Archive for the ‘Taoism’ Category

The Tao Te Ching on True Mastery

The Master doesn’t try to be powerful;
thus he is truly powerful.
The ordinary man keeps reaching for power;
thus he never has enough.

The Master does nothing,
yet he leaves nothing undone.
The ordinary man is always doing things,
yet many more are left to be done.

The kind man does something,
yet something remains undone.
The just man does something,
and leaves many things to be done.
The moral man does something,
and when no one responds
he rolls up his sleeves and uses force.

When the Tao is lost, there is goodness.
When goodness is lost, there is morality.
When morality is lost, there is ritual.
Ritual is the husk of true faith,
the beginning of chaos.

Therefore the Master concerns himself
with the depths and not the surface,
with the fruit and not the flower.
He has no will of his own.
He dwells in reality,
and lets all illusions go.

–Tao Te Ching (ch. 38 — S. Mitchell Translation)

Yang Style Tai Chi: 24 (Short) Form

Video: What Is Chi? (rough-cut)

I have yet to see very many comprehensive documentaries regarding the history of and the cultivation of Chi, so I decided to start a documentary project. I did this so that others can learn more about what Chi cultivation can accomplish, why it is an essential part of a truly mindful understanding of life, and how they can learn to harness the innate abilities within their own bodies.

I spent most of the night this Friday working on the first draft of the documentary. The video includes footage of Ashtanga Yoga, Yang Family Tai Chi and the clip about an acupuncturist that has demonstrated miraculous feats with his Chi, who invited highly educated scientists from the united States of America to study him in detail. I also included a brief discussion, featuring myself, about the nature and history of Chi cultivation and Yang Family Tai Chi.

The Tai Chi demonstration features Jesse Tsao on the Tai Chi Sword and the legendary Fu Zhong Wen performing empty handed Tai Chi. The Yoga demonstration was shot by Prajna Yoga, and it features some excellent Yoga practitioners from their Yoga school in India.

It will take several more drafts before this video is complete, but I figured it would be nice to get it out there. Perhaps someone will give me some useful feedback to help me with issues that I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. Please feel free to give me any constructive criticism that comes to mind.

The Tai Chi Adventure Continues

Tonight marks the third night this week that I’ve spent at least an hour practicing Tai Chi. During each evening, I practiced the 108 Movement Form (Yang Family Long Form) 3 times without a break. Since each repetition of the form is about 20 minutes, an hour of practice is guaranteed.

With all of this regular practice, the rust is starting to burn off: strength is returning to the legs, the motion is growing steadily more fluid, the connection between the upper and lower body has improved greatly. The connections within the body have grown so much more intricate that I can now feel the connection from the hands, all the way down to the feet and even the very Earth below. After the conclusion of Tai Chi tonight, I still had enough strength to do a few repetitions of my favorite Choy Li Fut form Siu Moi Fah.

As this adventure continues, I’m becoming ever more certain that Tai Chi is an essential element of the path of self realization. Indeed there are few arts capable of producing the inexhaustible marvels enjoyed by practitioners of Tai Chi Chuan. Read the rest of this entry »

The Cultivation of Realization: Energy

Ordinary people’s energy rises in front and descends in back; realized people’s energy rises in back and descends in front.  When energy goes out and in, this is called ordinary breathing; when it does not go out and in, this is called true breathing.

Generally speaking, when the ordinary breathing is stilled, the true breathing is spontaneously activated.  The way breathing is stilled is not by forcefully holding it so that it does not come out.  It is a matter of absolute emptiness and utter stillness; the steadier the mind, the subtler the breathing.

The way to do this is to return the mind to quietude whatever you are doing, not imagining what is yet to come and not thinking about what has already passed.  After a long time at this, spirit and energy merge, feelings and objects are forgotten; spirit solidifies, energy congeals, and there is just one breath in the belly, revolving without going out or in.  This is called womb breathing. Read the rest of this entry »

The Cultivation of Realization: Suffering

Translated by Thomas Cleary

Simply because they cannot get rid of one thing, namely craving, people crave fame and profit and become bound by fame and profit; they crave wine and flesh and become bound by wine and flesh; they crave status and prestige and become bound by status and prestige; they crave children and grandchildren and become bound by children and grandchildren. They bind up the true nature in all sorts of mixed-up ways, coming and going in the human world subject to unlimited suffering.

A fetus develops from the combination of the sperm from the father and the ovum from the mother. The amniotic sac is like a prison, constricting the body. When the mother eats something hot, it is like boiling water is being poured on the body of the fetus; when the mother eats something cold, it is like ice is being pressed against its body. When the energy is full and the fetus is complete, it urgently wants to get out; but it must first break through the sac. It takes a few days for the water to break: people only know of the suffering of the mother’s labor pains–they do not know that the infant suffers even more. Only at parturition, when it cries out, are the sufferings in the womb over.
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The Cultivation of Realization: Heaven and Earth

Translated by Thomas Cleary

The Great Way is formless; the universe is the Way with form. The universe itself does not speak; sages are a universe that can speak. I did not get to see the sages, but I have read their classic writings. By reading their classic writings, one can understand their principles; how is that different from seeing the sages?

God creates our bodies, God bestows our nature. Inside and outside are both from God; how dare we derange them? We are within God, God is in our hearts; if we see the universe and emulate its purity, this is not different from the Great Way. If we have even a little selfish intent, we experience penalties that are not trivial.

The physical body is God-given nature; if you act in accord with God-given nature, you will spontaneously be free of the burden of human desires. Daily tasks are norms; act in obedience to the laws of God and there will be no mistaken excesses.
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Chi Cultivation: Awakening the Healing Energy Within

Recently a Chiropractor I have been seeing, who happens to be well versed in the eastern art of Chi cultivation, told me of a man named Mantak Chia, who wrote the books: Awaken Healing Energy Through the Tao, Taoist Ways to Transform Stress into Vitality and Awaken Healing Light of the Tao.

The following is excerpted from the books listed:

Preparation for Chi Cultivation

Wait at least an hour after eating to begin the practice.

Choose a quiet spot. Later on (as you become more experienced) you will be able to practice almost anywhere with any noise.

Dress warmly enough not to be chilled.

Sit comfortably near the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Keep your back straight, but not stiff. Stay relaxed, and clasp your hands together in your lap, left palm on bottom, right palm on top.

Close your eyes and become aware of the soles of your feet. Feel their connection to the ground and the energy of the earth.

Create a source of smiling energy up to three feet in front of you. This can be an image of your own smiling face, or of someone or something you love and respect, or any memory of a time in which you felt deeply at peace, perhaps feeling sunshine, being by the ocean, or walking in a forest.

Become aware of the midpoint between your eyebrows through which you will draw this abundant smiling energy in front of and around you. Let your forehead relax, and allow the Third Eye to open. As the smiling energy accumulates at the mid-eyebrow, it will eventually overflow into your body. Read the rest of this entry »

What Is Taoism and How Can We Understand Tao?

Ancient Symbol for Tao


Tao, the root word of Taoism, simply means “the way.” The ancient symbol for Tao depicts a man walking along a path. It is truly one of the most unique bodies of knowledge and its contributions, though of great significance even today, are relatively unknown by modern people.

Many believe that the Tao Te Ching, which is perhaps the most important text in Taoism, was written by a man named Lao Tzu. If you look deeper into the meaning of “Lao Tzu,” however, you will see that, when translated literally, it means “old man.” So the origins of Taoism remain shrouded in mystery even today. Read the rest of this entry »

The Tao of Ron Paul

By Jeffrey L. Bryan |

Long before Mises and Rothbard, Lao-Tzu introduced libertarian ideas to China with the Tao Te Ching. Selections from that ancient book of philosophy illustrate the wisdom that would shape American policy under the administration of President Ron Paul.

From Chapter 17 of the Tao Te Ching: “In the highest antiquity, the people did not know that there were rulers. In the next age they loved them and praised them. In the next they feared them; in the next they despised them.”

Since 9/11, George W. Bush has run the gamut. Just after 9/11, he was loved and praised (by a country desperate for leadership); later he was feared (by Americans concerned about tyranny, not to mention the people of Iraq); and today he is despised by most of the world and the majority of his country. Lao-Tzu describes this process of degeneration over vast ages of history – for Dubya, it took about three or four years. Read the rest of this entry »