Already thousands of years ago, methods were created to help a person get in harmony with himself and with nature, thereby opening the gates for him to penetrate into the secret of life.
Such methods, which require no more than your own physical and mental forces for their application, have been known to various cultures of mankind. Many of those methods have been lost. Others, however, have been developed further until today, just as it has happened within the lineages of traditional Chinese health care and exploration of truth (Yangsheng-Xiuzhen).
The traditional Chinese culture of health care and exploration of truth (Yangsheng-Xiuzhen)
The traditional Chinese culture of health care and exploration of truth was formed as a result of the cross-fertilisation of different cultural currents. These are above all the three great philosophies Daoism, Confucianism and Buddhism, as well as the schools of shamanism, medicine, martial arts and divination. In Daoism and Buddhism, complete methodical systems have been developed.
In Chinese Buddhism one speaks of three important schools, the three key-schools (Sanzong): Chanzong, Mizong and Tiantaizong. In Daoism one speaks of five important schools, the five secrets (Wumi): Taijimen, Dandingmen, Jianxianmen, Fulumen and Xuanzhenmen.
The traditional Chinese schools of health care and exploration of truth have a history going back thousands of years. They have evolved their knowledge in master-to-student lineages. This implies a master and lineage holder who knows and understands the entire contents of his lineage. He trains a few students, of whom one becomes the subsequent lineage holder.
It is not unusual that these schools keep their knowledge concealed from the public. But any holder of a traditional Chinese lineage knows about the eight important schools of Buddhism and Daoism (Sanzong-Wumi). A lineage holder who does not know about these schools either has lost contact to his roots or cannot be a holder of a genuine traditional Chinese lineage.
Self-proclaimed Daoist or Buddhist masters and lineage holders in China and the West exist notably since the 1980s. After the end of the Chinese Cultural Revolution suddenly thousands of masters appeared from nowhere. Simply due to their large number, it is unlikely that they all belong to a traditional Chinese lineage. With their half-knowledge, on one hand, they have spread a lot of blunders and misconceptions about the practices of Daoist and Buddhist health care and exploration of truth. On the other hand, they have contributed to make this culture popular in the world.
Taiji-school (Taijimen) and Taiji-knowledge (Taijixue)
Taijimen, the original school of Taiji, goes back with its roots to Laozi (6th century BC) and the Yellow Emperor (3rd millennium BC). It was formally founded in the Tang-Dynasty (618 - 906 AD) and had kept itself concealed from the public since then, with the consequence that even its very existence was no longer known to any outsider.
But in 1989, its lineage holder Fangfu, commonly known as Lu Jin-Chuan, announced the school again by publishing some of its contents. The methodical system of the school had been completed and the social conditions seemed favourable.
With opening his school to the public and by making known authentic contents, lineage holder Fangfu aimed at correcting some of the blunders and misconceptions about the practices of Daoist and Buddhist health care and exploration of truth that have been spread by self-proclaimed masters. The old tradition of his school is to advance further in interaction with modern Western culture for the benefit of the health care and exploration of truth for Eastern and Western people alike.
In 1993, the Taiji-knowledge (Taijixue) was founded on the basis of Taijimen. The traditional contents of the school were adjusted and complemented by lineage holder Fangfu to suit the needs of modern society. The application of the knowledge in society in areas like medicine and philosophy was expanded.
The Taiji-knowledge now consists of two complementary main components: the path of realising Dao (Taiji-Daoxing) and Taiji-culture (Taiji-Wenhua). The path of realising Dao is about meditative self-practice to cultivate body (Xing), life force (Qi) and mind (Shen) as a means of personal health care and exploration of truth. Taiji-culture is about transferring the abilities and insights gained from the meditative self-practice into society for the benefit of others. This for example takes place in the field of Qi-medicine as the application of abilities to perceive and control the life force (Qi) and in the field of philosophy as the application of special insights.
The path of meditative self-practice is the basis of Taiji-culture. It is communicated in the context of the training system Taiji-Qidao.
With the foundation of the Taiji-knowledge (Taijixue), the old name Taijimen as the denomination for this lineage was abandoned. This is also due to the fact that the name Taijimen had already been adopted by other groupings, which do not belong to the original school of Taiji.
The Taiji-knowledge contains the essence of the knowledge and wisdom of traditional Chinese health care and exploration of truth.
Nature and culture
According to the two complementary main components of the Taiji-knowledge, human existence can be divided into two main aspects: nature and culture. Nature is the basis of human existence. Each human being has a natural life, which initially is independent of society and culture. But for his survival, a human being relies on society and culture. Both aspects are important and require care.
The path of realising Dao is dedicated to the care for the natural life. Taiji-culture is concerned with the care for the existence within society and culture.
Usually a human being tends to overemphasise his role in society and neglects his natural life. Consequently he loses contact with the core of his being. On the path of realising Dao, a human being can nourish the basis of his life and discover his original nature.
The path of realising Dao can be understood as a return to nature. To enter the realm of nature, a human being needs to overcome his social and cultural conditioning. In particular, this means to question and transcend the accustomed limits of perception and thinking.
Existence can be divided into three realms: the physical realm (Xing), the realm of the life force (Qi) and the mental realm (Shen). All the three realms are actually one, the distinction originates in human consciousness alone. The accustomed limits of perception and thinking restrict human insight predominantly to the physical realm. On the path of realising Dao, consciousness increasingly opens to the realm of the life force and the mental realm.
With the opening of consciousness for the yet hidden realms of existence, the highest meditative insight can be prepared: the insight into the fundamental character of existence, which means the insight into the creative force that governs all processes of life: Taiji.
What is Taiji?
Taiji is the key concept of traditional Chinese philosophy. It was first mentioned by Confucius in the introduction of his commentaries on the Book of Changes (Yijing). The meaning of the concept however had already been described by Laozi in the Daodejing as the great Dao (“great path”, Da-Dao).
Taiji refers to the state before the very first beginning and after the very last ending of any kind of existence. It is the formless foundation of all existence. In the state of Taiji, all forms of existence are contained as a potential, but they are not manifested yet.
Taiji includes the cycle of growth and decay and is its driving force. Each form of existence arises from Taiji and after its ending returns to Taiji. In other words, any kind of form arises from formlessness and returns to formlessness. Seen from the perspective of form, this means birth and death. Seen from the perspective of Taiji, this means perpetual transformation.
To realise Taiji means to realise the secretly operating creative force. To have the creative force work on yourself undisturbed by social and cultural conditioning, and that way sublimating body (Xing), life force (Qi) and mind (Shen), is called the original practice of Taiji.
The original practice of Taiji is formless. That is to say there is no predefined procedure of practice, but any kind of procedure can occur naturally. The instruction consists of clues how to clear the way for the natural working of the creative force. The practice is supported by a transmission of life force (Qi) and mental information. This transmission is essential, because the practice cannot be explained sufficiently by words alone. All verbal and intellectual concepts are restricted to the sphere of social and cultural conditioning. To enter the original practice of Taiji, it is necessary to leave this limitation behind and, free from assumptions, retreat into the state of non-action (Wuwei).
In the state of non-action (Wuwei), direct access to the working of the creative force can be found. Natural procedures of practice keep unfolding, changing continuously. These natural procedures of practice are an expression of a process of harmonisation. The practitioner aligns with himself and with nature, just as well as he extends his capacity of insight. With the original practice of Taiji, body (Xing), life force (Qi) and mind (Shen) return in a natural way to their unrestricted state of being.
The original practice of Taiji can be outlined by its three principles, which are also the leading Daoist principles of health care and exploration of truth:
(1) non-action (Wuwei) as the practice guideline,
(2) nature (Ziran) as the method and
(3) returning to the source (Fanben) as the goal.
Taiji-Qidao is the primary training system in the Taiji-knowledge. Here is instructed the path of realising Dao. The communication of the traditional contents has been put into a new form that takes into account the demands of living in modern society.
Taiji-Qidao emphasises the application of life force (Qi) for its meditative self-practice. A human being can be seen as a unity of body (Xing), life force (Qi) and mind (Shen). Body and mind are the two opposing extremes of this unity, the life force is their connecting middle, the bridge between body and mind. By means of the life force, both body and mind can be rebalanced and developed. A practice that focuses on the life force involves the whole being.
Taiji-Qidao is a long-term path of self-cultivation and deepening consciousness.