Theology

不会出现性质的人,但是发展的性质的神。

-庄子

该中心的传统道教研究道教经典神学教授基于全面对宇宙的认识与宗教信条根本制度的具体构想。 而西方哲学和宗教一般认为理性和信仰是相互排斥的,古典道教集成了 2 个。 造成这一现象的原因是认识到部队道的行为在天堂里以及地球,使耦合 2 个不可分割的,从而澄清、复杂的、不理解。 这种脚踏实地的态度可以追溯到道教的萨满教的起源与宗教习俗出生时的一段时期的具体目标是至关重要的各国人民之间的简单想生存在一个恶劣的环境。

道教的宗教习俗之间架起一座桥梁之一的人类形态和天空。 在追求统一性与宇宙道家工作了解自己的方向,最终导致了终极。 祈祷,作为执行的中心,打开一个双向的沟通渠道向天空。 在这方面,一个虔诚的道教发送电子讯息的终极和接收的具体答案在返回; 指导来自天堂的增加精神指导澄清一个路径。

与传统的道教的一生就是一个正在进行的努力,解读的困惑的灵魂。 道教哲学提供了生活的原则和指导的神帮助看到现实变得更加明显. 这不仅会产生更好的生活,但也指出道家的生活的目的: 我们的灵魂是放置在地球上的一个很短的时间内更好地调整自己的现实。 如果成功,当我们的身体是甩掉,幸存的实体的灵魂,是更容易被接受的终极。 因此,这种二重性的存在意味着一个更好的地球上的生命提供了一个好的托生。 值得注意的是,没有必要牺牲一个其他的 2 个是免费的,并且存在着千丝万缕的联系。

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

— ​Lao Tzu

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.

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

-庄子

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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.

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”.

Use the light and return to clear-sightedness.

– Lao Tzu

Classical Taoist theory identifies three realms to describe the influence of universal forces upon mankind: the heavens, man in the middle, and the earth below. Man, situated between the two, is a conductor of life-energy (sometimes called “Chi”) between heaven and earth. All Taoist sciences, from Chi Quong to acupuncture to meditation, are built upon this principle, which forms the basis for Shamanistic and Taoist religious practices. Operating within this paradigm, Taoist astrology is used as a systemization of the heavenly forces above man, and minerals and animals for the earthly forces below man. These fundamental tools, used by Taoist priests, codify the two realms that bracket man and affect his fate.

While Taoist astrology describes how the forces of the heavens manifest their action upon mankind, the earthly dimension of universal energy exerts equally powerful effects. And the combination of these forces either increases or decreases an individual’s animal power. Animal power reflects the corporeal aspect of existence that, if weakened, makes one vulnerable to physical hardship and disease. Taoist priests perform astrological calculations and then adjust them to factor in the effects of earth’s natural cycles through the use of specific minerals (e.g. quartz and malachite), herbs, and other techniques. They use these procedures to invite the appropriate missing animal power back into the weakened individual, thus restoring balance. The master can also use the power of certain animals to serve as liaisons between guardian spirits and the individual.

According to classical Taoism, each person is born under astrological signs representing a specific configuration of stars. Thus, every individual possesses his own “frequency,” which is associated with inherent Chi energy determined by the star configuration at the time of birth. These celestial alignments serve as channels of the cosmic energy beamed to each person; changing this “beam pattern” affects one’s fate. Thus, the priest’s objective is to realign an individual’s personal Chi with that of the Cosmos, as dictated by astronomical configurations. This technique corrects ill fate that results from “misalignment” caused by internal mental confusion or external metaphysical forces.

Using the sacred knowledge bestowed by masters from several millennia ago, corrective “realignment” is accomplished using prayer, rituals, ceremonies and talismans. For convenience in the calculation process, ancient Taoists developed a system classifying these frequencies into groups of animals, trees and stones. Augmenting this manipulation is a sphere of life-energy radiating from a powerful Shaman or Taoist master, favorably affecting the fate of those within the temple.