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About chuangzu

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  1. Sons of Reflected Light - where they Druids?

    There may be parallels with the Druids because the ancient pagan Celtic religion shared common themes with Taoism and with pretty much every other Shamanistic and Nature worshipping culture in history. Chee Soo says they were called sons of reflected light because they wore shiny clothes. I recently found some videos on Youtube which talk a great deal about the general idea of possibly survivors from before the flood of twelve thousand years ago reaching China and various other locations which may be of some interest:
  2. Etymology of Wu Wei

    This is a very interesting topic and one I have researched myself from the Wikipedia article. I have written a new post about the links with Tai Chi and Shamanism. One thing I found interesting about the above is the sleeves, I heard that Tai Chi masters with longer sleeves denoted a higher status. I will try to find the original Hopkins article on Wu Shamans and further elucidate the etymological connection with Wu meaning either dancing, or 'not'.
  3. Tai Chi and Shamanism

    I have heard various stories about the origins of Tai Chi Ch'uan, some say a Taoist monk Chan San Feng, some say the Chen village story. This is the conventional wisdom. I was wondering, who taught Chan San Feng, who taught the Chen village people? Did they make it up themselves? perhaps they were influenced by other people who have not made it through to the historical records. After all the recent history of China, The Opium wars, the Boxer Rebellion, the fall of the Empire, the Communist era, the Cultural revolution, have seen to it that the past was not just forgotten but was ruthlessly suppressed and records weren't just lost they were destroyed. Our teacher Chee Soo told us about the origins of our style, it is the Lee style from Shandong, perhaps you have some similar stories you would care to share that might help us shed some light on the matter? Firstly we were taught Tai Chi 'dance'. It was different to the Tai Chi form of named sequences we also learned, this is what appeared in the book, the 'dance' was not in any book, it was mentioned but not in any detail, it was "not a dance as most Westerners would imagine it." I asked the Old Man how the Tai Chi we did today was different to what he first learned, he said it's exactly the same. He called this Tai Chi dance "Tiao Wu", I didn't know what this meant but more recently I have become more interested in the Chinese language so I looked it up. It would appear that this kind of dancing is somehow related to Shamanism, and I found a page on Wikipedia about people known as Chinese Wu Shamans: Apparently these Shamans were using dance in order to achieve altered states of consciousness and to contact the spirit world. Our style is from Shandong which is in Northern China, more specifically Weihaiwei which was a British colony from 1900-1930. There is a book "Lion and Dragon in Northern China" written by the Governor of Weihaiwei Reginald Johnston who was also incidentally the tutor to Puyi the last Emperor of China. It mentions special Yin and Yang xiansheng, and many reports of Taoist temples and various ancient practices, he says that this part of China was a sort of backwater where there were outdated practices that did not appear in any other parts of China. Shandong is also the place where the Boxer rebellion originated, it was a movement which sought to champion traditional values and expel the foreigners from China. At the centre of this was the Righteous Harmony Fist society. In many cases in this region martial arts were not taught openly and were certainly rarely seen by Westerners, even Chinese only had access to them through secret societies. These sprang up in some cases as the relics of lost dynasties which had fallen out of favour as China grew and was unified into one kingdom. This is a similar idea to the 'ghost dancers' of the North American tribes, who were also attempting to call upon the spirits of heroes and warriors from the past to expel the foreign invaders. They also used dancing as a way to call upon the spirit world. Also we can see in the Navajo 'skin walkers' that taking on animal characteristics was used as a way of developing martial arts techniques, probably more like special ops or espionage rather than conventional warfare. These Shamanic practices may be similar to the Chinese Wu Shamans and the Boxers practices because the Northern American Indigenous tribes are all descended from 11 people who migrated from Northern China during the last Ice Age as genetic studies have shown. Even if this is not true it is highly likely that both the modern Chinese and the North American tribes have common ancestors and shared common beliefs and practices, and these were of Shamanic origin. I recently saw a movie called The Revenant and there is a scene where they are drinking from the sky by sticking their tongues out, this is very similar to a technique Chee Soo showed us for gathering what he called 'macrocosmic energy' from Heaven. Another thing Chee Soo said is that although we have the modern names of Tai Chi sequences originally the individual stances were named after animals. The Chinese character for Wu shows a person dancing with animal skins. In ancient times people worshipped Nature, they looked to the sky, the Earth, they believed all things including animals and plants had a spirit. It is the dancing and drumming and chanting the Shamans were doing which altered their consciousness and brought them more in tune with the Natural forces around them. Nowadays we have Science, we rely on machines and technology, everything is written down, but we are becoming cut off from Nature. Tai Chi originated in a different time when people viewed the world in a different way, if we are to fully understand it maybe we need to look at things the way they did. Your thoughts?
  4. How is Wu Wei different from laziness?

    In my understanding a technical translation of Wu Wei means exactly Non-doing, but this is not the same as doing nothing. It's closer to the meaning of doing without using force or effort rather than doing nothing at all, however there may be cases where this may entail doing nothing or waiting for the right moment. In the case of the Archer who shoots for gold he cannot hit the target because his mind is distracted by thinking about the gold instead of being totally focussed and absorbed on the target. Zen archery for example teaches to shoot without actually aiming at the target, using posture, breathing and intuition rather than a logical method of actually aiming. This method takes longer but in the end makes a more reliable archer. The same is true of T'ai Chi practice where the mind is completely focussed on the movements without thinking about fighting. However the meaning of Wu in my previous post is not a translation of the word 'not' but probably meaning to dance, and in this sense it means dancing effortlessly and flowing with the rhythm of the music in a relaxed way, so much so it puts the dancer into a trance-like state. This is the same kind of relaxed but focussed state you find yourself in after a Tai Chi session, it's almost as if you accept everything, nothing bothers you, you feel a part of the flow around you, this is where Wu Wei ceases to become a logical kind of definition and becomes a state of mind that can only really be communicated about with others who have experienced the same thing, which most people will have done at some point. Some of us who are involved in art or music, Tai Chi or some other endeavour may also have trained ourselves how to enter this state at will or at the very least to create the kinds of conditions when it is more likely to occur. The Wu in ancient China will have used various methods including dance, drumming or ingestion of certain herbs to put themselves into such a state of being totally in the now, the purpose of which was to communicate with the spirit world and in some cases for divination.
  5. How is Wu Wei different from laziness?

    Stigweard says: "Wu 無 simply means an absence or negative like the terms �no, not, have no�. It can either be the image of cleared patch of forest, thus negation, or it has also been pictographically linked to shaman dancers holding tassels with my implication that the tassels become the focus of attention and the dancer �disappears�. Interestingly the Wu dancers who brought the rain were traditionally women." There's an interesting section on Wu Shamans in Wikipedia which also talks about the etymology of the word Wu as meaning dancing: "Wu could be cognate with wu 舞 "to dance". Based on analysis of ancient characters, Hopkins (1920, 1945) proposed that wu 巫 "shaman", wu 無 "not have; without", and wu 舞 "dance", "can all be traced back to one primitive figure of a man displaying by the gestures of his arms and legs the thaumaturgic powers of his inspired personality" (1945:5). Many Western Han Dynasty tombs contained jade plaques or pottery images showing "long-sleeved dancers" performing at funerals, who Erickson (1994:52-54) identifies as shamans, citing the Shuowen jiezi that early wu characters depicted a dancer's sleeves." It also talks about the origins of the ideogram Wu being: "originally a dancer holding two dangling animal skins" which suggests some kind of Shamanic origins of the term.
  6. The Tao of Kierkegaard

    David Wood taught Existentialism and Phenomenology at Warwick when I was there in 1982, and was also head of the philosophy department, he left for Vanderbilt University in 1994. I think the point about Kierkegaard and communication goes much deeper than just the example of Socrates, it has to do with basic differences between English and American philosophy which are based on logic and the written word having enormous significance in the meaning of ideas and concepts, whereas the rest of the world is more interested in experience not just language. Many of the other professors in our department freely admitted that they simply had no clue about continental philosophy and it's a different paradigm altogether rather than just a different perspective, the same holds true with Taoism. English and American philosophy in my opinion is a prime example of historical and cultural perspectivism in that it is an isolated stance which tends to view all other cultural and historical views in disadain, we are the ultimate expression of evolution and all other societies and past cultures are somehow inferior to ours, it is perfect egotism enshrined in a belief structure, probably a relic of the crumbling Empire and empiricism that went with it. Even the title of the book we studied holds subtle clues as to the essence of Kierkegaard's thought, 'Concluding' means it is something evolving and constantly ongoing, not subject to finite definitions, 'Unscientific' also shows that it is not a logically based method that is quantifiable like scientific experiments, and 'Post-script' hints at the real meaning being something outside of the text itself.
  7. The Tao of Kierkegaard

    I was studying philosophy at Warwick University when I first became interested and one parallel that struck me was similarities with the works of Soren Kierkegaard in particular his 'Concluding Unscientific Post-script' I was very lucky to be taught by David Wood who was very into Kierkegaard. He also taught us Sartre, Nietzche, and Heidegger. Kierkegaard was talking about religion but this is not the only interpretation of his works. He thought that we cannot communicate anything directly, that all true communication is indirect. He drew a comparison with the 'maeutic artistry' of Socrates who was teaching geometry problems. Rather than give his pupil the answer he would try to lead them along the same path of reasoning as he had taken by subtle means, hinting rather than being open. This reminds me of the opening phrase of the Tao Teh Ching about not believing everything you read and that the Tao is not spoken. However I have more recently come across translations of the Tao Teh Ching uncovered from tombs where copies were buried that have not seen the light of day and differ to modern translations, namely the Mawangdui silk texts and Guodian Chu bamboo slips. In fact these copies were written very close to the time Lao Tzu was alive. One translation I read did not contain the famous opening paragraph at all and the order was completely different. The reason is open to interpretation, some have suggested that it was incomplete, however it's interesting to consider that this opening phrase was maybe an editor's note rather than part of the actual text. However having taught T'ai Chi for thirty years now I can understand the meaning of not learning through talking especially in the light of my studies of English and American philosophy which seemed to be quite a lot of arguing about logic, definitions, meaning of words and semantics as if that was all that mattered in the study of philosophy. So encountering Taoism and Kierkegaard was really quite refreshing for me.
  8. Tai Chi Elements is a project in development to make an online training environment where people can learn T'ai Chi, Chi Gung and the Taoist Arts. Take a look at our website
  9. Taoist Canon

  10. Other famous Taoist writings

    Exorcist_1699 what are the names of these books and their authors in English please?
  11. mantak chia's real teacher's?

    I read Mantak Chias books when they first came out in the 1980's. In the original edition of 'Awaken Healing Energies through the Tao' he claims to have been taught at the White Clouds temple for two years. He also did Aikido previously. It's up to you in my opinion if you want to learn from a master who has studied for only two years. Since this time I have noticed many similarities between Chia's method and other books which also reference a certain carving in the White Clouds temple a version of which can be viewed on the Internet. For example Dau Liu's 'Tai Chi and meditation', Chee Soo's 'Taoist Yoga', Charles Luk's (Lu Kuan Yu) 'Taoist Yoga' and 'Secrets of Chinese Meditation', 'Doctrine of the Elixir' by R B Jefferson, 'Secret of the Golden Flower' various translations, 'Spiritual Disciplines' (pages from the Eranos yearbooks - chapter on Spiritual guidance in contemporary Taoism) and so on and so forth. In my humble opinion anyone who has to practice smiling is barking up the wrong tree entirely.
  12. Other famous Taoist writings

    I would have to disagree that the Japanese have no understanding of Taoism, although I too at first though this when I began studying Zen Buddhism. If you want to find the Japanese Taoism you have to look at Shinto, which comes from the Chinese 'Shen' and 'Tao', which roughly translated means 'the spirit of the way'. Because it is classified as a 'folk' religion you may not find any weighty or erudite academic essays about the subject but even such simple cultural references like the nature spirits in Hayao Miyazaki's 'My Neighbour Totoro' or the Kodamas in 'Princess Mononoke' show some very similar ideas to Chinese shamanism and cultural beliefs in my humble opinion. And after all do not the majority of modern Japanese not originate at some point in the distant past from the Chinese mainland?
  13. Hallo

    Hallo and thanks for the warm welcome. Yes indeed at the very beginning I met a highly skilled but controversial Chi Gung and T'ai Chi master called Chee Soo. I can tell you what I experienced with him but some people will probably laugh at it, but I'll tell you anyway. I went to his classes in the local town because I was doing a degree in western philosophy and I was also interested in esoteric matters in particular Eastern philosophy and meditation. I felt that western philosophy was based solely around linguistic analysis with too much emphasis on logic and in essence was not pragmatic. When I went to Chee Soo's Tai Chi and Chi Gung class he asked my why I was there and I asked him if he taught Taoism, he said 'That's ALL we teach', so I stuck with it. He would often perform various feats in his classes but with my initially skeptical viewpoint I though that they were tricks setup in advance to lure the gullible. One such ability he had was to apparently push people off balance without touching them. ie from a distance. Then one day I was at his evening class and we were practicing an exercise in partners which is designed to improve the stance and cultivate energy by pushing against the partner using Chi rather than physical strength, but with contact of course. He came over to us and didn't say a word but motioned for me to put my hands up. I thought to myself that he was an old man and I wasn't going to let him push me over because I was young and quite strong, so I dug in. Sure enough I felt him starting to push me and after a minute or so my legs began to buckle with the force and I went over, as I started to fall I opened my eyes and to my complete surprise he was standing several feet away and pointing his finger at me. Even though there was no contact I could feel his finger nail digging into my palm. I fell on the floor with the force of the push with was overwhelming and I was stunned, I couldn't speak and I looked up at the other students who had gathered round to watch. One of them just looked at me and nodded. The old man wandered off and I watched him do exactly the same thing with several other people, each time no contact and the same kind of reaction. Well I told my students in another class and as you can imagine there was something of a skeptical reaction and they wanted to know if they could see the same thing, well the upshot of it was that several of them turned up at the weekend class. Well during the class the old man sent the senior students out and we went to train on the grass outside. At tea break my students came running out saying 'He did it'. They all seemed amazed, the old man had walked in without saying a word and held his hands up, everyone in the room, about a hundred people, took a step back. They reported to me they had felt like they had been pushed in the chest and had to step back or they would have fallen over. Many of them were beginners and hadn't been primed in any way, all of them, skeptics and so on, one was even a professor from the local university, reported the same experience and none of them could explain it. Now I'm sure some will say it was hypnosis or weak minded converts bowing to the master's will, but I have seen this same kind of demonstration done many times since, and so have many other people, and there's no way even the most skilled hypnotist could affect an entire room of unselected, unprimed people to display such a forceful reaction. And I have since met many, many people who experienced exactly the same or similar types of experiences with this man. Well I was scanning some Taoist forums recently and I saw a reference to a website that said very much the same kind of thing, although this was years before I started training, written by someone who only trained with the old man in Chi Gung for a year or so. Have a read of it and judge for yourself.
  14. Hallo

    Hi I am a newbie to the forum. I have been studying Taoism for twenty five years and I teach Tai chi, Chi Gung, Kung Fu and Traditional Chinese medicine including eight principles and five elements methods. I am particularly interested in Taoist Alchemy, Tao Yin and Chi Gung and I have contributed to some articles on Wikipedia. My current area of interest is the Taoist stone carving in the White Clouds Temple in Beijing and the various translations referring to it regarding the 'microcosmic orbit' energy circulation and meditation method for example 'Secret of the Golden Flower', Doctrine of the Elixir and The Hundred Questions.