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Practices from the Wheel of Life
Table of Contents
About The Book
• Explains the principles of the Taoist Medicine Wheel, including the Five Elements, the animals of the Chinese zodiac, and the trigrams of the I Ching
• Includes exercises from the “Wheel of Love” to access the Tao of Ecstasy
• Contains illustrated teaching stories about the Eight Immortals
Thousands of years ago the immortals known as the Shining Ones shipwrecked on the Chinese coast. Passing their shamanic practices--such as ecstatic flight and how to find power animals and spirit guides--on to the indigenous people, they also taught them the wisdom of the Medicine Wheel. From the Taoist Medicine Wheel came the principles of Yin and Yang, the Five Elements, the Eight Forces, the Chinese zodiac, and the I Ching. The Taoist Medicine Wheel can also be found at the foundation of traditional Chinese medicine and the esoteric sexual practices of Taoist Alchemy.
In the Taoist Shaman, Master Mantak Chia and Kris Deva North explain the shamanic principles of the Taoist Medicine Wheel, how it is oriented on the Five Elements rather than the Four Directions, how it relates to the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac and the trigrams of the I Ching, and how it aligns with the Eight Forces of the Pakua. Through illustrated teaching stories, the authors show how the energetic principles of each of the Eight Forces are reflected in the Eight Immortals. Revealing the wheel’s application to sacred sexuality, they offer exercises from the “Wheel of Love” to strengthen and deepen relationships as well as providing a means to access the Tao of Ecstasy.
The Eight Forces
The eight forces are a more detailed explication of the forces of nature and the universe. They are represented by the symbol of the pakua and the eight trigrams. Beyond the eight visible forces of the universe--Li (fire) and Kan (water), Chien (heaven) and Kun (earth), Tui (lake) and Ken (mountain), Sun (wind) and Chen (thunder)--the eight forces are symbolized by the eight immortals.
The pakua originates in the pattern of the turtle or tortoise shell used in prehistoric shamanic divination. From this shape evolved the drum and circle walking symbolizing the change of seasons, from the early steps of the spring through blossoming summer, reaping life’s harvest to sustain us into the autumn of retirement and cold winter of death.
Using the pakua in a meditation practice is a way to focus energy. The pakua creates a vortex that enables the practitioner to collect, gather, and condense chi. This vortex of energy is used to not only create a strong connection within ourselves, but a harmonious relationship with all the forces of nature.
Representing the forces nature, each of the eight immortals is associated with a particular geographical direction, season, color, planet, animal, organ, and so forth. Beginning with Han Hsien-Ku in the southeast, we will go around the pakua in a counterclockwise direction, describing the attributes of each of the eight immortals.
Southeast: Han Hsien-Ku
Han Hsien-Ku’s Characteristics
Color: Purple (green)
Force: Sun (wind)
Number: Four (4)
Season: Late spring
Energy: Great yin
Period: AD 800
Known as: Mountain sage
Element: Air (wood)
Symbol: Magic Flute
Tai chi: Pull-down
I Ching: Penetration/following
Emotions (positive): Kindness, forgiveness, graciousness, friendliness
Emotions (negative): Jealousy, anger, envy, rage
Teacher: Lu Tung-Pin
Spirit: Green dragon
Sense: Seeing (eyes)
Han Hsien-Ku (Han Xiang Zi) was born in the eighth century AD, and was a nephew of the great Tang poet and scholar Han Yu. He studied and prepared for the state civil exams, but to the dismay of his uncle, he avoided taking them. He was an intelligent but wild child who disdained the pomp and vanity of the world.
Despite his expulsion from a Buddhist temple for rudeness and mischief, he delighted in stillness and obscurity. He was initiated into the secrets of Taoism by fellow Immortal Lu Tung-Pin while still a teenager, and quickly became absorbed in the practice of internal alchemy. He probed the mysteries of heaven and mastered the five phases (elements) of energy. The sacred knot on his robe is a symbol of his success in combining the two energies of yin and yang into the one original energy.
One time Lu Tung-Pin carried him up to a vantage point on the mythical World Tree in order to show him the universe. Han Hsien-Ku fell from the tree and was killed but quickly resurrected himself. He was very poor, but totally unconcerned about it for he was intoxicated with the love of the Tao. He performed wonderful feats and was able to foretell the future. He was able to make wine without grapes and flowers bloom in midwinter. One winter he magically grew a bunch of rose-peonies and on each petal were verses written in gold that foretold the fate of his uncle.
He is often depicted with a bouquet of flowers. He carries a flute on which he plays the Six Healing Sounds. He is shown mounted on a buffalo, a mythical beast symbolizing of the Taoist goddess Hsi Wang Mu, ruler of the West.
East: Chuan Chung-Li
Chuan Chung-Li Characteristics
Color: Light green
Force: Chen (Thunder)
Number: Three (3)
Energy: Great Yang
Period: AD 200
Known as: General
Element: Wood (air)
Emotions (positive): Generosity, forgiveness, benevolence, benign
Season: Early spring
Emotions (negative): Blame, aggression, guilt, frustration
Symbol: Feather fan
Tai chi: Push
I Ching: Intuition/action
Sense: Seeing (eyes)
Spirit: Green dragon
Chuan Chung-Li (Quan Zong Li) was born in the third century AD. During the Han Dynasty, he was an army general (Marshall of the Empire). After meeting an old man who taught him about the Tao, he left government service and went to the mountains, becoming a wanderer and a beggar. Once while he was meditating, the stone wall of his mountain dwelling crumbled exposing a jade box. The box contained secret meditation instructions on how to become an immortal. He followed the instructions, and one day his chamber was filled with rainbow clouds and celestial music. A crane arrived and carried him on its back into the regions of immortality.
After that he was able to wander among the heavens by himself. During a great famine he changed copper and pewter into gold and silver giving it to the poor, thus saving thousands of lives. He taught Lu Tung-Pin the secrets of Taoism after convincing him of the emptiness of life and persuaded him to join in his blissful life as a fellow immortal.
He is portrayed as bearded, and thinly clad. His hair is gathered in two coils on the sides of his head. His symbol is a fan, which he uses to revive and reincarnate the souls of the departed. More than 1,800 years old, he has often reappeared on Earth as a messenger of Heaven. He is mounted on a chimera, a mythical animal sacred to the Taoist goddess of Immortality, Hsi Wang Mu.
- Publisher: Destiny Books (January 25, 2011)
- Length: 192 pages
- ISBN13: 9781594778605
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Raves and Reviews
“Taoist Shamans is well worth considering for students of eastern philosophy and spirituality.”
– Midwest Book Review, May 2011
“...the book shows Mantak Chia, and his co-author, Kris Deva North, further extending one of the most promising aspects of the contemporary world...the growing popularity and influence of authors like these, who seek to outline a common way forward that draws on the wisdom of diverse experiences, is an area of promise and hope.”
– Reg Little, New Dawn Magazine, January 2012
“Intense, concise, and informative. . . .”
– Irene Watson, Reader Views, March 2011
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