Each of them developed their teachings and methods of training following the steps of their respective founders. The history of some traditions can be traced back to particular individuals who originated their schools of thought, oftentimes even unbeknown to themselves. As Jesus Christ was not a Christian and Buddha Shakyamuni was not a Buddhist, so most original masters of Yoga and Qigong had no idea that their disciples would institutionalize their personal practices of self-realization. The masters simply followed their own inner guidance as to how to be in the flow of things in this magical world.
With time, a lot of people perceived those masters as great examples of living in the flow. The consequent generations of students, however, grew further and further apart from the roots of their respective traditions by institutionalizing them. The experiential and playful approach of the Shamans of antiquity was gradually replaced by more institutionalized education due to the lack of imagination and creativity exhibited by the generations of students who preferred to learn from instructions, rather than from nature. Instead of paying attention to the essence of the master’s practices, most students could only pay enough attention to the forms of movements and poses. Thus the proliferation of sectarian forms of energy work and wellness systems based on their respective ideas about which form is “right” or “correct.”
About 2,500 years ago, Chinese philosopher Lao Tze presumably wrote Dao De Jing, which brought together many pieces of ancient Oriental wisdom and formed the foundation of Daoism. The adherents of that teaching formulated Daoist Qigong dedicated to attainment of great longevity and, supposedly, immortality. Around the same period of time, the followers of the famous Chinese philosopher Kung Fu Tze, also known as Confucius, created Confucian Qigong mainly concerned with mentoring outstanding citizens and guiding them in creating a harmonious society.
At the same time in India, Buddha Shakyamuni taught his teachings to thousands of devoted disciples, who eventually started practicing Buddhist Qigong to achieve spiritual awakening or nirvana. Adepts of Tantra, a mystical sect of Hinduism that spread via the Himalayas into Tibet, eventually came up with Tantric Qigong dedicated to enlightenment through the means of enlightening personal and transpersonal relationships. Therapeutic Qigong, a corner stone of Oriental Medicine, is mostly concerned with health and holistic healing. Martial arts or Wushu Qigong, as the name implies, is dedicated to effective self-defense and protection of others.
Nowadays, many Qigong styles are still confined within the parameters of their respective doctrines, while others integrate some aspects of two or more branches of Qigong. For example, Buddhist monks from the Shaolin Temple are known for both martial arts prowess and competence in Buddhist Qigong. Many Daoist Qigong masters are also great healers and/or martial artists. In fact, Taiji Quan is an offspring of Daoist martial arts. By the same token, Tantra is a major part of Buddhist tradition in Tibet and Mongolia where lamas (both Buddhist and Shamanic spiritual teachers) often integrate Tantric and Buddhist Qigong practices.
There is a living tradition; however, that does not merely try to reach for the fruits on the ends of the branches of the “Qigong tree,” but rather goes back to the Shamanic roots of the entire tree and empowers its practitioners to stay true to the original universality of the art. Its practice allows advancing to high levels of achievement in all six applications of Qigong as a result of integrating the power and wisdom of the six branches into one. This non-sectarian tradition of Qi Dao – Tibetan Shamanic Qigong – has been preserved throughout the centuries by many generations of masters who explored numerous possible applications of energy awareness in all spheres of life, from fighting to healing and sexual energy arts.
About the author
Lama Somananda Tantrapa is the holder of the lineage of Qi Dao that has been fostered in his clan for 27 generations since 1224 AD. He has over 30 years of experience in Qi Dao and other internal martial arts. After pioneering Qi Dao Coaching in 2000, he has provided wellness, peak performance and life coaching to hundreds of clients from all walks of life. His coaching has inspired many professional athletes, speakers, dancers, singers, writers and actors to open up to the infinite source of power that exists within everyone.
Lama Tantrapa authored the book and DVD entitled “Qi Dao – Tibetan Shamanic Qigong.” Being an avid speaker and presenter, he appeared on many radio and TV programs in the US, Guam and abroad. He currently serves on the NQA Board of Directors. For more information about Qi Dao Coaching, workshops, retreats, and long-distance learning opportunities, visit www.qidao.org.