When the ching shen is raised,
there is no fault of stagnancy and heaviness.
This is called suspending the headtop.

Happy Halloween, Everyone!

7 Skills That Form The Foundation Of Internal Power (And How to KNOW You Have Them)
By Sigung Richard Clear (Second Installment)

2) Defeat the Monkey Mind

How much chatter is there inside your head?

You will want to quiet this chatter down when you want it to be quiet.

In Kung Fu we call this chatter Monkey Mind.

Monkey mind defeats many people because it stops them from gaining real clarity.

I find it easier to start by giving it a single task instead of driving yourself nuts trying to be completely quiet-

You can try to pick out all the sounds in the room-

Or all the different noises your air conditioner makes.

But you can’t just let it wander, because if you do-

Your focus will never improve.

3) Relax

When you stand what do you feel?

Are you aware of body tension that you did not realize you had?

Now that you are aware of your body tension are you able to release it, relaxing more and deeper.
– by Sigung Richard Clear (to be continued tomorrow)

S02E06 – How to make progress in your studies in the Internal Arts – Video



Being able to breathe properly leads to agility.
The softest will then become the strongest.

7 Skills That Form The Foundation Of Internal Power (And How to KNOW You Have Them)
By Sigung Richard Clear (First Installment)

There’s an entire world of confusing practices in Tai Chi that you may have found yourself in if you’re looking for Internal Power.
No doubt, if you’ve been at this for long, that you’ve run across your fair share of these.
One of the most common practices is to hold static postures, or “Stationary Qigong.”
And many people are confused about how it’s going to give you health benefits, or Internal Power.
Well, the short answer is-

It won’t.
At least, not if all you want to do is stand there and space out.

If you want to know what you’re really supposed to be doing during these static postures-
Or it didn’t occur to you that you should be doing anything…

Here are the 7 skills that form the FOUNDATION of Tai Chi, and Internal Power.
And if you work all of them- you’re going to see SUBSTANTIAL changes in a very short period of time.

1) Be Here NOW!

This sounds easy at first but most people find it quite difficult to do until they have trained it for awhile.
Set an alarm clock / timer for 5 minutes and simply stand there for 5 minutes.
Maybe you were already doing that.
Now comes the hard part.
Do not think about anything else but standing there for the entire 5 minutes.
You can pay attention to your body both inside and out but you can not let your mind drift or go anywhere else.
Come back to the article after you have given this a try.
Difficult or practically impossible you say?

Try it for 3 minutes.

You may still find that this is difficult but I would not recommend that you start with much less.
You will learn a lot in these 3 minutes and what you learn will be very beneficial for you in both the short and long term.
– by Sigung Richar Clear (to be continued tomorrow)

Tai Chi Stages of Internal Development – Beginner to Advanced



Let the ch’i move as in a pearl with nine passages
without breaks
so that there is no part it cannot reach.


“The Kua Junction and Dantian Centrality” (concluding C.P. Ong, PhD’s series on Neijin)

The training of inner balance involves resolving imbalances at the “hundred joints,” which is formidable enough, but what makes it even more formidable is that resolving the errors at one joint requires recalibration at the other joints because of the tensile integrity of the body frame. We find a practical and elegant solution to this seemingly intractable problem in the soft organic logic of yin and yang and qi.

Guided by the Principle of Three Sections and the Principle of Three Harmonies4, the many joints are subdivided into sections and correspondences of three for the fangsong resolution to work through systematically, and then through the further subdivisions in refinement. But more than a simplification scheme, the principles guide the transmission of motion through the joints and the harmony of the correspondences.

For instance, the fangsong in the correspondence of the shoulder and kua (pelvis) aligns and balances the torso, which unifies its motion and momentum. In the three-section division, the principle prescribes that the hand as extremity leads, which induces the the driving force at the shoulder as root, to transmit the motion through the elbow (as the middle section) smoothly.

In essence, the principles reduce the issues of the complex of “hundred joints” to the kua (pelvic) junction serving as a base of reference in the fangsong resolution. This reinforces the eminent status of the kua junction as the division between the upper and lower body in generating waist-groin power, discussed earlier. In practice, it means that the fangsong resolution becomes a continual play of muscle activations of the pelvic platform and of the SIJ and the hip joints.

Crucially, the constant reference to the kua is nurturing a centrality of motion at the midpoint of the junction, which coincides functionally with the dantian location. And this is at the same level of the SIJ. The centrality of the danitan affirms the SIJ as the hub of the transfer of forces between the three levers, the spine of the upper-body and the legs of the lower body.

In other words, from the perspective of practice, the fangsong resolution is cultivating qi that accentuates the centrality of the dantian—filling up the lower abdomen and concentrating at the dantian, which is called dantian qi. Thus, the practice of fangsong of the myriad joints is reduced to cultivating the fullness of dantian qi to establish the centrality of the dantian. The fullness of dantian qi signifies that the central status of the dantian is formed (yi dantian wei hexin xing cheng 以丹田为核心形成), and represents the mastery of the art. The establishment of dantian centrality bestows inner balance. The guiding qi in the yi-qi-motion paradigm is dantian qi, and the inspired motion is in accord with the Taiji principles. Neijin is born of this motion.


We conclude by summing up. Taijiquan’s methodology of fangsong-relaxation resolves muscle actions that are too excessive (yang) or too lax (yin) towards inner balance, and in the process cultivates qi energy. As qi develops more fully, Taiji relies on qi as a neural feedback to elicit responses that balance and align the underlying muscle actions. This regulates the many different segments of the body to move in unison and harmonizes the body’s internal momentum. Thus the ideal motion of Taijiquan is produced and the force that arises therefrom (by a change in momentum) is consummate—the force of neijin. This is summed up in the equation below, which paraphrases Chen Xiaowang: Neijin = Qi + Muscle actions. – C.P. Ong, PhD

C.P. Ong Taichi Old Frame



“The abdomen relaxes, then the ch’i sinks into the bones.”

“Fangsong and Qi” (continuing. C.P. Ong, PhD’s series on Neijin)

We take Qi (气), the life-force energy, as given in TCM, but we can think of it as a composite of bioenergy, any energy involved in biological processes. The bioenergy becomes of great interest when it is accessible as biomarkers.

The first sensation of qi-energetics most commonly felt is tingling and warmth in the hands, due to increased blood flow or perfusion. However, Taijiquan relies more on changes in the bioenergy associated with the balance and alignment of muscle actions in the cultivation of inner balance. The experience of discomfort of tenseness or unease in a posture gives the initial sense of bioenergy that results from the internal imbalance of muscle actions.

To illustrate internal imbalance at a basic level, extend an arm out and hold it in balance. The arm is in physical balance but the muscle actions supporting it can vary, for instance, when stretched or drooped. Holding the arm up for ten minutes, tenseness and aches in the muscles would set in, which indicates excessiveness in some muscle actions. Upon sensing the discomfort, the body triggers a reflex response of relaxation, which brings some relief.

This response is called fangsong (放松), which is “to relax and let go.” The reflex response is operationally a reset of the muscle actions, which improves the support with less discomfort. This operation represents the rudiments of the tool, also called fangsong that reduces the errors of imbalances. The lessening of the tenseness by fangsong is accompanied by an ease of flow of motion, which sensation is cultivated as a biomarker of qi energy.

Fangsong is a process of practice that works to continually resolve the errors in the balance and alignment between the outer muscles that activate physical motion and the inner muscles that secure and stabilize the joints and structure. Fangsong restrains the outer muscles from dominating and allows the inner muscles to fire more, and thus to align in balance. The increased activation levels of the inner muscles at the hip joints in fangsong are often experienced as a surge of heat as qi.

At the advanced stages of practice, when qi is sufficiently developed, the fangsong tool relies more on qi as a medium to discern and resolve the imbalances. And the fangsong tool sharpens and refines organically to get at the deeper and subtler errors of muscle actions. In this way, the margin of errors tapers in the fangsong resolution, and the path eventually converges to inner balance.

In the meantime the yi-qi-motion paradigm is realized in the maturity of qi development. Following the yi-command, qi drives the motion forging the unity of qi dynamics (internal) and

motion (external)—nei wai jie he 内外结合. Thus, the yi-command at the top of the motor hierarchy transmits via qi to muscle innervation at the bottom in the discipline of Taiji motion…(to be continued tomorrow, “The Kua Junction and Dantian Centrality” by C.P. Ong, PhD)

Selections from Chen Tai Chi Quan – C.P. Ong



It is said “First in the hsin, then in the body.”

Responses of Neurobiology (continuing. C.P. Ong, PhD’s series on Neijin)

The body is stubborn in its neural responses to recruit muscles, out of habits and convenience, which often turn out to be bad strategy or to bring harm to the body. For example in picking up a box, the hands reach out and the body leans forward. The back muscles fire by reflex to keep the body from falling over. In lifting the box, the weight pulls the body further down, requiring more muscle actions to keep balance. As a result, much of the muscle power goes to the reflex response to keep balance, and little to do the task at hand. There is no feedback of the debilitating effects of the muscle actions that cause chronic backaches. One could move closer to the box, bend down to lift the box with better leverage with the aid of the leg muscles in the same task.

Similarly, in throwing a punch, the muscles of the arm and shoulder tend to dominate. This dominance causes the arm to lunge forward ahead of the rest of the body, cutting the muscle power of the rest of the body to the punch. The body can learn to sense and associate the weakness of the punch to the lack of alignment of the muscle actions.

Although we are presumed to have control of the voluntary movements in the somatic nervous system, we have no direct control—we have no communication with the muscles. The control we have is only at the command level, at the top hierarchy of the motor system. This leaves a huge gap of neural activities between the command and the innervation of muscles that produce the motion at the bottom hierarchy. We have no cognition of any feedback in the gap to guide a preferred combination of muscles relative to the action of the command. Training is at the mercy of this gap of neurobiology.3

The responses of neurobiology work very well for bipedal balance and functionality, but not so in summoning the muscles needed to power performance actions in sports. Golfers have the comparable muscle masses to deliver long drives, but train as hard as they do, amateur players seldom can improve their golf swings in significant terms of a hundred yards. We cannot at will elicit neural responses to fire the right combination of muscles and we actually do not know which ones they are.

To overcome this problem, Taijiquan resorts to the yin-yang theory and qi via the yi-qi-motion paradigm:

Yi dao qi dao qi dao shen dong 意到气到气到身动 Command activates qi; qi signal arrives, and motion is activated.

In the response to the yi (mind) command, Taiji uses qi to signal the activation of muscles underlying the action or motion commanded…(to be continued tomorrow, “Fangsong and Qi” by C.P. Ong, PhD)

Chen Style Taiji – C.P. Ong



In moving the ch’i sticks to the back and permeates the spine.


“Inner Balance” by C.P. Ong Ph.D

Taijiquan’s game plan to generate greater momentum is to regulate the body segments to move in unison. The traditional theory couches this in the principle of harmony—to be in accord with the Taiji principles of yin and yang. This yin-yang harmony pervades every thing Chinese—in food, arts, music, fengshui, etc. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) health is a good store of the life-force energy, Qi, circulating in harmony.

Taijiquan incorporates qi in the application of the yin-yang metaphysics to the art of body motion. But there is no quantitative analysis in Taiji theory to tell us what is the harmony of yin and yang. In the manifestation of yin and yang we can develop the cognition of excesses or deficiencies of yin or yang, and hence of yin-yang imbalance. In the musculoskeletal framework, we discern yin-yang imbalances as excesses or deficiencies of muscle actions underlying the body posture and motion.

We define yin-yang balance in Taijiquan, called inner balance, as a state where the muscle actions underlying the body posture or motion are not excessive or deficient. Once we have cognition of the errors of muscle actions, we can work to resolve them towards a better state of balance. But, even as this points to a pragmatic approach, we encounter problems. We cannot allocate so much muscle actions here and so much there to resolve the imbalance as in a scale balance nor are we cognitive of the muscle actions directly.

However, we can cultivate cognition and sensations of the effects of the errors of muscle actions. In a medical checkup, the doctor puts a stethoscope on your chest, and asks that you breath in. In doing so, the chest is heaved up, and the body becomes top-heavy, which falls easily with a gentle nudge. While the body is in physical balance, the abdomen is hollowed, weakening internally the support column of the midsection, and rendering the structure less strong in balance. The body can learn from the top-heaviness as an effect of yin-yang imbalance of muscle actions.

There are many varying combinations of muscle actions underlying a body posture and motion. What should be the preferred combinations of muscle actions for a given body posture or motion? Taijiquan’s answer is inner balance, namely, the combination of muscle actions with lesser errors. That is, the practice seeks states of lesser errors towards inner balance. But will the body listen?…(to be continued tomorrow, “Responses of Neurobiology by C.P. Ong, PhD)

Chen Tai Chi – Master C.P. Ong


Let the ch’i move as in a pearl with nine passages
without breaks
so that there is no part it cannot reach.


What is neijin? by C.P. Ong Ph.D (First Installment)

Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) practitioners harbor the dream of developing the magic of Neijin (Internal Strength). Neijin—the stuff of the kungfu prowess of Taijiquan—is mysterious because the art of Taijiquan resides in the internal, not characterized by the vigor of physical activities that we are familiar with. Neijin seems to defy physics, but there is no new physics.

A good place to start to understand neijin is at the waist, which is the source of power actions in sports, work and martial arts. Taijiquan’s term for waist power is specific, called dang-yao jin 裆腰劲, which translates as waist-groin power. The terminology indicates that the power is derived from the actions of both the groin (dang) and waist (yao). This involves the play of the pelvic platform, called the kua 胯, and Taijiquan places the greatest emphasis on the kua in practice. Indeed, the classics of Taijiquan1 are replete with references to the waist-groin region as the control center (Zhu zai yu yao … 主宰于腰).

The Biomechanics of waist power

In generating waist power, the upper body rotates in one direction, and the lower body turns in the opposite direction in support. Where should the division of the rotational motions between the upper and lower body be? If only the shoulder and chest were turning to power the upper body action, the rest of the muscles below would be underutilized, a common flaw. If the division of the rotations occurred at the knees, then the muscle mass below would have to support a much larger mass above, which would cause injuries to the knees or ankles. The division at the kua junction represents the most proportionate distribution of muscle masses between the upper and lower body…

There is another factor of anatomy. The vertebral column ends at the sacrum which sits on the pelvic (iliac) base at a flat joint, called the sacral-iliac joint (SIJ). The SIJ forms the hub of the transfer of forces between the upper and lower body via the three levers, the spine and the legs through the pelvic platform.2

The hub function of the SIJ has actually been observed in the classics:
If body cannot maneuver to take timely advantage (de ji de shi 得机得势), then the problem is at the waist and legs (Qi bing bi yu yao tui qiu zhi 其病必于腰腿求之)…(to be continued Tuesday) – by C.P. Ong Ph.D

Biomechanical Insights of Silk Reeling Practice with C.P. Ong (this is a follow-along video. The audio is not so great so use the closed captions if necessary)



The ch’i is always nurtured without harm.

On Heart
January 26, 2021 by Huai Hsiang Wang

In the animated human body, there are three energy centers:

– The abdomen is the center of vitality for the normal functioning of the body mechanism.
– The head is the center for the mind energy, corresponding your body sensations to the involuntary participation with the external manifestation.
– The heart is the center of the astral energy, orchestrating both the vital and mental energy in animation.

By opening up from the heart, I am referring to the practice of modulating the de-flamed mental energy at the guidance of the mental orb to confluent both the mind-body energy to the chest where the heart locates.

With the released muscular tension and activation of the fascia, together with the alignment of joints to connect to the antenna, then one is able to baptize oneself by releasing the de-flamed mental orb to the heart as an observer.

Then it is possible for one to breathe in rhythm with the energy in animation, modulating the vibration and frequency, en-rapport with the life energy in animation, cultivating the capability to exhale and inhale, inflation, and deflation.

From the substratum of the Prana in animation, one will be able to see that the All in manifestation is nothing but mentalism, life energy in animation, Prana in Dynamics.

In peace.
– by Huai Hsiang Wang

Prana Dynamics.mpg



The waist is like the axle and the ch’i is like the wheel.

13 Reasons Why the Small Universe (Microcosmic Orbit) is Awesome
– by Sifu Anthony Korahais, Flowing Zen (Final Installment)

#11 – Inner Alchemy: The Small Universe isn’t just about circulating energy; it’s about transforming it. In my articles on the 12 Dimensions of Qigong, the Small Universe falls under Transforming the Qi. In the world of Chinese internal alchemy, this practice is similar to the philosopher’s stone. It is said to turn your base energies into something more refined and more potent. If you’re interested in this kind of esoteric journey, then the Small Universe is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

#12 – Tai Chi Synergy: For those who practice tai chi, the Small Universe can act as a powerful complement. The principles of yin and yang, soft focus, and flow are common to both. When you integrate the Small Universe into your tai chi practice, as past masters did, you’re essentially turbocharging it. The flow of qi becomes more harmonious, and your movements gain an added layer of fluidity and power. If you’ve never felt a buzzing vibration through your arms and legs as you practice your tai chi form, then it’s time to learn the Small Universe.

#13 – Deviation Protection: when practiced well, the Small Universe is actually protective against qigong deviations. This idea is confusing because some people have experienced deviations as a result of incorrect Small Universe practice. How can both be true? Think of it this way. Strength training will protect our health in countless ways, but only if we do it safely. If we lift too much too fast, and if we use poor form, then we might end up injuring ourselves. On the other hand, with a better methodology, strength training will help protect us from falls, sarcopenia, heart disease, and diabetes.
– by Sifu Anthony Korahais, Flowing Zen

Fast Tai Chi Set



The hsin is the commander, the ch’i the flag, and the waist the banner.

13 Reasons Why the Small Universe (Microcosmic Orbit) is Awesome
– by Sifu Anthony Korahais, Flowing Zen (Third Installment)

#7 – Deeper Meditation: The quiescent nature of the Small Universe will enhance your existing sitting meditation practice, leading to deeper states of bliss and awareness. Or if you don’t have a sitting meditation practice, then the Small Universe will fill the void (even if you practice it standing).

#8 – Spiritual Growth: I’m no longer a fan of the word “spiritual” simply because it has been misused and abused for too long. Nevertheless, the Small Universe can help us to connect with something larger than ourselves. I’ve gone on some pretty amazing cosmic adventures while practicing the Small Universe, and you will too if you practice consistently.

#9 – Internal Power: These days, increasing your punching power isn’t super important, but it was life-or-death for past masters. The Small Universe was one of the biggest secrets in the world of internal martial arts. If this topic is important to you, then you owe it to yourself to learn the Small Universe. It’s hard to quantify, but I would estimate that I punch roughly 1-2 boxing weight classes above my actual weight. So for example, I’m a Super Welterweight (147 to 154 pounds), but I probably hit more like a Super Middleweight (160-168 lbs).

#10 – Fun: If we do it right, the Small Universe is a fun little internal game. It’s an exciting next step for those who have enjoyed practicing basic qigong techniques and are ready for a new challenge. My students have told me that the Small Universe opened up a whole new world of qigong for them…(final installment tomorrow) – by Sifu Anthony Korahais, Flowing Zen

How Much Qi Were You Born With?



The I [mind-intention] and ch’i must interchange agilely,
then there is an excellence of roundness and smoothness.
This is called “the interplay of insubstantial and substantial.”

13 Reasons Why the Small Universe (Microcosmic Orbit) is Awesome
– by Sifu Anthony Korahais, Flowing Zen (Second Installment)

#3 – Increased Longevity: This benefit is hard to prove, but we should not ignore the fact that past masters often talked about the Small Universe being the key to a long and healthy life. The Small Universe, it was often said, will help you to reach the age of 100. I’ll let you know in 49 years!

#4 – Healthier Meridians: The Du meridian is said to be the ultimate yang regulator while the Ren meridian is said to be the ultimate yin regulator. By circulating qi through the Ren and Du meridians, the Small Universe acts as a yin-yang regulator for the energy in the entire body. In other words, even though we are focusing on just 2 meridians, all of the meridians will get healthier. This is probably why past masters often said that the Small Universe would keep hundreds of illnesses at bay. This was a poetic way of saying that the technique will help you cultivate more health and vitality.

#5 – More Vigor: The Small Universe seems to increase energy levels beyond what other types of qigong typically offer. With practice, the orbit between the Ren and Du meridians eventually takes on its own momentum. This acts like an internal generator that produces energy as it circulates. If you’ve seen benefits to your energy levels with other types of qigong, you should see even more improvement with the Small Universe.

#6 – Sexual Vitality: There is a qigong technique specifically for sexual vitality called the Small Circle, which circulates energy from dantian, down to the perineum, up to mingmen (in the lower back), and then back to dantian. This small loop in the lower body is basically a baby version of the Small Universe. Practicing the Small Universe will give us similar benefits to the Small Circle, specifically: stronger orgasms, greater ejaculation control (for men), less sexual dysfunction, and deeper emotional connections before, during, and after sex…(to be continued tomorrow) – by Sifu Anthony Korahais, Flowing Zen

Is Tai Chi a Form of Qigong?



The ch’i mobilizes the body.
Make it move smoothly, so that it may easily follows the hsin.

13 Reasons Why the Small Universe (Microcosmic Orbit) is Awesome
– by Sifu Anthony Korahais, Flowing Zen (First Installment)

The Small Universe (Microcosmic Orbit) is awesome. Whether you’re an intermediate or advanced practitioner, this technique has something profound to offer. Let’s dive into why it’s more relevant today than ever.

The Small Universe is a powerful and ancient qigong technique. I’ve written several blog posts about it, and this will be another in that series. You don’t need to read the previous articles in order to understand this one. In fact, this article might be better to start with.

In the past, the Small Universe was practiced by a small number of people in China, and many of them were monks or nuns. Today, qigong is practiced by literally millions of people all over the world, and very few of them are monastics. The world has changed.

Is the Small Universe still relevant in today’s world?

Why would someone in the 21st century want to practice this technique? What are the real-world benefits for regular people like you and me? What’s the incentive?

I would argue that it’s not only relevant, but that it is even more practical today than it was 1000 years ago.

The Small Universe is a game changer for the modern practitioner of qigong or tai chi. Here are 13 reasons why:

#1 – Emotional Regulation: The Small Universe is surprisingly useful for harmonizing emotional distress. Once you get the hang of the technique, you can use the breathing methods even when you are agitated. Energetically, it also circulates qi through all of the organ-emotion systems, thereby smoothing out imbalances. As a trauma survivor, I have also found the Small Universe to be useful for healing (but you have to approach it in an trauma-informed way).

#2 – Better Mental Focus: The Small Universe requires a special kind of soft focus. The same focus is sometimes used in sitting meditation, but I personally find it much easier to implement using the Small Universe. I love that we get feedback in the form of qi sensations, which are helpful for measuring progress. For example, as you gradually practice the Small Universe, energy points like dantian, huiyin, and mingmen really come alive. The more they come alive, the easier it gets to focus the mind on the technique, and the stronger your mind becomes as a result…(to be continued tomorrow) – by Sifu Anthony Korahais, Flowing Zen

Should You Learn Qigong, Tai Chi, or Both?



The hsin [mind-and-heart] mobilizes the ch’i [vital life energy].
Make the ch’i sink calmly;
then the ch’i gathers and permeates the bones.

“Tai Chi Can Make you Stress Free”
from TaiChiUSA, Andy Lee

“Tai Chi is a martial art that is known for its slow, graceful movements and deep breathing techniques. Most people practice it for the health benefits but did you know that it can also help reduce stress?

Yes, that’s right folks. Tai Chi is the ultimate stress-buster. Not only does it help calm your mind, but it also helps relax your body and lower your blood pressure.

But how exactly does Tai Chi do this? Well, it’s all in the moves and groves. The slow, flowing movements of Tai Chi help to release tension in the muscles and joints, while the deep breathing helps to oxygenate the body and clear the mind.

So, if you’re feeling stressed out and need a little pick-me-up, grab your Tai Chi shoes and head to our school. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did. (BTW no special shoes are necessary)

But beware, Tai Chi is not only for old people, it’s for everyone! Even for the young and restless, Tai Chi can help you find your inner peace and balance, whether you’re a stay-at-home dad/mom and/or a high-powered executive.

So, next time you’re feeling stressed, don’t reach for the bottle of wine or that pint of ice cream (don’t hate us). Instead, grab your Tai Chi gear (any comfy cloths) and get ready to experience the ultimate stress-busting workout.

Tai Chi, the ultimate way to relieve stress, and we make you look like a boss while doing it!” – from TaiChiUSA, Andy Lee, Founder

‘Defeating Stress’: UC Irvine Professor Studies Benefits Of Tai Chi



Understanding this you can say you understand chin.
After you understand chin,
the more you practice,
the more skill.

“Tai Chi is Opening and Closing Happening Simultaneously” Part 2

If you’re perceiving the form like this – a series of opening and closing movements that happen one after the other, then you’re not quite on the right track.

The key is that the opening and closing are both happening all the time simultaneously. So, as one part of the body is closing whilst another part is opening.

Look at the yin yang symbol. If you follow it around in a circle with your eye you can see that as one aspect grows stronger, the other aspect diminishes, but is also being born again and growing. It goes on in an endless cycle.

It’s these cycles you need to pay attention to in the form. It should feel like this cycle of opening and closing movements is going on with one movement giving birth to the next, rather than perceiving them two separate movements where one starts, then stops, then the other starts and stops. The movement is continuous. It goes out, it comes back, it goes out again.

Silk reeling circles
Let’s break this down into something more tangible.

A while ago I made a video course on the basic single handed silk reeling exercise. This exercise is great because it gives you a chance to work on opening and closing in a relatively simple movement.

Out of the whole course, part 1 is probably the most relevant video to explain what I mean:

Here’s what I’m doing in the video: I’m looking for a slight stretch across the front of my body and a slight stretch across the back of my body (the yin/yang aspects). As the arm goes out the front of the body gradually becomes more taught until there’s enough tension there that I can use it to pull the arm back in. As the arm comes back in, the back of the body becomes slightly more taught until there’s enough tension there to use it to expand the arm outwards. This is all integrated with reverse breathing which powers everything from the Dan Tien area. It’s a very stretchy, rubber band-like practice.

You can start with big, crude circles, but work down to smaller more subtle circles.

But ultimately you’re looking for the feeling of the cycle of yin and yang, opening and closing going on in the body.

It’s this feeling that you need to take into the Tai Chi form where opening and closing happening simultaneously through a myriad of different movements. – by Graham Barlow, from “Tai Chi is Opening and Closing Happening Simultaneously” (The TaiChi Notebook)

Learn what Qigong is. Learn to feel your Qi with Tai Chi week 3



Within yin there is yang.
Within yang there is yin.
Yin and yang mutually aid and change each other.

“Tai Chi is Opening and Closing Happening Simultaneously” Part 1

That’s one of the secrets of Tai Chi, right there. Unfortunately, as with much of the truths about Tai Chi Chuan, the statement doesn’t make any sense unless you already know what it means.

As an art, much of Tai Chi is self secret like this. In one way that’s frustrating, but in another way it’s freeing because it means teachers don’t have to hold things back. The secrets reveal themselves over time.

Look at the Tai Chi Classics, for example. They’re a collection of pithy martial arts sayings that hide deeper meanings. “5 ounces of force deflects a thousand pounds“, “Walk like a cat.“, “Store up the jin like drawing a bow.”, etc.

Many of the sayings in these documents don’t mean anything to people reading them who don’t already understand them. So, there’s no risk in losing ‘the secrets of the art’ by publishing them, which is perhaps one reason why the Tai Chi classics are in wide circulation, while other martial styles keep their writings secret, held only within families.

Perceiving opening and closing
When you’re doing your form, can you perceive movements that are obvious opening movements, and movements that are obviously closing movements?

It’s good if you can. If you can’t then think about this – roll back (lu) is clearly a closing movement, and ward off (Peng) is obviously and opening movement. Look for the same actions in the other movements. On the opening movements, the body expands outwards. On the closing movements the body contracts inwards.

But that’s not the end of the story. (It is for now. To be continued tomorrow) – by Graham Barlow, from “Tai Chi is Opening and Closing Happening Simultaneously” (The TaiChi Notebook)

Learn what Qigong is. Learn to feel your Qi with Tai Chi week 2



Within yin there is yang.
Within yang there is yin.

Excerpt from “Tai Chi Should Be Heavy, Like a Stone”

All wise and knowledgeable Internet-enabled Tai Chi practitioners know that we need to “move from the dantien” in Tai Chi Chuan. (This is the supposed secret to Tai Chi that you get told by your wise master only after you have paid the required tuition fees for a number of years. 🙂 )

But again, where does the action originate? I would say that, just as in JiuJitsu, you don’t actually “move from the dantien” by originating action there. Your dantien moves, but it’s your foot that provides the impetus. Your foot pushing against the ground is where the ‘power’ comes from in Tai Chi Chuan.

(A side note here for the Order of Advanced Tai Chi Wizards of the Internet: When you get this concept of the power from the ground you will find that you can actually originate the movement in the dantien as a kind of dropping force that is then rebounded from the ground, so it’s less of a push with the legs. File this under “advanced” if it makes no sense right now and come back to it later).

What Tai Chi Chuan specialises in is transmitting this power to the extremities without interfering with it as much as is humanly possible. We know that in Tai Chi we need to be relaxed (song), which seems like the last thing you’d want to be if you have to hit something hard, but there is a method in the madness.

In Tai Chi Chuan you are trying to transfer that power – the ground reaction force – from your foot all the way to your fingers as smoothly as possible and directing it with the dantien. This is called ‘threading a pearl through the 9 crooked gates‘ in the Tai Chi classics. The gates here are the joints of the body. All the breaks in connection between your foot and fingers are the points where power leaks out. Usually we cover these things up by using muscular strength to get by – you can spend years fooling yourself with this, and it’s a very hard habit to stop.

Points of interest, where we generally mess this up, are the lower back (keep it open) and the shoulders (stop using them as a power source). The whole body should be Song.

‘Relaxed’ doesn’t mean light and floaty. It means heavy and rooted like a stone. – Graham Barlow, from “Tai Chi Should Be Heavy, Like a Stone” (The TaiChi Notebook)

Learn what Qigong is. Learn to feel your Qi with Tai Chi week 1



To adhere means to yield.
To yield means to adhere.

“What is the Purpose of Sticking Hands” (continued)

Practitioners often see similarities between Push Hands and Sticking/Sticky Hands. The difference comes down to intent. Usually Push Hands teaches the practitioner to stick to their opponent without striking and has more to do with unbalancing your opponent. Of course, it also teaches the practitioner to “listen”!

There is also a difference in Sticking/Sticky Hands depending on intent. Wing Chun emphasizes Sticking Hands training with the intent to strike without receiving a strike in return. The goal is also protecting your centerline, while attacking your opponent’s centerline. The Wing Chun practitioner will “chase the body, not the hands” with straight, sometimes even “choppy” movements. Wing Chun is considered a striking art because the practitioner aims to strike as many times as possible in a short period of time.

Most practitioners feel that you must have arm/hand contact with your opponent so that you can “feel” what your opponent is going to do. This allows you to respond appropriately. However, what if your opponent avoids arm contact? According Chu Shong Tin, famous Chinese Kung Fu and Wing Chun instructor, contact is not always necessary. Obviously, this would require extensive training in several stages in Sticking Hands: single sticking hands, rolling hands, practicing the defending and attacking techniques, and free sparring. Each step requires “step by step” learning and commitment.

According to Ray Hayward, in his May 2016 blog, Master Chang Chao-tung was nicknamed” lightning hands” because of his physical speed and “how fast his sensitivity and reactions were”. When practicing Sticking Hands, we must be relaxed, focused, and flexible at all times in order to achieve this level. Easier said than done for the majority of practitioners!

During my Yang Tai Chi training years ago, we practiced Sticking Hands during a workshop. I had not done sticking since the 90s when I taught and practiced Chen (both martial and non-martial). Full disclosure: I found that although having your eyes closed/covered taught you sensitivity, it also required a certain amount of trust in your practice partner.

I hope you have the opportunity to try Sticking/Sticky Hands. It’s a very interesting exercise and effectively teaches us a lot about listening and sensitivity. It can actually serve a practical purpose in our everyday life by teaching us to “listen” without using our ears.

If you have an opportunity, try it. You may enjoy the experience! – Christine Morgan, Instructor, Balanced Life Tai Chi



Anyone who has spent years of practice and still cannot neutralize,
and is always controlled by his opponent,
has not apprehended the fault of double-weightedness.
To avoid this fault one must distinguish yin from yang.

What Is The Purpose Of Sticking Hands?

Almost every internal martial art has some kind of sticking practice or Sticking/Sticky Hands (Chi Sau in Chinese Cantonese). Sticking Hands is both a principle and the drills used to “stick” to an opponent. Touch is maintained in most of the drills but there are exceptions. Even though Sticking Hands has been mostly used as a fighting principle, it trains you to use your natural reflexes by responding to your opponent/partner’s moves and/or intentions no matter which form you practice. As you would imagine, there are many different variations of Sticking Hands drills.

In non-martial practice, it is commonly known as “sensitivity training”. Eyes are closed or covered. Sticking Hands improves your reaction time, teaches you about sensing balance, and trains you to sense your partners intention, predict when they are going to move, and in what direction. Best of all, you learn how to follow the path of least resistance.

When playing Sticking Hands, players usually face each other with each of their arms or hands in contact. Some trainers use a simple “rolling” pattern to start, while others use a series of turns, dips, hand raises, gentle pushes, etc. The point is to “feel” the opponent and to not lose contact. It is a great exercise to not only improve sensitivity, but to develop the ability to “listen”. Some instructors have practitioners create a situation where one opponent is “trapped” (so to speak) and the other has a clear path in order to strike. Again, this all depends on the goal of the exercise – either fighting or increasing sensitivity (or both).

Internal martial artists use “sticking” as a strategy for fighting external styles which use speed, strength, and distance in order to be effective. The principles and practice of sticking are the “counters” to these styles. Sticking (in other words, being in contact) teaches and allows us to feel where our opponent’s power is coming from and to sense their intention. The key is being more relaxed than our partner or opponent. This allows us to deflect or move away to reduce the opponent’s power and speed. Speed can fool your eyes but not your sensitive touch…(to be continued tomorrow) – Christine Morgan, Instructor, Balanced Life Tai Chi



Sinking to one side allows movement to flow;
being double-weighted is sluggish.

“Internal movement is the major difference between Taiji “Quan” and Taiji “exercise.” Taiji “exercise” has helped improve the health of many people, and so there is nothing wrong with it. Taiji practitioners all over the world have already proved this. Also, many Chinese/western doctors, specialists, and scholars have used medical theories to support and praise its health-enhancing effect. However, Taiji “exercise” is certainly not equal to Taiji “Quan!” It’s good for health and fitness, but it doesn’t include the Kung Fu functions that enable people to fight with others or defend themselves.

“The best evidence is: Taiji “Quan” requires the full concentration of the mind; it operates vertically like “high mountain and deep valley.” Taiji “exercise” can be done with or without the full concentration of the mind; it operates horizontally like “flying cloud and flowing water.” As long as it is Kung Fu, no matter what style it is, and Baji is no exception, the most basic training of the mind is the vertical operation of “high mountain and deep valley,” sinking into the ground and rooting underneath. If it moves away from this, it is no longer traditional Chinese Kung Fu!” – “High Mountain vs. Flowing Water” by Adam Hsu (Translated by Joan-Huey Dow)

Have a great weekend, everyone, and keep practicing.



Stand like a perfectly balanced scale and
move like a turning wheel.

“I emphasize these two qualities because I consider them to be universal, meaning that they’re applicable for all internal development. Whether you’re talking about Taiji Quan, Qi Gong, Nei Gong, seated meditation, or anything. Song 松 and Ting 聽 are the mother and the father of the internal. In my view, anytime that you step outside of these two qualities, you fall outside of the correct path. We use these two qualities to self-check so that you can reflect on your own practice and question. Am I developing and using Song to do the exercise? Am I developing and using Ting to do the exercise? Because the moment one of those is missing, you have veered off the true path. So, we use these as a self-check mechanism and also to develop them deeper and deeper. Because the higher the quality of Song, and the higher the quality of Ting, the more guaranteed your successes.

“Now, these two qualities bounce off each other, feed each other, and are dependent on each other. A simple example would be something very mechanical. For example, imagine if your shoulder was injured. Let’s say it was dislocated, and it was inflamed and stuck. It is immobilized. So it is extremely tight, and there’s no Song in the shoulder. Now, when it’s all inflamed and immobilized like that, if you try to Ting your shoulder, in other words, you allow your awareness to penetrate into the shoulder. You will find that you can’t perceive any detail. Your shoulder is experienced like a lump of clay. The lack of Song blocks the ability to Ting. You cannot Ting. Now, however much Ting you can get, and however much you’re capable of allowing the mind to penetrate your shoulder, that is the part of your shoulder you can release. So you can Song deeper. Then the Song increases, now the mind can penetrate deeper and again. Thus the increased Song allows the Ting to increase. Then the increased Ting will enable you to Song deeper. They work together. One is increasing the other, and forming the very basis of all internal development.” – Adam Mizner



The spectacle of an old person defeating a group of young people,
how can it be due to swiftness?

“You must have some degree of physical strength to practice martial arts. This strength can be developed in various ways and acts as the foundation for your development. It is not uncommon for practitioners to spend the first few years of their training working solely on the development of strength before moving onto the next stage. For most, they will spend a lifetime at this level, unaware that there are potentially higher levels to explore.” – The Martial Man



From the sentence “A force of four ounces deflects a thousand pounds”
we know that the technique is not accomplished with strength.

“The training of traditional Chinese Kung Fu must have “internal circulation” and “external movement” together; “body” and “mind” closely working hand in hand. If there is any deviation from this principle, it is not a traditional Chinese Kung Fu; it is martial arts from other countries. Whether Baji or Taiji, all styles of traditional Chinese Kung Fu must use body and mind simultaneously for every move and every posture. There must be no departure from this rule at any moment. The way to operate the mind in traditional Chinese Kung Fu is: When practicing a posture or a form, our arms/legs/body move horizontally on the surface of the earth, sometimes standing and sometimes squatting. However, our mind must move vertically, up and down, like traveling in a “high mountain and deep valley” to control our body movement.” – “High Mountain vs. Flowing Water” by Adam Hsu (Translated by Joan-Huey Dow)



The strong defeating the weak
and the slow hands ceding to the swift hands
are all the results of natural abilities
and not of well-trained techniques.

“It’s already in you. You already are the energy in animation. So here’s the trouble. Everybody starts from the ego mind. But it’s this ego mind that has blocked you away from this sensing of it. So you are already perfect. Everybody’s the same. There’s nothing missing. Without energy there can be no possibility of life. You already are the primal energy in animation and more. You are the animator not the animated.” – Huai Hsing Wang

See you tomorrow and have a great practice.



I’m finally back. My wife contracted the COVID virus in early September, so I had to pull double duty for a couple of weeks and decided to take the rest of the month off to work on my internal arts practice.

Transposing occurs when the deeper intelligence produced by open awareness infuses glimpses (moments of deep understanding). At this point, what an internal artist learn about his or her art can be transposed to all areas of life and what the internal artists learns about life can be transposed upon his or her internal art.

See you tomorrow.


The opponent does not know me;
I alone know him.
To become a peerless boxer results from this.

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Today we have the first part of “OVER-SIMPLIFIED AND UNDER-PRACTICED” from Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang’s Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy.

“In the West, there are many books about Daoist history, Daoist practice, and translations of various Daoist texts. However, there are few actual Daoist Masters in the West.

“Recently, more Western people have taken great interest in Daoism and Daoist practice and, as might be expected, they turn to books for information. However, one of the troubles with looking to books for information about practice and theory is that there is no one to whom questions can be directed. In order to become a student, one must first seek out a qualified teacher; in the case of Daoism this teacher is recognized as a Master with deep knowledge and experience in their teachings.

“The intent of this article is not to undermine the importance of books, but to implore those interested in learning to remember that books are recordings of others’ experiences and opinions and can never take the place of a Master.

“It is first important to point out that the translations of Daoist books often tend to oversimplify Daoist living and practice and as a result make these theories unattainable and unable to be grasped in our lives. Western study and philosophy tends to center around understanding through intellectual pursuit and research. Despite scholarly endorsement, Daoist theory and practice is not merely an intellectual pursuit, but an applied regimen for living and study. In order to truly understand Daoist practice, it is absolutely necessary to experience it.

“The Daoist concept of 无为(wu wei), or “non-action,” is a theory that is difficult to grasp, let alone exemplify. Those high level Masters who have attained a state of wu wei in their practice have done so through many years of practice and self-refinement as taught and passed down to them by previous generations of Masters. However, many translations loosely allude to wu wei and as a result lead many readers to believe that wu wei is a philosophy of “doing what one wants to do,” a sort of “whatever” philosophy, a philosophy that one can simply decide to adopt. In considering this example, we can now assess how it is both over-simplified and unattainable. This style of translation of wu wei is over-simplified in that it inadvertently defines wu wei as a state that one chooses to be in. In truth, wu wei is a state where all action by a person is spontaneous and natural. However, in order to attain this state of wu wei, years of self-refinement through specific Daoist practices must be strictly adhered to…” (to be continued tomorrow) – “OVER-SIMPLIFIED AND UNDER-PRACTICED,” Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy.

In Today’s Video, we have an extensive, detailed view of the Grandmaster of Wudang, Zhong Yunlong leading a training class.

Today’s Video: Training with Master Zhong Yun Long – Wudang Sanfeng Pai



A feather cannot be placed,
and a fly cannot alight
on any part of the body.

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday weekend and practice. Today we have Part 3 of “THE JADE EMPEROR’S HEART SEAL CLASSIC” from Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang’s Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy.

“The text states ‘百日功灵 – Bǎi rì gōng líng’ , which can be translated as ‘one hundred days and the technique is established’. This line is in reference to the opening of 小周天 (xiǎo zhōu tiān), ‘the microcosmic orbit’. Many translators of this passage have translated literally without first referencing the representative quality that the number ‘100’ has in Chinese language and culture. For example, when referring to ‘everything’ in Chinese language, often times it is written as ‘the one hundred things’ or ‘the 10,000 things’; a relatively small number which represents a far more vast amount. Another point that is ignored is that opening the microcosmic orbit in this amount of time is an impossibility in internal practice, especially for people with no background or foundation in Daoist practice. A more realistic reference point for opening the microcosmic orbit is counted in years. As we can see from this, the ‘one hundred days’ as written in this text is not meant to be taken as a literal marker for how long it takes in order to open the microcosmic orbit, but is merely stating that it takes much work and time. If neidan practice were as easy as many modern translations make it out to be, everyone on earth would already be immortal.

“Misinterpretation of lines such as 百日功灵 is one of the reasons why many people confuse ‘nei dan’ (internal alchemy) practice as something that is both quick and easy. Prior to this line is another line that references time: 頃刻而成 (Qīng kè ér chéng) – ‘Instantly you have success.” The meaning of this line is that although it may take many years to understand Daoism and your personal practice, when you do, it feels like an instant. There is another Chinese phrase that is used in order to help those studying and practicing Daoism: 道不言寿 (Dào bù yán shòu). The meaning of this phrase is that ‘Dao does not discuss time or age.’

“In order for us to understand that you can ‘instantly have success’ with our practice we must understand that ‘Dao does not discuss time or age.’ When we understand this, we can then understand why 10 or 20 years is only an instant. Knowledge is only gained through great experience and its processes. Dao is endless and timeless. Our conceptions of time in relation to Dao is merely an instant. If we are really interested in practicing Daoism, we must understand that it takes great devotion, discipline, and continued practice. If we understand this, then it is much easier for us to connect with Dao and excel in our practice and cultivation. These are natural laws of Daoism and Daoist practice.” – “The Jade Emperor’s Heart Seal Classic,” Wudang Traditional Daoist Kungfu Academy

Today, Garandmaster Yuan work one-on-one with a student to present Tui Shou (Tai Chi Push Hand) basics.

Today’s Video: Master Yuan Xiu Gang Teaching Tai Chi Push Hands



If the opponent raises up, I seem taller;
if he sinks down, then I seem lower;
advancing, he finds the distance seems incredibly long;
retreating, the distance seems exasperatingly short.

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Today we have Part 2 of “THE JADE EMPEROR’S HEART SEAL CLASSIC” from Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang’s Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy.


‘Jing, Qi, and Shen are all interconnected in our practice of meditation. We have to make sure in strengthening and cultivating the three treasures in our bodies that we avoid allowing ourselves to waste these energies. This should not be understood as merely physical wasting and spending. One of the greatest ways in which we waste our bodily energies is through our emotions. If our emotions are in a constant flux or imbalance, a great amount of energy is being spent, as opposed to being retained and stored, and thus imbalance is created. Not only are the Jing, Qi, and Shen in our bodies interrelated, but our physical bodies and our emotions are also interrelated. Each of the 5 organs correlates to each of the 5 emotions. We can see from this that it is not only important to have a healthy and balanced body, but also a healthy and balanced mind. If we want to improve our Jing, Qi and Shen, then we must improve our bodily health as well as our mental and emotional balance.

‘It is only by our constant devoted practice that we can continue to cultivate the three treasures in our bodies and enjoy the wonderful benefits of that cultivation. As our cultivation and practice grow we can begin to understand more and advance deeper into our experience of Dao, and when we understand our practice more deeply and can learn to abide by the natural laws of our practice we can learn to truly enjoy the path that we are on. But we must make sure that we are practicing correctly.

‘Something to note in our reading of the Yu Huang Xin Yin Miao Jing is the use of specific amounts of time in attaining certain accomplishments in practice, such as ‘100 days’ or ’12 years.’ It is important to clarify that these references to time are not to be understood as specific lengths. Often times in modern interpretations of ancient Daoist writings and transmissions symbolic language is inaccurately translated using literal understanding of figurative and representative language. As a result in contemporary society this has led to a great misunderstanding of the true depth of practice, leading to a widely held belief that Daoist practice is quick and easy…” (to be continued next week) – “The Jade Emperor’s Heart Seal Classic,” Wudang Traditional Daoist Kungfu Academy

In today’s video, Master Yuan goes back to basics – Tai Chi basics, that is. It’s one of the longer videos from his seminar in Austria. So, you have the long holiday weekend to study it. Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend, everyone. And keep practicing.

Today’s Video: “Yuan Xiu Gang: Learning Tai Chi Basics”





Empty the left wherever a pressure appears,
and similarly the right.

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Continuing our look at the Internal Arts practices at Wudang Mountain, today we begin a 3-part series onThe “THE JADE EMPEROR’S HEART SEAL CLASSIC” from Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang’s Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy.


“The Gao Shang Yu Huang Xin Yin Miao Jing, (The Jade Emperor’s Heart Seal Classic) similar to the Qing Jing Jing, is a short Daoist text with an emphasis on the importance of preserving and cultivating the three treasures (Jing, Qi, Shen).
Reading this Daoist experience helps practitioners of Daoist living to understand the necessity for preserving Jing, Qi, and Shen and how to practice correctly.

“The first two lines of this experience explain clearly the importance of this practice:

“‘上药三品,神与气精。’ – Shàng yào sān pǐn, shén yǔ qì jīng.
These two lines state that the highest and best medicine is comprised of three parts: Jing (精), Qi (气), and Shen (神); all of which are contained within the human body. Jing can be loosely translated as essence; Qi can be loosely translated as energy or vital energy; and Shen can be loosely translated as spirit. In order for us to be healthy, strong and balanced individuals it is essential that we learn the practice which enables us to cultivate these three vitalities in our bodies. Sometimes in our practice of meditation we feel nothing, only that we are sitting for a long period of time. However, the Yu Huang Xin Yin Miao Jing tells us that this is normal and merely the first step in our meditation practice, and with continued and devoted practice, as the temperament and heart begin to calm and the mind races less, we begin to experience new feeling.

“Because Daoist cultivation requires a disciplined and devoted practice, it is essential that we follow the natural laws of Daoist cultivation in order to advance and progress. If we are always wasting our energies (both physically and mentally), then we will never be able to progress in our practice. If we are devoted to our practice and take our training seriously, then we will bear the fruits of our efforts.” – “The Jade Emperor’s Heart Seal Classic,” Wudang Traditional Daoist Kungfu Academy

In today’s video, Grandmaster Yuan Xiegang continues his seminar in Austria on body conditioning

Today’s Video: Yuan Xiu Gang: Improving the Liver with Leopard Posture



Don’t lean in any direction;
suddenly appear,
suddenly disappear

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Continuing our look at the Internal Arts practices at Wudang Mountain, today we are continuing the blog from Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang’s Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy, entitled “Meditation – Internal Alchemy.”

Here is the final step (4) Turn “shen” into “emptiness”

“This is the ultimate stage of the internal training. It is also known as “9 years stage”. In ancient Chinese, 9 is the highest positive number. It implies it would take a long long time to achieve this stage of “one becomes nothing”. Becomes nothing is the same as back to Daoism. To achieve this, one must relocate “shen” to “upper Dan Tian”. “Upper Dan Tian” is the home where “shen” is to be trained. “Middle Dan Tian” and “lower Dan Tian” are the home for “medicine” and “essence”. Shifting “shen” to “upper Dan Tian” is to shift the embryo (resulting from the previous stage) to “upper Dan Tian”. The emphasis is on emptiness. One’s character is trained under this relaxed, peaceful and empty mind. The feeling is like the body has combined with Earth and Heaven, lasting forever. It is known as “body and heaven combine into one”. The final result is the body and “shen” form a pair which can greatly enhance our life.
Male and female have been co-existed since long time ago. However, the percentage of male that achieved success in Daoism has been much higher than that of female. Why?

“There are many reasons. Some of them are: In ancient China, men were free to travel around. Women had to stay at home and were not allowed to go out. This restricted them from finding a mentor. There were quite a number of books in training for men but hardly any for women. Men went to school and could read; women were in general illiterate. Even if there were books for women and they could read and allowed to travel and find a mentor, the percentage of those that succeeded would still be lower than that of men. This is because there are some intrinsic problems with female’s training. Some of the problems were: quite often women did not know the value. For those who were aware of the value, they did not want to give up their usual life. For some that did give up their normal life and joined a Daoism temple, there was no drive for improvement. Some did not know there are differences in training between men and women. Some wrongly assumed that the position of “dan tian” in the body for man is the same as that for woman. Some did not realize that “chop the red dragon” is the most fundamental for female training. <Note: “chop the red dragon” is a jargon in Daoism meaning stop the female period. > Some were so proud of themselves and considered that they could “chop the red dragon” without guidance from a mentor. Some died because of inappropriate training in “qi”. Some did not know the difference in the sequence of training between male and female. Some gave up half way. Some thought that they already got to the final stage when they were only half way through. Some did not even try.

All these problems hinder the chance of success. For achieving result, one must know the way. There are 3 aspects: (1) character, (2) body characteristic and (3) method for training. For instance, male is “yang”; “yang” is clear. Female is “yin”; “yin” is opaque. The characters of male are hot/hard, fast, complex and those of female are soft, slow, simple/pure. Male is active and could cause loss in “qi”. Female is calm/still and could restrict the flow of “qi.” It is difficult to calm the “qi” of male. It is easy for female to store the “qi.” This is the difference in character. The life of male is at “qi xue” whereas for female it is in the breast. The most important essence for man is sperm which is white and hence called “white tiger”. For female, blood is most important and is called red dragon. While the male sperm is “yang,” there is “yin” in it. While the blood of female is “yin,” there is “yang” in it. There are lots of “qi” in the sperm but not so much “qi” in the female blood. This is the difference in body characteristic. Male should first train basic essence and then external quality. Female should first train external quality then basic essence. When male can stop ejaculation, it is called “taming the white tiger.” When female can stop her period it is called “chop the red dragon.” Male should achieve reverse flow of sperm and female’s blood should return to the heart.

For female with irregular period, she should improve her blood, improve connection of the “meridians”, and strengthen the internal organs so that the period is back to normal. Only then, she could start the training in chop the red dragon. When the red dragon is chopped, the training for external quality is accomplished. At this stage, the female body becomes pure “yang” from “yin” and opaque. From then onward, she should keep up with training in Neidan/Meditation.” – Wudang Traditional Daoist Kungfu Academy, “Meditation – Internal Alchemy.”

In today’s video, Grandmaster Yuan Xiegang continues his seminar in Austria on body conditioning

Today’s Video: “Yuan Xiu Gang: Strengthen the Lungs & Improve Breathing”



Effortlessly the chin reaches the headtop.
Let the ch’i [vital life energy] sink to the tan-t’ien [field of elixir].

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Continuing our look at the Internal Arts practices at Wudang Mountain, today we are continuing the blog from Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang’s Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy, entitled “Meditation – Internal Alchemy.”

Below is the summary of Steps 2 & 3 in the introduction to training in inner alchemy (or Neidan):

“2. Turn “essence” into “Qi”

In training of internal power, this is the elementary stage. The routing is the same as that in the Fundamental stage. At this stage, the emphasis is to build on the basis of the Fundamental stage and to improve the training in “Jing”, “Qi” and “shen”. Combine “Jing”, “Qi” and “shen” to form the “medicine”. With the circulation of the “medicine” in the Governing and Conception Vessel Meridians, the “medicine” is purified. The purpose of circulating in the Governing and Conception Vessel Meridians is to refine the “medicine” through the circulation. Practitioners believe that the kidneys are the root of life. The essence of the kidneys is of “yin (negative)” which has the tendency to sink. The heart is the home of the “shen”. It governs everything and life is dependent upon it. “Shen” is of “yang (positive)” and would naturally rise. Losing “yin” and “yang” shortens life. Therefore, in the internal training, practitioners would try to raise “essence” and lower “shen”. When these two meet and combined, they accompany each other. Circulation of this pair would generate “big medicine”. This completes the training of “three combining to two”. To achieve this stage requires patience and continual training with the correct technique. In the old days, the training method was not documented. Teaching has traditionally been through oral instruction. The key is finding a good mentor and follows his instructions.

“3. Turn “Qi” into “shen (spirit of vitality)”

This stage is to further combine the “big medicine” with “shen” to form “embryo”

<This is a terminology in Daoism. It is similar to mating between male and female in fertilization. >

“This is the “two combining to one” stage and is also called intermediate stage. Training in this stage , the emphasis is in breathing naturally without mind control. One should concentrate and reach a calm and relaxed state. The mind is at the “middle Dan Tian”. The circulation should be following the “large heavenly cycle” i.e. connecting all 8 meridians. <Method is not mentioned here. > The student must master the technique for this stage before training for turning “shen” into “emptiness”. In “large heavenly cycle”, the “middle Dan Tian” is the vessel and “lower Dan Tian” is the furnace. The circulating cycle is much shorter than “small heavenly cycle”. The circulation is between the two “ Dan Tian”. In the “small heavenly cycle”, the motion is based upon internal breathing to achieve reverse flow. In “large heavenly cycle”, the natural ingredient of the “medicine” generates the motion. Continual training day after day would achieve result. One should see white light with a golden spot between the eyebrows. The light would gradually cover the whole body.” – Wudang Traditional Daoist Kungfu Academy, “Meditation – Internal Alchemy.”

Tomorrow we will have Step 4

In today’s video, Grandmaster Yuan Xiegang continues his seminar in Austria on body conditioning.

Today’s Video: Yuan Xiu Gang: Activating Meridians & Stimulating Energy



Without long practice
one cannot suddenly understand T’ai Chi.

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Continuing our look at the Internal Arts practices at Wudang Mountain, today we are continuing the blog from Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang’s Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy, entitled “Meditation – Internal Alchemy.”

Below is the summary of Step 1 in the introduction to training in inner alchemy (or Neidan):

1. Fundamentals

“To start, choose a time and place that suit your daily life (it does not have to be an isolated place in a mountain). Adjust your sitting posture, with eyes half closed sight horizontally, hold the hands to form Tai Ji, follow the breathing pattern and sink your “Qi” to “lower Dan Tian”. When you are in a relaxed state with sufficient “Qi” in “ Dan Tian ”, the routing part can begin.

“To route “Qi” through the three points in the back of the body, “Qi” should start rising from the first point “Hui Yin ” up the back and get to almost the level of the heart which is called “ Jia Ji ”. This part is relatively easy. When “Qi” rises through the back of the neck to the back of the head about the level of the mouth, the point called “ Yu Zhen ”, the passage becomes rather difficult to get through. One should take time to establish the route. If pressing too hard and too fast, “Qi” might pass into wrong route. The path from the “Hui Yin” to the “ Bai Hui” is called “Governing vessel meridian( Du Mai) ”. From “ Bai Hui” down the front to “ Dan Tian” is called “Conception vessel meridian(Ren Mai) ”. A cycle is completed if these two meridians are connected. If “essence” is routed through this cycle, it is “small heavenly cycle(Xiao Zhou Tian) ”. The completion of the cycle is entirely dependent upon the mind. Governing and conception vessel meridians are the two primary meridians and the most important ones amongst the eight meridians of the body. Routing through and connecting with the other six meridians would follow when these two are connected. When all eight meridians are connected with “Qi” flowing through, it is called “large heavenly cycle(Da zhou Tian)”. There would not be any obstacle in the meridians. At the fundamental stage, the process should be done through mind control. This training improves the blood circulation and breathing. It would also strengthen the body and aid in healing minor ailments. The time period required to get through this stage varies amongst individuals.” – Wudang Traditional Daoist Kungfu Academy, “Meditation – Internal Alchemy.”

We will have Steps 2 and 3 tomorrow.

In today’s video, Grandmaster Yuan Xiegang continues his seminar in Austria on body conditioning.

Today’s Video: Yuan Xiu Gang: How to Open the Hip Blocks



From familiarity with the correct touch,
one gradually comprehends chin [intrinsic strength];
from the comprehension of chin one can reach wisdom.

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Continuing our look at the Internal Arts practices at Wudang Mountain, today we are focusing on another blog from Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang’s Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy, entitled “Meditation – Internal Alchemy.”

“Survival is the most primitive need of human beings. The question of how to improve quality of life, improve health and pro-long life has been of central interest to us through-out time. Achieving good health has been a central part of the culture of Daoism. With its long history and development, the way for improving health has been developed and modified through the centuries by the ancestors. This is due to their continued research and practice, in particular, the training in inner alchemy and spiritual awareness. Such training includes stillness and movement. No matter whether it is in the active or the still (calm) mode, both are of high value.
“Dao gives rise to one; one generates two; two generates three; three generates everything”, “Everything is originated from three; three combining to two; two combining to one; one becomes nothing”.

“Doing it correctly would achieve good results; any deviation could result in disaster. Benefit can only be achieved through practice with proper guidance and understanding. Otherwise, not only no benefit would be gained, it might cause harm.

“Below is a summary of the introduction to training in inner alchemy (or Neidan):

“Turn “essence” into “Qi”; Turn “Qi” into “shen (spirit of vitality)”; Turn “shen” into “emptiness”; Turn “emptiness” into “Daoism”. Concentrate in the basic. Develop and improve the 3 vital elements of the body. This would in turn lead to good mental conditions and wisdom. Those who reach such a stage would achieve abilities beyond the scope of others. In Daoism, training in inner alchemy is to manage the three natural vital elements: “Jing”, “Qi” and “shen”. Such training leads to good health and long life. The training can be classified into four stages: (1) Fundamental (2) Turn “jing” into “Qi”(3) Turn “Qi” into “shen (spirit of vitality)”(4) Turn “shen” into “emptiness.” – Wudang Traditional Daoist Kungfu Academy.

On Monday, we will have Parts 1-2-3 followed by Part 4 on Tuesday.

In today’s video, Grandmaster Yuan Xiegang continues his seminar in Austria on body conditioning. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. And keep practicing.

Today’s Video: “Yuan Xiu Gang: Open the Spine and Improve Relaxation”


Relaxed, natural movement,
a soft external and strong internal,
moving like clouds and flowing water,
continuous and unimpeded action,
the nature of Wudang Wushu

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Continuing our look at the Internal Arts practices at Wudang Mountain, today we are focusing on a blog from Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang’s Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy, entitled “Qingjing Jing”, an important Daoist text on quieting and calming the mind.

“The Qingjing Jing is one of numerous Daoist texts that focuses on quieting and calming the mind. The title in Chinese when broken down by character can be understood as:

清 – qing – clear or pure
静 – jing – quiet or peaceful
经 – jing – scripture, classic, or experience

The Qingjing Jing discusses the original nature of the Dao and also the original nature of both men and women. Men, exemplifying that of ‘yang’ and women that of ‘yin’. The Dao is comprised of both yin and yang. We can also understand yin and yang as stillness and movement (yin-stillness and yang-movement). The nature of man is that of movement. The nature of women is that of stillness.

Much of the Qingjing Jing addresses why it is that humans tend to have so much trouble maintaining a still and quiet existence. It identifies the causes of this tension as desire and over-thinking. When the yang qi in our bodies rises, causing over-thinking, and the yin qi sinks, causing desire, they become separated, leading to the loss of balance and harmony. This leads to over-thinking, worries/anxiety, delusional thoughts, and desires that are perpetuated by our greed. The arousal of these problems makes it impossible for us to experience the Dao and true quiet because our minds are constantly chasing thoughts, worries, and desires. This is constantly distracting us from truly experiencing life.

To truly understand Dao we must experience it. And in order to experience Dao we must quiet our minds. The question then arises: Well, then how can I make myself quieter? In answer to this, the Qing Jing Jing tells us that in order to experience true quiet and peace that we must balance and bring back to harmony the yin and yang in our bodies and rid ourselves of over-thinking and desire. Quieting our minds is not something that we can simply decide on doing; it is something that gradually comes from the practice of meditation.

Most people live in a world of illusion that is perpetuated by uncontrollable and insatiable desires and over-thinking. Because of this worry, desire, and delusional thinking arise and guides all action and thought. When we follow the distractions created by our imbalance it takes us further and further away from truly experiencing and understanding original pure nature. The reason that those of us who live in this world of self-delusion cannot feel and understand our subtle original nature is because of these delusions distracting us from true feeling and experience. When we learn about ourselves, clean, and make ourselves pure and at peace we can then deeply experience Dao through our feeling. As a result of this internal balancing and purification we can also begin to feel and understand others more. It is only through making ourselves tranquil that we can come to perceive the original nature of ourselves, all life, and Dao.

For us to live and enjoy healthy and peaceful lives it is important for all people to have balance. Balance with the outside world can only come when we have balance within ourselves.” – Wudang Traditional Daoist Kungfu Academy

Speaking of balance, here is Master Yuan at his affiliated schools in Austria teaching the basics of posture and unlocking physical blocks.

Today’s Video: “Yuan Xiu Gang: Posture and Unlock Blockades”



“Human beings follow the pattern of Earth;
Earth follows the pattern of Heaven;
Heaven is patterned by the Dao;
Dao follows Nature”
– Lao Tzu

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Today we continue our look at the Internal Arts practice at Wudang Mountain with one of Grandmaster Zhong Yulong’s foremost disciples, 15th generation Zhang Sanfeng Pai Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang. Grandmaster Yuan oversees one of the top training facilities at Wudang, the Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy. Here is a brief bio on Grandmaster Yuan.

Master Yuan Xiu Gang began his journey into martial arts with a local style in his hometown in Hubei Province. It was at the young age of seven years old that he realized his love of martial arts. He continued to pursue his training as often as possible in his free time. Master Yuan suffered from rheumatism at a young age and diligently trained to find some way to strengthen his body to rid himself of the pain. At sixteen years old, he traveled to a Shaolin school to train Shaolin wushu and fighting styles. There he spent three years while training daily where he became adept at the styles offered there. Although even with the training, Master Yuan still was afflicted by rheumatism. After much debate, he decided to leave behind Shaolin and travel to the Wudang Mountains where he had heard of the internal styles of Wudang and Daoist culture. He hoped beyond hope that this would finally be his answer and heal his body. He began his training with renewed vigor at the Purple Heaven Palace on Wudang Mountain under the tutelage of Master Zhong Yun Long. It was here that he studied extensively in Wudang Martial Arts, Daoist chanting, traditional music, and Chinese medicine. He spent three years at Purple Heaven Palace and became a 15th generation disciple in the Zhang San Feng Lineage. One day, Master Yuan realized that his rheumatism had completely left him. The rheumatism had been replaced by an affinity for Wudang Gongfu! From that moment, Master Yuan made it his life’s purpose to continue his training and bring these treasures to the world.

In our video, Master Yuan teaches a group of students at his academy how to stand in Zhan Zhuang.

Today’s Video: “Yuan Xiu Gang: Learning Zhan Zhuang – Wudang Healing Arts”



If the opponent’s movement is quick,
then quickly respond;
if his movement is slow,
then follow slowly.

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Today we continue our look at the Internal Arts practice at Wudang Mountain with a description of the 3-part “Tai Chi System” used at some of Wudang’s internal arts schools.

“Tai Chi (Tai Ji) originated from Wudang’. In English, tai chi roughly translates as: “supreme boxing,” “the root of all motion,” and “optimal fist fighting.’’ Tai Chi is an internal training method that was created by the great Daoist priest and immortal, Zhang San Feng at Wudang Mountain. Generally when people discuss “Tai Chi” they are referring to Tai Chi Quan, or the forms practice involved in Tai Chi. However, in Wudang, Tai Chi Quan is considered a part of the greater ‘Tai Chi System’. The Tai Chi System is composed of 3 parts: Wuji, Tai Chi, and Liangyi. Each of these three parts contains their own practices, purposes, and methods of training. Although the Tai Chi System is separated into three parts, they are all integrated and complementary to the others.

Wuji is another name for ‘nee dan’ (Daoist meditation practice). The practice of Wuji (loosely translated as ‘ultimate emptiness’) is for the cultivation of our three vitalities: Jing (Essence), Qi (Energy), and Shen (spirit). We practice Wuji in order to promote the health of these three vitalities; Wuji is also understood as the road to immortality. In order to become stronger and more robust in our health and our lives, we must strengthen and practice our Jing, Qi, and Shen.

Tai Chi is the balancing interaction of yin and yang. Under the Tai Chi System, Taijiquan is the form that we use to cultivate ourselves and learn to develop and understand feeling in our bodies and how to integrate that into movement. In Taijiquan practice we learn to conceal hardness within the softness of movement and learn to use our breathing through the dantian, and our intention and internal awareness to guide our movement. Contrary to the widespread misconception that Taijiquan is simply a callisthenic exercise for the elderly, it is actually a deep internal practice that requires great dedication and a strong determination.

Liangyi is the separation of yin and yang. Under the Tai Chi System, Liangyi quan is for the use of the energy that we have cultivated through our practice. Whereas in Taichi Quan we combine the soft and hard, in Liangyi Quan practice, we separate the soft and hard. The power of Liangyi Quan is explosive, resembling a bomb detonating; its practice is more for use in practical fighting application. While in Tai Chi quan, all movement is the same speed, with the same balance in softness and hardness at once, Liangyi quan movement is slow and soft, followed by fast explosive movement, called fali.”

In our video today, we watch as Grandmaster Zhong Yunlong patiently trains young students in practicing the first part of the Wudang 28 Tai Chi form.

Today’s Video: Wudang Taiji Quan with Master Zhong Yun Long – Wudang Sanfeng Pai



When the opponent is hard and I am soft,
it is called tsou [yielding].
When I follow the opponent and he becomes backed up,
it is called nian [sticking].

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Yesterday we began our look at Wudang Mountain and Wudang Internal Arts with a brief account of it historic and cultural importance. Today we learn about some of the landmarks at Wudang.

“The first site of worship—the Five Dragons Temple—was constructed at the behest of Emperor Taizong of Tang.[2] Further structures were added during the Song and Yuan dynasties, while the largest complex on the mountain was built during the Ming dynasty (14th–17th centuries) as the Yongle Emperor claimed to enjoy the protection of the god Beidi or Xuantian Shangdi. During the Ming Dynasty, 9 palaces, 9 monasteries, 36 nunneries and 72 temples were located at the site. Temples regularly had to be rebuilt, and not all survived; the oldest existing structures are the Golden Hall and the Ancient Bronze Shrine, made in 1307.[2] Other noted structures include Nanyang Palace (built in 1285–1310 and extended in 1312), the stone-walled Forbidden City of the Taihe Palace at the peak (built in 1419), and the Purple Cloud Temple (built in 1119–1126, rebuilt in 1413 and extended in 1803–1820). Today, 53 ancient buildings still survive.”

“One of the highlights of a trip or stay at Wudang is a hike to the radiant Golden Palace or Golden Peak that sits atop Tianzhu Peak, the highest peak in Wudang mountain, 1613 meters high.. It’s glow in the afternoon setting sun can be seen from most locations on the mountain. Also named Taihe Palace, which means Palace of Harmony, this sacred palace is the soul and symbol of Wudang Mountain, so it is the must-visit place for tourists and pilgrims. It is commonly said that one has really visited Wudang Mountain only if one has stepped into the Palace of Harmony. Built about 600 years ago under the order of Ming Emperor Zhu Di who stressed the respect to nature without any change to the mountain itself. Golden Palace was featured with royal magnificent charm and looked authentically harmonious with nature. With the impressive natural sea of clouds, sunrise and sunset, lush forests and rocks, the Palace of Harmony is like a heaven on earth. No wonder so many make sure to pay the Palace a visit before leaving the mountain.”

“While the Golden Palace is often the last stop on a visit or stay at Wudang mountain, the Purple Cloud Palace is usually the first since many of the tour buses from Wudang town stop there. Purple Cloud Palace or Zixiao Palace is one of the best preserved palaces on Wudang Mountain, and was first built during 1,119-1,125 AD. The Palace has undergone many repairs over the centuries to maintan its original appearance. Comprised of 182 rooms, Purple Cloud Palace, also houses countless carvings and paintings of dragons, the phoenix, suns, moons, clouds, seas, skies, birds and beasts, floras and plants as well as statues of Taoist immortals. Many have found it to be an ideal place to watch Daoist monks perform ceremonies and chantings.”

In yesterday’s video we saw Grandmaster Zhong Yunlong, the grandmaster of Wudang Sanfeng Pai, performing the Wudang 28 Tai Chi with several students. Today, we get to see the grandmaster perform the Wudang 28 again, but this time in Slow Motion so you can follow along.

Today’s Video: Wudang Sanfeng Taiji Quan 28 by Master Zhong Yunlong (slo-mo)



T’ai Chi comes from Wu Chi
and is the mother of yin and yang.
In motion T’ai Chi separates;
in stillness yin and yang fuse and return to Wu Chi.
It is not excessive or deficient;
it follows a bending, adheres to an extension.

This week we are starting an extensive look at Wudang Internal Arts, particularly through Grandmaster Zhong Yunlong and his disciple and principal instructor at Wudang, Grandmaster Yuan Xiu Gang. We will also include a look at Wudang Mountain, an historic landmark and home of the legendary Zhang Sanfeng.

We begin with a brief history of Wudang and the Chinese Daoist culture…

“Wudang Mountain has already been an important site for religious activities from the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-476 BC) to the end of Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) in ancient China. During the reign of Emperor Tang Taizong (627 -649 AD), the Wulong Shrine (Five Dragon Palace) was constructed under order. And in later periods, as Taoism developed prosperously, this mountain gradually got its reputation among people under the praise of the emperors and was regarded as the No. 1 Famous Taoist Mountain in Ming Dynasty and the royal temple for the emperor and his family, since which it became the largest Taoist rite nationwide. Under the imperial order of Emperor Zhu Di in Ming Dynasty, Wudang Mountain began its expansion. 33 architectural complexes including 9 palaces, 8 temples, 36 abbeys, 72 rock temples, 39 bridges, 12 pavilions were completed during 12 years.

For thousands of years, Wudang Mountain is and has been the center of Chinese Daoist thought, practice and belief. It is here that Daoist legends like Zhang San Feng cultivated wisdom and attained enlightenment. Through the mountains, many have come in pilgrimage to pay respects to the sacred origin of Daoist practices like Tai Chi Quan and the deities within the Daoist religion. ”

About our Video and Grandmaster Zhong Yunlong…

In our video, we meet Grandmaster Zhong Yunlong, the grandmaster of Wudang Sanfeng Pai, guiding a few of his students in the Wudang 28 Tai Chi form. The Sanfeng Pai lineage was transmitted to master Zhong Yunlong through the 13th generation leader, Wang Guangde (1947-2001), who became the head of Wudang mountain after religious practice was legalized in 1979. Master Wang had studied under Longmen Pai master Li Chengyu (1885-2003) and Xiao Yaowan (1911-1997), the 12th generation head of Wudang Sanfeng Pai, from whom master Wang received the lineage.

Since the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, China began to open up to the world. Subsequently, there was a slow trickle of Daoists returning to Wudang. Most importantly, Guo Gaoyi (1900-1996) and Zhu Chengde (1898-1990), both Longmen Pai masters returned in 1980. In 1981, Zhong Yunlong came to Wudang to study internal martial arts and became a disciple of masters Wang Guangde, Guo Gaoyi and Zhu Chengde, studying Sanfeng Pai and Longmen Pai practices under them. In 1985, master Wang, then the head of the Wudang Daoist Association put out a call for Taoists scattered by the cultural revolution to return to Wudang. Simultaneously, he sent master Zhong Yunlong all around China with letters of introduction with the goal of assisting Taoist masters to pass on their teachings to his disciple. Through his travels and training, master Zhong amassed a huge body of knowledge ranging from Daoist martial arts to inner alchemy and healing practices. After four years of traveling he came back to Wudang in 1989 and together with master Wang Guangde, founded the Daoist Association Martial Arts Academy at Purple Cloud Temple, with master Guo Gaoyi serving as the head martial arts instructor and master Zhu Chengde as the head qigong master.

Today’s Video: “The Grandmaster of Wudang Sanfengpai – Visiting his School on the Mountain”



The shape of a circle
is a structure of great strength.
– Chu Shong Tin

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we continue with a descriptive blog from Sifu Nima King’s website entitled “What is Ving Tsun (Wing Chun) Kung Fu?” Here’s Part 2…

Among its techniques also includes a form of training called “Chi-Sao”. It’s a drill used to develop sensitivity and reflexes and improve the flow of motion and mass. It builds the ability to stick to an opponent, bridging the gap and controlling their body. Also, it is a two-person drill in which two people stick their arms and roll with each other. Moreover, by creating a steady flow in which both can benefit and cultivate from. It starts off slow with the possibility to build onto sparring.

Benefits of Ving Tsun
Ving Tsun is not only a martial art, it is a self-improvement process that is used for any situation in life, beyond self-defence and fighting. From injury healing and therapy, to bringing your athleticism to the next level. Or, even something as simple as maintaining a good physical and mental health. Ving Tsun has the ability to unlock next level potential within the human body and the human mind.

In conclusion, Ving Tsun is a traditional Chinese martial art that has its roots dating back tot he early 1700s of China’s famous Shaolin Temple. It is characterized by fluid, efficient and minimal movement. Its focus on cultivating the mind and the body to produce mass with speed and power beyond brute strength through the 3 forms. Its application on close-range combat and rapid striking techniques. The principles of economy of motion and centreline theory are central to Ving Tsun, and the art. It is a versatile martial art that can be used for self-defence, sport, and even as a form of therapy. Generally, making it suitable for people of all ages. – “What is Ving Tsun?”

In his video today, Nima King focuses on footwork. Good for all Martial Arts practitioners to try out, the exercise in this video is NOT for self defense. It’s a simple test for being able to naturally move the body back and forth.

Have an enjoyable weekend, everyone. And keep practicing.

Today’s Video: “Wing Chun’s footwork and mobility”



The use and practice of Wing Chun Kung Fu
is free of any brute strength
even in confrontation with an opponent.
– Chu Shong Tin

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we focus on an important blog from Sifu Nima King’s website entitled “What is Ving Tsun (Wing Chun) Kung Fu?” Here’s Part 1…

History of Ving Tsun
It is one of the world’s youngest Kung Fu styles and the only one founded by a woman. That woman was Ng Mui (or Ng Mei), a Buddhist nun of China’s famous Shaolin Temple. Ng Mui was recognised as one of the top five martial artists in China during the early 1700s. Although highly proficient in the existing styles of Kung Fu, she felt it was possible to devise a more effective fighting method. Which did not rely so much on brute strength or take too long to learn.

Ving Tsun technique is divided into three main forms: Siu Nim Tao, Chum Kiu anbd Biu Gee. Siu Nim Tao means “little idea”. Its purpose is to cultivate a particular state of mind of absolute focus, creating a stronger mind-body connection and produce power with mass that is beyond brute muscular strength. Chum Kiu builds upon the foundation of state of mind established in Siu Nim Tao and focuses on moving the mass with speed and power, to bridge the gap between the practitioner and opponent. As well as developing the ability to strike and defend at the same time. Biu Gee is the final non-weapon form and is considered to be the most advanced form of using the bodies movement and movement of mass. As it is a foundation of Chum Kiu, Practitioners must be proficient with Chum Kiu form.

The Principles
One of the key principles of Ving Tsun is the concept of “economy of motion.” This means that practitioners aim to use the least amount of energy possible to achieve the greatest effect. This is achieved through the use of fluid and efficient movements, rather than relying on brute strength.

Another important principle of Ving Tsun is the use of “centreline theory.” This refers to the idea that the centreline of the body represents the most direct and vulnerable line of attack for an opponent. By controlling the centreline, a Ving Tsun practitioner is able to neutralize an opponent’s attacks and quickly counter with strikes of their own.

It is a unique style of martial art that is based on neutralizing the danger quickly and effectively. Furthermore, it places a strong emphasis on the use of the “four gates,” which are the four main areas of the body where strikes can be delivered: the head, the solar plexus, the groin, and the legs. By targeting these areas, a Ving Tsun practitioner can quickly incapacitate an opponent…(to be continued tomorrow) – “What is Ving Tsun?”

In today’s video, Grandmast Chu Shong Tin presents the finer adjustments necessary for Wing Chun.

Today’s Video: “Chu Shong Tin about the finer points of Ving Tsun Kuen”



”Yong Chun and Wing Chun
both stem from Shaolin,
but if you were to believe
that they are one and the same,
then you will be far from the truth!“
– Ip Man

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we continue with Wing Chun master, Sifu Nima King’s, personal story of his encounter and tutelage under Grandmaster Chu Shong Tin who stressed the internal side of this external martial art.

“Six years ago, I received a call from my brother from Australia stating that our little sister had been murdered. This dropped a bomb on my heart. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for Wing Chun, I don’t know how I would have managed without going into extreme anger and depression.

But through this internal and meditative practice, I was able to dig deep into the mind and observe and therefore detach from the unproductive thoughts and emotions. For me, it’s still astounding that a form of ‘Martial Arts’ has actually become my tool for maintaining balance in the body and mind.​Wing Chun has helped me realize that under all the surface ripples of the mind, rests a peaceful state of love. Having had a taste of this myself, I can’t help but to dedicate my whole life in trying to pass on this tool to as many people as possible.

Having gone through a violent upbringing, it’s ironic that Kung Fu has taught me that the best way to deal with violence and negativity is actually through love. I’m not saying we shouldn’t defend innocent people and ourselves, but all our actions should come from a place of love and for the benefit of humanity.

From a teenage boy who started learning Wing Chun for defence to now having taught Wing Chun for 17 years and running the biggest full-time Wing Chun School in Hong Kong, I can say that the defence aspect of Wing Chun is but a small leaf on the tree of this art.

This beautiful art, when practiced correctly and persistently, can decrease stress levels, relieve aches and fix postural misalignments. It can also promote better energy flow and overall health to the body, and ultimately, it can be used as a tool that can lead to inner peace. ​

In the chaotic world that we live in, a little bit of peace could go a long way. Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world”.​The Dalai Lama said “If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”

Personally, I see Wing Chun as one of a few perfect systems that can help us take a step in the direction of Gandhi and Dalai Lama’s words. It has done so in my life, and I can only repay it by sharing it with as many people as I can. It is truly an art of health, self-development and inner peace! ​Ω” – Sima King, “Wing Chun For Life”

In our video, there’s more from Chu Shong Tin as he hold a teaching workshop on the Siu Lim Tao form. Here’s Part I

Today’s Video: “Chu Shong Tin breaks down the Ving Tsun Siu Lim Tao form | Part I”



”Do not fight with the strength,
absorb it and it flows,
use it.” – Ip Man

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we continue with Wing Chun master, Sifu Nima King’s, personal story of his encounter and tutelage under Grandmaster Chu Shong Tin who stressed the internal side of this external martial art.

“He (Grandmaster Chu) was very big on maintaining a correct and natural postural alignment within the pelvis and spine. He would always say that the secret to his remarkable body control and power was in the energy released through uprightness and decompression of the spine.

One day, I remember him telling us he had noticed even young kids forming a compressed posture due to the hunched over posture of playing with smart-phones. Correct Wing Chun training, he explained, could really help open up their spines and form better postural habits.

In 2008, I started to learn how to relax my spine. As a result, my body started to feel completely different. Now 8 years later, I know first hand that the spine is the root of the health of the body. During my body building years, I used to catch the flu and be bed bound at least 3 times a year These days, I can honestly say I don’t remember the last time I was sick.

Moreover, I find that with an open posture, the body is much more open and balanced, and it’s a lot easier to observe and gain some control of the mind. The body and Mind are a lot more connected than we think. By bringing relaxation and balance to the body, we can calm the mind, and a clear mind promotes a healthy body!

So the true essence of Wing Chun is in the correlation of the mind and body, which requires control of the mind. But how does Wing Chun help tame the mind? It’s actually simple, and the creator of Wing Chun left us a hint in the system through calling its first form Siu Nim Tao!

Chu Shong Tin, who was coined as “The King of Siu NimTao” by Ip Man, explained that Nim Tao is the power of a “highly focused mind”. It is what we can call one-pointedness in the mind, which I believe is actually the goal of every major form of Taoist, Buddhist, and Yogic meditation I have practiced so far…” (to be continued tomorrow) – Sima King, “Wing Chun For Life”

You are in for a special treat in today’s video, a compilation of the grandmaster, himself, Chu Shong Tin, demonstrating Siu Nim Tao.

Today’s Video: “Chu Shong Tin Siu Nim Tao – compilation”



T’ai Chi comes from Wu Chi
and is the mother of yin and yang.
In motion T’ai Chi separates;
in stillness yin and yang fuse
and return to Wu Chi.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we continue with Wing Chun master, Sifu Nima King’s, personal story of his encounter and tuteledge under Grandmast Chu Shong Tin who stressed the internal side of this external martial art.

“In Wing Chun, we aim to achieve this one- pointedness in the mind through focusing on the entire body as a whole. We can start by holding the body in perfect balance in a naturally upright posture, while we try to perform the movements of Siu Nim Tao with as little effort as possible.​It’s important to note that effortlessness does not mean sloppiness (mindless relaxation). Unusually, when people relax, their joints give-in to gravity resulting in compression in the spine and legs; and lose the correct shapes and structures in the arm movements.

On the contrary, with a mindful method of relaxation we are able to maintain an upright and open posture along with structural integrity of movements. So the muscles relax while the joints decompress! Not only does this give us a complete different internal view and control of the body, it helps to develop a highly focused yet clear state of mind as well.

We start to feel deep relaxation physically and mentally, but at the same time, feel awake and energised in both body and mind. We become completely submerged in the present moment which is the pinnacle of Siu Nim Tao.

Then we can start to take this gentle ‘Siu Nim Tao State’ into not only the rest of our Wing Chun practice, but into our daily lives as well. Within this state, we can utilize the body in the most efficient way, resulting in great amounts of power and productivity levels with minimum use of brute strength.

Correcting postural misalignments helps get rid of aches and pains in the body. This control in the body can be then used in any physical activity, be it walking, climbing stairs, carrying objects, sports etc.

Through personal experience, I have found that the self-observation aspect of Siu Nim Tao helps us detach from emotions such as anger…” (to be continued tomorrow) – Sima King, “Wing Chun For Life”

Sifu Nima King has been a participant in the Martial Man’s Martial Camps over the past few years. Here’s Part 2 of an interview and demonstration…

Today’s Video: “Mindful Wing Chun 詠春拳 | Sifu Nima King (Part 2) ”



A healthy spine
helps support the body’s weight,
protects the spinal cord,
allows proper movement and flexibility.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

This week we are going to focus on something a little different from Tai Chi, namely Wing Chun. Wait, you say, isn’t that hard, external style? Well, yes…and no. Not the way Nima King teaches it as learned from his grandmaster, Chu Shong Tin.

Nima was born in Iran, but his family moved to Sydney, Australia when he was nine. Unable to speak English at the time and living in a poor area infested with gangs, Nima led a very violent and topsy turvy life until Chu Shong Tim came to Sydney from Hong Kong to teach seminars at Sifu Jim Fung’s Wing Chung Academy, where Nima had been studying off and on. Nima had become good friends with one of Sifu Fung’s senior students who had studied with Grandmaster Chu in Hong Kong. He introduced Nima to Grandmaster Chu, and Nima’s life changed drastically from that point. Here’s the rest of Nima’s story in his own words…

“When I first met Chu Shong Tin, who was then in his early 70s, I was very drawn by his happy and passive demeanour. I attended all his seminars and was lucky enough to touch hands with him a few times when he asked for volunteers. Even though Mark had told me about Chu’s unbelievable power, I was in complete shock from the sheer force coming out of his every movement, which he performed in a slow, soft and graceful fashion! ​ I was astonished as to how this skinny old man was throwing me around like a rag doll and doing so with a smile on his face. I realized that what he was doing was not at all based on external techniques and went far beyond my idea of structure or mechanics.

The essence of every seminar he did during that trip was ‘to use the power of the Mind with a completely relaxed body’! To my pleasant surprise, he talked about Wing Chun like it was a form of meditation.

After meeting Grandmaster Chu, I knew I had found my mentor. Within a year, I moved to Hong Kong to start training directly under him. I started training at his house up to 6hrs a day. I was instructed to first learn how to stand ‘properly’ and practice Siu Nim Tao as effortless as possible, in an optimal posture, until the muscles started to soften and the joints started to decompress (in particular the spine). This sounds a lot easier than it is and you’d be surprised how difficult it is to even feel the joints let alone tap into them with the mind in order to relax them.

So I spent the first few years of my training under him by mainly standing and practicing Siu Nim Tao for 6hrs a day. It was physical agony at times, as the muscles in the back and legs would seize up. Needless to say it was also a mental roller coaster. Prior to coming to HK, I had spent some time meditating every day, but nothing came close to 6hrs of silent focus! It’s amazing how you get to know yourself and the workings of the mind when you keep the body still and try to focus the mind.

The first 4 years were very difficult. I remember witnessing extreme amounts of random emotions such as anger, depression, jealousy and selfishness arise from my mind while standing in Master Chu’s living room!

As the years went by I started to be able to connect the mind and body to a point where various areas of the body started to relax and respond to my command. I started to gain some clarity in the mind. I noticed I was beginning to control my emotions and in particular my temper. Literally, during every visit back to Sydney, someone would highlight how much I had changed as a person.​​Of course, it was a blessing to spend so many hours training under someone with such knowledge and ability of the internal side of Wing Chun. Being a Chinese bone-setter in his younger years, Chu Shong Tin’s method of teaching was very hands-on, in that he was able to guide our bodies in such a way as to help release tension and give us a feeling of ‘Mindful Relaxation’ in the joints…” (to be continued tomorrow.) – Sifu Nima King, “Wing Chun For Life”

Sifu Nima King has been a participant in the Martial Man’s Martial Camps over the past few years. Here’s Part 1 of an interview and demonstration…

Today’s Video: “Mindful Wing Chun 詠春拳 | Sifu Nima King (Part I) ”



Chang Ch’uan [Long Boxing] is like a great river
rolling on unceasingly.Dear Friends and Practitioners,

To close out the week, we are posting the conclusion of Matt Inn’s article, “IF THERE IS NO CH’I, THERE IS PURE STEEL” as well as the final Ben Lo video.

“Is this not strange? I felt that this concept seemed even more at odds with Laozi’s theory in particular, and asked, ‘Why is this so?’ I certainly already knew of the softness that comes through not using strength, but had not heard that there was such a thing as not using qi. If one doesn’t use qi, how indeed can one have strength. And then attain pure hardness?

In 1923, I assumed a teaching position at Beijing fine Arts Academy. A colleague, Liu Yongchen, was good at this art of taijiquan. Because I was emaciated and weak, he urged me to study. Barely a month passed before I had to quit because of important commitments, so I was not able to catch on to the art.

In the spring of 1930, because of overwork while establishing the China Academy of Literature and Arts, I had reached the point of coughing up blood, so I resumed study and practice of taijiquan with my colleagues Xiao Zhongbo and Ye Dami. In less than a month, my illness swiftly subsided, and my constitution became stronger daily. From that point on, I practiced day and night with steady efforts. Within two years, when I matched up with men ten times my strength, I could beat several of them! I was beginning to believe that softness was sufficient to defeat hardness, but still didn’t understand the subtlety of not using qi.

In the first lunar month of 1932, I met Master Yang Chengfu at Mr. Pu Qizhen’s house. After the old gentleman had introduced me, I humbly presented myself at Master Yang’s door, and received his teachings, including his oral instructions of the inner work. I began to understand the meaning of not using qi. By not using qi, I follow the flow, which the other goes against the flow. One has only to follow, then softly yield. The way that softness subdues hardness is gradual, while the way hardness subdues softness is abrupt. Aburptness is easy to detect, and so it is easily defeated. In this notion of not using qi is the extreme of softness. Only the extreme of softness can produce extreme hardness.”

In Barbara Davis’ 2004 translation of the Tai Chi Classics, she gives a translation of Chen Wei-ming’s commentary. “Taiji is carried out purely with the shen and does not set store by exertion. This qi is post-heavenly exertion. Nourishing qi is pre-heavenly qi. The qi of movement is a sort of post-heavenly qi. Post heavenly qi has an end. Pre-heavenly qi has no limit.” – Matt Inn, “IF THERE IS NO CH’I, THERE IS PURE STEEL”

In our final Ben Lo video, Scott Meredith explains Ben Lo Principles with regard to how we stand and turn the waist, very import in the form and especially in push hands….Have an enjoyable weekend, everyone, and keep practicing.

Today’s Video: ZMQ37 Ben Lo Principles: ‘Turn the Waist’



The whole body should be threaded together
through every joint
without the slightest break.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today and tomorrow we are reviewing Matt Inn’s article, “IF THERE IS NO CH’I, THERE IS PURE STEEL”

“In the Expositions of Insights into the Practice of the Thirteen Postures of the T’ai Chi Classics, Wu Yu-hsiang states that “The hsin (mind) mobilizes the ch’i.” “The ch’i mobilizes the body.” He later says, “Throughout the body, the i (mind) relies on the ching shen (spirit), not on the ch’i (breath). If it relied on the ch’i, it would become stagnant. If there is ch’i, there is no li (external strength). If there is no ch’i, there is pure steel”. In 1950, Prof. Cheng wrote in his “Thirteen Treatises”, “These words are very strange. They imply that the ch’i is not important, and in fact it is not. When the ch’i reaches the highest level and become mental energy, it is called spiritual power or ‘the power without physical force.’ Wherever the eyes concentrate, the spirit reaches and the ch’i follows. The ch’i can mobilize the body, but you need not will the ch’i in order to move it. The spirit can carry the ch’i with it. This spiritual power is called ‘divine speed.”

“n 1934, Prof. Cheng’s teacher, Yang Chengfu published his book, “The Essence and Application of Taijiquan”. It is accepted by the Yang family that Prof. Cheng had ghost written this book. In the Louis Swaim translation of 2005, Prof. Cheng writes in his forward, “In the nautural realm, only by the hardest can one prevail over the softest, and yet it is only the softest that one can prevail over the hardest. The Book of Changes says, ‘Hard and soft stroke each other, the eight trigrams stimulate each other.’ The Book of Documents says ‘The reserved and retiring are subdued with strength, those of lofty intelligence are subdued with gentleness.’ The Book of Songs says, ’Neither devour the soft nor reject the hard.’ If it is so that all of these follow the same principles in the application of hard and soft, how is it that Laozi alone said, ‘In the natural realm, the softest things ride roughshod over the firmest’? And, ‘the soft and weak win over the hard and strong’? I was highly skeptical about this.

“At the end of the Sung Dynasty the sage Zhang Sanfeng created the technique of taiji soft fist, with what is called ‘having qi, then there is no strength; not having qi, then there is pure hardness.’

“Is this not strange? I felt that this concept seemed even more at odds with Laozi’s theory in particular, and asked, ‘Why is this so?’ I certainly already knew of the softness that comes through not using strength, but had not heard that there was such a thing as not using qi. If one doesn’t use qi, how indeed can one have strength. And then attain pure hardness?…” (to be continued tomorrow) – Matt Inn, “IF THERE IS NO CH’I, THERE IS PURE STEEL”

In today’s video, Lee Fife of Rocky Mountain Tai Chi explains and demonstrates Ben Lo’s five principles of Tai Chi.

Today’s Video: Ben Lo’s 5 Principles



Insubstantial and substantial
should be clearly differentiated.
At any place where there is insubstantiality,
there must be substantiality;
Every place has both insubstantiality and substantiality.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we are picking up Matt Inn’s article, “The Spirituality of T’ai Chi Ch’uan,” where we left off yesterday.

“That evening, she snuck into my room and asked me for my knowledge of what her experience was. I told her that I understood what she experienced, but that I didn’t feel it like she did. To satisfy my curiosity, I asked her several questions. “Do you love your parents?” She answered that she didn’t love her parents in the usual way that we do, but that she loved her parents in a universal and compassionate way. I then asked her whether she was going to marry her fiancé when she got back to the States. She said no, that she wasn’t in love with him in the way that one would to be married. Wow! To me, this was authentic proof that what she experienced in the meditation retreat was the real thing.

“After the retreat, we attended private classes to translate and comprehend the wisdom of the “Tao Te Ching” and the “Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch” with one of Master Nan’s students who was also recognized as someone who was awakened. As the months passed and my departure from Taiwan approached, I watched the body of my classmate go through a dramatic physical change. She had lost a lot of weight and her body reflected her spiritual transformatoin. After I left Taiwan, I never saw her again and I often wondered how her life had changed since her experience with Master Nan.

“Enlightenment that is spoken of in T’ai Chi Ch’uan is of the physical/energetic centers of the body that, when applied to the martial arts, give the practitioner an almost super normal advantage. When applied to health, it provides the practitioner with an environment of wellbeing and longevity.

“It is widely accepted that cultivation of the spiritual path in Taoism and T’ai Chi Ch’uan is not as high as the spiritual goals of Buddhism. However, the practice of T’ai Chi Ch’uan is a wonderful complement and stepping stone toward the pursuit of the spiritual enlightenment of Buddhism.” – Matt Inn, “The Spirituality of T’ai Chi Ch’uan”

What was it like to study tai chi with Master Lo? Hear about it in today’s video.

Today’s Video: “Tai Chi with Master Ben Lo 2004”



Alternating the force of pulling and pushing
severs an opponent’s root
so that he can be defeated
quickly and certainly.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we are picking up Matt Inn’s article, “The Spirituality of T’ai Chi Ch’uan,” where we left off yesterday.

“In addition to the practice of “emptying” in T’ai Chi and seated meditation in Buddhism, there is also the similarity of “listening” in both practices. In practicing the single movements of T’ai Chi, you are listening to the differentiation in the body, the parts that are tense, whether the ch’i is sinking, or the inhalation and exhalation. In general, you are listening and following the principles as described the T’ai Chi Classics. In push hands practice, you are listening to your opponent and comprehending where his chin force is. In Chinese Buddhist meditation, you are using listening as a technique in meditation to follow your thoughts into emptiness and then into a spiritual enlightenment. With these aspects of emptying, listening, and subduing the ego incorporated into the practice of T’ai Chi, T’ai Chi Ch’uan can truly be thought of as a form of dynamic meditation.

“When I was studying Chinese Zen in Taipei, Taiwan in 1969-70, I participated in a meditation retreat conducted by a famous Zen Master named Nan Huai–chin and who was also one of my T’ai Chi teachers. One of my classmates there was a Harvard graduate student studying comparative religions. She didn’t know much about Buddhism so I encouraged her to attend this retreat. It was a seven-day retreat held across the street from where I lived. There were at least twenty participants and we all meditated facing outwards instead of to the wall. Once in a while during the seven days, I would sneak a peak at the other practitioners to see how they were doing. It was quite a grind to sit for nine hours a day for seven days. On the third day, I glanced over at my classmate and for some reason, she had a big smile on her face. She was beaming. Wow, I thought to myself, she is doing pretty well compared to the pain I felt from the awkward sitting position I was in.

“At the end of the seventh day, after the retreat had ended, Master Nan gathered all the participants and announced that a New Buddha had been born. As he announced this, he started to cry with joy and sorrow. He talked about all the suffering that he had to endure to achieve his enlightenment and what others had to go through. He then said that my classmate had the door cracked open just a little to allow her to “see”. From her experience, she explained she now sees the world differently. For instance, when she looked at the painting hanging on the wall, she now saw it totally differently…” (to be continued tomorrow) – Matt Inn, “The Spirituality of T’ai Chi Ch’uan”

In yesterday’s video Master Ben Lo executed the Cheng Man Ching 37-movement Tai Chi with perfect precision. In today’s video, Master Lo breaks down each posture separately, showing precise details.

Today’s Video: “Chen Man-Ch’ing Tai Chi”



Be spacious,
without a center,
without a periphery

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

This week we are featuring another one of Cheng Man Ching’s premier students, Benjamin Lo. While Cheng Man Ching opened a school in New York, he had Ben Lo establish Tai chi on the West Coast with a school in San Francisco. Ben along with Matt Inn, who established the Inner Research Institute in Maui, Hawaii, co-translated Cheng Man Ching’s popular “Cheng Tzu’s Thirteen Treatises on T’ai Chi Ch’uan.”

While Ben passed away two years ago, Martin is still teaching at the Inner Research Institute in San Francisco. So, we will post excerpts from Martin Inn’s articles along with videos of Ben Lo.

Today’s excerpt is from a Martin Inn article entitled “The Spirituality of T’ai Chi Ch’uan.”

“Development in T’ai Chi is based on the process of transmutation of energy in the body through one’s practice of the single movements to store and sink the ch’i, and then to transform the ch’i into spirit (shen) by means of the sword practice. At this omnipotence level, the spirit becomes a spiritual force which mobilizes the ch’i to move the body. Since the outward expression of the spirit is through the eyes, “wherever the eyes concentrate, the spirit reaches and the ch’i follows. In turn, the ch’i mobilizes the body. However, because the spirit in the same action carries the ch’i with it, the spirit mobilizes the ch’i and the body at the same time. This is what Cheng Man-ch’ing calls “divine speed”. At this omnipotence level, the body is transformed and can manifest miraculous powers. Hence the Classics describes as the highest level in the body, “If there is no ch’i, there is pure steel”.

“It is important to keep in mind that the practice of T’ai Chi Ch’uan is based on Taoism. The ultimate goal of Taoism is longevity or immortality through the harmony of Man with Heaven and Earth. This should be differentiated from the goal of the Buddhist practitioner which is to become enlightened to end the cycle of death and rebirth, and enter Nirvana after all have been saved.

“The enlightenment that Cheng Man-ch’ing talks about is an energetic/physical enlightenment by means of the cultivation of the spirit through the transformation of the ching to ch’i, and the ch’i to shen. The application of this transformation is applied to the martial arts.

“It is difficult to draw the line between the term enlightenment as it applies to T’ai Chi Ch’uan and Taoism, and enlightenment as it is referred to in Buddhism as they both overlap and influence each other. In Taoism, enlightenment refers to a more material and energetic realm while in Buddhism it refers to the enlightenment of the spirit. Both disciplines are rooted in the practice of emptying the body or emptying the mind as a precondition. In T’ai Chi, you must empty the body of all external strength and relax. As Prof. Cheng often said, you must “invest in loss”. By investing in loss, you are subduing the ego and its manifestation by the nonuse of strength in push hands. In Buddhist meditation, you must empty the mind so there are no past or future thoughts, and no ego. Sometimes it is difficult to empty the mind without first emptying the body and vice versa…” (to be continued) – Martin Inn, “The Spirituality of T’ai Chi Ch’uan.”

The video today is of Ben Lo’s precise performance of the Cheng Man Ching 37-Tai Chi

Today’s Video: “Benjamin Lo – 37 Movement Tai Chi”



The Master who Knows does not speak;
he teaches.
The Master who speaks does not know;
he talks but cannot teach.
Follow the first; Stay away from the latter.

Dear Friends an d Practitioners,

Earlier in the year, we featured Master Cheng Man Ching, who brought tai chi to America in the 1960s and 1970s. We also featured one of his premier students, Huang Sheng Xian, who spread his own version of Cheng Man Ching’s 37-form Tai Chi throughout Southeast Asia. T

his week we are featuring another one of Cheng Man Ching’s premier students, Benjamin Lo. While Cheng Man Ching opened a school in New York, he had Ben Lo establish Tai chi on the West Coast with a school in San Francisco. Ben along with Matt Inn, who established the Inner Research Institute in Maui, Hawaii, co-translated Cheng Man Ching’s popular “Cheng Tzu’s Thirteen Treatises on T’ai Chi Ch’uan.”

While Ben passed away two years ago, Martin is still teaching at the Inner Research Institute in San Francisco. So, we will post excerpts from Martin Inn’s articles along with videos of Ben Lo.

This first excerpt is from a Martin Inn article entitled “Inner Exercise.”

“All the movements practiced in T’ai Chi Ch’uan must come from the center so that the movements of the four limbs are completely relaxed and follow the rotation of the hips. There must not be any muscular activation of the external
body or the internal stimulation of the Qi is broken. Even while standing, the practitioner must try to relax the legs. The deeper the relaxation, the deeper contact there is with the Qi and the inner layers of the body. The headtop must
be suspended so that the neck is relaxed and the Qi can reach the crown. The spine must be straight so that the chest may be sunken, the abdominal muscles relaxed, and the lower back released. When the abdomen is relaxed and the chest is sunken, the diaphragm takes on the task of breathing. By relaxing the torso and breathing abdominally, the body has a lower center of gravity. This means it becomes more stable. The rhythmic movements of the diaphragm gently massage the internal organs with each breath.

“The weight of the body falls on the thighs (the quadriceps muscles). As the legs relax and the weight falls on the thighs, the kidneys become stimulated and tonified with each weight shift and rotation of the hips. In Chinese Medicine the kidneys are the storehouse of the immune system, the source of the sexual energy, and the origins of the prenatal Qi upon which his or her longevity depends. Therefore much of T’ai Chi Ch’uan involves the development of the kidney Qi through the emphasis on the legs and the spine. When one practices the solo movements an inner heat is aroused and spreads throughout the body. This warmth begins to heat up the spine and all the bones. As the spine and bones begin to cool after working out, a condensation forms which then begins to
permeate the bones. After many years of this permeating process the bones become more dense and powerful. This tends to reverse the vulnerability of osteoporosis which comes as we get older. The Qi also nurtures the sinews of the body which allow us to maintain our youthful stature in instead of shrinking as we get older.

“All T’ai Chi movements consist of various combinations of shifting the weight from one leg to the other, rotating the hips, stepping outward and letting the arms follow in different patterns in a slow rhythmic motion that coordinates with the breath. The mind is in a state of emptiness as in meditation, so it directs the Qi to circulate throughout the body during the various postures of the exercise. The Qi acts as a medium between the direction of the mind and the execution of the movements. Because the muscles are relaxed while in motion, the Qi which circulates throughout the body is not used up or metabolized in supporting muscular action. It is therefore full as it returns to the internal organs to nurture and support their functions.” – Mrtin Inn, “Inner-Exercise”

Our opening video is from 1953 and not the best quality. However, it is unique in that in features The Professor, Cheng Man Ching pushing hands with Ben Lo and others.

Today’s Video: “Cheng Man Ching pushing hands with Ben Lo, Liu Hsi-heng, Tao Ping-siang and Ong Zi Chuan. 1953”



All movements are motivated by I [yi, mind-intention],
not external form.
If there is up, there is down;
when advancing, have regard for withdrawing;
when striking left, pay attention to the right.
If the I (yi) wants to move upward,
it must simultaneously have intent downward.

Dear Friends and Practitioners

We are closing out the Sam Tam week with the conclusion of “Lessons from the Masters: Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas.

“Other points
– I should remember to keep my chin down when pushed backward, otherwise I have no chance to stay balanced.
– I have had a tendency to use my thumbs to push towards the ribcage of my practice partner. Sam thoroughly demonstrated why this was a bad idea.
– I have a tendency to collapse and thus allowing my practice partner to get me. Collapsing implies allowing the opponent to enter your circle, so a project for me is to keep my frame when pushing hands.
– I have a tendency of pushing down, where it would make sense to go more upward.
– I have a tendency of leaning forward with my upper body, both when I am receiving a push and when I am delivering it. If I keep straight my sensibility will improve.
– When pushing use the whole body and aim for a feeling of fullness. Keep the sensation of wholeness while practicing the form.
– Don’t retreat.

When doing the form
Sam keeps emphasizing that the form is about learning how to “sink the chi and shift the weight”, but for me there are other central points that should be remembered. A central sensation that I am taking with me is the idea that I should have fighting power in (and between) every position in the form. Otherwise I am not doing it right. This one is going to take a while to work through.

There is a subtle difference between focusing on the movements of the form and keeping awareness on the form practice. The first will lead to divided attention, while the second is a catalyst for flow. Sam would also express it as letting the chi move you rather than thinking about the movements.

Other points
– I have a tendency of looking down while I do the form which makes it harder for me to balance and according to Sam also generally weakens my movement.
– Remember to have a lot of airtime in the form to practice sinking, but also to give power to the legs and feet in the form.
– Lots and lots of corrections to specific movements that I won’t try to reference here.”
– ‘Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas.

More pushing and bouncing with Sam Tam in the video below. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and keep practicing!

Today’s Video: “Tai Chi with Sam Tam”



The principle of adjusting the legs and waist
applies for moving in all directions;
upward or downward,
advancing or withdrawing,
left or right.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

This week we are focusing on the art of Tai Chi Master Sam Tam as one of his students takes us through an entire week of one-on-one training with Master Tam in a post entitled “Lessons from the Masters: Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas. Today we have the first part of the section entitled “Ironing out my mistakes.”

“Sams teaching entails a lot of time spent “ironing out” the mistakes and bad habits of his students. His attempt is to not just deliver information to his students, but to actually allow them to learn and gain embodied knowledge.

“We generally have a tendency of seeing other people’s mistakes while being blind to their own. If you can start to see your own mistakes more clearly you will learn more, so below are some of my notes on what to work with and improve in my own practice.

“Sam defines yielding as “not allowing the opponent to lean on you”. To achieve this you cannot use force as that will give your opponent a “handle”, but neither “run away from the force” of the opponent and allow him to find your center of gravity. This balancing act is excruciatingly hard to perform in practice. I have a tendency of yielding “halfway” (to the place where I feel safe) instead of going until the end of the push. This habit is part of the reason that I often find myself in situations where the second attack is impossible to respond to.

“Don’t do anything against the opponents will when you start to yield. Give him what he wants without giving him your center to push on. Don’t think or try to get your opponent and yield without the intent of getting his center – that will happen by itself. If you commit by having intention in your movement, it means that you have already lost. Intentional movement = force.

“Let the whole body move when you yield – don’t isolate the arms. Always yield where there is more force. If the force is equal between the hands, yield the place closest to the body.

“Another central point is that you don’t move by your own accord when yielding – only if your opponent moves. Personally I have a horrible tendency to start guessing what my practice partner will be doing next and move accordingly. This works in many cases, but while touching Sam and some of his other students I quickly realized that it was a dead end street, however hard it will be to let go of the habit.” – Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas.

Today’s Video: “Sam Tam Tai Chi Take-downs”



If correct timing and position are not achieved,
the body will become disordered
and will not move as an integrated whole;
the correction for this defect
must be sought in the legs and waist.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

This week we are focusing on the art of Tai Chi Master Sam Tam as one of his students takes us through an entire week of one-on-one training with Master Tam in a post entitled “Lessons from the Masters: Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas. Today we have the section entitled “More than just a martial art.”

“I was positively surprised about how much Sam focuses on the connection between your general being and behavior and the taiji practice. I had a lovely time chatting with Sam about politics, philosophy and life in general and really enjoyed his honest and firm approach to everything around him.

“Taiji is about confronting the problem without confrontation. Many people tend to go for confrontation without confronting the problem.” (Sam Tam)

“Sam is also very focused on communicating the inner aspects of taiji (or “inner martial art” in general). Control in taiji is not about controlling the enemy, but about controlling yourself. You don’t want to do anything towards the other. You just follow and fill out the space that he is leaving, so that he has no exits.”

Very good advice, indeed. Another important aspect of “tui shou,” yielding is demonstrated by Sam Tam in his video.

Tiday’s Video: “Master Sam Tam yielding 2014”



The feet, legs, and waist should act together
as an integrated whole,
so that while advancing or withdrawing
one can grasp the opportunity of favorable timing
and advantageous position.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

This week we are focusing on the art of Tai Chi Master Sam Tam as one of his students takes us through an entire week of one-on-one training with Master Tam in a post entitled “Lessons from the Masters: Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas. Today the last part of “My Experience.”

“I mentioned earlier on that Sam is good. Well he is. But to be honest his level exceeds my understanding as I feel completely defenseless when I am in his hands – and he only rarely opens up the bag to show his fighting skills. Most of the time we practice his taiji form, bouncing or pushing hands exercises, but once in a while he will demonstrate applications or just reveal a little bit of his fighting skill – and when he does, the experiences is that he could kill you in seconds if he wanted to.

“You are the mouse and I am the cat. How can you win? You need to transform yourself into a cat as I am telling you and maybe you can do something. You can gather 100 mice and throw a conference, and still you couldn’t do anything.” (Sam Tam)

“Sam’s taiji philosophy is undogmatic. People have different bodies and different strengths and weaknesses and thus cannot perform taiji in the same way. Rather he refers to “the happy medium”, the personal place of comfort you can find while following the taiji principles.

“Very patiently he repeats again and again that you should not react (reaction is something you do after the fact), but rather respond to whatever is coming at you and that the only way you can do this is to have no intention or idea of what you are going to do, but rather follow and yield. If you try to use technique or have a premeditated idea of what you are going to do, you will not be able to cope with change in the situation. My conceptualization is that Sam responds to what is actually there (in reality), rather than assuming that something is going on…”Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas.

Tomorrow we will post the next section “More Than Just a Martial Art. In the meantime here is a video with Sam teaching tui shou techniques.

Today’s Video: “Push Hands Tai Chi Seminar in Portland with Grand Master Sam Tam”



The chin (intrinsic strength) should be
rooted in the feet,
generated from the legs,
controlled by the waist, and
manifested through the fingers.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

This week we are focusing on the art of Tai Chi Master Sam Tam as one of his students takes us through an entire week of one-on-one training with Master Tam in a post entitled “Lessons from the Masters: Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas. Today is Part 2: “My Experience.”

“When I arrived Sam asked me what I wanted to practice while I was staying with him. After answering something rather incoherent I said something about improving my yielding and that is what we have mostly been working on. I have practiced the taiji form, done a bit of standing meditation, some mokabu and a lot of bouncing exercises and pushing hands.

“Practicing form with Sam is a very giving experience. Apart from the fact that he himself can show how everything should look, he is very attentive and can demonstrate why it is supposed to look as it does. When teaching Sam will repeatedly demonstrate the practice by letting you touch him, which often results in you lying on the floor or thrown against the wall after a few seconds. But he also has the extraordinary ability to slow down to a pace where you can actually follow what is going on and notice every slight movement made, allowing you to become aware of still more imbalances and tensions.

“After instructing us to practice on our own, Sam would do chores around the house, fiddle with his computers or just sit and watch in silence. Several times during my stay I was surprised by how aware he was of what was going on, even though he was doing something else.
– While I am practicing the form walking past me with the laundry basket he points out that the angle on my front hand in the single whip should be more than 90 degrees and quickly demonstrates how easy it is to push me if the angle is wrong.
– Or when he steps into the middle of me doing the form to very powerfully demonstrate why the back hand in single whip should be around a fist above shoulder height (so that you can hit the throat of the opponent, and then grab the collarbone)…” (to be continued tomorrow) – “Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas

In the video today, Torben Bremann and a fellow student pay an early visit to Sam Tam for a basic tai chi/tui shou lesson.

Today’s Video: “Visit at my teacher’s place – One of my first visits to Sam Tam back in 2006”




The postures should be without defect,
without hollows or projections from the proper alignment;
in motion the form should be continuous, without stops and starts.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

This week we are going to focus on the work of Tai Chi Master Sam Tam. But rather than post his blogs or quotes, we are going to hear from one of his students who takes us through an entire week of one-on-one training with Master Tam from a post entitled “Lessons from the Masters: Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas.

“For the last week I have stayed and practiced taiji with Master Sam Tam in Vancouver, Canada. Sam has been the “Sifu” of my Danish teacher Torben Bremann for about 10 years and before this trip I had only met him at a few workshops in Copenhagen. I have practiced taiji in the system of Master Sam Tam for around 6 years myself guided by Torben.

“It has been quite a privilege to get more “hands on” experience with Master Tam. He has the ability to clearly and effortlessly to demonstrate what yielding, neutralizing and issuing is all about and embody the taiji principles like no one else I have met.

“Sam is good. Very good. When pushing hands with him you never feel him using force of any kind – there is no resistance from his side when you push him, he just moves with whatever comes at him, but without collapsing, using whatever movement you make to get you out of balance. He has an amazing sensitivity and can explain in great detail (greater detail than what I am usually aware of myself) what your body is doing and he is happy to let you feel both his yielding and issuing ability.” – Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas

Tomorrow we will feature a section entitled “My Experience.” For right now, however, let’s watch a video with Sam Tam and Peter Munthe-Kass’ teacher, Torben Bremann along with Bremann’s former teacher, Wee Kee Jin (previously featured on our site.)

Today’s Video: “At Sifus place”



The ch’i [vital life energy] should be excited,
The shen [spirit of vitality] should be internally gathered.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Rather than bore you with more of Ian Sinclair’s political pontificating, we are skipping his blog altogether, and instead we will bore you with Sinclair’s impressed-with-himself diatribe from his “But I Digress…” video (aka: “Upper and Lower Part 6” }

Enjoy your weekend, everyone. See you on Monday.

Today’s Video: “Upper and lower Part 6”



In motion the whole body should be light and agile,
with all parts of the body linked
as if threaded together.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we continued with a blog from Ian Sinclair entitled “Lest we forget. Balance is a Verb.”

“In martial art classes, beginners are often tense. They flinch and turtle. They close their eyes. They cling. They resist what pushes them, ensuring that the push has a clear target. They do not respond intelligently. They do not know how to find the still point or the fulcrum. They are a mass of inefficient class-three levers. They try desperately to hold on to whatever position they are in, and resist any force that threatens them. Because of this, everything they do only serves to make things worse. They weaken their own position while motivating and empowering their enemy.

“When we elect authoritarian leaders, we are like that beginner in a martial art class. Or, perhaps we could be compared to a boat that tries to survive the storm by anchoring itself to the ocean floor.

“While it is true that fortresses have their place in military strategy, they are only one part of it. A fortress by itself quickly becomes a prison, and then becomes a tomb. A fortress mentality fails to see the self-defeating limitations of such an attitude. By locking ourselves away, our minds make an enemy of the world.

“Confrontational politics pretends to be powerful and insightful. But there is nothing clever about demonizing your opposition. Insulting people who support your opponent will not win an election. Such is the politics of division. The best you can hope for is a slim margin of victory and a divided nation.

“Likewise, Nationalism pretends to serve the best interests of the nation. But these are like the terrified bullies who do not understand integrative negotiation, or the nature or diplomacy. They make themselves and their nation weak by insisting on acting strong. They tell you that they will fight to preserve your piece of the pie, even as they destroy the bakery.

“I have never met a superior martial artist who felt the need to act strong. On the contrary, the best martial artists that I have met have always been the most gentle and the most kind. They have discovered that empathy is the best strategy and that compassion informs the most reliable tactics….” (to be continued tomorrow) – Ian Sinclair, “Lest We Forget. Balance is a Verb.”

In today’s video, we continue with Ian Sinclair’s six-part series of The Upper and Lower.

Today’s Video: “Upper and lower Part 5 – Effortlessness in CONTEXT”



The spirit is the leader;
the body is at its command.
When You open and close in the movements,
you must also open and close in the mind.

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Today we have the first part of a blog from Ian Sinclair entitled “Lest we forget. Balance is a Verb.”

Martial arts training is a microcosm of international socio-economics. The lessons we learn in class can be applied to peacemaking on a global scale..

When I hear discussions about the swing toward extremism and authoritarianism, it makes me think about beginners in martial art classes.

Some students come to the art because of fear, and a need to have more control of their lives. But I find that beginners seldom understand what that really means. One of the challenges that a teacher has is to help the student let go of their fear and hatred so that they can see each situation for what it really is. Only then can they develop the skills necessary to feel safe, empowered, and confident in their ability to deal with the violence inherent in an ever-changing world.

There is a military maxim that was famously referenced by Sunzi in “The Art of War.” It states, “Know your enemy and know yourself, and you will never be defeated.” What people too often forget is that you will never learn anything about anyone by hating or fearing them. Compassion, empathy, and kindness are essential tools for survival. I suspect that these qualities have much to do with our success as a species. Our ability to overcome our darker nature has resulted in the powerful social networks and technological advances that have preserved us for so long. We exist because we can see other points of view. We survive because we can understand our enemy.

It seems to me that Fascist Authoritarianism is what happens when we ignore our responsibility to the world, and stop adapting to it. After a while, the world’s problems come to our door and threaten the status quo. If we ignore the effect that our actions and inactions have on others, then we will be surprised and offended by the animosity directed at us by strangers. We react emotionally be becoming defensive, insular, and nationalistic.

We say, “Why do they hate us when we hardly ever think about them?” This question answers itself.

It can be tempting to ignore the plight and feelings of others until we get slapped in the face. Then we fail to see how we contributed to the violence. We suffer for it. But the children born into an unstable and fearful world will suffer more.

When, as a society or as individuals, we ignore our role in world events, we will find ourselves assaulted by social and political turmoil and will tend to cling to anything that offers stability…” (to be continued tomorrow) – Ian Sinclair, “Lest We Forget. Balance is a Verb.”

In today’s video, we continue with Ian Sinclair’s six-part series of The Upper and Lower.

Today’s Video: “Upper and lower, Part 4. Walk through the forest, not the trees.”



From beginning to end,
the movements are continuous,
without stopping, like an endless circle.
a great river flowing continuously
and never ending.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today’s quote from Ian Sinclair is from his blog entitled “True Power is Integrative, not Distributive.”

“There is a common human disfunction, a pathological which causes us to feel that we can gain power by taking it from others.

“Security is a negotiation, even within the techniques, strategies and methodology of combat.

“We fail when we fight against force, move against speed, or throw away our own balance for fear of the other’s power.

“Stillness, emptiness, balance, insight, compassion, understanding…these tools are more valuable than our punches, kicks, joint locks, or other weapons.

“Martial skill begins when you learn to stop fighting yourself.

“With practice, one learns to not contend with others.

“The highest skill is a state of “no enemy.”

“The balance that we fight to defend becomes the weapon that we used to not contend.

“By empowering others, we achieve the power and security that we seek.

“Otherwise we trap ourselves in an endless cycle of expansion, weaponizing our borders, fighting for dwindling resources, and growing in violence and paranoia.

“Peace is an eternal dance, not a battle for supremacy.” – Ian Sinclair, “True Power is Integrative, not Distributive.”

In today’s video, we continue with Ian Sinclair’s six-part series of The Upper and Lower. As usual, be prepared for a little philsoophy along the way…uh…maybe more than a little.

Today’s Video: “Upper and lower Part 3. Energy doesn’t matter, and matter doesn’t energy”



Use the Mind,
not Strength or Brute Force
then wherever your mind goes,
your chi follows.

Dear Friends and Practitioners:

Continuing with Ian Sinclair’s blog entitled “A.I. (Artificial Intelligence / Independence) and martial arts.”

“There is a common theme that recurs in martial arts. Students often confuse cause and effect. They think that their journey exists to take them to a destination. They think that they will outgrow basic training when they go on to the “advanced stuff”. They think that, if they get good at martial technique, they will be able to dominate and destroy the enemy. They fail to realize that they have it entirely backwards and inside out.

“Not only is the goal not to dominate or destroy the enemy, but the goal itself is not the goal, and the basic training is the advanced method.

“Our individual value and uniqueness is not found in the ability to achieve a goal, or to calculate an outcome. It is found in the way that we experience the journey.

“The beauty of martial art practice is that it teaches us to understand our own inertial reference frames, including physical, emotional, intellectual, and otherwise.

“The achievement we seek is not the ability to dominate, control and preserve our reference frame, but to liberate ourselves from it. We seek the “immovable mind”, which is to say that we find the fundamental self which exists independent of any reference. Whereas a beginner identifies with the body, a position, a relationship, a conflict, etc., the master transcends such limitations.

“Liberation is the awareness of the fact that we do not actually exist relative to, or independent of, any external reference frame. It is the transcendence of movement altogether. It is the removal of the tyranny of reference frames. The student first begins to experience this as effortless technique, being able to defend simply by placing the pivot wherever is most appropriate. In this way, the defender’s own balance defends itself, and the attacker’s aggression defeats itself.

‘But the real achievement is found where the goal and the journey are no longer distinguishable, and there is no enemy.” – Ian Sinclair, Sinclair Martial Arts, “A.I. (Artificial Intelligence / Independence) and martial arts.”

In today’s video, we continue with Ian Sinclair’s six-part series of The Upper and Lower. Be prepared for a little philsoophy along the way…uh…maybe more than a little.

Today’s Video: Upper and lower Part 2 – “doing” meets “not doing” or “Ippon” meets “Koka”



Unity of Upper and Lower,
the root is in the feet,
issued through the legs,
controlled by the waist and
expressed through the fingers.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

“When someone claims that a computer has passed the Turing test, we should consider that it might be due to the fact that people have so little experience interacting with real people that they can’t tell the difference anymore.

“The so-called Artificial Intelligence, which so many venture capitalists are buying into, does not exist. The illusion is created, not by smarter computers, but by stupider people.

“Much of the anger and divisiveness that I see in society seems to correspond with the lack of opportunities to engage personally with other human beings. This results in an inability to generate rapport with smart people who disagree with us. We forget how to exist independently of our filter bubble. We get sucked down the rabbit hole of confirmation bias, and end up in a world where the dissenting viewpoint becomes the enemy.

“We tend to resist changing our minds more because of fear than because of certainty. It is like wanting to inhale without exhaling. It is like locking horns with an opponent until you both become, for all practical purposes, one beast, unable to move or adapt to change. It is like becoming the enemy by confronting them.

“If we confront our demons without compassion and understanding, we will become locked in combat, and the demons will rule our lives. Or, to put it another way:

“Tie two birds together. They will not be able to fly even though they now have four wings.” Rumi…” (to be continued tomorrow) Ian Sinclair, Sinclair Martial Arts, “A.I. (Artificial Intelligence / Independence) and martial arts.”

In today’s video, we start a six-part series with Ian Sinclair on structure and movement in tai chi entitled the “Upper and Lower”

Today’s Video: “Upper and lower Part 1 – Tai chi with Ian S. and Nick Nahweghabow”



By letting go,
you open up.
By opening up,
you act more

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

We close out the week with a story of the Chinese general, Sunzi or Sun Tzu, from Ian Sinclair.

“The Chinese general, Sunzi, mentioned a famous old military maxim. ‘It is often said that if you know your enemy and know yourself, then you will not be defeated, even if you face one hundred battles.’ This is a principle that has been advocated by military leaders throughout the centuries. It may be the most famous quote from the Art of War.

“What most people fail to point out, however, is that you can never understand anyone by hating them. Failure to recognize this is one of the greatest failures of martial artists. Actually, you might think of it as part of society’s general pathology. Students think they can harness their fear and anger to develop high level skill. But that only entrenches them in predictable behaviour. Fear and hatred are self-perpetuating, and when we become attached to them we become self-destructive.

“Martial skill is a process for seeking peace in an inherently violent world. Skilled martial artists don’t seek violence any more than skilled doctors try to make their patients sick. Finding peace is dependent on love. It depends on love for oneself and for other people. The awareness that results from love and compassion is a powerful weapon against violence. Even in the heat of combat, when all else has failed, the person who has the best relationship with themselves, and functional love of the enemy, will have the best chance of avoiding defeat. This is not mere philosophical idealism. It is a stark reality. Love is key to preventing violence. But it is also crucial to succeeding in a fight.

“I sometimes joke that, if you want to be able to effectively conquer someone (or some thing), you need to start by loving them unconditionally.” – Ian Sinclair

In his video, Ian Sinclair discusses using the mind and not force. Have a great weekend, everyone, and enjoy self-cultivation..

Today’s Video: “Tai Chi Basics ~ Using the mind and not force”



can you find the patience
to wait until your dust settles
and the water becomes clear?

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today Ian Sinclair continues his insights on teaching tai chi, mentioning the challenge presented by the ancient wisdom of the old books…

“Consider this. Tai chi has a list of old books which are referred to as the classics. They are a sort of unofficial canon. I spoke to one famous teacher who said that when he first read them, he was a 20-year-old student of one of the most famous tai chi masters of his time. He was also University-educated and had trained in martial arts for more than 40 hours per week for the previous fifteen years in other martial arts and was heir to more than one esoteric martial art. His credentials were already extraordinary. He said that when he read the classics the first time, he felt that he understood them. With his excellent background, we might expect him to.

“But when he read them again at the age of 30, he lamented the arrogance of his 20-year-old self. Then he read them again when he turned 40 years of age, and was surprised to think how shallow his understanding was at the age of thirty. But then, when he turned 50, he returned to the classics and was amused to see how different his view of their meaning had become.

“This happens to everyone who is serious about learning. Our point of view, our experience, our understanding, will change over time. Sometimes our understanding will be opposite of what it had been ten years earlier.”

“I used to find this story depressing. I thought that if someone of his calibre, with his level of experience, education and expertise can be so challenged by these old texts. What hope can a person like me have. I don’t read Chinese, and he could read both modern and ancient Chinese. I don’t really even speak the language, but he was fluent in multiple dialects. I don’t understand the culture, but he grew up in it. I didn’t have a grandmaster teaching me 6 hours per day from childhood like he did.

“But now I accept this as a admonition to leave all doors and windows open to new perspectives, and look to the cracks in my ego and my ignorance for the sands of truth to swirl around and find their way in… over time. If my understanding of the art…or anything…has not changed in the past ten years, I should assume that I have been far too lazy. If my view of the Universe is not regularly overturned, then my inertia should be proof enough of my ignorance… and of my cowardice.

“How can I hope to enlighten my students if I cannot regularly let go of my own stupidity. How can I hold the necessary compassion and awareness if I am incapacitated by the kind of fear that perpetuates ignorance.” – Ian Sinclair

In his video, Ian Sinclair describes two training error that can hamper the quality of your tai chi.

Today’s Video: “Tai chi…The delusion can work both ways.”



Relax, release,
bypass the contact point,
move your root
follow your opponent’s structure.

Dear Friends and Practitioners

Ian Sinclair continues his insights on traditions andthe various styles of tai chi..

“Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not denigrating tradition. I’m just saying that we need to realize that tradition includes a history of research and innovation. If we abandon research and innovation then we are, in fact, abandoning the tradition.

“I am also not an advocate of any particular style of tai chi…and not even of tai chi itself as a style of martial art or a style of exercise. I have learned eight different versions of Yang style, five different versions of Chen style, plus Wu style, Sun style, Hao style, and other internal martial arts like xingyiquan, baguazhang, etc. I’ve also tried to learn from many different martial arts around the world. What we call a style is really just a name for a kind of pedagogy. It is the way the art is taught. But good teachers are always researching and learning. So even the best student will never learn all that the teacher has to teach. If the student is attached to a style, then the art will fade out. One of my own teachers said years ago that he has never taught half of what he knows. Think of that. He has taught tens of thousands of students, including world champions, masters, and grandmasters, and all of them combined have not learned half of what he knows. This is because he is always learning, and his learning accelerates over time. The students will never catch up to him. If we are attached to a style or a pedagogy, then the art will die. This is something you see happening with many art forms. People learn what they can from the teacher, which is never exactly what the teacher intended to teach, and the student doesn’t learn anymore.

“I know people who studied for twenty years under a particularly famous master during the 1970s and 1980s. Then they went to start their own schools, and spent the rest of their time just teaching what they learned. That same master has other students who have only studied with him for a few years in this century. But many of these younger students are more skilled than some of the old students who learned for two decades. This may be partly because their teacher has spent the intervening years improving and developing his art and teaching methods, whereas the older students did not.

“Teachers need to be willing to move beyond what they have learned, and students need to accept their responsibility for research and analysis. Critical thinking is not cynicism, and accepting that you have the capacity to understand something is not the same as assuming that you already understand it completely. You are not insulting your teacher when you admit that you need to do your own research. In fact, what you are really doing in such a case is admitting that you cannot learn all that the teacher knows. So, you have to learn how to learn by yourself…” (to be continued tomorrow) – Ian Sinclair

In his video today, Ian Sinclair discusses relaxation and its role in refining your art.

Today’s Video: “Relax Harder! ~ Tai chi and real martial power. – Preview”



When the student is ready,
the teacher will appear.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

In case you haven’t guessed it yet, Ian Sinclair’s quote today on tai chi relates to the teacher and student interaction.

“It (Tai Chi) depends less on the style than it does on the teacher. Even more important is the student. But first, if we are to talk about styles, I need to explain that I think there is a distinction between a style and an art.

“I explain to people that I practise an art form called tai chi, of which I have learned several styles. Tai chi is a category of martial art, and also a healing exercise. I also study many other martial arts which help me in my tai chi practice. A style is just a particular way of teaching the art.

“But when I teach, I don’t teach an art form. I teach individual people. If my art doesn’t suit my student, I will change the art to suit them. I look at each student as a unique person on a unique path. I don’t tie myself to a particular pedagogy. I have a standard pedagogy, which serves as my foundation. But if the current method is not working, then I look for a new way…or different old way. I think that what people tend to forget is that whatever the benefits of the art may be, they came about as a result of Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED). Whatever attachments people might have to tradition, we must first recognize that all tradition was originally SR&ED. So, I like to fancy myself as an SR&ED man…” (to be continued tomorrow) – Ian Sinclair

In his video today, Sinclair continues the same theme of developing a student…

Todat’s Video: “Tai Chi Liberation”



A mind filled with the past,
with the already-known,
is not receptive
to the current flowing
from the all-possible Dao

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

While Tai chi has become quite popular in recent years. Few really understand what is the essence of Tai Chi. Today Ian Sinclair explains…

“Of course, tai chi has been watered down. That is what happens to any popular art. It is what happens when people try too hard to preserve the superficial characteristics of a style and lose the essence. Also, the more famous a thing is, the more people presume a level of understanding that they don’t really have. There is so much to the art that people don’t see. And the deeper you go, the deeper it gets.

Sometimes, half of a teacher’s knowledge gets lost when they pass away, because their are not enough truly dedicated students to absorb the art. Many teachers are only able to teach about five percent of the art. But there are other reasons why tai chi has been watered down.

“Tai chi is very accessible and it can be modified to suit just about anyone. It suits beginners of all ages and fitness levels. Anyone who can move, or imagine moving, can do tai chi. You may have heard the expression, ‘Anyone who can talk can sing, and anyone who can walk can dance’. Tai chi is like that. You don’t have to master the art in order to enjoy it and benefit from it. Since tai chi is very accessible for beginners, it is easy for people to become teachers, and there is little or no regulation over who can be qualified to teach. Some people start teaching as soon as they can remember the basic routine. I don’t actually mind that. I am okay with people sharing what knowledge they have. Get the people dancing and singing, so-to-speak. But we should not forget that there is more to the art.

“It is fine for a second-grade or third-grade student to teach some addition and subtraction to their younger friends. But nowadays we expect a professional teacher have twenty more years of education, and to continue to study throughout their career. Tai chi has a lot of teachers with elementary qualifications, and only a few teachers with Master’s Degrees or a Doctoral Degrees.” – Ian Sinclair

In his video today, Sinclair discusses this very subject of traditional training vs. adaptive teaching methods.

Today’s video: “Tai chi: traditions vs adaptive teaching methods”



The Sage gets out of the way
So the Dao can flow in
Empty your mind,
and let the Dao flow in.

This week our focus is on a Canadian Tai Chi and martial arts teacher, Ian Sinclair. In his brief quote today, Sinclair, while explaining that martial artists do not train to be violent, gives us a deep insight into who he is.

“People think tai chi is either a martial art or a healing exercise. But these are really two sides of the same coin. I think people somehow assume that martial artists train to be violent. But that is the exact opposite of what a martial art is about. Violence is what happens when you DO NOT practise a martial art, just as illness is what happens if you do not exercise. To assume that martial artists are training to become violent, is like assuming that doctors are training to promote illness. A martial art is the perpetual search for peace, balance, health, empowerment, and understanding. Violence is the result of NOT practising a martial art.

“To quote Leo Rosten, ‘I learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong.’

“The arts I teach are, first and foremost, about cultivating self-awareness and compassion.”

Now that you have some idea of who and what Ian Sinclair is, let’s take a look at Ian Sinclair’s video on Wuji and Self Defense/

Today’s Video: “Wuji (non-duality) as the foundation of self defence (PART 1) with Ian Sinclair and Hsu Pei-Lan”



Wu Wei, Not-Doing,
is not passive,
supremely alert,
physical and mental readiness,
without memory,
without someone who does,
a whole-hearted welcoming,
to whatever life brings,
not with fatalistic surrender
nor a sense of achievement,
welcoming one’s own acceptance
of one’s openness without fear.

Dear Friends and Practitioner,

One last insight from Howard Wang before moving on next week. This is one of his most import messages “On Love and Metta.”

“Universal Love and Metta in Buddhism are the same, yet from a personal perspective, there are different orientations.

“First of all, Consciousness is universal, it is never personal.

“The manifestation is the consciousness expressed itself in the form of thought, the energy intertwining with the veiling of sentience i.e. Shiva-Shakti, and or Samsara.

“The consciousness is the pure witness in stillness and silence whilst observing the show on manifestation.

“It is the misidentified individual with the body sentience that experiences the manifestation.

“The person is the shadow of the conscious substance, and it does not matter how hard the individual tried, the shadow can never become the substance.

“From the personal perspective, Metta is the personal rationalization of what should or should not be, with a sense of doership, whereas from the consciousness perspective, Metta is the nature of the conscious presence free of the shadow of the mind.

“Devoid of the mind, in a state of no-self, Universal Love and Metta is the one aura of the conscious presence, intrinsically one, yet conceptually apart.” – Huaihsiang Wang, “On Love and Metta”

In Today’s Video, the Martial Man has a series of viewer questions for Howard Wang. Enjoy your weekend, everyone. See you Monday.

Today’s Video: “Q&A with Master Huai Hsiang Wang”



When your opponent touches you,
become like quicksand,
drawing his touch into emptiness,
then guide him away
with your waist.

In the second part of “On Mind De-Flamation,” Howard Wang sumarizes how to deflame our mind.

“To de-flame the mind, one has to restore the efficacy of the animated Primal energy in circulation by releasing the muscle tension to activate the fascia’s energy conductivity capacity whilst connect the feet to the antenna by joint alignment to enhance the integrity of the counterforce throughput from within the bone marrow.

“When the Primal energy circulation, i.e. the micro-cosmic orbit is in circulation, then it will be possible to de-flame the mind to harmonize with the body sentience, i.e. the confluence of the electric energy wave frequency with the vital energy into the magnetic fluid.

“This is what Taoism alchemy referred to as Simultaneous Mind-Body Modulation/性命雙修

“Once the magnetic fluid is in shape, the flow of the magnetic fluid at the command of the mental orb without flame is conducive for the emergence of consciousness awareness.

“Statically, one is the consciousness awareness witnessing the manifestation.

“Dynamically, one can have the internal freedom to modulate the electric energy wave in motion.” – Huaihsiang Wang, “On Mind De-Flamation”

Just a reminder, you can see more of Howard Wang’s Insights and learn about his Master Program on the Prana-Dynamics website.

Today’s Video: “Extend your energy into their fascia – Qin Na Explained”



Where the mind goes,
the qi follows.
Where the qi goes,
the blood follows.
Where the blood goes,
healing follows.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

“Very important Howard Wang insight today “On Mind De-flamation”(Part 1) and the nature and workings of the energy trinity.

“After the infusion of the Primal energy into the body, the life animation process diversified the Primal energy into Astral, Vital, and Mental energy by functionality.

“The Astral is the entrapped Primal energy and is the substratum that animates the sentience.

“The vital energy is to support and sustain the normal functionality of the body.

“The mental energy is derived from the body sentience with a sense of doership, the involuntary attachment in the thought of I within the five skandhas, i.e., form, sensation, perception, mental modification/thought, and consciousness.

“For energy to function, there are two polarities, positive and negative. In Taoism, the two polarities of the Primal energy in animation are Ying and Yang. In Indian Philosophy, it is called Prakriti and Purusha.

“To de-flame the mind is referring to the dissolution of I by detaching oneself from the sensing of form, sensation, perception, and mental modification/thought.

“What remains is the consciousness witnessing the dance of the Ying and Yang, Prakriti and Purusha, with the veining of sentience.” – Huaihsiang Wang, “On Mind De-Flamation”

Tomorrow in Part 2, Howard Wang tells us what one must do to de-flame the mind. In his video today, Howard discusses weight training and diet.

Today’s Video: Is Building Muscle Counterproductive for Internal Martial Arts? – Prana Dynamics



Do not push,
do not drop,
do not pull away.
harmonize with the force,
with the tension inside,
and be the energy that you are.

In today’s insight from the internal arts genius of Howard Wang, he was asked about God and all the negativity in this chaotic world. Read how he responded.

“Q: In your relationship with mind, body, Spirit, where does God fit in or does he? What is your belief in this chaotic world and how do one zone out with so much negativity in the world today do you have a connection or solution within yourself to share with everybody or a path where someone can find soleness in oneself?

“A: The trinity of Kung Fu is: Essence, Energy, and Spirit. If one really understands the metaphorical pointers, the connotation means: “There is no other God but thee!”.

“Beingness is the essence, the combination of the Primal energy with the animation of body sentience. Once in animation, all is a function of the primal energy with the veiling of sentience. Spirit is of the manifestation, the reflection, and extrapolation of the psyche.

“Ancient Chinese Kung Fu is an empirical art of reverse self-engineering. It is always up to oneself to realize one’s true nature.

“On the path, there is no room for mystery nor religion. For if there is a mystery, you are the mystery bound by ignorance, whereas when the spiritual teachings become a religion, the essence is gone.

“All relevant teachings, both advanced Kung Fu and spiritual teachings are metaphorical pointers, once digested and graduated, there will be no more seeking high and low, for the seeker is the sought.

“Knowledge disappears, one becomes the knower, the seer, in peace and harmony always, rifting on life current in the moment of now, Prana Dynamics.” – Huaihsiang Wang, “What About God?”

Just a reminder to check out Howard Wang’s Prana-Dynamics website and corresponding Facebook page and you may want to think about joing his next Master Program starting in January, 2024.

Today’s Video: “How to transcend the mind – Prana Dynamics (Part 7)”




Avoid the desire to win.
Invest in loss
and you will gain
in insights and understanding,
physically, psychologically,
and, above all, spiritually.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we look at the second part of Howard Wang’s “On Intent and the Fear of Death.” In the first part, Howard told us that we need to derive the will from the heart instead of the mind, to modulate the magnetic fluid to flow, first throughout the body, then into space. Now let’s discover what he has to say about the fear of death.

“About death, the fear of death is due to ignorance. On the screen of manifestation, whenever there is a beginning, there is an end. By the same token, whenever there is a birth, there will be death. It is something like the beginning and end of a show, the live show.

“However, if you settle in with the conscious awareness as of the observer of the live show, then there is no room for fear, especially the fear of death.

“Only the dead will die, as the conscious awareness en rapport with the life animating Primal energy, one is the immortal Primal energy animating the live show. The mind can not comprehend this perspective, only when the mind fasts, reality appears, when the mind feasts, reality disappears.

“To practice is for you to evolve and transform yourself from the stronghold of the mind to the omnipresence as of the observer in the form of conscious awareness to wake yourself up from the intrinsic fear for death due to the involuntary identification with the animated body sentience.” – Huaihsiang Wang, “On Intent and the Fear of Death.

In his video today, Howard discusses a subject with his important to many martial artists, both internal and external..

Today’s Video “How to train Zhan Zhuang – Standing Postures Explained – Prana Dynamics (Part 6)”



Release the flesh and muscle,
allow gravity to take them
down to the feet.
Allow the feet to engage
with the earth.
It’s magnetic yin energy
drawing the yang,
releasing it to flow
upward and outward
through the tissues.

This week we continue to work with the internal arts genius of Huaihsiang (Howard) Wang and his insights. Today’s insight is from “On Intent and the Fear of Death.” The first part is on ‘Intent’ or willing.

“The animating life energy, the Prana, is electric magnetic by nature. After the animation, the mind is the electric energy dispersing away from the magnetic fluid.

“The mental electric energy functions through the congregation of tension in the form of fear, whereas the magnetic fluid functions through neutralization in the form of love.

“By willing, if one will from the mind, then due to the intrinsic separation from the magnetic fluid and the presence of a tension in fear, one will tend to bump with happenings in manifestation, therefore, there can be no magic.

“True mental relaxation is about the modulation of the hyperactivity of the mental electric energy in vibration and frequency to the confluence with the magnetic fluid, i.e. simultaneous mind-body modulation to energize the fascia for its energy conductivity and to open up the chest area where the heart functions.

“By willing, deriving the will from the heart instead of the mind, to modulate the magnetic fluid to flow, first throughout the body, then into space. When in the state, you then become the source of magic to people. The rest of the practice is to stabilize yourself in the state. There is no question for more, just dive deeper back into the mind-body…” (The Fear of Death will be presented tomorrow) – Huaihsiang Wang, “On Intent and the Fear of Death.

In today’s interview with The Martial Man, Howard discusses the Holy Trinity of Chinese Kung Fu.

Today’s Video: “Essence, Energy, Spirit – The Trinity of Chinese Kungfu – Prana Dynamics (Part 5)”



Bones up,
flesh down,
release the muscles
and soak the mind
throughout the body.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Yesterday Howard Wang began telling us how our collective human ignorance causes our bondage and prevents our conscious awareness from emerging. In his interview with The Martial Man, he says, “It’s already in you. You already are the energy in animation. So here’s the trouble. Everybody starts from the ego mind. But it’s this ego mind that has blocked you away from this sensing of it. So you are already perfect. Everybody’s the same. There’s nothing missing. Without energy there can be no possibility of life. You already are the primal energy in animation and more. You are the animator not the animated.” With that in mind, here is Part 2 of his blog “On Unstruck Sound.”

“With the emerged conscious awareness, there is no other Godhead but thee. All spiritual teachings will concur with you instead of for you to concur with any of them.

“The nature of life animating energy is electromagnetic by nature in the form of the Trinity. The Primal Energy is the light. After the infusion of the Primal Energy into the psychosomatic body, the animation process begins. The animated body sentience is electric with the veiling of the animated body sentience within the invisible limits of the animated sentience. The consciousness is the magnetic aperture, whereas the two polarities of the inter-sensitizing electric energy is the duality, forever negating one another yet never exceeding the zero universe of manifestation for the entertainment of the consciousness.

“Once one can equalize the hyperactive mental energy, the dissolution of the mind is inducive for the emergence of the conscious awareness within.

“The unstruck sound is the metaphorical pointer to the state of impregnation deep into stillness and silence into oneness with the Primal Energy onsite at the aperture of the consciousness within the body, the state of Knowing free of the distortion of the electric energy in vibration in the form of thought, i.e. nirvana, no more electric energy in vibration/distortion.” Huai Hsiang Wang, “On Unstruck Sound”

Are there any benefits to semen retention? In his video today Howard responds to the question. Have a joyful weekend, everyone. May the Truth, love and beauty be with you.

Today’s Video: “Semen Retention, What are the Benefits? – Prana Dynamics (Part 4)”



The whole body is the hand.
as the palm moves the fingers,
so the central equilibrium
moves the four limbs.
Thus any part can strike.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

When you see some of the incredible things Howard Wang does, you may very well wonder how he has achieved such a high level. What particular system or method of training has enabled his development? But the momentum comes from within not from any particular system as Howard states: “I pay equal respect to all systems, all traditions and lineages but I do not subscribe to any of them because by the end of the day, I realize it is I who is practicing as my body as my mind. I’m the only one to make a difference from inside of myself. Nobody else can do it for me. Okay, so no point for me to copy or to learn from other people. It’s more about becoming more and more awake and aware of who and what am I. So as my orientation changes substantially, my landscape changes substantially, and when I flip the coin around and look into the spiritual dimension, I see exactly the same fallacy. So that’s why (I have) the same mentality and attitude. I pay equal respect to all religions and all spiritual practices, but I don’t subscribe to any of them.”

He suggests that the journey is similar to when you want to make a trip to womewhere you have never been. You need a map. And this is what today’s excerpt from his blog “On Unstruck Sound” (part 1) is about – the conceptual roadmap that point us in the right direction.

“For the dreamer to wake up from the living dream, a teacher/coach/Sifu/Guru is needed to inflict the click, to impart/educate the conceptual roadmap, and point to the direction of the journey from individuality due to the involuntary identification with the animated body sentience as an individual to the unfolding of universality from within oneself.

“Hence, the nature of teacher hood is out of compassion, instead of intellectual excellence in the name of holiness. The challenge to every seeker is to validate the imparted knowledge for the emergence of awareness, the awakening.

“After the awakening, there will be no need for a teacher, guru, etc., the All is nothing but one’s reflections; all reflections on the manifestation screen are temporal, and are transient by nature; there is no truth contained therein with it, at all.

“Failure to see the overall picture will make one fall victim to mental speculations/imaginations or self-infaturation, hence the complications of traditional spiritual textures due to the collective ignorance of human bondage.

“Once realized, there will be no more seeking highs and lows. Everyone is born perfect. The seeking and the seeker will begin to vanish for the emergence of conscious awareness…(to be continued tomorrow) – Huai Hsiang Wang, “On Unstruck Sound”

In his video today, Howard Wang continues his conversation with the Martial Man, explaining the difference between Internal and External.

Today’s Video: “Internal vs. External, what’s the difference? – Prana Dynamics (Part 3)”



Not visible,
Not audible,
Not tangible,
moving without moving,
I stand in front
but find myself behind.
I stand behind
but find myself in front
What is this energy?

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

We continue with more from Howard Wang and his internal arts method of Prana-Dynamics. Today’s quote is from his blog “On Internal Breathing.” It is more or less a return to our primal breathing that we all had as newborns before our social conditioning created an ego to which we identified. As you read, you will come to realize that Howard Wang’s genius is in his devoted attention to Self-Cultivation and Self-evolution devoid of any dependence on particular systems or traditions.

“When the ego mind functions, it demands and commands vital energy support and functions through physical tension modulation in the form of force.

“When the ego mind functions, there is no room for magic. The mind-body energy is contracted through the invoked musculature tension to manifest the power of force. Therefore, the more one practices in this mode, the bigger the Ego.

“As prescribed in Tai Chi classics, those who are able of force can not sense energy, those who are able of energy can not use force.

“Force and Energy are mutually exclusive by nature.

“The Internal Breathing in Prana Dynamics is referring to the capability to confluent the mind-body energy throughout the fascia.

“The released muscular tension is conducive to the emergence of awareness.

“To breath is to modulate the vital and mental energy to flow throughout the fascia and or into space.

“The ability to modulate the energy throughput the fascia is derived from the internal breathing mechanism, an internal capacity called tension modulation. or fascia breathing.

“Awareness in motion is the higher goal of Prana Dynamics. Once established, will it then be possible to know what is stillness in silence.

“The stillness in silence is the nature of the conscious presence as of the aperture, the Primal energy that permeates and projects onto the screen of manifestation with the veiling of sentience is of the motion.

“It is the nature of energy to vibrate and move, Hence the nature of manifestation is the conscious presence expressed in motion in the form of thought.

“All Is, and the All is mentalism.” – Huai Hsiang Wang, “On Internal Breathing”

In his continuing interview with The Martial Man, Howard Wang discusses rooting and kung fu in relation to the teaching of Lao-tzu.

Today’s Video: “No rooting, no kungfu.” – Prana Dynamics (Part 2)




Suddenly appearing
suddenly disappearing
appearing and disappearing
following like a shadow.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

I hope everyone had a enjoyable and safe July Fourth holiday. Today it is a pleasure to introduce a teacher from Taiwan that I have known for several years now. Huai Hsiang Wang (Howard) has been exploring the theory and practice of Traditional Chinese Kung Fu through multiple disciplines since he was 14 years of age. He first learned the Eight Step Praying Mantis / 八步螳螂拳 system from his father, Grand Master Wang Chieh, who had learned the system from Grand Master Wei Hsiao Tang. To him, his father was the last paradigm of Tradition, a real Master to the title.

Afterwards Howard culminated his traditional martial skill by implementation through the Eight Step Praying Mantis to assimilate ‘hard core’ application skills from different martial arts systems, including but not limited to Tai Chi, Hsin Yi, Aikido, Judo, etc. He began to each internationally after his Kung Fu brother, Michael Martello passed away in 2009 and has conducted seminars in North America, Europe, and Asia.

But Howard is much more than an internal martial art instructor. His cultivation and evolution has taken him beyond the physical into the spiritual realms. He experienced his internal martial arts transformation during the period from 2001 to 2007 after forsaking the orientation to fight. He reverted his mental energy from dispersion to harmonization – thus the dimension of internal energy was revealed. Through diligent practice and evolution, he can intuitively see the answer to all questions regarding the essence of the art, both martially and spiritually from within himself.

Combining the theory and practice of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts and spiritual insights through the touch of an epiphany, he has summarized the essence of Chinese Kung Fu into “Prana Dynamics,” literally life energy in animation.

We start off our look into Huai Hsiang Wang with something most of us wonder about – “Wu Wei.” What is it? How do we accomplish it?

“When Laotze made this statement, he was in the state of no-mind, he was speaking from the heart, i.e. the consciousness. He was the magnetic potential for manifestation, the maternity of creation.

There is no deliberation, hence there is no energetic vibration through the motion of the two polarities of the magnetism. Whenever there is the intent to manifest, the energy vibrates from the motion of the magnetic potential into electric energy in vibration with the veiling of the animated sentience.

I, the consciousness, am the creator of all contents on the screen of manifestation free of the shadow of the mind. Whatsoever is on the screen of manifestation is nothing but my reflection. I, as the consciousness, am the intemporarity manifested in temporarity. I, as the consciousness, am the maternity for all creations.

Been freed from the shadow of the mind, the All is I. Hence there is no deliberation, nor doing, nor doership, only my universal presence at the moment of now, free from the confinement of space and time.” – Huai Hsiang Wang, “On Wu Wei”

A frequent guest instructor at the Martial Man camps, in today’s video, Howard is interviewed by the Martial Man with clips of Howard and his students.

Today’s Video: “Introducing Master Huai Hsiang Wang – Prana Dynamics (Part 1)”



HAVE A HAPPY & SAFE 4TH OF JULY. See you on the 5th.

The feet, legs, and waist should act together
as an integrated whole,
so that while advancing or withdrawing
one can take the opportunity for favorable timing
and good position.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

We start off July with our final quote and video from Adam Mizner. This one is about something all of us can use: relaxing our shoulders.

“Besides the obvious martial arts benefits of keeping the shoulders relaxed and sunk in daily life and health gains are truly profound. After all, what happens to our shoulders when we are stressed? They rise up and tense up and we begin to wear them like earrings! Once our shoulders are up and tight then we begin to stress mentally, the breath rises in the body and we manifest the qualities of anger without even knowing it.

“I have noticed within myself that sometimes even before I realize I am stressed or fixating on something that is unskillful I can recognize that my shoulders are rising. Seeing this all we need to do is consciously relax the shoulders, song and let them sink back to the natural position. In doing this the stress of the mind fades away with the dropping of the shoulders. The mind can lead the body and the body can lead the mind, the two are intimately connected. This is a truth I find we can use both ways to live a more healthy and peaceful life with the load off and our shoulders down.” – Adam Mizner

And here is the corresponding video…

Today’s Video: “Tai Chi Living – Release the Shoulders. Quick Advice from Sifu Adam Mizner”


Celebrating Pride Month


Don’t force it to happen.
Relaxation cannot be forced.
Have the intent
then allow it to happen.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Yesterday in Part 1 of Cheng Man Ching’s “Invest in Loss” by Adam Mizner, Adam discussed what “Invest in Loss” did not mean. Today in Part 2 he gives us his opinion of what it means.

“… Now that we know what it is not lets look at the skillful way to apply this principle in our training.

“Once again this is just my take on the principle, none of us can truly know what the Professor meant when he said to invest in loss. I like to say that the true meaning of “invest in loss” is to “invest in doing it correctly” even at the price of losing. This means that when we are training pushing hands or any partner exercise we focus exclusively on the causes of the skill rather than on the result. For example when practicing Lu (roll back) there is a correct skeletal alignment to be maintained, if we collapse that alignment in order not to be pushed over we have “won” that encounter but have done so at the cost of doing the exercise correctly.

“Every time we reinforce this habit to win at the cost of the integrity of the art, abandoning the principles and methods of the art just to win a little game or exercise we reinforce these bad habits. Our training takes us further away from Taijiquan day by day and we end up not achieving our training goals. On the other hand, every time we hold steadfast to the principle and methods, even if we get pushed out we are building into our body and neurology the correct response, getting closer day by day to the true essence Taijiquan. The eventual result is that we no longer get pushed out, but rather we win using Taijiquan all as a result of “investing in loss.” – Adam Mizner, Cheng Man Ching’s “Invest in Loss”

Today’s Video: “Staying Calm – Teaching moments with Sifu Adam Mizner”



the way it moves
released through the legs,
expressed in the fingertips

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we have the 2-Part Series on Cheng Man Ching’s “Invest in Loss” by Adam Mizner.

Many of us have heard time and time again the famous saying of the late Prof. Cheng Man Ching to “invest in loss”. What does this mean? What did the professor mean when he said it? It is not easy to know another’s intentions, none the less I can share my personal take on this principle and the way I have used it as a guiding light through the years to keep my training progressing smoothly and consistently.

First of all lets look at what in my view is not the correct way to invest in loss, these common errors in understanding block the students progress in developing real Taijiquan skills.

“1. Not trying to to win when pushing hands, giving up your root or center to the opponent or training partner. Doing this over and over conditions the mind and body to allow oneself to lose easily, one becomes a push over. This is clearly not a good approach to martial arts training, over time one becomes highly skilled at losing!

“2. Giving up your structure and space too easily, developing a style of pushing hands that is only based on what I would consider incorrect yielding. We often see this kind of “wiggly worm” response to pressure, one wiggles out and runs away from any force at all. Training pushing hands in this way there is no opportunity to develop correct Peng Jin. This method of yielding is completely divorced from martial arts training and creates the bad habit of giving the opponent precious space and openings to attack vulnerable areas. There is nowhere in the Taiji forms where one makes such shapes, nevertheless this is so common in the west within push hands circles, where the possibility of the opponent striking vulnerable areas is completely disregarded.” (Part 2, to be continued)… – Adam Mizner, Cheng Man Ching’s “Invest in Loss”

Tomorrow Mizner will discuss what he thinks “Invest In Loss” could mean. In his video today, Mizner demonstrates “release.”

Today’s Video:” Investigate the Quality of Release – Teaching Moments with Sifu Adam Mizner”



objects are only pointers
to that which is objectless.
This understanding
an intimate awakening
a forefeeling of wholeness

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today Mooji talks about “Grace,” and how it affects us.

“We are never without grace. We can never be abandoned, it is always there. God can never abandon mankind.

From just one candle, you can light a million candles without putting strain on the first candle. From one awakened being, you can set light into a million souls, so powerful is the light.

If you go into a room full of light, but outside is darkness, and you open the curtain, that darkness won’t come in. But if you go into a room which is dark and you open up a little tiny bit of a curtain, it will fill the whole room with light. Such is the power of the light.

We are this light and we must discover this…”
― Mooji, Breath of the Absolute: Dialogues with Mooji – The Manifest and Unmanifest Are One

Today’s Video: “The Call of Grace”



At the moment of movement
it should be light and agile,
and the movement must be

Dear Practitioners and Friends,

Today we have Part 2 of Sifu Mizner’s “Timing, Placement and Power.”


“The skill that is most often overlooked in modern martial arts training is the skill of being in the right place at the right time, not just applying the technique at the right time. This is referring to the footwork, angle of attack, distance and also the impact area. The training to develop this skill of placement is honed and refined in tai chi chuan within the arena of push hands practice. It is here within pushing hands that we can investigate and ingrain all the different body positions and their advantages and disadvantages.

“Push hands allows one to train this in a safe way and to get familiar with the up close and personal fighting range of tai chi chuan, a range that is shared by very few styles, somewhere between the clinch range and the striking range. This taiji range gives us the advantage of being able to strike or throw without changing range and keeps us in a range that most opponents simply are not familiar with.

“When you placement is correct you naturally exploit the weakness in your opponent’s structure while capitalizing on the strength of your own. The application of Da or Fa will leave you in a perfect structure, neither confined nor over extended and the placement and angle of the body and arms should make you as safe as possible, whilst still being able to apply your technique on the opponent.” Part 3 (to be continued) – Adam Mizner, “Timing, Placement, Power”

Today’s Video: “Adam Mizner Explains How to Approach Push Hands – Consciousness is Key, Not Mechanical, Not Thinking”


We continue with Sifu Mizner this week. Today begins the 3-Part series: “Timing, Placement and Power.”

“When I am teaching classes or workshops on taijiquan I always emphasize the three principles of timing, placement and power. These three skills are not only fundamental to acquiring real world taijiquan skills but are fundamental to the successful application of any martial arts technique:Timing Placement Power.

“Bruce Lee and other famous martial artists often talk about speed as one of the most important attributes of a successful martial artist. This is not untrue, though I would say that timing is more important than mere speed. It is certainly possible to miss the mark because one arrives too early or is too fast.

“Understanding this we should strive to master timing rather than just speed. When we arrive “on time” in this way, our opponent is where we perceived him to be and our technique is neither early nor late. In tai chi chuan this ‘correct time’ is when the opponent has “fallen to emptiness”, he is off balance and frozen or double heavy. This is the right time to attack and finish the confrontation. Many attacks delivered with the wrong timing are not as effective as one that is delivered on time, whether it be delivered fast or slow.” Part 2 Placement (to be continued) – Adam Mizner, “Timing, Placement, Power”

Today’s Video: “Sifu Adam Mizner shows how Taichi can STOP MMA style Takedowns”



We look to what is far,
we should look to
what is near.
The nearest
is our real root.

Today we check out the sixth and final level of Adam Mizner’s “Six Levels of Song: Song Kong – Empty”

In this text I have refrained from intellectual musings or fantasy. In taking upon this task, I committed to only write from direct experience. Because of this I will refrain from giving an in depth explanation on Song to Empty which is endless in depth. I will however give some short explanation based on my experience.

When the body reaches a profound level of song it becomes as if completely empty, the opponent finds nothing to attack, nothing to land on. At this stage the body is so empty that it is as if completely insubstantial, the substantial form/yin has the quality of the insubstantial/yang. In comparison to this, the insubstantial/yang nature of your Shen and Qi beyond your bodily form are potent and thus have the quality of substantial/yin substantial. This is the yang within the yin and the yin within the yang. This is Taiji born from the emptiness of Wuji.” – Adam Mizner, “Six Levels of Song”

Today’s Video: “How Do I Get (More) Chi / Qi? According to Sifu Adam Mizner it is “Know Thy Self!”


When they move slowly,
I move slowly.
When they move quickly,
I move quickly.
I match them,
move for move,
never ahead,
never behind.

Today we check out Level 4 of Adam Mizner’s “Six Levels of Song: Song Tong – Penetrate”

“When one’s Song becomes deeper and deeper, the previous qualities of open, sink, disperse and clean, increase exponentially. Thus one reaches the level of Song to Penetrate.

“The Song itself, and thus the Qi, penetrate and pass through every channel, every cell, every cavity of the body. The Chinese words and 松通 can also mean to pass through.

“The Song and Qi penetrating throughout the body on such a fine scale, allows a highly refined ability to change, to articulate the body through Shen, Yi and Qi. This allows Yin and Yang to alternate freely even within the smallest point. Your opponent cannot know you.

“In regards to your opponent, Song to Penetrate allows your Qi to enter the body of your opponent, passing through apparent blocks, to penetrate any cell at will. This gives you complete control of your opponent, in a similar way in which Song to Penetrate within your own body gives you complete control over yourself. Join, from Stick, Adhere, Join and Follow finds it’s true meaning here. To touch hands with an initiate who has achieved this level, is like touching hands with a puppet master, and you are the puppet under his will. (to be continued) – Adam Mizner, “Six Levels of Song”

Today’s Video: Song Kwa – Teaching Moments with Sifu Adam Mizner



aware and awake
in the present moment
body and mind in harmony
as we move with mindfulness
through our form,
through our day,
through our life.

Today we check out Level 4 of Adam Mizner’s “Six Levels of Song: Song Jing – Clean”

“The fourth level of Song is known as Clean Song. This is simply the culmination of the first three, the coming to fruition. When one has Song to Open, has achieved sinking the Qi through Song to Sink, and can Song to Disperse at will, one can attack and defend freely and has truly entered the door of Taijiquan. When the skills of receiving and issuing happen naturally, with no involvement of Li, it is said that one’s Song has become clean.” – Adam Mizner, “Six Levels of Song”

Today’s Video: “Teaching Moments – Song and Ting in Italy”



Doing and Not doing
are the same
when the mind adheres.
Doing and Not doing
are different
when awareness adheres.

Today we check out Level w3 of Adam Mizner’s “Six Levels of Song: Song San – Disperse”

“From the accumulation of sinking over time, one achieves a profound fullness of Qi. This fullness is also known as Peng Jin. This leads us onto the third level of Song, Song to Disperse. There are two basic manifestations of Disperse. The first is dispersing your Nei Qi to generate mobilization of the Nei Qi and the Wei Qi for offense. The second is dispersing internally within yourself, in order to disperse the power imposed on you by your partner or opponent.

The first quality causes the opponent to float upon contact. This is one of the keys for the application of Peng Jin. The second quality causes the opponent to be unable to land force on you, functioning as one of the initial causes of Hua Jin. (redirect to Hua) Thus, receiving and issuing become the action of an instant.” (to be continued) – Adam Mizner, “Six Levels of Song”

Today’s Video: “Teaching moment – Amsterdam – Song is relative”



The hawk uses the wind
to circle aloft.
The sailor uses the wind
to navigate the sea.
Both understand
the power of no-power.

Today we check out Level 2 of Adam Mizner’s “Six Levels of Song: Song Chen – Sink”

“The second level of Song is Song to Sink. At this stage we must understand that Song and Qi move together. When we begin the training, all the joints, tissues and diaphragms of the body, act as gates or dams which are tightly closed. The first level of Song, Song to Open, opens these gates, or destroys these dams. This allows our body to function as an open conduit.

Openness allows sinking, we Song to sink the Qi. The sinking of the Qi to the Dan Tien is of paramount importance. When there is no Qi in the Dan Tien, this is considered having no Qi from the Taijiquan point of view. In fact, the Dan Tien is widely misunderstood as simply a region of the body, or something that is innate. We are born only with the Tien, or the field, but it is empty of Qi, it is empty of Dan, or the Elixir. Only after extended periods of authentic practice, with a well developed quality of Song to Sink, does the Qi begin to sink to the Tien, accumulating drop by drop over time, to form the elixir, and thus one has formed the Dan Tien.

When engaging with an opponent or training partner, any resistance within our body creates bracing, which is a quality of Li. This brings your force and center up, away from the ground, causing the Qi to float. When the Qi is floating, one becomes top heavy, clumsy and easy to tumble. Song to Sink is the antidote.

Mental activity and emotional turbulence also cause the Qi to rise. In order to achieve Song and for the Qi to sink, one must develop a calm and tranquil mind, as well as emotional stability. This calm and stable mind can then be used as a powerful tool, because the calm mind has Yi, or mind intention, at its service. The Yi is used to command Song, while the Ting is used to recognize Song to Open and Song to Sink.

In the Neijia arts, one of the most important practices is Zhang Zhuan, or Standing post. The purpose of Zhang Zhuan is twofold. The first aspect is aligning the skeleton with gravity. This alignment, which includes the quality of Song to Open, decompressing the joints, allows the skeleton to act as efficiently as possible, allowing the flesh to release and sink. The second aspect is Song to Sink. Once the skeleton is aligned and open, the sinking process can begin. Without the openness of the body, sinking is not possible – the internal dams caused by tension (contraction) and blockage, stop the downwards flow of Qi. Standing practice in this way is an excellent method for developing the initial stages of Song to Sink, and sinking the Qi to the Dan Tien.” – Adam Mizner, “Six Levels of Song”

Today’s Video: “Fixed Push Hands Patterns are Useless? Song / Sung #Relaxing #Releasing to Move and to Make Power!”


JuneTeenth, 2023

Extension and contraction,
the beginning is the end,
and the end the beginning,
no breaks, no holes,
like a Spring wind
blowing the willow
back and forth.

Happy JuneTeenth, everyone!

This week we are focusing our quotes and videos on Adam mizner and his Discover Taiji website. Today he begins discussing the “Six Levels of Song.”

“Within the traditional teachings of the Yang family, Song is divided into 6 levels. Each level dependent on the one before it and inclusive of all before it.

“It’s important to understand that Song is always release, and that the six grades of Song are refinements on this one principle, much like milk becoming cream, becoming butter and so on.

“松開 Song Kai – Open
When the body is closed, bound up and filled with Li, Song is not possible. In order to achieve the first level of Song, it is first vital to open the body.

“Traditional training in Taijiquan involves various exercises designed to stretch, separate and liberate the tissues of the body. This openness of the tissue within the body, allows one to begin to touch the first quality of Song, namely openness. So the opening of the body allows one to taste Song, after which, Song, or release of the tissue allows the body to open. So we open to Song, and we also Song to open.

“When one observes the Da Lu, performed by a competent practitioner, it is clear that all the joints of the body are open and not compressed. The tissue is released and free.

“This initial stage of Song, Song to open, begins the process of allowing the Qi to move within the body, where it previously could not because of tension and blocks that needed to be opened. This is traditionally called Kai Men, or Open the Gates, referring to the energy gates within the body. When these gates are open, it allows the mobilization of Qi and Jin to travel, unifying the body from toes to fingertips.

“While external methods may use contraction force, and the closing of the muscles around the bones to generate power, this is strictly taboo in Taijiquan, for it restricts Song and the one flow of Qi….” (to be continued) – Adam Mizner, “Six Levels of Song”

To get you started on discovering Song, Adam start you off with Song Gong, 5 Loosening Exercises.

Today’s Video: Loosening Exercise (Song Gong) #1 INSTRUCTIONS from DiscoverTaiji.com by sifu Adam Mizner



The Emperor commands,
His Five-Star General issues the command
to his 7 division generals at headquarters
organizing reconnaissance, planning and logistics
then the 5 heavy armor commanders
and 12 regimental field commanders
receive the final orders
and commence the operation.
Such is the way of push hands

Today Bruce Fratzis continues his discussion of Qigong Breathing.

“Ideally, inhale and exhale only through your nostrils. If medical reasons make this impractical, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Inhale and exhale through your mouth only as a last resort.

“1.When you inhale, feel your breath come into your nose, down your throat and into your lungs and belly. Let your belly muscles expand to move your belly forward.
2. When you exhale, let your belly return to its original position and relax. Do your best to completely relax your chest and not use any strength to puff it out when you breathe. You should have very little or no sense of air going into your chest.
3. First, practice by focusing on expanding and relaxing your lower belly. Your lower belly extends from slightly above the top of your pubic hair to your navel. Breathe in such a way that the lower belly does not move from below the top of your pubic hair. Avoid straining or any feeling of pressure in your genitals.
4. When you can expand and relax your lower belly comfortably, turn your attention to moving the middle belly when you breathe, which for most people is more difficult. The middle belly extends from your navel to just before your diaphragm. Placing your hands on the lower, middle and upper parts of your belly as you breathe will give you clear feedback as to whether and how much your belly is moving.
5. Finally, concentrate on expanding and relaxing your upper belly—your diaphragm and solar plexus—just underneath your lowest ribs. Try to have your diaphragm move downward as you inhale and upward as you exhale. This will help push air into the back and top of your lungs, parts that seldom get exercised. Eventually, you will be able to move all three parts of your belly in unison.” – Bruce Frantzis, “Qigong Breathing”

In his video, Bruce guides us through a Taoist Longevity Breathing Yoga.

Today’s Video: “Taoist Longevity Breathing Yoga”



The jin should be
rooted in the feet,
generated from the legs,
controlled by the waist, and
expressed through the fingers.

The feet, legs, and waist should act together
as an integrated whole,
so that while advancing or withdrawing
one can take the opportunity for favorable timing
and good position.
If correct timing and position are not achieved,
the body will become disordered
and will not move as an integrated whole;
the correction for this defect
must be sought in the legs and waist.

Today Bruce Frantzis’ quote and video focus on Qigong Breathing and specifically Belly Breathing…

“Always breathe from your belly and not solely from your chest. This is the way you breathed when you were a baby. Belly breathing is the first step in learning Taoist Longevity Breathing practices and ideally should be incorporated into all Taoist qigong or tai chi practices. Belly breathing drops and lifts the big muscle of the diaphragm, the natural body mechanism that pushes air in and out of your lungs.

“Belly breathing helps center your awareness in your body, rather than in your head, so that you feel more physically and energetically grounded. It helps you to relax your neck, shoulders and arms. It improves the circulation of blood and the flow of chi in your internal organs. Belly breathing provides a wonderful massage for your internal organs.

“Just as massaging your muscles adds to their tone and overall functioning, so will belly breathing benefit your internal organs. In terms of your health, massaging your internal organs is more important than toning your visible muscles. Belly breathing increases the blood circulation in the blood vessels that nourish your internal organs. – Bruce Frantzis, “Qigong Breathing”

Today’s Video: “Breathing Methods in Qigong”



In motion, the whole body should be light and agile,
with all parts linked as if threaded together.

The chi should be activated,
The mind should be internally gathered.

The postures should be rounded and without defect,
without deviations from the proper alignment;
in motion, your form should be continuous, without stops and starts.
– excerpt from Tai Chi Classics

Continuing with Bruce Frantzis’ “Summer Solstice: Yang Reaches Its Fullness,” Dispersing Internal Heat…

“Certain types of breathing can be very effective at dispersing heat. When I was in India, we used to do “crow’s beak” pranayama to cool down. Daoism has its own methods. For example, if you know Daoist six-part breathing, focus specifically on the upper lungs. Doing this can decrease the heat buildup in the brain. Upper lung breathing can also be done to cool down the neck in general which will, in turn, cool down the digestive system – an important point of consideration in the summer. You can also use other parts of the six-part breathing to focus on any particular area of the body that you find to be heating up.

“Meditation, tai chi and qigong will also help you find balance on the day of the solstice and all during this season of intense heat and activity. Certain aspects of the Spiraling Energy Body Qigong are also good for dissipating heat, if you know them.

“Of course, the Southern Hemisphere is now at the fullest expression of yin and sits in balance to the Northern Hemisphere. Take time to experience whichever phase you’re in and to appreciate this reminder of the ongoing, natural cycle of change.
– Bruce Frantzis, ‘Summer Solstice: Yang Reaches Its Fullness’

In case you missed his Summer Solstice lecture and Daoist Meditation, here it is again. Don’t forget to save it for next week’s Summer Solstice, June 21.

Today’s Video: “Summer Solstice: Taoist Meditation with Bruce Frantzis”



From the hip joint to the heel
separation of light and heavy,
of substantial and insubstantial.
One foot takes all the weight
then change to the other
without using force.
There’s opposition
of arms and feet.
from shoulder to foot
no double-weighting

With the Summer Solstice quickly approaching, about a week away, let’s take a look at the Summer Solstice from a Daoist perspective with Bruce Frantzis in an excerpt from his blog and his video lecture and meditation.

“June 21st is the longest day of the year. In Daoist theory, it is the fullest expression of yang energy. It is the tipping point at which yang simply cannot increase any further and yin begins to seep back in again. But the yang will still be dominant for months to come.

“Yang is about activity, strength and accomplishments. This is when you want to pour all the effort you can into making things happen. You will be bolstered by the natural energy of this part of the annual cycle. This is a good time to use your meditation practice to check back in with the goals and agendas that you set earlier, perhaps at the winter solstice or the equinox. How are they going? What will it take to bring them to completion? Will they be ready to harvest by the fall?

“This is a great opportunity to find a renewed sense of purpose.

“At the same time, it is important not to get overheated, physically or mentally. You need to do things to counter and temper the spike in activity.

“If you are going to do a practice specifically on the solstice or at this time of year in general, try to avoid the hottest part of the day. Find some shade or a place near a cool body of water to do your practice.” – Bruce Frantzis, ‘Summer Solstice: Yang Reaches Its Fullness’

Today’s Video: “Summer Solstice: Taoist Meditation with Bruce Frantzis”



First relax the wrist,
then the elbows and shoulders.
Do not use force.
Softness conquers hardness.
From softness alone
relaxation ensues
gradually sinew by sinew.
Seek the straight from the curved.
Neither bent nor straight,
the shape is round
without breaks or holes,
hollows or projections,
from the shoulder
to the tip of your middle finger.

Today Bruce mentions the all-important “glimpse.” Some Internal Arts practitioners may be fortunate enough to get a “glimpse” at some point during their practice. If so, they should continue with their practice, adding meditative qualities or actual meditation. A “glimpse” is nothing less than your original nature (Dao) peeking through all the worldly blockages.

“For the average bagua or tai chi practitioner interested in exercise, the basic meditation practices the arts contain will serve primarily as a means to manage stress and calm an anxiety-driven mind. Yet with practice, almost everyone will experience the odd moment when they catch a glimpse of their spiritual essence.

“They are suddenly left within themselves. A residue of inner peace may remain that is more profound than most people experience in a lifetime. In Taoism, this is what is called the “wonderful accident.” Such experiences often inspire people to commit to engage in the more advanced practices of Taoist meditation.”- Bruce Frantzis, “Bagua and Tai Chi: Building the Foundation for Meditation”

In his video Bruce Frantzis talks about the two philosophical approaches found within Taoism; the left wing extremely liberal approach epitomized by Chuang Tzu and the more conservative one embodied by Lao Tzu.

Today’s Video: “Taoist Meditation – Lao Tzu vs. Chuang Tzu”



We are born soft and supple;
dead, we are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.

‘Tao-Te-Ching 76

Bruce Frantzis has some really pertinent material on the internal arts that we are going to spend another week going over some of the more important aspects that relates to our practice. We start off Bruce Frantzis Week 2 with Bruce discussing the importance of taking our time and not rushing to learn one think after another but truly integrating what we are learning into a whole-body experience.

“All genuine Eastern practices—including martial, healing and meditative arts—contain a very simple idea: Don’t be in a rush to go to the next step. Weak foundations easily create crumbling buildings. And, you don’t build a house from the third story down.

“Because we live in an acquisitive society that emotionally rewards people for the amount of their possessions—whether material or intellectual—many students do not realize that body/mind/spirit skills require a very different approach.

“Skills in the Eastern arts are carefully and progressively crafted. End goals involve building and balancing chi and moving toward spirituality, so you can’t skip the basics. In the West, many students of chi practices like to collect movements, sets or energy arts the way a child would marbles. However, in China the focus is not on how many marbles you have, but how well you understand and can use them.

“The race to develop and flaunt superior abilities, to pile up skill upon skill, and to aggressively compete in their acquisition are forms of spiritual greed. They are the antithesis of the Taoist ideals of balance and compassion.

“Greed for knowledge of chi drives many to attempt advancing to step 3 before they have learned steps 1 or 2. Practitioners of Taoist arts must put away whatever fantasies they might have about the rewards of jumping ahead before they’re ready. Taking the time necessary for learning all the nuances of each new step is what creates a strong foundation. – Bruce Frantzis, “Bagua and Tai Chi: Building the Foundation for Meditation”

In his video, Bruce reviews the important seven principles of tui shou (tai chi push hands)

Today’s Video: “7 Principles of Tai Chi Push Hands”



Sink your breath;
the Qi will follow.
Let the body breathe
Watch your breath
without changing it.
Feel the sensations
without changing them.
Listen inside with your mind.
Allow it to flow through your body
without forcing it.
As the sensations subside,
the body and mind relax.
This is Song.

As we conclude Week 1 of Bruce Frantzis Week, Bruce discusses developing a relaxed body and mind in tai chi and bagua…

“Bagua and tai chi’s foundational meditation practices are designed to develop a mind that is attentive, focused, relaxed, balanced and stable, which creates a relaxed body. Although it is possible to have a relaxed mind inside a tense body, it is definitely easier and more sustainable to relax the mind within a relaxed body. Bagua and tai chi use strategies for developing an integrated, relaxed body and mind.

Tai chi focuses on the space inside your body. Within regular, rhythmical, slow movements that naturally relax your body, your mind must concentrate on the many movements, chi flows and physical details of the form. The only way your mind can pull this off is by relaxing and opening. This is a first step in using meditation methods to tap into the tai chi space of emptiness that is beyond opposites.

Developing relaxed concentration skills requires you to focus on more than the constant and regular body changes from yin to yang to yin. These include:

Opening and closing (pulsing)
Bending and stretching
Twisting in and out
Inhaling and exhaling
You must also focus on the empty space in between the yin and yang when you make the changeovers. Tai chi is about smoothly alternating your moves with a very steady rhythm.

In bagua, you intensely focus your attention internally and externally while continuously changing direction and speed. The aim is to physically and mentally move through change without resistance, which is only possible through relaxation.

Bagua focuses on what is happening physically and energetically as you make each change and shift between yin and yang, often in the blink of an eye. Internally and smoothly moving through change, regardless how slow, sudden or unpredictable, is bagua’s specialty.
– Bruce Frantzis, “Bagua and Tai Chi: Building the Foundation for Meditation”

In his video Bruce goes over how to relax every part of your body in tai chi using the mind.

Today’s Video: “Relaxing in Tai Chi, The Inner Meanings: Energy Arts Training Circle”




Severely conflicted,
the me jumps back and forth
from desiring its true nature,
thus destroying itself
and desperately wanting
to preserve itself.
Is it any wonder
Lao-Tzu told us:
He who conquers others
has physical strength,
He who conquers himself
has true power

Today’s quote from Bruce Frantzi Week concerns how tai chi and bague can lead to whole-body connectedness or awareness.

“The complex nature of bagua and tai chi’s movements eventually leads to a sense of whole-body connectedness or awareness. At first, you mentally think of specific movements—keeping a hand at a certain height, changing positions, moving your foot or hip and a myriad of other physical details. Because you have to think about the movements, a fusing of the body and mind occurs. Combined with attention to the 16 neigong components, your ability to feel and be aware of your entire body naturally develops. In order to accomplish so many things at once, your mind must relax and remain open to encompass effortless multitasking.

“Without developing some degree of internal mental cohesion, whole-body awareness is impossible to attain. From the other side of the coin, training to achieve whole-body awareness must, of necessity, increase your internal cohesion.

“These are the qualities necessary to practice the beginning stages of Taoist meditation.”- Bruce Frantzis, “Bagua and Tai Chi: Building the Foundation for Meditation”

Speaking of cohesion and whole-body awareness, in today’s video Bruce discusses Tai Chi Internal Power…

Today’s Video: :Yang Tai Chi Internal Power Secrets”



Surging forth unexpectedly,
in the spur of the moment,
without cause
free from the past,
free from memory,
free from thought,
without roots,
neither blossoming
nor fading
purely natural
without strain
the Dao

An important point in Bruce Frantzi Week here is Bruce discussing internal cohesion and whole-body awareness developed through the practices of tai chi and bagua…

“Bagua and tai chi also help you develop a sense of internal cohesion and whole-body awareness, physically and mentally. In order to coordinate and align all moving parts—hands, feet, waist and twisting motions—you must have a strong center.

Fulfilling the physical requirements of bagua’s Single Palm Change or a tai chi form requires you to move your body as a connected whole rather than a series of loosely connected or uneven jerky parts. Your mind must also be coherent: constant, stable and focused. In order to smoothly navigate the continuously changing movements, bagua and tai chi naturally stimulate the development of a strong, psychological center within you. Over time, it fuses into the physical and energetic center of the lower tantien.

Many people have the sense that they’re one kind of person in one situation and a different person in another. They do not have an overriding sense of continuity between the moments of their life because there is minimal constancy or cohesion of mind.

Bagua, with its constant Circle Walking and changing directions, or tai chi with its constant waist turning and shifts from one movement to another, gives you a process that accustoms the mind to making changes while remaining internally cohesive.

You don’t accomplish this by only thinking and philosophizing about it. You must learn how to do it. In time, by undergoing physical training with continuously repeating movements, your mind will progressively unify and move through the changes without instigating a stress response.

You try not to fixate on a single idea of what being ‘centered’ means. In fact, your sense of cohesion and center being more amorphous will more smoothly link and hold everything together within you. Then no matter what you’re going through, you can handle it without effort or strain.” – Bruce Frantzis, “Bagua and Tai Chi: Building the Foundation for Meditation”

In his video today, Bruce discuss the very foundation of all martial arts, the point where all of us must begin, and why…

Today’s Video: Building And Balancing Your Qi With Standing Practices


Celebrating Pride Month


the energy flows down
like water falling over rocks
following the qi
into the lower dantien.
the awareness is drawn
inward and downward
the mind stablizing there,
the awareness expands
like ripples in a pond.

In today’s quote Bruce Frantzis continues his discussion of Tai Chi and Bagua in relation to stress and relates how they can help us overcome those emotional and mental roller coaster rides…

“When suddenly confronted with upheaval, the emotions can take over and freeze your ability to act. That is why many stress management programs are geared toward helping people learn to accept situations for what they are and to find a way out of their self-imposed mental boxes. They aim to teach people how to respond appropriately to the needs of the moment rather than getting stuck in endlessly churning mental loops.

“Bagua and tai chi do the same: They are great stress management tools for helping you stay in the moment and not gap out.

“When you practice bagua or tai chi, you must constantly change your physical orientation. You adjust where your eyes look and your head faces, moving from place to place in a very steady way. You are meant to do this without getting stuck in the middle of a movement. If you find yourself physically stuck—or more importantly, emotionally or mentally stuck—your movements will immediately become rigid and you may even forget what you are doing. At this point, you try to quickly get back on track, smoothing your mind and emotions so that your physical movements can once again become continuous. Over time, your focus will grow and stabilize, and your emotions and mental churning become less predisposed to roller coaster rides.

“In the process of constantly smoothing out the physical and energetic movements within your bagua or tai chi practice, you train your mind to become more flexible. Your mind has no choice but to constantly adapt to physically transiting between where it was and where it will be. Eventually, you give up some of the attachments associated with inflexibility, such as: “This shouldn’t be happening”; “This can’t be happening” or “Something else should be happening.” Practicing the movements gradually trains your mind to let go of places where you habitually get stuck, thereby creating a more agile mind.” – Bruce Frantzis, “Bagua and Tai Chi: Building the Foundation for Meditation”

In today’s video, Bruce discusses his Energy Gates exercises.

Today’s Video: “Energy Gates Three Swings and Taoist Spine Stretch”



Enjoy being Yourself,
Enjoy being,
Be Joy
and pass it on!

Yesterday Bruce Frantzis related how Bagua can relieve stress. Today’s quote from Bruce focuses on Tai Chi and stress.

“Tai chi’s approach to smoothing the spikes of the nervous system is to establish steady, rhythmic patterns of movement that progressively relax and soothe it. Your mind becomes trained to stay focused on performing the myriad details that are required by each movement. If the mind jumps or drifts, or your nervous system spikes, you’ll be thrown off the sequence of movements. Then you’ll realize you need to refocus and get back on track.

“As bagua and tai chi strengthen the nervous system, you will notice a reduction in the frequency of instances when your nerves become over-stimulated. This is because your nervous system is growing stronger and more stable. Avoiding over-stimulation allows your mind to remain more quiet, calm and focused.” – Bruce Frantzis, staying on your circle and watching your finger, through repetition your mind will eventually find a way to relax and open up.” – Bruce Frantzis, “Bagua and Tai Chi: Building the Foundation for Meditation”

In Today’s Video, Bruce points out some common mistakes in Tai Chi

Today’s Video: Common Mistakes When Practicing Tai Chi



Yielding first,
staying calm
sink in the kua
becoming buoyant
then turn and release
your opponent’s power

This week is Bruce Frantzis Week here. I’m sure there’s no need to introduce Frantzis as he is familiar to many martial artists as well as internal artists, having been a karate champion and a master of Japanese martial arts and then moving into the internal arts of China including tai chi, bagua, and Taoist alchemy. He also spent time in India learning Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Pranayama and Kundalini Shakti. If there’s anyone around today who has something for all who use internal energy in their practice it is Bruce Frantzis and his Energy Arts website.

Today Bruce discusses how Bagua handles stress and presents Taoist meditation in our video.

“During times of stress, the nerves go from having an ideally balanced, even, and coordinated flow to having irregular and uneven spikes. The mind either becomes agitated and frenetic (or even manic), or subdued and depressive. When that occurs, the body may produce adrenaline and other destructive hormones as a defense mechanism. The process can become habitual as a result of repeated stressful catalysts, creating a negative feedback loop.

Bagua’s method of regulating these spikes is to Walk the Circle while holding one hand in front of your eyes and continuously looking at your index finger (the Upper Body Palm Posture). While doing this simple physical act, you keep your focus either on your finger or the rhythm of your walking. In time, this smooths and steadies the nerves.

If your nervous system spikes or your mind drifts, the weight of your arm and your need to stay walking your circle will help bring you back into focus. A seesaw effect is thus induced between constantly losing and regaining your focus. In order for you to accomplish the tasks of staying on your circle and watching your finger, through repetition your mind will eventually find a way to relax and open up.” – Bruce Frantzis, “Bagua and Tai Chi: Building the Foundation for Meditation”

Tomorrow Bruce discusses how Tai Chi handles stress, but for now, Bruce presents a video on Taoist Meditation
Today’s Video: “Taoist Meditation (Internal Awareness)”



No room for improvement.
Reality is perfection itself.
How could you ever get nearer?
There’s no means by which
you can approach it.
Just allow it
to reach out to you

This is the conclusion of Damo Mitchell Week. Today Damo explores the key to exploring the nature of the internal arts below and in Today’s Video a podcast on Understanding Qi.

“Within these arts, worry less about what something is and concern yourself more with what something does, how is it experienced or how is it pertinent to your practice and then, finally, how do I master the aspects of my practice associated with this idea.
The most fractional and automatic part of our mind so often jumps to its default state of simply trying to identify and label something rather than truly understand it. The problem with this is that as soon as something is ‘identified’, there is a kind of mental satisfaction that arises and this boxes us in and limits growth.

“The arts are full of practitioners who have decided they can can identify for sure what something ‘is’ and yet they don’t seem to be able to do anything with all of these factors they have labeled.

“As abstract as this may seem, I truly see the above idea as the key to fully exploring the nature of internal arts practice.” – Damo Mitchell

Today’s Video: “DMP #13 – Understanding Qi”



Even the greatest grandmaster
cannot defeat the ego.
the more one tries,
the stronger it becomes
and the weaker one’s conviction.
Though there appears at times
to be ,progress, improvement,
it’s simply a distortion,
just moving the furniture around.
Through martial arts
we learn to defeat opponents,
but not when that opponent
is the self we think we are.
observe without emotion,
without concern or interest,
and it will release its hold.

Today we continue Damo Mitchell Week. I hope you are enjoying it. His quote today is something all of us need to be more aware of – appreciating simple pleasures. His video is a short but interesting lecture on Sword Fingers,

“Laying on my back, looking at the moon through the trees. Simple pleasures to help simplify the mind. Truth is not to be found in the complex, the stimulating and the exciting; it is to be found in the pleasure taken at simple things.

“That which observes the simple is true and that which makes the observer complex is false; such is the distinction between the pure and the distorted.” – Damo Mitchell

Today’s Video: “Sword Fingers in Taiji Jian (太極劍)”



move from the center
by engaging the kua
the kua turns the waist
and stabilizes the knees.
centered on the feet
give the weight,
let the flesh and muscles go.
absorb, do not grasp
the energy that rises.

Today we continue with Damo Mitchell Week. Today Damo has a rather peculiar, somewhat esoteric quote.

“When the ‘Yin Eyes’ are opened, the perception of the realms directly above and below the realm of matter are brought into the visible spectrum…” – Damo Mitchell

Rather mysterious, you may find a hint to its meaning in Nei Dan, the mysterious art of Internal Alchemy and the subject of today’s video…

Today’s Video: Internal Alchemy – Nei Dan (内丹) Explained – Part 1





tui shou
hours on end
expending energy
using up qi
progressing, regressing,
start again,
practice more, harder,
but none so exhausting
as fighting the phantom,
the opponent we cannot see,
but we fight every day.
does this creature really exist?
Have any sightings been verified?
Where is this phantom?

Today we continue with Damo Mitchell Week, and maybe this quote from Damo will help you begin to reveal his phantom that you have been fighting most of your life…

“The Shen develops attachments to polarities, the Hun attachment to position, the Po attachment to material gain, the Yi attachment to subjective individuality and the Zhi attachment to need. These are mental vices indeed.” – Damo Mitchell

We have more from Damo in today’s video so stay tune…

Today’s Video: “The Mind in Tai Chi”



To the extent we identify
with the body-mind,
we prevent the body-mind
from living to its fullest.
To the extent we identify
with being a human,
our humanity will be hidden.
our human qualities
won’t actualize.
Like all the other creatures,
some can fly, some can run fast,
some can swim long distances.
We can do Tai Chi and Baguazhang.

We continue with Damo Mitchell Week. Today Damo’s quote and his video feature the most important basis of Qigong and Nei Gong – the Breath.

“For beginners, inhalation draws the Qi in, exhalation sends the Qi out. For advanced, inhalation pressurises the Qi, exhalation absorbs the Qi into the body.” – Damo Mitchell

Today’s Video: “Anchoring the Breath – Part 1”



Bu Du
Bu Ding
Too little
Too Much
Both bring about loss
Nervousness and impatience
a desire to win
a desire not to lose
calamity in the making

As we get ready to close out the month, today we start Damo Mitchell Week. Who is Damo Mitchell? Well, he is one of my teachers for one thing. But that isn’t very important. What’s important is the level of expertise in the Internal Arts that Damo has attained. From age four, Damo had been thrown into the martial arts, a scary place of sweaty, shouting men and stamping feet as both parents were into teaching the Japanese fighting styles.

Martial arts training continued in this fashion with Damo’s developmental years spent in Karate, Kendo, Laido, Aikido, Northern Shaolin systems, Wing Chun and others. The martial arts became an obsession and this obsession took him to many of the greatest masters in Europe, South East Asia and China. Damo’s travels took him across the planet for many years; sacrificing a normal life-path, his friends, a marriage and more, Damo continued to travel extensively and study with both well-known and more ‘underground’ masters of various styles.

Alongside the more obviously combative arts, Damo was drawn towards the internal arts of China; a fascinating merger of Gong Fu, spirituality and medicine, arts like Taijiquan, Baguazhang and Xingyiquan perfectly suited his nature. The external systems started to fall away with regards to their importance and the internal arts came to the fore. A number of chance encounters with great masters helped to dissolve that last part of his nature that liked destruction and conflict and, for the first time, Damo experienced the fully transformative potential of classical training. All of the things he had read about for so many years finally became a reality and the door of internal training was finally unlocked. Damo recalls falling to his knees and weeping in gratitude back in his small hotel room after one particularly transformative session where the final tethers of his rage dropped away. The weight of personal entrapment had been lifted and there was no going back on this path now.

Currently having relocated to Bali, Indonesia, Damo has established two facilities there, one for Tai Chi the other for Nei Gong and Daoist Nei Dan. He also teaches Baguazhang, Xingyi and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

“The separation between Yin and Yang stabilises the illusion of form from the original light. The shifting between Yin and Yang stabilises the illusion of time. The greater the shift, the faster the perception of time.”

Today’s Video: “Damo Mitchell – Taijiquan”



Circular in its straightness
straight in its circling,
moving in circles,
issuing in lines,
the mind leads,
the energy follows.

Today we closed out the week and our feature on Chen Tai Chi with one of Chen’s most respected and reputed master of all time, Chen Fake (Fa-Kay). Chen was born in Chenjiagou when his father was in his sixties, and both of his older brothers had already passed away. Thus, he lived a relatively privileged life. During his youth, Chen frequently fell ill and was occasionally confined to bed. Due to his health issues, he did not engage in the practice of his family’s martial art.

However, everything changed when Chen was fourteen and his father went to Shandong province to teach martial arts and entrusted the care of his family to relatives. One evening, Chen Fake overheard his relatives criticizing his weakness and suggesting that he had failed to live up to the expectations of his ancestors.This greatly disturbed Chen. He yearned to prove his relatives wrong but feared it might be too late. In comparison to others within Chen village, he considered himself lacking in martial arts ability. This question haunted him until he realized that by dedicating himself to the practice of his family’s art, he could enhance his skills. Over the next three years, while others rested or relaxed after their daily chores, Chen diligently practiced the various forms of Chen’s family tai chi chuan. Whenever he had questions, he sought help from everyone around him. His unwavering determination made him one of the most accomplished practitioners in Chen village. When his father returned for a visit, he was pleasantly surprised with Fake’s achievements.

Chen Fake not only gained an unparalleled martial arts reputation but earned the public’s respect for his morality and integrity. According to his student, Hong Junsheng, Chen Fake never criticized other martial artists either publicly or privately and would admonish his students for criticizing others as well. This quote shows the kind of person Chen Fake was.

“The pillar of socialization is loyalty and the method of dealing with people should be based on modesty and cooperation. Loyalty fosters trust; modesty encourages progress; and cooperation befriends people. Modesty and cooperation should be based on loyalty not on hypocrisy.” – Chen Fake

Today’s Video: “https://youtu.be/VKg9zRkJ_7k”



The body fully extended,
the energy cannot return;
the energy fully extended,
the body cannot return.
Neither is correct.
The body and energy balanced,
Heaven and Earth are in harmony.

Today we feature the last of the four Chen Dragons or Buddha’s Warrior Attendants, Grandmaster Zhu Tiancai. Grandmaster Zhu is the oldest among the Chen Style Tai Chi (Taiji) Four Warriors. Grandmaster Zhu is well respected worldwide. He has retired from regular teaching at home for a few years; however, he is still busy with visitors, media, and projects as well as traveling domestically and internationally to give lectures and workshops

“After practicing for two months, we (the five disciples) through our practice and the explanation of our master (Chen Zhaokui) had really understood how the New Form (83 Postures) took shape and was created…The key to flexibility of the hands is the wrist. The key to turning is the shoulder. Big turning depends on flexibility of the hands. The key is wrists. Wrists and shoulders must be flexible.”

You can see the flexibility, Grandmaster Zhu is speaking of in the second part of today’s video where he demonstrates the “Chan Si Gong” or Silk Reeling.

Today’s Video:Visible Qi – Master Zhu Tiancai



Oh lovely flower
as I gaze upon you
though never seen before
you are but a memory
crossing before my mind.
If I could be present,
I would know you
as you truly are,
much more than a memory
of thousands of flowers
gazed upon
but never really seen.

Today we feature another of the four Buddha’s Warrior Attendants of Chen Tai Chi, Wang Xian. He is a 19th generation lineage holder of the Chen family style of Taijiquan and an outstanding qinna and tui shou practitioner. He is also a disciple of Chen Zhao Kui and a professor at Henan Teacher University and LuoYang Teacher University.

“The external arts, which was the first Chinese Kung Gu, start with hardness. The internal arts start with softness. The goal is to combine both for success. The goal of each is that softness and hardness will combine for success.” – Wang Xian

Today’s Video: “Grand Master Wang Xi’An Taijiquan applications in Wenxian (Chenjiagou).”



is not an object,
neither outside nor inside,
free from time and space,
the Great Vastness
in which all appears,
never perceived.
Perceiving cannot perceive itself.
The eye cannot see itself.
Only the Ultimate knows itself
by itself.

Today we feature another of the four Buddha’s Warrior Attendants a.k.a. the four Chen Dragons, Chen Xiaowang. Chen who is now teaching in Australia, was born and raised in Chen Family Village (Chenjiagou) and is the 19th generation lineage holder of Chen-style taijiquan. His grandfather was the famous taijiquan grandmaster Chen Fake.

Chen Xiaowang began his study of Chen-style taijiquan in 1952 at the age of seven under his father, Chen Zhaoxu, and later with his uncles Chen Zhaopi and Chen Zhaokui. He was awarded the Chinese National Wushu Tournament Taijiquan gold medal three consecutive years beginning in 1980. In 1985, he was crowned Taijiquan Champion at the First International Wushu Competition in Xi’an.

Chen created two condensed forms of the laojia and xinjia forms; a 38-posture form and a 19-posture form. He told inside Kung-Fu Magazine in 1991, “I have tried to do away with all the repetitions and simplify the exceedingly difficult moves without destroying the characteristics of Chen Style Taijiquan, with special emphasis to attack/defense and the chansi technique.”

“The core (of tai chi chuan) is the Dan Tian. How to form the core? It is formed through your whole body movement. Make all your body parts move accurately. Your chi will then move freely through your Dan Tian.” – Chen Xiaowang

Watch the video below to learn how to properly use the eight tai chi energies: peng, lu. jik an, cai, lie, zhou, kow.

Today’s Video:”Chen Xiaowang showing eight taijiquan energies”



He who knows himself
as awareness, not the psyche,
is knowingly aware.
He is present, perceiving,
a living witness,
both audience and actor alike.
One who doesn’t know himself
is not aware, not present,
conceptualizing, not perceiving;
lost in the sensation,
he has forgotten himself.

Today we take a look at Chen Style Tai Chi, and no one is better suited to start us off than Chen Zhenglei, one of the four Buddha’s Warrior Attendants or sometimes known as the four Chen Dragons, the outstanding exponents of the 19th generation in Chenjiagou (Chen Village), Wen County, Henan Province.

Chen Zhenglei was born and raised in Chenjiagou. He began studying taijiquaj in 1957 at age of 8 with his uncle Chen Zhaopi, focusing not just in hands form and weapons but also Taiji theories. In 1972, after Chen Zhaopi death, Chen Zhenglei continued the studies from his uncles, Chen Zhaokui, another famous Taijiquan teacher who was the son of Chen Fake.

Chen Zhenglei specializes in the theories and skills of Taijiquan and push-hands, directly by his grandfather’s brother Chen Fake.

“If you practice for one day you get one day’s benefit, with daily practice you can steadily improve. If you don’t practice for one day you lose ten days of development. So practice everyday without stopping! Western students must understand this clearly. Practice everyday!”
– Chen Zhenglei, 19th generation of the Chen Family

Today’s Video: “Chen Zhenglei – The Belt and Road China Tai Chi Culture World Tour”



He who knows himself
as awareness, not the psyche,
is knowingly aware.
He is present, perceiving,
a living witness,
both audience and actor alike.
One who doesn’t know himself
is not aware, not present,
conceptualizing, not perceiving;
lost in the sensation,
he has forgotten himself.

Today we take a look at Chen Style Tai Chi, and no one is better suited to start us off than Chen Zhenglei, one of the four Buddha’s Warrior Attendants or sometimes known as the four Chen Dragons, the outstanding exponents of the 19th generation in Chenjiagou (Chen Village), Wen County, Henan Province.

Chen Zhenglei was born and raised in Chenjiagou. He began studying taijiquaj in 1957 at age of 8 with his uncle Chen Zhaopi, focusing not just in hands form and weapons but also Taiji theories. In 1972, after Chen Zhaopi death, Chen Zhenglei continued the studies from his uncles, Chen Zhaokui, another famous Taijiquan teacher who was the son of Chen Fake.

Chen Zhenglei specializes in the theories and skills of Taijiquan and push-hands, directly by his grandfather’s brother Chen Fake.

“If you practice for one day you get one day’s benefit, with daily practice you can steadily improve. If you don’t practice for one day you lose ten days of development. So practice everyday without stopping! Western students must understand this clearly. Practice everyday!”
– Chen Zhenglei, 19th generation of the Chen Family

Today’s Video: “Chen Zhenglei – The Belt and Road China Tai Chi Culture World Tour”



always present, immediate.
Conceptualization is memory;
it’s mostly where we live,
conceptualizing through life,
functioning through memory,
not allowing perception
to fully unfold,
never welcoming our surroundings.
Cut off from the universe,
we live in isolation,
the root of all suffering.

We ended last week with the legendary foundary of Tai Chi, Zhang Sanfeng. However, he may not have been the actual founder for he had a teacher. Xu Xuanping was a Taoist hermit and poet of the Chinese Tang dynasty. He was said to have lived south of the Yangtze River in Huizhou. His legend relates that he left the city of Yangshan to become a recluse and build a home in Nan Mountain.

According to some schools of T’ai chi ch’uan, Xu is considered to be the Tao Yin teacher of Zhang Sanfeng, whom they say later created the martial art of T’ai chi ch’uan. Other schools hold that Xu himself was a T’ai chi ch’uan practitioner, and that the style Xu Xuanping passed down was simply called “37”, because it consisted of 37 named styles or techniques. During this time it was also known as Chang Quan or Long Boxing as a reference to the flowing power of the Yangtze River (which is also known as the Chang Jiang or Long River).

When Xu carried firewood down from his mountain home to sell in the town below, he would sing this verse.

“At dawn I carry the firewood to sell
To buy wine today, at dusk I will return
Please tell me the way to get home?
Just follow the mountain track up into the clouds”
– Xu Xuanping

For more than 30 years, he had sometimes saved people in distress, and sometimes helped them out of the misery of disease. Many people living in the city went to visit him, but never saw him. They only saw the verses he left on the wall of his thatched hut:

“I have lived in seclusion for thirty years,
on the top of the stone room south of the mountain.
Playing with the bright moon in the quiet night,
drinking the blue spring in the Ming Dynasty.
Forget the year of Jiazi.”
– Xu Xuanping

During the Tianbao period of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty (the seventh emperor of the Tang Dynasty), a wildfire burned Xu Xuanping’s thatched hut. Since then, there was no trace of Xu Xuanping.

Then more than a hundred years later, in the seventh year of Emperor Yizong of Tang Dynasty (the eighteenth emperor of the Tang Dynasty), an old woman in Xu Mingnu’s house from Xin’an County, who often accompanied others to chop wood in the mountains. Once she saw a man in Nanshan. Sitting on a big rock, he was eating peaches. The man asked the old lady, “Are you from Xu Mingnu’s family? I am Xu Xuanping, the ancestor of Xu Mingnu!” The old lady told Xu Xuanping that she had heard that Xu Xuanping had become a fairy. Xu Xuanping said: “When you go back, tell Xu Mingnu that I am in this mountain.”

While there are no videos about Xu Xuanping, there are a few on the mountain range where he dwelled.

Today’s Video: “NanLing, Guangdong, China”



Truth cannot be perceived;
it can only be lived;
free from agitation,
not by will or discipline,
without grasping to attain
or effort to become
or planning to achieve.
When energy settles peacefully,
the equilibrium returns.
Allow yourself to be taken
by that freedom, that rhythm
to where the Truth lives.

We close out the week with the Ultimate Tai Chi Master, the legendary character Zhang Sanfeng. Was he historic or purely legendary? No one knows for certain. Many believe Zhang invented T’ai chi ch’üan while others point to early versions of Tai Chi predating Zhang.

In any case Zhang is purported as having created the concept of neijia in Chinese martial arts, specifically taijiquan, a Neo-Confucian syncretism of Shaolin martial arts with his mastery of daoyin (or neigong) principles. Legrend has it, on one occasion, he observed a bird attacking a snake and was greatly inspired by the snake’s defensive tactics. It remained still and alert in the face of the bird’s onslaught until it made a lunge and fatally bit its attacker. This incident inspired him to create a set of 72 taijiquan movements. He is also associated with the Taoist monasteries in the Wudang Mountains, where he supposedly lived in his latter years.

Some legends have made Chang San Feng into a Xian (Hsien). A Xian is a Taoist term for an enlightened person, an immortal, an alchemist, a wizard, a spirit, an inspired sage, a person with super powers, a magician, or a transcendent being. A Xian is similar in function to a Rishi who is an inspired sage in the Indian Vedas.

“What is essential to practice the Tao is to get rid of cravings and vexations. If these afflictions are not removed, it is impossible to attain stability. This is like the case of the fertile field, which cannot produce good crops as long as the weeds are not cleared away. Cravings and ruminations are the weeds of the mind; if you do not clear them away, concentration and wisdom do not develop.” – Zhang Sanfeng

Today’s Video: “The history of kung fu zhang sanfeng legendary founder of tai chi chuan”



I drive around in my car,
but I am not my car.
I walk around in my body,
but I am not my body.
I think thoughts in my mind,
but I’m not my mind.
All are very useful,
but I am not any of them.
I am that which uses them
to perceive and marvel
at the grandeur of all Creation.

Today we have another quote from Wee Kee Jin, director of the School of Central Equilbrium and disciple of Huang Shengxian. This is an important quote regarding the form and its relation to push hands.

“When you practice the Taijiquan form, don’t forget to feel and experience the changes in the form, the synchronisation of your movements and be aware of your relaxation and sinking. You must bring all this into your partner work. In free partner work (push hand exercises) it is best to practise slow. When you practice slow you are able to feel whether you are synchronising with your partner’s movements and relax force. With continuous practice it becomes natural and in relation to your partner’s changes the speed of your changes is natural. The speed is not initiated by you. There’s no need to be excited or agitated in the practice of free partner work, it’s only a practice session, not a competition. You must practise until you achieve the relaxation of your “heart”. When the heart is relaxed your spirit will be relaxed, when the spirit is relaxed then your mind will be relaxed and when your mind is relaxed then your body will be relaxed…

“In all push hands you must have relaxation and sinking. If you move forward with only relaxation and without sinking then your following will not have sticking jing (force). If you move backward with only relaxation and without sinking you would only have yielding but no neutralisation (Moving backwards needs to contain yielding and neutralisation. Yielding is to extend the incoming force to weaken it, neutralisation is totally nullifying the force through sinking)” – Wee Kee Jin

There’s a special tripple split screen video today showing grandmaster, master and student doing the Tai Chi 37 Form with Cheng Man Ching, his disciple, Huang Shengxian, and Huang’s disciple Wee Kee Jin.

Today’s Video: Wee Kee Jin, Cheng Man-Ching and Huang Sheng-Shyan side by side Tai Chi 37 Step Form



feeling not whole,
something is missing,
something is lacking.
Who feels one is lacking?
Uncover that person.
The false disappears
once seen as false
and what remains is wholeness.

One of Huang Shengxian’s 10,000 students who stood out from the others is Wee Kee Jin. Now the director of the School of Central Equilibrium in New Zealand, Jin has become a prominent teacher in his own right not only in New Zealand but having established branches throughout Europe and having many international students attending his workshops and summer camps.

“The commonly understood concepts in martial arts and generally in human thinking are that: the strong overcomes the weak, the fast overcomes the slow, the hard overcomes the soft, and we use brute force and resistance against an incoming force. In the practice of taijiquan, the emphasis is on the weak overcoming the strong, the slow overcoming the fast, the soft overcoming the hard, using the mind and not brute force when there is an incoming force, then yielding to it. Because in taijiquan the emphasis is totally the opposite of what one would normally (habitually) do, the practitioners and would-be practitioners of taijiquan must not use a conventional mind-set and methods to understand and train it.” – Wee Kee Jin, “Taijiquan – True Art”

Today’s Video: “Tai Chi Chuan Principles – Wee Kee Jin”



Be alert, be ready,
the uninvolved witness,
watch them as they pass,
the succession of thoughts
across the mind,
no longer sticking,
no longer binding.
They burn away
under the watchful alertness
leaving only silence.

Continuing with more on Huang Shengxian from Singapore, Malaysia. Huang opened 40 schools and taught 10,000 students throughout Southeast Asia. Although he was well known for his push hands proficiency, Huang taught his students that the tai chi form was everything.

When teaching, Huang had three important pet phrases or principles: “the essence of Taiji is in the Form” and “Slow is fast and fast is slow.” and “Seek the quality not the quantity” He often reminded his students to take their time and pay attention to the principles in their form. They will progress much further then someone who rushes through the form hoping to get on with push hand practice.

“The way that you do the form will result in the way that you push hands. By understanding yourself and understanding your opponent, you will excel in pushing-hands.” – Huang Shengxian

“If you have a foundation deep enough for three stories, you can only build a three story building. For a twenty story building you need to have laid a foundation to support twenty stories.” – Huang Shengxian

Listening begins in the Form and allows you to cultivate a better understanding of yourself and how your body moves, balances and connects. Thus how you move your body and sychronise your yi (intent) in pushing hands must be the same as in the Taiji Form.

Today’s Video: “Huang Xing Xian — Sheng Shyan — Yang Short Form”



The desire to Be,
the Self searching for Itself.
No need to accumulate,
grasp, accomplish or have.
This understanding
bring one home.
Grace draws one to Itself.

Today we move from China to Southeast Asia to look at prominent Tai Chi masters. One of the most notable masters in Singapore, Malaysia was Huang Sheng Shyan (Huang Xingxian). Originally, Master Huang was from Fujian, China, where he studied White Crane in his youth and became very proficient at it. But in 1947 he relocated to Taiwan, where he soon met Cheng Man Ching and became one of the Professor’s most famous students. Then in 1956, he emigrated to Singapore where he set up shop and remained there until his death in 1992.

During his time in Singapore, Master Huang integrated principles from his White Crane practice into Cheng Man Ching’s Yang 37 short form and became well known for his push hand abilities throughout Southeast Asia. One of his guiding principles centered around loosening and softness in order to capture an opponent’s center.

“‘If there is an object, then it should have a center of gravity. If there is a weight then it must have a center of gravity. No weight then no center of gravity. But if I don’t have the center of gravity, how can I control people’s center of gravity. You yourself (must be) Song. Then you realize it (the center of gravity). If our hand is soft, then we can feel the pulse. If my hand is hard, then my sensitivity is no more. Without perception, there is no sensitivity. Then I can’t feel when your hand is loose.” – Huang Xingxian

Besides his push hand abilities, Master Huang was also known for his five loosening or “songing” exercises.

Today’s Video: “Master Huang Xingxiang Five Loosening Exercises”



The Etheric Body
it’s not the physical body,
nor is it the Ultimate.
It’s not what I am
nor is it what I am not.
It’s in between.
A ladder is not the ground,
nor is it the rooftop.
It’s in between,
helping one to ascend.

More on the fascinating Southern Wu Style Tai Chi Grandmaster, Ma Yueliang, from last week. Not only did Master Ma become a great martial artist, but he Ma was also a medical doctor who graduated from the Beijing Medical College in 1929 and specialized in Hematology. Trained in Western science and medical practices He established the First Medical Examination and Experiment Office and ran the blood clinics at Zhong Shan Hospital in Shanghai.

Ma studied a number of martial arts in his youth including shaolinquan, bauguazhang and tongbeiquan. However, Wu Jianquan, the founder of the Wu style, insisted that Ma give up the other martial arts and concentrate on Wu Tai Chi. Not only did Ma agree but he eventually married Wu Jianquan’s daughter, Ying-hua, who was also an accomplished Tai Chi practitioner. Both went on to teach many students well up into their nineties.

“Five of my students are over 90 years old. The oldest one is 97. Many of the students are in their eighties. We have a saying: ‘Diligent practice of Tai chi will restore your youthful vigor.’ The old can recapture the vitality of youth.” – Ma Yueliang

Is it push hands or ballroom dancing???

Today’s Video: “Ma Yue Liang push hands”



I AM the morning mist
that covers the mountain ridge.
I AM the dark, heavy clouds
that press against the horizon.
I AM the cold air that chills the flesh
and pierces the bones, which IAM NOT.
I AM the swirling wind
that whistles through the cavities,
which I AM NOT,
I AM thankful to all I AM
perceived through these senses,
which I AM NOT,
yet appreciated nonetheless.

Another famous Wu Tai Chi practitioner was Ma YueLiang, a Grandmaster of Southern style Wu Tai Chi from Shanghai, China. Grandmaster Ma was well-known throughout China as he was especially proficient at Tui Shou (Push Hands).

“There is no mystique to Tai Chi Chuan. What is difficult is the perseverance. It took me ten years to discover my chi, but thirty years to learn how to use it. Once you see the benefit, you won’t want to stop.” – Ma Yueliang

There you have it! No mystique just perseverance. Keep at it, folks, and have a wonderful weekend and a Happy Mother’s Day.

Today’s Video: “Ma Yueh Liang Push Hands (Rare Footage)”



Encountering the guru
unlike meeting an acquaintance,
no aggressions or defenses,
no pursuit of goals,
accepting yourself,
surrendering, receptive.
deeply attentive,
free from preconceptions,
you find yourself on the threshold
of your true nature,
ready to be taken through.

Yang Tai Chi has a close cousin, Wu style Tai Chi, derived from the Yang form. Wu Quanyou learned his tai chi from Yang LuChan and his eldest son, Yang Ban-Huo, while in the military. Eventually Wu Quanyou’s son Wu Jianquan (吴鉴泉1870–1942) made the majority of the modifications and refinements in his father’s Yang style form and promoted this new form of tai chi as Wu style. And, it is Wu Jianquan who is credited as the founder of Wu style tai chi. Here is a poem he wrote about this new art.

“Two hands rise, separating into yīn and yáng
Left and right like a yīn and yáng fish
Movement springs from extreme stillness, opening then closing
Relax the shoulders and sit on the leg as if embracing the moon

Two hands form into yīn and yáng palms
Two palms crossed over for locking joints

Wait for opportunity before moving, watch for changes
Create opportunity by following the opponent’s force”

– Wu Jianquan – from a didactic poem quoted by his son Wu Gongzao in Wu Family T’ai Chi Ch’uan (吳家太極拳), Hong Kong, 1980 (originally published in Changsha, 1935)

Today’s Video: “History of Wu Style – Ma Hai Long Interview 1 of 6”



Letting go,
actively passive,
totally present, clear-sighted,
uninvolved, alert.
The ego reabsorbed
into pure awareness
that shines forth
like a flash of lightning
taking root
in an unencumbered mind.

Another one of Yang Chengfu’s famous students was Fu Zhongwen, who, like his grandmaster, Chengfu’s father, Yang LuChan, had a two word motto to describe how he one must practiceTai Chi: “Hard Work.” How hard is it? Here’s his quote…

“Practicing Tai Chi until you sit down and don’t want to get up, you don’t want to sit down when you get up. The whole body is as uncomfortable as torture. You must practice to this level”.

Today’s Video: “Fu Zhong Wen 16min FORM”



warm-cold, heavy-light, tense-relaxed,
habits to which we are accustomed,
memories embedded in our tissues,
on the primal natural body.
The idea ‘I am this body’
reassures the ego that it exists.

Yesterday, we looked at Cheng Man Ching, one of Yang Chengfu’s foremost students who popularized Tai Chi in America. Today we have a quote from Wolfe Lowenthal, one of Cheng Man Ching’s senior students from his school in New York City back in the 1960s and early1970s.

“As the practitioner incorporates the quality of tai chi movement into his life, he finds that he stops banging into things. The result of not falling into each step provides the opportunity to instantaneously ease back from unexpected barriers.” — Wolfe Lowenthal, “There Are No Secrets: Professor Cheng Man Ch’ing and His Tai Chi Chuan,” 1991

Today’s Video: “Cheng Man Ching PUSH HANDS and FAJING”



The Truth is the Truth,
Dogma is Dogma.
They are not the same.
Which Dogma does not matter,
one is no more true than another.
While there are many Dogmas,
there is only one Truth,
one Reality.
Be open to it
by rising above the Dogmas.

The most prevalent tai chi form being practiced today was originally formulated by Yang Chengfu, the youngest son of Yang Luchan who originated the Yang family tai chi form. One of Yang Chengfu’s more famous students was Professor Cheng Man-ching, who is noted for establishing and popularizing taichi in America. He moved from Taiwan to New York City, where he established his school in the early 1960s. Cheng was also a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a calligrapher, painter and poet. Here’s a short sample of his poetry.

“Pity! The southerly trees have shed their leaves. Nobody comes to appreciate the mountain’s beauty. Tomorrow I too will float away. My reflection gone from cool streams.”
– Cheng Man-ch’ing

And one simply called TaiChi…

Today’s Video: “THE PROFESSOR: Tai Chi’s Journey West – Official Trailer”



Be the witness,
not the doer, the actor.
Be aware,
see the natural flow of life,
your actions, their motives, results.
See the walls
you have built around yourself.

Today we are starting to view the quotes of Taichi Masters and other Martial Artists on enlightenment and their particular art. We begin with a tribute to a famous artist andTaichi player, Ju Ming. Ju who recently passed away began studying tai chi some 40 years ago and had become one of Asia’s foremost sculptors through his Taichi Series, which he started in the late 1970s. The Series features large, angular, bronze sculptures frozen in Tai Chi postures, capturing the principles of this highly meditative internal art.

‘When I first started practising tai chi I practised by myself, so all the forms of the earlier series are mostly single, But as you practise more you need to learn ‘pushing hands’ and you need a partner to practise with, which is why you see, later on, two sculptures ‘pushing hands’ in more abstract form.

‘As you go further and further you become more skilful and the energy is floating with your partner. The (Taichi) Arches evolved from the representation of two tai chi masters in the pushing hands position. This is the final step, when the two bodies connect. They are more abstract than earlier works in the series, and they also impart a stronger sense of motion. In the older pushing hands works there’s still a gap between the two bodies. Now, I have connected the two sides so that the energy and tension of musculature flows between them as one body that evolved into the shape of an arch.” – Ju Ming

Ju Ming’s story is reminiscent of that famous Taichi principle “Stillness in motion, and motion in stillness,” but at the same time reflects upon a principle of art: “Art imitates Life as well as Life imitates Art.” So, when doing your Taichi form find the art – the beauty, the truth – of each posture. Enjoy your practice.

Today’s Video: “Ju Ming, who created world-famous ‘T’ai chi’ sculptures, dies at 85”



We cannot find the Light
since we are the light
underlying all our senses.
all our thoughts, sensations.
We cannot perceive
that which perceives

We end the week of looking at contemporary Tibetan Buddhist masters with the first woman to become a Tibetan geshe.

Geshe Kelsang Wangmo is a German-born Buddhist nun, scholar, and teacher. She is the first woman to be awarded a Geshe title, considered equivalent to a Ph.D. in Buddhist philosophy. She was raised in a Roman Catholic family in Lohmar, Germany. After completing high school in 1989, she went on a backpacking trip. Travelling through Israel, Turkey, Cyprus, Thailand, Indonesia, and Japan, she reached India. After visiting Kolkata, Varanasi, and Manali, she landed in Dharamshala. She had planned to stay for a couple of weeks before returning to start university, studying medicine. But eventually, she stayed on.

She took ordination as a nun in April 1991. She later enrolled in the traditional geshe curriculum (a 17-year course) at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (IBD) in Dharamshala. In April 2011, the IBD conferred the degree of geshe, a Tibetan Buddhist academic degree for monastics, on her, thus making her the world’s first female geshe.

“I don’t like the word ignorance. It implies that we’re stupid. We’re not stupid. I prefer the word misperception.That is the cause for all our troubles…The problem is, we misperceive how the ‘I’ exists. From the Buddhist perspective, every problem comes back to that: misperceiving reality. Because of this misperception, there is anger and attachment. Buddha says we can get rid of all these problems if we get rid of misperception.”
– Geshe Kelsang Wangmo

Could it be that we misperceive reality because we are ignorant? Thank about that and enjoy your weekend, everyone.

Today’s Video: “Geshe Kelsang Wangmo Self Cherish Vs Self Confidence”



Beauty is the same in all.
Live in beauty,
Look from beauty.
It is our wholeness,
our awakenedness.
No longerdivided, separate,
we live in our fullness,
our global oneness.

Thubten Chodron, born Cheryl Greene, is an American Tibetan Buddhist nun, author, teacher, and the founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey in Newport, Washington, the only Tibetan Buddhist training monastery for Western nuns and monks in the United States. Chodron is a central figure in the reinstatement of the Bhikshuni (Tib. Gelongma) ordination of women. She is a student of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche, Lama Thubten Yeshe, Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, and other Tibetan masters. She has published many books on Buddhist philosophy and meditation, and is co-authoring with the Dalai Lama a multi-volume series of teachings on the Buddhist path, The Library of Wisdom and Compassion.

““When you plant seeds in the garden, you don’t dig them up every day to see if they have sprouted yet. You simply water them and clear away the weeds; you know that the seeds will grow in time. Similarly, just do your daily practice and cultivate a kind heart. Abandon impatience and instead be content creating the causes for goodness; the results will come when they’re ready.”
― Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron

If you are one who longs for enlightenment, I cannot think of any better advice than be patient and be content creating the causes for goodness. That all we need to do.

Today’s Video: “Introduction | Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron”




Being stillness,
without someone
trying to be still.
No controller, no doer,
no chooser making choices.
living choicelessly,
the situation to unfold,
to RESOLVE itself.

Pema Chödrön, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown, July 14, 1936, is an American Tibetan-Buddhist. She is an ordained nun, former acharya of Shambhala Buddhism and disciple of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Chödrön has written several dozen books and audiobooks, and is principal teacher at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia.

Chödrön began studying with Lama Chime Rinpoche during frequent trips to London over a period of several years. While in the United States she studied with Trungpa Rinpoche in San Francisco. In 1974, she became a novice Buddhist nun under Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa. In Hong Kong in 1981 she became the first American in the Vajrayana tradition to become a fully ordained nun or bhikṣuṇī.

Trungpa appointed Chödrön director of the Boulder Shambhala Center (Boulder Dharmadhatu) in Colorado in the early 1980s. Chödrön moved to Gampo Abbey in 1984, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in North America for Western men and women, and became its first director in 1986.

“But as we let go of our repetitive stories and fixed ideas about ourselves–particularly deep-seated feelings of “I’m not okay”–the armor starts to fall apart, and we open into the spaciousness of our true nature, into who we really are beyond the transitory thoughts and emotions. We see that our armor is made up of nothing more than habits and fears, and we begin to feel that we can let those go.”
― Pema Chödrön, Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change

We have put on the armor to protect ourselves from that which is most fearful to us – deep-seated change. Yes, the armor does protect us and at the same restricts us and restricts our movement from doing what really need to be done – change!

Today’s Video: “Pema Chödrön – Why I Became a Buddhist”



suffering and pleasure,
sadness and joy,
one follows the other,
reciprocating, oscillating,
one after the other.
no peace in one’s bosom,
no stillness in one’s heart,
chasing after one,
trying to escape the other.
never living,
dying day by day.
what fools these mortals be!

Continuing with contemporary Tibetan Masters, today we meet Serme Khen Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering, abbot of Sera Mey Monastic University in India. He was born in Purang, Tibet in 1958, and his family escaped to India in 1959. He entered Sera Mey Monastic University in South India when he was 13 years old, and graduated with a Lharampa Geshe degree 16 years later. From 1994 to 2018, he was the resident Tibetan Buddhist teacher at Jamyang Buddhist Centre, London.

In the west, Tsering teaches in English and is renowned for his warmth, clarity and humour. Besides Jamyang, he has been a regular guest teacher at other Buddhist centres in the UK and around the world. He is also the creator and original teacher of the Foundation of Buddhist Thought Course, a two-year course which gives an overview of Tibetan Buddhist study and practice. In March 2018 the Dalai Lama asked Geshe Tashi to become abbot of Sera Mey Monastic University in India. He was enthroned as abbot on 17 June 2018.

“The first training, ethics (also called ethical conduct or moral discipline) is crucial in developing the second and the third, concentration and wisdom, and as such is really the foundation for the other two.”

“So ethical conduct, practicing a moral life, is not something that can effectively be enforced from the outside but must grow out of a subjective understanding of what helps and what harms others.”
― Tashi Tsering, The Four Noble Truths: The Foundation of Buddhist Thought, Volume 1

Today’s Video: “Developing Compassion Without Attachment | Geshe Tashi Tsering”



The flame may be gone,
but the embers never die.
They remain embedded
in the hearts of all
whom he touched.

Continuing our look at contemporary Tibetan Master, we honor one who just passed away a few weeks ago on April 13th. Thubten Zopa Rinpoche was a Tibetan Buddhist lama in the Gelug school. He is known for founding the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition and Maitripa College in Portland, Oregon.

Born in Thangme, Nepal, in 1946,vhe was recognized early in life as the reincarnation of the Lawudo Lama Kunzang Yeshe, from the same region (hence the title “Rinpoche”). At the age of ten, he went to Tibet and studied and meditated at Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s monastery near Pagri. He took his monastic vows at Dungkar Monastery in Tibet. Lama Zopa Rinpoche left Tibet in 1959 after the Chinese occupation of Tibet, and went to the Tibetan refugee camp at Buxa Duar, West Bengal, India, where he met Lama Yeshe, who became his closest teacher.

“The real miracle is when someone is able to stop the cause of suffering and create the cause of happiness by learning that their own mind is the source of their suffering and happiness. The real miracle is to transform our mind, because this will take care of us for many lifetimes. Our positive attitude will stop us from creating the cause of problems, thus ensuring our happiness not only in this life but in hundreds, or even thousands, of future lives up to enlightenment. This is the greatest success. (p. 30)”
― Thubten Zopa, Ultimate Healing: The Power of Compassion

Today’s Video: Our Beloved Lama Zopa Rinpoche



our jailer,
listen to it,
listen closely,
but don’t act upon it.
listen in stillness
and to your reactions.
see how deeply rooted.
see how much you desire
to be free of your jailer.
desiring to be desireless
is still a desire.

Happy Merry Month of May to everyone!

We ended April with ancient Tibetan Masters and lineage founders. Today we begin May with contemporary Tibetan Masters, and our first one happens to be a co-founder of a Tibetan foundation and dharma center and an American. Jeffrey Miller is an American lama born in 1950 in Long Island, New York. Miller’s Dharma name, Surya Das, meaning “Servant of the Sun, was given to him in 1972 by the Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba. Miller is a poet, chantmaster, spiritual activist, author of many popular works on Buddhism, and spokesperson for Buddhism in the West. He has long been involved in charitable relief projects in the developing world and in interfaith dialogue.

He is a Dharma heir of Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche, a Nyingma master of the non-sectarian Rime movement, with whom he founded the Dzogchen Foundation and Center in 1991. He received Nyoshul Khenpo’s authorization to teach in 1993.

“Breath by breath, let go of fear, expectation, anger, regret, cravings, frustration, fatigue. Let go of the need for approval. Let go of old judgments and opinions. Die to all that, and fly free. Soar in the freedom of desirelessness.

Let go. Let Be. See through everything and be free, complete, luminous, at home — at ease.”
― Lama Surya Das, Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World

Today’s Video: Lama Surya Das – Natural Meditation



determindness, resoluteness,
but to what purpose?
to make money?
to gain status?
to raise a family?
a purpose that comes with Life?
Where to find it?
In Himalayan caves, cathedrals,
gambling halls, brothels,
or within us, in life, itself?

We close out the week and the month with one of Tilopa’s most important teachings: “The Six Precepts or Words of Advice” that he gave to Naropa.

“The Six Precepts or Words of Advice”
Don’t recall Let go of what has passed
Don’t imagine Let go of what may come
Don’t think Let go of what is happening now
Don’t examine Don’t try to figure anything out
Don’t control Don’t try to make anything happen
Rest Relax, right now, and rest
– Tilopa

So, try those out this weekend and see how you do. In that case then, there’s no senses in asking you to have a wonderful weekend.

Today’s Video: :Tilopa’s Six Essential Points of Meditation – Mahamudra – Kagyu Tibetan Buddhism”



without borders
without patterns
keep the energy feeling alive,
spaciousness, vibrations,
the body participates
in that deepened sense,
understanding awareness.

Staying with the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, today we look at a legendary character and master, Tilopa. He practiced Anuttarayoga Tantra, a set of spiritual practices intended to accelerate the process of attaining Buddhahood. He ground sesame seeds during the day and at night he was a solicitor and bouncer for Dharima, a prostitute. . After receiving the transmission in a vision of Vajradhara, Tilopa meditated in two caves, and bound himself with heavy chains to hold the correct meditation posture. He practiced for many years and then met the mind of all buddhas in the form of Diamond Holder Vajradhara. Tilopa is considered the grandfather of today’s Kagyu Lineage. Naropa, his most important student, became his successor and carried and passed on the teachings.

This quote is in the form of a song with which Tilopa instructed the Mahamudra to Naropa:

“The fool in his ignorance, disdaining Mahamudra,
Knows nothing but struggle in the flood of samsara.
Have compassion for those who suffer constant anxiety!
Sick of unrelenting pain and desiring release, adhere to a master,
For when his blessing touches your heart, the mind is liberated”
– Tilopa, from the song “The Ganges Mahamudra”

Today’s Video: “The short biography of Mahasidda Tilopa”



Listen, listen closely.
We listen to things,
but real listening is not
listening to.
It is not listening to anything,
just the feeling of being
without conceptualizing,
without characterizing or judging.
Be available to the presence.
Let it unfold within you.
Allow the moment to come to you.

The last two sessions we looked at Milarepa. Today we look at one of his foremost teachers, Marpa Lotsawa. Known commonly as Marpa the Translator, Marpa Lotsāwa was a Tibetan Buddhist teacher credited with the transmission of many Vajrayana teachings from India, including the teachings and lineages of Mahamudra. Due to this the Kagyu lineage, which he founded, is often called Marpa Kagyu in his honour. This lineage was my first encounter with Tibetan Buddhism.

Upon Marpa’s athird journey to India, he eventually found Mahasiddha Naropa and received the full transmission from him, after which Naropa formally declared Marpa to be his successor. After Marpa’s second visit to India Milarepa became his disciple. After the death of Marpa’s son, Darma Dode, Milarepa inherited Marpa’s lineage in full.

Having made the mistake of chosing his personal meditational Buddha-form, Hevajra, over his teacher, Naropa, Marpa fell ill. His dharma brothers and sisters came to visit him, hoping to find a cure. Marpa tod them:

“Dear Vajra brothers and sisters! Whether I live or die depends purely on the karma of Tibetans. If they have the good karma to receive the teachings I am about to bring them, I will survive anyway, whether I get proper medicine or not. And if they do not have this karma, I will die anyway, however well you try to cure me. So, let us not spend money of the sangha and rely on the nature of phenomena!” – Marpa Lotsawa

Marpa soon got well. Therefore the Tibetans who were to receive his teaching must have had good karma. The statement by Marpa and his subsequent cure have not been approved by the FDA.

Today’s Video:



simplicity comes through understanding,
stillness comes through understanding,
peace comes through understanding,
beauty and love come through understanding,
and what does understanding come through?
not through objects,
not through the mind,
but through grace,
the grace of being understanding.

Today, let’s do one more quote from Milarepa. This one is a rather lengthy, controversial quote.

“When ye look at me I am an idle, idle man; when I look at myself I am a busy, busy man. Since upon the plain of uncreated infinity I am building, building the tower of ecstasy, I have no time for building houses. Since upon the steppe of the void of truth I am breaking, breaking the savage fetter of suffering, I have no time for ploughing family land. Since at the bourn of unity ineffable I am subduing, subduing the demon-foe of self, I have no time for subduing angry foe-men. Since in the palace of mind which transcends duality I am waiting, waiting for spiritual experience as my bride, I have no time for setting up house. Since in the circle of the Buddhas of my body I am fostering, fostering the child of wisdom, I have no time for fostering snivelling children. Since in the frame of the body, the seat of all delight, I am saving, saving precious instruction and reflection, I have no time for saving wordly wealth.” ― Milarepa, Songs of Milarepa

Here Milarepa seems like he is scoffing at some rather noble pursuits like raising a family, fostering children, building a business, farming. What he is actually telling us is no matter how noble a pursuit, if it is external, in other words dealing with objects, phenomena, don’t waist your time on it. Instead turn your attention inward to reflect upon your true nature, “fostering the child of wisdom.”

Today’s Video: “Milarepa (1) – Selected Pointers and Teachings for Meditation – Tibetan Buddhism – Kagyu”



When life asks for thinking, think.
When life asks for acting, act
When life asks for stillness, be still.
When life asks for rest, rest.
When life asks for forgiveness, forgive.
When life asks for thanksgiving, give thanks.
Not through discipline, but understanding.

Last week we looked at quotes from Chan Buddhist masters in China. Today we move to Tibet and a famous Tibetan master from the 11th Century, Milarepa. In his younger years, he studied black magic in an attempt to gain revenge on a wicked uncle who had stripped his mother and sister of all their property. This led him to mass murder and destruction through the occult. Some time later with a heavy conscience, he sought out various Tibetan Buddhist masters, finally gaining acceptance as a full-fledged disciple under the guidance of the Tibetan master Marpa. After his years of study with Marpa were completed, Milarepa sought out remote, isolated mountain retreats in which he practiced rigorous meditation and was eventually enlightened. He went on to teach and convert many disciples.

“Life is short and the time of death is uncertain; so apply yourself to meditation. Avoid doing evil, and acquire merit, to the best of your ability, even at the cost of life itself. In short: Act so that you have no cause to be ashamed of yourselves and hold fast to this rule.” – Milarepa

Today’s Video: Milarepa: The Great Tibetan Tantric & His Enlightenment – Sadhguru



Happy Earth Day, Everyone!

Don’t seek the purpose of Life.
Life has no purpose.
There is no one who lives,
there is no one who dies.
No liver and no dier.
There is only living,
only life.
Isn’t that enough?
Why do you want more?

Today we look at Bodhidharma’s main disciple, the monk who became heir to Bodhidharma and the Second Patriarch of Chan buddhism, Dazu Huike. Huike studied with Bodhidharma at Shaolin for six years. Then Bodhidharma gave Huike his robe and bowl, a sign that Huike was now Bodhidharma’s dharma heir and ready to begin teaching.

Bodhidharma also gave Huike a copy of the Lankavatara Sutra, which Huike is said to have studied diligently for the next few years. The Lankavatara is a Mahayana sutra chiefly known for its teaching of Yogacara and Buddha-Nature.

“Originally deluded, one calls the mani-pearl a potsherd
Suddenly one is awakened—and it is [recognized] as a pearl
Ignorance and wisdom are identical, not different.” – Dazu Huike

Enjoy Earth Day, everyone! And have an enjoyable weekend.

Today’s Video: “Zen Will Change Your Life – Bodhidharma & Huike”



Reactions, deeply rooted,
can we let go?
Live grounded in our being,
completely harmonious
and appropriate
to our actions?
See the tension in our reactions.
See it without trying to change it.
Pure seeing, being aware.
Then the ground becomes the body.
The organic body memory,
natural, original.
A sensitive body is the real body.

We have been following two major Chan masters of the Tang dynasty, Lin-Chi and his mentor. Huangbo. So today we go all the way back to the start of the Chan Buddhist period in China with the arrival of Bodhidharma from India in the sixth century.

“To find Buddha, you have to see your nature. Whoever sees his nature is a Buddha. If you don’t see your nature, invoking buddhas, reciting sutras, making offerings, and keeping precepts are all useless. Invoking buddhas results in good karma, reciting sutras results in a good memory, keeping precepts results in good rebirth, and making offerings results in future blessings—but no Buddha.” – Bodhidharma

Bodhidharma is telling us that the purpose of our life is not to gain good karma or have a good memory or a good rebirth or future blessings. It has nothing to do with the future or future lives. The purpose of life is to realize our true nature here and now.

Today’s Video: “Why do monks always greet with one hand? – The Story of Bodhidharma”



A corpse is still.
A corpse has no thoughts.
A corpse has no conflicts.
A corpse has no desires.
A corpse has no anxiety, no stress.
Why do many spiritual teachers
encourage students to be corpses?

Today we continue with quotes from Huangbo “Chan Master Without Limits” and mentor to Lin-Chi

“Awakening occurs as the nature of the mind, it doesn’t involve the six perfections and myriad practices. These are all merely marginal activities for teaching and helping liberate others in various states and according to circumstances. “Enlightenment,” “suchness,” “ultimate reality,” “liberation”… all of these are expedient, temporary expressions, unnecessary to the awakened mind.” – Huangbo

So now that we see all these practices that spiritual advisors over the years have encouraged us to do, when are we going to stop chasing our tails and make ourselves available to our true nature?

Today’s video: “Zen Teaching of Huang Po”


A sense of lack
deep and engrossing,
the price we pay
for the enjoyment
of feeling separate.

Like most realized masters, Lin-chi had a spiritual teacher who guided him to the threshold. Huangbo, was the head of a monastery that he named Huangpo after the mountain where he grew up. He was given the posthumus title of “Chan Master Without Limits.

“As to cultivating the six perfections (of character) and all the other self-improvement practices, and performing all sorts of virtuous activities to accumulate merit – since you are already complete, you cannot add to that perfection through practice. You should perform practices when there is an appropriate occasion, and return to stillness when the occasion has ended. If you do not clearly see that this mind itself is awakening, but instead want to practice by attaching to forms and seeking rewards, then it is all delusion apart from the Way.” -Huangbo

Self-improvement, self-cultivation, seeking enlightenment, none of it has anything to do with becoming realized. The Self is already realized. One merely needs to see it, not as a concept but as the Truth.

Today’s Video: “Huang Po – Be a Buddha”



Identifying with the body-mind
prevents it from living
to its fullest.
To be a perfect human being
we mustn’t believe
we are a human being.
To the extent we believe,
our humanity will remain hidden,
our best qualities won’t actualize.
So then, what are we?

Today we hear more from Linji, one of the most highly regarded of the T’ang period masters and founder of the Linji school of Chinese Zen (Chan) Buddhism.

“If you want to be free, get to know your real self. It has no form, no appearance, no root, no basis, no abode, but is lively and buoyant. It responds with versatile facility, but its function cannot be located. Therefore when you look for it you become further from it, when you seek it you turn away from it all the more.” – Lin-chi

Today’s Video: “Rinzai – Zen Master Lin chi- Linji Yixuan Quotes – Taoism and Iconoclast”



Trusting is our nature.
without trust
we are something else,
not human.
Trusting is not calculation,
not plotting,
no hesitation.
It is beauty, love,
When one does not trust,
one does not love,
an expression of the heart,
not of the mind.

This week we move from Europe in the Middle Ages to the same period in the Far East, starting with the great ninth century Chinese Zen master Lin-chi, one of the most highly regarded of the T’ang period masters and founder of the Linji school of Chinese Zen (Chan) Buddhism.

“When it’s time to get dressed, put on your clothes.
When you must walk, then walk.
When you must sit, then sit.
Just be your ordinary self in ordinary life,
unconcerned in seeking for Buddhahood.
When you’re tired, lie down.
The fool will laugh at you
but the wise man will understand.” – Lin-chi

Any questions or do you understand? Ordinary self living an ordinary life, can anything be more clear?

Today’s Video: “Words of Lin-Chi | Zen Buddhism”



Truth can only be understood
by Truth.
Truth can only be transmitted
by Truth.
One who criticizes, compares, judges
is not privy to the Truth,
Only when there is listening
without a listener,
without an observer
does Truth reveal itself.

Yesterday we looked at Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Italian theologian and philosopher. Today, we move further back in history to the Dark Ages and two quotes from another Christian saint. Augustine of Hippo born in 354 A.D. spent his early life as a heretic until Saint Ambrose converted him. Eventually Augustine became an important “Father of the Early Church” and influence the development of Western Christianity.

“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.” – Saint Augustine

“Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever; and take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow.” – Saint Augustine

Today’s Video: “Saint You Should Know: Augustine of Hippo”



not knowing.
always new,
always the same,
eternally young,
eternally new.

For today’s quote (actually two short ones), we turn back to the middle ages and the 13th-century Italian theologian, Saint Thomas Aquinas.

“Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.” – Thomas Aquinas.
And one more…
“One aspect of neighbourly love is that we must not merely will our neighbours good, but actually work to bring it about.”
– Thomas Aquinas

Today’s video: “Five Ways to Prove God Exists (Aquinas 101)”


There is nothing to take,
yet we cannot give up trying.
See there is nothing there,
and the desire to take fades.

Over the past two days, I have been including a couple of Sadguru’s video lectures in conjunction with Dhyan Giten’s 3 stages of satori. So, today I thought I would post a quote from Sadguru.

“If you ask a tree how he feels to know that he’s spreading his fragrance and making people happy, I don’t think a tree looks at it that way. I am just like that, and it is just my nature to be like this.”
― Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

Today’s Video: “The Secret Language of Trees”



Would you like
to live in peace,
to be free from
a stressful life,
draining relationships
petty foibles?
defending your self-image
brings nothing but trouble.
Let go!

Today we have Part 3 of Swami Dhyan Giten’s three stages of enlightenment.

“The third stage of enlightenment:
Ocean, Wholeness, No-self, Pure being

At the third stage of enlightenment, at the third step of Satori, our individual river flowing silently, suddenly reaches to the Ocean and becomes one with the Ocean.
At the third Satori, the ego is lost, and there is Atma, pure being. You are, but without any boundaries. The river has become the Ocean, the Whole.
It has become a vast emptiness, just like the pure sky.
The third stage of enlightenment happens when you have become capable of finding the inner being, the meditative quality within, the gap, the inner silence and emptiness, so that it becomes a natural quality.
You can find the gap whenever you want.
This is what tantra callas Mahamudra, the great orgasm, what Buddha calls Nirvana, what Lao Tzu calls Tao and what Jesus calls the kingdom of God.
You have found the door to God.
You have come home.”
― Swami Dhyan Giten

There’s nothing much I can add. This is the third and final stage in which you return to your true nature. Though you still function in the world, you are not of the world. You are not in it; the world is in you.

Today’s Video: “The Simplest Way to Enlightenment – Sadhguru Spot of 10”



bodily sensations,
by not accepting them,
trying to change them,
taking pills to escape them
robs us of intimacy.

Today is Part 2 of Swami Dhyan Giten’s three stages of enlightenment.

“2. The second stage of enlightenment:
Silence, Relaxation, Togetherness, Inner Being

The second stage of enlightenment is a new order, a harmony, from within, which comes from the inner being. It is the quality of freedom.
The inner chaos has disappeared and a new silence, relaxation and togetherness has arisen.
Your own wisdom from within has arisen.
A subtle ego is still present in the second stage of enlightenment.
The Hindus has three names for the ego:
1. Ahamkar, which is the ordinary ego.
2. Asmita, which is the quality of Am-ness, of no ego. It is a very silent ego, not aggreessive, but it is still a subtle ego.
3. Atma, the third word is Atma, when the Am-ness is also lost. This is what Buddha calls no-self, pure being.
In the second stage of enlightenment you become capable of being in the inner being, in the gap, in the meditative quality within, in the silence and emptiness.
For hours, for days, you can remain in the gap, in utter aloneness, in God.
Still you need effort to remain in the gap, and if you drop the effort, the gap will disappear.
Love, meditation and prayer becomes the way to increase the effort in the search for God.
Then the second stage becomes a more conscious effort. Now you know the way, you know the direction.”
– Swami Dhyan Giten

Needless to say, it is quite a leap from Stage 1 to Stage 2. Perhaps the good Swami should have included a few intermediate steps to get us to Stage 2 such as bodywork, attending satsang and dialogues with a spiritual teacher, guided meditations, reading scriptures and books by noted teachers to name a few.

Today’s Video: “Sadhguru – what is enlightenment and how to get there”



transcends the body.
true to the glimpse,
beyond the mind.
we are everything
without borders,
in not knowing.
yet we know
through intimacy

This week we begin our quotes on Enlightenment with a Swedish spiritual teacher and author, Swami Dhyan Giten with the three stages of enlightenment. Today is Stage 1 – A Glimpse.

“These are the three stages of enlightenment, the three glimpses of satori.

1. The first stage enlightenment:
A Glimpse of the Whole

The first stage of enlightenment is short glimpse from faraway of the whole. It is a short glimpse of being.
The first stage of enlightenment is when, for the first time, for a single moment the mind is not functioning. The ordinary ego is still present at the first stage of enlightenment, but you experience for a short while that there is something beyond the ego.
There is a gap, a silence and emptiness, where there is not thought between you and existence.
You and existence meet and merge for a moment.
And for the first time the seed, the thirst and longing, for enlightenment, the meeting between you and existence, will grow in your heart.”
– Swami Dhyan Giten

This is a stage that many gurus and spiritual teachers point out as a sudden breakthrough. Over the course of time, if one is sincere in their cultivation, these glimpses become more frequent and longer and for some can eventually lead to satori.

Today’s Video: “Swami Dhyan Giten intuition, the inner source of love truth & wisdom.”


Taking a cup of tea,
there is no one
who takes tea.
Making some toast,
there is no one
who makes toast.
No taker of tea,
no maker of toast,
only tea-taking,
only toast-making.

One last Carl Jung quote to close out the week, and it’s a profound one indeed.

“A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them. As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being. Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung

We can see this recurring theme in Jung’s quotes of going within and facing one’s dark side as the path he believes will free us from ourselves. Here he gives us an additional clue as to what to look for within – those behaviors we see in others that irritate us.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Today’s Video: “How to Integrate Your Shadow – The Dark Side is Unrealized Potential”



Flowing through us,
it is our beingness.
the Oneness,
there are not two.
There is no other.
only the One.

We continue today with more from Carl Jung who speaks to us about enlightenment and the darkness that sets us free.

“When we must deal with problems, we instinctively resist trying the way that leads through obscurity and darkness. We wish to hear only of unequivocal results, and completely forget that these results can only be brought about when we have ventured into and emerged again from the darkness. But to penetrate the darkness we must summon all the powers of enlightenment that consciousness can offer.” – Carl Jung

Our true nature is always hidden by the darkness that lies within the depths of our unconscious. So, Jung had said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” He is restating that insight in the quote above. There are no two ways about it – if one seeks enlightnment, one must face the darkness of the unknown and, as Jung states, venture into it.

Today’s Video: “Jordan Peterson: Carl Jung’s Intelligence was “bloody terrifying”



presence is the absence
of what you are not.
neither this nor that.
it does not come by will,
only by waiting,
waiting and being open.

Today’s quote on enlightenment is from the world of psychology. Carl Jung is considered the father of analytical psychology, but he was a an insightful philosopher as well. If you remember, Jung’s commentary served as the preface fro Richard Wilhelm’s German translation of “The Secret of the Golden Flower, an eighth-century Chinese text on Taoist alchemy.

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular.”
― C.G. Jung

According to Jung, and I believe he is correct, you can chuck all those visualizations your meditation and yoga teachers have given you. Instead start on the level of the body and work your way inside, peeling away one layer at a time.

Today’s Video: “Becoming Your True Self – The Psychology of Carl Jung”



leads to clarity.
A clear mind
leads to openness.
An open mind
leads to availability.
Grace will seek out
one who is available.

Two similar quotes today but from two different spiritual sects. The first one is from Dogen Zenji, a Japanese Buddhist priest, writer and philosopher and founder of the Soto School of Zen Buddhism. The second one is from Jean Klein, a French author, spiritual teacher and philosopher of Advaita Vedanta.

“Do not think you will necessarily be aware of your own enlightenment.” – Dogen Zenji

“You know yourself only in relation to objects, in relation to the image that yu have created. You believe that you can see what really are the same way that you cam see an object.”

Both of these quotes are telling us that the Reality which we are – our true nature – is not an object. Therefore, we cannot use our minds to realize our true nature. The mind is just another object the same as the body, and we know ourselves in relation to our body-mind. Thus, we need to cultivate silent observation, observing our body-minds and other worldly objects without conceptualization. To do that we must first see that we do not observe free from any conclusion.

Today’s Video: Zen Master Dōgen Zenji: Four Lessons About Genuine Enlightenment



beyond the mind,
beyond our thoughts,
our true nature awaits.
nothing to find,
nothing to obtain,
it is in waiting
that we are waiting,
waiting in stillness.

Again another insightful quote from Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, a spiritual teacher in the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

“But beyond the mind, beyond our thoughts, there is something we call the ‘nature of the mind’, the mind’s true condition, which is beyond all limits. If it is beyond the mind, though, how can we approach an understanding of it?

Let’s take the example of a mirror. When we look into a mirror we see in it the reflected images of any objects that are in front of it; we don’t see the nature of the mirror. But what do we mean by this ‘nature of the mirror’? We mean its capacity to reflect, definable as its clarity, its purity, and its limpidity, which are indispensable conditions for the manifestation of reflections. This ‘nature of the mirror’ is not something visible, and the only way we can conceive of it is through the images reflected in the mirror. In the same way, we only know and have concrete experience of that which is relative to our condition of body, voice, and mind. But this itself is the way to understand their true nature.”
― Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, Dzogchen: The Self-Perfected State

Here Namkhai Norbu is telling us to use the entire body-mind to sense, to feel our true nature. Use your entire body and mind to patiently wait with a welcoming openness.

Today’s Video: “Chögyal Namkhai Norbu – Margarita – January 2nd 2012”



The body is in you,
but you are not the body.
This room is in you,
but you are not this room.
The world is in you,
but you are not the world.
You are the Reality
in which all things dwell.

Continuing with Tibetan Buddhist master, today we look at Namkhai Norbu (8 December 1938 – 27 September 2018). He was a Tibetan Buddhist master of Dzogchen and a professor of Tibetan and Mongolian language and literature at Naples Eastern University. He was a leading authority on Tibetan culture, particularly in the fields of history, literature, traditional religions (Tibetan Buddhism and Bon), and Traditional Tibetan medicine. Below is a rather long but important quote on his teachings of Dzogchen and the trap we get ourselves into as we try to discover our true nature intellectually.

“All the philosophical theories that exist have been created by the mistaken dualistic minds of human beings. In the realm of philosophy, that which today is considered true, may tomorrow be proved to be false. No one can guarantee a philosophy’s validity. Because of this, any intellectual way of seeing whatever is always partial and relative. The fact is that there is no truth to seek or to confirm logically; rather what one needs to do is to discover just how much the mind continually limits itself in a condition of dualism.

“Dualism is the real root of our suffering and of all our conflicts. All our concepts and beliefs, no matter how profound they may seem, are like nets which trap us in dualism. When we discover our limits we have to try to overcome them, untying ourselves from whatever type of religious, political or social conviction may condition us. We have to abandon such concepts as ‘enlightenment’, ‘the nature of the mind’, and so on, until we are no longer satisfied by a merely intellectual knowledge, and until we no longer neglect to integrate our knowledge with our actual existence.”
― Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, Dzogchen: The Self-Perfected State

We need to see how our dualistic minds have trapped us into an intellectual way of seeing reality, which can only be reached experientually not intellectually. Thus, as Namkhai Norbu tells us, we need to drop our various conditioned thinking and abandon such intellectual concepts as ‘enlightenment’, ‘the nature of the mind’,




Can you hear them?
The plants, the trees
talking to one another.
Can you feel them?
Their openness and love
for one another.

We begin April with another Tibetan Buddhist teacher and scholar. Chögyam Trungpa was a Tibetan Buddhist meditation master and holder of both the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, the 11th of the Trungpa tülkus and supreme abbot of the Surmang monasteries. He was considered a radical of sorts in that he merged Tibetan Buddhism with the myth of Shambhala and originated an enlightened society that became known as Shambhala Buddhism. Both his controversial teaching methods and behavior particularly his heavy drinking, womanizing, and the physical assault of students were considered provocative. The quote below is an example of his provocation.

“Dharma literally means ‘truth’ or ‘norm.’ It is a particular way of thinking, a way of viewing the world, which is not a concept but experience. This particular truth is very painful truth—usually truths are. It rings with the sound of reality, which comes too close to home. We become completely embarrassed when we begin to hear the truth. It is wrong to think that the truth is going to sound fantastic and beautiful, like a flute solo. The truth is actually like a thunderbolt. It wakes you up and makes you think twice whether you should stay in the rain or move into the house. Provocative.”
― Chögyam Trungpa

Hopefully everyone will stay out of the rain this weekend. See you on Monday.

Today’s Video: “Surrendering Your Aggression -Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche –Shambhala”



not a man,
not a woman,
not a race,
not an ethnicity.
not even a person,
merely roles to put on
like a hat or a coat
or a body-mind identity,
confusing life by day
with society’s roles.
But in deep sleep,
one’s true nature arises.

Moving on from India, we travel North to Tibet where we find the land of Tibetan Buddhism and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, a Vajrayana master, scholar, and poet and recognized as one of the greatest realized masters. He was head of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism from 1988 to 1991.

“It is always beneficial to be near a spiritual teacher. These masters are like gardens or medicinal plants, sanctuaries of wisdom. In the presence of a realized master, you will rapidly attain enlightenment. In the presence of an erudite scholar, you will acquire great knowledge. In the presence of a great meditator, spiritual experience will dawn in your mind. In the presence of a bodhisattva, your compassion will expand, just as an ordinary log placed next to a log of sandalwood becomes saturated, little by little, with its fragrance.”
― Dilgo Khyentse, “The Hundred Verses of Advice: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on What Matters Most”

It would be difficult to argue with Dilgo Khyentse’s point. The benefits of having a spiritual teacher and being in the presence of a realized master, regardless of sect or lineage, cannot be overstated.

Today’s Video: “Glimpses of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche”



don’t look left or right,
don’t look up or down,
don’t look ahead or behind,
look within,
for you are what you are
looking for.

Let’s have one more quote from Paramahansa Yogananda because I really like this one. It’s something most of us are missing…

“Make up your mind that you will be happy whether you are rich or poor, healthy or unhealthy, happily married or unhappily married, young or old, smiling or crying. Don’t wait for yourself, your family, or your surroundings to change before you can be happy within yourself. Make up your mind to be happy within yourself, right now, whatever you are, or wherever you are.” – Paramahansa Yogananda

Why is it so hard for most of us to be happy? Because we are too busy looking for happiness. Where? In objects, of course. What we don’t realizze is the fact that we are happiness. It’s our natural birthright. So give up the notion of finding it out there in objects of all kinds, including people. They cannot bring you happiness because happiness is what you are – your true nature.

Today’s Video: What Happens When You Die Unenlightened? | Sri Paramahansa Yogananda



to be…or not to be?
Observe closely.
Not a question of being…
or not being.
Both must vanish,
leaving the double absence,
the absence of absence.
Thus arises being the being,
a being beyond being and non-being.

Today we look at another Hindu guru and mystic, who not only brought meditation to America but kriya yoga as well. Paramahansa Yogananda introduced millions to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his organization the Self-Realization Fellowship and Yogoda Satsanga Society of India.

“Every day try to help uplift physically, mentally, or spiritually suffering people, as you would help yourself or your family. If, instead of living in the misery-making selfish way, you live according to the laws of God, then, no matter what small part you may be playing on the stage of life, you will know that you have been playing your part correctly, as directed by the Stage Manager of all our destinies. Your part, however small, is just as important as the biggest parts in contributing to the success of the Drama of Souls on the Stage of Life. Make a little money and be satisfied with it by living a simple life and expressing your ideals, rather than make lots of money and have worries without end.”
– Yogananda

Simple advice: live simply and do simple things to help others. If all of us followed this simple advice what a remarkable place this world would be.

Today’s Video: “Solve all your Problems Easily by Developing your Intuition”




nothing to attain,
nothing to achieve,
nothing to become,
nothing to know,
no knower to know it.
nowhere to go,
nothing to do,
no doer to do it.

More from Vivekananda, the founder of the Ramakrishna Mission. In fact, we have two quotes, both insightfully powerful.

“All power is within you; you can do anything and everything. Believe in that, do not believe that you are weak; do not believe that you are half-crazy lunatics, as most of us do nowadays. You can do any thing and everything, without even the guidance of any one. Stand up and express the divinity within you.”
― Swami Vivekananda, Lectures from Colombo to Almora

“All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. Therefore love for love’s sake, because it is the only law of life, just as you breathe to live.”
― Swami Vivekananda , Letters of Swami Vivekananda

If you put both quotes together, you get…”the power of love is within you. It is expansive and can do anything and everything. Believe in love, the only law of life and then you can do anything and everything just as you breathe to live. Stand up and express the divinity within you that is Love, pure love.”

Today’s Video: TRY THIS Simple Mind Control Method if You Cannot Control Your Mind Directly | Swami Vivekananda



never free,
never still,
never available,
always seeking,
always choosing,
always grasping,
never content, always stressed,
the mind without a clue.

Last week we looked at the Zen monks who brought Zen Buddhism to the West and specifically to America.Today we look at the the Hindu monk who brought Advaita Vedanta to America – Swami Vivekananda.

“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, no one can make you spiritual.
There is no other teacher but your own soul.”
― Swami Vivekananda

A disciple of the Indian mystic, Ramakrishna, Vivekananda founded the spiritual order named after his teacher, Ramakrishna Mission.

Today’s Video: Enlightenment Experience – How Swami Vivekananda Attained Enlightenment? (As Explained by Himself)



is there any other reason
for just sitting?
does it have to matter?
become another goal?
can I just enjoy
the quiet peace
it brings?
enjoy the peace,
enjoy the joy.

I want to conclude our look at Zen Buddhist quotes on aspects of enlightenment with a quote from my former Zen teacher and visual artist, John Daido Loori.

“Serene illumination, or just sitting, is not a technique, or a means to some resulting higher state of consciousness, or any particular state of being. Just sitting, one simply meets the immediate present. Desiring some flashy experience, or anything more or other than ‘this’ is mere worldly vanity and craving.”
– John Daido Loori, “The Art of Just Sitting: Essential Writings on the Zen Practice of Shikantaza”

The idea of sitting meditation as something we do that has been taught across many traditions promoted by unqualified or lower level teachers is undeniably incorrect. This fact has also been stated across many traditions by qualified spiritual teachers like Daido, who tell us to sit just for the pure joy of it. Don’t turn sitting into another object or goal to achieve.

Today’s Video: “Zen Buddhism: The Nature of the Self”



silence is waiting.
don’t try to grasp it.
just leave the door open
and put out a welcome mat.
it will come when it’s ready.

Maezumi Roshi was another prominent Japanese Zen Buddhist who help to establish Zen Buddhism in America, especially on the West Coast. He was the founding teacher of Yokoji-Zen Mountain Center and the Zen Center of Los Angeles.

“We do not make harmony. We do not achieve it or gain it. It is there all the time. Here we are, in the midst of this perfect way, and our practice is simply to realize it and then to actualize it in our everyday life.”
― Maezumi Roshi

Like most aspects that pertain to enlightenment – silence, stilling the mind, non-doing, non-thinking – harmony is something we seek or try to obtain because we look at enlightenement and all of its aspects and modalities – love, beauty, truth – as objects because the mind can only recognize objects. Harmony like all these the other modalities of our True Nature cannot be sought, gained or achieved because they are who we really are, and, as Maezumi Roshi tells us, they are here all the time – we are it!

Today’s Video: Lineage: Hakuyū Taizan Maezumi



without absence,
there is no presence.
when I am absent
there is presence.
in the absence of myself,
comes spontaneity.

Shunryu Suzuki, the monk that brought Japanese Zen Buddhism to America, is such an interesting spiritual teacher with tremendous insights that we can gain much from looking at more of his quotes. Today he has very practicial advice on trying to control others.

“Even though you try to put people under control, it is impossible. You cannot do it. The best way to control people is to encourage them to be mischievous. Then they will be in control in a wider sense. To give your sheep or cow a large spacious meadow is the way to control him. So it is with people: first let them do what they want, and watch them. This is the best policy. To ignore them is not good. That is the worst policy. The second worst is trying to control them. The best one is to watch them, just to watch them, without trying to control them.”
— Shunryu Suzuki (Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice)

Most of us do just the opposite.

Today’s Video: “Breathing (ZEN: Right Practice) by Shunryu Suzuki”



doing without a doer,
no reference to the I.
potentiality waits urgently
for actualization.
Let it come up
by getting out of the way.
your true nature rises.

We started the week with a quote from the ancient Zen Master Dogen. Today we celebrate the contemporary monk who brought Zen to America, Shunryu Suzuki. He established the first Zen Buddhist monastary outside of Asia at the San Francisco Zen Center and one of th emost popular books on Zen Buddhism is a collection of his sayings entitled “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind.”

“If enlightenment comes first, before thinking, before practice, your thinking and your practice will not be self-centered. By enlightenment I mean believing in nothing, believing in something which has no form or no color, which is ready to take form or color. This enlightenment is the immutable truth. It is on this orginal truth that our activity, our thinking, and our practice should be based.” – Shunryu Suzuki

There you have it. All you need to know about enlightenment. Actually, it is all we can know. Quite different, indeed, from the idea of Heaven, conditioned in many of us from early childhood, with God sitting on a throne surrounded by adoring angels, an idea profusely propagated by many of our politicians today trying to striaght-jacket the population into accepting their extremist values.

Today’s Video: ♡ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi ♡ Zen Buddhism ♡ Meditation Instruction ♡ Sound and Noise ♡



emerald green rows
winding up circular slopes,
piercing the morning clouds
misting the young tender leaves
at the top of each plant,
that will nourish
not only one’s body,
but warm the soul.

We start off the week in Japan and an enlightening quote from the great Zen master, Dogen the founder of the Soto School of Zen Buddhism. Even thought this is an ancient quote from the 13th-Century, it points to the very nature of our divisiveness and hostility to those with differing political, social or spiritual ideologies.

“Do not be concerned with the faults of other persons. Do not see others’ faults with a hateful mind. There is an old saying that if you stop seeing others’ faults, then naturally seniors and venerated and juniors are revered. Do not imitate others’ faults; just cultivate virtue. Buddha prohibited unwholesome actions, but did not tell us to hate those who practice unwholesome actions.”
― Zen Master Dogen

Why then did the Buddha prohibit these unwholesom actions but did not tell us to hate those who propagated them? A true enlightened master realizes that evil does not exist just as good does not exist. These are both human thought-concepts based on faulty thinking. What exists are wisdom or clarity and ignorance. We need to see that those world leaders and politicians that so often aggravate us are not evil but ignorant. Berate their ignorant actions but not the person

Today’s Video: Zen Master Dōgen Zenji: Four Lessons About Genuine Enlightenment



the sound that vibrates each organ
and energizes the body-mind
is the same sound that vibrates
the cosmos,
energizes the stars,
and orbits their planets.
Can you hear it, not with your ears
but your whole body?
your whole silent body?

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we look at not one but three quotes from an Irishj guru and spiritual teacher of sorts, actually he is a literary genius, Janes Joyce.

“Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.”
― James Joyce, Ulysses

“Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”
― James Joyce, Ulysses

“You made me confess the fears that I have. But I will tell you also what I do not fear. I do not fear to be alone or to be spurned for another or to leave whatever I have to leave. And I am not afraid to make a mistake, even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake and perhaps as long as eternity too.”
― James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Today’s Viceo: LITERATURE – James Joyce



streaming from the beauty, peace and love
of the Self,
the Life Force empowers and uses
the body-mind
to perceive the beauty, peace and love
in the grandeur of the cosmos.

There’s a quote from Black Elk, the Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux, that reminds one of quotes from the Tao de Ching with regards to innocence and returning to the purity of a young child. Here is a comparison.

“He who possesses Virtue in abundance is like a newly born infant.
Poisonous insects will not sting him;
Wild beasts will not seize him;
Birds of prey will not attack him.
His bones are soft, his muscles weak, but his grasp is strong.” – Lao Tzu, Tao de Ching, Ch. 55

“Be like a channel for the world’s waters;
Open and flowing, like the mind of a child.
Full of virtue, harmony and excellence.” – Lao Tzu, Tao de Ching, Ch. 28

“Grown men can learn from very little children for the hearts of the little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss.”― Black Elk

And the Great Spirit or the Dao or Reality and its Grace will show us many things if we can return to the early state of innocence.

Today’s Video: “Black Elk (Heȟáka Sápa) – Selected Wisdoms for Meditation ”



In the beginning is stillness.
In the ending is stillness.
Its beginning is its ending,
its ending the beginning.
It moves in circles
and returns in circles.
In its movement there is stillness.
In its stillness there is movement.
In its fullness there is emptiness,
in its emptiness fullness.

Continuing with Native American spiritual leaders, today we focus on Black Elk, the Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux. Black Elk is best known for his interviews with poet John Neihardt, where he discussed his religious views, visions, and events from his life published in Neihardt’s book Black Elk Speaks in 1932. Years later he was interviewed by American ethnologist Joseph Epes Brown for his 1947 book The Sacred Pipe. Black Elk eventually converted to Catholicism, becoming a catechist, but he also continued to practice Lakota ceremonies and care for his people, especially the children and the elderly.

“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”
― Black Elk

“The Holy Land is everywhere”
― Black Elk

I don’t think any spiritual leader from any tradition, ancient or modern, could have said it any better: “… at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”

Today’s Video: “Dakota Life: Black Elk Speaks”



the trees are silent,
their leaves motionless
the air is still,
not stirring the branches
or rustling the leaves.
nature is in meditation
as the mourning doves
recite their mantra.

Today we cross the Great Pond as many of our ancestors did back in the 17th and 18th centuries to build what we now call the United States. Our quote today comes from a true American, a native of this land, Tenskwatawa, (Open Door) the younger brother of the famous Shawnee Chief Tecumseh. Known as the Prophet, Tenskwatawa was the spiritual leader of the Shawnee people, who after a vision he had, urged his people not to follow the ways of the white man but to return to their ancient ways. Here is an excerpt of his plea to his people.

“Our Creator put us on this wide, rich land, and told us we were free to go where the game was, where the soil was good for planting. That was our state of true happiness. We did not have to beg for anything. Our Creator had taught us how to find and make everything we needed, from trees and plants and animals and stone. We lived in bark, and we wore only the skins of animals. Our Creator taught us how to use fire, in living, and in sacred ceremonies. She taught us how to heal with barks and roots, and how to make sweet foods with berries and fruits, with papaws and the water of the maple tree. Our Creator gave us tobacco, and said, Send your prayers up to me on its fragrant smoke. Our Creator taught us how to enjoy loving our mates, and gave us laws to live by, so that we would not bother each other, but help each other. Our Creator sang to us in the wind and the running water, in the bird songs, in children’s laughter, and taught us music. And we listened, and our stomachs were never dirty and never troubled us. Thus were we created. Thus we lived for a long time, proud and happy.” – Tenskwatawa (Open Door)

The Open Door, isn’t that what a guru, a true spiritual teacher is? An Open Door to Enlightenment. Furthermore, was Tenskwatawa’s message any different from the likes of Laozi, Zhuangzi, Atmananda, Ramana Maharshi, Anandamayi ma, and others who remind us to give up worldly desires and their addictive behaviors and follow the Dao, the way of Nature and thus return to your true nature?

Today’s Video: Sacred Vision of Tenskwatawa, the Open Door & Tacumseh



so gentle is the mist
enshrouding the hillside,
lush green foliage
peeking through the grey mantle,
narrow rivulets snake downhill,
refreshing, nourishing.
precious droplets soaking into the soil
renewing the roots below.
so too the divine current
misting the world with its grace,
refreshing the body,
renewing the spirit.
can you feel it awakening within?

Today we start off the new week by crossing the Channel, leaving our French spiritual teachers and authors for an English spiritual teacher, poet and yogi, an Advaita disciple of Jean Klein and a teacher of Yoga in the Kashmir Tradition, Billy Doyle. He has a couple of poetry books in the spirit of nonduality, “Mirage of Separation” and “Ocean of Silence.” Here are two selections from the latter.

“look out at the open landscape
or imagine one spreading endlessly in front of you
enter into it
touch it, embrace it with your whole being
let it absorb you
there are not two” – Billy Doyle, “Ocean of Silence”

“this very moment
have you ever dived into its depth
or are you forever taken by the waves of your mind
here, now, the whole universe is open to you
singing its song
but if you’re not quiet
all you will hear is your own echo” – Billy Doyle, “Ocean of Silence”

I picked these two verses not only for their imagery but because they are also instructive. Here Doyle shows us how to sit quietly and contemplate are true nature. The first is a visual method, looking out at an open landscape or imagining one. The second is an auditory method, diving into the depth of silence, listening for the song of the universe.

Today’s Video: “Relaxation and the Energetic Body – Guided Meditation – Billy Doyle (Part 1)”



Mantras are not to be
interpreted nor understood
verbally or conceptually.
Their virtue is in the sound.
Each organ, each cell
responds to certain frequencies.
Thus the sound, not the words,
harmonizes the body and soul.

Today we have two French spiritual teachers tell us about – what else that the French are famous for besides wine and cheese but – love. Here is Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Jean Klein on love…

“Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves. All we need is to imagine our ability to love developing until it embraces the totality of men and the earth.” – Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

“If there were no internal propensity to unite, even at a prodigiously rudimentary level — indeed in the molecule itself — it would be physically impossible for love to appear higher up, with us, in hominized form…. Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come into being.” – Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

“You want me to talk about love, to give you a hold, something to feel, to admire or obtain. I will not give you a straw to grasp, and in this emptiness you will be taken by yourself. You are love so don’t try to be a lover.” – Jean Klein

Before loving your surroundings you must first love yourself. Not, of course, the image you have of yourself, but your real self. When you look at things from this higher principle we call love, all things become lovable. Things appear constantly according to hour point of view. Love must become your nearest. It is your nearest and your dearest. Be in identity with it. In love, there is no place for somebody. Love is not a state which you go in and out of. It is the principle which is our permanence. – Jean Klein, “Beyond Knowledge”

Have a loving weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Today’s Video: “Phenomenon of Man and the Evolution of LOVE – Teilhard de Chardin”



Openness is Life, itself.
One cannot understand Life.
Only Life can understand Life.
Receive Life
by being open to Life.

Jean Klein has so many instructive quotes on Self-Cultivation that I wanted us to review one more vital one.

“In silent surrender there is bliss and prayer without request or demand. There is no doer, experiencer, lover or beloved. There is only a divine current. You see that the very act of welcoming is itself the solution to the problem and the action which follows your comprehension is very straightforward. When you become familiar with the act of surrender, truth will solicit you unsought.” – Jean Klein

This is so important. Silent surrender is pure prayer, itself, without any requests or supplications. And there is no doer who prays or a beloved that one prays to. There is only a divine current, like the flow of Life, rthe flow of the Dao. Thus we completely surrender to that current and remain open and welcome whatever it might bring, trusting that absolute presence of the moment.

Today’s Video: “Jean Klein on courage, being a Truth Seeker, and apathy towards work (3/3)”



This body-mind,
this unique instrument
that we are not,
but that which gives it life
and empowers it
to perceive
the grandeur of creation.

Today we have a most vital quote as we continue with the words of Jean Klein, a French author, doctor, musicologist and a teacher of Advaita-Vedanta. For some of us this may be a life-changing advice that will save us both time and effort on our quest for Self-Cultivation and Fulfillment.

“Discipline is of no use whatsoever, since things are naturally eliminated by discernment without it being necessary for us to treat them brutally. Even in the course of the technique known as “letting-go”, a faint shadow of discipline is implied, for letting-go of an object implies a certain discipline. Only an effortless and choiceless, I repeat choiceless reaction, is the hallmark of liberation.” – Jean Klein

Got that? If you don’t understand, read it several times. Make it your own as if those are your very words. Not as a mantra – God no! But as a very deep understanding, a natural discernment.

Today’s Video: “Silence Beyond a Quiet Mind: The First Time Francis (Lucille) Met his Teacher, Jean Klein”



Seek not,
Want not,
Fear not,
You are the Life Force.

Unlike Teilhard de Chardin, Jean Klein was not a French esoteric Christian author and spiritual teachcer. Instead he followed the Hindu teachings of Advaita Vedanta in the tradition of Ramana Maharshi and Atmananda Krishna Menon. He was trained as a medical doctor and a musicologist before traveling to India where he met his guru. As it turned out, Jean Klein was my teacher’s teacher.

“When you become responsive to the solicitations of silence, you may be called to explore the invitation. This exploration is a kind of laboratory. You may sit and observe the coming and going of perceptions. You remain present to them but do not follow them. Following a thought is what maintains it. If you remain present without becoming an accomplice, agitation slows down through lack of fuel. In the absence of agitation you are taken by the resonance of stillness.” – Jean Klein

Like my teacher, Jean Klein often mentioned invitations and being invited. It’s Life, itself, that invites you to discover your true nature. You need to be open and welcome the invitation in order to receive a glimpse of what you truly are.

Today’s Video: “Our True Nature – Jean Klein (Advaita Vedanta)”



Insight happens.
One cannot force it.
It is a gift from Heaven
in communion
with the Universe.

As it would happen, Teilhard de Chardin was in communion with the Universe, a Wholly Communion. In his “Hymn to the Universe,” it begins with “The Mass on the World,” where he actually performs an entire mass as a meditation that celebrates the Eucharist of Christ in the Ordos Desert of Inner Mongolia, China, where Teilhard found himself on the feast day of the Transfiguration. Here is an excerpt from the “Offering” of that mass.

“—I call before me the whole vast anonymous army of living humanity; those who surround me and support me though I do not know them; those
who come, and those who go; above all, those
who in office, laboratory and factory, through their
vision of truth or despite their error, truly believe
in the progress of earthly reality and who today
will take up again their impassioned pursuit of the
This restless multitude, confused or orderly, the
immensity of which terrifies us; this ocean of humanity
whose slow, monotonous wave-flows trouble
the hearts even of those whose faith is most firm: it
is to this deep that I thus desire all the fibers of my
being should respond. All the things in the world to
which this day will bring increase; all those that
will diminish; all those too that will die: all of
them, Lord, I try to gather into my arms, so as to
hold them out to you in offering. This is the material
of my sacrifice; the only material you desire.”

And so we see Teihard’s deep connection with all of humanity as he does not feel himself, like many of us do, as a separate and distinct entity with little or no connection to the multitudes. Regardless of one’s religious or spiritual background this is a major hurdle that must be cleared in the process of Self-Cultivation and Realization.

Today’s Video: “Teilhard de Chardin’s Mass on the World”



Live with your questions.
Seek not to understand.
There is no one there,
No one to find understanding.
Be open, be available.
Let understanding find you.

We ended last week with a quote from Pierre Teihard de Chardin, whom I find most interesting. So, continuing with quotes on enlightenment from the esoteric Christian tradition, here is a special one that refers to you and I and most of humanity and our relation to the Cosmos.

“Humanity has been sleeping-and still sleeps-lulled within the narrowly confining joys of its little closed loves. In the depths of the human multitude there slumbers an immense spiritual power which will manifest itself only when we have learnt how to break through the dividing walls of our egoism and raise ourselves up to an entirely new perspective, so that habitually and in a practical fashion we fix our gaze on the universal realities.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Those dividing walls are the fictitious boundaries of our bodies engendered by our egoism and acquired conditioning that hide us from the universal reality that we are not separate entities but are that spiritual power that unities us all – the Life Force – call it Dao or God or Brahman or Buddhahood.

Today’s Video:



Like breathing,
like the heart beating,
Understanding is effortless.
No need to seek it.
Like the rain that comes and goes,
washing away the dust of ignorance.
Seek not,
Want not,
Worry not,
And there is understanding.

Continuing our view of Enlightenment in the Christian esoteric tradition, today we have a quote from Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit paleontologist, scientist, philosopher and theologian. Yesterday we looked at the American Trappist monk, Thomas Merton. Whereas Merton’s work is suggestive of Bhakti, Enlightenment through love for God or the Divine Spirit, Teilhard de Chardin’s work had more of a Jnana approach, that is Enlightenment through observation and knowledge of ourselves as it relates to the Ultimate.

“Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge.”
― Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

That convergence later in de Chardin’s work became known as the Omega Point and the emergence of the Noosphere (the thinking or mind sphere which transcended the Biosphere and in turn the Physiosphere).

Today’s Video: “Why Humanity is Special – de Chardin and the Birth of the Noosphere”



When the mind and the body
are happening in me
and not me in them,
that is tai chi.

Today we are viewing Enlightenment from the Christian esoteric tradition with one of the 20th-Century’s famous Christian mystics, Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk, author of over 50 books and a leader in exploring the Interfaith movement with prominent spiritual leaders of Eastern religions.

“What is “grace”? It is God’s own life, shared by us. God’s life is love. Deus caritas est. By grace we are able to share in the infinitely selfless love of Him Who is such pure actuality that He needs nothing and therefore cannot conceivably exploit anything for selfish ends. Indeed, outside of Him there is nothing, and whatever exists exists by His free gift of its being, so that one of the notions that is absolutely contradictory to the perfection of God is selfishness.”

One will notice from this quote and others that, unlike many of the prominent Eastern spiritual teachers that Merton had spoken with, he still maintained his Christian vision of a personal God, an omniscient, omnipresent Supreme Being. In Eastern religions like socme sects of Hinduism, Buddhism and Daoism, the idea of a Supreme Being or God is of a more nebulous mature.

Today’s Video:



When we expect without expecting
all that arises is available to us.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the author of “Paul Revere’s Ride” and “The Song of Hiawatha,” and the first American translator of Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” was the most popular poet in 19th-Century America. As for Enlightenment, the one thing we can deduce from his work is that he definitely believed in an afterlife. Here are a few examples.

“Tell me not, in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream! For the soul is dead that slumbers, and things are not what they seem. Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art; to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul.” – Henry Wadsorth Longfellow

“Death is the chillness that precedes the dawn; We shudder for a moment, then awake In the broad sunshine of the other life.” – Henry Wadworth Longfellow

“The grave itself is but a covered bridge, Leading from light to light, through a brief darkness!” – Henry Wadworth Longfellow

Today’s Video: “The life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow”


The peace that knows itself
emerges without seeking it.
A cloud unfolding above
allowing sunlight to shine through.

We ended February with Verse #32 from “Song of Myself” from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” and we shall kick off March with Whitman’s tribute to the Hindu concept of Maya…

“Are you the new person drawn toward me?
To begin with, take warning – I am surely far different from what you suppose;
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal?
Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover?
Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy’d satisfaction?
Do you think I am trusty and faithful?
Do you see no further than this façade—this smooth and tolerant manner of me?
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man?
Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion?”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

At least consider the possibility that all you perceive is Maya, an illusion, whether it be a person, an object or even a thought, consider that on the phenominal level all is an illusion.

Before Whitman there was Longfellow. We shall take a look at some Longfellow’s enlightened work tomorrow.

Today’s Video: “O Me! O Life! – Walt Whitman”




The peace that knows itself
emerges without seeking it.
A cloud unfolding above
allowing sunlight to shine through.

We ended February with Verse #32 from “Song of Myself” from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” and we shall kick off March with Whitman’s tribute to the Hindu concept of Maya…

“Are you the new person drawn toward me?
To begin with, take warning – I am surely far different from what you suppose;
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal?
Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover?
Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy’d satisfaction?
Do you think I am trusty and faithful?
Do you see no further than this façade—this smooth and tolerant manner of me?
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man?
Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion?”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

At least consider the possibility that all you perceive is Maya, an illusion, whether it be a person, an object or even a thought, consider that on the phenominal level all is an illusion.

Before Whitman there was Longfellow. We shall take a look at some Longfellow’s enlightened work tomorrow.

Today’s Video: “O Me! O Life! – Walt Whitman”



The amused laughter of a child,
an innocent sense of awe,
the piqued gaze of wonderment,
forgotten long ago, burried
by the ponderous task of mindfulness.

We close out February with an excerpt of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” from his epic work “Leaves of Grass.” How do you feel about animals? Do you think they may be enlightened? Here’s how Whitman felt…

“I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d, I stand and look at them long and long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition, They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass: The Death-Bed Edition

Today’s Video: “Whitman, from Song of Myself, #6



How can you find emptiness
when you are full of the Self?

As I mentioned this past weekend, we will spend a few days reading what one of America’s greatest poets, essayists and philosophers, the Father of Free Verse, Walt Whitman, has to say about leading an enlightened life. Here’s what he feels we should do…

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
― Walt Whitman

You may not agree with every one of Whitman’s points, but certainly there are a few that are worthy of your cultivation, especially those that encourage service and taking an active role with regards to our fellow beings whether they be wealthy, poor, educated or not, and human or not. More from Uncle Walt tomorrow.

Today’s Video: “Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman | Song of Myself”



You will find the Truth
of your Reality
when you stop seeking it.

Today we venture to America and its first truly great poet and, I dare say, saint, the Father of Free Verse, Walt Whitman. His work combined both Transcendentalism and Realism, and there are so many rays of spiritual light emanating throughout his works that we will spend the better part of next week looking at a few major ones. Here’s an example from his epic work “Leaves of Grass.”

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Here Whitman is true on both accounts: no one else can travel that road for you and you have been on it since birth but, like most of us, did not realize it.

We will return to Whitman next week. Enjoy your weekend and keep practicing.

Today’s Video: Song of the Open Road – Walt Whitman (Powerful Life Poetry)



Trying to become or be
what you already are is futile.
Allow it to arise
in the openness of your heart.

Today’s quote is from Atmananda Krishna Menon, whose spiritual teachings set the foundation for what has been called the Direct Path. Sri Atmananda was known as the Sage of Higher Reasoning. Today’s quote is Note #120 from “Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Shri Atmananda,” taken by NITYA TRIPTA, entitled “TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE THE WITNESS’ AND ‘TO BE A WITNESS.” It is of such importance to anyone wishing to study the Direct Path that I have included the Note in its entirety.

“TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE THE WITNESS’ AND ‘TO BE A WITNESS.’ These are entirely different things. But you should not try to know that you are the knower. Both together are impossible. Your knowership is objectless and can never be objectified.

You are always the witness. But you need not attempt deliberately to take the role of a witness. Only take note of the fact that you are always the witness.

You are asked to strengthen the conviction that you are the knower, in order to counteract the old samskaras that you are the doer, enjoyer etc. Though the substance of doership and enjoyership is effaced, the samskaras might still remain as shadows.

You are only to argue in your mind how you are always the real knower, and repeat the arguments over and over again. The time will come when the arguments will become unnecessary, and a mere thought will take you to the conclusion. Gradually, you will find that even when you do not think about the Truth, and whether you are engaged or not engaged in activities, you will feel without feeling that you are always the witness and that you are not affected by any activity or inactivity of the mind and senses in the relative sphere.

Witnessing is silent awareness. Do not try to make it active in any way. Consciousness never takes any responsibility for proving the existence or the non-existence of an object.” – Atmananda Krishna Menon, (NOTE 120, 6th April 1951, from “Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Shri Atmananda,” taken by NITYA TRIPTA

The point of Note 120 is simply what I have stated in my opening verse at the top of this page: For one to try to become or be the witness is futile because one is already the witness. And as Sri Atmananda states: “You are alway the witness. But you need not attempt deliberately to take the role of a witness. Only take note of the fact that you are always the witness.” I would add that since witnessing is silent awareness, it is not an object and therefore cannot be objectified.

Today’s Video: Atmananda Krishnamenon – Spiritual Discourse on Traffic Noise & Pure Consciousness



What is it that I am?
A human, a man,
or a child
dreaming he is a man?
Am I in this world
or is this world in me?
To know what I know
makes little difference.
But to know that I don’t know
brings absolute freedom.

Today’s quote is from the Ceylonese-born pioneer historian of Indian art and foremost interpreter of Indian culture to the West, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy.

“All that is best for us comes of itself into our hands-but if we strive to overtake it, it perpetually eludes us.”
― Ananda Coomaraswamy

This meaning here is much like that of the famous Chuang Tzu quote: “Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.” To Coomaraswamy, ignorance is thinking that you can actually force outcomes when the wise sage knows that only the flow of grace or nature can bring them into our lives.

Today’s Video: Ananda K. Coomaraswamy Reading List



The gentle child-like innocence of not knowing
shines with a warm presence
that reliance on one’s acquired knowledge
can never attain.

Yesterday we posted a quote from Johann Wolfgang Goethe. Today we look at a verse from a close friend of Goethe, Friedrich Von Schiller.

“There are three lessons I would write-
Three words, as with a burning pen,
In tracings of eternal light,
Upon the heart of men.

Have hope! though clouds environ round,
And gladness hides her face in scorn,
Put thou the shadow from thy brow,
No night but hath its morn.

Have love! not love alone for one,
But man as man thy brother call,
And scatter like the circling sun,
Thy charities on all.”
― Friedrich Von Schiller

Here Schiller is calling on us to have hope though gladness hides her face in scorn and not to fret and worry over our problems but to remember disappointments cannot last forever as suredly as a new day will dawn. Most importantly, we must express charity to all not just a select few for all are our brothers and sisters. For Schiller these were the keys to leading an enlightened life. It would do us good as well to heed Schiller’s advice.

Today’s Video: “Do you Know Friedrich Schiller?”



the new frontier, really?
and the old frontier,
the one we live in,
walk in, drive in, fly in,
the one we pile on
with concrete, steel, cement,
the one we pollute,
fill with trash, garbage, toxins
and greenhouse gases?
Humans fill Space with artificiality;
Nature fills it with Life.

Today we journey back to Europe as the Industrial Era was plodding along, and one Johann Wolfgang Goethe emerged as one of Germany’s foremost poets, authors, and philosophers.

“At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Of all the myriad quotes of Goethe, I chose this short, simple one because of its prime importance. When you truly commit to the Path, the Universe in the form of grace truly conspires to assist you in every way possible.
But committment, though extremely vital, it is also confusing and frightening. Which path is the right path? Which one should I take? What will happen to me if I choose the wrong path? It’s doubts like these that have prevented so many from discovering their true nature.

Today’s Video: LITERATURE – Goethe



sensations run freely,
spilling everywhere
bursting from this bag of skin
split open by a Cosmic Breath.
Perceptions no longer matter,
only the intimacy between
inside and outside,
unbinding one
from this self-made prison.

To all my U.S. friends, Happy President’s Day. And a special Happy President’s day to my friend, President Joe Biden.

As we begin this new week, we turn again to another English author, William Wordsworth. and his enlightened poem “It is a Beauteous Evening.”

” It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquility;
The gentleness of heaven broods o’er the Sea:
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder—everlastingly.
Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear untouched by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham’s bosom all the year;
And worship’st at the Temple’s inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.”
– by William Wordsworth

“A Beauteous Evening” is indeed a beauteous poem and, even more so, an enlightened poem. Wordsworth is telling us that even if we are not praying (“solemn thought”), the Divine is still with us, and we are with the Divine, lying “in Abraham’s bosom all the year.” When we are in solemn thought (prayer), we are worshipping “at the Temple’s inner shrine (our heart). He concludes by affirming that God is with us even if we don’t realize it.

Today’s Video: “Introduction to William Wordsworth”



Be like the Earth
that nurtures us as we grow,
that sustains us throughout life,
that supports and grounds us
in all we do.
Be the Earth to all beings.

Rounding out this week’s quotations on Music and Enlightenment, we return to William Shakespeare and the closing lines from his play, “The Merchant of Venice, Act V, Scene 1.

“The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus;
Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.”
– The Merchant of Venice; Act V, Scene 1
by Willliam Shakespeare

So, get some music in your life and have a great weekend. If you’re in the U.S., it’s a 3-day weekend. Keep practicing and I’ll see you Monday.

Today’s Video: “The Enlightenment of William Shakespeare”



Trust your body.
It is your friend.
Relating intimately
as though a close friend.
Trust it,
Be intimate,
But don’t identify with it.
The body is not who your are.

Again we look at the harmony between Music and Enlightenment, today with the Indian musicologist, singer, philosopher and spiritual teacher who established Sufism in the West. Hazrat Inayat Khan.

“Sound is the force of creation, the true whole. Music then, becomes the voice of the great cosmic oneness and therefore the optimal way to reach this final state of healing.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan

This one short quote out of hundreds, epitomizes Hazrat Inayat Khan’s main philosophy and approach to reaching enlightenment – it is in the music – the voice of the great cosmic oneness.

Today’s Video: Hazrat Inayat Khan



Suspended in stillness,
one waits uncertainly,
while Life strips away
the molting layers
of separateness until
Stark naked,
one is enwrapped
in an envirobody of sentience,
a chrysalis of borderless vibration,
an ever-expanding metamorphosis
evolving in an Holistic Communion.

Continuing with our study of the relationship between Enlightenment and Music, today the focus is on a contemporary artists from Sicily, Laura Inserra, a sound alchemist. What is a sound alchemist? An artists who works with and blends all sorts of vibrations. Check out more on her website.

“The essence of the Universe is vibration,
quenchless energy in motion, e-motion.
My work is about experiencing the Source and its manifestation
through sound, emotions, and body awareness.” ~ Laura Inserra

Laura believes that her work with sound and vibration can heal as well as lead one to a higher source.

Today’s Video: Lullabies for the Soul



In Meditating, there’s
no breathing,
Only breath,
no stilling thoughts,
Only mind,
no perceiving,
Only perceptions
no Meditator,
only Meditation

Today we continue with our study of the relationship between Enlightenment and Music with yet another German author, this one a theoretic physicist by the name of Albert Einstein.

“We are slowed down sound and light waves,
a walking bundle of frequencies tuned into the cosmos.
We are souls dressed up in sacred biochemical garments and our bodies are the instruments through which our souls play their music.” ~ Albert Einstein

Yes, even Einstein had something to say about Music and Enlightenment addressing us as “souls dressed up in sacred bochemical garments and our bodies ar ethe instruments through which our souls play their music.”
Notice that Einstein addressed us as “souls” not “bodies.” He did not consider the body as a part of us but as tools or instruments which we as souls use to play our music, namely our experiences and reactions to them.

Today’s Video: Albert Einstein “Quotes you should know before you get old.”



In true surrender,
No one surrenders.
In ending the effort
of seeming to be separate,
we are surrendered
by Life, itself, into
the arms of Infinite Oneness.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. My Love to each of you. Today’s quote is a follow up to yesterday’s quote on the power of music by Schopenhaur. This one is from a fellow German philosopher,

“God has given us music so that above all it can lead us upwards. Music unites all qualities: it can exalt us, divert us, cheer us up, or break the hardest of hearts with the softest of its melancholy tones. But its principal task is to lead our thoughts to higher things, to elevate, even to make us tremble… The musical art often speaks in sounds more penetrating than the words of poetry, and takes hold of the most hidden crevices of the heart… Song elevates our being and leads us to the good and the true. If, however, music serves only as a diversion or as a kind of vain ostentation it is sinful and harmful.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

As I mentioned yesterday, and Nietzsche reaffirms today that music has an uplifting quality and leads our thoughts to higher things. Thus, we can understand why it is an integral part of religious worship, spanning many cultures and many religions.

Today’s Video: PHILOSOPHY – Nietzsche



Sweet Surrender,
Sweet Giving Up,
The Fear and Resistance vanished
like the ghosts they are;
leaving an openness
infused with the nectar of freedom.

Today’s quote on Enlightenment or Noumenality comes from the 19th-Century German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhaur, whose book, “The World as Will and Representation,” characterizes the phenominal world as a product of a blind noumenal Will and music as the one art that seemed to Schopenhaur as an embodiment of that Will, that is, besides Buddhism and Schopenhaur’s beloved Buddha.

“Music … stands quite apart from all the [other arts]. In it we do not recognize the copy, the repetition, of any Idea of the inner nature of the world. Yet it is such a great and exceedingly fine art, its effect on man’s innermost nature is so powerful, and it is so completely and profoundly understood by him in his innermost being as an entirely universal language, whose distinctness surpasses even that of the world of perception itself, that in it we certainly have to look for more than that exercitium arithmeticae occultum nescientis se numerare animi [“an unconscious exercise in arithmetic in which the mind does not know it is counting”] which Leibniz took it to be… We must attribute to music a far more serious and profound significance that refers to the innermost being of the world and of our own self.” – Arthur Schopenhaur, “The World as Will and Representation”

This would seem to explain why so many of the world’s religions incorporate music into their ritual worship with chorals, hymns and chants, thus bringing us away from the phenominal objects of our outerworld into the noumenal world of our innermost being and our true self.

Today’s Video: PHILOSOPHY – Schopenhauer



Opening of the heart
Welcoming whatever Grace brings,
be it good or not.
Allowing life to decide
how it will flow,
not the limited knowledge
of the conditioned mind.
Opening, Welcoming, Allowing,
this is meditation.

A few days ago, we posted a quote from the 20th-Century Indian guru and mystic, Nasargadatta Maharaj. Today’s quote on approaching Enlightenment is from Nasargadatta’s disciple, H. W. L. Poonja, affectionately called “Papaji.”

“If there is peace in your mind you will find peace with everybody. If your mind is agitated you will find agitation everywhere. So first find peace within and you will see this inner peace reflected everywhere else. You are this peace!” – H.W.L. Poonja Poonjaji or Papaji

So how do we find this peace? We don’t. No, it’s the other way around. Peace must find us. So, how does that happen? By Opening the heart. By welcoming whatever Grace brings, whether positive or negative. Accept it. Allow it to flow on its own accord. Allow it to change you without interference. In other words, just be open, welcoming and allowing, and Grace will one day bring you to the Peace that you are.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! And keep Practicing!

Today’s Video: “PAPAJI – Neither Inside or Outside”



to slow the breath
to ease bodily sensations
to calm the mind
and stop thoughts
is not meditation.
to stop striving
is still Striving, not meditation

We remain in England but move forward in time from Shakespeare’s England to the Romantic Era and a poem by William Wordsworth that illustrates the A-ha! moment.

“My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky.
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The child is father of the man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.” – The Rainbow, William Wordsworth

While true realization happens in a flash, it is usually built upon these little break-throughs, these A-ha moments of grace over the years that connect to one another growing deeper and deeper until finally one realizes one’s true nature. It may be a startling, explosive moment or one quietly sensitive and evoking. But it is the connected of these moments, like beholding a rainbow, over time that, should that connection not exist, Wordsworth cries out “let me die!”

Today’s Video: Wordsworth Documentary



Enlightenment doesn’t have a calendar.
It happens when it happens.
Grace doesn’t run on a timetable.
A Guru cannot say
when the next measure will be through.

Today we return to Western ideas on Enlightenment and journey back to the Renaissance and Stratford-upon-Avon, England, the home of the Bard, William Shakespeare, and his Sonnet #62.

“Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye
And all my soul, and all my every part;
And for this sin there is no remedy,
It is so grounded inward in my heart.
Methinks no face so gracious is as mine,
No shape so true, no truth of such account;
And for myself mine own worth do define,
As I all other in all worths surmount.
But when my glass shows me myself indeed
Beated and chopp’d with tanned antiquity,
Mine own self-love quite contrary I read;
Self so self-loving were iniquity.
‘Tis thee, myself, that for myself I praise,
Painting my age with beauty of thy days.”
– Sonnet #62, William Shakespeare

The sonnet starts with Shakespeare seemingly chastizing himself for the sin of self-love. If it were truly himself, William Shakespeare,the man, that he loved so deeply, it would be a sin of the highest magnitude. But then he informs us that it is not the “self,” which he actually holds far less than dearly, “Beated and chopp’d with tanned antiquity,” Instead it is the Self, his true nature, the “beloved,” as rumi often calls it, that he holds so near and dear. The Sonnet can be construed as a Western Renaissance model of Bhakti.

Today’s Video: “Shakespeare’s Sonnet 62”



Breath in, It is full.
Breath out, It is empty.
In fullness, it is empty.
In emptiness, it is full.

Twentieith-Century India was a prime time and place for spirituality and mystics like Ramana Maharshi, Anandamayi Ma, Atmananda Krishna Menon and many more. Nisargadatta Maharaj, a contemporary of Ramana Maharshi, was one of the most prominent.

“Do not be afraid of freedom from desire and fear. It enables you to live a life so different from all you know, so much more intense and interesting that, truly, by losing all you gain all.” – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Here, in this quote, Nisargadatta hit the realization nail squarely on the head. It is fear of our total freedom that keeps us from realizing our true nature. It is our egoic mind that clings to desires for the fear that it will be lost forever by giving up worldly objects and ambitions. It would rather be bound to objects and desires rather than be lost in freedom.

Today’s Video: “I am only the Self – Nisargadatta Maharaj”



Allowed to Be
I am thankful,
Allowed to Breathe,
I am thankful,
Allowed to thank

Today’s word on Enlightenment comes from one of the strongest yet gentlest voices ever heard in the search for realization and Self-Cultivation, the Bengali saint and prominent mystic of the last century, Sri Anandamayi Ma.

“Enquire: ‘Who am I?’ and you will find the answer. Look at a tree: from one seed arises a huge tree; from it comes numerous seeds, each one of which in its turn grows into a tree. No two fruits are alike. Yet it is one life that throbs in every particle of the tree. So, it is the same Atman everywhere.
All creation is that. There is beauty in the birds and in the animals. They too eat and drink like us, mate and multiply; but there is this difference: we can realize our true nature, the Atman. Having been born as human beings, we must not waste this opportunity. At least for a few seconds every day, we must enquire as to who we are. It is no use taking a return ticket over and over again. From birth to death, and death to birth is samsara. But really we have no birth and death. We must realize that.” – Sri Anandamayi Ma

Anything I could add to the words of Sri Anandamayi Ma would only detract from them.

Today’s Video: Guru Ganesh Singh – Snatam Kaur – Ma – Anandamayi Ma



The individual sees himself
as a separate entity interacting
with other separate entities;
Sages see themselves
interacting with their self.

We ended last week’s quotes on Enlightenment with Chuang-Tzu, and we will start this week with another of his quotes. Although not a famous one, it is nonetheless, one of Cjuang-Tzu’s most important…

“The effect of life in society is to complicate and confuse our existence, making us forget who we really are by causing us to become obsessed with what we are not.” – Chuang-Tzu

This is called ignorance. Society has conditioned us to turn away or ignore the most important aspect of our life – our inner spiritual cultivation – while teaching us to accept what should be igonored, namely, phenominal worldly objects and ambitions, all of which lead to bondage.

Today’s Video: Serenity – Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi)



The Beholder that beholds
is not Itself a beholding
The Beholder and not the beheld
is that which is the Beloved.

Yesterday we looked at a quote on Enlightenment from Confucius. Today it is Confucius’ best known critic and my favorite Daoist sage, Chaung-Tzu, who gives us his thought on Enlightenment.

“When a man does not dwell in self, then things will of themselves reveal their forms to him. His movement is like that of water, his stillness like that of a mirror, his responses like those of an echo.” – Chuang-Tzu (Zhuangzi)

Simple, huh? Then why can’t we do it? Because we think we are the self, which we have been told over and over again from our earliest days. But if we realize that we have no actual proof that we are a separate entity like we have been told and we can drop this idea altogether, then Grace in time will reveal our True Nature.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and keep up the practice!

Today’s Video: Chuang-Tzu – The Great Awakening



Grace like a steady rain
that washes the dust from the air
washes away the ignorance
that clouds the mind.

Today we return to China for our next quote on Enlightenment. This is a short but important quote from one of the most influential of all ancient Chinese philosophers, Kungfuzi (Confucius).

“The superior man is universally minded and no partisan. The inferior man is a partisan and not universal.” – Confucius.

In this brief two-short sentence quote, Confucius illumines a vital point in striving for Self-Cultivation. Our attitude toward life must be one of openness. To be universally-minded means to feel that everything is connected and that we are not separate entities. The inferior man, on the other hand, feels that he has a separate human existence and thus will have partisan biases, prejudices, likes and dislikes, even outright hatred toward other humans, both individuals and groups.

Today’s Video: Who was Confucius? – Bryan W. Van Norden



The space within and the space without
are not different.
Dissolve the borders
and there is oneness.

Today’s quote on Enlightenment is from the Lebanese-American poet and author, Kahlil Gibran, author of “The Prophet.”

“And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fullfilment. you should be free indeed when your days are not without care nor your nights without a word and a grief, but rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked unbound.”

Gibran’s lesson here is two-fold. First, you cannot seek freedom or Self-realization. That desire will bind you rather than free you. It cannot be your goal or something you are trying to achieve. This alludes to the Daoist principal of wu-wei, uncontrived, ungoverned action. The attitude must be one of openness to whatever life brings. Welcome it into your life. This, in turn, leads to Gibran’s second point. What life brings may seem painful, obstructive. Life has brought it so you can “Rise Above” it, naked and unbound.

Today’s Video: “Defeat – Kahlil Gibran”



The Reality that perceives
is not a perception.
The flame that sautes
is not the meal.

Keeping with Indian poets and mystics on Enlightenment, today we feature a quote from Rabindranath Tagore

“Only those of tranquil minds, and none else, can attain abiding joy, by realizing within their souls the Being who manifests one essence in a multiplicity of forms.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Here Tagore points to the Universal Truth, that within and throughout the multiplicity of forms that we see, there is but one essence, known by a multiplicity of names: Reality, Consciousness, Awareness, Truth, Love, Brahman, God, Dao, Oneness.

Today’s Video: No Fear – Rabindranath Tagore



With today’s quote on Enlightenment, we honor the 15th-Century Indian mystic, poet and saint, Kabir Das. Kabir has been spiritually significant to Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims alike.

“Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat. My shoulder is against yours. You will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals:not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but vegetables.When you really look for me, you will see me instantly —you will find me in the tiniest house of time. Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God? He is the breath inside the breath.”

When you really look for God, you will find him in the tiniest house – the house of your spiritual heart which is in the breath inside your breath, far beyond the physical heart.

Today’s Video: Kabir ~ In Silence (With Each Out Breath) ~ A Meditation



We start off this week’s quotes on Enlightenment with a most unusual subject and video conversation on Ottoman Archery with a superb and no doubt enlightened Turkish archer, Ahmet Karat, now living in Australia.

You may want to play the video at .75x as Karat speaks rather quickly, and I wouldn’t want you to miss any of his inspiring philosophy with quotes like…
“Archery is the art of the empty mind”
“Talent pulls the bow, destiny releases the arrow”
“Pride creeps in like an ant.”
– Ahmet Karat

Today’s Video: “Ahmed Karat, on Ottoman Archery”



We complete the week with one more quote on Enlightenment from one of the foremost philosophers from Europe’s Age of Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant.

“Enlightenment is man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man’s inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Sapere aude! ‘Have courage to use your own reason!’- that is the motto of enlightenment.” – Immanuel Kant

As simple as that. You have the ability to reason, so use it. Don’t let others, especially today with social media and email generators like Constant Contact, lead you around by making you chase after the self-improvement carrot. In the Age of Enlightenment, the world “enlightenment” did not mean what it does today. Instead, it simply meant to use your power of reasoning. In the spiritual traditions of India, this ability is called “jnana.” It is not enlightenment in itself, but a process or path to enlightenment.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and enjoy your practice.

Today’s Video: “Beginner’s Guide to Kant’s Moral Philosophy



Today we remain with a Western philosophical slant on Enlightenment from the Age of Enlightenment in Europe . Today’s quote is from another one of the famous German philosophers from that era, Immanuel Kant.

“The main point of enlightenment is man’s release from his self-caused immaturity, primarily in matters of religion.” – Immanuel Kant

What Kant is telling us here is that often there is a vast difference between reason and religion. His quote assumes that the duty of the scriptures, pastors, bishops and the like is to tell their followers what to think. Whereas, the truly mature mind can think for itself unlike those immature minds that blindly follow religious teachings unable to reason whether those teachings are actually valid or not. We see this in our own society today as religion and politics join together in a fatal embrace of following the word of scripture to the letter without deviation.

Today’s Video: “Begginger’s Guide to Kant’s Metaphysics & Epistemology”



For today’s perspective on Enlightenment, we have a combined Eastern/Western take with a quote from Francis Lucille, a disciple of Jean Klein and a Western spiritual teacher of Nondual Advaita, which arose from the spiritual traditions of India.

“It [realization of Oneness] means being constantly open to the possibility that we are like two flowers looking at each other from two different branches of the same tree, so that if we were to go deep enough inside to the trunk, we would realize that we are one. Just being open to this possibility will have a profound effect on your relationships and on your experience of the world.”

Like the trunk of a tree, the One Consciousness branches out, flowing through all of its manesfestations, like the sap of a tree, with the gift of Life and Awareness.

Today’s Video: Francis Lucille, “Love is the Clearest Demonstration of Oneness”



Today is the last quote on Enlightenment from Ecclesiastes Chapter 3. This one is from Verses 14-15.

“14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away. ”

This quote is important because it contains all we really know about God or Brahman or Dao or the Truth or whatever you like to call the Creator. It is Eternal, Everlasting; it is now and always was and always will be, without beginning or end. Nothing can be added to it nor taken away. In other words, It is infinite. It is Timeless, “That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been.” And finally, the key secret:” God seeks what has been driven away.” What is that? You…and Me…Us! We are what has been driven away – by worldly phenomena and our desire for them, which has turned us away, through our own ignorance, from our Creator. And the wonderful fact is that it is God, Brahman, the Dao, the Creator that seeks us.

And the magnet that draws God to us is our Awareness. We need to be Aware of our ignorance, Aware of our clutter of desires for worldly objects, Aware that we need to be open and welcome whatever God’s Grace brings, good or not so good, into our lives.

Today’s Video: A different view of Ecclesiastes.



Today’s quote on Enlightenment is from the next section of Ecclesiastes 3:11-12.This is a follow up to the ‘Everything is good time’ or ‘Go with the Flow’ verses from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. I mentioned there was a secret hidden within Here it is..

“11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live…”

So, “He has made everything beautiful in its time” is summary of verses 1 through 8. Then, in Verse 11, the source of the “I AM,” which is what you are (Self-Realization) is in the heart. But it’s not the physical heart. It’s the spiritual heart or “Shen” in Daoism. But you cannot find it because it is noumenal not phenominal. Neither is it some form of energy as many Daoist Alchemists believe as well as both Eastern and Western energy practitioners. So, stop looking for it. Instead, Verse 12 tells us to simply be joyful and do good as long as you live basically out of gratitude for the opportunity to know life and experience the greatness of the Majesty of God (the Dao, Brahman, Life, Eternity). Then in good time, grace will find you.

Today’s Video: more on Ecclesiastes



First of all, to all my Asian friends, Gongxi Facai, Xinnian Hao! I hope you enjoyed your Lunar New Year’s weekend. Of course my heart and deepest sympathy goes out to the victims and families of the senseles shooting in Monterey Park, California. And to all those politicians who believe the Constitution of the United States begins and ends with the Second Amendment, wake the hell up! There is a Preamble, Seven Articles, and 26 other Amendments beside the Second. You need to defend and support the entire Constitution, not just the Second Amendment.

To start this week off with quotes on Enlightenment, we turn back to the Ancient Middle East and the Old Testament’s Book of Ecclesiastes, purportedly written by King Solomon in his old age, and some modern support from the Byrd’s to honor their founder, the late David Crosby.

“1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to reap
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.”
– Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Why is this a quote about obtaining Enlightenment? You have to look no further than Laozi and Chuangzi and other Daoist sages, who point out that one must follow the Dao or flow with the Dao, which is exactly what King Solomon is telling us in these verses – Go with the Flow, my friends. Realize that everything has its time. Be grateful for whatever Life brings you. Though you may not see the reason for it, be open and accept it as something you need for your Cultivation at this very moment. The purpose will become clear as your practice of Self-Cultivation deepens.

The next two sections of Ecclesiastes 3 hold two more secrets for obtaining Enlightenment. We will present them Tuesday and Wednesday.

Here is our Video on Ecclesiastes from the late David Crosby and his group, the Byrds. Follow the Music; Follow the Dao…




Today is Lunar New Year’s Eve. So, to all my Asian friends, Xīn nián kuài lè (“Happy New Year.”).

And my wish for you in this coming Year of the Rabbit: Fú shòu shuāng quán (“May you enjoy both longevity and blessing.”)

Enjoy this special weekend with family and friends. See you next week.

New Year Video: Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession from Disney California Adventure, 2023

New Year Music: “Melody of China”



Today’s quote again turns to the West. It is by Marshall Vian Summers, not a guru or mystic, but a Messenger.

“Your purpose is to discover your Knowledge (the immortal aspect of yourself, your Spirit or Higher Self), follow knowledge and let Knowledge shape and redirect your life. Your Calling is what Knowledge asks you specifically to do once you are ready to move in a specific direction. It is here that your relationships must become connected to your calling, and not just to your purpose.” – Marshall Vian Summers

A messenger is one who is given a message to carry, for a purpose, from those who sent him or her. Messengers have a much more significant role to play than teachers and enlightened masters. They are sent to alter the course of human history.

Today’s Video is from the Messenger, Marshall Vian Summers: “Take the Journey of the Power of Spirit | A Prophet of God Speaks”



Today we turn Eastward once again and the great saint of 20th Century India, Ramana Maharshi, for one of his many quotes on finding Enlightenment or Realization.

“The srutis and the sages say that the objects are only mental creations. They have no substantive being. Investigate the matter and ascertain the truth of this statement. The result will be the conclusion that the objective world is in the subjective consciousness. The Self is thus the only Reality that permeates and also envelops the world. Since there is no duality, no thoughts will arise to disturb your peace. This is Realization of the Self.” – Ramana Maharshi

Today’s Video: “Talks With Ramana Maharshi” Talk #146



We continue with the Western view of Enlightenment. This quote is from the 13th century Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart.

“God is not attained by a process of addition to anything in the soul, but by a process of subtraction.” – Meister Eckhart

Although rather short, the quote is right to the point. Compare it with its companion quote from the East and Laozi: “The scholar gains every day; the man of Tao loses every day.” – Tao Te Ching

Today’s Video: Meister Eckhart – Selected Verses and Teachings for Meditation



Today’s quote on Enlightenment is from the famous Greek and Armenian philosopher and mystic, George Gurdjieff. Here’s his basic philosophy on obtaining enlightenment in a nutshell.

“LIBERATION LEADS TO LIBERATION. These are the first words of truth — not truth in quotation marks but truth in the real meaning of the word; truth which is not merely theoretical, not simply a word, but truth that can be realized in practice. The meaning behind these words may be explained as follows: By liberation is meant the liberation which is the aim of all schools, all religions, at all times. This liberation can indeed be very great. All men desire it and strive after it. But it cannot be attained without the first liberation, a lesser liberation. The great liberation is liberation from influences outside us. The lesser liberation is liberation from influences within us.” – George Gurdjieff

While Gurdjieff calls it the lesser liberation, it is by no means the easiest. To reach that stage, that condition of being free from our internal influences – our acquired mind – is the most difficult challenge of all. So, no use just hanging around, reading blogs and such, get to work on your practice – now! No time like the present. Afterall, the present is the only time there is.

Today’s Video: “Gurdjieff’s Mission



I hope everyone everywhere had a wonderful weekend. And to those in America, Happy Martin Luther King Day. Let us celebrate the brotherhood of all humanity which the Dr. King was all about. In keep with that thought, today’s quote on Enlightenment is from Francis Lucille, an Advaita teacher and close disciple of Jean Klein.

“It [realization of Oneness] means being constantly open to the possibility that we are like two flowers looking at each other from two different branches of the same tree, so that if we were to go deep enough inside to the trunk, we would realize that we are one. Just being open to this possibility will have a profound effect on your relationships and on your experience of the world.” – Francis Lucille

The great thing about Francis Lucille’s teachings, I feel, are his analogies. They are direct and to the point and always draw us toward the True Reality that is hearing or reading his words, in this case, the trunk of the tree.

Here’s today’s video with Francis in a Dialogue with his followers “How Do I stop Believing I Am Separate?”



We close out the week with a quote from Lao-Tzu on Enlightenment.

“The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth. The named is the mother of ten thousand things. Ever desireless, one can see the mystery. Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations. These two spring from the same source but differ in name; this appears as darkness. Darkness within darkness. The gate to all mystery.” – Laozi, “The Tao Te Ching”

Thus, darkness within darkness is the darkening of desires until one becomes desireless. This is the darkness that is the gate to all mystery. In other words, Enlightenment. Have a great weekend, everyone. And enjoy your practice.

This weekend’s video: “Taoism – The Philosophy of Flow”



Happy Friday the 13th, everyone! Today’s quote on Enlightenment is from Rumi’s, guru and mentor, the Sufi Sage, Shams Tabrizi.

“The past is an interpretation. The future is an illusion. The world does not move through time as if it were a straight line, proceeding from the past to the future. Instead, time moves through and within us, in endless spirals. Eternity does not mean infinite time, but simply timelessness. If you want to experience eternal illumination, put the past and the future out of your mind and remain within the present moment.”
– Shams Tabrizi

We have heard it many times and many ways, if one wants to be illumined, be in the present moment – the here and now. One could say the path to Enlightenment is a “broken record.” But Shams Tabrizi makes two very important points. The world does not move through time as if it were a straight line. Time moves in endless spirals, through and within us. The other important point, Eternity is timelessness not infinite time. Thus, there is no past and no future, only the present moment.

Today’s video: “A Phenomenal Meeting,” a story of Shams and Rumi.



Today’s quote is from Rumi, the great Sufi poet and mystic, with his slant on one aspect of enlightenment.

“You are a volume in the divine book, a mirror to the power that created the universe. Whatever you want, ask it of yourself. Whatever you’re looking for can only be found inside of you.” – Rumi

In other words Rumi is telling us that whatever you are looking for, you are looking with. That is precisely why he states that whatever you’re looking for can only be found inside of you. So, therefore, open the book that you are and begin reading.

Today’s Video contains more of Rumi’s teachings.



Today I would like to add to have a further explanation from Jean Klein on his concept of enlightenment. In yesterday’s quote, he stated that when you find yourself in the absence of objects, there comes a moment when objects appear in you. He went on to suggest that presence is then constant, based in the timeless.

So, is there a moment when in living in the seeing, in the hearing, in consciousness without objects, suddenly objects appear in our being, in consciousness?

“Yes, it is a switch over. But first you abide in beauty, you are attracted by beauty because you are beauty and beauty looks for beauty. So live in it, dwell in it, take it to yourself and then there comes a moment when you are it. It is a total expansion…

“It is very difficult for people to be presence without any object at all. They always need some subtle object, a vibration, a body sensation, a light, a feeling of transcendence or expansion. But when the senses are accepted totally, welcomed, they open and there’s a deep relaxation. In this deep relaxation they are integrated into our being. If, on the other hand, they are refused, as happens with introversion, their grasping reflex remains because the sense organs automatically look for existence. So there is no deep expansion and no integration.”
– Jean Klein, “Bringing the Perceived Back to Perceiving”

Would you say, then, that the practical essence of enlightenment is integration? How say you?

In case you missed yesterday’s video with more teachings from Jean Klein, here it is once more…



Today a look at Enlightenment from the Advaita point of view by Jean Klein.

“The moment when the seen brings you back to the seeing is a timeless moment when you live in your glory. At first the reflex will be there to go again to the object, but after the moment of glory you now have a feeling, an echo, that the object is in you. After several of these moments, you will feel clearly that there is no separation, that time is in the timeless.

“Find yourself in the absence of objects and there comes a moment when objects appear in you. You will feel activity is in you but you are not in it. The activity is constantly purified; it is sacred at every moment. This is enlightenment: where presence is constant, based in the timeless, presence in all activity.” – Jean Klein, “THe Book of Listening”

This one may be a little difficult to understand. Ask yourself, can you have perception without any objects? Can you be present in the absence of objects? Are you truly limited to the objects you perceive? Ponder this.

Today’s video: more teachings from Jean Klein…



This week we begin to take a look at “Enlightenment” through the wisdom of the greatest Sages through the ages. We start off with the 13th century Sufi philosopher, Ibn Arabi.

“It is He who is revealed in every face, sought in every sign, gazed upon by every eye, worshipped in every object of worship, and pursued in the unseen and the visible. Not a single one of His creatures can fail to find Him in its primordial and original nature.” – al-Futûhât al-Makkiyya (The Meccan Revelations) of Ibn Arabi.

It was Ibn Arabi to wrote the famous quote: “Wheresoever you turn, there is the face of God.” The above quote is an extension of that Truth in that He is in each one of us and is our very primordial and original nature.

Today’s Video: “Alone with the Alone” – More of Ibn Arabi’s teachings



Yesterday, Zhungzi told us what Happiness isn’t. Today he tells us what Happiness is.

“To be constant is to be useful. To be useful is to realize one’s true nature. Realization of one’s true nature is happiness. When one reaches happiness, one is close to perfection.” – Zhuangzi

In other words, when one realizes one’s true nature, there is no sense of lack. Without a sense of lack, one is eternally happy. Thus, one realizes that Happiness is one’s true nature.

Have a great weekend, everyone. And here’s our Zhuangzi video with more of the Sage’s views on Happiness.



No discussion of what happiness is or – in this case, what it isn’t – would be complete without a quote or two from Zhuanzi.

“When I look at what the world does and where people nowadays believe they can find happiness, I am not sure that that is true happiness. The happiness of these ordinary people seems to consist in slavishly imitating the majority, as if this were their only choice. And yet they all believe they are happy. I cannot decide whether that is happiness or not. Is there such a thing as happiness?” – Zhuangzi

Tomorrow Zhuangzi will tell us what he believes happiness truly is. And now for our Video…



Today a quote on happiness from Rumi’s mentor and guru, Shams Tabrizi.

“Happy is the one whose eyes sleep,
but whose heart does not sleep!
Woe on the one whose eyes do not sleep,
but whose heart does sleep!”
– Shams Tabrizi, from My Path to God

Video: My Path to God- Shams Tabrizi (See also, Forty Rules of Love)




Rumi, the Sufi poet and mystic, has many quotes on Joy and Happiness. Here are just a few.

“When you feel a peaceful joy, that’s when you are near the truth.” – Rumi
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” – Rumi
“The soul is here for its own joy.” -Rumi
– And my personal favorite –
“Get yourself out of the way, and let joy have more space.” – Rumi

Video: “Lose Yourself” – Rumi



Today we have another ‘Bliss’ quote. This one from a close disciple of John Klein’s, Francis Lucille, who trained as a mathematician and is also a Nondual Advaita teacher. He lives in Temecula, CA.

“When we are happy, we don’t know that we are happy, because happiness requires childlike innocence. When a child is happy, he doesn’t know that he is happy. He doesn’t formulate it, he simply enjoys it.”
– Francis Lucille

Video: Francis Lucille, “The Mission of Life is to Discover Happiness”




Happy New Year to all! It’s a new year and a new slant on our daily quotes and videos. They are no longer related solely to Daoism and Daoist philosophy but to all Nondual practices, philosophies and teachers.

Since this is a happy time of year, we are going to start off with a blissful quote from Jean Klein, the French author and nondualist philosopher and teacher of Advaita Vedanta, who originally trained as both a musicologist and a physician and worked in the French underground during World War II.

“In silent surrender there is bliss and prayer without request or demand. There is no doer, experiencer, lover or beloved. There is only a divine current. You see that the very act of welcoming is itself the solution to the problem and the action which follows your comprehension is very straightforward. When you become familiar with the act of surrender, truth will solicit you unsought.”

Video: Interview with Jean Klein – Discovering the Current of Love





HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! RELAX – You made through another year. Be thankful – and Joyful! See you January 2, 2023


I am doing a retreat over the next five days with Francis Lucille, an Advaita teacher and disciple of Jean Klein. So, I will wish you a Merry Christmas now and leave you with this thoughtful quote from Rumi…

“What a Joy, to follow the way of the heart.” – Rumi

Merry Christmas and Joy to All from the depths of my heart.

A special video for Christmas, a time of true giving.



Today’s quote regarding the Daoist view on Joy and Happiness comes once again from Chuang-tzu. Sometimes he uses Confucius and his disciples to get his point across.

Chuang-Tzu writes…

Confucius said to Yen Hui:

“Oh, come on, Hui. Your family is poor and your house is dilapidated. Why don’t you get a job?” — “I don’t want a job. I have eight acres of fields outside the city wall, enough for vegetables and grain. I also have an acre and a half of farm land nearby, which gives me enough silk and hemp. Strumming my zithers is enough to give me pleasure, studying Tao with you is enough to make me happy. I don’t want a job”

Whether you are strumming your zithers or dragging your tail in the mud like a turtle, studying the Tao and practicing self-cultivation, should be enough to make you happy. Enjoy your practice, enjoy Life, everyone.

Today’s video features Baguazhang and Li Wei Dong showing specific exercises and their applications.



One more plain and simple quote from the I Ching on Joy and Happiness for the Jolly month of December.

“No plain not followed by a slope. No going not followed by a return. He who remains persevering in danger is without blame. Do not complain about this truth; Enjoy the good fortune you still possess.”
—I Ching

Much like yesterday’s I Ching quote this is the I Ching insisting that you enjoy your good fortune while it’s here because you never know how long before it’s gone. Enjoy your practice, folks.

Here’s Part 2 of the Martial Man’s interview with Prana Dynamics founder and martial artist, Master Huai Hsiang (Howard) Wang.



Here’s another plain and simple quote from the I Ching on Joy and Happiness for the Jolly month of December.

“Change is certain. Peace is followed by disturbances; departure of evil men by their return. Such recurrences should not constitute occasions for sadness but realities for awareness, so that one may be happy in the interim.”
—I Ching

The I Ching is simply saying: “Enjoy life while you can.” We know joyful moments don’t last. Life always intrudes with disturbances of one kind or another. So what? Enjoy the present moment while you can. As long as there are no disturbances right now, why worry and fret? That goes for your practice as well. Enjoy, folks.

Today’s video continues with Part 1 of the Martial Man’s interview with Prana Dynamics founder and martial artist, Master Huai Hsiang (Howard) Wang.


We concluded last week with a quote from the I Ching, and we will start off Christmas Week in the Jolly month of December with another quote on Joy and Happiness from the ever-wise I Ching.

“On average, an infant laughs nearly two hundred times a day; an adult, only twelve. Maybe they are laughing so much because they are looking at us. To be able to preserve joyousness of heart and yet to be concerned in thought: in this way we can determine good fortune and misfortune on earth, and bring to perfection everything on earth.”
—I Ching

So is this what Lao-Tzu meant when he said we need to become like a newborn baby? Go ahead and laugh your head off! It’s all a part of practicing self-cultivation. Enjoy, folks.

Two more weeks to New Year’s Day and to the deadline for registering in Master Huai Hsiang Wang’s six-month online master class in Prana Dynamics running from January – June, 2023. You will learn key aspects such as Confluence to Permeation for Fascia Activation, Linear vs Spatial Alignment, Simultaneous mind-body modulation, Tensegrity, Synchronization vs. Flow, From Flexibility to Conductivity and so much more. Master Wang, the son of Grandmaster Wang Chieh, is the originator of Prana Dynamics, and this is the only place where you can learn Prana Dynamics. Learn more at PranaDynamics.com.

Here’s a video clip of Prana Dynamics in action from The 2020 Martial Camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand.



We conclude the week with another quote on the importance of music in achieving Joy from the I Ching for this Jolly month of December.

When thunder comes it relieves the tension and promotes positive action. Music can do the same by making people enthusiastic and united together. When used to promote good it brings them closer to heaven.
—I Ching

Did you find that special music yet that stops the inner turmoil of thought, relieves tension and promotes positive action? If not, keep searching and enjoy the weekend, everyone. See you on Monday.

In today’s video Grandmast Zhong Yunlong presents the other classic Wudang form, Wudang Tai Chi 28.



Today’s quote for the Jolly month of December as we focus on Joy and Happiness with a Daoist perspective is from author Wu Wei.

“Great music stops the inner turmoil of thought and allows the mind to seek its natural state of joy. Music frees our minds and allows us to soar to heights where we can experience the celestial. Music opens our minds to allow the perception of new thoughts of a higher nature, which gives us a spiritual lift, which produces yet more joy.”
― Wu Wei, I Ching Wisdom: More Guidance from the Book of Answers, Volume Two

The Key phrase here is “great music,” not necessarily pop music or dance music or rap or country & western or even classical Mozart. It may refer to classical Chinese or classical Indian or Sufi. That is up to you to sort out. I would say whatever resonates with your inner spirit. Listen and enjoy, everyone.

In today’s video we look at Wudang Tai Chi, which has two classic form – the 13 and the 28. Today, we viewing the Wudang Tai Chi 13 present by Grandmaster Zhong Yunlong.



The next few Joy and Happiness quotes come from India. Today’s quote is from ancient India from a contemporary of Lao-Tzu, Gautama Buddha…

“There is no path to Happiness; happiness is the path.”
– Gautama Buddha

I don’t know if Lao-Tzu would agree, but I’m certain Chuang-Tzu would. The problem is how does one find this path. My Advaita teacher had the solution: Just think you’re happy. Or, as the song goes, “Don’t worry. Be Happy.” Enjoy, everyone.

Today’s video is another view of The Martial Camp. This one from Adam Mizner’s training partner, Sifu Liang DeHua, demonstrating “Connection.”



Today’s quote for the Jolly month of December as we focus on Joy and Happiness comes from a French author and one of the most influential writers of the last century, Marcel Proust.

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
– Marcel Proust

Proust may have been far from Daoist, but it is a wonderful play upon Nature that any Daoist can appreciate and a gracious thought to put into practice. Enjoy, folks.

Today’s video is a demonstration of Yang style Peng, Liu , Ji, An with Adam Mizner at his 2020 Martial Camp.



Today’s quote for the Jolly month of December as we focus on Joy and Happiness with a Daoist perspective is from the great German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer.

“It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.”
– Arthur Schopenhauer

I don’t think there is a Daoist anywhere, living or dead, who would disagree with that. Go to it, folks, and enjoy your practice.

Today we also have a Joyful video courtesy of world-famous qigong master Wong Kiew Kit entitled, “The Joy of the Three Circle Stance.” Follow along, folks.



We start off another week of Jolly December with my favorite Daoist sage, Chuang-Tzu (Zhuangzi), with one of my favorite Daoist stories that best exemplifies the Daoist concept of Joy and Happiness.

Chuang Tzu with his bamboo pole was fishing in the Pu river. The prince of Chu sent two vice-chancellors with a formal document: “We hereby appoint you prime minister.” Chuang Tzu held his bamboo pole still. Watching the Pu river he said, “I am told there is a sacred tortoise offered and canonized three thousand years ago, venerated by the prince, wrapped in silk, in a precious shrine on an altar in the temple. What do you think? Is it better to give up one’s life and leave a sacred shell as an object of cult in a cloud of incense for three thousand years, or to live as a plain turtle dragging its tail in the mud?”

“For the turtle,” said the vice-chancellor, “better to live and drag its tail in the mud!”
“Go home!” said Chuang Tzu. “Leave me here to drag my tail in the mud.”

Ahh, what better expression of Joy than to fish in the Pu river and decline the opportunity to become a prime minister! So, your practice to start the week is to drag your tail in the mud. Well, not literally. But take the time to look at all the things you are doing and see if any or maybe most of them are blocking you from doing what will surely bring you joy. Enjoy your practice, folks!

We heard Mark Rasmus’ opinion on combining tai chi and a weight lifting practice. Now here’s a second opinion.



Today’s quote for the Jolly month of December focusing on Joy and Happiness is from another Buddhist, this one being Tibetan – none other than the Dalai Lama XIV.

“Genuine happiness consists in those spiritual qualities of love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness and so on. For it is these which provide both for our happiness and others happiness.”
-Dalai Lama XIV

Good advice even if the Dalai Lama is not Daoist. Certainly these are Daoist qualities as well. Practice them daily if you can and have a great weekend, everyone.

Today’s video presents the first of two views on the controversial practice of doing both tai chi and lifting weights. The first view is from Marc Rasmus.



Today’s happiness quote for this Jolly month of December is from a well-known Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh.

“The present moment is filled with Joy and Happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

The quote is from a Buddhist, but I’m sure it will resonate with many Daoists. So, make that your practice for today. Be attentive to those moments to day that can bring Joy and Happiness. And I am sure you will enjoy your practice, everyone.

Today’s video feature Mark Rasmus once more explaining using elastic for to cut a partner’s root.



Our quote today is from Darrell Calkins, author of a collection of letters entitled “RE:” Calkins, a mentor, consultant and educator, focuses on the deeper aspects of wellbeing with an emphasis on bridging perspectives across disciplines, cultures, and traditions.

“Laughter has got to be the single healthiest activity one can perform. Just think how healthy you would be if you could sincerely laugh at that which now oppresses you.”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

Not only would you be healthier but much happier as well. So, laugh more and especially laugh at yourself. Wll of us take ourselves way too seriously. Enjoy your practice, folks.

More from Mark Rasmus on developing Elastic Force in today’s video selection. This one focuses on developing the fascia.



Today’s look at Happiness during the Jolly month of December is not from the Daoist perspective, although I am sure many Taoist sages would most likely concur. It is by Jean Klein, an Advaita sage, from his “Dialogue at the Day of Listening,” in Fairfax, CA: May 22, 1991, and published in his “Book of Listening,”

“You may for some time live with the desire for a certain object, then one day this object is attained. You will then see that at the moment of attainment the object is not present, and you are not present. There is only a non-dual state: happiness. Then you can see that the cause is not in the object and you no longer project any object. Then you are free from the desire for objects and a profound maturity arises: you are free from all projection, because you have clearly understood that the cause is not an object, that happiness is causeless. You must come to this experience.
When you become restless it is because you have identified happiness with an object. But happiness is not in an object. It is causeless. It comes when you are open. It is not in a red car, a beautiful house, a second marriage.
You must live completely in openness, and this openness is the happiness.”
– Jean Klein, “Dialogue at the Day of Listening”

We think happiness is acquiring objects whether it be a new job, a new car or iphone, a new lover. But in truth – and self-dultivation is about realizing Truth – objects are not the cause of happiness. No person, place or thing can cause one to be happy. As Jean Klein has said – happiness is causeless. It comes when you are open. Openness is the happiness. So, for today, let’s see if we can practice being open. Open to your environment, open to your family, open to your friends, open to your emotions, open to yourself. And, above all, enjoy your practice, people.

In today’s video we are going to learn about Elastic Force with Sifu Mark Rasmus and the Martial Man.



Today we have a not-so-jolly quote on happiness from Chuang-Tzu in this jolly season of December. Nevertheless, it is how a true Daoist sage look at happiness as it relates to our lives.

“I cannot tell if what the world considers ‘happiness’ is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while they claim to be just on the point of attaining happiness.”
― Chuang-Tzu, from the Zhuangzi

Abiding by Chuang-Tzu’s directive, your practice for today is to see how many times you can stop yourself from a negative thought or action and change direction. Enjoy your practice, folks.

Today’s video is on advanced tai chi sparring demonstrated by Victor Shim.



Sheila Burke starts us off this week with a quote from “Enriched Heart: The Tao of Balancing Your Big, Beautiful, Badass Soul” as welook at the Daoist perspective on Happiness and Joy for December.

“You have the power to change the happiness level in someone’s life and in the process you change your mind-set and the level of your own happiness. Practicing kindness and compassion will change your life, your environment, your outlook on your future, and how you view what has happened in your past.”
― Sheila M. Burke, Enriched Heart: The Tao of Balancing Your Big, Beautiful, Badass Soul

In essence, Burke is giving us the #1 rule for Happiness. If you want to be happy, then make someone else happy. That sounds like a great practice to start off the your week. Enjoy, folks.

Today’s video shows tui shou (push hands) basic concepts for new students rom Grandmaster Victor Shim.



Another blissful quote on Taoism during this blissful, jolly season. This one from Leland Lewis…

““The Eternal Tao

Like the softness
of water we flow…
through gentleness
of love we grow…
and through blissful
Oneness we know…
Forever is now.”
― Leland Lewis, Random Molecular Mirroring

Wishing you and yours blissful Oneness this weekend, and practice making your practice blissful and let blissfulness be your practice.

Today’s video is the first of several with Victor Shim on push hands and using qi. In this one, Master Shim demonstrates push hands self-practice.



It’s December, ‘Tis the season to be Jolly. So, we look at Joy and Happiness from the Daoist perspective – fa la la la la! Today’s quote is from Lieh-Tzu and is nearly the mirror image of yesterday’s quote from Chuang-Tzu.

“To be truly happy and contented, you must let go of the idea of what it means to be truly happy or content. ” — Liezi, the Book of Lieh-Tzu

From both Chuang-Tzu and now Lieh-Tzu, one can surmise that the Daoist concept of happiness is based on their principle of wu-wei (non-action or no action). This means without intention, with no thought of pursuing happiness or joy but as my Advaita teacher once said, “Think that you are happy.” Do that and enjoy your practice, folks.

In today’s video, we will practice how to deepen and anchor the breath with my teacher, Damo Mitchell, in Part 2 of Anchoring the Breath…



December is the month of Joy, Happiness and Merriment. So, we will look at Joy and Happiness from the Daoist perspective as well as that of other spiritual traditions. And who better to start us off than my favorite Daoist philosopher – Guess who – none other than Chuang-Tzu.

“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.” — Zhuangzi

There you have it, short but sweet, the whole month in a nutshell. Tomorrow we will hear from Lieh-Tzu. Enjoy your practice, my friends.

In today’s video, we are going to step away from tai chi and bagua and start to look at the Qi specifically and Qigong practice. Of course much of qigong can be applied to the other internal arts, which is especially the case with breathing. Today, we will hear how to deepen and anchor the breath from my teacher, Damo Mitchell, in a 2-part video lesson. Here’s Part 1…