Master Zhao Bichen (1860-1942) – Daoist Immortal.

‘Once beyond the initial barrier of potentially bewildering terminology, Zhao Bichen’s approach involves the cultivation of awareness throughout the ‘inside’ of the body, together with an actual awareness of qi as it is distributed throughout the system. In this respect, the inside of the body is perceived (through meditation) as a number of cavities, or vacuous spaces. The breathing mechanism maintains the inflating and deflating of these cavities with qi. Awareness becomes so subtle that even the smallest of movements within the body is clearly sensed. The qi passes around the body through the action of the inward breath and the outward breath, travelling with the blood through the arteries and veins.’

Master Xu Yun (1840-1959) – Present Awareness.

‘Buddhism was tolerated however, despite some historical ups and downs, but leaving home to become a monk has always been a difficult affair. It still was in 1858 when master Xu Yun decided to leave home and pursue the Buddhist monastic path. As his father was a government official, Xu Yun was expected to follow in his footsteps, get married and produce a son to keep the family name of Xiao going. Even though he had expressed spiritual inclinations to his father, his father would not give permission for him to leave. Instead his father arranged for a Daoist teacher to come to the family home and teach Xu Yun internal and external qigong – or ‘energy work’.’