2633 Telegraph Cir., No. 305, Oakland, CA 94612
Da Yuan Circle is a modern Western group exploring the Daoism of Laozi—wuweidao (with references to wuwei interpretations found in Chan Buddhism and Dzogchen). The group’s focus is the practice of zuowang (nonconceptual meditation) and is led by Liu Ming (born Charles Belyea). Teachings such as Chinese astrology, medicine, hygiene, and neigong (a breathing and meditation discipline) are also offered.
Da Yuan Circle. www.dayuancircle.com.
Belyea, Charles. Dragon’s Play. Berkeley, CA: Great Circle Lifeworks, 1991.
“The Shamanic Roots of Orthodox Daoism.” Tantra 8 (1994): 54–57, 76.
International Taoist Tai Chi Society, 134 D’Arcy St., Toronto, ON, Canada M5T 1K3
Fung Loy Kok Taoist Temple, Sam Tip Tem, Cheun Wan, New Territories, Hong Kong, China.
Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism was founded in Hong Kong in 1968 by the Taoist priest Mui Ming-to, his wife, Mui Tang Yuanmay, and the Taoist master Moy Lin-shin. The particular Taoist tradition can be traced to the Earlier Heaven Wu-chi Sect founded by the patriarch Tien Lung, who in turn had received the teaching of the Tao from Chen His I. Chaotic conditions in early-twentieth-century China led Taoist teachers to bring the teachings out of the monastic context to a lay public. In 1981 Master Moy and Mr. Mui established an institute in Toronto, the first of several additional branches to be opened in Canada and the United States. In 2007 construction was completed on the Quiet Cultivation Centre, which functions as an international training center and place for quiet contemplation of Taoist teachings.
The institute is dedicated to the teaching and practice of Taoism through the Taoist arts such as chanting, meditation, qigong, book discussions, internal exercises, and the promotion of charity for others through community service. An associated Taoist Tai Chi Society also teaches the art of tai chi, leading to an increase in humility, quietude, and compassion.
International Taoist Tai Chi Society–Fung Loy Kok. www.taoist.org.
Wong, Eva, trans. Seven Taoist Masters: A Folk Novel of China. Boston: Shambhala, 1990. 178 pp.
PO Box 846, Urbana, IL 61803-0846
The Living Tao Foundation was founded in 1976 by Chungliang Al Huang, a Chinese artist and Taoist teacher who migrated to the United States in the 1960s. Following a year in China as a Ford Foundation scholar (1966–1967), he spent four years in Urbana, Illinois, as a postdoctorate fellow with the Center for Advanced Study and as artist-in-residence at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. He headed the Oriental Institute at York University for two years (1972–1974) and spent three years as the director of the Lan T’ing Institute for the Alan Watts Society for Comparative Philosophy. While at the institute he worked on finishing Watts’s last book, Tao: The Watercourse Way, published several years after Watts’s death in 1973. He is also the author of the classic Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain.
The Living Tao Foundation emphasizes a synthesis of Eastern and Western ways through Taoist principles and uses various inner growth techniques. Huang is best known as a master of tai ji (or tai chi), the Chinese form of body movements believed to develop the natural coordination of body and mind. The foundation jointly sponsors the Lan Ting Institute, a cross-cultural study and conference center, with the government of the People’s Republic of China. Huang is especially concerned with the recovery of Chinese culture, which suffered a severe blow from the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s; the institute sponsors trips to China to assist in that recovery. The foundation holds intensive study seminars on the Oregon coast.
Living Tao Foundation. www.livingtao.org/.
Huang, Chungliang Al. Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain. Moab, UT: Real People Press, 1973.
———. Living Tao: Still Visions and Dancing Brushes. Millbrae, CA: Celestial Arts, 1976.
“Tai Ji: The Dance of Life. An Interview with Chunglaing Al Huang.” Empty Vessal: A Journal of Contemparary Taoism (spring 1994): 4–12.
Watts, Alan, with Chungliang Al Haing. Tao: The Watercouse Way. New York: Pantheon, 1975.
1999 Myers, Oroville, CA 95966
Closely related to Taoism is macrobiotics, a philosophy developed by George Ohsawa (Yukikazu Sahurazawa, 1893–1966) drawing on Zen, Taoism, and Chinese wisdom philosophy. Macrobiotics is based on the concept of yin and yang. All things are differentiated apparatus of one Infinity. Yin and yang are the poles of the Infinity’s bifurcation. Everything changes. Yin is centrifugal and yang centripetal. By their attraction and repulsion, energy and all phenomena are produced. All things are made of unequal proportions of yin and yang. All physical forms are yang (male) at the center and yin (female) at the surface.
The object of macrobiotics, for the individual, is to balance the yin and yang as far as possible in one’s life. One ideally eats foods that are balanced; cereals and brown rice are good examples. One also learns to live in harmony with the environment.
Macrobiotics was introduced into the West in France by Ohsawa in the 1920s, and it gradually spread through Europe. By the time of his death in 1966 macrobiotic centers in Europe could be found in Belgium, England, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden. From the center in Japan, work had also spread to Brazil and Vietnam. Macrobiotic teachings spread to America after World War II. During the 1950s Herman Aihara, a student of Ohsawa from Japan, migrated to the United States. He founded the Ohsawa Foundation, since renamed the George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation. It was the first macrobiotic organization in North America and in 1961 began a periodical, Yin Yang. The foundation, through its publications and sponsoring of lecturers, became the focus of the early spread of macrobiotic teachings and continues as one of two national associations of people devoted to macrobiotic principles. It also sponsors the Fresh Meadows Summer Camp, which offers classes on macrobiotics, meditation classes, and exercise.
In 1997 the foundation reported 1,500 members in the United States, 60 members in Canada, and an additional 120 members worldwide. There is one center; it serves as a nexus of a network of independent macrobiotic centers around the United States and Canada.
George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation. www.gomf.macrobiotic.net.
Aihara, Herman. Seven Macrobiotic Principles. San Francisco: George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation, 1973.
Ohsawa, George. The Book of Judgment. Los Angeles: Ohsawa Foundation, 1966.
———. Guidebook for Living. Los Angeles: Ohsawa Foundation, 1967.
———. Practical Guide to Far Eastern Macrobiotic Medicine. Oroville, CA: George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation, 1976.
———. Zen Macrobiotics. Los Angeles: Ohsawa Foundation, 1965.
Kushi Institute, Box 7, Becket, MA 01223
Michio Kushi (b. 1926), a student of George Ohsawa (1893–1966), the founder of the macrobiotic movement, came to the United States in 1949 and became active in the spread of its philosophy. Initially working through the Ohsawa Foundation (now the George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation) headquartered in California, Kushi developed an independent following in New England. After Ohsawa’s death Kushi founded the Order of the Universe Publications and in 1967 began to issue a periodical of that name. In 1972 Kushi founded the East West Foundation to oversee the spread of the work of presenting macrobiotics to the public and nurturing the growing number of people who had accepted macrobiotic principles and practice. In 1978 the Kushi Institute was founded to train leaders in the movement, known as the Macrobiotic Leadership Program. The institute also hosts the annual Summer of Healing conference, which brings together macrobiotic chefs, experts, authors, nutritionists, doctors, and teachers in order discuss the latest breakthroughs and techniques in natural healing.
Kushi’s teachings are summarized in a set of theorems and principles that define the nature of yin and yang, the prime differentiation within the universe. All phenomena are composed of a complex of these two polar opposites, and macrobiotics defines and assists individuals in relating to the yin-yang composition of the universe. While a major component of macrobiotic philosophy relates to developing a balanced diet, the philosophy encompasses every area of life, as spelled out in numerous publications by Kushi and others.
Through the 1990s Kushi nurtured a network of people devoted to the twin issue of macrobiotics and peace, which became the One Peaceful World.
Not reported. In 1998 the institute functioned through national offices in 20 countries. A directory of the larger macrobiotic movement listed more than 400 individuals, businesses, and centers promoting the teachings, and the institute estimates that more than 800 people go through its courses every year.
Kushi Institute, Beckett, Massachusetts.
Kushi Institute. www.kushiinstitute.org/index.html.
Kohler, Jean Charles, and Mary Alice Kohler. Healing Miracles from Macrobiotics. West Nyack, NY: Parker Publishing, 1979.
Kushi, Michio. The Teachings of Michio Kushi. 2 vols. Boston, MA: East West Foundation, 1971.
———. The Book of Macrobiotics. Tokyo: Japan Publications, 1977.
Kushi, Michio, with Stephen Blauer. The Macrobiotic Way. Wayne, NJ: Avery Publishing Group, 1985.
117 Stonehaven Way, Los Angeles, CA 90049
The Shrine of the Eternal Breath of Tao was founded by Master Ni Hua-Ching, who began his study of Taoism as a child in China. After the Chinese Revolution, Ni moved to Taiwan and continued his studies. Eventually he became a teacher of Taoism and its related martial and healing arts. During the 1970s he moved to the United States and began to teach in Los Angeles.
Master Ni teaches the universal law of subtle energy response. Everything in the universe is a manifestation of energy in either its grosser or its more subtle states. Understanding and developing the proper response to the energies of one’s environment will bring harmony to one’s life. The practice of Taoist meditation, martial arts (kung fu and t’ai chi ch’uan), and medical practices (acupuncture and herbs) assist in attaining a balanced relationship to life. The universal law of response is basic to all spiritual practices.
Not a membership organization. The Center for Taoist Arts in Alpharetta, Georgia, is an affiliate of the Shrine.
College of Tao, Santa Monica, California.
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Santa Monica, California.
Ni, Hua-Ching. Tao, the Subtle Universal Law and the Integral Way of Life. Malibu, CA: Shrine of the Eternal Breath of Tao, 1982.
4229 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92103
Taoist Institute, 10630 Burbank Blvd, North Hollywood, CA, 91601.
The Taoist Sanctuary of San Diego traces its beginning to the Taoist Sanctuary founded in Los Angeles by Share K. Lew (b.1918) and Khigh Alx Dhieh (born Kenneth Dickerson, 1910–1991). Lew was born in China and lived for many years at the Yellow Dragon Monastery near Luofu Shan (one of the country’s sacred mountains), where he learned the bread beliefs and practices of Taoism. He left China in 1948 to move to the United States. He began teaching in San Francisco. Though an ardent student of taioism and the I Ching, by the 1980s, Dhiegh was better know to television audiences as a popular character actor, frequently appearing on the heralded crime series Hawaii 5-0.
Formed in 1970, the Taoist Sanctuary became the first Taoist group to receive federal tax status as a religious organization. At the end of the 1970s, Lew moved to San Diego and Dhiegh to suburban Phoenix, and by the mid 1980s there were four affiliated sanctuaries, one each in North Hollywood, San Diego, and Santa Barbara, California, and Tempe, Arizona. Following Dhiegh’s death in 1991, the Santa Barbara center dissolved and the other three would follow separate paths. Lew trained a number of people who went on to assume teaching roles in the larger American Taoist community
Lew’s organization in San Diego continues as the Taoist Sanctuary of San Diego with a focus upon the preservation and dissemination of information on traditional Chinese healing and martial arts and the teaching of Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) and Qi Gong/Taoist Meditation. It is led by Bill and Allison Helm. Bill Helm was one of Lew’s students. The Helms also studied with Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang, a master of Taijiquan and current representative of the Chen Family that created the practice. Chen now visits San Diego annually to offer seminars to the Sanctuary’s constituency. Lew, now in his 80’s, also continues to teach.
The original Taoist Sanctuary now exists as the Taoist Institute of Los Angeles. Its new incarnation was established by Taoist priest Carl Totton, now a member of the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame. The Institute also offers a range of courses in Taijiquan and Qi Gong with an emphasis on the martial arts.
The Taoist Sanctuary in Tempe also continues as an independent center.
The Institute draws its inspiration from the philosophy of Lao-Tzu, an older contemporary of Confucius. A lower government official, he became discouraged and abandoned his post. According to tradition, as he was about to leave China, he was asked to write down his teachings. The result was the Tao Te Ching, the chief scripture of Taoism.
Tao (the Way of the universe) is harmony. When events and things are allowed to move naturally, harmony is the result. The chief aim of human existence is to attain fullness of life by attaining harmony with the Tao. The result of Taoist thinking is wu-wei, a quietistic, noninterfering style of life. Politically, wu-wei finds its best expression in laissez-faire and the ideal self-contained village state. The balance of the two forces into yin and yang, encompassing the basic polarities of the universe, is also crucial. As Taoism developed, divination emerged as a major practice. The most popular form of divining the future was the I Ching.
The I Ching is built upon a series of trigrams, each a combination of two primary forms: the yang-hsiao, a straight line, the symbol of the male or positive principle, and the yin-hsiao, a broken line, the symbol of the female or negative principle. The two symbols can be arranged into eight different trigrams, and the trigrams can form 64 hexagrams. Each hexagram has been ascribed symbolic meanings, correlating with the eight fundamental elements or factors in the universe and 64 phenomena in the universe. Together the hexagrams represent symbolically all the possible situations of creation. They may tell a person to do something or not to do it; to change or not to change. Dr. Dhiegh wrote a modern commentary on the I Ching, The Eleventh Wing.
Taoist Sanctuary. http://www.taoistsanctuary.org/
Taoist Institute. www.taoistinstitute.com.
Dhiegh, Khigh Alx. The Eleventh Wing. New York: Delta Books, 1973.
Meyers, Robert. “Khigh Dhiegh Digs I Ching.” TV Guide (February 20, 1971): 45–48.
4050 Temple City Blvd., Rosemead, CA 91770
Providence Maitreya Buddha Missionary Institute, 12th Fl., No. 31, Ming-Sheng E Rd., Sec. 3, Taipei, Taiwan.
Tian Dao (or Yiguandao) is a new religious movement that emerged in the 1930s in China, though it has its roots in the late-nineteenth-century Taoist movement the Way of Pervading Unity (Yiguandao).
In 1930 Zhang Tianran (1889–1947) assumed leadership of Yiguandao and initiated a set of reforms including the allowance of meat eating (though vegetarianism remained the preferred diet), dropping celibacy requirements, and simplifying rituals. He also emphasized proselytization. Yiguandao spread throughout urban China, frequently by absorbing previously existing temple networks. It experienced a growth spurt during World War II but fell victim to suppression after the Communists came to power in the 1950s. Many members fled to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and elsewhere in East Asia, and the movement experienced a period of turmoil as different leaders arose to assume leadership of various factions.
As new leaders emerged, recruiting proceeded anew. However, because of the group’s history of cooperation with earlier governments in China, the Taiwanese feared it and began a period of suppression. It was outlawed from 1963 to 1987. In spite of persecution, it spread among the population and emerged as Taiwan’s largest religious group. It has been especially strong among the new class of entrepreneurs and found its strength among factory workers and management.
When the movement became legal again, in 1987, Yiguandao’s followers were organized into eight major groups, the four largest of which identified with different Yiguandao temples in China. Together they had established some 1,200 temples in Taiwan by 1991. In 2008 there were an estimated 5 to 10 million adherents of the tradition worldwide, the movement having by this time also permeated the diaspora communities of Chinese in North America and Europe. An umbrella organization, the Tian Dao General Assembly, was established in Taiwan in 1987, but only some 70 percent of the Taiwan-based groups have joined. Many Tian Dao groups still view rival organizations with a degree of suspicion.
Distinguishing the various Tian Dao groups remains a problem for Western scholars, as most are confined to Asia and operate exclusively in Chinese communities. Those that have arrived in America have only begun to reach out beyond the Chinese-speaking communities. One such group operates out of the Taiwan-based Providence Maitreya Buddha Missionary Institute, founded by His Holiness Gao Shan Yu Ren (d. 2000). It publishes the English-language periodical Golden Voice of Maitreya.
Worship in Tian Dao focuses upon veneration of the Ancient Mother (Lao Mu, also called Wusheng Laomu, “The Unborn Ancient Mother”). Seeing her human children lost in materiality, she sent Maitreya to Earth to save the lost and thus allow them to enter Heaven and be in her presence. The Ancient Mother is represented by a flame in the oil lamp placed at the center of the altar. Other deities on the altar are the smiling, seated Maitreya Buddha and Guan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion. Also, there may be figures of Zhang Tianran and his third wife, Sun Yuehui (who escaped to Taiwan after World War II). An elaborate ritual is performed regularly before the altar.
Joining Tian Dao provides release from the cycles of reincarnation and entry into Heaven, a fact symbolized by the gift of a small passport. Proselytization by members is encouraged by allowing them to transfer merit from their work to the salvation of family members.
Tian Dao is eclectic, drawing from Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucian writings and traditions. It also includes a place for contemporary spirit writing, similar to what is termed “channeling”in the West. Members, often young teen females, believed to be under the influence of a deity, write messages in Chinese in sand with the use of a stylus. Such writings are then recorded, and the messages disseminated.
Golden Voice of Maitreya.
Introduction to Dao. Taipei, Taiwan: Tsu Kwang Publishing, n.d.
Irons, Edward. “Yiguandao White Yang Drama: Repackaging the Emotional Message in a Contemporary Chinese Religion.”Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Nashville, Tennessee, November 18–12, 2000.
Jordan, David D., and Daniel L. Overmyer. The Flying Phoenix: Aspects of Chinese Sectarianism in Taiwan. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986.
Song Guanyu. Tiandao Gouchen: Yiguandao Diaocha Baogao (Fishing in the depths of the celestial way: a report of investigations into the unity sect). Taipei, Taiwan: Privately published, 1983.
———. Tiandao Chuan Deng-Yiguan yu Xiandai Shehui (The celestial way passes the torch-yiguan and modern society). Taipei, Taiwan: San Yang Printing, 1996.
c/o Taoist Esoteric Yoga Center and Foundation, PO Box 1194, Huntington, NY 11743
International Headquarters: Tao Garden of Healing Tao, 274 Moo 7, Doi Sakep, Chiang Mai, Thailand 50220.
Universal Healing Tao, formerly known as the Healing Tao Centers, is a worldwide network of teachers and centers that have emerged around the work of Mantak Chia (b. 1944) and his wife Maneewan Chia. Born and raised in Thailand, Mantak Chia studied Buddhism from an early age. After moving to Hong Kong as a young man, he studied the martial arts. More importantly, Chia met the Taoist Master White Cloud Hermit, who imparted to him an understanding of the human body as conceived by Taoism. This understanding pictures the body as the container of a variety of energies that, in health, flow freely through it. Chia combined his instruction from the Hermit with a Western education in anatomy. This led to his producing the healing Tao system, a synthesis of traditional Taoism with Western science.
Maneewan Chia, trained as a medical technician, brought to the Universal Healing Taoist system an emphasis on healthful nutrition and cooking from her native China. After moving to New York, in the early 1980s the Chias founded the Universal Healing Tao center and began to spread their Taoist perspective. Mantak Chia’s first book, Awaken Healing Energy through the Tao, appeared in 1983. Others soon followed. As Mantak Chia trained instructors, the movement spread across the United States and into Europe. In the mid-1980s the Chias established the Taoist Esoteric Yoga Center and Foundation in Huntington, New York.
In addition to his dozens of books and booklets, Mantak Chia has created videos and CDs describing the theory and methods of the Universal Healing Taoist system. Over the past 40 years, he has taught hundreds of thousands of students the principles of Taoist internal practice. In addition, he has trained and certified hundreds of instructors and practitioners. Students can download his teachings directly from the Universal Tao Web site or order books and CDs through his publishing company, Universal Tao Publishers. Mantak Chia also offers annual seminars and retreats for intensive study and practice at his centers worldwide.
Not reported. Universal Healing Tao has centers and groups in North America, Europe, South America, Asia, Australia, and Africa.
Universal Tao Journal.
Universal Healing Tao. www.universal-tao.com/.
Chia, Mantak. Awaken Healing Energy through the Tao. New York: Aurora Press, 1983.
———. Taoist Ways to Transform Stress into Vitality: The Inner Smile/Six Healing Sounds. New York: Aurora Press, 1985.
Chia, Mantak, and Maneewan Chia. Healing Love through the Tao: Cultivating Female Sexual Energy. Huntington, NY: Healing Tao Books, 1986.
Chia, Mantak, with Michael Winn. Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy. New York: Aurora Press, 1984.
Great Tao Foundation of America, 11645 Lower Azusa Rd., El Monte, CA 91732
Taiwan Headquarters: 11th Floor, No. 2 Chien 8 Road, Chung Ho City, Taipei Hsien, Taiwan, R.O.C.
Yi Guan Dao (I-Kuan Tao) is one branch of a religious movement that emerged in China in the 1930s. It is variously known as the Way of Pervading Unity (Yiguandao) or the Way of Heaven (Tian Dao). In 1930 Zhang Tianran (1889– 1947) assumed leadership of a previously existing Yiguandao Taoist movement and transformed it with a set of reforms that included dropping requirements for complete vegetarianism and celibacy. His emphasis on proselytization led the movement to spread through China’s cities. After his death in 1947 and the Communist takeover in 1949, a number of leaders, including his third wife, assumed leadership of different factions among members who had fled to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and elsewhere in East Asia.
Growth in Taiwan, the main center for Yiguandao, was hampered by its division into several rival branches and suppression by the Taiwanese government, which outlawed it for a period (1963–1987). Once legalized, however, it was discovered that it had flourished, and through the 1990s it spread rapidly both in Taiwan and in other diaspora communities worldwide. Among the several branches, one, known in North America as Yi Guan Dao or I-Kuan Tao, established its international headquarters in the United States in 1996 (though the bulk of the membership remains in Taiwan). It has also developed several English-language Web sites.
Yi Guan Dao emphasizes the Tao as the cosmic power that creates and dominates all things visible and audible, and the harmonious order. It is the sum of the parts, the soul of the universe. The spirit of I-Kuan Tao is within each of us, and releasing it will lead to a clear self-understanding of our role in promoting harmony throughout the universe. It is awakened through acts of kindness and leads to an acceptance of individual responsibility for others. I-Kuan Tao is in essence one with the faith and practice of the other Yiguandao branches, as differences are largely administrative.
The movement is led by Senior Master Chang Pei-ching, chairman of the World I-Kuan Tao Headquarters in California, and other Yi Guan Dao senior masters. Senior Master Chang had come to Taiwan from mainland China in 1947. I-Kuan Tao supports nursing homes, hospitals, clinics, nursery schools, and some 30 publishing houses in Taiwan. In 1993 I-Kuan Tao initiated a program against the use of illicit drugs and tobacco.
In 2008 I-Kuan Tao claimed some 2 million members in Taiwan affiliated with 200 temples and an additional 15,000 family shrines. Followers may be found in 40 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa, France, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Malaysia.
Yi Guan Do (I-Kuan Tao) Worldwide Information. www.yiguandao.com.
World I-Kuan Tao Headquarters. www.with.org/.
Jordan, David D., and Daniel L. Overmyer. The Flying Phoenix: Aspects of Chinese Sectarianism in Taiwan. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986.