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  1. Daoist associations?

    That is spot on.
  2. Daoist associations?

    Yes, we are Daoshi (Daoist Priests) in the Longmen Order. Patrick is Bright-heart’s representative because he runs a temple and altar of Qingcheng in Houston. He is also an Abbot of Qingcheng directly under Zhang Shifu. As for the monastic vows, Zhang doesn’t require them of her Western clergy.
  3. Daoist associations?

    Hello, I may have some information which some may find useful in regards to Four Dragons since they've been mentioned. Four Dragons is ran by Lao Shi (Patrick Lovitt). Patrick has been a practicing Daoist ever since he was a small child living in a Monastery in China Town San Francisco, with his adopted father (Whom was a Daoshi and Ch'an Monk). Patrick is an ambassador and was ordained by Abbot Bright Heart (Zhang Shifu), the head Abbess for the Qingcheng Mt. Daoist Association (Longmen), of which Patrick is her representative, and holds a temple for the Association in Houston. I am a Priest that was ordained by Patrick and am a Zhengyi Daoist Priest as well as, a 22nd Generation Longmen Priest. As for charging money for ordination goes, Four dragons doesn't charge for ordination, but it does charge for the Seminary leading to ordination. Let's get something straight right off the bat, you will be charged (IN SOME FASHION), to learn and be ordained as a Daoist priest. You will either have to spend thousands on plane tickets, or spend thousands on a seminary, but you will spend money to become a Daoist Priest. There are no restrictions against charging money. If you go to China and live in a Monastery in order to be trained, thinking that you'll spend no money, you'll still pay. You'll pay by working, doing dishes, sweeping, taking care of the grounds etc. teachers have to eat, and live too, unless you find one that is a breatharian, and lives in a cloud cave on top of Mt. Kailash. Shifu's, Masters, and Teachers eat, sleep, and live just like the rest of us. In fact, Patrick is no longer taking distance students. So, if you want to learn from Four Dragons you'll have to be physically present now in Houston. Patrick (Lao) is most certainly not mercenary in his motives, just trying to spread the Dao and keep food in his kid's mouths like any of us. I will say this, Patrick is the real deal, and walks the walk. The initial seminary and ordination are three years, but the entire process takes 9 years, and Patrick is there the entire way. After the Seminary there are no fees for the next 6 years. If there are any other questions or comments, I'd be happy to answer them.
  4. It’s a good book but one, like mentioned above best studied with a teacher. It is studied in my Daoist lineage (Longmen). It does not contain the complete Bi Fa, which is taught Master to student still. If one wants to practice Internal Alchemy, The Secret of the Golden Flower is a much more direct method (Though you can’t learn that either from Wilhelm or even Cleary / Books) it is again passed down orally.
  5. Hello All, There is most definitely energy work in the Western systems. These are usually taught within the various secret societies, and fringe Masonic groups. This energy work can also be found in the Gnostic, Hassidic, & Sufi communities, and in certain Christian sects such as the practice of the Jesus Prayer. Energy work in the West mainly consists of meditation upon the heart center, and merging it with the mind center, and in focusing upon deity such as Christ and merging with this Energy. It is a form of circulation, although it is viewed differently than in the Eastern systems. The "grace" of Apostolic Succession and the laying on of hands to cure illness, is definitely a form of energy work, although it is viewed more in the context of divine energy coming from an outside Godhead; working through but not from the individual (however, the Hermetic Axiom "As Above, So Below" indicates that this is indeed the same thing!). Having belonged to numerous Western Esoteric Orders, I can say that the Traditional Chinese or Daoist energy work is much more nuanced and developed than in the West, especially from a natureopathic perspective. Alchemy in the West was definitely influenced by the Alchemy in the East. In Hechalot Kabbalah and Merkhaba mysticism, there is somewhat of a resemblance to Kriya Yoga, and other Kundalini / Chi / Prana practices. All of this is not surprising as there really is no East or West, there is just one round globe. The Silk Road was a melting pot of mystical and magickal traditions stretching from Africa to China.
  6. I've been taking these online lessons (live, via skype) for two months now. The lessons are effective, and even though the students and the teacher may be separated by thousands of miles, it feels as if we're in the same room together. So far, I've only learned some of the Daogong movements, but already I feel much better, and certain chronic health ailments have either lessened, or are completely gone. I have lost weight, and have a general sense of well-being, centered-ness,and balance. I am sleeping much better as well. I was taking prescription pain medication, and sleep medication for several years, and I haven't had any for several weeks. There is a definitive buzzing, vibration, or warmth throughout my body after having practiced, and also a warm flowing sensation that accompanies it. I'm not knowledgeable enough to explain what these feeling are, but I can only judge by my physical improvements that it relates to Chi, and unblocking channels. I will be a life-long practitioner of what I am learning, and am looking forward to hopefully learning the first level of YuXianPai internal alchemy in a month or so. I'm very greatful to Shifu Alexey for making this valuable system open and available to those of us whom are English speakers, and live far away from St. Petersburg. I hope I am fortunate enough to be able to attend a seminar there one day. Until then, I will practice what I have learned diligently.
  7. The left and right hand path dichotomy is a very hard one to pin down. Some systems use both. However, it is not true that one is "good" and the other is "bad." Tantra for instance is Left hand path work, and thats precisely the context I used Taoism in, when I described it thus, as it correlates. What is your definition? You say you disagree, but do not provide a rebutal? It really doesnt matter. It was a small point made that has little bearing on the topic at hand.
  8. Perhaps they are superficial. But what better way to learn than to leave one's thoughts, however flawed, open to criticism, and correction? In the Western philosophical milieu, there's a great reliance on the "Socratic method." Whereby one's statement is not necessarily attached to the ultimate truth, and the statement giver holds no personal attachment to the statement made, in the name of the truth. Thereby what is true, or most true, can be distillated via the debate. I welcome such criticism. Thank you. Is it true? That's a good question. "Blinds" abound in all systems. However, from my limited experience, it seems that Taoism (not necessarily individual Taoists) place less reliance on blind faith, and more reliance on experimental knowledge. In the Western sense, this would be termed "the left-hand path." One thing that I personally find for certain, is that there's a great deal less stigma involved with Eastern metaphysics, as opposed to the Western versions found hidden in secret, due to a history of the rack and flame. This has influenced the egregore of Western systems a great deal. Hence, a very cloak and dagger approach by many authentic Western systems.
  9. List of Taoist Sects in the U.S

    This is a problem with the Western Systems as well. There are many magickal / alchemical orders which make many great claims of antiquity and validity, but in reality they were formed in the late 1800's and much of their teachings were plagiarized from other sources. There are very few authentic schools, which carry on a valid chain of initiation. This doesn't mean the other "neo" orders are wrong, or bad, but their "occult history" is rather misleading. Many of the true schools do not have an internet presence and exist purely in the invisible (for good reasons). All systems have merit, whether they have a valid lineage or not. We can learn from "bad", just as we can from the "good." But for myself, I'd like to belong to a solid group, which tranfers authentic teachings and lineage. Or at the least, does not claim to have such an illustrious background, but none-the-less, have an effective method.
  10. Taomenow, This is exactly what I was looking for in response. Thank you. I'm hear to learn and grow. I come with years of "baggage" which I do not view as absolute truth, but simply indoctrination or education that I've been exposed to in this life. It is natural for this to become a hindrance when learning something new. I find myself when learning about the Tao, saying: "Oh, that's like such-and-such in Western systems. Old dogs and tricks, etc. Very nice response.
  11. I think the Silk Road has many untold stories to tell. The more I experience other cultures, and societies the more I see similarities and not differences. What intrigues me, is the openness and acceptance of "esotericism" in the East, as opposed to the West, where it is much more cloak-and-dagger. I think both have their plus' and minus', but I favor a more open, and direct method. I've read that Taoism was influenced by the Nestorians, and possibly the Thomasine Christians and vice-a-versa. It's interesting that the Tao is the same name given to Gnostic Christianity in it's beginning, aka "The Way." Unfortunately, Christianity, as well as, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, et al. have become overly dogmatic. Not that there's anything wrong with that, just that it's not the right approach for me. Taoism, it certainly is.
  12. Dear Bums, Greetings, In the Rite of Arcana Arcanorum there is a 40 day operation to reach "immortality"(A.'.A.'.). This Rite is commonly attached to the various systems of esoteric Freemasonry known as the Rites of Misraim / Memphis. According to "occult history" this Rite is ultimately derived from the Temple of Isis at Naples, Italy which has existed openly and in secret for thousands of years. I notice many similarities and yet some differences between the A.'.A.'. and what is described by the Secret of the Golden Flower for instance. In the western inner alchemical methods are included: Fasting, the uses of herbs, tinctures, and seclusion. Ritual bathes, and breathing excercises. The ultimate aim of the A.'.A.'. is to rebuild the "light body" thereby attaining an immortality of the consciousness after the mortal coil falls away. The A.'.A.'.draws heavily from Lamblicus and the Theory of the Vehicle of Soul, as well as certain Pythagorean doctrinal views. This attainment of "immortality" is common to both Western (A.'.A.'.) and Eastern (Neidan) methods. Both are used to develop the light body aka: chi, aka: prana. Where the two systems differ from my viewpoint, are in that the Western systems use a great deal of allegory and symbolism, not allowing the neophyte to directly know the methods or ultimate aim until the very pinnacle, whereas with the Eastern systems it seems that they "cut straight to-the-chase" from the very beginning. Does anyone else have experience in both systems? And how do you think they compare to each other in similarity, or differences? Do you think one system influenced the other? How and why? Thanks.
  13. Dear Fellow Bums, Greetings, This is my first thread on TTB's. I've taken a great interest in all things Taoist. For the last 10 plus years I've been involved in a variety of Western Initiatic Systems and societies. In the pinnacle of most of these are theurgy and inner alchemy. While investigating these aspects, I talked with a friend in Europe, whom told me that the Eastern (more especially Taoist) inner alchemical methods were more direct and effective. I can't comment on this claim, however it spurred me to further investigation. In one system for instance, (Martinism) inner alchemy is heavily taught and practiced. Being an initiate of this system I find it to be very good. Another Martinist acquaintance of mine several years ago, recommended the book "The Secret of the Golden Flower" in a conversation we had in regards to the Arcana Arcanorum, and the body of light. So two friends recommending Taoist alchemy was enough for me to be convinced that it was a worthy path. I've noticed that they're many different schools, sects, pathes etc. and I've always been of the opinion that one should follow one system, as following to many leaves one spread too thin. I personally found this to be true after belonging to multiple Western systems, all of which had very similar doctrine and goals at the core. The same friend above whom recommended the Golden Flower, gave me a very good analogy that: "Initiatic schools are like a wheel. A wheel is round and a wheel has spokes. You can go from one spoke of the wheel to the center of the wheel, but you can also just go around and around the wheel by jumping to different spokes." That being my philosophy as well, I want to make sure before I embark with a Taoist sect (if they'll have me) that they are 1. Accessible, 2. Not Dogmatic, and 3. Have a valid lineage. Now, I don't wish to incite lineage wars here. I've seen plenty of such in Western systems and they bore me. But I would like to spurn a sane, positive, and informative thread on which schools are out there, and available to Jews whom live in Kentucky. (Insert Smiley) Attached is a PDF I found online, which describes several of these schools, but none of which are available in my area. I noticed several schools are missing. Thanks. teachers.pdf
  14. Hi

    My name is Nathan. I live in Lexington, Kentucky. I'm about to embark on my journey shortly with Yang style Tai Chi. I have a strong background in the Western esoteric arts, but in my search, came acrossed Taoism. Actually, several years ago, a friend recommended the "Secret of a Golden Flower," as being revelant to the Western System of internal alchemy (more especially in regards to the "light body" work of the Arcana Arcanorum). I bought that book, but never really read it. Fast forward to several months ago, and I decided to pick it up and read it. I was astounded by the simplicity as compared to the western systems, and the seemingly much more accessibility in the West to it's doctrine. Since reading this book, I've picked up the Tao Te Ching, and the I-Ching. I'm hooked. I would like to ask if anyone here is also from Kentucky, and if they could recommend a reputable Taoist school, from which to attain initiation, and instruction? All the very best,