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Walker

The fate of Daoism under the PRC...

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Hi... Thanks in advance for any help you all can give me. Seems like there're quite a few people here who have firsthand experience with this topic.

 

This question stems from a conversation I recently had with a Nyingma teacher who teaches here in the US. I ended up asking him some questions on the relationship between Daoism and Buddhism because he moved from the United States to China and learned Chinese before finding his way into the Tibetan tradition. In China he studied taijichuan and some TCM as well before choosing to focus on Buddhism. I believe he was in Taiwan and the PRC, including Tibet, for a total of eight years. He currently holds a Dharma seat at Paltrul Rinpoche's temple in Tibet. My sense is that he's not on B.S... but eh, who am I to judge? If he was really on B.S. then he'd know how to fool a sucker like me, hah.

 

Well, according to this teacher, the founding of the People's Republic of China and the Cultural Revolution did deep, perhaps irreparable damage to Daoism on the mainland. He believes that all teachers capable of transmitting the entirety of the Daoist path either went into exile in places like Hong Kong and Taiwan, were killed, or simply were unable to transmit the breadth of their learning and the completion stages of the Daoist path to enlightenment before dying (I say "transmit the entirety of the Daoist path" realizing that probably no human has ever learned every art and technique attributed to Daoism... I think what he meant is that the remaining teachers were not fully realized and thus couldn't transmit teachings that would lead to realization. I suppose a conversation about whether one must have supposedly enlightened teachers could be interesting, as well).

 

Therefore, according to this lama, Daoism in the PRC is a shell of its former self and one would be running a fool's errand to try to become a Daoist in a serious sense (whether or not that is a Kirkland sense) on the mainland. Even learning genuine TCM in the PRC today, he thinks, is impossible. He did offer two caveats: one, it is possible that some real masters hid themselves successfully and found students to pass their learning to, though he thinks this very unlikely; and two, if true masters have returned to the mainland from exile in recent years then they will have brought their complete knowledge with them.

 

I must say, for a man who is not himself a Daoist he was quite adamant about this point! I think he said it out of kindness, though. He was not saying, "Daoism is dead, Buddhism is the only way, come join my flock." He was instead counseling that spending time on the mainland would be waste of time for one with an interest in Daoism. When I asked him if, in his opinion, Daoism is as worthwhile a path as Tibetan Buddhism, he just said, "make sure you can find a teacher who can teach you everything." I take that more or less as a yes--and certainly not as an attempt to proselytize. He suggested Taiwan and Hong Kong and Malaysia as possible destinations.

 

A related question... I have found learning simplified hanzi to be relatively easy, especially while living in China and constantly accessing the relevant parts of my brain to read signs, write, etc. Traditional characters are a little bit harder but not so much so that I couldn't learn them. For a person interested in learning in the Daoist and TCM traditions in China (and without an interest in being able to publish academic historical papers or translate classics) is a knowledge of simplified characters sufficient?

 

If I've gotten the right idea in my hours lurking here, then there are a number of posters here who've moved to China to study. Also it seems like there are some people from China posting. I'd be extremely grateful to hear what you all think. Thanks again for your time.

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There are people here who have the real mojo, but it's difficult to find.

 

It's certainly not easily accessible in any of the PLA run famous temples.

 

That doesn't mean it's not there, though either.

 

Even in temples there are lineages within lineages, and nobody knows what's there unless they are put on to it. Even other people living there.

 

I think - as far as accessibility goes - Taiwan is probably better . . .

 

As I mentioned before there are also people in other countries throughout asia who have been fleeing the hanzu for hundreds of years, and live as hill tribes in other countries that are Taoist, as well but they don't have any famous people teaching publicly

 

There are also lots of KMT people in countries other than Taiwan. Thailand having the most, I would say and some of them have some good stuff.

 

My step grandfather (my step mother is Chinese) was a high ranking KMT general, and I know that alot of people who had formal training got out during or shortly after the civil war.

 

But there are still people here who can teach you alot, I think. Maybe moreso than other people.

 

For example, the abottess of one of the nunneries at Wudang is an old lady who went through that period of time, was beaten, suffered terribly, and still wouldn't leave or change or renounce. There is video of her somewhere on youtube I believe.

 

And . . . This is in no means meant as a slight on anyone - seriously.

 

But, given the choice between those who ran, those who renounced, and those who stayed upright in the face of some pretty terrible things - I think I would personally prefer the latter.

 

My feeling is that the real stuff is still here. It just may be that the real stuff isn't (and in my case wasn't) what I expected it to be. :)

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Mantak Chia I think is the most well known of Taoist teachers today. Try his system.

 

I've also read a book by Wu Baolin. He is one of the high adepts of the White Cloud Monastery. His book on 9 Palaces Solar Qi Gong is great.

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Hi... Thanks in advance for any help you all can give me. Seems like there're quite a few people here who have firsthand experience with this topic.

 

This question stems from a conversation I recently had with a Nyingma teacher who teaches here in the US. I ended up asking him some questions on the relationship between Daoism and Buddhism because he moved from the United States to China and learned Chinese before finding his way into the Tibetan tradition. In China he studied taijichuan and some TCM as well before choosing to focus on Buddhism. I believe he was in Taiwan and the PRC, including Tibet, for a total of eight years. He currently holds a Dharma seat at Paltrul Rinpoche's temple in Tibet. My sense is that he's not on B.S... but eh, who am I to judge? If he was really on B.S. then he'd know how to fool a sucker like me, hah.

 

Well, according to this teacher, the founding of the People's Republic of China and the Cultural Revolution did deep, perhaps irreparable damage to Daoism on the mainland. He believes that all teachers capable of transmitting the entirety of the Daoist path either went into exile in places like Hong Kong and Taiwan, were killed, or simply were unable to transmit the breadth of their learning and the completion stages of the Daoist path to enlightenment before dying (I say "transmit the entirety of the Daoist path" realizing that probably no human has ever learned every art and technique attributed to Daoism... I think what he meant is that the remaining teachers were not fully realized and thus couldn't transmit teachings that would lead to realization. I suppose a conversation about whether one must have supposedly enlightened teachers could be interesting, as well).

 

Therefore, according to this lama, Daoism in the PRC is a shell of its former self and one would be running a fool's errand to try to become a Daoist in a serious sense (whether or not that is a Kirkland sense) on the mainland. Even learning genuine TCM in the PRC today, he thinks, is impossible. He did offer two caveats: one, it is possible that some real masters hid themselves successfully and found students to pass their learning to, though he thinks this very unlikely; and two, if true masters have returned to the mainland from exile in recent years then they will have brought their complete knowledge with them.

 

I must say, for a man who is not himself a Daoist he was quite adamant about this point! I think he said it out of kindness, though. He was not saying, "Daoism is dead, Buddhism is the only way, come join my flock." He was instead counseling that spending time on the mainland would be waste of time for one with an interest in Daoism. When I asked him if, in his opinion, Daoism is as worthwhile a path as Tibetan Buddhism, he just said, "make sure you can find a teacher who can teach you everything." I take that more or less as a yes--and certainly not as an attempt to proselytize. He suggested Taiwan and Hong Kong and Malaysia as possible destinations.

 

A related question... I have found learning simplified hanzi to be relatively easy, especially while living in China and constantly accessing the relevant parts of my brain to read signs, write, etc. Traditional characters are a little bit harder but not so much so that I couldn't learn them. For a person interested in learning in the Daoist and TCM traditions in China (and without an interest in being able to publish academic historical papers or translate classics) is a knowledge of simplified characters sufficient?

 

If I've gotten the right idea in my hours lurking here, then there are a number of posters here who've moved to China to study. Also it seems like there are some people from China posting. I'd be extremely grateful to hear what you all think. Thanks again for your time.

 

 

Hi Walker,

 

your Nyingma teacher made a good point, but in my point of view I can not completely agree.

 

Daoist in China existed in all kinds of shapes: monks, abbots, wandering daoists, lay daoist masters. And through all times, many of them remained unknown, hidden or out of control of the authorities, whoever that was.

You know the story of Bill Porter, searching for hermits in China? I also met daoist hermits on a remote cliff of Huashan. Until recent years all authorities were denying that things like hermits even exist in China!

 

I personally believe and experienced that many treasure keeper can be found in the PRC - and whether they transmit the "entirety" of what...? Who should that be?

 

To the problem of Chinese language and Jiantizi simplified Chinese. I figure it's quite advanced already to read simplified hanzi. Most basic Daoist classics are available already in simplified Chinese.

 

Centuries ago many Chinese claimed that no Western people can really comprehend a such complex task like understanding "inner secrets" of Daoism. Read the article of Michael Saso about the oral transmission... that's quite challenging-

But meanwhile even Chinese orthodox Daoist monks believe that it's time to transmit the Daoist "secrets" to western disciples and learn English to be prepared for it....

 

By the way, Ms. Li Chengyu from Wudangshan died in 2003 at age 117 or 118. There is some footage of her in the documentary " The Kung Fu Dragons of Wudang", you can find at youtube - quite astonishing.

 

I am grateful to have met many treasure keepers of Daoism in China. Each encounter was unique and a turning point in my life, be it the hermit on Huashan, the daoist nuns on Hengshan, Ren Farong of Louguantai before he became President of the Chinese Daoist association, or my collegue in Beijing who taught me Zhanzhuang, my fist neigong basic routine.

 

Shouyi! Hold on to the ONE!

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There are people here who have the real mojo, but it's difficult to find.

 

It's certainly not easily accessible in any of the PLA run famous temples.

 

That doesn't mean it's not there, though either.

 

Even in temples there are lineages within lineages, and nobody knows what's there unless they are put on to it. Even other people living there.

 

I think - as far as accessibility goes - Taiwan is probably better . . .

 

As I mentioned before there are also people in other countries throughout asia who have been fleeing the hanzu for hundreds of years, and live as hill tribes in other countries that are Taoist, as well but they don't have any famous people teaching publicly

 

There are also lots of KMT people in countries other than Taiwan. Thailand having the most, I would say and some of them have some good stuff.

 

My step grandfather (my step mother is Chinese) was a high ranking KMT general, and I know that alot of people who had formal training got out during or shortly after the civil war.

 

But there are still people here who can teach you alot, I think. Maybe moreso than other people.

 

For example, the abottess of one of the nunneries at Wudang is an old lady who went through that period of time, was beaten, suffered terribly, and still wouldn't leave or change or renounce. There is video of her somewhere on youtube I believe.

 

And . . . This is in no means meant as a slight on anyone - seriously.

 

But, given the choice between those who ran, those who renounced, and those who stayed upright in the face of some pretty terrible things - I think I would personally prefer the latter.

 

My feeling is that the real stuff is still here. It just may be that the real stuff isn't (and in my case wasn't) what I expected it to be. :)

 

What he said. Some very good points.

 

 

 

Hi Walker,

 

your Nyingma teacher made a good point, but in my point of view I can not completely agree.

 

Daoist in China existed in all kinds of shapes: monks, abbots, wandering daoists, lay daoist masters. And through all times, many of them remained unknown, hidden or out of control of the authorities, whoever that was.

You know the story of Bill Porter, searching for hermits in China? I also met daoist hermits on a remote cliff of Huashan. Until recent years all authorities were denying that things like hermits even exist in China!

 

I personally believe and experienced that many treasure keeper can be found in the PRC - and whether they transmit the "entirety" of what...? Who should that be?

 

To the problem of Chinese language and Jiantizi simplified Chinese. I figure it's quite advanced already to read simplified hanzi. Most basic Daoist classics are available already in simplified Chinese.

 

Centuries ago many Chinese claimed that no Western people can really comprehend a such complex task like understanding "inner secrets" of Daoism. Read the article of Michael Saso about the oral transmission... that's quite challenging-

But meanwhile even Chinese orthodox Daoist monks believe that it's time to transmit the Daoist "secrets" to western disciples and learn English to be prepared for it....

 

By the way, Ms. Li Chengyu from Wudangshan died in 2003 at age 117 or 118. There is some footage of her in the documentary " The Kung Fu Dragons of Wudang", you can find at youtube - quite astonishing.

 

I am grateful to have met many treasure keepers of Daoism in China. Each encounter was unique and a turning point in my life, be it the hermit on Huashan, the daoist nuns on Hengshan, Ren Farong of Louguantai before he became President of the Chinese Daoist association, or my collegue in Beijing who taught me Zhanzhuang, my fist neigong basic routine.

 

Shouyi! Hold on to the ONE!

 

Another splendid post. Thank you for sharing.

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The above posts have already pretty much covered my opinion and experience on mainland China but I will add a bit on TCM. The TCM taught in Chinese medical universities is almost certainly inferior to the quality you'll find in some western TCM schools. The teachers here are all "scientific materialists" which basically means they don't understand the essence of TCM or at the very least won't admit to it. They rarely even read the classics in their original form, preferring modern translations written by equally uninformed colleges. Every once in a while you'll find a good teacher, a real cultivation and medical master in a university but this is a very rare exception.

 

That said, masters of genuine ability certainly exist on the mainland, though finding them isn't easy. Luckily, if you just find one, you'll soon find more.

 

I like this point by Wudangquan:

 

"...given the choice between those who ran, those who renounced, and those who stayed upright in the face of some pretty terrible things - I think I would personally prefer the latter."

 

Indeed many masters fled but I think many of the best stayed behind. Sadly, though it's better that the past, even now it's still unwise to really come out of hiding.

 

Still, Taiwan may be your best bet. Unless you have someone to connect you with the right folks on the mainland the initial step of finding the right folks can be daunting and can take a while. I imagine it's easier in Taiwan.

 

But if you're not bent on studying in China, in Chinese, I know two good schools in the states. The National College of Natural Medicine and the World Medicine Institute. The first has a Classical Chinese Medicine program (as opposed to traditional Chinese medicine) which emphasizes the classics and personal cultivation via qigong. The second was founded by a Daoist medicine master and specifically trains students in Daoist TCM. Unless you plan on spending a long enough time in China to find medical master and become his/her apprentice you'll get a better education at either of the above schools. Plus you'll save a lot of time.

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But meanwhile even Chinese orthodox Daoist monks believe that it's time to transmit the Daoist "secrets" to western disciples and learn English to be prepared for it....

 

Daoseeker, I love your posts, thank you.

What do you think is the reason that daoist monks believe it is time to transmit the Daoist "secrets" to western disciples?

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Hi... Thanks in advance for any help you all can give me. Seems like there're quite a few people here who have firsthand experience with this topic.

 

This question stems from a conversation I recently had with a Nyingma teacher who teaches here in the US. I ended up asking him some questions on the relationship between Daoism and Buddhism because he moved from the United States to China and learned Chinese before finding his way into the Tibetan tradition. In China he studied taijichuan and some TCM as well before choosing to focus on Buddhism. I believe he was in Taiwan and the PRC, including Tibet, for a total of eight years. He currently holds a Dharma seat at Paltrul Rinpoche's temple in Tibet. My sense is that he's not on B.S... but eh, who am I to judge? If he was really on B.S. then he'd know how to fool a sucker like me, hah.

 

Well, according to this teacher, the founding of the People's Republic of China and the Cultural Revolution did deep, perhaps irreparable damage to Daoism on the mainland. He believes that all teachers capable of transmitting the entirety of the Daoist path either went into exile in places like Hong Kong and Taiwan, were killed, or simply were unable to transmit the breadth of their learning and the completion stages of the Daoist path to enlightenment before dying (I say "transmit the entirety of the Daoist path" realizing that probably no human has ever learned every art and technique attributed to Daoism... I think what he meant is that the remaining teachers were not fully realized and thus couldn't transmit teachings that would lead to realization. I suppose a conversation about whether one must have supposedly enlightened teachers could be interesting, as well).

 

Therefore, according to this lama, Daoism in the PRC is a shell of its former self and one would be running a fool's errand to try to become a Daoist in a serious sense (whether or not that is a Kirkland sense) on the mainland. Even learning genuine TCM in the PRC today, he thinks, is impossible. He did offer two caveats: one, it is possible that some real masters hid themselves successfully and found students to pass their learning to, though he thinks this very unlikely; and two, if true masters have returned to the mainland from exile in recent years then they will have brought their complete knowledge with them.

 

I must say, for a man who is not himself a Daoist he was quite adamant about this point! I think he said it out of kindness, though. He was not saying, "Daoism is dead, Buddhism is the only way, come join my flock." He was instead counseling that spending time on the mainland would be waste of time for one with an interest in Daoism. When I asked him if, in his opinion, Daoism is as worthwhile a path as Tibetan Buddhism, he just said, "make sure you can find a teacher who can teach you everything." I take that more or less as a yes--and certainly not as an attempt to proselytize. He suggested Taiwan and Hong Kong and Malaysia as possible destinations.

 

A related question... I have found learning simplified hanzi to be relatively easy, especially while living in China and constantly accessing the relevant parts of my brain to read signs, write, etc. Traditional characters are a little bit harder but not so much so that I couldn't learn them. For a person interested in learning in the Daoist and TCM traditions in China (and without an interest in being able to publish academic historical papers or translate classics) is a knowledge of simplified characters sufficient?

 

If I've gotten the right idea in my hours lurking here, then there are a number of posters here who've moved to China to study. Also it seems like there are some people from China posting. I'd be extremely grateful to hear what you all think. Thanks again for your time.

 

The dao is an individual path,travel as a group and you invite trouble, looking for group security ,we miss the mark completely.

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Someone else said something in another post (can't remember who to give credit where due) about like attracting like . . .

 

I think this is the way it is.

 

If you're looking for the stuff to show off, you'll more than likely end up finding out after years that you're training with masters of kung fu moviedo and hidden wire qigong.

 

It's just really difficult, I think. As far as I can tell, most Chinese people, even alot of the IMA people and oldsters you see around, etc. have no idea where to find the real teachers. It's not that they're not telling, but nobody knows.

 

For me personally, I happened into some dumb luck. My fiance's grandfather was Bi Youfeng, and pretty famous Shuai Jiao master and one of the only people that was travelling outside of the mainland during the 60's and 70's to do demonstrations, show a few Japanese who's boss, etc.

 

Her dad, mom and uncles got his Shuai Jiao (the non sport version - as far as the sports stuff everyone in Yunnnan can pretty much trace their training back to him) but neither she or any of her cousins are interested so they just taught (and are teaching) me. It's a specific system, that's specific to the Black Yizu from Stone Forest..

 

And they taught me their internal stuff as well (and there is a good system). Shuai Jiao ruler, Shuai Jiao qigong, the meditative stuff (although it's just meditation- no visualization or spooky shit), and it's definitely Taoist rather than Buddhist or anything else, and the basic xinxing stuff.

 

The training methods are definitely taoist I would say, and it's parallel to other stuff out there (again, it's not the sport variant - it has strikes, kicks, etc. and imho is very effective).

 

For the spiritual stuff as I said I studied at Longquan temple. This is really the best advice I can give in my limited experience - make friends at a smaller temple in a mid tier city.

 

All that being said - I only know a little bit. I did other taoist stuff and qigong for years and years before, so I have a conceptual foundation and basically understand what the road looks like, have vague ideas about where it's going, and feel like I have a bit more ability to discern the lower grade stuff from the higher grade stuff than your garden variety ninja, but . . .

 

Yeah it's difficult I think. Difficult to find good teachers. Anywhere. My step mom converted to Christianity, so she won't put me on to her guanxi to find the right people (and she probably could), and there are sterilized materialistic variants, cheaters, low grade practices, etc. everywhere.

 

In the final analysis though, if you're not looking for the k-rad 3l33t thunder schlong or the ability to shoot lasers out of your eyes, it probably comes down to quality meditation, being able to treat loss as gain, and divest yourself from what other people care about - and recognize when you have an opportunity to be tested, maybe that's harder than any of the other stuff.

 

I'm pretty bad at it, and am over-sentimental, like "stuff", have a big ego, a very very violent tempter, etc. but at least being aware of the issue is probably the only reason the guys at longquan even talked to me. They asked me about myself, and I told them I forgot who I was and wanted to remember, and that I was training martial arts. One of them asked me "Would you like me to test you?" in a pretty confrontational way, and I said "I guess you just did." Then they started eating in the mess hall with me whenever I came.

 

I think you can find the people if your heart is right. I don't think the right people would ask you to pay tons of money, either but that's just an IMHO. If they need to teach you a lesson about attachment to money, they can have you burn it or something instead of living in palatial homes.

 

EDIT: I once heard Carlos Santana, of all people being interviewed, and talking about "Merging the flesh with the light". Within my own limited understanding - that's what it's all about. Pre-natal spirit with pre-natal energy.

Edited by wudangquan

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Mantak Chia I think is the most well known of Taoist teachers today. Try his system.

 

I've also read a book by Wu Baolin. He is one of the high adepts of the White Cloud Monastery. His book on 9 Palaces Solar Qi Gong is great.

 

Thank you for your idea but I don't find that I have much affinity for Mantak Chia. Thank you for the book recommendation, also. If I am looking to change my qigong practice some day perhaps I shall look into that method.

 

 

The dao is an individual path,travel as a group and you invite trouble, looking for group security ,we miss the mark completely.

 

Could you elaborate as to what part of my question made you say this? I'm not sure I understand your point.

 

Someone else said something in another post (can't remember who to give credit where due) about like attracting like . . .

 

I think this is the way it is.

 

If you're looking for the stuff to show off, you'll more than likely end up finding out after years that you're training with masters of kung fu moviedo and hidden wire qigong.

 

It's just really difficult, I think. As far as I can tell, most Chinese people, even alot of the IMA people and oldsters you see around, etc. have no idea where to find the real teachers. It's not that they're not telling, but nobody knows.

 

...

 

For the spiritual stuff as I said I studied at Longquan temple. This is really the best advice I can give in my limited experience - make friends at a smaller temple in a mid tier city.

 

...

 

In the final analysis though, if you're not looking for the k-rad 3l33t thunder schlong or the ability to shoot lasers out of your eyes, it probably comes down to quality meditation, being able to treat loss as gain, and divest yourself from what other people care about - and recognize when you have an opportunity to be tested, maybe that's harder than any of the other stuff.

 

I'm pretty bad at it, and am over-sentimental, like "stuff", have a big ego, a very very violent tempter, etc. but at least being aware of the issue is probably the only reason the guys at longquan even talked to me. They asked me about myself, and I told them I forgot who I was and wanted to remember, and that I was training martial arts. One of them asked me "Would you like me to test you?" in a pretty confrontational way, and I said "I guess you just did." Then they started eating in the mess hall with me whenever I came.

 

I think you can find the people if your heart is right. I don't think the right people would ask you to pay tons of money, either but that's just an IMHO. If they need to teach you a lesson about attachment to money, they can have you burn it or something instead of living in palatial homes.

 

Thank you for this post and the one you wrote before. Indeed, I am not particularly concerned with the lasers from the eye stuff--I was born with those abilities and have found they cause nothing but trouble (kidding, kidding, sorry...). To give some background on me, since it might clarify why I'm posting, I'm interested in Daoism because I would like to learn what I really am. An audacious enough desire without chasing superpowers on the side to eat up my time and sanity, I think! I know there are many paths for many goals, and that world travel is no necessity, but Daoism has long resonated with me and living China has long drawn me. I am interested in TCM because it fascinates me more than any other career or pursuit I can think of. Going to back to China holds several appeals. I enjoy living there and really enjoy learning the language, even writing hanzi by rote; I can support myself in China working part-time and thus have lots of time and energy left over for practice and study that I won't have if I try to live in US or NZ, my countries of citizenship; and I could, depending on how my future unfolds, have access to a variety of teachers and written materials I don't know that I'd find in the States. I'm a bit leery of translations, as well, and given that the teacher I do have ardently encourages his students to seek more sources of information than his mouth, learning Chinese seems like a good idea whilst I'm able.

 

Actually, my experience living in China for the first half of this year was very positive and it seemed like I was able to meet a small number of honest, genuine practitioners in a short time. Of course, our relationships were very short so I can't claim to know them very well. Their message was pretty clear: learn Chinese, and you can learn here. I think I'm pretty sincere (though, like you Wudangquan, I will admit to many foibles I am yet to work through) and I suspect you're right, this does attract people who're open to teaching and helping serious students. Cultural and linguistic blocks quickly started to feel like potentially temporary obstacles to learning. This may be folly on my part, and pompous over-confidence, but I'm not too worried about finding teachers, if and where they do exist, if and when the time is right. My own time in China would not have compelled me to ask the question that started this post--it was really the Nyingma lama's adamance.

 

Thanks again for sharing openly of your experiences. Have you decided if you'll move Kunming, by the way? I've heard it's a good place to study Mandarin in the universities--half the price of Beijing. I'm considering it as an option since it seemed nice when I was there and I know a student who's very happy with his program.

 

Hi Walker,

 

your Nyingma teacher made a good point, but in my point of view I can not completely agree.

 

Daoist in China existed in all kinds of shapes: monks, abbots, wandering daoists, lay daoist masters. And through all times, many of them remained unknown, hidden or out of control of the authorities, whoever that was.

You know the story of Bill Porter, searching for hermits in China? I also met daoist hermits on a remote cliff of Huashan. Until recent years all authorities were denying that things like hermits even exist in China!

 

...

 

Centuries ago many Chinese claimed that no Western people can really comprehend a such complex task like understanding "inner secrets" of Daoism. Read the article of Michael Saso about the oral transmission... that's quite challenging-

But meanwhile even Chinese orthodox Daoist monks believe that it's time to transmit the Daoist "secrets" to western disciples and learn English to be prepared for it....

 

I do know of that Bill Porter book... I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was one of the titles, especially alongside John Blofeld and Anagarika Govinda, that got me to finally give China a try this year after thinking about it for a long time. Perhaps the fact that the Nyingma lama was in China in the to mid-eighties to early-nineties is one reason he formed the opinion he did. Seems as though Daoists would have been significantly more hidden then than now.

 

I will check out that Saso article, thanks.

 

That said, masters of genuine ability certainly exist on the mainland, though finding them isn't easy. Luckily, if you just find one, you'll soon find more.

 

...

 

But if you're not bent on studying in China, in Chinese, I know two good schools in the states. The National College of Natural Medicine and the World Medicine Institute. The first has a Classical Chinese Medicine program (as opposed to traditional Chinese medicine) which emphasizes the classics and personal cultivation via qigong. The second was founded by a Daoist medicine master and specifically trains students in Daoist TCM. Unless you plan on spending a long enough time in China to find medical master and become his/her apprentice you'll get a better education at either of the above schools. Plus you'll save a lot of time.

 

Thanks for linking to those programs. The only TCM education with an emphasis on Daoist practices I yet knew of in the States was the one at Yosan University, so it is good to know what else is out there.

 

A question from your first statement, which I suppose could go to anybody posting here: Have any of you heard of a Chinese medicine master by the name of Mao (second tone... feather) who is based in Fanjing Mountain in Guizhou and has a center of some sort in Beijing? This is the master of the TCM doctor who taught me a bit this year, but my poor language skills prevented me from ascertaining much about his teacher.

 

Anyway, looking over this post I see I'm starting to look like a broken record, but eh, I'll say it again... Thank you all for your thoughts.

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A question from your first statement, which I suppose could go to anybody posting here: Have any of you heard of a Chinese medicine master by the name of Mao (second tone... feather) who is based in Fanjing Mountain in Guizhou and has a center of some sort in Beijing? This is the master of the TCM doctor who taught me a bit this year, but my poor language skills prevented me from ascertaining much about his teacher.

 

 

Don't know him, but I've spent all my time in Xi'an apart from travels.

 

It seems you're really sincere, that's good, it will get you through the language hurdle. I do think you're going about this the right way (of course, I'm bias, I've chosen the same), because in only a year or two you will be able to start reading the classics, in their original form, and realize that in it self is a form of cultivation. But choosing this way is also difficult, slow going, and though you may wind up with real skill you still won't have a diploma to show for it.

 

As far as places to study go, I suggest you consider Chengdu in Sichuan Province. The city has a real feeling of culture, something fast disappearing in China. And from my impression, there are more tea houses per-capita in Chengdu than any place else in China. There are many masters there and the TCM University in Chengdu is one of the few places I've heard you can get a decent education (though I think you'd still be better off finding a sympathetic doctor to apprentice with). Where I to do it again, without my guanxi in Xi'an, I'd move to Chengdu - no question. The only problem is their putonghua is sucks! Actually the grammar structure of sichuanhua is still closely related to mandarin (not like some of the southern dialects), so you'll still get into the same thinking pattern, it's just their pronunciation is not so good. All ss, no sh. Of course, that's not really a big problem, you just might wind up with a sichuan accent.

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Daoseeker, I love your posts, thank you.

What do you think is the reason that daoist monks believe it is time to transmit the Daoist "secrets" to western disciples?

 

my everyday work is linked to China and I have many Chinese friends and collegues, business partners etc.

In my opinion it's quite simple: The average of the Chinese people have been brain-washed by all kinds of revolutionary movements, philosophies and leaders for quite a long time. They just don't know about their spiritual traditions pretty well and therefore don't appreciate it. Daoist monks on holy mountains were made fun of, Chinese tourists going there for certain sunrise pictures only and stuff like that happening there all the time. Even though of course their is a promising new interest arising among young people in China.

I once wondered why every (I mean EVERY) monk on Huashan for example was inviting me for some talkings, a cup of tea or even dinner at their place... just because they could tell by the way I was greeting the Daoist way or paying respect in the temples that I was a real follower of Daoism. The majority of Chinese tourists just (if in general) do some folk-religious bows or pray for money and male children...

 

Another story from a Chan Buddhist monastery in Xi'an: My friend and I had shaved heads that time and had both practiced Zazen for quite some years that time. We also paid respect in the main Maitreya hall and were invited to sit down and have a chat with the monk doing service in the hall. He turned out to be the abott later on... We both spoke Chinese already that time and had a very inspiring nice exchange about Chan-Practice. Only then Chinese young people would join in curiously and expressing their interest in ... becoming a monk or not! They didn't talk about practice or so....

 

So, I figure lots of Chinese practicing Buddhists or Daoists see a westerner in the light of a seriously interested practioner - if so - and would rather prefer to share something with them instead of answering nonsense questions of Chinese tourists.

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As far as places to study go, I suggest you consider Chengdu in Sichuan Province. The city has a real feeling of culture, something fast disappearing in China. And from my impression, there are more tea houses per-capita in Chengdu than any place else in China. There are many masters there and the TCM University in Chengdu is one of the few places I've heard you can get a decent education (though I think you'd still be better off finding a sympathetic doctor to apprentice with). Where I to do it again, without my guanxi in Xi'an, I'd move to Chengdu - no question. The only problem is their putonghua is sucks! Actually the grammar structure of sichuanhua is still closely related to mandarin (not like some of the southern dialects), so you'll still get into the same thinking pattern, it's just their pronunciation is not so good. All ss, no sh. Of course, that's not really a big problem, you just might wind up with a sichuan accent.

 

That's a good thought. I'll know about a couple of language scholarships by next summer that'll likely decide where I end up for me--and that'll probably be Beijing. Chengdu is nice, though, and I wouldn't be surprised if their universities are much cheaper for foreigners than Beijing's are if I end up footing my own bill. The city's also an option if I'm working and studying at the same time. We shall see... I'm gonna try to avoid thinking too much about where exactly to go till the next Chinese semester's hiring round starts in a couple months. Nothing to sap my energy like the job hunt, which I just got off last week. By the way, are the Sichuanhua tones more or less the same as Putonghua? I barely knew any Chinese when I was there.

 

Daoseeker, I read the Saso article. I thought it was an excellent read, appreciate the heads up.

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