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Teachings of Daoist Master Zhuang

“Let me re-state what I most hope to pass on to you, i.e., the importance of the words of Lao-tzu in the opening lines of the Daode Jing. I.e.., the Dao has two related aspects: “You有” and “Wu无.” The Dao of “You” change, which is written in the oracle bones as a hand holding onto a piece of edible meat, is called by later Daoists the Dao of the “Posterior” or “visible” heavens; it is represented by the Eight Trigrams which cause change in the “Posterior Heavens” (Hou-tian zhi Dao, 後天之道 ). It is the “later” or visible, i.e., named, able-to-be-conceptualized and put-into-words Dao. This is the Dao of You-wei 有为 (n.b., author’s note: Daoist “kataphasis;” pronounce “Yoe-wei!”). It is continually working in the farthest reaches of the cosmos.

The apophatic, transcendent, or non-changing aspect of the Dao, is called “Wu-wei 无为 (apophasis).” It is to be found interiorly. It is rooted in the belly, the “lower cultivation field.” Zhuangzi (Chuang-tzu) taught us that only when we practice “heart fasting” and “sitting in forgetfulness,” can we focus on Dao as Wu-wei presence, without word, motion, or action, in fact, transcending knowledge. This is called “The Dao of the Prior Heavens,” (Xian tian zhi Dao 先天之道), which means in practice, awareness of Dao as present, from the lower cultivation field (xia dan tian 下丹天), the womb of meditation, the source of inner cultivation. When we say, “keep the One,” (shou-yi守一) we mean to always “return to” Wu-wei Dao present in the belly, by stopping all of the mind’s judgments, and the heart’s desires.
Qingwei Thunder and lightning registers are used to purify heart and mind, so we can always remain aware of Dao presence in our belly, the center of the microcosm.”清微五雷法用為心齋坐忘能於道合一。

9 thoughts on “Teachings of Daoist Master Zhuang

  1. Couple thoughts come to mind when reading this article immediately; is that these are important heart sealed teachings being taught here what practitioners of the Tao must understand. Secondly is the importance of Taoist Centering Meditation, the teachings of Dao De Jing and Meditation of Chuang Tsu’s (Nei Pan) lineage. These are very valuable oral traditions being passed down in here. I hope readers will understand thorough your teachings, that teachings of Daoist Traditions must have the oral traditions and authentic lineage Masters input. Thanks for this great post and your never tiring updates on this great website..


  2. Excellent post! Brilliant! Not for reading only, but for studying, contemplating, meditating.

  3. Daoist Master Zhuang (The Teachings of Taoist Master Chuang, 3rd edition) will hopefully be printed, at last, in a few weeks time, and become available on line, and in print for “cost only”; in this work Zhuang’s words are recorded, not my ideas, and not those of the Ming Dynasty 正統道葬 Zhengtong Daoist Canon. With this 3rd English edition will be provided 2 mijue 秘訣 volumes, the 3 mountain alliance ordination manual 給籙元科, and the Daoist Master’s teaching manual 道教源流, in 2 sections, one from the Zhengyi & 3 mountain alliiance, 三山滴血派, and one from the Lü Shan (Tainan) tradition 閭山派。To receive a grade 5 and above register in the 3 mtn alliance system (Longhu Shan Zhengyi Mengwei 正一盟威, Gezao Shan Lingbao 閤皂山lingbaopai閤皂山靈寶派, Mao Shan Shangqing茅山上清派), purity of mind and body are the primary requirement. This means rejection of the popular misconception of fangzhong 房中 “The Tao of Sex;” (any book on Daoism/Taoism promoting fangzhong is written by an author unfamiliar with the orthodox Daoist tradition). The orthodox Daoist texts that treat of “fire dwelling” (ie married) Daoist husband and wife’s act of procreation say explicitly that the internal spirits of the Daoist registers are to be implanted in the foetus, meaning that the new born child is already born with the powers of a Daoist over the spirit world. The Chinese text that teaches this is in the Canon. I will cite it in a 2nd comment, with more materials on Qingwei purification, later today.

  4. Can’t wait for the third edition, count me in. I will donate $100.00 for my copy to help the great expense involved.


  5. Please do not send any money or donation, William, I will give it away or not cash it, the rules of Daoist teachings are very strict, it is enough to see your kind messages.

  6. Ok no problem…

  7. Professor, please write a lot about interpretation of the Dao De Jing in this simple, beautiful and instructive way. I know your interpretations from “A Taoist Cookbook”. I love your posts in this blog and your teachings.
    I think/feel that the Dao De Jing is really unique wisdom. There are a lot of valuable texts e.g. Neiye, Zhuangzi, Liezi, Zhuowanglun, Wuzhenpian, but the Dao De Jing is like a talisman, full of strong, (magnetic for me) energy. Talisman is probably the best description.

  8. Right now I am in the middle of reading the first edition of Teachings of Daoist Master Zhuang, and find the information very intriguing. I am really excited for the third addition! Thank you Dr. Saso for providing aspiring Daoist scholars with access to this great body of knowledge that would otherwise be lost to those of us who have yet to master Chinese!

    1. thank you for your kind remarks, Sandee. The new 3rd edition of Daoist Master Zhuang corrects the misunderstood parts of the 1st edition, especially by showing that Master Zhuang’s narration of Daoist history comes from the “3 mountain alliance” school, not from the writings of western scholars about the content and history of “Daoism” as it is conceived and explained in the west. Much of CHs 4, 5, and 6 come from private hand written “mijue” manuals. will post more on this soon.

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