Earth Dragon Canon Method

Of Mindfulness Martial Arts

The Earth Dragon Canon Method of mindfulness practice teaches the functional practices for the internal martial arts of circle walking, tai chi, five elements fist, and standing meditation.

You will learn the history of these arts, and how to apply them for meditation, mindfulness, and physical fitness.

Canon

Canon

Copernicus holding a model of his cosmology
Canon Method

Philosophical Foundations

The internal martial arts we study in the Earth Dragon Canon Method take their names from the Daoist cosmology attributed to Fu Xi.

Canon also means a literary or artistic work considered to be permanently established as being of the highest quality.

The Canon components introduce three original cosmologies that contributed to the development of China. More than cosmologies, these systems became a way of thinking, forming governments, and making a living. These systems are Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. Individually, or in concert, they have left an imprint on mindfulness practice that is impossible to ignore.

In these lessons I present a historical survey, and a summary of daoist, confucian, and dharma principles that compose the moral character of mindfulness practice. These sections are introductions for your further study, and I encourage you to look beyond the physical forms to develop a deeper understanding.

Monument of great astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, Torun, Poland

Cosmology

Cosmology is an account or theory of the origin of the Universe, and, by extension, humanity’s place in it.

Cosmologies often borrow from one another, creating new cosmologies by applying the scientific discoveries of the day. Some cosmologies develop into religious beliefs; others develop through the lens of scientific thought.

Here is a quick historical tour of cosmologies:

Origins of the Eight Trigrams

In the beginning there was nothing but a formless chaos. Out of this chaos, there was born an egg. When the egg split the heavy yolk sank to become the Earth, while the light egg white rose to become the Heavens.

That the Universe is made of two forces, a heavy yin aspect and a lighter yang aspect whose separation and interaction are constantly creating all aspects of the Universe, is the foundation of Daoism. This line of thought developed to include all the social and physical interactions of man.

Before it developed into a complex system of creation and organization, Daoism was more practical. Yin and yang represented different times of the day and of the year. Daylight was the time for work, night was for rest.

acupuncture needles on antique Chinese coin

Qi and The Five Elements

The Yellow Emperor (2497 – 2398 BCE) is the legendary inventor of Chinese medicine. In his classic work the Huangdi Neijing (Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon) various principles, such as yin and yang, qi, and the wuxing, compose the Universe. The work was one of the first medical treatise to stress the integration of both spiritual and physical treatments as a holistic approach to medical treatment.

The Huangdi Neijing is actually two texts. The first text is the Suwen, (Basic Questions) and covers the theoretical foundation of Chinese medicine and its diagnostic methods. The Suwen includes topics on feng shui, qigong, acupuncture, herbal medicine, fortune telling, meteorology, and astrology. Because of this vast amount of information, it is a major text of Daoism. The second text named Lingshu (Spiritual Pivot) shares the practical elements of acupuncture therapy.

The Three Vinegar Tasters of Chinese Philosophy

The Vinegar Tasters

If Laozi (Lao Tzu), the old sage usually associated with Daoism existed, he lived during the Golden Age of Philosophers. The book attributed to him is the Dao De Jing (The Way and Its Virtue) and represents the ideal man living agreeably with nature. Laozi was probably a librarian in the Zhou dynasty Hall of […]
Line drawing of many colorful books

Origin of Baguazhang

There is little doubt that Dong Haichuan (1797 – 1882) created and formalized the martial art of baguazhang. When discussing the creation of a formalized martial art, identifying the actual events that contributed to its development is difficult. Fanciful stories cast the art as the creation of a legendary figure, or as the secret teachings of a reclusive master. In the case of Dong Haichuan, he was both legendary and historical.

The widely accepted historical account of baguazhang’s development says that Dong was a member of the Quanzhen (Complete Truth) sect of Daoism. The Complete Truth Daoist walked in a circle while chanting as a method of meditation.

Dong Haichuan loved to practice martial arts, and he was skilled in bafanquan (Eight Rotating Boxing). He synthesized bafanquan’s straight line techniques with circle walking to form his own art called Turning Palm.

The Daoist Temple at Wudang Mountain

The Making of Legends

Zhang Sanfeng (1247 – 1370) is a legendary figure of Daoism, and the mythical creator of taijiquan. Some stories about Zhang Sanfeng place him as early as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907 – 960 CE) when China was undergoing a period of disunion. Others place him in the Song dynasty (960 – 1279 CE) which saw many achievements in science, philosophy, and arts, including the first use of printing (700 years before Europe), and the use of gunpowder in grenades.

If Zhang Sanfeng existed, he was probably born in 1247 and lived during the years of Marco Polo’s (1254 – 1324 CE) visit to China. He studied Buddhism and martial arts at the Shaolin temple before leaving and establishing the Daoist temples at Wudang Mountain.

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