“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.
1. 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.
2. Interpreting dreams. Dreams are consid- ered 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.
3. 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 ac- tivity. 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.
4. Rainmaking. It was also the task of the shaman to pray for rain. The rainmaking cer- emony involved dancing and singing. The Chi- nese word for Spirit (ling) consists of three radi- cals: 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 speci cs of the ceremo- ny 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.
5. Healing. Healing was another major task of the shaman. In the earliest times, this was pri- marily 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.
6. 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.
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
Grand Master Alex Anatole gives an introduction to The Temple of Original Simplicity.
Tao temple tour, guided be Grand Master Alex Anatole
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.
Grand Master Alex Anatole, Master Richard Percuoco, David Wright and Peter LaFarge.
The Temple of Original Simplicity presents senior disciples of Grand Master Alex Anatole discussing their Taoist meditative experiences, as well as the classical Taoist philosophy, the Creed of the Celestial Foxes, Empirical Metaphysics, Lin Hun Therapy and various other topics.
Great Awakening Podcast # 1
In Episode 1, Master Richard Percuoco, David Wright and Peter LaFarge give a brief overview of ‘Why we Meditate’ and introduce the two major forms we practice on a weekly basis- Burning Meditation and Travel Meditation.
The Great Awakening Podcast # 2
In Episode 2, Master Richard Percuoco, David Wright and Peter LaFarge discuss the Time Pool, the City Under the Lava… and various other subjects.
The Great Awakening podcast # 3
The Great Awakening podcast # 4
Master Percuoco, David Wright and Peter LaFarge discuss The Metaphysical Castle.
The Great Awakening podcast # 5
In this episode, Master Richard Percuoco, David Wright and Peter LaFarge review the parable “Those Who Dream of the Banquet” by the Taoist Sage, Chuangtse. They discuss death and the Ultimate Departure. They also talk about why the phrase “the Great Awakening” is used for the podcast title. The disciples are joined by Grand Master Anatole in the later part of the episode.
The Great Awakening podcast # 6
This episode is part one of two in which Master Richard Percuoco, David Wright and Peter LaFarge discuss the importance of imagination in practicing meditation.
The Great Awakening podcast # 7
This episode is part two of two in which Master Richard Percuoco, David Wright, Sam Ranger and Peter LaFarge discuss the importance of imagination in practicing meditation.
The Great Awakening podcast # 8
In this episode Grand Master Alex Anatole, Master Richard Percuoco, David Wright and Peter LaFarge discuss ‘Benevolence’ and the various ramifications with which it can intersect.
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.
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.
In March 2002, the Russian Center of Traditional Taoist Studies was opened in Moscow, Russia. The Center’s mission is to instruct its members on the practices of traditional Taoist philosophy, culture, holistic healing and martial arts. Grandmaster Anatole is Master of the Center and Ordained Taoist Priest, Zigor Hush.
In the late 1990’s, the Center of Traditional Taoist Studies acquired an exceptionally rare and complete set of Taoist Ceremonial Paintings, sometimes referred to as “Thangkas.” These Taoist Thangkas are essentially a mobile Taoist Temple used by an ancient nomadic clan known as the Yao. In order to properly display these artifacts, the Center embarked upon a three-year construction project to build a ceremonial room and gallery
to display and properly honor these treasures. Rituals and ceremonies using these consecrated images are regularly conducted under the supervision of Grandmaster Alex Anatole.
In 2009 The Center of Traditional Taoist Studies acquired an extremely rare Taoist artifact known as the Taoist mountain. This piece is a collection of Taoist Gods and actually represents a miniature Taoist Temple. The Taoist Mountain consists of four levels of divine dimensions. On the top level you can see The Three Pure Ones.
The second and third levels belong to the Mother of Big Dipper surrounded by various celestial masters and generals. The bottom level shows mortals bringing offerings and praying to the Gods. Unfortunately, almost half of the statues on the Mountain were lost during delivery.
Members of the Temple of Original Simplicity devoted much time and energy in order to replace lost parts of the artifact. Together with Trefler & Sons, members of the congregation rebuiltand recreated lost and broken parts of the Taoist mountain. After a year of hard work, this magnificent piece of Taoist history is showcased on the first floor of the Temple of Original Simplicity-Center of Traditional Taoist Studies.
Designated area of Taoist Deities for Praying and Meditation in Retreat Center, Falmouth
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