E-Book Out Now
"The Legend of Wudang" is out now in E-Book Form! Available on Amazon (Kindle), AppleBooks, and Barns and Nobel!
The Legend of Wudang: A Tale of Taiji, Taoism and Wellness is out now in E-Book form and is available on Amazon (Kindle), AppleBooks, and Barns and Nobel!
If your interested to learn about Taoist Philosophy, Taiji, and how to apply ancient wisdom to better our mental and physical health in a modern-day world, please check it out and support me in the process. You can find the following links here:
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/book/id1557516781
The print book will be available soon on Amazon!
For now, I welcome you to read the Prologue to The Legend of Wudang:
Lai Ren (来人)
China, Hubei Province, The Wudang Mountains. 1966.
“It’s a long walk to the Golden Summit,” Lai Ren (来人) thought as he hurried along the Ancient Divine Path. The sun was setting behind the mountain, giving a rich crimson glow to his surroundings. He had walked this path a thousand times but none was as important as now.
His knees ached from the winding steps; his body was not what it used to be. When he was a young boy, he’d run up and down the path, dodging between meandering flute players and hard-working farmers taking their produce down to the town. He’d swim in the small waterfalls, careful not to splash the old Daoists playing chess by the river bank.
Back then, there was so much peace and tranquillity throughout the Wudang Mountains. Now he was one of those old Daoists, with a beard that wisped down past his shoulders and a pain in his back that never seemed to go away. Times were quickly changing. He needed to reach the Great Bell at the top of the mountain. The fate of Wudang depended on it.
“Three times I must strike the bell. Three times to give the warning,” he muttered under his breath.
The Great Bell was rarely struck. Lai Ren had only heard it ring out into the valley once before, when one of the legendary Daoist Masters had passed away. It was said he had been older than the giant tortoise who lived under the largest gingko tree on the mountain. No one really knew if this was true, as there was no one else alive long enough to remember. But in what seemed like an impossible coincidence, that very same tortoise happened to pass away on the very same day just one year later.
On the day of the old Master’s death, all the Masters had been called to gather at the Golden Summit to give their respects and to discuss the future of the Mountain. Today, they too must discuss the future of Daoism in Wudang, but for now it seemed there was only one option: to leave.
Gong… Gong… Gong…
The voice of the Great Bell called out throughout the valley. The sun had fallen behind the horizon, leaving a twilight-blue illuminating the mountain tops. As Lai Ren sat upon the old steps trying to catch his breath, lights turned on in distant temples. The energy of the mountain was coming towards him. He had rung the bell, now it was time for him to be the bearer of bad news.
This thought almost made him smile. Every young Daoist is told the story of ‘The Man Who Lost His Horse’; as he sat waiting for the Masters to gather, he pondered this ancient tale.
There was once an old farmer who had worked on his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away and he was unable to plough his fields. Upon hearing the news, his neighbours came to visit.
“Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.
“How wonderful,” the neighbours exclaimed.
“Maybe,” replied the farmer.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown off, and broke his leg. The neighbours again came to offer their sympathy.
“Such bad luck,” they said.
“Maybe,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbours congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“What good luck,” they said.
“Maybe,” replied the farmer.
“It’s often easy to understand the moral of stories, but much harder to apply those lessons to our own lives.” Lai Ren mused as he looked out over the sea of hills.
How could the news he had be positive? He didn’t know but the story did give him hope. To have trust in the flow of nature, to have trust that everything would turn out the way it was supposed to.
It was completely dark by the time the last Daoist Master had arrived at the Golden Summit. All the Grand Masters had come: great scholars and analytics who had a deep understanding of the Dao and the words written in the ancient texts; Taiji Masters who had perfected the art of Wudang Taiji to be powerful, peaceful and beautiful all at once; and ancient Masters who had spent decades cultivating their Qi and internal energy to live long and healthy lives.
They sat around on straw woven cushions in the temple at the summit of the mountain. The temple was old but beautifully maintained. Its golden roof seemed to shine even in the moonlight and there was the feeling of a thousand years of wisdom within its deep red walls.
“The Great Bell has sung its song three times. Its voice has called us here, what message does it bring,” Master Li Xiao (栗枭) calmly asked. He was one of the great scholarly Masters who had studied the ancient texts more deeply and intently than any other on the mountain.
It was to him that Lai Ren spoke, “The government has strayed far from the Dao. I have seen it happening throughout China. Precious relics have been destroyed and ancient manuscripts have been burned! I have heard news from the Shaolin Temple, from schools and academies in the North: they can no longer practice martial arts, their teachings have been forbidden, their philosophies are no longer allowed.”
The Masters were silent, quietly contemplating the message they were hearing.
Lai Ren continued, “Now the eyes of the government move away from Shaolin and towards Daoism, towards the Wudang Mountains. They are already on their way. If we want Daoism to survive, we cannot stay here.”
This was grave news. The Wudang Mountains had nurtured Daoist philosophy for thousands of years. It was part of their culture and way of life. The Masters began to discus in hushed and frantic tones, so only parts of their conversations could be overheard.
“We cannot leave, we must stand and fight,” one Master declared, as he smashed his fist down on the hard stone ground.
“No. Facing their force with force is not the way,” Master Shu Mu (树木) replied, one of the more renowned Martial Artists on the mountain.
“Then what? What can we do if not fight?” another Daoist could be heard asking.
The Masters continued their discussion and things slowly got more heated. It seemed as if they were going round in circles. What should they do? What could they do?
Sitting quietly in the corner of the room was the oldest Daoist on the mountain, Master Jin Gui (金龟). At 87 years old he had seen a lot of the changes that come with the passing of time. Just like a flowing river will change a landscape, the flowing of time will eventually change the cosmos its self.
He hadn’t said a word, but was quietly observing his companions, as he twisted his bright white eyebrows that hung down off his face. He stood, his dark blue robes dangling on the ground. His frame was frail but he emanated an aura of control. Everyone fell silent, giving him their attention.
In a quiet yet somehow strangely firm tone, Master Jin Gui spoke, “If the time has come to leave the mountain, then we must leave to protect our knowledge and our culture. But when the time comes for us to return, we must return, and bring that wisdom back with us.”
There was a look of determination across his face but a world of sadness hidden behind his eyes. A personal sadness, driven by the recognition that it was unlikely he would be able to return. And a communal sadness, that the very roots of Daoism were to be dug up and scattered like the those of a dying tree.
“Yes, it is time,” Master Li Xiao agreed. “Go back to your villages, spread yourselves throughout China, practice wellness, keep your minds sharp and your bodies strong. When it is time, we will come back to Wudang. We will rebuild.”
The mood was solemn as the Masters collected the few belongings they owned and prepared to leave the mountains. Some packed fragile scrolls containing wisdom that others thought impossible to write on a page. Some filled their pockets with herbs and remedies, medicines that would not be so easy to come by once they left the mountains. And others took nothing at all, determined it would not be long until they returned.
No one knew when they would be able to return or exactly what they would do next. Some planned to head back to their villages, some decided to look for other mountains to call home, and others thought of starting families and settling down. But all of them would be ready, waiting for the call to return to the Wudang Mountains.
Purchase the E-book or Print book to find out the rest of the story!