Email: Daoism – ‘Advanced Class’ (13.10.2020)

The Heart of the Matter…

Dear Ben 

Master Zhao Bichen (1860-1942) trained with at least 36 different Daoist Masters – but received Daoist Transmission from two elderly Ch’an monks (Liao Kong and Liao Ren). Although there are many types of Daoism, there has always been a tradition that stills the mind as an important first step. You do not need any special Daoist instruction if you gain full enlightenment. All the Daoist methods are for the unenlightened to develop slowly toward enlightenment. Richard forbade me to practice Daoism until I ‘stilled’ my mind and ‘expanded’ my awareness. After that, it was no longer a mystery. What the Daoist’s hold dear – the Buddhists acknowledge and move on (whilst still benefitting from it). Furthermore, we must avoid the trap of Daoist superstition and out of date mysticism. Modern medicine is for more efficient as a means to fight illness and repair injury – even if it is allowed that preventative practice keeps us fitter for longer. I, too, am from a Chinese gongfu family. As I get older, I feel that practice has developed to include a ‘still’ presence. As if the power of the mind achieves far more than the power of the body – even though the body can (and does) facilitate the will of the mind if needed. Furthermore, the mind and body can be ‘ill’ whilst the empty mind ground remains pristine and untouched by such worldly machinations. Therefore, as the Cao Dong Masters say – there is something that is never ill. As regards whether I agree or disagree – although I have opinions, I find myself in a position of being where neither makes any sense whilst in the presence of others. If the empty mind ground is fully realised, all Daoist knowledge will be yours and your martial arts practice transformed. I help Master Zhao Ming Wang (of Beijing) as a duty in recognition great grandfather who taught Charles Luk – but Charles had a different approach he learned directly from Zhao Bichen. Zhao Bichen recognised the superiority of the Ch’an method, but thought that most Chinese people could not achieve this objective, whereas they could (and would) submit to the culturally familiar rituals of Daoist methodology. Zhao Bichen, as a nod to modern logic and reason, did update much of the Daoist instruction – replacing many of the obscure Daoist idioms with terms used within Western anatomy and physiology. He also abolished the exclusive Transmission of one or two disciples per generation – and threw open the gates of the Qianfeng School for all and sundry to train! He also allowed for ‘distance’ Transmission which Zhao Ming Wang does not. (Although he might, but not recognised in public). Anyway, you should begin with level 16 of Taoist Yoga – this is the fully enlightened Ch’an mind – and the other 15 levels will naturally fall into place. Of course, you can go the other way and start at level 1 – but whose got time for that? 

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