On this last day of 2021, we give this year’s last selection to the I Ching, Hexagram #22, Bi/Grace, via two excerpts of a commentary by Kari Hohne, leaving us with a message of Hope and Grace for a bright and resilient 2022 after a very difficult 2021.

“The greatest lesson Bi teaches you is that no amount of outward adorning will ever conceal what is going on inside of you. If you want to attract others to you, begin within. Loving the self makes one loving. Accepting the Way makes one accepting. When you have no preconceived expectations you will open to the beauty of Grace. Brilliant inner beauty is like a magnet that others can’t resist. If circumstances are less than favorable, turn within and release the expectations that are making your outlook hardened. Take a breath and return to the moment…

“Do not fall prey to believing that the projections you place on others are real. Open yourself to life’s Grace and benevolence. Celebrate your inner Grace and allow it to rise to the surface. Unleash any expectations and flow in the dazzling river of life. The greatest makeover begins within. If you want to be attractive adorn yourself with the Grace that resonates from the sincerity of trusting the Way.”

Have a wonderful 2022 and a joyful road to Cultivation by following the Way.


As we head into the last day of 2021, we have a final thought from Chuang-tzu:

“The fact is that those who do not see themselves but who see others, who fail to get a grasp of themselves but who grasp others, take possession of what others have but fail to possess themselves. They are attracted to what others enjoy but fail to find enjoyment in themselves.”
― Zhuangzi, The Book of Chuang Tzu

Very good advice, indeed, from this perspicacious Sage. See if you can adopt it in your daily life and with regular practice you may become a Sage, too. Enjoy the practice and thanks for stopping by.


I usually don’t go in for artificial visualizations or structured imagings especially in meditation. However, with 2022 fast approaching and all of 2021’s disharmonies and turmoils, both natural and man-made, about to be handed off to the New Year in the midst of a transition from a Magnetic Age into an Electrical Age, I think we could all use this visualization presented by Stephen Russell:

“For a few moments, attune your mind to the idea of harmony and peaceful coexistence flowing among all peoples and nations.
The source of this idea is deep within your heart.
As you calmly breathe in and out, picture it radiating from you like a fine, colored vapor gradually covering the face of the earth.
See it enter the hearts of everyone, especially those stuck in the mad zones.
Feel it circulate everywhere until it comes all the way round and back to you.
This is love in action.
The source of this love is the Tao.
Savor this.”
― Stephen Russell, Barefoot Doctor’s Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior

I hope you can enjoy these last couple of days of 2021 along with your last practices of the year. Best wishes and thanks for stopping by.


As 2022 approaches, we can expect further divisiveness and radicalization as pitifully stupid minds pit their philosophy, their way of thinking, their beliefs against whomever they consider at best their counterparts and at worst their enemies. But way back in the Sixth Century, a Chinese philosopher wrote a poem describing what is causing this erratic behavior.

“Hsin Hsin Ming” aka “Xinxin Ming,” meaning “Faith in Mind”, is a poem attributed to the Third Chinese Chán Patriarch Jianzhi Sengcan. It is one of the earliest and most influential Zen writings, blending together Buddhist and Taoist teachings. Here is an excerpt:

“The Great Way is not difficult,
for those who have no preferences.
Let go of longing and aversion,
and it reveals itself.
Make the smallest distinction, however,
and you are as far from it as heaven is from earth.
If you want to realize the truth,
then hold no opinions for or against anything.
Like and dislike
is the disease of the mind.
When the deep meaning (of the Way) is not understood
the intrinsic peace of mind is disturbed”

Perhaps you can be aware of these thoughts as you move through your day and get ready for the new year. In any case, enjoy your practice, and thanks for stopping by.


I received an email today from Stacey Abrams, who is campaigning to become the next Governor of Georgia in 2022. In that email, she told a personal anecdote that reminded me of this quote by Laozi in Chapter 77 of the Tao Te Ching:

“It is the way of Heaven to take away from those that have too much
And give to those that have not enough.
Not so with man’s way:
He takes from those that have not
And gives it as tribute to those that have too much.”

How true that is of many in government, who put their own self interests ahead of the true needs of all their people, especially those that have not. Here is Stacey Abrams’ anecdote from her email:

“I was my high school’s valedictorian and in Georgia, that meant being invited to a reception at the Governor’s Mansion.

My family didn’t have a car, so that morning, my parents and I took the bus from DeKalb to Buckhead. We arrived at the Governor’s Mansion and walked up the side of the driveway, next to the cars carrying valedictorians from across the state.

But when we reached the guard gate, a guard stepped out, looked at us and said, “You don’t belong here. This is a private event.”

He took one look at us walking up from the bus and assumed I couldn’t possibly be one of the valedictorians. My parents set him straight and we were eventually allowed in. But I don’t remember meeting the governor that day. What I remember is a man standing in front of the most powerful place in Georgia, telling me I didn’t belong.”

Ironically enough, now Stacey Abrams is campaigning for Governor. So, if you would like to contribute, I suggest you contact:

Enjoy your practicing, folks. Thanks for stopping by.


During this holiday season many of us have traveled either near or far to be with family or friends. So, going back to that ancient Sage, Lieh-tzu we read his thoughts on travel as an experience. If you are stuck in an airport trying to return home but your flight has been cancelled due to the Omicron COVID-19 varient, I’m sure this is one experience you would rather forget.

“Travel is such a wonderful experience! Especially when you forget you are traveling. Then you will enjoy whatever you see and do. Those who look into themselves when they travel will not think about what they see. In fact, there is no distinction between the viewer and the seen. You experience everything with the totality of yourself, so that every blade of grass, every mountain, every lake is alive and is a part of you. When there is no division between you and what is other, this is the ultimate experience of traveling.”
― Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living

12/25/2021 – Christmas Day

Christmas is a time for joy. We can all appreciate the joyful gatherings with friends and loved ones, the gifts and sumptuous meals. But Christmas is also about seeing the silver lining for those who are alone or facing less than favorable circumstances. But who truly knows what is good or bad, favorable or unfavorable? So, here is a Taoist story exactly about that, seeing the silver lining in unfortunate times as well as remembering that favorable circumstances don’t last forever.

“There was a farmer whose horse ran away. That evening the neighbors gathered to commiserate with him since this was such bad luck. He said, “May be.” The next day the horse returned, but brought with it six wild horses, and the neighbors came exclaiming at his good fortune. He said, “May be.” And then, the following day, his son tried to saddle and ride one of the wild horses, was thrown, and broke his leg.

Again the neighbors came to offer their sympathy for the misfortune. He said, “May be.” The day after that, conscription officers came to the village to seize young men for the army, but because of the broken leg the farmer’s son was rejected. When the neighbors came in to say how fortunately everything had turned out, he said, “May be.”

Source: Tao: The Watercourse Way, by Alan Watts, story attributed to Huainantse Liu An, c. 178-122 BC,

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

12/24/2021 – Christmas Eve

On this Christmas Eve, honoring the birth of the Holy Infant, the words of Laozi comparing the qualities of a realized Sage with those of a newborn child seem appropriate. I offer them amid a confused and divisive world in the hope that all of its people can reacquire those qualities they had as newborn infants, and furthermore, I pray to end infant mortality throughout the world.

“He who is in harmony with the Tao
is like a newborn child.
Its bones are soft, its muscles are weak,
but its grip is powerful.
It doesn’t know about the union
of male and female,
yet its penis can stand erect,
so intense is its vital power.
It can scream its head off all day,
yet it never becomes hoarse,
so complete is its harmony.

The Master’s power is like this.
He lets all things come and go
effortlessly, without desire.
He never expects results;
thus he is never disappointed.
He is never disappointed;
thus his spirit never grows old.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Ch. 55


In keeping with Christmas week, instead of the usual short Daoist quotes, I am posting longer ones that keep to the spirit of this time of the year. Next up is an excerpt from the very popular book, “The Tao of Pooh”

“…you’d be surprised how many people violate this simple principle every day of their lives and try to fit square pegs into round holes, ignoring the clear reality that Things Are As They Are. We will let a selection from the writings of Chuang-tse illustrate: Hui-tse said to Chuang-tse, “I have a large tree which no carpenter can cut into lumber. Its branches and trunk are crooked and tough, covered with bumps and depressions. No builder would turn his head to look at it. Your teachings are the same – useless, without value. Therefore, no one pays attention to them.”

“You complain that your tree is not valuable as lumber. But you could make use of the shade it provides, rest under its sheltering branches, and stroll beneath it, admiring its character and appearance. Since it would not be endangered by an axe, what could threaten its existence? It is useless to you only because you want to make it into something else and do not use it in its proper way.”
― Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

Enjoy this Holiday Season and keep practicing, everyone. Thanks for stopping by.


In keeping with Christmas week, instead of the usual short Daoist quotes, I am posting longer ones that keep to the spirit of this time of the year. Next up is Stephen Russell, the Barefoot Doctor.

“Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset. Be vulnerable: quake and shake in your boots with it. the new goodness that is coming to you, in the form of people, situations, and things can only come to you when you are vulnerable, i.e. open.”
― Stephen Russell, Barefoot Doctor’s Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior


Being that it is Christmas week, instead of the usual short Daoist quotes, I am posting longer ones that keep to the spirit of this time of the year. First up, is Liezi, an Ancient Daoist Sage and Adept from the 5th Century B.C.

“Some people think they can find satisfaction in good food, fine clothes, lively music, and sexual pleasure. However, when they have all these things, they are not satisfied. They realize happiness is not simply having their material needs met. Thus, society has set up a system of rewards that go beyond material goods. These include titles, social recognition, status, and political power, all wrapped up in a package called self-fulfillment. Attracted by these prizes and goaded on by social pressure, people spend their short lives tiring body and mind to chase after these goals. Perhaps this gives them the feeling that they have achieved something in their lives, but in reality they have sacrificed a lot in life. They can no longer see, hear, act, feel, or think from their hearts. Everything they do is dictated by whether it can get them social gains. In the end, they’ve spent their lives following other people’s demands and never lived a life of their own. How different is this from the life of a slave or a prisoner?”
― Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living

Enjoy this Holiday Season and keep practicing, everyone. Thanks for stopping by.


“Taoism has no rules. It`s a suggestion for perceiving life in its wholeness, without unnecessary categorization, yet enjoying the beauty of categorization.” – Frederick Lenz

Now that we have looked at “Song” in Tai Chi, we return to “Peng,” the next step in Tai Chi development. In today’s video from The Tai Chi Academy, we look at how utilizing ‘Peng’ in our structure can lead to the error of ‘forming up’ behind the point of contact. This is a very important point that corrects a common mistake that most tai chi practitioners make when pushing hands. (Click on link below.)


“You must let what happens happen. Everything must be equal in your eyes, good and evil, beautiful and ugly, foolish and wise.” – Michael Ende

Have a great weekend, everyone. Our exploration of “Song” and “Peng” in Tai Chi resumes on Monday. Meanwhile, enjoy your practice.


“Taoism is simply the complete acceptance of yourself as you are right in this moment.” – Sheila M. Burke

Continuing our review of “Song,” the most important quality for Tai Chi practitioners to acquire, today we have a special exercise to enable the quality of “Song,” called “Song Gong,” designed by Grand Master Huang Xin Xian and presented by famous martial artist and tai chi master, Adam Mizner. This is one exercise you should put into your warmups whenever possible. Enjoy your practicing, folks, and thanks for stopping by.


“Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you” – Lao Tzu

Continuing with the concept of “Song,” the most important quality for Tai Chi practitioners to acquire, today we Have Dan Kleiman explaining the difference between relaxation and true “Song,” where there is a balance between letting go and keeping a springy, buoyant structure.

If you haven’t already, you will definitely want to incorporate Dan’s focal points into your daily practice, which, by the way, I hope your are enjoying immensely, folks. Thanks for stopping by.



“Great power is worry, and total power is boredom, such that even God renounces it and pretends, instead, that he is people and fish and insects and plants: the myth of the king who goes wandering among his subjects in disguise.” – Alan W. Watts

Currently, we are looking at the Number 1 quality for Tai Chi, namely, “Song.” Without being Song, your qi energy will not flow properly through your form. Without Song, you cannot expect to develop Peng Jin, which we looked at previously. Today, Tai Chi Instructor Susan Thompson teaches you how to “song” the joints during your Tai Chi movements, no matter which style you do. She also explains why it is important to song the joints and what it does for your Qi flow and physiology.

So, take a look. See if you can incorporate Susan’s points into your practice. And thanks for stopping by


“But the basic Taoism that we are concerned with here is simply a particular way of appreciating, learning from, and working with whatever happens in everyday life.” – Benjamin Hoff

Today we continue with our exploration of the important Tai Chi quality of “Song,” presented by the Tai Chi Academy. In this 6-minute video, the diverse teachings on Song are broken down into a simple concept called ‘Relative Density.’ Take a look and see if this resonates with your practice. And, above all, enjoy practicing, folks.


“Taoism is the way of water. The most frequent element or symbol referred to in Lao Tzu`s writings is the symbol of water.” – Frederick Lenz

Today we begin looking at one of the most important qualities in tai chi, namely “Song,” often mistranslated as “Relax.” Kieren Krygier, the Martial Man, returns again with Sifu Liang DeHua to discuss and demonstrate “Song.” This is really a quality you must develop not only tai chi but for your complete cultivation. So, enjoy, everyone, and keep practicing.


“Embrace simplicity. Put others first. Desire little.” – Laozi

Chilly day in Los Angeles but sunny fortunately. I went to the park as usual for push hands. Not too many people at the first park. My former mentor showed up. We had an interesting discussion. Then I went to another park to meet with my training partner. We exchanged views on methods and exercises are teacher uses to condition our bodies for tai chi and neigong.

Don’t forget. We start our series on developing “Song” tomorrow, Monday; So, again, rest up and prepare for a full week of practice, everyone.


“Taoism is the profoundest nonconformism that has ever been evolved anywhere in the world, at any time in history; essentially it is rebellion.” – Osho

Yesterday, Taoist Monk Yun Rou explained how Peng Jin and An Jin compliment one another. Today, he shows us how these two jins are used in partner work.

In Tai Chi, before one can develop Jin, one must have “Song,” often translated incorrectly as “relax.” We will begin a series abput the nature of “Song” and how to acquire it on Monday. Have a great weekend, and rest up for a full week of practicing, everyone.


“Taoism means stretching your being, becoming both a man and a woman and joining within yourself, to be the heavens themselves, to stretch your awareness beyond the breaking point until all opposites are reconciled within yourself.” – Frederick Lenz

Daoist Monk Yun Rou is back again today continuing this series on Taiji Jin. In this short video Yun Rou adds An Jin to his demonstration of Peng Jin from yesterday thus completing a Vertical Energy Circle of Jin. Hope this material along with the other videos on Jin had added to your development. As always, enjoy practicing, everyone.



“Some people think Taoism means not doing anything, just going on with your life. That has little or nothing to do with Taoism.” – Frederick Lenz

Today we are taking a look at the first quality of Jin, namely Peng Jin, with Daoist Monk Yun Rou. Unlike many, who believe Peng is simply a posture, Yun Rou points out the fact that Peng is actually a quality that encompasses a direction of movement. Hope you enjoy this short video, and, above all, enjoy your practicing. Thanks for stopping by, folks!


“All of Chinese thinking – Confucianism, Taoism, as well as Buddhism – contains the idea that in the course of life, man will shape harmoniously those psychic and physical predispositions that he received as capital assets by unifying them and giving them form from within a center.” – Richard Wilhelm

Today Sifu Liang DeHua is back again with a discussion and demonstration of Nei Jin and Fa Jin. Tomorrow we will take a look at the most important Jin, namely Peng Jin. Thanks for watching, and enjoy your practice, people.



“Taoists do not look upon meditation as `practice,` except in the sense that a doctor `practices` medicine. They have no design to subjugate or alter the universe by force or willpower, for their art is entirely to go along with the flow of things in an intelligent way.” – Alan W. Watts

Yesterday, we posted Part 1 of Sifu Liang De Hua’s explanation of Taiji Jin. Today, here is Part II, present by Kieren Krygier, the Martial Man. Enjoy. And keep practicing, folks.


“Lao-tze`s Taoism is the exhibition of a way or method of living which men should cultivate as the highest and purest development of their nature.” – James Legge

There are many marvelous tai chi and qigong practitioners/instructors throughout Southeast Asia. So, continuing our series on Jin, today we have the first of will a two part video series on Jin with Sifu Liang De Hua presented by Kieren Krygier, the Martial Man. Hope you not only enjoy the video but learn something that you can practice. Tomorrow, we will have Part II. So, stay tuned and enjoy practicing, folks!



“We may be floating on Tao, but there is nothing wrong with steering. If Tao is like a river, it is certainly good to know where the rocks are.” – Ming-Dao Deng

A cold mostly foggy Sunday in Los Angeles, at least in the morning. I went to the park to work with my friends on push hands and developing Jin. The sun popped out in the afternoon to warm things up a little. I was happy about that.

Although Zhan Zhuang is important, it is not as important to the early stages of developing jin as Wuji. So, I decided not to post Part 2 of Cain Yentzer’s Zhan Zhuang standing practice. Besides, there were a couple points that almost all Qigong and Tai Chi instructors teach, but they are not consistent with my practice of Nei Gong and Jin development for Taiji. Instead, Wuji standing should be done first to begin developing Jin. So, I will have a series on Wuji next.

However, continuing with this Jin series, I will have a two part video series on Jin with Sifu Liang De Hua starting tomorrow. Keep practicing and have a great week, everyone.


“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” – Alan W. Watts

Yesterday, we listened to Adam Mizner explaining “What is Taichi Jin Power Really Like?” Continuing our series on Jin, today we have Cain Yentzer from Inner Court Tai-ji with a 9-minute lecture on how Zhan Zhuang (Post Standing) is the key to developing Jin and understanding taiji. Tomorrow, we will have Cain Yentzer with Part II, the actual practice of Zhan Zhuang with instructions on its focal points. So, get ready to do some serious standing and make sure you add it into your practice if you haven’t already. Thanks for stopping by, everyone.


“When a not-doing comes upon you, and there is no reflection of yourself to be found, many things can and will be related back to you as knowledge, yet you have no way of knowing how you assimilated that wisdom.” – Lujan Matus

Today we start a new series on Jin and Fajin as they related to taiji and its practitioners. We begin with Sifu Adam Mizner explaining “What is Taichi Jin Power Really Like?” Again, you can slow the playback speed if there is anything you don’t understand and replay it as often as you like. And then, guess what? Go out and practice with a partner. Good luck and thanks for stopping by. We’ll have more on Jin and Fajin tomorrow.


“Taoism shows us how to deal with life and death by realizing everything here is transitory but its substance is eternal.” – Frederick Lenz

Today we will look at the fourth and final Dao Yin Dragon, Drunken Dragon, sort of. Unfortunately, I could not find an individual track with the Drunken Dragon online. One would have to enroll in either Lotus Neigong or the Internal Arts Academy at to view Damo Mitchell’s instructional videos. However, I did find a compilation video by Kit Raven, performing all four dragons. The last one is the Drunken Dragon, which starts at 8:55 in the video. It’s not completely correct, but if you use it as a stretching and balance sequence, you should be fine. As aways, enjoy practicing, folks. And thanks for stopping by.


“Taoism extols the virtue of flexibility. What survives on earth is what effortlessly adapts to the changing environment and changing circumstances.” – Ernie J Zelinski

Previously we have looked at the first two of the Four Dao Yin Dragons, Soaring Dragon and Swimming Dragon. Today we look at the third Dao Yin Dragon in our series Awakening Dragon. Again, you can stop or rewind this short video as often as you like and play it back at a slower speed if you wish. Follow along and then practice it in 10 or 15-minute bursts. Good luck with it and enjoy your practice. Thanks for stopping by.



“To Taoism that which is absolutely still or absolutely perfect is absolutely dead, for without the possibility of growth and change there can be no Tao. In reality there is nothing in the universe which is completely perfect or completely still; it is only in the minds of men that such concepts exist.” – Alan W. Watts

Today we take a look at our second Dao Yin Dragon sequence, Swimming Dragon. This is the easiest of the Dragons to perform. You should have no problems following along with the video. The one note I will mention is that the feet are parallel and not angled as with yesterday’s Soaring or Arousing Dragon. In case you had trouble performing that one, you can scroll down to 11/24 and the Dao Yin Dragon Basic Stretches. In the video, look for the one titled “Coiling Snake.” That is the basic posture of the Soaring Dragon without stepping forward. Now just add the steps to it from yesterday’s video and have a great time practicing these two Dragons, folks!



Welcome back, everyone! I hope no one got terminal indigestion from stuffing themselves on Thanksgiving, and I certainly hope no one was seriously injured from fighting through the hordes of shoppers on Black Friday. I’m glad that you are in one piece and can join me once again as we continue the series on the Dao Yin Dragons. Previously we viewed a podcast on Qigong vs Dao Yin and practice some Dao Yin preparatory stretches.

Today we look at the first exercise set in the Dao Yin Dragons called Soaring Dragon. If you have a difficult time following the movements then slow down the video to .75 or even .50. Since there are no audio instructions, you can slow this up as much as you would like and pause and replay it at any point.



Another magnificent weekend in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. Temperature is in the 80s and the air is clean and fresh. A wonderful day to spend in the park doing tui shou with my tai chi brothers and sisters. Hope you have enjoyed your weekend and are ready to a full week of practicing. Thanks for stopping by. See you on Monday when we resume our series on the Dao Yin Dragons.

11/27/2021 Small Business Saturday

Today was Small Business Saturday. I hope you shopped at a small business like this one…

11/26/2021 Black Friday

Found an appropriate quote from Zhuangzi for today, Black Friday…

“The Kingly Man

My master said:
That which acts on all and meddles in none – is heaven . . .
The Kingly Man realizes this, hides it in his heart,
Grows boundless, wide-minded, draws all to himself.
And so he lets the gold lie hidden in the mountain,
Leaves the pearl lying in the deep.

Goods and possessions are no gain in his eyes,
He stays far from wealth and honour.
Long life is no ground for joy, nor early death for sorrow
Success is not for him to be proud of, failure is no shame.

Had he all the world’s power he would not hold it as his own,
If he conquered everything he would not take it to himself.
His glory is in knowing that all things come together in One
And life and death are equal.”
― Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu

Happy Black Friday, everyone!

11/25/2021 Thanksgiving Day

“Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.”
– Laozi

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone! If you’re like me, I’m sure you have much to be thankful for. Just to be alive is plenty, and to appreciate life for what it is deepens our gratitude and adds an immense blessing to all we are and do. Have a wonderful day, celebrating Life by Giving Thanks. Bless you, one and all.


“To a mind that is still the whole Universe surrenders.” – Lao Tzu

Continuing with our series on the Dao Yin Dragons. Here is a short video on Dao Yin Basic Warmup Stretches by Nikolas Benedikt of Mountain Pathways – an affiliate branch of Lotus Nei Gong International., a Damo Mitchell school. Watch the video several times and follow along until you feel proficient. You can slow the playback speed if necessary.


And in case you don’t stop by tomorrow, have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving. Since many of you will be travelling and visiting family, we will resume the series on the Dragon Dao Yins on Monday. But the Holiday is no excuse not to practice, especially after gorging yourself with whatever Thanksgiving feast you are having.


One of the more important aspects of Neigong training, especially in the beginning, are the Dao Yin Dragons. These are a series of choreographed stretches that open the fascia and the connective tissues that enable a more robust flow of Qi. There are four Dragons: Awakening Dragon, Swimming Dragon, Soaring Dragon and Drunken Dragon. Some liken them to Qigong and other actually classify them as Qigong exercises, but they are not. Because of the intensity of their stretches, they are in a class by themselves.

Today we start a short series on the Dao Yin Dragons with a podcast by Kong Jie, who discusses the basics of Dao Yin in general as well as how it differs from standard Qigong. He speaks rather quickly. So, if you cannot understand some of his points, adjust the playback speed from Normal to .75. And have a great practice, everyone.



“Only when we can start with the simplest exercise of absorbing the awareness into the body and increasingly relaxing our mind will we enable the evolution of our breathing processes to lead towards a true state of Gong.” – Damo Mitchell

Today, we conclude our series on Taoist Breathwork not with another breathing exercise, but with a podcast on where the proper breathing takes us once we have developed true abdominal breathing. What happens then is that the breath becomes a major factor in building the dan tian and filling it with Qi. So, today we have Damo Mitchell of Lotus Neigong and the Internal Arts Academy explaining how the process works in a podcast entitled “Filling the Dantien Bucket.” Hopefully, this will clear up some misconceptions and put you on the correct path that leads to a true state of Gong. Enjoy your practicing, everyone! Thanks for stopping by.



A magnificent day in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. Temperature is in the 80s and the air is clean and fresh. A wonderful day to spend in the park doing tui shou with my tai chi brothers and sisters. Hope you have enjoyed your weekend and are ready to a full week of practicing. Thanks for stopping by. See you on Monday.


“There is nothing to try to do, for whatever comes up moment by moment is accepted, including non-acceptance.” – Bruce Lee

Today we look at another very specific breathing practice – Tu Gu Na Xin or Tu Na for short. This is not for everyday breathing or to be used in your Internal Arts Qigong, Neigong or Taiji exercises. This is a stand alone practice that one does in short 5-round or 10-round bursts before or directly after practice or as a breath refresher during the day.

Taoists directly relate ones quality of breath with their quality of life. Tu Gu Na Xin is a Daoist breathing method that cleans and clears the lungs. This allows for deeper, fuller breaths, contributing to a richer experience of life. This video teaches you to assess your breath capacity in addition to various methods for improving overall lung health and riding them of toxins.

It is presented by David Wei, a 16th generation lineage holder for the Wudang San Feng Life Nourishment Sect. He has over 20 years of experience in Taoist arts and culture, with a specialization in Tui Na acupressure. David is also the founder of Wudang West, an Oakland-based Heritage Center aimed to practice and preserve the cultural wellness arts of Wudang, China.



“As you “observe the breath” for longer, you will naturally start to become aware of the nature of Qi moving within your system.” – Damo Mitchell

Today, we are going to look at another form of Taoist breathing techniques known as “Bone Breathing.” This is not the same as “Bone Marrow Washing” but is simply a breathing technique to soften the connective tissue around the bones and thus create a greater flow of Qi within your channel system. It is a simple technique to learn and even adapt to your Qigong exercises. It is presented here by Dr. David Clippinger of Still Mountain Tai Chi in a short six-minute video. Enjoy your practicing, folks, and thanks so much for stopping by.


“We have to breath anyway. We might as well be breathing efficiently and with power.” – Lee Holden

Over the last two days we listened to Sifu Mark Rasmus explain and demonstrate Internal Breathing Methods, namely Vital Pore Breathing or Whole Body Breathing. Today Sifu Rasmus is back with us presenting a very specific type of breathing known as “Dragon Breathing.” This is particular method specializes in strengthening virility, increasing testosterone and also fast tracks an astral feeling of qi. So, get comfortable, listen to Sifu Rasmus’ instructions and follow along. Hopefully, you will find this method useful and effective. Enjoy your practicing, folks, and thanks for stopping by.



“Every conscious breath is qigong” – Sebastian Wunches

Yesterday, we viewed a podcast by Sifu Mark Rasmus on Internal Breathing Methods with the focus on Pore or Vital Breathing also called Whole Body Breathing. Today, in a short 7-minute video Sifu Rasmus guides us through a Whole Body Breathing exercise. Follow along and see how Rasmus’ method resonates with you and your body. As always, have a great practice, everyone. And thanks for stopping by.



“Unwilling to face our deepest fears, we breathe our emotions; and our emotions in turn breathe us.”

Yesterday we heard from Armand at in Holland, a long-time desciple of Sifu Mark Rasmus. Today, we hear directly from Sifu Rasmus, himself, in this first part on Internal Breathing Methods, where he focuses on Pore or Vital Breathing also called Whole Body Breathing. Tomorrow, we will take a look at the second part and practice this method along with Sifu Rasmus. This is a short 5-minute talk today, so enjoy and see if you can work some of his points into your practice. And thanks for stopping by.



“Extreme softness begets extreme hardness. Your ability to be lively lies in your ability to breathe.” From Understanding How to Practice the Thirteen Dynamics (of Zhang San Feng)

Our thanks to Damo Mitchell of Lotus Neigong and the Internal Arts Academy for starting off this series on Taoist Breathwork. If you missed his “Anchoring the Breath, Parts 1 & 2” podcast, just scroll down this page to 11/12 for Part1 and 11/13 for Part 2. Today we are going to learn about Pore Breathing or Vital Breathing from Armand at in Holland. Armand has been a long-time disciple of Sifu Mark Rasmus. We will hear from Sifu Rasmus starting tomorrow. But, in the meantime, Armand explains the basics of pore breathing and leads us in an exercise. I hope you enjoy this short video and gain enough practical information that you can put into practice right away. So enjoy and have a great practice, everyone. Thanks for stopping by.



Another beautiful weekend in Los Angeles. Height of Summer weather here in the middle of November. I enjoyed a day at the park today doing tui shou with my friends. How about you? Hope your getting some rest tonight to prepare for a week of practice. As always, good practicing, folks!


“Tension is stagnation, which causes blockages in the channels. A healthy flow of Qi serves to end emotional tension.”

Yesterday, we began to look at the Taoist methods of breathwork. Damo Mitchell, the Director of Lotus Neigong and the Internal Arts Academy, led us off with an explanation of the Taoist practice of “Anchoring the Breath, Part 1.” If you missed it, please scroll down to yesterday’s post 11/12 before going on to today’s video of “Anchoring the Breath, Part 2,” where you can follow along with Damo Mitchell as he shows us how to develop this practice. Enjoy, everyone. And have a great weekend. See you on Monday.



“When we reach a high level of breathing practice, our breath can become a form of release from tension and stress.”

Breathing has a special place in Taoist Alchemy. It is where beginners start their practice and continues through all the levels of cultivation. It is responsible for breaking up stagnation and moving the different forms of Qi through the channels. So, over the next few days we will look at several form of breathing practices and exercises.

We begin today with an explanation a basic Taoist breathing practice called “Anchoring the Breath” by Damo Mitchell, Director of Lotus Neigong and the Internal Arts Academy.


Perhaps the two most consistent themes or qualities running through the Tao Te Ching are Moderation and Modesty/Humility.

Chapter 9 is exclusively about Moderation:
“Stretch (a bow) to the very full,
And you will wish you had stopped in time.
Temper a (sword-edge) to its very sharpest,
And the edge will not last long.
When gold and jade fill your hall,
You will not be able to keep them safe.
To be proud with wealth and honor
Is to sow seeds of one’s own downfall.
Retire when your work is done,
Such is Heaven’s way.”

At the end of Chapter 15, Laozi sparkles with this gem:
“He who embraces this Tao
Guards against being over-full.
Because he guards against being over-full,
He is beyond wearing out and renewal.”

In Chapter 24, Laozi touches on both Moderation and Modesty by revealing what they are not. Then he concludes with a firm rebuke:
“He who stands on tiptoe does not stand (firm);
He who strains his strides does not walk (well);
He who reveals himself is not luminous;
He who justifies himself is not far-famed;
He who boasts of himself is not given credit;
He who prides himself is not chief among men.
These in the eyes of Tao
Are called “the dregs and tumors of Virtue,”
Which are things of disgust.
Therefore the man of Tao spurns them.”

In Chapter 29, Laozi warns us against interfering with the flow of Tao and the balance of Yin and Yang then concludes with this:
“Hence the Sage eschews excess, eschews extravagance,
Eschews pride.”

There are many more, too many to list here. However, I would like to include my favorite Laozi passage on Moderation entitled “Be Content.”
“Fame or one’s own self, which does one love more?
One’s own self or material goods, which has more worth?
Loss (of self) or possession (of goods), which is the greater evil?

“Therefore: he who loves most spends most,
He who hoards much loses much.
The contented man meets no disgrace;
Who know when to stop runs into no danger –
He can long endure.”

Now a quick few on Modesty/Humility.
In Chapter 2, Laozi concludes with another gem:
“He (the Sage) acts, but does not appropriate;
Accomplishes, but claims no credit.
It is because he lays claim to no credit
That the credit cannot be taken away from him.”

In Chapter 22, Laozi examines what the Sage does to become a model for the entire world to follow.
“Therefore the Sage embraces the One,
And becomes the model of the world.
He does not reveal himself,
And is therefore luminous.
He does not justify himself,
And is therefore far-famed.
He does not boast of himself,
And therefore people give him credit.
He does not pride himself,
And is therefore the chief among men.”

We have already looked at Chapter 24 above where Laozi reveals what both Moderation and Modesty are not. I want to conclude with Chapter 77, a wonderful verse, “Bending the Bow, another one of my favorites, that also combines both Moderation and Modesty.
“The Tao (way) of Heaven,
Is it not like the bending of a bow?
The top comes down and the bottom-end goes up,
The extra (length) is shortened, the insufficient (width) is expanded.
It is the way of Heaven to take away from those that have too much
And give to those that have not enough.
Not so with man’s way:
He takes from those that have not
And gives it as tribute to those that have too much.
Who can have enough and to spare to give to the entire world?
Only the man of Tao.
Therefore the Sage acts, but does not possess,
Accomplishes but lays claim to no credit,
Because he has no wish to seem superior.

So, let’s see if we can cultivate these two powerful, revealing qualities – Moderation and Modesty – into our daily lives. And enjoy practicing them, folks. That will seal or bind them to your consciousness.


When it comes to consistency of themes and sought-after qualities perhaps the four most consistent are the feminine or female, child or infant, moderation or middle way, and humility or modesty. We will look at the last two, humility and moderation tomorrow. Today we will take a look at a few of Laozi’s quotes on the feminine and the infant.

One of his most famous quotes on the feminine is from Chapter 6:
“The Spirit of the Valley never dies.
It is called the Mystic Female.
The Door of the Mystic Female
Is the root of Heaven and Earth.

“Continuously, continuously,
It seems to remain.
Draw upon it
And it serves you with ease.”

Then in Chapter 10, Laozi stresses both the feminine and the infant:
“In controlling your vital force to achieve gentleness,
Can you become like the new-born child?…”

“In opening and shutting the Gate of Heaven,
Can you play the part of the Female?”

In Chapter 20, he mentions both the new-born child and the Mother (the feminine):
“The people of the world are merry-making,
As if partaking of the sacrificial feasts,
As if mounting the terrace in spring;
I alone am mild, like one unemployed,
Like a new-born babe that cannot yet smile…”

“The people of the world all have a purpose;
I alone appear stubborn and uncouth.
I alone differ from the other people,
And value drawing sustenance from the Mother.”

In Chapter 25, he likens the Tao to the Mother of All Things:
“Before the Heaven and Earth existed
There was something nebulous:
Silent, isolated,
Standing alone, changing not,
Eternally revolving without fail,
Worthy to be the Mother of All Things.
I do not know its name
And address it as Tao.”

In Chapter 28 he again stresses both the female and the child but also another consistent theme – the valley, ravine or lowly places:
“He who is aware of the Male
But keeps to the Female
Becomes the ravine of the world.
Being the ravine of the world,
He has the original character (teh) which is not cut up.
And returns again to the (innocence of the) babe.”

In Chapter 52, Laozi identifies the feminine as the Mother of the Universe:
“There was a beginning of the universe
Which may be regarded as the Mother of the Universe.
From the Mother, we may know her sons.
After knowing the sons, keep to the Mother.
Thus one’s whole life may be preserved from harm.”

In Chapter 55, Laozi’s most famous quote on the new-born child emphasizes qualities he considers most important:
“Who is rich in character
Is like a child.
No poisonous insects sting him,
No wild beasts attack him,
And no birds of prey pounce upon him.
His bones are soft, his sinews tender, yet his grip is strong.
Not knowing the union of male and female, yet his organs are complete,
Which means his vigor is unspoiled.
Crying the whole day, yet his voice never runs hoarse,
Which means his (natural) harmony is perfect.
To know harmony is to be in accord with the eternal,
(And) to know eternity is called discerning.”

And finally, in Chapter 61, he joins his theme of the feminine with that of the lowly places in describing a large country:
“A big country (should be like) the delta low-regions,
Being the concourse of the world,
(And) the Female of the world.
The Female overcomes the Male by quietude,
And achieves the lowly position by quietude.”

Tomorrow we will look at the other two major themes in the Tao Te Ching, moderation and modesty. Until then, keep Laozi’s consistent themes in mind while you enjoy your Internal Arts practicing. Thanks for stopping by, folks!


Yesterday we looked at the consistency of Laozi’s teaching within the Tao Te Ching. Specifically, we focused on handling problems while they are small and the quality of consistency, itself, which Laozi highly recommends if we are to accomplish anything.

Today, we look at the consistency of his teachings on clarity

In Chapter 15, Laozi asks:
“Who can find repose in a muddy world?”
And then he immediately answers:
“By lying still, it becomes clear.”

Actually, the above quote contains three qualities that he consistently urges us to adopt – clarity, stillness, and water. Here he is implying that a muddy world is like muddy water. Leave it alone so the water remains still and the mud will eventually settle at the bottom.

In Chapter 52, Laozi has two references to clarity:
“He who can see the small is clear-sighted;
He who stays by gentility is strong,
Use the light and return to clear-sightedness.”

Another recurring quality or theme in the Tao Te Ching is lessening our attention that we place on the five senses. By doing so, Laozi implies that this brings about clarity.

In Chapter 12, he states:
“The five colors blind the eyes of man;
The five musical notes deafen the ears of man;
The five flavors dull the taste of man;
Horse-racing, hunting and chasing madden the minds of man;
Rare, valuable goods keep their owners awake at night.
Therefore the Sage:
Provides for the belly and not the eye.
Hence, he rejects the one and accepts the other.”

And again in Chapter 52
“Stop its apertures,
Close its doors,
And one’s whole life is without toil.

Open its apertures,
Be busy about its affairs,
And one’s whole life is beyond redemption.”

And in Chapter 56, there’s this…
“He who knows does not speak;
He who speaks does not know.
Fill up its apertures,
Close its doors,
Dull its edges,
Untie its tangles,
Soften its light,
Submerge its turmoil,
– This is the Mystic Unity.

“Then love and hatred cannot touch him.
Profit and loss cannot reach him.
Honor and disgrace cannot affect him.
Therefore is he always the honored one of the world.”

Thus to achieve true clarity and discernment, we want to perceive beyond the five senses and not dwell or get our desires tangled up in the turmoil of this muddy world but instead be still and see that turmoil for what it really is. Enjoy your practicing, people. Thanks for stopping by.


One of the most essential qualities in developing character and advancing one’s cultivation in the Internal Arts is consistency. This is not a quality to be taken lightly but harkens back to Laozi and the Tao Te Ching. Here is a quote from none other than Osho on Laozi’s consistency:

“To understand Lao Tzu’s logic you will have to create eyes. It is very subtle, it is not the ordinary logic of the logicians — it is the logic of a hidden life, a very subtle life. Whatsoever he says is on the surface absurd; deep down there lives a very great consistency. One has to penetrate it; one has to change his own mind to understand Lao Tzu.” – Osho

One of the concepts in the Tao Te Ching, which Laozi stresses with consistency is handling problems while they are small.

In Chapter 63, Laozi says:
“Deal with the difficult while yet it is easy;
Deal wit the big while yet it is small.
The difficult (problems) of the world
Must be dealt with while they are yet easy;
The great (problems) of the world
Must be dealt with while they are yet small.
Therefore the Sage by never dealing with great (problems)
Accomplishes greatness.”

Then he comes right back in Chapter 64 and repeats the same admonition:
“That which lies still is easy to hold;
That which is not yet manifest is easy to forestall;
That which is brittle (like ice) easily melts;
That which is minute easily scatters.
Deal with a thing before it is there;
Check disorder before it is rife.
A tree with a full span’s girth begins from a tiny sprout;
A nine-storied terrace begins with a clod of earth.
A journey of a thousand li beings at one’s feet.”

Then in the very next verse in Chapter 64, Laozi deals with inconsistency, stating that the lack of consistency causes our affairs to fail especially when they are close to coming to fruition:
“The affairs of men are often spoiled within an ace of completion.
By being careful at the end as at the beginning
Failure is averted.”

So let’s see if we can put these two qualities of consistency and handling problems as soon as they emerge or even beforehand with preventive measures into our everyday lives as well as our Internal Arts practices. And have a great practice, everyone.


A beautiful day in L.A. Great for going to your favorite and just chilling out or…doing some push hands and learning while doing. Now it’s time to rest up and get ready for a full week of practice. Enjoy it, folks!


“Cessation of mind equals cessation of breath. Cessation of breath equals cessation of self…” -Damo Mitchell, Internal Arts Academy

In light of the Zhuangzi story, “Keng’s Disciple,” which we just concluded yesterday (Part 4, 11/05), I would like to post a podcast on Guan Yin by my Nei Gong and Alchemy teacher, Damo Mitchell. In this talk, he explains the concept of Guan Yin in terms of Daoist alchemy, which is basically a way for Internal Arts cultivators and other meditators to begin to realize how their awareness works in the context of our internal complexities. This lack of understanding was precisely what caused Keng’s disciple so much frustration and despair.



Today we conclude “Keng’s Disciple” with Part 4 from Thomas Merton’s collection of Zhuangzi stories entitled “The Way of Chuang Tzu.” To review any of the previous parts of the story simply scroll down the page. For Part 1 scroll to 11/02, for Part 2 scroll to 11/03 and for Part 3 scroll to 11/04.

Have you guessed which chapter from his Tao Te Ching Lao Tzu quotes as advice to Keng’s overwrought disciple, who cannot seem to put the teachings into practice and cultivate desirable qualities while ridding himself of undesirable ones? Let’s find out.


Lao Tzu replied:
“Can you embrace the One
And not lose it?
Can you foretell good things and bad
Without the tortoise shell
Or the straws?
Can you rest where there is rest?
Do you know when to stop?
Can you mind your own business
Without cares, without desiring reports
Of how others are progressing?
Can you stand on your own feet?
Can you duck?
Can you be like an infant
That cries all day
Without getting a sore throat
Or clenches his fist all day
Without getting a sore hand
Or gazes all day
Without eyestrain?
You want the first elements?
The infant has them.
Free from care, unaware of self,
He acts without reflection,
Stays where he is put, does not know why,
Does not figure things out,
Just goes along with them,
Is part of the current.
These are the first elements!”

The disciple asked:
“Is this perfection?”

Lao replied: “Not at all.
It is only the beginning.
This melts the ice.

“This enables you
To unlearn,
So that you can be led by Tao,
Be a child of Tao.

“If you persist in trying
To attain what is never attained
(It is Tao’s gift!)
If you persist in making effort
To obtain what effort cannot get;
If you persist in reasoning
About what cannot be understood,
You will be destroyed
By the very thing you seek.

“To know when to stop
To know when you can get no further
By your own action,
This is the right beginning!”

So, if you said Chapter 10 or Chapter 55 of the Tao Te Ching, you were correct. Parts of each are contained in Laozi’s advice to Keng’s Disciple. And as Zhuangzi would have it, good advice for all of us to follow. That is the reason he has developed principles from both chapters to give all of us advice on how to begin cultivating desirable qualities and ridding ourselves of undesirable ones. So for all Internal Arts practitioners, have a great weekend and enjoy practicing, folks.


Today, we look at Part 3 of “Keng’s Disciple” from Thomas Merton’s collection of Zhuangzi stories entitled “The Way of Chuang Tzu.” Scroll down to 11/02/2021 to read Merton’s commentary and Part 1 with the disciple’s frustration of being unable to realize Keng’s teachings or put them into practice like the other disciples, and Keng advises him to present himself to Lao Tzu. Scroll down to 11/03/2021 to read Part 2 when Keng’s Disciple leaves his temple and journeys south to meet Lao Tzu. Meditating alone in a cell and trying to cultivate desirable qualities only led to further despair. And now Part 3


“Miserable!” said Lao.
“All blocked up!
Tied in knots! Try
To get untied!
If your obstructions
Are on the outside,
Do not attempt
To grasp them one by one
And thrust them away.
Impossible! Learn
To ignore them.
If they are within yourself,
You cannot destroy them piecemeal,
But you can refuse
To let them take effect.
If they are both inside and outside,
Do not try
To hold on to Tao. Just hope that Tao
Will keep hold of you!”

The disciple groaned:
“When a farmer gets sick
And the other farmers come to see him,
If he can at least tell them
What is the matter
His sickness is not bad.
But as for me, in my search for Tao,
I am like a sick man who takes medicine
That makes him ten times worse.
Just tell me
The first elements.
I will be satisfied!”

Tomorrow we will conclude with Part 4 where Lao Tzu quotes one of his famous chapters from the Tao Te Ching as advice to Keng’s overwrought disciple. Can you guess which chapter that is? Which chapter would you quote to Keng’s disciple? And why? Contemplate on that tonight and join me tomorrow for the conclusion. And don’t forget to enjoy practicing and contemplating, everyone.


Today, we look at Part 2 of “Keng’s Disciple” from Thomas Merton’s collectioj of Zhuangzi stories entitled “The Way of Chuang Tzu.” In Part 1 yesterday (scroll down to 11/02/2021), Keng’s Sang Chu’s disciple complained to his master that the other disciples get the Master Keng’s meaning and can put it into practice, but he cannot. No matter how hard he tries, it just does not ring any bells inside. Keng admits that his own capacity is too slight to help his student. Thus, he suggests that the student journey to see Lao Tzu. That’s where we begin today.


The disciple got some supplies,
Travelled seven days and seven nights
And came to Lao Tzu.
Lao asked: “Do you come from Keng?”
“Yes,” replied the student.
“Who are all those people you have brought with you?”
The disciple whirled around to look.
Nobody there. Panic!
Lao said: “Don’t you understand?”
The disciple hung his head. Confusion!
Then a sigh. “Alas, I have forgotten my answer.”
(More confusion!) “I have also forgotten my question.”
Lao said: “What are you trying to say?”
The disciple: “When I don’t know, people treat me like a
When I do know, the knowledge gets me into trouble.
When I fail to do good, I hurt others.
When I do good, I hurt myself.
If I avoid my duty, I am remiss,
But if I do it, I am ruined.
How can I get out of these contradictions?
That is what I came to ask you.”

Lao Tzu replied:
“A moment ago
I looked into your eyes.
I saw you were hemmed in
By contradictions. Your words
Confirm this.
You are scared to death,
Like a child who has lost
Father and mother.
You are trying to sound
The middle of the ocean
With a six-foot pole.
You have got lost, and are trying
To find your way back
To your own true self.
You find nothing
But illegible signposts
Pointing in all directions.
I pity you.”

The disciple asked for admittance,
Took a cell, and there
Trying to cultivate qualities
He thought desirable
And get rid of others
Which he disliked.
Ten days of that!

Tomorrow we will get into Part 3 of “Keng’s Disciple” and his encounter with Lao Tzu. Until then, enjoy your practicing, folks.


Today we begin Part 1 of “Keng’s Disciple,” the longest story in Thomas Merton’s Zhuangzi collection entitle “The Way of Chuang Tzu. We will start off with Merton’s commentary.

The “man of Tao” does not make the mistake of giving up self-conscious virtuousness in order to immerse himself in an even more self-conscious contemplative recollection. One cannot call Chuang Tzu a “contemplative” in the sense of one who adopts a systematic program of spiritual self-purification in order to attain to certain definite interior experiences, or even merely to “cultivate the interior life.” Chuang Tzu would condemn this just as roundly as the “cultivation” of anything else on an artificial basis. All deliberate, systematic, and reflexive “self-cultivation,” whether active or contemplative, personalistic or politically committed, cuts one off from the mysterious but indispensable contact with Tao, the hidden “Mother” of all life and truth. One of the things that causes the young disciple of Keng Sang Chu (Keng’s Disciple) to be so utterly frustrated is precisely that he shuts himself up in a cell and tries to cultivate qualities which he thinks desirable and get rid of others which he dislikes.

A disciple complained to Keng:
“The eyes of all men seem to be alike,
I detect no difference in them;
Yet some men are blind;
Their eyes do not see.
The ears of all men seem to be alike,
I detect no difference in them;
Yet some men are deaf,
Their ears do not hear.
The minds of all men have the same nature,
I detect no difference between them;
But the mad cannot make
Another man’s mind their own.
Here am I, apparently like the other disciples,
But there is a difference:
They get your meaning and put it in practice;
I cannot.
You tell me: ‘Hold your being secure and quiet,
Keep your life collected
in its own center.
Do not allow your thoughts
To be disturbed.’
But however hard I try,
Tao is only a word in my ear.
It does not ring any bells inside.”
Keng San replied: “I have nothing more
To say.
Bantams do not hatch goose eggs,
Though the fowl of Lu can.
It is not so much a difference of nature
As a difference of capacity.
My capacity is too slight
To transform you.
Why not go south
And see Lao Tzu?”

Tomorrow we will learn what happens when the disciple meets Lao Tzu. Until then, enjoy your practicing, everyone. Thanks for stopping by.


I will let Thomas Merton introduce our next Zhuangzi story from Merton’s collection entitled “The Way of Chuang Tzu.”

Meanwhile, though he (Chuang Tzu) consistently disagreed with his friend the dialectician, Hui Tzu, and though his disciples, who were not without “the need to win” always represented Chuang as beating Hui in debate, Chuang Tzu actually used many of Hui Tzu’s metaphysical ideas. He realized that, by the principle of complementarity, his own thought was notcomplete merely in itself, without the “opposition” of Hui Tzu.

One of the most famous of all Chuang Tzu’s “principles” is that called “three in the morning,” from the story of the
monkeys whose keeper planned to give them three measures of chestnuts in the morning and four in the evening but,
when they complained, changed his plan and gave them four in the morning and three in the evening.

When we wear out our minds, stubbornly clinging to one partial view of things, refusing to see a deeper agreement
between this and its complementary opposite, we have whati s called “three in the morning.”

What is this “three in the morning?”


A monkey trainer went to his monkeys and told them:
“As regards to your chestnuts: you are going to have three
measures in the morning and four in the afternoon.”

At this they all became angry. So he said: “All right, in
that case I will give you four in the morning and three in the
afternoon.” This time they were satisfied.


The two arrangements were the same in that the number of chestnuts did not change. But in one case the animals were displeased, and in the other they were satisfied. The keeper had been willing to change his personal arrangement
in order to meet objective conditions. He lost nothing by it. The truly wise man, considering both sides of the question
without partiality, sees them both in the light of Tao. This is called following two courses at once.

What does this story mean? Simply that the monkeys were foolish and that the keeper cynically outsmarted them? Quite the contrary. The point is rather that the keeper had enough sense to recognize that the monkeys had irrational reasons of their own for wanting four measures of chestnuts in the morning, and did not stubbornly insist on his original arrangement. He was not totally indifferent, and yet he saw that an accidental difference did not affect the substance· of his arrangement. Nor did he waste time demanding that the monkeys try to be “more reasonable” about it when monkeys are not expected to be reasonable in the first place. It is when we insist most firmly on everyone else being “reasonable” that we become, ourselves, unreasonable. Chuang Tzu, firmly centered on Tao, could see these things in perspective. His teaching follows the principle of “three in the morning,” and it is at home on two levels: that of the divine and invisible Tao that has no name, and that of ordinary, simple, everyday existence.

There’s one more important story with Merton’s commentary, “Keng’s Disciple.” It’s one of Zhuangzi’s longest stories; thus, I will break it down into parts. Part 1 will be tomorrow. Don’t miss it. Meanwhile, enjoy your practicing, everyone. And thank you for starting off this month of Thanksgiving with me.