Ba Men Da Xuan is a clanic Daoist tradition of practices and philosophy for the complete development of the human being. The tradition has preserved and transmitted its practices from generation to generation for more than 1,500 years.
ABOUT DA XUAN DAOISM
Daoism is a practice of self-cultivation and spiritual evolution that asks us to explore the way we function and our relationship with ourselves and the world around us. There are many different types of Daoism, and while the Da Xuan tradition shares similar origins to other Chinese traditions of religious or temple Daoism, the tradition is specifically non-cultural and non-religious. We are concerned with the development of human qualities, and as such our practices are open to anyone of any culture or belief.
In Da Xuan we are primarily interested in engaging in a personal daily practice that will progressively reveal more details about how we function, while simultaneously building an excess of personal resources and energy that will keep us full of vitality while we undergo our search. While there are various philosophies that frame what we do, students are not asked to take on particular beliefs, but rather to continue practicing so as to discover what the framing ideas are pointing to – through direct, personal experience. Practice leads to more information, more information leads to better decisions, and more energy helps us to confront the challenges of life with vitality.
We approach our practice in a balanced and centered way, and so we must consider the spectrum of opposites (Yin and Yang) in the human being – the physical body (Yin), the breath/circulation (Yin + Yang), and the mind (Yang). To achieve balance in ourselves, we treat each aspect as being of equal importance and as such give them the same amount of attention in our practice. We develop universal qualities and capacities related to each of these aspects, rather than choreographed performances, which allows us to discover the possibility of fully expressing our own individuality without becoming a mere copy of the teacher
A simple overview gives us an idea of what this looks like:
PRACTICES OF THE MIND & SPIRIT (SHEN)
Train our mind to focus, help it to relax, understand how it functions and the various tricks it uses.
PRACTICES OF THE BREATH & CIRCULATION (QI)
Increase our breathing capacity for more vitality, improve the circulation, clear stagnations, develop the exchange with the environment.
PRACTICES OF THE PHYSICAL BODY (JING)
Build strength by training the weak points of the structure, improve alignment and coordination, help unwanted tension relax, learn how to use our structure and relaxation to hold our position and become grounded.
Da Xuan is a tradition that is specifically in-life. Unlike many other spiritual or self-cultivation traditions, we do not expect practitioners to become secluded from society. Quite the contrary, the purpose of the tradition and the practices is to allow us to engage more fully with life. A golden prison of training is not what we want, and spending all our time hiding away from the world in our practice is not desirable.
So how much do we practice? There is no one answer to this, it is a personal balance that must be found to be appropriate to your specific circumstances. Train as much as you can while still living your life.
Someone not deep in the practice but still wishing to enjoy better health and well being can easily achieve such things with 15 minutes a day. A more serious practitioner dedicated to preserving and seriously engaging with the whole tradition may practice for many hours each day. The time spent practicing will naturally (and expectedly) fluctuate for everyone.
THE FIVE ARTS OF DA XUAN
The Da Xuan tradition has 5 major branches of study, which are briefly introduced below. Please follow the highlighted links to our teacher’s page for more information on any of the topics.
The cultivation of body, breath and mind already discussed above, symbolized by the image of the mountain, which sits firmly on the earth while it reaches up to touch the heavens. These practices include training in Tai Chi, Bagua, Xing Yi and Ziranmen.
The science of destiny makes use of tools like Bazi and Zi Wei Du Shou to understand the way we each relate to fundamental archetypes. These tools allow us to understand the relationships we have with ourselves and the other more thoroughly so that we may discover our hidden potential and work with our innate traits rather than against them.
The study of the changes of the world allows us to understand the possibilities of a given situation and help us decide on the best course of action using the Yi Jing (the Classic of Changes that depicts situations using combinations of Yin and Yang, called Trigrams in their set of 3, and Hexagrams in their set of 6) and Qi Men Dun Jia.
The arts of Feng Shui and Face Reading teach us to observe how shapes, space and timing can be strategically used to help position ourselves skillfully in the world. Far removed from the distorted new-age ideas that decorating our house with golden cats will bring prosperity, traditional Feng Shui is a precise art that requires deep calculations and contextual understanding of the situation, and produces real measurable results while keeping our common sense alive.