This is an ongoing US and global project to help enthusiasts, scholars, practitioners, and curious parties learn more about shamanic living in a contemporary culture. The space here is devoted to sharing info, experiences and opinions about all forms of shamanic expression covering shamanism's multiple permutations. Among subjects explored are traditions, techniques, insights, definitions, events, artists, authors, and creativity. You are invited to draw from your own experiences and contribute.

What is a SHAMAN?

MAYAN: "a technichian of the Holy, a lover of the Sacred." CELTIC: "Empower the people...by changing the way we think." MEXICAN APACHE: "Someone who has simply learned to give freely of themselves..." AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL: "...a teacher or healer, a wisdom keeper of knowledge... (who) takes people to a door and encourages them to enter." W. AFRICAN DIAGRA: "views every event in life within a spiritual context." HAWAIIAN: "...human bridges to the spiritual world and its laws and the material world and its trials..." QUECHUA INDIAN: "embodies all experience." AMAZON: "...willing to engage the forces of the Universe...in a beneficial end for self, people, and for life in general."

-- from Travelers, Magicians and Shamans (Danny Paradise)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Daoism Training in China

The Zhi-Zhi-An Temple in the WuYi Shan Mountains, China

Last year, I visited a Daoist monastery to study Qi Gong, Daoist scripts, and meditation.  Zhi-Zhi-An monastery in China was originally built over 1,800 years ago, and was just recently restored after being leveled by the Chinese government decades back. Today it houses monks, scholars, and visitors year-round and is considered one of the most significant Daoist holy places in China.

Every day a ceremony was held at the Zhi-Zhi-An Temple Shrine
According to the retreat organizer, Medical Qi Gong Master Daniel Li Ox, Daoism is heavily rooted in shamanism and alchemy. And there were many overlaps--the toning, the offerings to archetypes and mythological figures, the content of the shrines, the imagery, and the effort to create sharper awareness. There was also an emphasis on personal empowerment, rather than dogma, in my view, which was well received.   

The monastery’s top lecturer and chief Abbott, Master Wang Li-Ming is known as one of China’s leading experts on Daoist sacred texts such as the Book of Changes or “I-Ching,” which he has studied for 30 years. Even high level Chinese government officials have consulted with him to learn more about the Dao. 

Perfectly Fengshuid at the base of one of the highest peaks
Wang says he practices the most advanced form of Qi Gong in China and has received the highest caliber of training available. Well versed in traditional Chinese Medicine and calling himself a practitioner of Chinese alchemy, Wang is one of the very few in the world who has gained the “Golden Elixir” in his body, according to our translator.

“Qi Gong is a discipline which combines patience, skill, and collaboration between the individual’s mind and body,” said Master Wang. Over 14 days of theory and practice, Wang showed us how to explore those elements as healing forces to support the body through meditation training. His aim was to help, “see with the heart in a still condition.”

Throughout this period, I took part in daily meditations, sound toning activities, Qi Gong practices, Dao Yin stretching exercises, a Chi Nei Tsang (specialized form of abdominal massage) training course, Chinese calligraphy lessons with an outstanding local artist, local tea culture, Daoist philosophy lectures, and free time to explore the UNESCO cultural heritage site location.

I received several gifts and expansive moments during my time in China, but the most valuable was being able to find a deeper degree of inner stillness. May be this had something to do with learning meditation from a master with an ancient lineage.  When I was training with Wang, I could profoundly sense there was more happening energetically, perhaps on a shamanic level--especially when our eyes would close and we would reach back to a theoretical point in the universe where all potentiality resides--"the Great Non-Ultimate."

I could concentrate more in these sessions and eased through any stiffness or aches that would normally keep me from going deeper. Wang's presence seemed to make it easy to surrender to the practise and open wider to the wisdom of his teachings. And this is something I feel like I can always return to.

Master Wang (left) and his apprentice
Wang emphasized self-development through discipline and called on us each to “transmute” his teachings subjectively. We would have to approach the Dao in our own way based on our soul’s individual journey, challenges, gifts, and developmental needs, he believed.  “No one else can do this work for you, not even an enlightened Master.” 

Another retreat is planned for the Summer. I recommend it highly-- http://www.wanderingdao.com/activities/wuyi/china_retreat.html

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

how can i contact dr. wang?