Mr. T

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  1. Takaaki's "American Taoism"

    valid points thinker...i see what you are saying.
  2. Takaaki's "American Taoism"

    "Think of how much good could be done if the Daoist community could go through the entire DDJ and come up with an at least somewhat generally acceptable set of such statements regarding both the beliefs and practices discussed throughout the entire work." there is always the "qingjing ching", sort of what you are describing later!
  3. Daoism, Ecology, and action

    hey, it seems to me that a lot of the ancient "natural methods" of farming that are being relearned now in america are pretty taoist in nature. for instance, using birds and bees to help defend and propogate your garden rather than pesticides and fertiizers. also, i love the story of suge liang who used the power of nature to bring about his success on the battlefield...when he gathered 10,000 arrows in the's great! those tao stories intertwined with nature are part of what initially drew me to taoist teachings. later!
  4. Takaaki's "American Taoism"

    hey all, you guys are re-inventing the wheel here. there already is a non-culture-specific description of tao, and a few of you were just talking about throwing it into the rubbish bin! which would be fine, of course... the point i am making is that nowhere in the ttc does it say, "in china, it works like this". it could be argued, and probalby will be, that to understand some of the metaphors, one would need somebody who understands them. this would lead to the inevitable conclusion that this person must be chinese. i think we are to the point now where there have been truly wise english teachers who understand the text and have disseminated the teachings in an accurate fashion. in summary, the ttc talks about tao and virtue, not china. call me naive, call me american, call me whatever, but that is how i see it. anyway, have a great saturday!
  5. Takaaki's "American Taoism"

    marble, yes to those things you said. i do believe americans can become, and some are in fact, taoists. and please don't get me wrong, i am not saying that anything you are doing is wrong or incorrect in any way. if your way has been successful for you and you attribute that to following the tao teachings, then excellent! i truly am happy for you and your success. my only contention is that we should be leary about putting labels on things...and i pretty sure this is something you already know so i am preaching to the choir, as they say. i think many people would cry foul if we started calling it "american christianity", etc., etc. anyway, i'll go back to lurking now! see ya!
  6. Takaaki's "American Taoism"

    hey mh, i quite agree. and i also acknowledge the taoist idea of "taking the useful and discarding the unuseful", such as is being done with the american idea of what is wu wei. but that is not what was put forth in the original post. perhaps an even more descriptive name for this new twist on american philosophy could be, "american philosophy that does the opposite of the three treasures of taoism but retains the idea of wu wei". as far as a practitioner or cultivator becoming chinese, that is irrelevant. i feel only a small segment of the "taoist" community is a chinese-o-phile, you know, the people with asian art all around and drinks wierd teas and really wishes they were asian... i feel that most of us study tao to improve our lives and i think most of us experience that change to greater or lesser extents. but that is not what is being discussed here in this thread...we are discussing the idea of labeling a particular way of thinking as something that is practically the opposite of that thinking based on the outline in the op. and the "church of what's happening now" is just as lively today as it was in the 60's, i just think it is not discussed as much becuase it has become more taboo in our modern culture. just my two cents... later!
  7. Taoist Monasticism in China Today

    howdy! you may also want to check out the wutang temple. i believe they accept western students on a long-term basis if you are a dedicated student of the taiji and qigong. i am not sure if they have a dedicated monastic order open to westerners, but it might be worth a look. but also look at gerard's post above... also, it is my understanding that many of the taoist "monks" and order escaped to taiwan during the cultural revolution, so maybe taiwan would be a fruitful place to look for a temple. just some thoughts, good luck!
  8. Takaaki's "American Taoism"

    hey all! this has been a great discussion, and i'm sorry for posting this a little late in the conversation, seeing as how many really thoughtful perspectives have been put forth, but anyway... the original description of an "american taoist" or "american taoism" basically outlined how the person went against all of the three sacred treasures. essentially, as i read it, did quite the opposite of how they are outlined in the ttc. it seems that the three treasures are at the heart of taoist philosophy, a very essential part. so how can one do the exact opposite of all three and then claim the namesake? i would suggest a more descriptive title, along the lines of "american philosophy of doing the oppostie of the taoist three treasures"...that's pretty catchy. other than that, it seems amazing that one would align themselves with the taoist philosophy and tenents if they disagree with them... just my thoughts. call it something different so as not to confuse any true tao students who may come along in the future...i mean no discrespect to any of you, but lets practice common sense... later!
  9. How often do you practice?

    howdy! it seems a foregone conclusion that daily practice is necessary for any real achievement. during the 6 or so years i was studying with my sifu in indianapolis we saw many, many people come and go. he was fond of saying the attrition rate was 20:1 of students that would go for awhile and quit...1 outta 20 would stay and take things seriously. but even of those folks that were regulars, it was pretty obvious who was practicing sincerely, and who just showed up for the weekly class. by the time i left, there were about 3 of us that had progressed, and about a dozen who where stuck on spin cycle. now that i am on my own, i feel that i am in a period of harvesting what i was taught during those years, with trips back to indy to continue training. that said, my practice consists of about an hour or two a day of focused qi gong and taiji. the remaining waking hours are times of mental practice (self-reflection) and constant taiji breathing and momentary meditation (just taking a few moments to breath and focus on centering). anyways, i'm sure many folks will say that even this is not enough. oh well... later!
  10. First steps

    howdy! actually, i forgot about that. but i did happen to dig the book out. it is taoism: an essential guide, by eva wong. that was a great book for me at the time i read it, and it really helped to put some of the historical context behind all the confusing names and chinese historical time periods. check it out! later... edited to say: when i just googled to make sure it is still in print, it appears there is a new edition (?), because it says published 2011, but i read it around 08, so i'm not sure...but it is still available
  11. First steps

    hey illyria, wading into this taoism stuff can be overwhelming. here are sme of the basic steps that i took when i started... 1. bought a decent translation of the ttc. what makes it decent? i don't know, people argue about that all the time. hopefully you have found one by now. 2. there is another book i got (the name escapes me, i'll try to edit it in later) that broke down the history of taoist practices in ancient china and modern day. that really helped me to understand some of the history and terms that are thrown around. i couple this with internet searching as well into the history and different practices that exist today. **caution- take what you read as only gerenal information and not true fact!!!!! 3. looked for some time before finding a teacher. i was fortunate to find a group of folks who, i feel, practice what taoism means to me. they are accessible through the web, and if you are interested in a free learning experience you can let me know and we can email. i don't want to be percieved as advertising or prosteletizing here... 4. practice... good luck!
  12. howdy! first, i would also ask if you have a live teacher. if so, they should be able to answer your question. if not, try to find a live teacher! if this is not possible, my suggestion would be to keep practicing, because 1 year of taiji practice is just scratching the surface. the 6-7 years i have been practicing, with a great teacher, is also just scratching the surface. it takes time. finally, i would say that i had the same problem at times, and still do. it helps me to refocus on my dan tien and my rooting when i become unbalanced. i'm not sure if you have had this sort of training, but it wouldn't hurt to find out about it! good luck, and happy practicing!
  13. Taijiquan Styles

    no problem, i hope it helped to satisfy your curiosity! one other thing that came to mind after posting. the form we practice has some very low stances and difficult twisting steps. this looks very similar to the zhao bao forms you can watch on u-tube, except for the glaring difference that in our form we do not do that sticking up the toe movement on the low stances. mind you, we might be practicing something totally different than what u-tube shows as wutang taiji...
  14. Taijiquan Styles

    hello! i am a practitioner of what our teacher calls "wutang temple style taiji chuan". that is what his teacher called it, so that is what we called it. i have only been practicing for about 6-7 years, and only this style. therefore, my knowledge on other forms is limited to what i read and watch online. my experience is that the principle form (108) is very similar to many of the old styles that are displayed variously around. however, the general progression of the form is similar to many chen style forms...meanning that the movements are in relatively the same place thru out the form. the first half is much "smaller" and "defensive", with the second half becoming more pronounced, some faster sections, and more prominent displays of agression, for lack of a better term. class was basically broken into an hour of qigong, and hour of form instruction, and an hour of application training, depending on level of experience. then there is the two hour tao study group that was required attendence for advanced students. as far as the spiritual side, our teacher required study of the tao and it's philosophies as an accompanying practice to the taiji, and class was heavily based on the influence of yin-yang theory. the system incorporates many forms of qigong, and learning the second half of the form requires focused meditation on the five animals. this is the basic level, and i have not progressed past this level. having now learned the basic form, my wife and i relocated to get closer to family and now i am in a "holding pattern" of practicing what i have learned. i suspect that i will be in this pattern for quite some time as the style is quite humbling and i really have no desire to learn anything new since i pretty much stink at doing what i do know! anyways, that's all i know about wutang taiji quan.
  15. Intro to Masters

    hello! while i am not from the la area, there is the i-kuan tao temple near la, and there are many folks there who may be qualified. i have only personally met master william quo, who is just a super great, kind person. also, derek lin hosts a meeting at the temple each sunday which is free to the public, i believe (or you can just tune in online!). good luck, and i hope you find a great teacher! later... edited to include that the actual temple is in el monte, and not being from the area i have no idea where that is other than it is near la...i guess i should look that up!