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The Three Treasures of China: The Taoist Tai Chi Society

admin | Inside Stories | Wednesday, 03 December 2008

Thousands of people benefit from regular practice of tai chi. The gentle stretching and turning moves can improve flexibility, strength and balance. But according to Bob Tank, Colorado President of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA, “chanting, meditation and ceremonies offer a higher level of personal development. “By combining Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian rituals, our goal is to integrate mind and body to become a more compassionate person,” he explains.

Master Moy Lin-shin, a Taoist monk who founded the International Taoist Tai Chi Society in 1970, refused to teach religious aspects of Taoism, even when asked. “He would say we thought too much,” Tank explains, “and redirect students to the exercises.”

However Master Moy eventually included more religious aspects and ceremonies in Taoist training. “Basically, the three religions of China guide our physical and spiritual development,” Tank says. For example:
• Taoism teaches returning to the natural state of being and recovering the health and purity everyone has at birth.
• Buddhism teaches returning to the original consciousness by emptying the mind of thoughts and freeing it from distractions and anxiety caused by desires.
• Confucianism teaches returning to original goodness by cultivating benevolence, righteousness and social propriety. All Three Religions temples of the Society symbolize these concepts by displaying pictures of the Immortals. The Taoist Immortal, Lu Tung-pin, represents wisdom. Guan Yin, the Buddhist bodhisattva, “she who hears the cries of the world,” represents compassion and the Jade Emperor symbolizes Confucian virtue.

“Many people find Taoist Tai Chi Society’s internal arts and methods enrich their personal religious experience,” Tank continues. The ceremonies promote one’s spiritual growth by decreasing ego and anger and increasing patience and concern for others.

Chanting, for example, can produce both physical and spiritual benefi ts. By chanting to Guan Yin, a person can cultivate compassion for one’s self and others. “Chanting also stimulates the body’s energies like tai chi exercises and is a powerful physical workout,” explains Theresa Roll, a student and instructor for 22 years.

“In Denver, members use our temple for personal development by chanting regularly.” Tank says. “We also celebrate special days like Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival and All Souls Day with chanting and ceremonies.”

He sums up, “The ultimate goal is to help others. Through our practice of tai chi exercises and rituals, we strive to live Master Moy’s simple philosophy: Accumulate virtue and do good. Help people while they are living and comfort them before and after their death.”

The Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA welcomes all people regardless of age or level of health. All can learn the tai chi exercises and participate in the rituals and ceremonies.

For information, call 303.623.5163 or visit

By Gail Town

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