June 25, 2011

10 Days with Wang Liping, a student's experience


In December 2006, David Verdesi, a close friend of many years and an accomplished Taoist teacher, hosted a retreat for a few of his more senior students on the Island of Ko Samui, in the Gulf of Thailand. I knew from David that he had already at that time made contact with Master Wang Liping and had been studying privately with him for close to a year on practically a daily basis. His enthusiasm for Wang Tzu's accomplishments, plus David's evident progress in his personal practice during that period encouraged me to make the long trip from my home in eastern Canada to attend and experience what David could share of what he had learned.

I quickly realized that the year with Master Wang had moved David's practice and teaching ability forward at warp speed. His detailed description of the methods for opening the Golden Flower he had recieved from Wang Tzu were far beyond anything I had imagined. During this period we concentrated on the dissolving and melting (Song) methods of settling the shen, (An Shen) and by the 5th week I had my first experience of what is termed the 'yin convergence'. By the end of the 2nd month, I could reproduce this important milestone consistently in my presonal practice. In early February I returned home with a completely new and greatly renewed practice.

By June 2007, at the next retreat (in Silkeborg Denmark), David had spent a further 6 months with Master Wang. His practice and teaching continued to advance as never before. At this time he brought forward the possibility that Master Wang might be open to presenting the teaching to a group David would bring to Dalian ( although the actual location where the Master was was still a secret at that time ). During this Denmark retreat, I had my first experience of 'dissolving the formless form' and the needle hitting the chihai. This resulted in the tan tien taking on a completely new characteristic. I had a center! I also had my first experience of the coagulation of the shen and the accumulation of some droplets.

In Jan 2008 the promise of a retreat with Master Wang came to realization. I travelled to Dalian to attend this retreat with great anticipation. All of the attendees had been at the previous retreats and so had an excellent preparation for this experience. The retreat as held in David's apartment, close to where Master Wang lived, and where he had been training with him for 2-1/2 years. This was the first open teaching of the An Shen Tzu Chio teachings of Master Wang to western students. We had a professional Chinese translator, and the full support of David's explanations of the teachings after each lecture and practice session.

Master Wang taught the Ling Bao Bi Fa methods of shen training as well as Tree Balancing practice and Shui Gong or sleeping practice. All the students had many amazing experiences during this period. Personally I found the sitting practice very difficult. The Master's 'Yah Li' or 'pressure' made cross legged sitting extremely painful and at times almost unbearable. I have written about this in a previous post. However, the resulting experience of the condensation and settling of the shen made the discomfort well worth while.

The experience I had both of stillness and emptyness where greatly amplified during this time. The sleeping practice was probably the most powerful in giving some glimpse into the real accomplishment of Master Wang. His ability to meet and communicate in the dream state defied logic and description. I felt at times the presence of a almost unbearable light, something I could not really look upon. I was lifted completely outside the realm of ordinary experience.

Toward the end of this retreat I had a moment of intense personal clarity. I realized that I sincerely wanted to organize my life and personal affairs such that I could really have time and the opportunity to study more with Master Wang. I could see the road ahead and the obstacles upon it. In the distance was the mountain ( a pyramid actually ) and blocking the road an enormous accumulation of, let me say, dirt (we often call it 'stuff'). There was no way around this image of personal blockage but the goal was beaconing. I resolved strongly to dissolve away all and everything that was blocking my path to the teachings. I felt I had to get to 'nothing', my own kind of personal emptyness if I was to achieve this.

I spent the following 3 years and 2 months working every day to let it all fall away. By December of 2010, having sold my house, bought another as an investment to sell, virtally disposed of my business of 15 years, my collection of books and marine artifacts and other things almost beyond counting I felt I was approaching my goal. Then magically, just as I was putting my second house on the market, I received an email from Kathy Li, Master Wang's diciple in the USA, asking for permission to use a short post I had made about Master Wang in this blog. She also told me about the on-line hook-up they had arranged with Master Wang during the 2010 Christmas Hot Springs retreat.

The timing of that gave me renewed energy to press through to the end of my 'dissolving'. I signed up for the hook-up, and chatted briefly with Master Wang on Christmas day, 2010. After that I quickly decided I would attend the April Dalian retreat, even if the house was not sold by that time. I also decided to perpare myself properly by spending the 10 days before the retreat in Thailand where I have a condo room at Mantak Chia's Tao Garden Retreat Center near Chiang mai. I left Canada on April 5 after listing my house, my attempts to sell it privately having come to nothing.

Posted by james at 5:30 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2010

Wang Liping Teaching Openly - Why is this important?

Daoism (Taoism) and the transmission of Daoist practice has been shrouded in secrecy throughout it's 2500 year history. The classics record that the Dao is not hidden from humanity, but that humanity has hidden itself from the Dao. Conceptual thinking and study are not the Way, nor the way to reach the Dao. Only by dropping ideas about the Dao can one reach it.

Upon meeting Wang Liping, doubts about the veracity of the teachings and the living nature of the Dao fall away. Effortlessly, without displaying power, this man transmits the core teachings. Questions are answered without being asked. Realization comes without searching. How could it be clearer?

He knows you and you know it. Not the you of street and family, but the you of yourself. The hidden, invisible you you hide from the world. Nothing is invisible to one who's eyes are open.

So it's important because it is a change in protocol. A change in the manifestation of the Dao? This has not been seen before. Certainly there have been supposed masters who have tried to reveal the Dao and it's secrets in the past 2 centuries. There are the qigong masters who manipulate chi for their own profit. Some may actually help medically and perhaps even with longevity techniques but most care ( or know ) little about the real effects of what they do an teach. This is something entirely different.

Significantly more difficult of approach since it involves 'not doing', something enormously more difficult that learning a minor technique of qi adjustment or tuning or mere manipulation.

Posted by james at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2010

Wang Liping, Daoist Dragon Gate Sect Lineage Holder now teaching openly

It was just a little over two years ago when David Verdesi ( also known as David Shen ) brought a small group of his students, 12 in all to Dalian China to spend an incredible 10 days in front of this modern Taoist Wizard. This was a seminal experience for me, and for everyone present. This man is a living master in every sense of the word, not in the degraded sense in which it is so often misused in the West.

David had explained before hand that to fully absorb his teaching already required a foundation of practice beyond most modern people. Conceptualization, impatience and unrealistic expectations are major stumbling blocks. David had been studying with WLP for three full years prior to his inviting this small group of his students to share his experience

The experience was at once uncomfortable ( to be kind, it was actually excruciating ) for reasons explained below, and inspirational in a way difficult to convey in words. One part of the teaching and meditative experience is the master's application of 'ya li' ( my pin yin sucks ) or 'pressure'. No matter what your meditative practice was prior to that experience, you could not be prepared for this.

The practice was more like a military drill than what one might expect sitting in front of a Taoist Master. There was brief theory, some illustration and a few questions translated by the translator ( possibly the local communist cadre keeping an eye on things ), and then - into quiet sitting, following orders. Simple obedience is a big thing, and absolutely motionless sitting for 45-50 minutes a strict requirement. And, after a few minutes of 'settling', the pain begins. The Master's pressure has the immediate effect of pushing the chi down into the legs, and if they are not already numb, numbness is the best you can hope for. The sensation is definitely of pressure, like the sky pushing down on some inner part of you. With a brief warning he would 'turn up the pressure', small increments at a time until it was a second by second experience to stand against it. No way to fall into inattention or drowsiness, but a continuous act of will not to 'break'. In the closing minutes, again with a spoken warning, and the end in sight, again he would up the pressure, creating a sensation for me like my legs were about to explode, the meridians splattered over my companions in the room. And then, the awaited words 'practice over', and instantly the pressure would disappear as if it was a simply imagination. The most amazing thing of all. In 30 seconds, you were longing for that something, caring torture from the Master, to return.

A few weeks later I was able to experience the true force of this field effect myself. I was staying a nearby apartment building 500 meters or so from where WLP and David were having a private session. I knew of the timing of these sessions and usually took that time to do some quiet sitting myself. On several occasions I was also subjected to the 'pressure' even at that distance. I could accurately report to David whether the session had involved sitting and the application of this field, including an estimate of the amount of force applied. I expect the intensity of the force was significantly greater for David's benefit, perhaps making it easier for me to detect.

I'm writing publicly about this now (April 2010) only because recently, WLP's students in the US (Atlanta Georgia) have published a web site, http://www.laoziacademy.us/ complete with registration for upcoming workshops with WLP ( register online for $3700 US) and incredibly, pictures, and where, well, on Facebook.


This is the man himself, demonstrating tree practice since it's daytime. The practice itself is generally done at night, when the trees are exhaling, not inhaling.

There are also websites, blogs with public and student comments and instruction and inspirational teaching from his senior students, YouTube Videos and all the modern social media wonders.

Fabulous, really fabulous.


Posted by james at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

November 6, 2006

Off once more

I've promised myself (and others) that this winter's excursion to asia will be documented daily in this blog.

Daily? Very unlikely, but one should at least aim high. And, armed with a high resolution video camera, (Sony HDR HC3) it will be illustrated as well.

Flight to Bangkok via Bejing is Wednesday, Nov. 9. Until then, it's Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto, visiting old friends and generally winding down slightly from 6 weeks of unending preparation.

And, thanks beaterboys and dozergirls for the great sendoff last Thursday.

Posted by james at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

June 8, 2005

The What and Why of Chi

It may surprise even some seasoned Taoist practitioners why chi or qi, as only one of three phases of the life force has such a predominant position in Taoist literature and practice.

As one of the triad of Jing, Chi and Shen, none of which has more or less importance as part of an essentially seamless whole, chi nevertheless predominates as a focus and end of practice.

So, Why?

Man sits between Heaven and Earth
Heaven is above and Earth is below.

Like this


Chi is likewise between Jing and Shen


Chi is to the life force as humans are to all of manifestation (Post Heaven)

So, immediately we can see that this focus on Chi results from humanity's place in manifestation.

Of course with deepening practice there can be no end to the subtlety of chi and no real division of subtle energy that is final and definitive.

Your Shen is Jing to the Chi of some part of yourself. Your job is to bring it all into consciousness, including the indivisibility of it.

Posted by james at 1:58 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2004

A new approach to practice

Taoist's are always talking about practice. Is this different from a Christian talking about prayer. The Taoist approach focuses on technique, development and mastery. None of this would appear to make sense if applied to prayer. Enlightened Taoists apply intention and concern themselves with sincerity. This seems closer but is still far from supplication. Taoists name many Gods or none. No single overreaching entity exists. The Tao neither exists nor does not exist. There is clearly nothing to which prayer can be offered.

To what can Taoist practice be appropriately offered. The ego looms large and is impossible to contain. Inappropriate intention erodes and eventually destroys any benefit from practice. How can this be avoided while maintaining spontenaity. Difficult questions but not without answers. But what answers are actually helpful?

10% practice, 90% right action.
So how does one recognize right action.
Find it in practice. Apply it in life.
Without that connection, what meaning can practice have.

Posted by james at 9:10 AM | Comments (0)