From the topic archives:

Taoism

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In this interview I talk about Taoism, meditation and my own personal path.

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Bruce Frantzis at Bai Yuan Guan Temple in Beijing

From an insider’s view, Bai Yuan Guan, or the White Cloud Temple, is considered the meeting point for Taoists to connect from all over North China.  The complex is the main Taoist temple in Beijing.

Over 25 years ago, from 1985-6, my Taoist master used to send me to White Cloud once or twice a week.  He gave me meditation practices, which I did at two spots here.  At the time I lived only a 15 minute walk away. Read More

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Fried Scorpions and Seahorses on a Stick

Walking through the streets of Bejing after twenty-five years is quite a trip!

One astonishing sight is the pollution.  Yesterday the sky was a nasty shade of grey, and you could barely see the sun through the soup.  Yet I was told that it wasn’t that bad.   Apparently there is “bad”, “very bad” and then there is “crazy bad”.   The U.S. Embassy issues a pollution alert only when the worst is “crazy bad”.  All I know is that last night I began coughing, found black in my nostrils, and got a vicious headache.  Normally to relieve headaches there are points you can press in the eyes and forehead bones just above the eye sockets.  I have never experienced such pain from pressing these points, nor had my entire eye socket bone hurt so bad.  Went to bed early, thankfully the headache was gone by morning. Check out this from the US consulate in Beijing: Read More

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Photo Shoot for China Radio International

Today in Bejing I met a friendly 17-year-old kid. He had heard of Lao Tse, but like his peers, knew little about Taoism except the simplified book of Lao Tse (the Chinese translated the Tao Te Jing from the classical Chinese characters to the simplified ones of mainland China). The Cultural Revolution, which aimed to destroy old Chinese culture, keeps continuing and going strong.

The young man mentioned that it seemed as if foreigners are more interested and knowledgeable about old Chinese culture than most Chinese. He commented that nowadays, many of the youth are driven by money and consumerism, leaving behind culture and human values.

The conversation made me reflect on an interview I had just finished with China Radio International (CRI). On air, I spoke of the relevance of Chi work to modern Chinese life, where everything currently is just about money. I expressed that regardless of economic status or social position, if a person’s inner life was not in good shape, life in general can easily be unhappy and unfulfilling.

Money alone is not life. Rich or not, a person whose insides and outsides are in balance will get the most out of life. At the end of my time on the air, I encouraged Chinese youth to find legitimate masters, learn from them, and keep the traditions alive for future generations.

From the road,

Bruce

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Black Hole Simulation – CRON

I can speak from my experience about what the traditional approach is and the eclectic way I went about it, and the essential difference between an eclectic traditional approach and the approach of the dabbler, who just knows a bit of this and a bit of that.

The first issue is: why become eclectic? In some sense you become eclectic so that you can gain a really specific perspective on something.

You may want to do tai chi, but as an eclectic, you may want to do a tai chi specifically for fighting. For example, I did Praying Mantis and 8 Drunken Immortals. Doing these showed me some martial aspects of tai chi I needed to pay attention to rather than ignore. But I went deeply into them. I didn’t just skim the surface with them. Read More

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Photo by aspearing

Wu wei , or effortlessness, is the very heart of the Taoist Water Method and Taoist Meditation. This concept of “doing without doing,” is very tricky to understand from a purely mental point of view.

Wholly understood, wu wei is not “non-action”, but action that operates by simply following the natural course of universal energy as it manifests without strain or ego involvement.

How Can One Act without the Deliberate Effort of Acting?

Ultimately, wu wei boils down to recognizing what exists at the absolute depth of your heart and mind. Rather than allowing your ego to get involved, you find relaxation and letting go of any need to do. When the ego is active, strain and stress follow.

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Photo: Put Your Heart Out ThereCassandra Kinaviaq Rae

When you start learning qigong (chi gung) you have the intent for your chi to move. However, this is not the same thing as becoming directly aware of the chi itself, where it’s a felt living quality.

It’s not that you have the idea, the imagination or the ability to think about chi but that you actually feel it. It’s the difference between the idea of eating and actually eating-having the juices in your mouth and tasting the food. The idea will produce some facsimile of the real thing and you might go so far as to salivate, but when the real deal is present the taste and sustenance of the food is either there or it’s not.

There’s little thought involved. The same can be said for many states of meditation. Read More

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Heart-Mind – Photo by AlicePopkorn

We’ve been talking about the place from which intent and thoughts come from, the Heart-Mind. How do you get there? What is the method?

Let’s take the process of Inner Dissolving, Lao Tse’s 2,500-year-old tradition of ice to water, water to inner space. When you go from ice to water that’s a yin-yang relationship; tension to relaxation is a yin-yang relationship. Now, if you want to go to the place where both of these energies originate, you effectively will move through two levels. Read More

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Heart-Mind Series [Part 1] Intent

February 11, 2011

The Heart-Mind is an important concept in both Taoism and in Buddhism. To understand the Heart-Mind, we must first understand the nature of intent in relation to Taoism. There are two levels of intent in everything you do in Taoism and Chinese chi work. The first level is ordinary intent. The second level is the ... Read More

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Tao Ziran – The Natural Way in Taoism

January 25, 2011

The word Tao has many meanings. First, there is the Tao of doing anything, which is the same as the ideal way of doing something. You must travel on a particular path in order to wind up where that path leads. Going a little deeper, the word Tao considers the question: What connects everything and ... Read More

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