Autumnal Greetings 2016

Autumn 2016

One leaf knows it is autumn

Dear Qi-friends,

Autumnal greetings from the peaceful and calm Norrtälje bay (in sunny Sweden)!

In China, we have a famous proverb: YiYeZhiQiu 一葉知龝 , which means ‘one leaf knows it is autumn.’ This red leaf caught my eyes as I was strolling with my daughter in the nature reserve last week … it reminded me that my one month summer vacation (Swedish style) was drawing to an end and that I would be writing this newsletter soon.

Autumn Begins 7 August … 

Although autumn begins on August 7, 2016 and the Cold Water cosmological energy might bring some welcomed cooling for a brief spell (especially in those areas that have been experiencing an unusual heat wave), ShuHuoZhiQi 暑火之氣, or Hot Fire Qi, will be in full force before completely retreating around August 25th.

Expect to have some extremely hot days until then! This will especially hold true for those of you who have experienced an uncommonly hot summer these last couple of months.

HanShuiZhoQi 寒水之氣 – Cold Water Extreme

However, HanShuiZhoQi 寒水之氣, or Cold Water energy, will dominate the remainder of the fall season, with some areas experiencing atypical rainstorms, hail storms and/or snowstorms.

Cold Water Caution! 

This extreme Cold Water influence may cause some difficulties for those of you who have potential weakness in gastrointestinal function, any kind of joint problem, an over heavy body, poor hearing, and/or lower back pain. This harming influence will be strong from September 22nd through November 22nd.

Cold Water Prevention

To avoid the deleterious influence of Cold Water energy and maintain balance in your life, please center your diet around healthy foods and place more emphasis on eating foods with pungent flavors. Also, please keep up with your daily Qigong practice.

Drinking plantain tea everyday will have special health benefits for most of us during this coming autumn season.

2016 Teaching Schedule Update

In order to support our Qi-friends cultivation, we will continue to expand my teachings in the states and throughout Europe.

Two upcoming retreats full

We are excited that many cultivation friends from around the world will be joining us in our next two upcoming retreats:

1. Our two year GanZhi Advanced Daoist Arts Program, in which I will systematically teach the relationships of the GanZhi to Chinese cosmology, astrology, the Yijing, classical chinese medicine, and internal alchemy, is full. We will be welcoming a international group of students to study here in Sweden every 6 months for the next two years.

2. To commemorate the 15th year of the passing of one my most influential teachers, Grandmaster Yang RonJi 楊榮籍 , I will be sharing (for the first time) the first 12 movements of the HuaShan 24 form. For this training, we will be meeting in a retreat style setting in upstate, New York. Although registration for this event is full, you are welcome to join us for part 2, in October 2017.

Still time to join a weekend course!

There are still a few spaces left in several of my upcoming weekend events this fall (in New York city; in Stockholm, Sweden; in Strasbourg, France; and in Aberdeen, Scotland). If you would like to participate, please check out the teaching schedule on my website for details.

Looking Ahead to 2017

During our extended spring 2017 teaching trip to the Pacific Northwest area of the United States, I will offer several events to support our local Qi-friends in Portland, Oregon…

Fire Dragon Shamanic Martial Arts Form Retreat

For years, students have been asking me to teach them the Fire Dragon Shamanic Martial Arts Form. I have finally decided to offer training of this special form from the EMei Shamanic Lineage. In a five day retreat, we will learn and practice this powerful form, which is based on the Yijing Eight Trigrams Arrangement.

Dai XinYi Chopstick form

I will be continuing teaching the Dai XinYi Teacher Certification series. In the next session, held in February 2017, I will be teaching the XinYi Chopstick Form. Each workshop in this series is open to the general public, to students of all levels, and is offered independently, meaning you are welcome to join us for as many of these trainings as you like, in any order that fits your schedule.

2016/2017 Winter/Spring Highlights


Best wishes for a healthy and happy harvest season from Karin and I,

Master Wu

Happy Longevity Peach Day! … and happy summer :)

Santorini - October 13, 2014
Santorini - October 13, 2014

 

9 April 2016

Dear Qi friends,

Happy Longevity Peach Day! Happy birthday to the Spirit of North! Happy birthday to Grandmaster Zhao!

Traditionally, Longevity Peach Day is the day when the Queen Mother of the West would invite all the immortals to KunLun Mountain in celebration. During the festivities, she offered Longevity Peaches … eating one Longevity Peach was known to bring 3,000 years of life!

Spirit of the North is XuanWu 玄武 – and is also the spirit of Water Element.  In Daoism, we believe XuanWu brings new life energy into the world and protects all beings.

Grandmaster Zhao ShouRong carries the lineage of the Dai Family style of XinYi (Heart Mind) internal alchemy and martial arts system. He was born on this special auspicious day, the third day of the third month in lunar calender.

Karin, Zenna, and I hope the spiritual energies of these two immortals (and Grandmaster Zhao) will bring happiness, health, and prosperity into your lives.

Good News!

I would like to share a couple of pieces of good news with you before I share more about the cosmological influences that will be influencing us all this summer.

  • The registration for our newly launched GanZhi Advanced Daoist Arts program is full! This two year course will be held in Sweden. If you would like to be added to the waitlist, please send us an email.

  • Session three of the Lifelong Training Program is also full! This session will meet at a beautiful lodge nestled in the base of Mt. Adams in southern Washington state (USA).  It will be great to spend a week cultivating with old Qi friends.

  • Our publisher, Singing Dragon, is offering a free online Qigong festivalon April 21-22, 2016. Please check out the link – there will be a lot of interesting information available! For this event, I have donated one of my most popular previously published articles, The Pure Yang Mudra part I.

  • My wife Karin is busy writing the GanZhi BaZi Workbook! This book will provide essential and practical information on Chinese astrology … including the secret method (never before published) of how to calculate the astrology chart without a Chinese calendar book or a questionably accurate GanZhi app. Our goal is for the book to be available during the 2016 winter holiday season.

Summer Greetings

You may be wondering why I am sending you all this summer seasonal newsletter almost one month ahead of schedule. The answer is twofold:

Teaching trip in the Pacific Northwest

First, we will be leaving Sweden on Monday for a long teaching trip in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. We will have an entire month of back to back teachings scheduled, which will prevent me from doing any writing!

Third month of Spring – the Dragon month

Secondly, the third month of spring this season has unusual energetic pattern – one that differs from the general spring pattern I wrote about in my last newsletter. As such, I would like to give you a specific guidance about the upcoming Dragon month:

RenChen 壬辰 (Yang Water Dragon)

Even though many friends who are living in the northern hemisphere have enjoyed some nice warm spring energy, this month, RenChen 壬辰 (Yang Water Dragon), will carry in some Cold Water energy. Some friends may have already experienced snow storms during the last couple of days.

Please still follow my previous recommendations for the spring Qigong practice during this Dragon month.  However, please do not continue eating the cooling foods I mentioned in my Spring 2016 newsletter. Until 5 May make sure to consume food and drink with warming energy, such as ginger tea and adding cinnamon spice to your warming foods (like lamb stew).

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

From the Daoist cosmological perspective, the starting point of the summer season falls on May 5th this year. The energy of Mars will definitely dominate the summer – the power of Fire will be in full effect! I predict that many of us will experience an extremely hot summer, especially during the period of May 20 – July 20. This heat wave could last all the way through to the first month of autumn (until September 7th) in some areas.

Supporting patients through the heat

Clinically, practitioners will see that many of their clients will present with problems relating to heat disease, such as poor hearing, nose bleeds, cough, abscess, skin sores, red eyes, thyroid hyperplasia, sore throat, and even sudden death.

Starting on May 5th, please guide your patients to consume foods and drinks that are cooling in nature.

As I mentioned in my last letter, drinking high quality green tea will be a good choice to help disperse the heat this summer. I recently got some fabulous green tea shipped to me from my friends in China – the first harvest of the year! 🙂

Those of you who are tea aficionados may be able to notice the high quality nature of this tea and even its powerful Qi in the photo down below.

Cultivating with the heat

As always, the best way to maintain your balance throughout all the changes life brings is to continue your daily Qigong practice.

The Monkey Internal Alchemy Meditation practice I have shared before (from my book, XinYi WuDao) is still a powerful choice to help you balance your energy.

Regardless of your specific cultivation practice, please remember this advice:

君子向明而治
JunZiXiangMingErZhi
The enlightened being cultivates while facing brightness

Wishing Peaceful Qi to you and your families from the three of us,

Master Wu

Cultivation yields transformation – come join us!

In order to support our Qi-friends inner transformation process, I am expanding my 2016 teachings. Below please find an overview of upcoming training opportunities. Please click the event name for details.

Three New Years Greetings from Master Wu

spring 2015 copy

YiWei 乙未

Three New Years Greetings

 

Dear Qi-friends,

Greetings from sunny Stockholm! Unlike the record warm winter we had last year, we are finally experiencing some snow and freezing temperatures this winter. My wife Karin and I are enjoying this winter-Qi – the greatest source for rejuvenating all new life energy. We will continue to take advantage of the winter feeling and maintain our focus on our annual winter personal retreat. I am sending this seasonal greeting a little early this year because I would like to share some special cultivation ideas for the coming new energetic year with you all.

 

Utilize the rhythm of Nature

According to ZhouYiCanTongQi 周易參同契, one of the most important Daoist internal alchemy classics, the rhythm of nature has great influence on human beings, and it is therefore important to understand the rhythm of nature and know how to cultivate with the changing rhythms.

By doing so, you will optimize your potential for inner transformation and for deep healing to occur.

Three New Years!

There will be three important shifts in the rhythm of Qi as we move from the current JiaWu 甲午 Year to the coming YiWei 乙未 Year:

  • Cosmological New Year – Alchemical Qi
  • Animal New Year – Yang (Solar) Qi
  • Chinese New Year – Yin (Lunar) Qi

 

Cosmological New Year – Alchemical Qi

This YiWei 乙未 Cosmological Year will start January 20, 2015

The Heavenly Stem Yi 乙 represents Yin Wood and the Earthly Branch Wei 未 represents the Earth and carries the Goat as its spiritual animal.  According to Chinese cosmology, I expect that the coming year’s climatic pattern to be influenced by Revenge Fire, Damp Earth, and Cold Water energies.

This means that I predict more rainstorms than average this year, with hail in the summer and snow storms in the winter.

I also expect that there will be strong windstorms in the coming months, especially on west coast area of your region.

 

Animal New Year – Yang (Solar) Qi

 Spring season will begin on February 4, 2015

The next animal sign begins on LiChun 立春, which marks the beginning of spring. LiChun is one of the 24 15-day segments in the annual solar cycle.  According to WanNianLi 萬年曆, the Chinese Ten-Thousand Year Calender, spring season will begin on February 4, 2015.

In my tradition, the coming of spring correlates with the start of a new annual animal sign – and this year it will be YiWei, the Year of Yin Wood Goat. In Chinese astrology, one of the four pillars that make up the basic chart is the animal which correlates to the Solar year of birth.

For example, all babies who are born between February 4, 2015-February 4, 2016 will have the Yin Wood Goat as their yearly animal sign.

Whether you have a goat in your chart or not, we will all be affected by the Goat energy this year.

Here is a brief synopsis of the symbolism of the Goat, as extracted from my book The 12 Chinese Animals:

“Goats give you gentle and peaceful feelings when they chew grass with a slow, grinding motion. Yet they move with great speed and agility when navigating their way through rough, rocky, mountainous areas. They have strong horns and are always ready to defeat their enemies.

Goat is the eighth animal symbol in the 12 Chinese Animals System.

We use Wei 未 to represent the Goat symbol in the 12 Earthly Branches.

Wei is a symbol for the 13:00–14:59 time of day, and for the sixth month in the Chinese Lunar-Solar calendar (which is approximately July 7 to August 8 in the Gregorian solar calendar).

Wei represents the napping time of day and the third summer month when nature is in its ripest season. It is a time or a place where Yang energy (life energy) continues its decline and when the life cycle becomes more mellow. We use the tidal hexagram Dun  ䷠ to symbolize the Goat.”

Chinese (Lunar) New Year – Yin (Lunar) Qi

This year we will celebrate the New Year on February 19, 2015

The Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after the Winter solstice each year. This year we will celebrate the New Year on February 19, 2015. In China, we also call the New Year ChunJie 春節, or Spring Festival.

The Spring Festival is the most important and longest holiday of the year in China, the one in which we all prioritize spending time with family and friends. Traditionally, the celebration begins new year’s eve and lasts for almost an entire month.

 

YiWei and your Health

While the combination of YiWei energies will be good for those of you who need support from the Wood elements, it will also possibly cause added difficulties for those of you who have weak lung Qi, poor digestive function, and/or a lower sexual drive.

Some people will suffer more pain in their joints and tendons over the next couple of months.

I will go into more detail about how the seasonal cosmological influences will effect us in my coming seasonal greetings.

 

YiWei New Years Qigong – Goat Internal Alchemy

As I always emphasis, Qigong practice is a great medicine that will help you maintain balance and a sense of well being in your life.

The special Goat internal alchemy qigong form will be a powerful addition to your daily Qigong practice during this YiWei year.

This year, I will teach the entire 12 Chinese Animals Internal Alchemy form in Anchorage, Alaska on Sunday April 19th. In the workshop, I will explain the form in relation to the twelve Tidal Hexagrams – the spirit of Yijing (I Ching), and cover healing and spiritual transformation applications of the form.

For those of you who will be unable to join us in Anchorage, here is one of the Goat internal alchemy practices for you:

Tidal Hexagram Dun ䷠ Meditation

With a lit candle in front of you, start the meditation by straightening your back and feeling that your body is as stable as a mountain.

Make the Dun mudra by placing each thumb on the tip of the ring finger. The tip of the ring finger is related to the hexagram Dun.

With open and relaxed fingers, place your right mudra on your right knee, palm facing up and raise your left mudra to the level of your left shoulder, palm facing forward.

Adjust your breathing to be slow, smooth, deep, and even.

Feel each breath connect with your spleen, heart, and liver.

Meditate in this position for as long as you can.

At the close of your meditation, please cite this little prayer:

May the Spiritual Lights shine on my unwavering mind

May the Spiritual Lights shine on my unbroken breath

May the Spiritual Lights shine on my unpolluted body

Spring Courses in the US!

Below please find a brief summary of my upcoming courses in the US.

Events with a special early registration price are noted.

 

QiDao ChaDao: Qigong and the Dao of Tea

Qigong is an ancient technique for healing and inner cultivation. For thousands of years, sages have used the tea ceremony as a gateway to understand the Dao. Please join us for a sampling of special Chinese tea and demonstration of traditional Qigong.

Offerings:

March 13 2015 in Baltimore, MD (click for further details)

April 17 2015 in Anchorage, AK (click for further details)

 

Dragon Body: The Secret of Daoist Internal Alchemy

In Chinese culture, the dragon represents shifting, changing, invisible, mystery, flexibility, transformation, high spirituality, supernatural, and power.

The Dragon Body practice is a way to express all the characteristics of the dragon in your cultivation practice.

This practice strengthens the vital link between the governing meridian and conception meridian and is one of the most important ZhouTian 周天 (Cosmic Orbit) methods to transform your Qi and nourish your spirit.

Offering:

March 14-15, 2015 in Baltimore, MD (click for further details)

*Please take advantage of the discounted early registration price and register before February 6!

 

Daoist Internal Alchemy – BaGuaXinJing 八卦心鏡

In this BaGua XinJing (Eight Trigrams Heart-Mirror) training, we will review HunYuanZhuang 混元樁, the fundamental Heart-Mind standing posture, and the XinJing – the eight gentle movements designed to increase physical strength, nourish the joints and balance the mind. This practice represents the very foundation of YiJing (I Ching) philosophy.

Offerings:

March 15, 2015 in Baltimore, MD (click for further details)

April 18, 2015 in Anchorage, AK (click for further details)

*Alaskans, please take advantage of the discounted early registration price and register before February 17!

 

Daoist Internal Alchemy – ShengXiaoGong 生肖功

The twelve rhythms of nature are represented by ShengXiaoGong (Twelve Animals Qigong), from China’s esoteric Mt. EMei shamanic Qigong lineage, and give us access to the deepest spirit of the Yijing (I Ching).

April 19, 2015 in Anchorage, AK (click for further details)

*Alaskans, please take advantage of the discounted early registration price and register before February 17!

 

Karin and I are wishing you and your families a healthy and happy year of the Goat!

 

Master Zhongxian Wu

Summer Begins – Happy Summer 2014!

Sunshine Daydreams
from Master Wu
and Karin

 

Dear Qi-friends,Happy summer to you and your family! Karin and I have been enjoying our time in the magic Stockholm archipelago since returning from our one-month teaching trip in China last week.

Fun YouTube Clip from our China Trip!

We had a great time in TaiGu with my Dai Family XinYi teacher, Grandmaster Zhao ShouRong.  If you’d like to get a taste of what it was like to train all day at a 1000+ year old Daoist Temple in a remote area of China, you can watch this short little YouTube clip.We have been working hard on our newest project, the companion DVDs for our newest book, XinYi WuDao.  The DVDs, XinYi WuXing and XinYi BaGua, are expected to be released June 30.  70% of the footage for the DVDs was filmed on site at the same Daoist Temple, and much of it was filmed under the guardianship of a great 2,000 year old locust tree – cool!

Valborgsmässoafton Fire!

We made a large bonfire on April 30st, which is a time honored tradition for Valborgsmässoafton, the last day of April. It is the fourth biggest holiday celebrated here in Sweden – we officially clear out the all debris from the winter and welcome in the summer!

Summer begins

According to Chinese cosmology, today, May 5, 2014 is the starting point of summer. However, don’t expect the hot weather to arrive immediately. We will continue experience some chilly energy for the next two weeks.

For most of northern hemisphere, the dramatically warm temperatures will set in starting May 20th.  June and July will be dominated by excess Fire, and this strong Yang energy will cause Qi and blood circulation issues for many people.  I think it will prove to be a difficult season for those of you who have weak heart and lung function.

Protection from Excess Heat

Adding sea salt and apple cider vinegar into your daily food seasonings will nourish your health during the summer season. Bitter flavored foods and organic raw vegetables will be a nice addition to your daily diet this summer. Of course, your daily Qigong practice is one of the best ways to maintain your balance.

Keeping with our promise to supporting our Qi-friends’ inner cultivation practice, we have many teachings scheduled in the Pacific region of the United States and in Europe over the next several months.

Join us in the Pacific Northwest!

Karin and I will return to the Pacific Northwest soon for another extended teaching trip. In addition to Lifelong Training Program sessions one (May 21-27) and two (May 30-June 5) at Trout Lake Abbey in Trout Lake, Washington, we will have several offerings at Sun Gate Studio in NE Portland, Oregon:

We will also be offering a one day workshop in Cosmic Orbit Qigong in Seattle on June 15.

We hope to see you at at least in one of our west coast events!

European Lifelong Training Program – course full!

It is very exciting that our first offering of the Lifelong Training Program in Europe is now full. If you are interested in adding your name to the waiting list for the 2015 European level one training, please send us an email.

GanZhi Certification Program

We have also been busy preparing for our GanZhi (Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches) teacher’s certification program. We  and we expect to launch separate programs in both in the US and in Europe in 2015.   If you are interested in learning more, please email.

Looking Ahead

For those of you who like to make plans in advance, we will be offering many teachings during the fall and early winter. If you are interested in more details, you can always check my website’s teaching schedule.

Karin and I hope you will have a very pleasant and relaxing summer season. We will be in touch again in early August!

Harmonious Qi from Karin and I,

Master Wu

Happy Year of the Yin Water Snake!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yin Water Snake Greetings from Master Wu

Greetings from bright and sunny Stockholm! Since my winter solstice greeting, the daylight is returning quickly here in Sweden. Karin and I have been enjoying our new home, continuing our inner cultivation practices, writing, hiking in the impressive Royal National City Park, and watching the cycle of freezing and thawing of the waterways in Stockholm (the city itself is made up of 14 islands).   We are still appreciating the strong life energy of the North. After our time in northern Europe last winter, I no longer feel shocked to see green grass patiently waiting under the icy fields. Green belongs to the Wood Element – it is the color of new life energy and the spring season, and it reminded me today to write this seasonal update.

Spring 2013 begins tomorrow! February 4, 2013 marks the beginning of GuiSi 癸巳 the Year of the Yin Water Snake

The Chinese New Year falls on February 10 this year. However, according to WanNianLi 萬年曆, the Chinese Ten-Thousand Year Calender, spring season will begin tomorrow, February 4 at 00:13, which is the same moment that the Year of Yin Water Snake begins.

In China, the Snake is also known as XiaoLong 小龍 (Minor Dragon) and is generally regarded as an auspicious animal symbol.  We commonly say that children born in the year of the snake are likely to be very smart!

Contrary to popular belief, the new yearly animal sign and Chinese New Year do NOT typically fall on the same day

Many people think that the Chinese calendar is a lunar calendar. In fact, it is a lunisolar calendar, called WanNianLi or YinYangLi 陰陽歷. In Chinese, YinYangLi means moon and sun calendar, with Yin representing the moon, Yang signifying the sun, and Li meaning calendar. The fundamental building blocks of the Chinese calendrical system are GanZhi 干支, the 10 Heavenly Stem and 12 Earthly Branches.  This year, year of the Yin Water Snake, is denoted by the combination of the Heavenly Stem Gui 癸 and the Earthly Branch Si 巳.  The calendar tells us information about the lunar phase as well as the position of the sun.

The Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after Winter solstice each year.  This is why the actual date of the Chinese New Year changes from year to year – it does not follow the Western Gregorian calendar. The Chinese New Year is recorded based on the Yin aspect of the calendar.

The LiChun 立春, or beginning of spring, indicates the beginning of the next yearly animal sign. LiChun is one of the 24 15-day segments in the yearly cycle.  As I discussed in my book, The 12 Chinese Animals, the 24 segments are known as JieQi 節氣, and they symbolize the 24 positions of the sun’s movement across the sky and detail the 24 energetic patterns of each annual cycle – the Yang aspect of the calendar.

The message of GuiSi 癸巳

Each Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch contain many layers of symbolic meaning. As the situation or context changes, we may interpret the same Stem or Branch in a totally different way. I will briefly decode a Chinese cosmological perspective of GuiSi for you here.

The Heavenly Stem Gui represents Yin Water and the Earthly Branch Si represents Fire and carries the Snake as its spiritual animal.  This is why this coming year, GuiSi, is known as the Yin Water Snake Year. According to Chinese cosmology, Gui Water will transform to a deficient Fire energy.  In general,  I expect that the climate will be drier than it was during the Yang Water Dragon year. Si Fire will transform to JueYin 厥陰 Wind Wood, which provides a clue that the first half year will be windy and the second half of the year will be warm, including an unseasonably warm winter (in the Northern hemisphere). Together, GuiSi shows us that these cosmological energies will weaken the immune system of many people and suggests that the flu season will continue through March 22th.  Of course, each season will have its own impact, and I will go into detail about the next season in a few months.

Daily Cultivation Practice

Although we can not completely avoid the influence of the cosmological energy on our health, keeping a daily Qigong practice is always a great way to strengthen your immune system and maintain balance. I often say that Qigong is easy to learn but difficult practice on a daily basis.  One of my students, an acupuncturist, recently shared her blog with me. She has decided to commit to practicing Qigong continuously for 365 days. With her permission, I am attaching the link to her blog for you here, and hope that it will bring some of you inspiration to dedicate yourselves to a daily cultivation practice (365qigong.wordpress.com).

Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches – study card set!

Karin and I finished our newest project – a Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches study card set.  It will be published by Singing Dragon in April 2013. We are still working with the companion book and hope it will be ready this summer.

Opportunities to study XinYi internal martial arts

We are excited about our Yijing, FengShui and internal cultivation trip to China next month.  For those who are interested in joining us for just the one week XinYi 心意 internal martial arts trip (March 14 – March 21), we still have a few spaces available.  We will be training with my master, Grandmaster Zhao ShouRong 趙守榮.  You are welcomed to email me for details.

I will also offer a Dai family style XinYi workshop in Brooklyn, NYC in May during our upcoming visit to the states.

Updated 2013 teaching schedule

The April life long training program level 1 is now full!  If you would like to be added to the wait list, please let me know. During our trip to the US, I will be teaching weekend workshops in Oregon (Portland) in April and in New York (Manhattan and Brooklyn) in May.  When we return to Sweden, we will offer a Daoist Internal Alchemy and Qi Healing certification program during the week of the summer solstice. Our summer and fall schedule thus far include workshops in Germany, England, and Scotland, with preliminary plans to teach in Spain and Greece – please check www.masterwu.net for details!

Best regards from Karin and I,

Master Wu

The Purpose of Cultivation – an interview with Master Wu

Master Wu, thank you so much for agreeing to talk to Singing Dragon. I think you have just celebrated ten years of living in the West. Have you found over that time that our understanding of Chinese medicine has changed?

The Western understanding of Chinese medicine has definitely changed in the last ten years. I have noticed two main changes, with respect to the general public and the practitioners themselves. In terms of the general public, more and more people recognize the efficiency of Chinese medicine to meet their health care needs. More people are embracing Chinese medicine treatments because they want minimal unwanted side effects (or better yet, none at all) and also want to build up their health in order to prevent a future illness. In terms of Chinese medicine practitioners, I have seen that more practitioners are looking to understand the roots of Chinese medicine, and are emphasizing their own personal cultivation (for example through meditation, Qigong practice, studying the Yijing, Chinese astrology, etc.) to help them deepen their knowledge of Chinese medicine. Also, I see more practitioners are educating their patients about how important it is to strengthen their own Qi by improving their daily lifestyle habits and having a commitment to some internal cultivation practice.

How can Western practitioners best prepare themselves for studying Chinese medicine?

In terms of studying Chinese medicine, there is no difference in preparation for a Western practitioner or an Eastern practitioner. The best way to prepare is to do personal cultivation. In the Chinese medicine traditional education system, before the Master teaches you anything about medicine, they always first stress that you learn to be a good person and to cultivate your virtue. A good doctor first needs to be a good person, and have a good heart to help others. Traditionally, you didn’t learn medicine as a business venture to make tons of money. For the Master to share knowledge with you, he/she has to be clear that your deep purpose and drive is to help others. The HuangDiNeiJing (the Yellow Emperor’s classic text of Chinese medicine) emphasizes that you have to be careful not to teach certain skills to the wrong person – the wrong person, meaning someone who does not carry a high level of virtue.

You are lecturing at the Confucius Institute in London in February on the topic of Qigong as the basis for Chinese medicine. Can you say a little about why this is such an important topic?

Yes, Qigong is the source of Chinese medicine. The whole system was discovered by ancient enlightened beings who made profound connections about their bodies and Nature while in heightened Qigong states. According to the QiJingBaMaiKao (Investigations into the Eight Extraordinary Vessels), a book by the Ming Dynasty’s famous herbalist LiShiZhen’s, the subtle energies of the inner pathways of the body (for example the pulses, the points, the meridians, and even the organs themselves) may be seen only by those who cultivate Fan Guan (literally, ‘reverse observation’), or the ability to look within with clarity. LiShiZhen concluded that only high-level Qigong practitioners could see the meridian systems. Before the modern term Qigong became popularized, all Qigong cultivation practices (including seated meditation) were known as Guan, which itself means ‘observe or observation’, and implies self-observation.

Also, to develop an appropriate herbal formula for someone requires an understanding of Qi harmonization. Chinese herbal medicine was first taught by the ancient shaman king ShenNong (Divine Farmer). Actually, the first Chinese book of herbal medicine, ShenNongBenCaoJing is named after him and it is generally accepted that he wrote it as well. Our legends say that, through tasting the herbs, he was able to feel the different quality of Qi in each herb and understand how it relates to the Qi of the organ and meridian systems in the body. This kind of sensitivity and awareness was possible because he was a very high level Qigong practitioner, and was able enter into heightened states of consciousness and perception.

There would be no Chinese medicine without the ancient shamanic Qi cultivation practices of Qigong.

Would you tell us a little more about Qigong? Many people in the West are confused about what it is.

Qigong is modern, popularized term for an ancient method of physical, mental and spiritual cultivation. It can be translated into English as Qi cultivation, spiritual cultivation or working with the Qi. By the way, by Qi, I mean the vital energy of the universe that keeps everything alive. Qigong practice models a harmonious way of life and has been used throughout thousands of years of history by those who wish to attain Enlightenment.

Qigong involves working with the three parts of the body (Jing, Qi and Shen). In Chinese, Jing means essence and represents the physical body. The physical body is our structure and our container. It holds our essential life energy, our Qi body and our spiritual body. We can strengthen our physical bodies by practicing special Qigong postures. As I mentioned before, Qi translates as vital energy of the entire universe, including of course, the vital energy of your body. Your breath is deeply connected with the Qi body. Qi can also be translated as ‘vital breath’. In Qigong, we cultivate our Qi body by maintaining awareness of our breath and by learning techniques to regulate our breath. This will increase our vital energy or life force. The Shen means spirit, and represents our spiritual body. In general, our mind is related to our Shen. Once we pay too much attention to the external world or worry too much about what is going on in our life, we weaken our Qi. If we are always looking outside, we leak our spiritual Qi. In Qigong practice, we learn to look within in order to preserve our life energy.

How does it relate (if it does) to practices such as Yoga?

I have never practiced yoga, so I don’t have the personal experience to be able to talk about how it relates to Qigong. However, a number of my students are yoga practitioners by profession, and many of them connect their Qigong practice with their yoga practice. They have found that elements of their Qigong practice complement their yoga practice so that in general, the practices enhance each other.

What is the purpose of your cultivation/Qigong practice?

From the view point of Daoist practioners, the Daoist tradition is the immortal tradition. The purpose of Daoist cultivation practices is to become immortal. This often begs the question of what exactly is meant by immortality. In Chinese, the word for immortal is Xian, which is an image of a person who lives on a mountain. Throughout history, many Daoist masters have referred to themselves as ShanRen– Mountain People – because they spend long hermitages in the mountains (or anywhere in nature), cultivating their true humanity. Another word for immortal is ZhenRen– real or true human being. From the Chinese ideograms, we can see that the concept of an immortal is of one who has cultivated good health, happiness, and humanity and embodies these qualities in everyday life.

The idea of immortality or everlasting life has nothing to do with yearning to live forever. On a superficial level, of course no living being can escape death. Death is simply a part of the universal Five Elements natural cycle. However, death is always accompanied by the process of rebirth. In this way, there is no death. In the Immortal’s tradition, we have an expression – XinSi ShenHuo, which translates into English as “allow your heart to die so that your spirit will live.” I interpret this to mean that by embracing death and bringing it gracefully into our hearts, we understand the knowledge of immortality. This, to me, is enlightenment.

Yes, our lives are short – no matter how long we live, compared with the long stream of the time of the Universe, our lives are just a momentary sparkle. Sometimes, when people physically die, their spirits remain very much alive. The quality of our lives is not measured by the time we spend in this world, but how we learn to transform our personal emotional energy into a force that can help others.

You are also teaching a couple of workshops in the UK in February. They sound very interesting – can you tell us a little more about the practices?

Of course. I am excited to be teaching Fire Dragon Qigong in London and Five Elements Qigong in Oxford. Both are traditional Chinese Qigong forms.

Fire Dragon Qigong embodies the spirit of the rising dragon, which is an auspicious symbol of transformation in Chinese culture. Regular practice of this form establishes free flowing Qi in the 12 meridian systems of the body. It also helps transform areas of stagnation, thereby bringing the physical and emotional bodies into a balanced state of well-being. Actually, according to the Chinese calendar, the year of the Dragon begins on February 4, 2012. I will teach Fire Dragon Qigong that same weekend in honor of the Dragon and the great global transformation that will happen in 2012.

The Five Elements theory lies at the heart of classical Chinese philosophy and healing principles and is the foundation of Chinese cosmology and Chinese medicine. The Five Element Qigong form helps harmonize the Five Element’s Qi in our bodies and organ systems with the Five Element’s Qi of the Universe. Regular practice will help us smoothly navigate change in our lives.

What in your view are the greatest benefits of practice for people looking for a healthier lifestyle?

In the traditional Chinese healing system, the definition of medicine is something that embodies these three qualities: vitality, joy and harmony. Anything may be considered medicine, and doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical object. Instead, medicine is any object, event, thought or action that increases your vital energy, brings you joy (that you then can share with others), and helps you live harmoniously with yourself, with your family and friends (and society as a whole), and with Nature. In Chinese tradition, we consider Jing, Qi and Shen to be the best and most important medicine in the world. The greatest benefit of a regular Qigong practice is that you learn to access and optimize your own best medicine within – your Jing, Qi and Shen – to support your daily life.

Does a knowledge of Chinese medicine increase the benefits of Qigong?

Yes and no. In my experience, everyone who has a regular practice of a traditional Qigong form receives benefits from their practice. In ancient times, Chinese medicine was discovered through the practice of Qigong, and it gave a pathway of understanding the Universe through each individual body. In this way, the benefits of Qigong practice precede formal knowledge of Chinese medicine itself. In modern days, we often go the opposite direction, and use prior knowledge of Chinese medicine to help guide the practice. People who have taken time to study Chinese medicine may have a better idea of the specifics of how the Qigong form is working in their bodies. In spiritual cultivation practice, there is a phenomenon called “knowledge stagnation”, where having a lot of knowledge and thinking too much about what you think the practice will do becomes an obstacle to experiencing what is actually happening. On the other hand, advanced Qigong practitioners can use their knowledge of Chinese medicine to really deepen their practice. Either way, as long as you continue your daily practice with an open heart, Qigong will improve your health and deepen the relationship you have with yourself and with the Universe.

You have for some years been teaching an interesting Lifelong Learning programme, where students spend several days on retreat learning intensively from you. Could you tell us a little about this, and about the change and development you see in the students that follow through the programme?

In China, the traditional relationship between the student and Master is like parent and child, so that the Master can continue to give students guidance and support through their lives. Also, in different stages of practice of even the same Qigong practice, students will experience different phenomena, some subtle and some strong. Having step-by-step guidance helps the students understand the changes and keeps them from getting discouraged.

The purpose of the Qigong lifelong training is to create a family-style community of practitioners who are dedicated to supporting each other in their cultivation practice. We meet annually to share our experiences with the practice and to learn how to go deeper on this path to Enlightenment. Our intensive, week-long retreats provide the opportunity to learn a form in such a way that the practice becomes a part of the students, a part of their body and a part of their spirit, and this makes it easier for the practice to become part of their daily life. The retreats offer a different level of experiential learning than a few hours’ workshop or a weekly class can provide.

Over the last ten years of teaching in the West, I have seen many changes in my students – recovery from a disease process, increased energy, strength and flexibility, uplifted spirits, better relationships with others, healing practitioners who report greater success with helping their patients, etc. It is always nice for me to see how close my students grow towards each other during the retreats and how friendships grow into relationships that feel like family. We enjoy having a big Qi family!

Is Qigong a practice in which progress for all students occurs at roughly the same rate?

Not really. Different people have different bodies, different health conditions, different commitment levels (in terms of daily practice) and so have different experiences with their Qigong practice. Even the same person will have different experiences with their Qigong practice. Sometimes you will experience areas of plateau before you reach the next level, sometimes you will feel like you are moving ‘backwards’ in your progress and suddenly shoot forward, and sometimes it is just steady. After almost 40 years of practice, I feel I learn something new from my practice every day, even from the same form, again, again and again.

Would you tell us a little about your own experience with Qigong? How old were you when you began to practice?

I started to try some Qigong practice when I was about five years old, and began to take my practice really seriously when I was about 11. Originally, I practiced Qigong to have some fun. Surprisingly, I discovered many health benefits through the practice. In my first years of my memory, I was very sick, and every week I would have a terrible fever and my parents would take me to the hospital for medicine. I realized that I didn’t have to use medicine to recover when I was 11, and recovered through my Qigong practice even faster. So, I decided to stop taking any medicine and dedicate myself to my Qigong practice. Also, when I was young, I was very nearsighted and needed glasses. One summer break, I spent about one month in nature, practicing Qigong. At the end of the month, my eyesight improved so much that I didn’t need glasses anymore. Anytime I am feeling sick, have low energy, or something in life happens that affects me on the emotional level, I always practice Qigong and it helps me recover quickly.

Did you find it hard to keep up the practice during your education years, and how did you manage it?

Not at all. I followed the traditional way, as taught by my Masters, and got up early, at 4 am, to practice at least 2 hours every day. I lived on-campus during high school and university, and would be done with my practice before anyone else had gotten up. I always felt like I had more time to do everything I wanted than my classmates did. I think I had more energy than everyone else because of my Qigong practice.

Do you go back to China to visit the Masters who taught you?

Yes. Almost every year I go to China to see my Masters and spend time with them. It is the same way I go to visit my parents, just like family.

I know you are the lineage holder of several lineages. Would you tell us a little about what this means, and how the lineage holder is chosen?

In China, traditional arts and disciplines are passed on through a discipleship system. In this system, the acknowledged Master of a given discipline teaches a small circle of students. Traditionally, the Master will always design many obstacles for the students, making it difficult to continue studying. Most students will drop off because of these obstacles. When the Master feels the time is right, he/she will select the next “lineage holder” from the close-knit circle of students who have had the perseverance to carry on. The lineage holder is then responsible for preserving the entire system of knowledge and passing knowledge to others.

Your beautiful calligraphy appears on the covers of your books – would you tell us a little about the relationship between Qigong and calligraphy?

Calligraphy is a form of Qigong — it is movement within the brush and painting with your breath. When we practice calligraphy, we are working with our three treasures, Jing, Qi and Shen, which is the same as any Qigong practice. When we make a piece of art, we need to have the same three elements found in all traditional Qigong forms – correct posture, breathing and visualization techniques. In fact, in the Daoist tradition, we use the calligraphy brush as a tool for healing and spiritual cultivation. One special kind of calligraphy created by a Master is used as talismans for healing and for FengShui purposes.

It seems it all connects up – Qigong, Healing work, Calligraphy, Qin music, Yijing prediction, FengShui. Do they all support one another?

All of these are different styles of Qi arts and Qi cultivation. These practices are Qi vehicles for human beings to connect to Nature and live in harmony. On a superficial level, these practices may seem different or unrelated, but yes, they do connect up. The entire Universe is like an invisible Qi web, which connects everything. As LaoZi states in his DaoDeJing, the universal web is vast, and nothing can escape from it.

Master Wu, thank you so much for answering all these questions. We truly appreciate it, and the Singing Dragon in London is really looking forward to your visit in February!

Please visit Master Wu’s website at www.masterwu.net to find out more about his visit to the UK in February 2012 as well as his writing, teaching, music and calligraphy. You can find his four books published with Singing Dragon – Chinese Shamanic Cosmic Orbit Qigong, The 12 Chinese Animals, Seeking the Spirit of the Book of Change, and Vital Breath of the Dao, as well as his DVD Hidden Immortal Lineage Taiji Qigong – on the Singing Dragon website http://www.singingdragon.com

Master Wu’s Award Winning Book!

Congratulations, Master Wu!

Seeking the Spirit of the Book of Change – 8 Days to Mastering a Shamanic Yijing Prediction System by Master Zhongxian Wu was not only a finalist in the 2009 Foreword Book of the Year Awards, but also won Bronze medal in the independent publisher awards (mind body and spirit category) at the largest publishing event in North America—BookExpo America (BEA)!

Review

Clear and insightful…You hold in your hands one of the finest interpretations of the I Ching on the planet.
–Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D., author of Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water

Publisher’s Product Description

“The Yijing” (“I Ching”) or “Book of Change” is one of the oldest of the Chinese classic texts and has held a key place in the Daoist tradition for thousands of years. Explaining the ancient Yijing system of prediction based on the Xiang (symbolism) and Shu (numerology) knowledge of Bagua (the eight basic trigrams), which have not previously been written about outside China, this book makes the “Yijing” accessible to the Western world in a new and fuller way. In the space of just eight days, Master Zhongxian Wu leads the reader towards a deep understanding of the Eight Trigrams of the “Yijing” and how to apply this knowledge in practical ways in daily life. Master Wu explores the numerology and symbolism of “Yijing” and clearly explains how the reader can use the “Yijing” divination system for themselves. This remarkable book provides a user-friendly eight day program that will be a fascinating read for anyone with an interest in learning more about the “Yijing” or Chinese philosophy and culture as a whole, as well as those who wish to learn how to use the “Yijing” for practical purposes.

The Wisdom of Twelve

This is an excerpt from the introduction of my new book, “The 12 Chinese Animals – Create Harmony in Your Daily Life Through Ancient Chinese Medicine”, published by Singing Dragon and ready for purchase in Fall 2010.  It was also recently published in The Empty Vessel, a Eugene, OR based journal on contemporary Daoism.  I hope you enjoy reading about the wisdom of twelve.

The Wisdom of Twelve[1]

Living in harmony within family, among society, and with nature is the ancient Chinese way of life. People in China have been enjoying living in a very harmonious society for thousands of years, since at least the time period of the  Western Zhou Dynasty (1122 BCE – 771 BCE). In Chinese, we have an expression to illustrate this style of life, ye bu bi hu, lu bu shi yi (夜不閉戶, 路不拾遺), which means there is no need to close your door at night when you go to sleep, and you will be able to get your belongings back easily if you lose them because no one will take them away. In ancient China, there were no religions, no police, no taxes, and no lawyers. There was only a special kind of wisdom to guide Chinese people to cultivate their true humanity.  This true humanity contains the spirit of love, compassion, faith, courtesy, justice, and humbleness. With this true humanity, people are able to respect each other, support each other, and create a harmonious community together.

You might wonder what this wisdom is.  This wisdom is still being held in some ancient Chinese classics; Yijing (I Ching), is one of them. Yijing wisdom has guided countless Chinese to live in harmony in their daily life for thousands of years. One of the most important concepts in the Chinese wisdom traditions is trinity; three in one, is one. Yijing contains three secret and sacred layers of wisdom: symbology, numerology, and philosophy. This book will give you a little taste of this ancient Chinese wisdom.  By understanding the twelve animal symbols and twelve tidal hexagrams from Yijing wisdom, you will be able to learn a way to find your inner peace and live in harmony with your family, your community, and with nature

The wisdom of Yijing is vast; it looks like a tree of the universe. The roots of the tree embrace the entire earth and the tips of the tree hold the whole heavenly realm. There is a very tiny branch on this tree, called the twelve animal symbols system, which is related to your birth, your energetic life cycle or destiny, twelve tidal hexagrams of Yijing, and the cycle of nature. It is also a small sub-branch of the Yijing prediction system. As I emphasized in the Afterword of my book Seeking the Spirit of The Book of Change: 8 Days to Mastering a Shamanic Yijing (I Ching) Prediction SystemYijing prediction is magic, but it is also an art, a way of life, a way of nature, and it is a way of the universe. It is a way to express the great universal compassion, which gives birth to all beings and protects them.[2] The spirit of Yijing prediction or Change is to help people find a way to Change their lives and experience living in a consistently peaceful state, especially during difficult situations.  This prediction system provides a way for people to live in harmony.

Life is magic! Twelve animal symbols of Yijing wisdom is a way to help you to understand this magic, to help you live a harmonious life. In this book, I will share with you how these twelve animal symbols can help you understand your destiny.  By using the wisdom of the animal symbols as guides, you will be able to better understand your personality, and make choices that influence your health, relationships, career, finances, the colors you wear, and the food you eat, so that you live up to your greatest potential. It will be easier for you to apply the wisdom of the twelve animal symbols in your life if I provide you with  some fundamentals about the number 12, Chinese astrology and animal symbols, and the 8 trigrams and 12 tidal hexagrams of Yijing.

I. Numerological Meanings of 12

In ancient times, people lived closer to the cycles of nature and followed the way of nature. This harmonious lifestyle is patterned in a Chinese phrase, ri chu er zuo, ri luo er xi 日出而作,日落而息, which means ‘Sunrise, go to work; sunset, go to rest.’ Through their observation of nature, ancient Chinese understood 12 as an important number in their daily life.

In Chinese, the number 12 is Shier十二. It is a symbol for the universal clock, i.e. Shier Chen十二辰, representing both time and space. In Chinese cosmology, we certainly recognize the number twelve as contained in the twelve Chen辰 in a day (1 Chen is equal to two hour segments), the twelve months of a year, the twelve spiritual animals related to the Chinese zodiac, and the 12 years of a life cycle. The number 12 is described as the twelve Earthly Branches in Chinese tradition. The branches are representative of the waxing and waning of the two primal energies of Yin and Yang throughout daily or yearly cycles. As I explained in my book, Vital Breath of the Dao, the chaotic primordial Qi gave birth to two types of Qi:  heavy Qi and light Qi.  These two types moved in opposite directions.  The heavy Qi, Yin Qi descended to form the Earth, while the light Qi, Yang, rose to form Heaven.  These terms, Yin and Yang, allow people to understand any phenomena as the expression of opposites.[3] For example, in the cycles of nature, you have to understand the concept of night which is considered Yin, in order to understand the concept of day, which is considered Yang.  It is said that the knowledge of twelve Earthly Branches comes from ancient Chinese through thousands of years of observing astronomical phenomena.

The number twelve represents the energetic changes our bodies experience in a twelve Chen day, the twelve months of a year, and 12 years of a life cycle. In Chinese medicine, the number 12 also corresponds to the 12 organ meridian systems in the human body.  The human body itself is seen as a microcosmic representation of the macrocosm of the Universe. The number twelve stands for the 12 different energy patterns found in nature. Ancient Chinese shamans used the 12 tidal hexagrams of Yijing to describe the 12 energetic patterns of the microcosm (the human body) and the macrocosm (nature, and the Universe at large).

II. Chinese Astrology and 12 Animal Symbols

Are you familiar with Chinese astrology? You may think of the twelve animals of the zodiac commonly printed on restaurant menus. In actuality, Chinese astrology is vastly more complicated than this.

In the West, most information available to the public on how to find your Chinese animal symbol is incomplete and misleading. Many Chinese animal sign or horoscope books and popular websites will tell you that each animal symbol starts from the Chinese New Year in the Chinese Lunar calendar. This is, in fact, an incorrect method to find your animal symbol.

Generally speaking when most people talk about Chinese animal symbols, they are referring to the yearly animal symbol. For instance, if you were born in 1951, most readily available resources will tell you that your animal symbol is Rabbit, based on the assumption that 1951 is the Year of Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac system. Actually, being born in 1951 does not always mean you will have Rabbit as your animal symbol. Furthermore, according to Chinese astrology, you have at least 4 animal symbols in your birth chart! The yearly animal symbol is related to the energetic year in which you were born, the monthly animal symbol is related to the energetic month in which you were born, the daily animal symbol is related to the energetic day in which you were born, and the hourly animal symbol is related to the energetic hour in which you were born. I emphasize the energetic year, month, day, and hour because they are different concepts than those of the regular solar calendar.

Chinese Astrology is based on ancient Chinese cosmology and the Five Elements theory. Each individualized chart is a life reading that gives insight into a person’s past, present, and future. Through the chart, one can obtain guidance about health, career, relationships, and more.

An individual Chinese astrology chart is constructed with a Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch for each year, month, date, and time of birth. The combination of a Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch for each parameter is called One Pillar; all together they are called the SiZhu or Four Pillars. Each Pillar is composed of a Heavenly Stem and an Earthly Branch.  Thus, there are two characters per Pillar. With a total of Four Pillars, the entire chart is composed of eight characters. As such, the name for Chinese astrology is BaZi (eight characters).

It is said that Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches existed even before the invention of the Chinese characters, which the oldest recorded evidence dates back to 8000 years ago.[4] Numerous examples of the symbols for the Stems and Branches are seen in the unearthed ancient Chinese oracle bones from the Shang Dynasty (1766 to 1111 BCE).

As you can see, for any particular individual, there will be eight characters (BaZi) that reflect his or her personal energies. These are derived from all the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches, within the Four Pillars, that support the body. In other words, by understanding the energy of the macrocosmic Universe at a particular time, we can understand the microcosm of the individual.

In Chinese tradition, we commonly use the 12 animal symbols to represent the 12 Earthly Branches in the astrological chart, because it is easier for people to understand their destiny through the symbolic meaning of the animals. These 12 animal symbols are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. In The Beginning of this book, I will introduce the way to find your fundamental power animal symbols. You will then be able to learn the wisdom of your personal animals in subsequent chapters, which will support you living in harmony with your family and friends, your community, and with nature.

III. Eight Trigrams, 12 Tidal Hexagrams, and the Cycle of Nature

There are 12 very important hexagrams in Yijing system, known as the 12 tidal hexagrams. Each hexagram represents the energetic pattern of its related animal symbol in Chinese astrology. We often use the wisdom of these tidal hexagrams to give people guidance during a consultation.  Bagua, or Eight Trigrams, form the basis of Yijing. The entire Yijing text book is made of 64 hexagrams, and each hexagram is made up of two trigrams. Let me share some information about the trigrams before we further discuss the 12 tidal hexagrams.  I hope it will help you better understand each hexagram in this book.

Bagua is the model of the universe. Everything in existence, including every part of the body, can be classified by one of the trigrams. Ancient shamans understood this connection and they brought this connection into their interpretations of their divinations.[5] Trigrams are symbols made up of three lines, representing Heaven, Earth, and the Human Being, and reflect the universal energy. The Eight Trigrams are: Qian 乾 (Heaven), Dui 兌 (Marsh or Lake), Li 離 (Fire), Zhen 震 (Thunder), Xun 巽 (Wind), Kan 坎 (Water), Gen 艮 (Mountain), and Kun 坤 (Earth). Each line in a trigram will be either a solid line (–) or a broken line (–). The solid line is called the Yang 陽 line and the broken line is called the Yin 陰 line.

Now, let us let take a look some information about the 12 tidal hexagrams. The 12 tidal hexagrams are used to depict the energetic cycle of nature.  In Chinese, we call these hexagrams Shier Xiaoxi Gua 十二消息卦. Shier means twelve, while Xiao means decrease, reduce, waning, and xi means increase, gain, waxing; together, Xiaoxi means information, waxing and waning of the tides, or the changing faces of the moon. Gua means trigram or hexagram. In general, we translate Shier Xiaoxi Gua 12 tidal hexagrams.

These 12 tidal hexagrams stand for different energetic stages of the cycles of nature or life patterns. These 12 hexagrams help us to understand the 12 month yearly cycle of nature, to learn the 12 meridian systems of the body, and to make sense of the different stages of the life. The 12 tidal hexagrams are: Fu 復 (Rebirth), Lin 臨 (Deliver), Tai 泰 (Balance), DaZhuang 大壯 (Prosper), Guai 叏 (Transform), Qian 乾 (Strengthen), Gou 媾 (Copulate), Dun 遁 (Retreat), Pi 否 (Break), Guan 觀 (Observe), Bo 剝 (Peel), and Kun 坤 (Flow). These 12 also reflect the continuous cycle of energy change, for example, the rhythm of day turning into night, or the change of seasons.

You can look at the energetic pattern of the 12 hexagrams together and see that they depict a pattern of steadily increasing, then decreasing intensity.  This is the natural wave pattern of life.

Hexagram Fu 復 (Recover) Lin 臨 (Deliver), Tai 泰 (Balance), DaZhuang 大壯 (Prosper), Guai 叏 (Transform) Qian 乾 (Strengthen), represent the six waxing stages of the rising Yang energy pattern, until Yang reaches its peak.

Hexagram Gou 媾 (Copulate) Dun 遁 (Retreat) Pi 否 (Break) Guan 觀 (Observe Bo 剝 (Peel) Kun 坤 (Flow) illustrate the Yang energy dropping to its nadir and Yin energy rising to its zenith in the six stages of the declining Yang energy pattern.

Together, these 12 tidal hexagrams symbolize a perfect wave of life. I am sure that all of us have experienced times of great joy and times of sorrow. No one could live in their climax of life all the time. The Yijing wisdom of these 12 tidal hexagrams gives us great guidance to live harmoniously through different life stages. We will discuss some details of the hexagrams as they relate to their associated animal symbol later in this book. Traditionally, these 12 hexagrams are also used to describe your energy state during specific internal cultivation practices like meditation, Qigong and Taiji. I will share different internal cultivation methods connected with the 12 tidal hexagrams at the end of each chapter in the book. I hope you will be able to use the practices to better understand the wisdom the 12 animal symbols and the 12 tidal hexagrams, and to strengthen your life force and find your inner peace.

The chart below illustrates the aforementioned correspondences.

NumberOrder Earthly Branch Animal Hexagram Chen/Time Meridian
1 Zi Rat Fu 復 (Rebirth) 23:00 – 00:59 Gall bladder
2 Chou Ox Lin 臨 (Deliver) 01:00 – 02:59 Liver
3 Yin Tiger Tai 泰 (Balance) 03:00 – 04:59 Lung
4 Mao Rabbit DaZhuang 大壯 (Prosper) 05:00 – 06:59 Large intestine
5 Chen Dragon Guai 叏 (Transform) 07:00 – 08:59 Stomach
6 Si Snake Qian 乾 (Strengthen) 09:00 – 10:59 Spleen
7 Wu Horse Gou 媾 (Copulate) 11:00 – 12:59 Heart
8 Wei Goat Dun 遁 (Retreat) 13:00 – 14:59 Small intestine
9 Shen Monkey Pi 否 (Break) 15:00 – 16:59 Bladder
10 You Rooster Guan 觀 (Observe) 17:00 – 18:59 Kidney
11 Xu Dog Bo 剝 (Peel) 19:00 – 20:59 Pericardium
12 Hai Pig Kun 坤 (Flow) 21:00 – 22:59 Triple burner

Acknowledgements

Karin Elizabeth Taylor Wu provided editorial assistance for this article.

© 2010-2013 Zhongxian Wu


[1] This article is part of the Introduction of Master Wu’s new book, Twelve Chinese Animal Symbols.

[2] Wu, Zhongxian. Seeking the Spirit of The Book of Change: 8 Days to Mastering a Shamanic Yijing (I Ching) Prediction System. London: Singing Dragon. 2009: 213

[3] Wu, Zhongxian. Vital Breath of the Dao – Chinese Shamanic Tiger Qigong. St. Paul: Dragon Door Publication. 2006: 56

[4] Wu, Zhongxian. Vital Breath of the Dao – Chinese Shamanic Tiger Qigong. St. Paul: Dragon Door Publication. 2006: 10

[5] Wu, Zhongxian. Seeking the Spirit of The Book of Change: 8 Days to Mastering a Shamanic Yijing (I Ching) Prediction System. London: Singing Dragon. 2009: 67

The Year of the Tiger

This is an excerpt from my latest book, “The 12 Chinese Animals – Create Harmony in Your Daily Life Through Ancient Chinese Wisdom”, which will be published by Singing Dragon and available for purchase this coming fall.  I hope you enjoy reading about the Tiger!

Tiger and Tai (Balance)

1. Introduction

In the West, most information available to the public on how to find your Chinese animal symbol is incomplete and misleading. Many Chinese animal sign or horoscope books and popular websites will tell you that each animal symbol starts from the Chinese New Year in the Chinese Lunar calendar. This is, in fact, an incorrect method to find your animal symbol.

Generally speaking when most people talk about Chinese animal symbols, they are referring to the yearly animal symbol. According to Chinese astrology, you have at least four animal symbols in your birth chart! The yearly animal symbol is related to the energetic year in which you were born, the monthly animal symbol is related to the energetic month in which you were born, the daily animal symbol is related to the energetic day in which you were born, and the hourly animal symbol is related to the energetic hour in which you were born. I emphasize the energetic year, month, day, and hour because they are different concepts than those of the regular solar calendar. For instance, LiChun 立春 is the marker for an energetic year animal symbol. LiChun means the beginning of spring season, and it is one of the 24 JieQi. In Chinese cosmology, we divide one year into 24 JieQi, with each JieQi lasting approximately 15 days. In English, we commonly translate JieQi as Solar Term or Segment.  24 JieQi symbolize the 24 sun positions in the sky and the 24 energetic patterns of a year.

LiChun time of 2010 is February 4 at 06:47, which is the moment the energetic year for 2010, a Tiger year, begins.  This Tiger year will end following LiChun on February 4, 2011, at 12:32. This article will share with the wisdom of the Tiger symbol and its associated Yijing hexagram, Tai.

2. Tiger

The tiger has a wild nature and needs a big space or territory for living. Tigers act slowly and carefully while stalking their prey, and move very quickly and with great power once they start to attack. In the Chinese tradition, Tiger is a symbol for caution, valiance, power, optimism, attraction, and ambition. It is the third animal symbol in the 12 Chinese Animals System. We use Yin寅to represent the Tiger symbol in the 12 Earthly Branches. Yin represents dawn in the daily cycle, and the first month of spring in the annual cycle. It can represent either a time or a place in which Yang energy (life energy) is awakening its new stage in a new life cycle.  We use the tidal hexagram Tai to symbolize Tiger.

Having a Tiger animal symbol in your Chinese birth chart suggests that you are careful, graceful, powerful, enthusiastic, friendly, and attractive.  As a Tiger animal person, you have great caution and vitality, which will help you achieve your goals. You have strong desire to get things done once you have a plan formulated. You have a tendency to be very direct when you communicate with others, so you would be wise to learn to sometimes express yourself in a softer way.  Doing so will help you reach your destination, no matter how difficult the situation is.

General speaking, you have pretty good luck in life. People will gladly support your leadership if you show respect for differing opinions. You would do well to choose an independent job, like being your own boss, a writer, designer, or organizer.  When you work directly with people, remember to continually cultivate your tranquility and flexibility; otherwise, you may come across as being haughty or angry. The important thing for you to remember if you are in a relationship is to learn how to assuage your anger and to truly honor your partner’s opinions.

If Tiger is your yearly animal symbol, you are elegant, graceful, and talented. You have potential to do great things by helping others. Please cultivate your patience and do not to be egotistical when you are in your flourishing time, otherwise, your life might take a turn for the worse. .

I will categorize some general Tiger features here for your further interest.

Personality: You are careful, graceful, powerful, enthusiastic, friendly, and attractive, and can sometimes be easily angered, have difficulties taking advice, or have challenges with authority. You take great vigilance before you move into actions that will help you achieve your goals. You are vivacious, like fast growing spring bamboo shoots, which will help you achieve your ambitions. Your emotions can also act just like bamboo in your garden, quickly taking over all the space if left uncontrolled. So, please practice being calm and flexible, in order to help you cool down your firey desire. Managing your firey nature will help you reach your destination, no matter how difficult the situation may be.

Health: You have strong life energy and good health potential. It might weaken your immune system if you suffer from an unresolved grief. Also, being easy to anger can potentially cause a weakness in your gallbladder system and/or problems with your thyroid.  Relax and cultivate more peace in your daily life — this will greatly benefit your health.

Relationship: A Horse, Dog, or Pig person may be your soul mate, or at least can be your very close friend. A Rabbit or Dragon person will make a great business partner for you.  Be careful around a Snake person because it is easy to have some conflicts between the two of you. Try to make peace with a Monkey person – sometimes, you to get into fights for no real reason. You will have simple relationships with other animal symbol people.

Career: With your good leadership qualities and cautious character, you can suit yourself well as a writer, designer, organizer, or as a self-employed person.

Finance: You have good luck with money. Not only can you can easily make money by your efforts, but you also have some chance at coming into an inheritance.

Color: Green is your spirit’s original color, and will always help you feel deeply connected with your spirit. Red is the color that will help you find your own potential energy and talent. Dressing in red color when you have an important social activity, such as public speaking or lecturing, will help bring your talent out. White color will help you feel grounded. As yellow or brown is your financial color, these two colors will bring you good luck in your finances – so have some of them in your office! Black is your spiritual source color, and having it in your cultivation room or bed room will nourish your body physically and spiritually.

Food: White color vegetables, pungent spices (like garlic and onion), fermented foods, mulberries, poultry and wild bird game are good for you.

3. Tai (Balance)

Tai is the tidal hexagram that represents the energetic pattern of the Tiger animal symbol. The Chinese character Tai means stable, great, maximum, safe, peaceful, luxurious, arrogant, and balance. The symbol of the hexagram is made with three Yang lines at the bottom and with three Yin lines on top.  This symbol represents Yang Qi, or life energy, getting stronger than the previous pattern Lin, in a natural cycle. The combination of three Yin lines and three Yang lines within the hexagram indicates the balance state of Yin and Yang. Tai represents the time or place where you can easily achieve your goals because you feel comfortable, peaceful, and harmonious.

In an annual cycle, Tai represents the Yin month, which occurs from approximately February 4th to March 6th in a solar calendar. This is the first month of spring season according to Chinese cosmology. It is also the time that new sprouts and buds are growing, and when hibernating animals are awakening in certain parts of the northern hemisphere. It is the season where nature begins to show signs of the new cycle starting. Yin symbolizes showing off your energy or talent during peaceful times or situations, just as it is the time when nature bursts forth with new life energy and shows off its beauty during the spring months.  Yin also represents the wisdom of choosing the right environment to be able to accomplish your life mission.

Let us discover more information about Tai from Yijing wisdom. Hexagram Tai is made up of two trigrams, the top trigram is Kun (Earth) and the bottom trigram is Qian (Heaven). It is an image of Heaven below the Earth. Heaven is the symbol for circulating and strengthening new life energy or power. Again, Earth is the symbol for holding yourself stable or centering your mind. Hexagram Tai is a harmonious energetic pattern of Heaven and Earth, in which the Heavenly Qi (rain) is descending and the Earthly Qi is ascending. It is image of a powerful person with a gentle attitude. Tai is also the image of you in meditation:  Steady your body and mind, then regulate your breathing to be slow, smooth, deep and even.  Bring your breath into your Dantian (lower belly) in order to circulate your Qi.  This will allow you to feel your Qi free flowing in your body to maintain balance and peace in your whole physical and spiritual body.

4. Conclusion

The wisdom of the Tiger symbol and its related hexagram Tai, Balance, advises us that we should be gentle, soft, and humble in our power and hold our strength within, no matter who we communicating with. It also tells us that a balanced or harmonious situation is always made with Yin energy embracing the Yang energy, or the soft embracing the hard. This same principle applies to health as well.  If you can learn to keep your inner spirit strong, while maintaining a relaxed body and mind, it will be easier to preserve your health and to recover from illness. The reason all traditional Qigong forms have powerful healing functions is because the practices follow this Tai philosophy. I hope you can try some inner cultivation with me at Tai time; it is a time for you to be aware of your inner power and wisdom, and to bring balance to your life:

At anytime when you need help bringing balance to your life, or when you want to enhance a current state of balance in your life, light a candle in front of you and start this meditation.

First straighten your back and feel that your body is stable like a mountain. Then, make the Tai mudra by placing each thumb on the palmer crease of the index finger. The palmer crease of the index finger is related to hexagram Tai.  Keeping your fingers relaxed and close together, please place your left palm close to your navel, facing earth,  and place your right palm, facing heaven, above your head. Adjust your breathing to be slow, smooth, deep, and even. Feel each breath connecting with your skin, small intestines, stomach, and gallbladder. Meditate as long as you can. Before ending, please say a little prayer –

“May the Spiritual Lights transform all the grief energy to joy,

May the Spiritual Lights transform my ego to have great compassion,

May the Spiritual Lights transform all conflicts in the world to bring balance and peace!”

© 2010 Zhongxian Wu