Chayo Tea Winter 2020 events.

February 16, 2020

Hello Tea Friends,
This winter we are offering two very special events in Toronto.

Tea Medicine a healing Journey:
Thursday February 20th will see us at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine delivering a two hour class about Chinese Medicine and Tea. Further info and registration can be found here.

Tai Chi and Tea:
Every Saturday evening from 5:30 to 6:30 PM we are offering a class which blends Tea Ceremony, Tai Chi Chuan and Qi Gong together to create a unique harmonious energy for body and mind.
Classes are at
Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine at 283 Spadina (Corner of Spadina and Dundas) third floor.
Class price is $20.
Bring comfortable,loose fitting clothes.

Is Fresh Best? When should I drink my tea?

September 18, 2018


Fresh tea is tasty and it is important to store it properly so that your tea always tastes like you just opened the package yesterday, but how fresh does tea really have to be and how soon should we drink it after harvest?

As with all questions about tea, the answer is as diverse as are the different kinds of tea.
Because each kind of the seven major genres of tea is made differently and because each type of tea has different leaf structures, there are also different rules about the best time to drink them.

Green tea is the easiest to understand, because green tea is made from tender leaves which degrade quickly, so to get the best green tea, you should always drink it as close to the time of harvest as possible. Because green tea is mainly harvested in spring and late summer, the best times of year to drink green tea are from May until October, unless you are very well connected and can get the earliest spring tea from April before the Qing Ming festival.
Older green tea is ok too, but it becomes less flavourful over time and after a year or so if it isn’t properly stored, it will go flat and stale.

Oolong tea is different from green tea and is somewhat more complex.
With Oolong, we are at least partially concerned with production process because green teas need to be enjoyed earlier than baked teas.
For traditional balled green oolong teas such as Tieguanyin, Qingxin Oolong, and Siji Chun Oolong, we should drink them within two years after harvest. Because Oolong is balled tightly, it can last longer than Chinese green tea, but after a couple of years it needs to be baked in order to stop it from becoming stale due to oxidization.

Baked Oolong is a different matter and should be stored for at least three months after production. This is because the tea needs time to let out the fire it has been exposed to and gradual oxidization will allow some of the carbon taste to naturally disappear, leaving behind the subtle scents of orchids and dark fruit which baked Oolong is famed for.
Often we can even keep baked Oolong in an air tight package for a year or longer and have it still taste farm fresh.
Baked Oolong can also be aged in certain situations and aged Oolong can fetch considerable money on the tea market because of its relative rarity and association with culture.

Black Tea can usually be kept indefinitely as long as it is well stored and in the case of heavier teas such as Qi Men Hong, Assam, and Dian Hong often improves slightly if it is kept for at least six months after harvest. This is for the same reason as baked Oolong, the tea needs some time to let go of the heat it has built up with baking.

Lighter black teas such as Darjeeling and Maojian style teas which are mostly made of tips should be enjoyed closer to harvest, because just like with green tea, they can break down quickly and become stale.

White tea is also complex, with all white teas being able to be aged and Silver Needle and White Peony also being good fresh, while Shou Mei tea is enjoyed better with a few years of ageing.

Of course, Pu’er, Zhuan Cha, and most other bricked teas are better aged, but there are also many wild Pu’er teas which taste great fresh off the bush. Pu’er is probably the most complex category of tea, so it takes time to learn what to drink and when.

I hope this article has been informative and enjoyable and I welcome you to come in to our tea house or purchase our teas online to try some of the finest examples of Chinese, Taiwanese, and herbal tea available today.

All the best,

Chayo Tea owner,
Robert Coons.

Philosophical Daoism and the incredible splitting of hairs.

October 22, 2017

Long rages the debate of the nature of Daoism, and whether it is a philosophical exercise or a religion, or something else entirely.
I personally have penned many articles from all sides of the debate, and in each article, I have generally made the argument that Daoism has historically taken many forms and entered into many parts of society.
In this article, I would like to take a slightly different tack and suggest that the bulk of the current argument over the nature of Daoism comes from poor communication.

It has been stated by many people on the side representing the Daoist religion that there has never been an organized group who have described themselves as philosophical Daoists. This of course is true, being that there is no historical term used in ancient China to describe philosophy as distinct from religion. Having said that, a distinct, albeit long dead school of Daoism known as the Mystery Study School does fit into the definition of a philosophically inclined approach to Daoism, and doubtless there were many other such projects throughout Chinese history that were not recorded and preserved as well as the writings of Wang Bi and Guo Xiang.

This notwithstanding, the major works of Daoism such as Dao De Jing and Zhuangzi have been widely disseminated by intellectuals in China for 2000 years and anyone who has made a study of the Chinese classics in any serious way would have been familiar with these books. thus, I would like to introduce the concept that Daoism certainly existed as an extremely influential literary genre outside of the mainstream clergy and that there were many people who learned Daoist teachings without engaging seriously in Daoist religious practices.

Why is this important and why can’t we give this topic the rest that it so dearly deserves?
My opinion is that there is a great deal of exclusivity and oneupsmanship in the academic Daoist community outside of China and that to completely write off the existence of Daoism as an intellectual and literary genre is a great disservice to the countless people who have brought the principles of Daoism into their lives, while not being involved in the ritual and magical practices of the Daoist clergy.

I think it is very important as a point of fact and a point of respect to point out that Daoism is a very multi faceted study and should not be pegged down into a fully formed and single approach, since within the vast context of Chinese cultural history, Daoism really has served many functions that exist outside of the strictures of a hierarchic organized religion.

Daoist meditation was recently featured on a list of top meditation websites.

October 4, 2017

Our website was recently featured on my massage chairs list of top stress relief, relaxation and meditation blogs.
Please visit there site to have a look at other blogs they suggest on this subject as well.

Top Stress Relief, Relaxation & Meditation Blogs

The nature of knowledge in the Chinese tea industry

September 12, 2017

Over the past several years the North American tea industry has taken great strides toward a renewed sense of internationalism and cooperation with traditional tea producing regions in Asia such as China and Japan.
This excellent development has also come with a renewed interest in different genres of tea such as Oolong, Pu’er, high quality green tea and so on. There are now many people travelling to Asia to learn about tea and there are many people creating media about this fascinating subject.

A serious problem with this development is that most of the information about the Chinese tea industry being published in North America as partial and sometimes out and out fabricated. The Chinese tea industry is an extremely complex place with its own standardization methods, rules, regulations, prices, and variations. The nascent North American tea media is not helping in the dissemination of accurate information about Chinese tea and often instead tends toward propagandist tactics either used to increase hits on blogs, or worse yet, to sell more tea. Blogging and selling are good things, but we should try to improve the overall knowledge about tea in North America, and not just create controversy and self serving propaganda.

A recent blog post doing its circulation online proposed that due to over farming and other regions, it was impossible to find Tieguanyin tea of the same quality available thirty years ago. This post is an attempt to address the reasons why this assertion is wrong and how we can come to understand the inner workings of the tea industry, its recent history, and hopefully how we can appreciate our tea more and talk less uninformed trash.

Tea is a really wonderful beverage and has a profound history of development from the time before even the word “Cha” entered into common use, up until the late dynasty period and modern times. Tea has always changed in character and never stayed exactly the same, in fact, the ancient tea of the Tang dynasty would hardly be recognizable to modern day Chinese tea enthusiasts.

Tea and change are inexorably connected and need to be considered when we undertake the study of the “spirit leaf.”
The modern Chinese tea industry is predicated on two big concepts:
– Infrastructural development
– inter-regional tea drinking.

To unpack these concepts a bit,
it used to be the case that most provinces had some sort of native tea crop, be it the green teas of central China, the Oolong of the South, or the flower teas of North China, each major area had its own unique style of tea and tea culture. Although inter-regional tea trade has been occurring for more than 1500 years, the face of modern Chinese tea drinking and that of even thirty years ago are totally different.

As an example, it used to be the case that the people of Shanghai typically drank Biluochun green tea from Suzhou Long Ting and Long Jing tea from Hangzhou Xihu. This is because these two regions are very close to Shanghai. In the last twenty years, the Shanghai tea scene has expanded and now it is possible to get teas from every region of china and even from places like Taiwan, which were previously not available in mainland China.
Because of the expanded choice that inter-regional tea importation has given people in terms of what teas are available and by what medium they are enjoyed, the Shanghainese tea scene is now very complex and there is much more to tea in Shanghai than just South Eastern Green teas like long jing and bi luo chun.

This trend is not just in Shanghai, it is national and even international now, with the development of large and small scale tea exportation by Chinese and foreign companies.

With this trend, there has been created a much larger market demand than previously existed, which has lead to a supply and demand problem in Chinese tea.
For instance, the viable land available to make traditional long jing tea in hangzhou is not big enough to produce all of the tea demanded by the Chinese internal market, let alone the foreign market. Thus, long jing tea is now grown in many parts of China, from Fujian to Yunnan and many place in between.
This means that certain characteristics of the standard of the tea have undergone change over the years.
As many people will know, it is possible for an expert worker to control many aspects of tea production, but one thing that they cannot change is the taste made by a specific terroir.
For instance, Tieguanyin, which is traditionally only grown in the high mountain area of Anxi Fujian, is now grown all over Fujian, Guangdong, Hunan, and Hubei, as well is in other more far flung places in West China. The taste of this tea is by definition different from the traditional teas grown at the top of Anxi and as such, concepts surrounding standardization in the tieguanyin industry must change.
Traditional tieguanyin requires at least two weeks to process and round the clock supervision, but a tea industry based on demands for large yields cannot possibly live up to such stringent standards, thus, tieguanyin production practices have also changed dramatically over the years.

This does not mean that the overall quality of tea has gone down though, because it is still possible for tea lovers to find high quality, original terroir teas made in traditional ways by expert artisans. The key difference between the era of regional tea drinking and the current inter-regional tea drinking era is actually found in price.

While it used to be the case that it was once possible to obtain one pound of xinyang maojian green tea in henan for the equivalent of a few cents American, now, to find even the most basic Maojian tea, not grown in Xinyang, it now costs at least a few dollars, and high end original source tea can cost hundreds of dollars a pound, even at wholesale.

Why did the difference happen?
this difference was created by complex trends, but two that come to mind are inflation of the Chinese RMB and according higher wages for tea workers, and the development of inter-region tea markets which create much larger stresses on farmers to produce yields capable to being exported all over China and not just in the specific areas that their tea is grown.

This does not mean that it is not possible to find great Maojian tea in Xinyang which would impress even the most stubborn of traditionalists.
There is plenty of great tea in China and it is readily available for those who are willing to go to the cost and effort to find it.
The main difference is that now there is also plenty of average tea which anyone can buy, regardless of their level of discernment in the tea industry.

It is important to note here that the main use of Chinese tea in China is day to day drinking and that the number of serious tea aficionados is relatively small in comparison to people just looking for a drink. This harkens back to the old saying that there are three things Chinese people can’t do without, rice, vinegar and tea. Tea is a cultural requirement for many people and is the convoluted and gilded ceremonial culture which many western tea drinkers romanticize it to be.
Common tea drinking calls for common tea and good tea is usually reserved for special occasions, gifts, and for those who make a hobby of tea drinking.

There is a special myth in the tea world these days that there was a mythic period of tea making quality which existed before the Liberalization of China in the 1980s, and this idea is something which we need to do away with as quickly as possible.
Anyone who has seen old photos of tea production in South China and Taiwan will know that the automation of certain aspects of tea making have greatly improved the quality of tea.
for instance, it was once a requirement at Lugu in Taiwan that the tea was to be trampled by foot and rolled by hand. Not only did this make much less clean tea, it also made looser balls and a much lower standard of quality, with no real ability to control size of tea, roll, breakage, uniformity of oxidization and much more.
Automation and modern farming methods have been an overall benefit to the tea industry and have made for a much more consistent standard of tea. We mustn’t pine for something which simply wasn’t as good as it is now.

The main problem with the tea industry in China is knowledge. If you don’t know tea, you don’t know where to get tea, you don’t know what tea is supposed to look like, smell like, taste like, and feel like, then you simply can’t find good tea.
The tea industry is not set up for hopeful foreigners to just walk into and take away the highest grade crops and most amazing knowledge. It is a commodity business which has internally consistent standards, prices, variations and is quite complex and hard to study.
I see a big trend in tea media these days to find some aspect of Chinese tea agriculture and write dark criticisms of it without having really done any serious research into how tea is standardized and sold in China.

If we want to develop a high quality approach to Chinese tea in North America, we need to improve our knowledge and understand tea from the perspective of the Chinese tea industry, rather than from the perspective of our own romantic inclinations and desire to appear to have secret information passed down by mysterious Chinese friends on far away mountains.

A Confucian interpretation of non action.

September 10, 2017


Confucius said:
Motivated to govern in virtue, an example is the north star.
It rests and all the stars coalesce around it.

Gong is pronounced as gong, and can also be supplanted as the character gong (implying an offering made to a superior or ancestors).
The character Zheng (meaning to govern) is actually referring to being upright (upright in governing). So people taking action to make others be upright is not upright. Virtue is speaking of the achievement of something, it is grasped by the heart and not lost.

The north star is the polar north, the centre of the sky, it always rests there and does not move.


Together refers to direction and is speaking of the stars of the four corners rotating around and returning all along.

The govern with the will of virtue means one will practice non action and the world will return itself. Its image is like this.

Cheng zi said: to act in governance with virtue , one can then be without action.


Cui shi said: to govern in virtue means to not move and thus transform. Do not speak, but be honest, and non action will be born.
If one can protect this and act in simplicity,they will control that which annoys them. Those who can discipline themselves and arrive at stillness can control movement. He who can serve in this way and can arrive at simplicity and can clothe all people

– Zhu Xi.

Using Daoist deities to explain philosophical concepts in Daoism

September 9, 2017

Is Daoist religious practice really Daoist?

This questions seems to be endlessly circulating on the English language internet of Daoism and no matter where one turns, it always seems to be the the case that many experts are willing to come out in a denial of any significant relationship between Daoist religious practice and their imagined conceptualization of the vague historical Daoist philosophy of 2500 years ago.
Aside from the fact that we have very few Daoist texts available from the earliest periods of the development of the Daoist school of though, and that many of them such as “The Teachings of Classifying the immortals” have specifically religious connotations, it is quite evident that Daoist religion shares more in common with the core texts of the Dao De Jng and Nan Hua Jing (Zhuangzi) than differences.

In this brief post, I would like to discuss some Daoist Deities and how they represent core concepts in Daoist thought, and hopefully why you should learn to respect the Daoist religion as one of the myriad manifestations of Chinese Daoist culture.

Without mincing too many words, lets jump right into the subject of deities of the Dao:

In Quanzhen Daoism, the three most central deities beyond the great Dao of Non Polarity (Wu Ji Da Dao) there are three great deities known as the San Yuan, or Three Originals.
The San Yuan are:
– Yaun Shi Tian Zun (the venerated heavenly elder of the original beginning),
– Ling Bao Tian Zun (the venerated heavenly elder of the spirit treasure),
– Dao De Lao Jun (the Gentleman of the Dao of Virtue).

Together, these three deities comprise many different Daoist and Chinese cosmological, spiritual and cultural ideas.
to name but a few:
– The Three deities together make up the Chinese concept of “San Cai,” which means the three levels of heaven, humanity, and the earth. in Chinese and Daoist thought, heaven and earth are the purest forms of yin and yang and humanity is the only creature which is able to fully absorb the lessons of yin and yang and their transformation. In this case, The Venerated Heavenly Elder of the Original beginning refers to the heavens, open, vast, and constructive, he has no form, but contains all within him.
The Venerated Heavenly Elder of the Spiritual Treasure refers to earth and the ability to sustain life. In Daoism, this deity is often associated with the concept of “Jing” essence and the ability to become alive.
The Gentleman of the Dao of Virtue represents humanity and is the heavenly and eternal incarnation of Laozi, the human who delivered the Dao teachings to humanity via the Dao De Jing.

On another level of analysis, these three deities represent the concepts of “Yuan jing, Qi, and Shen” or the original essence, energy, and spirit of living things.
Original Jing, Qi, and Shen are formless and are associated with the development of a new life in the womb, with the body coming from the original essence, the vital energy coming from the original qi, and the mind coming from the original spirit or consciousness.
Different Daoist thinkers have placed these deities in different order, but the two most popular interpretations are that Yuanshi Tianzun represents either the original spirit or original essence, Ling Bao Tianzun represents original essence, or original spirit, and Dao De Lao Jun represents original Qi.
Regardless of these interpretations, these three deities are literally manifest in each of our bodies and are the most essential components of our existence, from physical material (jing) to our animating energy (Qi), to consciousness (shen). Daoists view the body and mind as sacred and thus the three greatest deities of the Dao are seen as being the patrons of these aspects of self.

Finally, Yuanshi Tianzun literally refers to the concept left behind in Liezi of “Yuan Shi” or original beginning. This beginning is what Laozi calls “at the beginning it was without name,” and refers to the incubation of created reality by the empty and nameless Dao.
Ling Bao tianzun refers to the possibility of life, and Dao De Tianzun refers to the energy of life. Together they make up Laozi’s three pillar concepts of Xi, yi, and Wei, or subtle, hidden, and minute.

So regardless of other interpretations of these deities and their attendant rituals, the San yuan actually represent a huge amount of very real theory from the Dao De Jing, Nan Hua Jing, and Lie Zi.

Other deities such as the three officials represent aspects of nature, the body and the mind, but this is enough for today.

I think it is quite important that we don’t closed mindedly reject Daoist religious teachings out of a romantic sense of some mystical philosophical era in ancient Chinese history. It is better to understand the practical interpretations of these beliefs and then come to a more informed judgement about them which doesn’t lead to cultural bigotry and chauvinism.sanqing

translation of Zhu Xi commentary on the annalects of Confucius

August 16, 2017

Today we are looking at a section from the first chapter of Zhu xi’s commentary on the analects of Confucius. Zhu Xi was a Song Dynasty Confucian who believed in the idea of combining Confucian and Daoist philosophy to create a new self cultivation school which was steeped in both Confucian ideas about social propriety and Daoist ideas about self development through meditation and cosmological philosophy.

We will now review a comment on a piece of original text from the Confucian analects.

original text:

You zi said: “those who have the quality of being filial and fraternal and loves to become angry and aggressive are few.
Those who do not like to express anger and aggression and like to commit themselves to wildness do not exist!

Zhu Xi comment:

“di” and “hao” are pronounced with a leaving tone. “Xian” and “Shang” have a falling tone. You Zi is the disciple of Confucius, his name was Ruo.

善事父母为孝,善 事兄长为弟。犯上,谓干犯在上之人。鲜,少也。

Those who commit good acts for their parents are called filial, those who commit good acts for their siblings are called fraternal.
Anger and aggression is committed by people who find it easy to become angry.
They are few, as to be considered very fresh.


“committing wild acts” refers to being malicious, going against, fighting and quarreling.


This refers to people who are able to be filial and fraternal must be harmonious of heart and smooth in action, so few of them can become aggressive, and they cannot, as such, engage in wildness.

original text:
君子务本,本立而道生。孝 弟也者,其为仁之本与!”

“the gentleman takes on work as his basic,
when the basic is set upright, the way can be born. Filial and fraternal, this can be considered to be the root of humanity.

Zhu xi comment:


“yu” has a flat tone. “work” refers to using strength.
“basic” refers to a root.
“humanity” refers to the principle of love and the virtue of the heart. To engage in humanity also refers to going forth in a humane fashion.

与者,疑辞,谦退不敢质言也。言君子凡事专用力于 根本,根本既立,则其道自生。

The person meeting with this, if questioning the edict (of parents and senior siblings) should humbly step back and not be so brave as to speak about the essence of the subject. The gentleman always uses his power to establish the basic (the basic needs of the family) and when the basic is set upright, the correct way will be born of its own accord.


The above article about filial and fraternal piety is actually the root of humanity. He who studies this must take it as his work and then the way of being humane will emerge of this.


Cheng Zi said: “filial and fraternal is the virtue of smoothing, thus it isn’t easy to beome annoyed so who could return to going against the principle (of virtue) and engage in any wild action on a regular basis?

德 有本,本立则其道充大。孝弟行于家,而后仁爱及于物,所谓亲亲而仁民也。

Virtue has its root, its root is made upright and thus the Dao becomes vast and connected. The filial and fraternal child acts for his family and then achieved humane love for all beings. Thus he becomes a fatherly figure and acts humanely toward all people.

故为仁以孝弟为本。论性,则以仁为孝弟之本。”或问:“孝弟为仁之本,此是由孝弟 可以至仁否?”曰:“非也。

So people who act humanely take filiality and fraternity as their core principle. Speaking of its nature, humanity must take filial and fraternal piety as its root.
So it is asked: “if the root of humanity is found in filial and fraternal piety, does it mean that if one is filial and fraternal, they have achieved humanity?”
The answer no.


If someone acts humanely, they take filial and fraternal piety as the beginning. Filial and fraternal piety are one activity of humanity. So in order to act with humanity, they should have this as their basic. They cannot expect that this will automatically make them rooted in humanity.

盖仁是性也,孝弟是用也,性中只有个仁、义、礼、智四 者而已,曷尝有孝弟来。然仁主于爱,爱莫大于爱亲,故曰孝弟也者,其为仁之本与!”

if they have humanity as their true nature, then filial and fraternal piety is how they manifest it. From the centre of their nature they have humanity, law, courtesy, and wisdom, all four together. They can experience how this works through being filial and fraternal. The work of humanity is controlled by love, and there is no love as great as that of the family. Thus it is said that one who is filial and fraternal has the root of humanity.

The Joy of Confucius.

August 3, 2017

“學而時習之,不亦說乎?有朋自遠方來,不亦樂乎?人不知而不慍,不亦君子乎?” 我突然发现孔子很主动开心的心理。研究儒家的人应该已经很清楚孔子的快乐注意,不过,今天看我好吃惊了!

Tonight I saw something while reading the Analects of Confucius that I hadn’t previously thought about.
The first chapter of the Analects says:
“Study and constant review, will not this be a pleasure?
Friends who come from afar, is this not a joy?
People don’t know me and I am not angry, is this not the mark of a gentleman?”
Upon reading this, I suddenly came to the realization that Confucius is discussing the philosophy of happiness.
People who are already quite clear about Confucianism doubtless aleady know this, but anyway, I was surpised.


So why was I surprised?


To be honest, the quality of Confucian study in the west is a bit lacking in comparison to Daoism. Maybe the mystique of Daoist philosophy and religion are more appealing to the western mind, I don’t know for sure. In any event, many people outside of China look at Confucian thought incorrectly.


This is especially true among people who are interested in the Daoist philospher Zhuangzi. I have heard many people say that Confucius is too serious and too conservative, so even if they haven’t looked at Confucius, they already know he isn’t good. When they look at it, they have already formed a stubborn opinion and won’t change it.


I like to think that I’m not so stubborn, and certainly I like Confucian thought very much. Even though i haven’t sought out a teacher of the Confucian arts, I’ve still spent considerable time with the classical literature and explanations of the genre.

But today I saw something that surprised and pleased me, and I would like to introduce it below:



the first passage of the Analects says “Study and constant review, will not this be a pleasure?
Friends who come from afar, is this not a joy?
People don’t know me and I am not angry, is this not the mark of a gentleman?”


originally, I thought the meaning was that Confucius was suggesting three life habits:

1: 主动学习可以让人生活更美了。

1: focusing on study will make your life more beautiful.

2: 大方接受朋友可以让生活更有爱。

2: being generous when you receive fiends will make your life more full of love.

3: 做谦虚的人就是让你当君子了。

3: being a humble person will make you into morally superior human being.


“悦” “乐” “不恼”.

I still think these three points are correct, but today I also stumbled across one new meaning in the text.
This meaning is found in the following words:

“pleasure,” “joy” and “not angry.”


So what are these words trying to convey?


“pleasurable” and “joyful” are meant to indicate a happy psychological world view. “not angry” suggests that we don’t find it easy to be bothered by the events around us.


These three things together illustrate a happy life, so Confucius must have been a happy and joyful person.
Also, he put his philosophy of contentment right at the first passage of the fist section of his book, so we must assume that his most fundamental teachings all spring from this philosophy.


I still think that my original idea about it being important to study well, be generous with guests, and to be a gentleman are right, but how should we interpret them now?


Simply put, these are the basic practices of a happy life.


Confucius believed that in order to be a contended person, you must first cultivate good habits.


世界上有好学习的人,也有不好学习的人。有大方接朋友的人,也有小气的人。有理解对象的人,也有贪心名利的人。世界上每种都有。一看人才可以了解谁开心不 开心。在生活中你的习惯跟你的生活方式是很相同的东西。习惯没好,生活方式也不是很好,可能发生的事情也会不完美,就容易痛哭了。

So here is what I think:
This world has people who are good at study and people who are not. There are people who are gracious with friends and people who are petty and small. There are people who go forth trying to understand others, and those who are only greedy to gain their own benefit and fame. In our world, we have every kind of person, and often, all you have to do is look once to see who is happy and not happy.
In life, our habits and our lifestyle are inextricable things.
If you don’t have good habits, you won’t have a good lifestyle.
If something nasty happens, life won’t be perfect and you will find it easy to become embittered.


If you have good habits, then you will have mastered the basics of life. After this, it doesn’t matter if you are lucky or not, you already have the most basic ability to engage in beneficial activities, so how could you live anything other than a happy life?


The first Chapter of Confucius is simply telling us that cultivating good habits is the way to be a delighted gentleman, and that is just great!

什么是丹田/what is the dantian?

August 1, 2017

This article is the first attempt at what I hope to be an ongoing series of articles about daoism, tea and other subjects written both in English and Chinese. Chinese is not my first language and so this series of articles is also meant to be a chance for me to practice writing in Chinese in hopes of eventually being able to write coherent and interesting Chinese language articles.
As such, please feel free to critique my writing, as it will help me to make progress as I develop this skill.









Recently some classmates studying the immortality school of meditation asked me

the question “what is Dantian?” (the elixir field). It gave me pause to think about

how to answer them.

In the Chinese Daoist arts, Dantian has many different meanings.

If we want to talk about the real meaning of Dantian, we must first be somewhat

specific about the field of study under discussion.



Every type of art in Daoism has its own interpretation of Dantian, and when first

studying basic methods we might think they are different from one another.




For instance, people who practice the martial arts might believe that dantian is a

collection of muscle in the centre of our waist, just under the belly button. This is

what we might call the physical aspect of the lower Dantian.

People who practice the martial arts need to use this area of the body to help them

connect the upper and lower aspects of their bodies while executing movements.



However, people who do Qi Gong might believe that the Dantian isn’t something

that we find in the physical centre of the body, rather it is associated with the

energy of the physical form.



This energetic body could emerge in many different places, or it could be the three

major centres of the head, chest, and lower abdomen which make up what are

called the “three elixir fields.”

These Dantian in Qi Gong are all correctly defined as such.




As a final consideration, let’s take the internal alchemy school as an example.

People who practice internal alchemy seated meditation have many different

interpretations of the word dantian. Maybe the Dantian is the same one practiced

in martial arts and Qi Gong, or perhaps it refers to the entire energetic body of

humanity and the universe. The different ways of interpreting it are tremendously



So understanding exactly what a Dantian is is really not that simple. Dantian

seems to refer to too many different things!



However, there is one completely correct interpretation of Dantian and after saying

it, all of our classmates and friends ought to be totally clear about its true meaning.

Dantian refers to energy and wherever there is energy, there is dantian. Wherever

there isn’t energy, there also isn’t dantian.



So what is energy?

Don’t spend too much time complicating your thought processes over this. Energy

is the core characteristic of all living things in nature. If you have energy, you can

live, if you don’t have energy, you will die.




Therefore if we want to study dantian, qi, or life, we must start from the

term “living” in order to understand the basic concept of our study. Life

isn’t an organism and it doesn’t have a specific shape or form. You can’t

isolate it and look at it or perceive it, but it is contained in the basic spirit

of all living things. Anything that is alive, has a body, a person, a plant or

anything all have this basic energy. The more that something has it, the

more it seems to grow healthy and luxuriantly.




Even though you can’t see its basic energy, you can still see quite clearly whether

someone does or doesn’t have very much spirit.

For instance, a young child with bright eyes will often be called clever, while a tired

looking, dull child seems to have a dis-spirited look.






So when we think about what dantian really is, we can’t forget that the quality we

are trying to identify isn’t part of the body, it is a type of formless, imageless

energetic strength and we all have it in our entire bodies. So we shouldn’t ask

“where is dantian,” we would be better to ask where it isn’t.

This question is very important because anywhere that doesn’t have dantian

doesn’t have life.




Researching where life comes from and what is dead is the central concern of the

study of life, longevity, and every major type of scientific research.

If we can discover where our vital energy comes from, then we may be able to

grasp every living person’s deepest wish, to be a long living person who does not

become feeble with age and to protect our fundamental essence, become

enlightened and ascend the mundane realm.



please share this to help friends and classmates find their direction and live a

better, happier life.

Thank you!