Field Notes

What Taoism teaches about the body and being healthy

An indigenous tradition in China, Taoism, (also spelled Daoism), was originally created in the fourth century B.C.E. by an ‘old master’. It is still a model for bodily practice that understands humans to be an integral part of the larger cosmos and has followers using an inner meditative practice called neidan, to help replicate the landscape within their own bodies. 

These rituals and bodily techniques are used to inform and align the body with surrounding social and natural environment. Physical exercises are used to help cultivate one’s qi, or breath, in order to achieve harmony, nourish one’s health and increase longevity. 

Early Taoists also practiced alchemy, a process of mixing rare and powerful elements from the earth together to create a refined substance that was believed to be an elixir of health. Taoist priests envision a different kind of journey not only across the cosmos but within their own body as they seek an audience with the highest gods of Taoism known as the Three Pure Ones. Priests report the merits of the local community to the Three Pure Ones.

While an audience with the purest forms of the Tao is reserved only for trained Taoist priests who help to reaffirm the connection between the Tao itself and the community, the notions of the Taoist body ultimately provide an added perspective—way for everyone to transform to the benefit of both themselves and others around them.

Source: The Conversation

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Field Notes

What Taoism teaches about the body and being healthy An indigenous tradition in China, Taoism, (also spelled Daoism), was originally created in the fourth century B.C.E. by an ‘old master’. It is still a model for bodily practice that understands