Interview

The Wisdom of Tao Explained – Alex Anatole’s Television Interview in Moscow

Grand Master Anatole’s television interview

Taoist Grand Master Alex Anatole 
Interviewed On Unity Radio

Taoist Grand Master Alex Anatole interviewed on Jay Talking on WBZ, Feb 1,2017

Taoist exhibition in Paris, France

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In May 2010 Grand Master Alex Anatole was invited to attend an exhibition devoted to Taoism in Paris, France. “The Way of Tao” (La Vole du Tao) — which means Another Path of Being was held in Paris at Galeries nationales du Grand Palais near the Champs-Elysées. This beautiful exhibition gave Western visitors an introduction to a totally unfamiliar way of thinking and the concept of Man’s place in the universe.  Displaying several hundreds of Taoist artifacts such as paintings, sculpture, pottery, bronze and textiles, the exhibition allowed visitors to see and understand how Taoism has developed over the centuries, based on some fundamental guiding principles.

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 The collection of artifacts came from the Musée Guimet in Europe, the United States and Taiwan. “La Vole du Tao”, the first monumental exhibition of this kind in Europe, was a successful attempt to visualize Taoism, presenting the mix of philosophy, religion and popular Taoist beliefs that has influenced life in China for more than two millenniums.

Books

The Truth of Tao Reveals Taoism’s Ancient Secrets

Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching is one of the most widely read books in the history of mankind, second only to Christianity’s Holy Bible. And yet for twenty-six hundred years, its teachings have been shrouded in mystery and subject to conflicting interpretations. Now, for the first time, the secrets of this powerful religious and philosophical system are explained to the American audience in a way that is understandable and practical. Grand Master Anatole takes the reader on a journey of enlightenment, eliminating the confusions of Western and Eastern cultural values, explaining the principles of Lao Tzu’s teachings and how to apply them in every day life. In the Truth of Tao, Taoism’s elegant system logically unfolds, uniting the physical, mental and spiritual realms until ultimately the purpose 

of life is revealed. The book is now available in English and Russian editions, with a Chinese translation underway. 

The Essence of Tao

Taoism is codified in the Tao Te Ching, which was written in the sixth century B.C. by the ancient sage Lao Tzu. Despite being history’s second-most translated book after the Bible, its eighty-one poems have often been interpreted with confusing, contradictory, and sometimes blatantly incorrect explanations. The Essence of Tao removes the mystery surrounding this important philosophy and religion by reordering the core poems of the Tao Te Ching into a logical framework based on Taoism’s nine core principles and then explaining these principles in easy-to-understand language. Grand Master Anatole uses ancient and formerly “secret keys” to help unlock Lao Tzu’s mysteries, including Taoism’s famous paradoxes. 

The Essence of Tao will help the reader get a clear view of reality in order to create a content existence.

Tao of Celestial Foxes-The Way to Immortality

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The Creed of the Foxes dates back thousands of years. The worship of gods known as foxes is based on a belief in animistic, foxlike, spiritual deities that are part of the cultural and religious fabric of Asia. To clarify the underlying principles of the Fox tradition, Master Anatole creates for the reader a framework of understanding that focuses on ancient Chinese and Japanese History yet encompasses a structure of beliefs shared by Shamanistic cultures that span the world. Master Anatole also provides a compendium of related aspects from a wide range of culturally and historically diverse practices to illustrate the common beliefs regarding the moving energies of the soul after death, 

while demystifying Taoist correlative cosmology – the basis for all Taoist and Fox metaphysics. Ultimately, he builds to the logical conclusion that the purpose of our lives is to achieve intellectual evolution and spiritual immortality.

A Synopsis of Taoist Teachings for the West

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Ordained as a Taoist priest and Master of Celestial Foxes, Grand Master Anatole continues the traditions and teachings of Taoism and the Creed of Celestial Foxes through a classical curriculum employing the ancient techniques for mental and physical health and wellness.Grand Master Anatole gives a synopsis of the three sacred postulates of Taoism; Nature, Humanity and Justice, and Empirical Metaphysics. Nature, is the litmus test for our earthly existence. The Taoist understanding of Humanity and Justice explains the motivations of the social structure and how to successfully navigate complex social environments. Empirical Metaphysics is the discipline of communicating with the High. Energy to achieve practical results for a successful and prosperous life.

 The three fundamental pillars are based on an understanding of dealing with the impartiality of ultimate reality rather than the idealistic concepts of universal love, freedom, and fairness for all. These three pylons form the golden triangle of Taoism and are presented and explained by Grand Master Anatole in simple, easy-to-understand language.

Ordainment

Over the last 40 years literally thousands of people have studied with Grand Master Alex Anatole at the Center of Traditional Taoist Studies – Temple of Original Simplicity. It has been brought to the attention of the Center that certain people are using the name of Grandmaster Alex Anatole and the Center of Traditional Taoist Studies – Temple of Original Simplicity claiming affiliation to use the Grand Master’s credentials for commercial purposes.

In the last 40 years Grand Master Alex Anatole has only ordained two students that are officially certified to teach Taoism, and their names are withheld due to privacy issues. Anyone else claiming affiliation or using the name of Grand Master Alex Anatole or the Center of Traditional Taoist Studies – Temple of Original Simplicity for commercial purposes is a charlatan and an imposter.

The Center of Traditional Taoist Studies – Temple of Original Simplicity will not tolerate the use of Grand Master Alex Anatole or the Center in a way that misrepresents Grand Master Alex Anatole’s or the Center’s relationship with any current or former student. Further, Grand Master Alex Anatole’s standing as a legitimate Taoist priest demands that credentials related to Taoist priesthood be verified prior to dissemination. Therefore, it is prohibited on any Web site or on any other electronic or physical forum to mention the name of Grandmaster Alex Anatole or The Center of Traditional Taoist Studies – Temple of Original Simplicity claiming affiliation in any way without written permission. Grand Master Alex Anatole is quite serious about preserving the lineage of the Temple of Original Simplicity and of Taoism in general, and will not tolerate any dilution of this line for the purpose of ego-building or commerce.

Any inquiries with respect to a Taoist priest claiming ordainment by Grand Master Alex Anatole should be forwarded to Contact: webmaster @ tao.org for verification.

Shanghai Chi Quong Association

Shanghai Chi Quong Research Association

Grand Master Alex Anatole with Zhu Run Long, President of the Shanghai Chi Quong Research Association.

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Grand Master Alex Anatole discusses the secrets of herbal medicine with his Chinese associates. (Shanghai, China).

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Grand Master Alex Anatole with Zhu Run Long, President of the Shanghai Chi Quong Research Association.

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Grand Master Alex  Anatole with Zhu Run Long, President of the Shanghai Chi Quong Research Association, and Dr. Shee, President of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Shanghai, China).

Presenting the magic diagram to Grand Master Alex Anatole.

Grand Master Alex Anatole discussing the combination of herbs and healing Chi Quong with doctors in The Shanghai Clinic of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

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Grand Master Alex Anatole discusses the secrets of herbal medicine with his Chinese associates. (Shanghai, China).

Famous Chi Quong Master Joi and Grand Master Alex Anatole. (Shanghai, China)

Chi Quong Masters performing healing procedures in Shanghai Clinic of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  

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Grand Master Alex Anatole with Madam Ju in Shanghai. Madam Ju is the world’s foremost cancer healer using Chi Quong.

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Temple

Due to the current situation regarding the coronavirus outbreak,The Center of Traditional Taoist Studies/The Temple of Original Simplicity until further notice will be conducting services on-line for the safety of the congregation. The schedule of the services and prayer ceremonies will be held digitally at the usual times. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding of the situation.

To be in harmony with men is the music of man, to be in harmony with God is the music of God.
— Chuang Tzu

Experience a 3D Virtual Reality tour of the Temple of Original Simplicity

At the core of the Center of Traditional Taoist Studies is its Temple of Original Simplicity. The Temple adheres to the traditional practices of ancient Taoism with programs dedicated to the mental, physical, and spiritual development of its congregation. All of its teachings adhere to the tenets of classical Taoism in their original forms without the distortions of modern culture. Programs include:

  • Classes in Taoist philosophy according to Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching
  • Meditation to reduce the harmful effects of stress, improving the body’s immune system, and quieting confusing thoughts
  • Chi Quong to build a healthy body, increase flexibility, and strengthen mind-body connection.
  • Prayer meditations for spiritual guidance
  • Traditional Taoist ceremonies for religious observances

The first floor of the Temple of Original Simplicity-Center of Traditional Taoist Studies.

 Grand Master Alex Anatole gives an introduction to The Temple of Original Simplicity.

 

Tao temple tour, guided be Grand Master Alex Anatole

ORDAINMENT

  Over the last 40 years literally thousands of people have studied with Grand Master Alex Anatole at the Center of Traditional Taoist Studies – Temple of Original Simplicity. It has been brought to the attention of the Center that certain people are using the name of Grandmaster Alex Anatole and the Center of Traditional Taoist Studies – Temple of Original Simplicity claiming affiliation to use the Grand Master’s credentials for commercial purposes.

   In the last 40 years Grand Master Alex Anatole has only ordained two students that are officially certified to teach Taoism, and their names are withheld due to privacy issues. Anyone else claiming affiliation or using the name of Grand Master Alex Anatole or the Center of Traditional Taoist Studies – Temple of Original Simplicity for commercial purposes is a charlatan and an imposter.

    The Center of Traditional Taoist Studies – Temple of Original Simplicity will not tolerate the use of Grand Master Alex Anatole or the Center in a way that misrepresents Grand Master Alex Anatole’s or the Center’s relationship with any current or former student. Further, Grand Master Alex Anatole’s standing as a legitimate Taoist priest demands that credentials related to Taoist priesthood be verified prior to dissemination. Therefore, it is prohibited on any Web site or on any other electronic or physical forum to mention the name of Grand Master Alex Anatole or The Center of Traditional Taoist Studies – Temple of Original Simplicity claiming affiliation in any way without written permission. Grand Master Alex Anatole is quite serious about preserving the lineage of the Temple of Original Simplicity and of Taoism in general, and will not tolerate any dilution of this line for the purpose of ego-building or commerce.

Any inquiries with respect to a Taoist priest claiming ordainment by Grand Master Alex Anatole should be forwarded to Contact: webmaster @ tao.org for verification.

Pluralism

The Pluralism Project: World Religions in America is a decade-long Harvard University research project with funding from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. Its mission is to engage students in studying religious diversity in the United States, exploring the communities and religious traditions of Asia and the Middle East that have become woven into America’s religious fabric over the past twenty-five years. The Center of Traditional Taoist Studies was profiled by the Project in 2002.

Read Harvard’s profile of the Center

Tao

Men who possess my Tao are princes in this life and rulers in the hereafter.
– Chuang Tzu

Lao Tzu is the founder of Taoism in 500 BC.

Taoism is both a religion and philosophy with roots extending to ancient shamanism. It is codified in the Tao Te Ching, history’s second most translated book after Christianity’s Holy Bible. Its eighty-one poems were written in 500BC by the Sage, Lao Tzu. Interest in the Tao Te Ching has remained largely unfulfilled due to its mysterious interpretations, often contradictory and sometimes bizarre. These conflicting views are regrettable because Lao Tzu insisted on Ultimate Clarity, with confusion regarded as a cardinal sin. It’s ironic that mystification shrouds a philosophy that allowed neither internal contradictions nor imprecise logic. With so many different explanations available, Taoism has become difficult for Americans to grasp, making it fascinating but also vague. The Temple of Original Simplicity is committed to teaching classical Taoism without the distortions of time and culture, holding to the core philosophy intended by the Great Sage.

Basic Principles

The Tao Te Ching unifies all aspects of existence. It combines both earthly and spiritual dimensions with principles that simultaneously function in physical, mental and metaphysical realms. For this reason, classical Taoist instruction included physical exercise, meditation, philosophy and religious ceremonies to reinforce how core principles transcend dimensions. Whereas the world’s major religions have had to settle for two separate Truths — one of Faith and the other of Reason — Taoism needs no such accommodation and this may attest to its celestial origins. The Temple of Original Simplicity teaches this holistic view of reality in a way that hopefully beguiles while instructs. To help the novice Taoist understand Taoism, below is a summary of Taoism’s Nine Cardinal Principles that succinctly explain its cornerstone tenets. These form the core of the Center’s philosophical curriculum:

1. Goal

2.Oneness

3. Manifestation

4. Nature

5. Society

6. Humanity

7. Non-interference

8.Camouflage

9.Desires

Yin/ Yang Symbol

The yin and yang principles act on one another, affect one another and keep one another in place.

– Chuang Tzu

For 2500 years, the Taoist principle of Yin/Yang has been depicted in a familiar circular symbol known throughout the world. It is worn on bracelets, appears on clothing, and is used in corporate logos. This symbol represents core Taoist principles, with some interesting nuances, which are central to its philosophy.

Since Taoism’s philosophical and religious system is built on a holistic view of reality, its yin/yang symbol is foremost a representation of Universal Oneness with black and white colors alternating within a single circle. Thus the duality of all phenomena — whether summer and winter, male and female, or life and death — are shown to be opposing manifestations of the same principle and should not to be viewed as independent phenomena. This depiction of Oneness and its Opposites are integral to understanding all of Lao Tzu’s poetry.

The yin/yang symbol is half white and half black, each side representing a polar opposite. Note, too, that the symbol is neither predominately white nor predominately black, but equal portions of each. This is meant to represent the balanced proportions of our universe as found in nature. For example, both day and night are needed in roughly equal proportions for life on earth to thrive — 24 hours of daylight or 24 hours of darkness would be disastrous. The symbol also exhibits a rotating pattern between the two colors, suggesting a continuous exchange or movement from black to white and from white to black, like day to night and night to day. These natural manifestations of the yin/yang principle illustrate how opposites must balance for harmony to be achieved. In Chinese medicine, the balance of yin/yang forces is the most important of healing principles.

Understanding yin/yang forces is essential to successfully building one’s path through life. For example, the yin/yang symbol has a definite line between the white and black areas; a well-defined contour distinguishing the two colors. This clarity of color symbolizes the need for clarity in all aspects of a life. Gray isn’t found in the yin/yang symbol. Clarity requires one to commit to do nothing halfway; or to paraphrase an old adage, one shouldn’t try to sit on two chairs. In becoming a spiritual person, a clear purposeful understanding of what is happening is required to determine appropriate action. Caution is required when black and white mix to form an uncertain gray. Unfortunately, confusion will invariably arise when presented with new situations during the course of life. Periods of confusion can be expected, much in the same way that each day transitions through twilight into night. It is the goal of the Taoist, however, to keep his twilight — his period of confusion — as short as possible. As in nature, twilight does not last 24 hours.

Some people seem to embrace confusion, chasing the twilight. They fear decision-making because it carries responsibility for action. For these people, the line between yin and yang is blurred as they remain passive in ambiguous periods. Taoism’s strategy, instead, is to gain clarity and not stay in the middle. Sometimes this can be hard as decisions to achieve clarity may involve uncomfortable conversations followed by tough action. For example, not confronting a dysfunctional and unclear relationship — both personal and professional — comes to mind.

It is equally important to distinguish clarity from purity. A clear vision of the world and decisive navigation throughout life should not be based upon unrealistic expectations of purity. The futility of searching for absolute purity is illustrated by the small white dot in the black area and the small black dot in the white area of the yin/yang symbol. For example, one has no trouble distinguishing day from night, and yet there is not pure darkness at night — there is still some light from the moon and stars. Similarly, when an accomplished artist paints a tree leaf, he mixes in a little brown and yellow paint with the green to achieve a natural, lifelike appearance; a child painting the same leaf would use pure green, which appears artificial and unnatural.

Embracing the power of opposites is necessary for most phenomena to function correctly. An athlete knows muscles grow only if intense physical training is followed by a period of relaxation — otherwise over-training results in damaged muscles. A military officer cultivates tactics for aggressive attack, but also understands how to retreat. Lao Tzu emphasized this inclusion of a small component of opposites, warning that the male part of any phenomenon should “embrace the female.” Thus a natural path does not seek unrealistic purity, but rather a harmony of opposites. If only history’s fanatics understood such a concept!

So with the philosophy of the yin/yang symbol understood, how can it be applied? Given the unity of Taoism, there are applications in the physical, mental and metaphysical realms.

The yin/yang symbol is a circle and not a square; there are no straight lines in nature. In fact, any dynamic motion is more efficient when following a trajectory similar to the yin/yang contour. Thus, the physical motions used in Tai Chi and Chi Quong are circular and not straight in order to better accelerate the body’s natural energies. Martial artists develop increased power by using yin/yang circular motions that are anatomically correct and optimal accelerators.

In the intellectual realm, the yin/yang’s symbol offers a valuable tool for sorting out life’s priorities and making difficult decisions. It turns out that it’s easier for the mind to comprehend what is not wanted, rather than what is desired. For example, if asked what a person wants out of life, there is often confusion and bewilderment. However, by mentally exploring what is not wanted, the desired aspects become clearer and clearer. It turns out that investigating the opposite side of any phenomenon often provides an easier path to enlightenment than the more direct approach. This is a valuable technique that can be immediately used without specialized training.

Death haunts us. Its inevitability is one of the most important driving forces in life. Its uncontrollable arrival is feared and the loss of loved ones lamented. However, the yin/yang symbol illustrates a profound philosophical view that provides comfort. It turns out that the symbol’s rotation of colors represents the journey of the soul and prompts this question: If you fear what happens to your soul after it departs the dead body, shouldn’t you wonder where it came from when it entered the body? That is, the soul goes somewhere at the time of death, so it came from somewhere at time of birth. The realization that death is that time when the soul returns to its home is reassuring. It also carries profound implications about the purpose of life.

Symbols are important: countries have flags, companies have logos, and religions have icons. Taoism’s yin/yang symbol is remarkable because it represents the faith’s cornerstone principles for immediate application in handling life’s big challenges. Indeed, for Taoists, the yin/yang symbol is its Rosetta Stone.

Theology

Do not develop the nature which is of man, but develop the nature which is of God.

– Chuang Tzu

Shanghai Taoists showing respect to gods with incense.

The Center of Traditional Taoist Studies teaches classical Taoist theology based on a holistic view of the universe with religious tenets underlying a system of practical concepts. Whereas Western philosophies and religions have generally viewed reason and faith as mutually exclusive, classical Taoism integrates the two. This is a consequence of recognizing that the forces of the Tao act upon the heavens as well as the earth, making the two indivisibly coupled and thus clarifying, not complicating, understanding. Such a grounded attitude can be traced to Taoism’s shamanistic origins with religious practices born of a time when concrete goals were essential amongst simple peoples trying to survive in a harsh environment.

Taoism’s religious practices build a bridge between one’s earthly human form and the heavens. In the quest for oneness with the universe, Taoists work to understand their paths — which ultimately lead to the Great Ultimate. Prayer, as performed at the Center, opens a two-way communication channel to the heavens. In this way, a devout Taoist sends an appropriate message to the Great Ultimate and receives a concrete answer in return; guidance from the Heavens augment spiritual instruction to clarify one’s path.

To the classical Taoist, life is an on-going effort to unscramble the confusions of the soul. Taoist philosophy provides principles to live by, and guidance from the gods helps see reality more clearly. This not only yields a better daily life, but also points to Taoism’s purpose of life: our soul is placed on earth for a short time to better tune itself to mortal reality. If successful, when the body is cast off, the surviving entity, the soul, is more likely to be accepted by the Great Ultimate. Thus, the duality of existence means that a better life on earth provides for a better afterlife. Significantly, there is no required sacrifice of one for the other, the two existences are complimentary and inextricably bound.

Pantheon of Gods

Therefore all things of the universe worship Tao and exalt Teh.—

— ​Lao Tzu
The Temple’s congregation performing traditional Taoist ceremony.

While the Center of Traditional Taoist Studies teaches the grounded applications of physical Chi Quong and meditation, it is important to understand that the temple is first and foremost a holy place, the Temple of Original Simplicity. If a congregation member wished to only improve his physique, he should go to a health club; if he only wished to only learn philosophy, he should go to college. The core of the temple is the religion of the Tao. Accordingly religion permeates all that is taught… it can’t be separated out.

Spread throughout the temple are religious icons that serve as reminders of Taoism’s core principles. For example, the yin-yang symbol is frequently displayed to remind students that duality binds all natural phenomena: light with dark, action with inaction, and life with death. Similarly, swords and weapons throughout the temple remind all visitors that life is a struggle, a fundamental premise underlying Taoism’s prescription to successfully deal with daily challenges.

Most prominent, however, are images of Taoist gods, representing a specific principle or an important life lesson. The God of Health, for example, reminds the congregation of the importance of maintaining the physical body, the house of the soul.

God of Health and Longevity

God of Health and LongevityThe images of Taoist deities are crafted according to very specific conventions. Again using the God of Health as an example, he is always depicted with a domed head, holding a dragon staff in one hand and a peach in the other. Although typically statues are made from wood or clay, these images are sometimes painted on scrolls (Tangkas), as was the case for highly mobile Taoist clans who needed their temples to be portable for easy transport. A full set of the Temple’s Tangkas may be viewed in the Tangka Gallery.

It is the duty of the Temple of Original Simplicity’s master, Grand Master Anatole, to invite appropriate spirits to inhabit these images using ancient “eye opening” ceremonies — the Taoist equivalent of consecration. Once activated, they serve as the communication portals by which the congregation can pray for celestial guidance. In a sense they become personal oracles to devout Taoists.

 

Traditional Taoist theory holds that the spirits represented via the temple’s images are celestial beings that have achieved their position in one of three ways. Consistent with Taoism’s martial theme, the first category of spirits is that of mortal heroes who died a violent death. Similar to Christian “saints,” these spirits protect those Taoists who sincerely communicate with the heavens and try to live spiritual lives. In this sense, Taoists earn the right to be “chosen people” favored by the heavens, unlike other faiths whereby such status is a birthright or simply self-selection.

God of WarThe second category of Taoist spirits — which includes the God of War — is composed of those celestial creatures who were careless or cocky in their prior mortal state, but learned from their mistakes. The exalted position of these beings reinforces the important Taoist lesson that one should always endeavor to take correct action and not make careless errors; this is important because the Taoist willingness to take action must be tempered by careful, deliberate consideration. Despite such warnings,

imperfect Taoists still have the courage to try to do what is necessary — and bear the consequences of their mistakes. In short, while mistakes are inevitable, the true sin is not the mistake itself, but rather not learning from that error. Indeed, the ability to learn from mistakes is indicative of a Taoist’s skill in adjusting to reality as a continuously adaptive entity.

God of Magical PowerThe final category of Taoist spirits is comprised of those celestial creatures born directly into the celestial world, including, for example, the God of the Magical Power. Since these occupants of the non-physical world were never burdened with a physical body, they are ideal prayer mediums, linking earthly mortals to the Heavens.

There are literally hundreds of Taoist spirits, organized according to a strict hierarchical system with their consecrated images appropriately arranged throughout the temple. While each master has some limited freedom to accentuate certain deities, there remains a specific layout that is consistent across all classical temples; one adhered to by the Center’s Temple of Original Simplicity.

Fox Creed

But I will lead you through the portals of Eternity to wander in the great wilds of Infinity.

– Chuang Tzu

“Pray Sincerely to the Fox Fairies and you get it all !” (Chinese Proverb)

For thousands of years Ancient Chinese Taoist Shamanism cultivated beliefs in the Creed of the Celestial Fox Fairies. The heavenly Fox Fairies were represented on sacred altars in the form of human images of the venerable Mr. and Mrs. Hu.
For many centuries, the Chinese people of the Middle Kingdom prayed to the powerful, divine Fox fairies for health and prosperity. Practically every household had an altar to the venerable Mr. and Mrs. Hu. The ancient creed of immortal Fox Fairies was unknown in the western world. Now it is the time of the great awakening and the truth of the heavenly Fox Fairies is revealed!
The great deities in the form of human images of the venerable Mr. and Mrs. Hu possess the magic power to transform the fate of an individual from misfortune to fortune. The celestial Fox Fairies give mortals hope and the willpower to live a content and prosperous life.

Pray sincerely to the Fox Fairies and you get it all !

狐仙 (Hu Xian)

The Celestial Fox Fairies – The Venerable Mr. and Mrs. Hu.

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The heavenly Fox in the image of the aristocracy, Mr. Hu and Mrs. Hu, China

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Nine tailed Fox Goddess from Thailand.

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Heavenly Fox Goddess from the celestial Fox temple in Taiwan.

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Master Anatole with Mask of the Celestial Fox and the Diamond  King – the Highest Diety in the Court of Heavenly Administration of Celestial Foxes.

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Mask of the Celestial Fox , Japan.

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Mask of the Celestial fox When the Master puts it on the Spirit of the Heavenly Fox enters his body and mind. Essential for Taoist ceremonies of warding off evil spirits and changing someone’s fate from misfortune to fortune.

Ancient Fox altar in Japan

Taoist temples, regardless of location, tend to honor a consistent set of gods, including the Three Pure Ones, Star Gods, God of Wealth, and so on. In addition, many temples emphasize certain deities according to their individual traditions or beliefs. The Center’s Temple of Original Simplicity actively embraces the Fox Creed, an ancient practice of worshiping spirits known as Inari in Japan or Hu  Lee in China. 

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The great God Inari in the male form descending from the heavens. 

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Ritual mask of Celestial Fox.

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The Great spirit of Inari helping a Samurai blacksmith to forge an indestructible sword.

Grand Master Anatole at gate of the Inari Fox Temple in Kyoto, Japan. Note fox statues on either side of entrance.

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Underground temple of celestial foxes. Temple of Foxes; Tokyo, Japan.

The Creed of Foxes has mysterious origins, beginning in China/Mongolia 3000-4000 years ago when peasants noticed that the presence of foxes often coincided with healthy crops and other good fortune. Thus, fox altars were built to attract good luck and a complex belief system evolved over several millennia as shaman priests explored their metaphysical aspects. Over time, the Fox Creed grew more secretive in China, only to be practiced by elite Taoist clergy; however, after migrating to Japan in the 8th century, became immensely popular throughout Japanese culture and today there are over 32,000 fox shrines in Shinto temples throughout the country.

It is the unique animal qualities of foxes that importantly contribute to the Taoist understanding of their connection to the spirit world. Significantly, the fox is elusive with generally mysterious behaviors. Unlike wolves, foxes cannot be domesticated, living according to their own rules and not abiding by convention. The common expression, “Sly as a fox,” is representative of this wily characteristic.

 

Because the fox burrows underground, it is thought, like snakes, to possess the wisdom of underlying or fundamental principles. And this profound knowledge, combined with the foxes’ unconventional qualities, is indicative of its unique abilities within the metaphysical world. In this case, fox spirits were discovered by shaman priests to be able to “fold” time and space, violating the commonly held model of physical reality.

So while the Western world was discovering the world wasn’t flat, Taoist masters were using fox spirits as pathfinders across dimensions.

Fox Altar at Temple of Original Simplicity 

 For a select group of shaman priests, fox spirits became a working bridge between the physical and nonphysical worlds.

There are many conventions associated with the Creed of Foxes, but one of the most interesting relates to their depiction on altars. Classically, foxes are displayed in stylized statues of male and female pairings; the male is on the left with a parchment (or key) in its mouth and, on the right, a female with a pill in her mouth. The parchment represents sacred knowledge, whereas the pill is a “seed” that can produce an immortal soul.

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Celestial Fox banner from the Fox temple in Taiwan.

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The deity Inari  on a celestial Fox.

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Taoist Fox master freeing a Fox spirit from a magic gourd.

 For acolytes devoted to the Fox Creed this implies both a transcendental benefit, but also a serious obligation: sacred knowledge acquired by crossing time and space (represented by the parchment) can nurture the soul (the pill). However, to squander or misuse such a gift carries grave consequences. The Temple of Original Simplicity adheres to original shamanic practices, long thought lost to the modern world.

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Heavenly foxes carrying the Fox master for celebration.

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Celestial fox transforming to Samurai. Japanese wood block print.

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Celestial fox celebrating the wealth  of Inari and the jewel immortality.

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Nine tailed celestial fox with the jewel of immortality and paw on the fire. Temple of Original Simplicity; Boston.

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Nine tailed celestial fox with parchment in the mouth and paw on the fire.

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Celestial Fox with mortal wife and Fox child. Temple of Foxes, Thailand.

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Nine tailed fox exorcism. Japanese wood block print.

Grand Master Alex Anatole and his disciple Master Richard Percuoco conduct a seminar about “The Creed of the Celestial Foxes”.