The Perfect Man is a spiritual being.— Chuang Tzu
Taoist “magic” diagrams date to the origins of Shamanism and have been used for several thousand years. Given their Shamanistic heritage, magic diagrams were originally drawn with wooden sticks in the sand of special “sandboxes” or on the banks of rivers using reeds. Over time, these drawings were inscribed on the bark of trees and finally upon specially produced scrolls. In their final, most powerful form, magic diagrams were painted with red brush strokes on yellow or gold paper.
How do these powerful diagrams work? All of Taoism’s practical applications are based upon the manipulation of unseen energy called “chi.” In martial arts and holistic healing, chi manipulation yields tangible results that can be witnessed in dramatic physical ways. In a similar sense, Taoist diagrams harness the power of cosmic chi.
Taoist alchemists discovered that brush strokes conforming to specific configurations could modify a person’s aura (or individual chi) when made by a powerful Master. This procedure captures universal or cosmic chi from its normally disperse state and concentrates it. In a unique conjunction of mathematics and art, the configuration of the diagram contains encoded “information” that creates a specialized receptacle for the captured cosmic chi according to its specific purpose. In this way, the diagram can change an individual’s chi flowing throughout his meridian system and reconnect him to the beneficial flow of the Universe. Diagrams are hung throughout the Temple of Original Simplicity and used in its meditation and ceremonial programs.
Do not allow the mind to lead one astray from Tao, and not supplement the natural by human means.
One of the most important ways to gain an understanding of reality is through Taoist philosophy. Correct philosophical principles teach the mind to accurately assess reality and thus counter the effects of incorrect thinking due to dysfunctional notions originating from dogma. In this regard, Lao Tzu’s philosophy uses nature as its model of reality, unpolluted by man’s complicated distortions. He defined principles reflecting the true dynamics of reality. The Center of Traditional Taoist Studies teaches a curriculum with Nine Cardinal Principles at its core.
While Taoist philosophical principles can help the rational individual find his way out of confusion’s fog, it needs a practical means to fight off competing unhealthy thoughts instilled since birth and reinforced each day on television. Taoist principles may make logical sense, but the modern mind must battle emotions born of years following countervailing beliefs. Such ingrained patterns dog the mind with thoughts that disturb one’s mental state, causing it to run amok.
Nature is Unkind
Nature is unkind: It treats the creation like sacrificial straw-dogs. The Sage is unkind: He treats the people like sacrificial straw-dogs.—
– Lao Tzu
Given that the Taoist regards Nature as his model of uncorrupted reality, what is the fundamental lesson to be derived? Lao Tzu permits no confusion on this point with his declaration that “Nature is unkind.” Despite pastoral representations that the natural world is an environment of polite coexistence, observed reality exhibits a harsher truth typified by the strong preying on the weak in the ever-present food chain. Apparently there is little mercy in the natural world as all effort is devoted towards survival. Therefore, Lao Tzu insists “the Sage is unkind,” urging the Taoist to avoid the Siren call of Universal Love and instead embrace a mindset of harsh indifference towards all but a few loved ones. Enlightened self-interest would be the best way to describe this principle to modern sensibilities.
Desires and Limitations
He who knows where to stop may be exempt from danger.
– Lao Tzu
One of its most prescient warnings in the Tao Te Ching is to avoid the popular notion that “the sky’s the limit.” This myth causes people to jeopardize themselves with plans motivated by unchecked desires and unrealistic expectations. Lao Tzu’s anecdote to this common disease is to observe that the natural world is an environment of clearly defined limits; the necessities of survival do not permit confusions about the boundaries of strength, speed or ferocity. In translating this observation to Man, he advises using practical tests to constantly check whether desires are attainable and within our grasp. The weight lifter adds 5 pounds — not 50 — to test and improve his maximum lift, the runner gradually increases his training distance before attempting a marathon, and a student pilot flies to the next town before attempting to transit the country. Thus our inherent desires, including pride, make contentment unachievable without practical tests to remind us of our limitations. This ensures that our mental model of the world is firmly grounded in reality, arresting tendencies to chase chimeras and remain in a content state of what is attainable.
Shanghai Chi Quong Research Association
In 1995, a delegation of the Center’s Board of Directors traveled to Shanghai at the invitation of the Shanghai Chi Quong Research Association. The delegation’s mission was to compare and contrast the various forms of Chi Quong practiced and taught at the Center. In addition, the Center wished to establish joint programs with the Association to further promote the practice of Chi Quong worldwide.
The Shanghai Chi Quong Research Association, a major component of the Chinese Chi Quong Research Association, has over 10,000 members in Shanghai. The membership includes individuals from all aspects of Chinese society with representatives from government, industry, education, and professional practitioners of Chi Quong. The Association’s headquarters boasts a museum and research library documenting the history of Chi Quong from ancient times to present day. Within the Association’s main building is a
clinical research facility that is part of the World Health Organization. The delegation’s visit was hosted by the Standing Deputy Secretary- General of the Association, Professor Zhu Run Long, a recognized leader in Chi Quong throughout China, Japan and Greater Asia.
During visits to Shanghai, the Center’s delegations have met with numerous practitioners and researchers of Chi Quong, resulting in joint cooperative programs. The highlight of these trips was induction of the delegation into the Association. This was a significant honor as there are but a handful of non-Chinese as members.
White Cloud Temple of Shanghai
In 1994, a delegation of directors from the Center of Traditional Taoist Studies traveled to Shanghai to establish ties with the Taoist community in China. During the trip, the Quan Shen Taoists of the White Cloud Temple in Shanghai honorably received the delegation. The Taoist Abbott Lui, Senior Abbott for the White Cloud Temple, met with the delegation in a series of extensive meetings. Grand Master Anatole described the Center’s
achievements in the United States as well as the core beliefs of the Temple of Original Simplicity. After extensive discussions, the Taoist Abbott was greatly pleased and agreed to support the Center’s efforts to promote the classical teachings of Taoism in the West.
During the visit, the Center’s delegation was granted permission to take photographs of the interior of the White Cloud Temple and its Taoist artifacts. This was an historic privilege representing the first time non-members of the Temple were given unrestricted access to the temple’s interior — one of the last remaining original Taoist temples.
The Center’s extensive documentation of White Cloud confirmed the authenticity of its own temple’s design according to traditions established thousands of years ago.
In October of 1996, at the invitation of Grand Master Anatole, Professor Wong, the lay superior of the Shanghai Quan Shen Taoists visited the Center of Traditional Taoists Studies in Weston, Massachusetts. History was made at this meeting with the signing of an Agreement of Mutual Support and Recognition between the two temples. As such, the Temple of Original Simplicity became the first and only western temple recognized by the
Quan Shen Taoists. The Center has since supported the White Cloud Temple by sponsorship of the Quan Shen nunnery outside Shanghai.
“Pray to the immortal spirits, call them to your aid, and you will be rewarded.”
– Liu Yang Tai
Ancient Taoist Chinese shamanism
In our Temple of Original Simplicity we faithfully follow traditional methods and sacred rules of ancient Chinese shamanism.
Below you can find interesting historical information about this subject.
During the Chou dynasty, shamanism became popular in mainstream Chinese society, as Eva Wong (1997, book: “The Shambhala Guide to Taoism”) described: Shamanism entered a new phase in ancient China with the development of literacy and a sedentary society. By the 12th century B.C.E., in the early part of the Chou Dynasty,
Kings and Nobles employed shamans as advisors, diviners and healers. Shamanism became an institution, and shamans were expected to exercise their ability as a duty. . . .
During the Chou dynasty, the duties of the shamans were inviting the spirits, interpreting dreams, reading omens, rainmaking, healing, and Celestial divination.
- Inviting the spirits. A major task of the shamans of the Chou Dynasty was to invite the spirits to visit the mortal realm and offer them- selves as a place for the Spirit to stay temporarily. The visitation of the Spirit generally began with a dance, which put the Shaman in a trance and allowed the Spirit to enter the shaman’s body. This is different from possession, in which the spirit enters the body of the possessed, which then causes the trance. The shaman’s trance is the state of consciousness necessary for the visi- tation, rather than the result of the visitation. As Eliade asserts, this is the hallmark of a shamanic experience, making shamans different from psychic mediums and sorcerers whose magic is based on possession.
- Interpreting dreams. Dreams are considered to be carriers of omens, and one of the shaman’s tasks is to interpret these messages from the spirits. In ancient China, the dream was also linked to the shaman’s journey to the other realms. The ceremony of summoning the soul of the dead was conducted by a shaman called “the dream master.” This suggests that although dreams of nonshamans were messages from the spirits, they were not under the dreamer’s control, whereas the dreams of the shamans were journeys to other realms of existence in which the shamans were in full control of the dream journey.
- Reading omens. Another task of the shaman was to observe the changes in nature, predict the course of events, and decide whether it was auspicious or not to engage in a certain activity. Thus, shamans in the Chou dynasty were adept in the knowledge of the I-ching (the classic work of divination from ancient China known as the Book of Change) and were the forerunners of diviners.
- Rainmaking. It was also the task of the shaman to pray for rain. The rainmaking ceremony involved dancing and singing. The Chinese word for Spirit (ling) consists of three radicals: one meaning rain, another (showing three mouths), chanting, and the third, shaman. Often, the shaman would be exposed to the sun, using his suffering to “persuade” the sacred powers to send rain. Although the specifics of the ceremony have changed down the years, praying for rain has continued to be an integral part of Chinese religious ritual, and today the ceremony is performed by Taoist priests.
- Healing. Healing was another major task of the shaman. In the earliest times, this was primarily the responsibility of the shamaness. We are told that, in the healing ceremony, the shamaness grasped a green snake in her right hand and a red snake in her left hand and climbed into the mountains to gather the herbs that would restore life and health to a sick or dying person. The ancient Chinese believed that illness was the result of malevolent spirits invading the body; it was therefore logical that the task of healing should fall on the shoulders of the shaman, who had the ability to deal with both good and malevolent spirits.
- Celestial divination. During the latter part of the Chou dynasty, Celestial divination was very popular. It was believed that, given harmony in the skies, there would be peace, prosperity, and harmony on earth. The key to peace and prosperity lay in following the Celestial Way, or will of heaven, and for the Celestial Way to be followed, the meaning of celestial phenomena must be interpreted; thus, shamans were employed in the court to observe the skies and interpret Celestial events.
The Ceremonial attributes of Ancient Chinese shamanism of the Celestial Fox creed at the Temple of the Original Simplicity.
The Temple of Original Simplicity performs ancient Chinese Taoist Shamanistic ceremonies to communicate with the holy spirits of the Celestial Foxes. These sacred rituals are completed with the master wearing special ceremonial garments, using consecrated talismans from cultures and geographies where the worship of
the celestial Foxes is flourishing today just as it did thousands of years ago.
For the last 40 years in the Temple of Original Simplicity Master Alex Anatole has been a translator of cultures, interpreting the sacred Chinese Shamanistic principles for modern western culture. This spiritual journey led to the crystallization of the Temple’s Heavenly Lin Hun Therapy utilizing eclectic Celestial Fox teachings, icons and rituals from such diverse places as China, Mongolia, Japan, Southeast Asia, Central and South America, Kazakhstan and the Altai and Buryatia, regions in Siberia. As part of this eclectic sharing of Сelestial Fox dogma and icons, the master can wear different vestments at certain times during the shamanistic ceremony. The master can burn magic Taoist diagrams wearing the celestial garb of a Chinese Taoist priest, the ceremonial Shaman’s armor of Mongolia, Siberia shaman’s robes, along with an elaborate hat complete with the talisman of the Celestial Foxes.
The master also can don the Celestial Japanese mask of the Celestial Foxes protected with sacred amulets of the Goddess Inari. The Celestial deity Inari is the highest authority of the heavenly Foxes in Japan. Channeling the spirit of the Сelestial Foxes by donning the sacred, blessed Heavenly Fox mask, the master can invoke the power of the Сelestial Foxes in the venerable Heavenly Fox hall in the Temple of Original Simplicity. The great Celestial Fox hall has Heavenly Fox spirits from all over the world. Included in the sacred hall of Heavenly Foxes is the holy nine-tail Celestial Fox goddess from Thailand, the Heavenly Celestial Foxes from Japan, the great goddess of the holy Foxes from Taiwan and the venerable Celestial Fox spirits from China, Mr. and Mrs. Hu.
In the creed of Celestial Fox Shamanism there are icons of the holy Fox deities that are worshipped in different countries in different cultures all around the world. There are some differences in the ceremonial artifacts and rhythm of the rituals, but the core and methods of Shamanistic communication with the spirit of the Celestial Foxes is consistent across all the cultures and geographies.
Taoist Ceremony of Temple Purification In the New Year Celebration
Grandmaster Alex Anatole performing a sacred ceremony purging congregation members from malevolent spirits by burning magic Taoist diagrams during the 2020 Year of the Rat Chinese New Year ceremony.
Taoist Ceremony of Opening Eyes
Taoist Ceremony of Temple Purification In the New Year Celebration
The Taoist Point of View on the Futility of Plans
ANCIENT Taoist CHINESE exorcism
Grandmaster Anatole performs a sacred Taoist Lin Hun ceremony of Exorcirm designed to purge The Temple of Original Simplicity from malevolent spirits. Part of the purging procedure is a purification of the temple from harmful influences. All members of the Temple’s congregation come to worship the Celestial Foxes and change their fates from misfortune to fortune.
Chinese Shamanistic Exorcism Kit. The kit includes different tools for warding off malevolent spirits. Magic protection diagrams are carved on the wooden plates of the kit.
Taoist Exorcism ceremony to ward off a malevolent spirit from the body of the afflicted man for physical health and wellness.
Ancient Chinese Taoist Shamanism. Pictured is the Celestial Fox ritual of Heavenly Lin Hun Therapy. Grand Master Anatole uses Celestial Fox Exorcism to remove a predator spirit. This ancient Taoist Celestial Fox ritual captures the offending spirit in a magic diagram, punishing it, ultimately burning the diagram and sending the predator spirit to the Celestial Court of Heavens.
Smoking the Celestial pipe. Grand Master Alex Anatole captures evil spirits from a patient’s body in a magic bone ball.
The Unity of Souls ceremony in the central hall of the Temple of Original Simplicity.
White Cloud Temple of Shanghai
This brief clip demonstrates temple visitors burning offerings of incense to the Taoist Gods. Oftentimes the sacrifices are substantial. This video was recorded in the Shanghai White Cloud Temple with special permission granted by the Supreme Master Abbot Lu to members of the congregation from the Temple of Original Simplicity (Massachusetts, US). Special thanks to the White Cloud Temple Administration for the recording privileges.