Chinese Taoist praxis (Xiu Lian) can be traced back 5000 years to the
time when Zhang Zi recorded that ¡°Xuanyuan Yellow Emperor asked Guang
Chengzi for the Tao¡±. Not only Taoist devotees in temples but also
ordinary people have been practicing Taoism all over the country. It
has had a wide and deep influence throughout China. Unfortunately until
now it has been imparted mainly by oral methods. Furthermore, good practitioners
or masters usually practiced secretly as hermits. So it has been very
difficult for ordinary learners to get the genuine instructions.
came to appreciate Taoism when I was a young boy and decided to devote
myself to it. I began my Taoist studies on Lao Shan Mountain when I
was 18 and practiced Xiu Lian there for seven years. I read many books
on Tao and Taoist praxis there, and followed both the inner way (meditation)
and the outward way (martial arts). During that time, I sought out and
visited many masters in China. I was trying to understand the genuine
essence of the Taoist praxis.
my sixth year in the temple, I began to understand Taoism in depth.
In 1989 I started working for the Chinese Taoist Association in Beijing,
and had the opportunity to read all the Tao Zhang writings and many
other Taoist sutras. My inner praxis improved a lot, and I began to
grasp fully the true meaning of Taoist praxis. Gradually reaching the
level of Wuwei (not doing) and all the skills (Kung Fu) that I got from
such praxis come naturally.
are many ancient writings on Taoist praxis that have been kept for hundreds
of years, but without any coordinated study. It¡¯s very difficult to
classify all of them and distinguish between the essential and the useless.
Because of its long-rooted tradition nobody has dared to ¡°reveal the
secret of the nature of the Tao.¡± Nobody has ever studied the history
of Taoist praxis systematically and comprehensively. Most of the ancient
Xiu Lian masters wrote down their teachings using unfamiliar words and
parables so it¡¯s very difficult for modern readers to understand them.
Many sects are at different levels.
order to develop the essence of the inherited traditional Chinese Taoist
culture, and thereby benefit more people, we need to do away with conventionalisms
and establish the real essence of Taoism. So I decided to study and
rewrite the theories and methods of Taoist praxis systematically, using
all my experience in sixteen years of long praxis. I described the praxis
explicitly and specifically, so every lover of Taoism can learn to practice
by himself or herself, with no need to leave home looking for masters
as in the old days.
I think we should keep the essence of this inherited Taoist praxis and
at the same time, get rid of everything that is superfluous. The ancient
Xiu Lian masters lived in a society that was totally different from
ours, so we don't need to follow them in every way. Modern Taoist praxis
should be improved in the following aspects:
Don¡¯t be limited to one sect; keep your mind open to other sects.
2. Don¡¯t be negative about life; but live positively.
3. Don¡¯t live like a recluse in the mountains; but practice in society.
4. Don¡¯t stay away from earthly things; associate praxis with common
5. Don¡¯t turn to religious spirits; but practice scientifically.
6. Don¡¯t cling to accomplishments; keep a quiet and peaceful mind.
7. Don¡¯t seek immortality by abandoning life; follow the Tao in this
8. Don¡¯t practice just with your body; learn how to live with Taoist
9. Don¡¯t practice just for yourself; try to serve and help society.