With respect to Daoist lifestyle, Daoist clergy follow a variety of paths. Some withdraw from the community to live as hermits or in monasteries. Others live in villages or cities. The work of Daoists in the community is directed towards healing and renewal. In some areas (mostly notably Hong Kong and Taiwan) Daoist priests also work to create amulets and talismans, and perform magic spells and exorcisms. Other specialists, such as diviners and mediums, bridge the human and divine worlds. Working as an intermediary between the mortal and spirit world, Daoist adepts use their skills to protect the people from malignant forces. On sacred mountains around China, Daoist priests train and practice their arts, and Daoist temples run by laypeople can be found in villages throughout China.
The various schools of Taoism also systematize native Chinese health and healing techniques that permeate every aspect of day-to-day life, including meditation and visualization exercises, breathing techniques, sexual practices, and dietary modifications, all of which can be referred to as “yang Sheng” (nurturing life). In China, the idea of nurturing life embraces many practices aimed at strengthening the body, mind, and spirit. One of the most important lessons to be learned from self-cultivation is the idea of treating the body before it becomes sick. This corresponds with aspects of modern preventative medicine, such as proper diet and exercise. Each individual person’s body is seen as a small-scale model of the universe, and an inseparable part of the natural world.
By purifying the body, it can be brought into harmony with the surrounding natural world, which will lead to a greater level of health. Wudang Daoists dedicate their lives to studying and preserving these valuable arts. It is our hope that students of all cultures and religious can enrich their lives by learning about Daoism and the Daoist sacred arts.
Daoist Music and Chanting