to begin practicing qigong or for anyone wishing to go a little deeper in their own practice and written by a well-known author on Chinese medicine and qigong. One of the best books we've seen on this subject. Softcover, 336 pages. $19.95
Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body by B.K. Frantzis
As well as including a comprehensive guide to chi kung theory, this book also gives you a complete, systematic lesson plan, with 98 functional illustrations and built-in safeguards to ensure that the exercises are practiced correctly. The author explains not only how they are done, but why. Going beyond mere body movement, he teaches from the inside out, linking the biomechanics and anatomy of the physical body with the subtleties of the energetic (chi) body. Softcover, 200 pages. $16.95
101Taoist Ways to Transform Stress into Vitality by Mantak Chia Energy Balance through the Tao: Exercises for
An introduction to the ancient Taoist exercise system of Tao Yin. Tao Yin focuses on cr12eating balance between internal and external energies and revitalizing the body, mind, and spirit with a combination of strength, flexibility, and internal energy exercises. Its ultimate goal is for the practitioner to become pure, responsive, and full of energy, like a child. Softcover, 224 pages, $18.
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Fusion of the Eight Physchic Channels by Mantak Chia
Shows how to open the Great Bridge Channel and the Great Regulator Channel--the last of the eight psychic channels that connect the twelve organ meridians and enable energy to flow from one meridian to another. By opening these psychic channels in conjunction with the Microcosmic Orbit, practitioners can balance and regulate the energy flow throughout the body to protect all the body’s centers. Softcover, 128 pages, $14.95
The Root of Chinese Chi Kung
by Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming
A valuable work by a well known chi kung master, this volume covers history, basic concepts, categories , chi kung theories as well as keys to chi kung training. Softcover, 272 pages. $27.95
The Eight Treasures by Maoshing Ni
Eight sets of exercises that combine toning and strengthening movements, stretching, and specific breathing techniques for the purpose of maintaining health and preventing disease. An ancient system of energy enhancing movements based on the natural motion of the heavenly
Chinese Soaring Crane Qigong by Zhao, Jin Xiang
A workbook of the immensely popular form of chi gong. This easy to learn, half hour form is practiced by millions of people in China and is extremely powerful. (See video section for accompanying video) Softcover, spiral bound, 102 pages. $30
Mastering Chi by Hua Ching Ni
A great introduction to anyone just beginning qigong practice. Includes: Choosing the Exercise Right For You; sections on Children, Young People, Older People, Men and Women; and descriptions of various types of taiji and qigong exercises. Softcover, 220 pages. $17.95
Attune Your Body With Dao-In by Hua Ching Ni
A step-by-step instructional book on this ancient Taoist exercise. Much like a Taoist yoga workout, Dao-In is gentle and easy to do. Illustrated. (See video section for accompanying video). Softcover, 135 pages. $16.95
The Healer Within by Roger Jahnke
Details the scientific healing and personal cultivation aspects of qigong for Western readers and practitioners. Offers tools and methods for treating and maintaining a personal qigong and meditation practice—from gentle movement through self-applied massage, breathing practices and deep relaxation and meditation practices. Softcover, 264 pages $14
by Mantak Chia
An introduction to the ancient Taoist exercise system of Tao Yin. Tao Yin focuses on cr12eating balance between internal and external energies and revitalizing the body, mind, and spirit with a combination of strength, flexibility, and internal energy exercises. Its ultimate goal is for the practitioner to become pure, responsive, and full of energy, like a child. Softcover, 224 pages, $18.
Fusion of the Eight Psychic Channels by Mantak Chia
Shows how to open the Great Bridge Channel and the Great Regulator Channel--the last of the eight psychic channels that connect the twelve organ meridians and enable energy to flow from one meridian to another. By opening these psychic channels in conjunction with the Microcosmic Orbit, practitioners can balance and regulate the energy flow throughout the body to protect all the body’s centers. Softcover, 128 pages, $14.95
The Root of Chinese Chi Kung
by Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming
A valuable work by a well known chi kung master, this volume covers history, basic concepts, categories , chi kung theories as well as keys to chi kung training. Softcover, 272 pages. $27.95
The Eight Treasures by Maoshing Ni
Eight sets of exercises that combine toning and strengthening movements, stretching, and specific breathing techniques for the purpose of maintaining health and preventing disease. An ancient system of energy enhancing movements based on the natural motion of the heavenly bodies. (See accompanying video). Softcover, 196 pages, $17.95
The Healing Promise of Qi by Roger Jahnke
One of the best resources for using both qigong and taiji for creating a healthy and fulfilling life. Filled with exercises, stories, illustrations and wonderful insights by someone who has spent many years practicing and these these ancient arts. Hardcover, 316 pages, $24.95
Health and Long Life The Chinese Way by Livia Kohn
This book, written by theauthor of a number ob books on Daoist philosophy and practice, is a good overall view of Chinese health practices, which cover a wide variety of subjects. Besides chapters on diagnosis, acupuncture, massage and herbal treatments, the book contains chapters on fengshui, food cures, qigong, meditation, inner alchemy and sexual practices. Softcover, 235 pages, $24.95
The Chi Revolution by Bruce Frantzis
Challenges you to free ourself from negative actions and the incessant chatter of our monkey mind, and optimize you health and well-being. The unique energetic exercises that comprise the Chi Rev Workout will teach you how to activate and strengthen your chi so you can start relaxing into your life today. Softcover, 223 pages, $19.95.
Jade Woman Qigong by Master Liu He
Master Liu's signature form of qigong is desinged to help all women achieve wholeness by activating the innate healing power within their own minds and bodies. The result is a greater awareness of all aspects of a women's spiritual, mental, emotional and physical life.Softcover, 236 pages. $27.95
Chinese Martial Arts/Taiji (Tai Chi) The Power of Internal Martial Arts by B.K. Frantzis
The most informative book on internal martial arts we have encountered, clearly explains the differences between external, internal and combination martial art styles, indicating the strengths and weakness of each art. Covers tai chi, bagua and hsing-i. Includes a section on Using Energy to Heal which teaches the health aspects of the martial arts. Softcover, 344 pages $19.95
The Essence of Tai Chi Chi Kung by Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming
Tai chi chuan training usually starts with the practice of special chi kung sets. These are designed to help the beginner understand chi and to learn how to use the concentrated mind to lead the chi so that it can circulate smoothly. This book presents a brief discussion of the background and principles of Chinese chi kung and tai chi chuan, then explains several tai chi chi kung practice routines. Softcover, 148 pages. $18.95
Thinking Body, Dancing Mind by Chungliang Al Huang & Jerry Lynch
In this remarkable book, tai chi expert Chungliang Al Huang and renowned professional and Olympic spirits psychologist Jerry Lynch teach you the time-honored principles of successful performance—whether on the playing field, in the office, or in our relationships. By mastering the unique strategies and mental exercises of the TaoAthlete, you'll unlock the extraordinary powers of body, mind, and spirit that will lead you to victory in any field of endeavor. Softcover, 306 pages. $13.95
Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain by Chungliang Al Huang
A more in-depth exploration of tai ji, both the formal practice and what Chungliang calls "the tai ji of life." Also includes wonderful photos (black and white) by Si Chi Ko. For anyone interested in taking the form both deeper and wider into their life and the rest of the world. Softcover,188 pages. $17.95
Chinese Medicine The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine by Ted. J. Kaptchuck
One of the first and best books published on Traditional Chinese Medicine for the lay person. This book covers yin yang theory, three treasures, eight condition diagnosis, meridians, organ system and lots more, all presented in an easy-to-understand format. Softcover, 500 pages. $18.95
The Complete Book of Chinese Health and Healing by Daniel Reid
This book does a very good job of not only explaining Chinese medicine but putting it into its Taoist context, including chi gong, meditation and diet. Softcover, $22.95
A Handbook of Chinese Healing Herbs by Daniel Reid
A handy guide to 108 of the most widely used Chinese herbs, with descriptions, therapeutic effects, preparation methods and dosages. Also includes a brief overview of the basic terms and concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine, simple instructions for preparing herbal formulas at home, a guide to dozens of readily available, prepared herbal formulas for common ailments, and an index of symptoms and ailments and more. Softcover, 328 pages. $15
The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine A New Translation of the Neijing Suwen with Commentary by Maoshing Ni
Perhaps the most famous classic of Chinese Medicine, attributed to the Yellow Emperor, who reigned during the third millennium BCE. This new translation consists of the eighty-one chapters of the section of the Neijing known as the Suwen or "Questions of Organic and Fundamental Nature." For the non-practitioner, this text has many insights into understanding seasonal and dietary influences and general lifestyle habits that affect the energy flow through our meridians and into our organs. Softcover, 316 pages. $18
Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine by Harriet Beinfield & Efram Korngold
Addresses three vital areas of Chinese medicine—theory, therapy and types—to present a comprehensive, yet understandable guide to this ancient system. Easily understandable by the layperson. Softcover, 432 pages. $14
Power of Natural Healing by Hua-Ching Ni
Discusses the natural aspects of healing in contrast to conventional medicine. Offers information and practices which can enhance any treatment method currently being used by anyone seeking full health. It goes deeper to discuss methods of Taoist cultivation which promote
a healthy life, including Taoist spiritual practices for achievement and attaining immortality. Softcover, 200 pages. $14.95
The Tao of Nutrition by Maoshing Ni
In addition to describing the energetic properties of various foods according to Taoist belief, the author offers a guide to a balanced diet based on the principles of Chinese nutrition. Suggested remedial diets and food items for common conditions ranging from acne to worms are included. An additional section covers simple vegetarian recipes. Softcover, 214 pages. $14.95
Chinese Herbal Medicine by Daniel P. Reid
Highly illustrated, it examines the natural flora and fauna on which herbal medicine is based and explains the philosophy that propelled its development. Describing the art and practice of herbal medicine as applied today, it also highlights the potential to combine modern Western diagnoses and traditional Chinese treatment to form a complete and effective system for both preventative and curative medicine. Softcover, 175 pages. $25
Sexual Cultivation Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy by Mantak Chia & Michael Winn
A unique volume of Taoist Sexual Yoga, especially attuned to the male. These practices enable men to conserve and transform sexual energy through its circulation in the Microcosmic Orbit, invigorating and rejuvenating the body's vital functions. Hidden for centuries, these esoteric techniques and principles make the process of linking sexual energy and transcendent states of consciousness accessible to the reader. Soft cover, 250 pages. $16.95
Healing Love Through the Tao: Cultivating Female Sexual Energy by Mantak and Maneewan Chia
This book outlines the methods for cultivating female sexual energy, introducing for the first time in the West the different techniques for transforming and circulating female sexual energy. Softcover, 328 pages. $14.95
The Tao of Love and Sex by Jolan Chang
Longevity and the sexual response: the prolongation of virility into extreme old age; the art of lovemaking regarded as a basic therapy in the Taoist medical canonâ€”these subjects, which are burning topics for us in the West, are discussed with insight in this first detailed study of the lovecraft of the Taoist medical schools. Illustrated with classical erotic paintings. Softcover, 136 pages. $15
Sexual Secrets: The Alchemy of Ecstasy by Nik Douglas & Penny Slinger
A definitive and all-encompassing guide to sex and mysticism. Profusely illustrated throughout, it covers sacred sexuality from the traditions of India, Nepal, Tibet, China and Japan. Reveals the wisdom of the sages whose teachings on sexuality have stood the test of twenty centuries and, even today, show how physical love can become the pathway to liberation. Softcover, 383 pages. $25
The Tao of Sex by Howard S. Levy & Akira Ishihara
Consists of a highly readable translation of the sexological sections found in the Japanese medical encyclopedia "The Essence of Medical Prescriptions" (Ishimpo) which has been celebrated as the most important bible of sex for East Asia. Softcover, 241 pages. $15.95
The Empty Vessel
The Sexual Teachings of the White Tigress: Secrets of the Female Taoist Masters by Hsi Lai
Translation of a 3,000-year-old White Tigress sexual manual explaining techniques for absorbing male sexual energy, intensifying organs, restoring beauty, re-creating youthful sexual energy and enliven the sexual organs. Softcover, 264 pages, $19.95
The Sexual Teachings of the Jade Dragon: Taoist Methods for Male Sexual Revitalization by Hsi Lai
Reveals how Taoist sexual practices can help men achieve "immortality" through the enhancement of their sexual prowess through a 3,000-yearold system. The goal of the Jade Dragon is health, longevity and immortally though external and internal regimens for the enhancement and accumulation of the Three treasures of Taoismâ€”jing (sexual and physical energy), qi (breath and vital energy), and shen (spiritual and mental energy). Softcover, 242 pages, 16.95
DVDs Attune Your Body with Dao-In by Hua-Ching Ni
Dao-In is a Taoist exercise consisting of a series of gentle, rhythmic movements to adjust and attune, and at the same time generate, strengthen or invigorate personal energy. Presented by contemporary Taoist master, Hua-Ching Ni, himself in his eighties, who demonstrates the movements and is himself an example of the healing properties of this ancient yet simple practice. 50 minutes $39.95
Self-Healing Qigong For the Five Organ Systems by Dr. Maoshing Ni
An excellent course in self-healing qigong, this video offers a comprehensive course as taught by Dr. Maoshing Ni of Yo San University. Covers specific techniques for healing and strengthening the five major organ systems (liver, kidney/bladder, respiratory/immune, cardiovascular and digestive). Each organ system is explained in detail in both medical and energetic terms and then the specific exercise is taught. Two hours, $39.95
Qigong:Awakening and Mastering the Medicine Within by Roger Jahnke Includes the Enhance Vitality Method, a practice of stretches and warm-ups to enhance the movement of blood, lymph, qi and oxygen throughout the body; the Seven Precious Practices, movements to gather and release qi; the Tendon Changing Practice, concerned with optimizing coordinating and balancing the connective tissues of the body; Marrow Washing Practice, combines accumulated qi from the elements to store it in the marrow, enhancing blood and immune factors. Roger Jahnke brings a gentle yet authoritative voice to this field. 60 minutes, $29.95
Eight Simple Exercises for Health: Eight Pieces of Brocade by Yang Jwing-Ming Companion video to the book of the same name. $29.95
The Eight Treasures by Maoshing Ni
Companion video to the book of the same name. Never before presented in its entire 32 movement form, this system of Eight Treasure's is unique in its ability to work the body from head to toe while unblocking obstructions in the energy channels. $39.95
Qigong by Ken Cohen
Covers the two most important basic forms of qigongâ€”Healing Sounds and Standing Meditation. Use to cleanse the body of stagnant energy and recharge the body with fresh, healing breath. Includes both basic and intermediate practices, complementary meditations and a clear summary of underlying principles and theory. $29.95
Jade Woman Qigong by Maser Liu He
Master Liu's signature form of qigong is desinged to help all women achieve wholeness by activating the innate healing power within their own minds and bodies. The result is a greater awareness of all aspects of a women's spiritual, mental, emotional and physical life. 35 minutes, $35 NEW
Chi Kung Fundamentals: Five Animals Do Six Healing Sounds + Inner Smile by Michael Winn
China's oldest shamanic chi kung + Ocean Breathing. Fuses color, sound, breath, virtue and movement into One fun, powerful method. Audio (4.5 hrs) + Video (1.5 hrs) $59 Video only $24.95
Open Micro-Cosmic Orbit by Michael Winn
10 top methods. Advanced jing-chi-shen theory, guided meditation to mix chi & blood. Five unique Heaven & Earth chi kung movements easily open and balance yin-yang chi flow. Video (2 hrs) $45
Healing Love/Tao of Sex by Michael Winn
Heal male, female sexual problems (impotence to PMS). Sexual chi kung creates Original Force suction. Supercharge your orgasm, boost creativity, grasp sexual relationship dynamics. No partner need, for single or dual cultivators. Audio (9 hrs) + Video (2 hrs) $135. Audio only: $109
Primordial (Wuji) Chi Kung by Michael Winn
A magical ceremony mixes tai chi, feng shui, alchemy & chi kung. Gathers chi of directions, collect power of Heaven & Earth, opens inner heart to Supreme Unknown. Easy to learn, delivers chi fast. Video (1.5 hrs) $45
Deep Healing Chi Kung by Michael Winn
Used in Chinese chi kung hospitals for chronic & terminal illness. I added alchemical elements, now spiritually powerful, useful to anyone seeking deep change. Video (1.5 hrs): $29
by Jack Bray, M.A. This is a delightful dancing romp full of qigong healing dance movements that strengthen the five major organ systems. It contains detoxification movements. It moves energy along the meridian lines and through the organs: a powerful form of qigong done to music. 20 minutes, $19.95
Self-Massage and One Thousand Hands Buddha by Liu He
Self Massage can be practiced any time of the day to bring quiet to the mind and awaken the body with renewed energy. One Thousand Hands Buddha is a spiritual healing qigong method inspired by the symbolic positioning of Buddha's fingers, referred to as "mudras." It is an approach producing calmness, which inhibits the heart from "galloping away", thus leading the practitioner into a state of silence and peace a little at a time. 64 minutes. $35
Kung Fu for Kids by Nicholas Yang and Ben Warner
An instructional program that teaches children the basics of traditional Kung Fu in a fun and exciting way. The discipline and focus learned in Kung Fu can help kids in many other activities, including academics, sports, music, and literature. 75 minutes. $19.95 NEW
CDs Taoism: Essential Teachings of the Way and Its Power by Ken Cohen
In easy-to-follow language, Ken Cohen reveals Lao Tzu's vast spiritual legacy, including Taoism's mystical roots in China's ancient shamanistic tradition. This complete introduction to Taoism covers: origins, philosophy, and religion; keys to ethical living, inner silence and simplicity; Taoist meditation for awareness and healing; Taoist prayers, rituals, and iconography; teachings on diet, poetry, feng shui, dream yoga, and much more. 3 cassette set: $24.95
Practice of Qigong: Meditation and Healing by Ken Cohen
5 cassette set. A complete study course. This step-by-step course covers every phase of qigong theory and practice, including 25 rare meditation exercises with specific instructions for breathing, postures, and visualizations. 6 hours, $39.95
Chi Kung Meditations by Ken Cohen
Teaches a series of authentic Chinese meditations which are designed to help you use your mind to direct the flow of energy within your body. Step-by-step instructions cover correct chi kung postures, awareness control and proper breathing methods for three meditations to heal the body, the mind, and the spirit. $10.95
Bowls of Compassion CD by Karma Moffett
The haunting music of Tibetan bowls, made of secret alloys of five, seven and sometimes nine metals, including meteorite. Ringing pairs and groups of bowls create overtones that interpenetrate each other and the body of the listener, allowing one not only to hear the music but also internally experience the vibration of the tones. Perfect for meditation or gentle movement. $15.95
Ocean Bowls CD by Karma Moffett
The ocean's natural rhythms and bowls' harmonic tones penetrate the subtle energy body. Stagnant parts of energy immobilized from injury, trauma or stress are gently vibrated into movement. With repetition energy is released and circulated at increasingly profound levels. Perfect for movement or meditation! 60 minutes, $15.95
Mountain Gate by Solala Towler
A soothing blend of nature sounds, Tibetan Singing Bowls, bamboo flute, Native flute. Designed specifically for taiji, qigong, meditation, yoga or massage. Two 30-minute sessionsâ€”Sun Rises over the Sea & Viewing Moonlight Through the Pines. 60 minutes, $15.95
Sacred Soundings by Solala Towler
Combining throat singing, harmonic overtone singing, chant and Tibetan bowls, dungchen (7-foot Tibetan horn), ad six different Native American and Chinese Flutes. Takes the listen on a journey to the sacred mountains and then deep into the mysterious mediation caves where one can listen to the transcendent sounds of the breathing, singing earth, then back down the mountain to enter the world again, renewed, refreshed and rejuvenated. 60 minutes, $15.95
Windhorse: Spirit of Tibet by Solala Towler
A mystic blend of recordings made in the sacred city of Lhasa and the Tibet inspired music of Solala. The haunting sounds of the monks and nuns of the Jokang Temple are joined with flute, overtone singing, throat singing, tabla and other instruments and with vocal chant by Solala and friends. 64 minutes, $15.95
Boundless by Solala Towler
A mystic bland of ocean waves and riversong, Tibetan singing bowls, native and bamboo flute, chant and harmonic overtone singing. 60 minutes, $15.95. NEW
Taoist Sexual secrets by Michael Winn
Yin-Yang as cosmic sexual theory...sexual, energetic & spiritual orgasm...Tao secrets: sexual energy cultivation...male and female Tao practices...medical sexology for sex dysfunctions...sexual vitality qigong (guided) 7 CDs (9 hours) $109
Traditions of Tao Herbal Food Supplements
Qinxin by Zhongsian Wu.
These formulas are a comprehensive nutrition foundation. The formulas cleanse, nourish, strengthen, balance and energize the body’s systems, building toward and sustaining optimal health in body, mind and spirit. Used for centuries for internal cultivation, these formulas will enhance and support your energy cultivation practices.The formulas have been brought to us through the auspices of Taoist master, Hua Ching Ni. In concert with your cultivation or simply your desire for health and longevity, the Ni family, with 38 generations of doctors of Oriental Medicine. has offered Traditions of Tao Regenerative Food Grade Herbs, known as “Superior Foods”, or “Immortal Foods”. Health Pack (700 High Performance, 180 Five Elements, Ancient Treasures Tea, Regenerating Cream) $145 Five Elements: concentrated formula (180 caps) $50 High Performance (700 tabs) $50 High Performance (powder) $55 Ancient Treasures Tea $10 Internal Cleanse Tea $10 Spring Tea $10 Summer Tea $10 Fall Tea $10 Winter Tea $10 Calming/Sleeping (caps) $21.95 Dura-Bone (caps) $21.95 Cold & Flu (caps) $21.95 Healthy Joint & Arthritis (caps) $21.95
Beautiful music played on the guqin, and ancient Chinese intrument, long treasured by scholars and Daoist masters. Music specially designed for use in qigong, taiji and meditation. $15.95
Tao of Healing by Dean Evenson
Beautiful qin music with haunting flute. $15.95
Tao of Peace by Dean Evenson Lyrical flute and qin.
Ocean Dreams by Dean Evenson
Beautiful sounds of ocean waves, whales, flute and vocals. A favorite here at the abode! $15.95
Internal Chi Breathing by Michael Winn
Use each breath to build a powerful Energy Body anywhere, anytime! Rare empty force method opens Original Chi in dan tien (belly), detoxifies & creates warm current. Audio (4.5 hrs) $49.50
Taoist Dream Practice by Michael Winn
Work spiritually & effortlessly while you sleep. Go beyond lucid dreaming power napping, lucid waking, dream commands, shortcuts to dimensional travel. Fast way to improve health, manifest what you need. Audio (9 hrs) $99
Passages $17.95 Superclarity $17.95 Feminine Desire (Libido Enhancement) $19.95 Dragon Male (Performance Enhancement) $19.95 Shipping & Handling for Health Pack $6.50 All others $5.00 for first item and $2 for each additional item.
For more information on these formulas see our website at www.abodetao.com
The Empty Vessel
Special Sale on Back Issues
Many of our back issues have already sold out. If you would like to order back issues we still have a few sets of 39 issues available for $200, postage included! (U.S. postage only) For overseas orders please contact us at email@example.com. Fall 2000
Premier Issue Teacher of Natural Spiritual Truth: an interview with Hua-Ching Ni The Value of Worthlessness
Cultivating the Physical Body The Risks of Cultivating Internal Power Zhuangzi Speaks Comics A Taoist Abroad
"Nothing Special": an interview with Kenneth Cohen The School of Auto-Idiocy Sitting Still: Meditation
"Cultivating the Garden": an interview with Maoshing Ni
Longevity and the Eight Brocades Daoist Sitting Meditation Interview with Zhongxian Wu
The Feminine and the Dao: an interview with Ursula K. LeGuin Daoism and the Classical Chinese Arts The Daoist Roots of Zen Buddhism
Qigong as a Portal to Presence Daoist Alchemy Daoism and the Origins of Qigong The Power of Menopause
The Ancient Daoist Magic Mirror 2 1st Century Strategies for New Daoism The Inner Smile
Myth of Myself by Alan Watts Achieving Harmony in a World of Conflict Jing Hwa: The Golden Flower of Tao Mentoring
Surfing the Wu Wei Taoism for Children and Teenagers
Eight Immortal Days with Kwan Sai-Hung Refining the Mind Exploring the Terrain of Taoist China
Qigong Cautions Invoking the Heart of Compassion Interview with T.K. Shih
Cha Tao: The Way of Tea Qi Qing: The Seven Emotions The Tao of Perfect Eyesight
Tao and the Great Mother Qigong Mysteries and Practices Tao Yin: Meditation in Movement
Working Out, Working Within Taoist Psychotherapy The Power of Internal Martial Arts with B.K. Frantzis
The Eight Immortals of Taoism Five Elements and Taoist Feng Shui Health, Illness and Healing in the Inner Tradition
Trusting Your True Nature Understanding Chinese Medicine
Qigong and Unconditional Love The Valley Spirit (Living Taoism) The Taoist Antidote to Stress and Illness
The Death of Chuang Tzu The Dao of Consciousness Qigong Prison Ministery Teachings From the Dao Wandering on the Wind: Two Chapters from Zhuangzi
A Daoist Tea Ceremony Dao and Qi Wandering on the Wind: Two Chapters from the Zuangzi
The Death of Chuang Tzu The Dao of Consciousness Qigong Prison Ministery
Transforming the Energy of Negativity
Spiritual/Mental Qualities of the OrgansEV Tour to China & Tibet
Gardening with Qi A Taoist View of Enlightenment Interview with Eva Wong
Discovering the I Ching Shen: The Celestial Storehouse Lu Yu Meets a True Tea Master
Daoist Lower Dan-tien Psychotherapy Medical Qigong Qigong Master Wan Su-jian
Looking for Daoists in China, Mortal and Immortal Huanyang Qigong: Tracing Life to Its Roots Qigong Fever
Spring 2008 Special I Ching Issue
The I Ching: The Motherlode of the Chi Revolution Introduction to the Guidance of the Sixty-Four Hexagrams Flying with the I Ching Methods of Divination Symbolism and Prediction with the Yijing
The Secret Training of Daoist Magical Incantations The Making of an Immortal The Crocodile and the Crane
Return to Wuyi Mountain with Chungliang Al Huang The Chinese way of the Sword Sexual Qigong Chicken Soup for Daoist Alchemy
Returning to Essence Through Shamanic Qigong and Sacred Sound Healing The Spirit of Tea Dao at the Beach: Searching for Dao in Daily Life
The Seasons of Tea Taijiquan as Qigong Healing Through Jade Woman Qigong Empty Vessel Trip to China
Qigong and the Dreamtime The Natural Process of Internal Alchemy Zhuangzi: The Inner Chapters
A Daoist Master's Search for his Chinese Ancestry Daoism in the Korean Mountains The Daoist System of Lao Zi: Part One
The Liezi: Forgotten Daoist Text? Spirit of the Dancing Warrior Bagua and Tai Chi: Sophisticated Health Exercises A Taoist Master's Search for His Chinese Ancestry Pt. 1 by Chungliang Al Huang
Bagua: Why Practice This Old and Obscure Art? Mystical Wudang Mountain Guidelines for Setting Up a Daoist Altar A Taoist Master's Search for His Chinese Ancestry Pt. 2
Chuang Tzu: The Way of Nourishing Life Nudan Practice and Modern Women Taoists, Doctors and Shamans A Taoist Master's Search for His Chinese Ancestry Pt. 3
Chinese Astrology and Inner Cultivation Yi: Intention, Practice and the Incubation of the Sage Wu Wei: The Daoist Art of Happiness A Taoist Master's Search for His Chinese Ancestry Pt. 4
Daoism in America: A Conversation with Xuan Yun (Mysterious Cloud) Return to Stillnes is the Motion of Tao Pu the HEART Backinto LOVE Speical Section on BiGu (Avoiding Food and Eating Qi)
Back issues are $7.50 postpaid. (Add $2 per issue outside U.S.) Send check or money order (in U.S. funds) to The Abode of the Eternal Tao 1991 Garfield St. Eugene, OR 97405 or call 800-574-5118/541-345-8854 The Empty Vessel
The following books have been written by Professor Jerry Alan Johnson and contain translated texts from ancient Zheng Yi Daoist Mysticism and are introduced for the first time in English! Magic Talismans. This amazing book contains a comprehensive Introduction to Magic Talismans, Applications of Magic Talismans, Types of Magical Talismans, The Origin of Magical Talismans, The Secret Teachings of Magic Talismans, Constructing a Magic Talisman, Mao Shan Protection Talismans Used For Fighting Against Black Magic and Psychic Attacks, and much more! NEW! Daoist Magical Incantations, Hand Seals, and Star Stepping Introduction to Training Daoist Magic, History of
Daoist Magic, Training the Mind Secret, Training the Speech Secret, Words and Magic, Incantations, Daoist Magical Hand Seal Training, Introduction to Hand Seals, Types of Hand Seals, Eight Trigram Double-Hand Seals for Gathering Power, Hand Seals and Rituals, Hand Seals Used For Summoning, Hand Seals Used For Attacking and Defending, Hand Seals Used For Protection. History of Daoist Star Stepping, The Steps of Yu, Ancient Daoist Stepping Patterns, Incantations For The Nine Palaces of Heaven, Offering Incense with “The Dipper of Bright Stars and Pearls” Incantation, Gathering Energy from the Twenty-Eight Star Constellations, Magical Esoteric Star Stepping Patterns for Summoning Celestial Immortals, and the Five Animal Protection Incantation and much more. 239 pages $85
Magical Tools and the Daoist Altar Acting as a bridge between the human and spirit worlds, the traditional role of the Daoist priest has been to continually renew the good relationship between the people of his or her community and the celestial powers of the gods. The various esoteric symbols, colors and items used in Daoist magical rituals serve to further focus the sorcerer’s intention. Likewise, the use of incense, music, magical tools and other materials are sometimes included to intensify the sense and empower the energy used in the magical rite. The following book describes the Daoist mystic’s clothing, altar, magical tools, and magical rituals needed to summon the supernatural powers of the Celestial Immortals as used in the ancient esoteric training of the Zheng Yi Branch of Daoist mysticism and much more. 350 pages. $165 Daoist Exorcism: Encounters With Sorcerers, Ghosts, Spirits and Demons History of Exorcism,
Three Realms of Daoist Mysticism, Interactions with the Spirit World, Two Schools of Daoist Sorcery, Understanding Psychic Inﬂuence, Principles of Psychic Interference, Psychic Attacks, Types of Psychic Attacks, Symptoms That Indicate a Psychic Attack, Defending Against Psychic Attacks, Encounters With Ghosts,Self-Defense Against Spirit Entities, Protecting Children, Closing the Ghost Gate to Protect against Ghosts and Spirits, Encounters With Demonic and Evil Spirits and much more. 205 pages. $65
Daoist Mineral Magic The Study of the Realm of Minerals, Introduction to the Alchemical Transformations of Minerals, History of Magical and Medicinal Rocks, Formation of Minerals and Crystals, Minerals in Traditional Chinese Pharmacology, Absorbing the Healing Properties of Gems, Creating Gem Ens Elixirs, Cleansing the Crystal With Sunlight, Moonlight, Flowing Water or Earth, Ritualistic Cleansing and Incantations, Charging a Stone, Storage and Care of the Gem Elixir and much more. 162 pages. $50 Plant and Animal Magic Introduction to the Alchemical Transformations of Plants, Superior, Medium, and Inferior Herbs, Gathering Energy from Nature, The Magical Properties of Trees, Gathering Qi from Trees , Locating Tree Power Spots, Precautions, Tree Spirits, Forest Spirits, The Magical Properties of Plants, Visionary Plants, Gathering Qi From Plants, Daoist Celestial Animal Totems, Animal Shapeshifting and much more. 239 pages. $85
Daoist Magical Transformation Skills, Dream Magic, Shape-Shifting, Soul Travel & Sex Magic
Transformation Skills of Daoist Sorcery, Two Types of Magical Transformation Skill, Weather Magic, Divination Magic, Corpse MagicIntroduction to Daoist Sex Magic, Three Stages of Relationship, Levels of Intimacy, Applications of Sex Magic, Using Sexual Magic for Energy Cultivation, Sexual Postures and Techniques, Sex Magic Rituals, Deity Magic and Sex Magic and much more. 248 pages. $85
To order these books send check or money order along with $5 s/h for each book to: The Abode of the Eternal Tao 1991 Garfield St Eugene, OR 97505 541.345.8854/800.574.511 62
SINGING DRAGON authoritative new and classic books on Daoism, Qigong, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Alternative Health
New Release by Master Zhongxian Wu
Perennial editions of classics by Master Chungliang Al Huang
Chinese shamaniC CosmiC orbit Qigong
the Chinese book of animal powers
Quantum soup Fortune Cookies in Crisis New and enlarged edition
160pp • 8.5x11 Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84819-054-2 • $24.95 “An elegant, wise and playful expression of Taoist and Zen Buddhist sensibilities in a Western setting—a philosophical entertainment with a collection of anecdotes, aphorisms and koan-like ruminations, all served up in appetizer portions.” —Los Angeles Times
essential tai ji Photographs by Si Chi Ko
32pp • 10x8.5 Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84819-066-5 $18.95
Esoteric Talismans, Mantras, and Mudras in Healing and Inner Cultivation
“The powers unleashed by Chungliang Huang’s masterful brush paintings will send centuries of wisdom and energy coursing through you.” —Gerald McDermott, Fellow of the Joseph Campbell Foundation
embraCe tiger, return to mountain The Essence of Tai Ji
80pp • 6x9.25 Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84819-053-5 • $18.95
Foreword by Alan Watts Photographs by Si Chi Ko
Chungliang Al Huang shares the basic movements of Tai Ji, lovingly presented in eloquent writing, and accompanied by splendid full color photography and beautiful calligraphy. The book promotes strength, relaxation and clarity, as Master Huang teaches how to unify mind and body, achieving a healthier and more fulfilling state of being.
the 12 Chinese animals
This all time classic of Tai Ji literature remains as fresh and illuminating today as when it was first published. Written with true passion and eloquence, the book richly conveys the subtle yet profound principles underlying Tai Ji: movement, stillness, joyfulness, and the ability to live in the moment.
Chungliang Al Huang is the founder of Living Tao Foundation, an international cultural-arts network for lifelong learning, and the director of the Lan Ting Institute, a cross-cultural study and conference center at the sacred and historic Wu Yi Mountain, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the People’s Republic of China, and at Gold Beach on the Oregon Coast in the USA.
New titles by Master Zhang Guangde thirteen movements to stretCh the body and make it more supple, and guiding and harmonising energy to regulate the breath
Dao Yin Yang Sheng Gong Foundation Sequences 1
Dao Yin Yang Sheng Gong Foundation Sequences 2
128pp • 6x9.25 • Paperback + DVD ISBN: 978-1-84819-072-6 • $24.95
112pp • 6x9.25 • Paperback + DVD ISBN: 978-1-84819-071-9 • $24.95
Create Harmony in Your Daily Life through Ancient Chinese Wisdom 192pp • 5.5x8.5 • Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84819-031-3 $18.95 “Far beyond other sources, this book helps you understand your destiny as described by the 12 animal symbols of Yijing wisdom, helping you reach your personal potential....Master Wu writes ‘Life is Magic’... and this book helps you understand it.” —Steve Rhodes, editor of Qi: The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Medicine
seeking the spirit of the book of Change 8 Days to Mastering a Shamanic Yijing (I Ching) Prediction System Foreword by Daniel Reid includes DVD
Professor Zhang has spent nearly forty years developing his system which combines The I Ching with the primary theories of Chinese medicine. These books contains detailed step-by-step instructions and illustrations to show every step of the foundation sequences, and the accompanying DVD will enable even the least experienced of students to begin to grasp this form of Qigong.
Singing Dr agon to order, call toll-free: 1-866-416-1078 or visit our website: www.singingdragon.com
The Empty Vessel
Never before written about in the West, this fully illustrated guide illuminates a form that offers great cumulative benefits from regular daily practice. Master Wu describes the practice in detail, including the meaning and significance of the Chinese names for each movement, with its shamanic roots, and provides the mantra, visualization, and mudra for each as well as explaining the therapeutic benefits and talismanic aspects.
Also by Master Zhongxian Wu
224pp • 7x10 Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84819-052-8 • $19.95
nourish the blood, tonify the Qi to promote longevity, and Calm and ConCentrate the mind to regulate the heart
112pp • 5.5x8.5 • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84819-056-6 $19.95
240pp • 7x10 • Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84819-020-7 $29.95
hidden DVD immortal lineage taiji Qigong The Mother Form
DVD ISBN: 978-1-84819-040-5 $39.95
Published on Nov 1, 2011
Published on Nov 1, 2011
The Empty Vessel: The Journal of Daoist Philosophy and Practice is a quarterly journal, covering Chinese medicine, feng shui, qigong, taiji,...