Feng shui, Chinese medicine, Chinese astrology, Chinese
face reading, taichi, qigong and other Inner, Outer,
Hard and Soft martial arts forms all have a common root,
that is yin-yang, Five Agents and Eight
Trigrams theory system, the very foundation of Daoism.
According to Daodejing (道德经), before a universe
began, the Cosmos was a complete void in mass, an absolute
nothingness in form, yin and yang utterly
united into one. When wuchi (无极 pole-less) develops
into taichi (太极 supreme pole), Dao becomes apparent
and is ready to run the universe. Then taichi further
splits into yin- yang dual forces, with
the active part being yang and passive part being yin, and
the two parts balancing each other in motion ever since.
Despite being the source and supporter of the universe,
Dao is beyond form, cannot be seen; beyond sound, cannot
be heard; beyond tangibility, cannot be held. Thus the Dao,
though is present, can never be defined; though small, is
inclusive of the entire universe.
Yin and yang as the two sides of one coin,
complement one another, each being essential for the functioning
of the whole. When yin and yang unite,
the outcome is a perfect simplicity – exist without existence,
appear without appearance and act without actions. In the
ultimate reality as such, all things are Nothing, and Nothing
is All, and All is in complete accordance with Dao.
Today, as one of the three major traditional teachings (Confucius,
Buddhism and Daoism) in China, Daoism still has a great number
of followers, with White Cloud Temple being the chief centre
for their learning and practice.
Lying in Baiyunguan Street in the Xuanwu District, White
Cloud is the headquarters of the Dragon Gate sect of the
Complete Reality School. As the oldest and biggest Daoist
temple in Beijing, it is also the seat of the Chinese Daoist
Association and houses a Daoist college.
Built originally in 739 during the Tang Dynasty to enshrine
a statue of Laozi, the author of The Virtue of Dao (Daode
Jing), it had been burned down and rebuilt for several
times, each time was given a new name from Eternal Spring
to Taichi Palace. It has adopted the present name since early
The temple is fronted by a magnificent archway, with its
buildings laid out around three parallel axes in a typical
residence style (siheyuan). The Daoists in the
temple wear traditional black cotton robes, have their long
hair tied into a knot at the top, and play ancient music,
looked as if they were the characters walked off the screen
of a Kung Fu movie.
Every year there is a certain number of novices travelling
to the White Cloud for a formal ordination. Upon arrival,
they’ll be arranged to study the Daoist rituals, classics
and rules. Only after having passed the final exam, they’ll
gain the honour to receive the Daoist Commandments.
The initial ritual of Acceptance in the main hall serves
as a ceremony for announcing the ordination event. The following
one taken place in the midnight, however, is strictly exclusive
when the secret commandments and rules are explained. In
the final stage, before the Commandment Alter, a brand new
Daoist will be issued his Commandment Certificate, precept
dress, a wand and a bowl.