Category Archives: Modern Daoist Articles

Review of “A Daoist Practice Journal: Come Laugh With Me” by Bryan Sweet

Review by Bryan Sweet of “A Daoist Practice Journal: Come Laugh With Me” (Author: Shifu Michael Rinaldini)

Section Nine
Daoism

In this section, you will learn about Daoism by reading my new book, A Daoist Practice Journal: Come Laugh With Me. This book was written from the perspective of a modern day western Daoist. For the written part of this section, write a 1-2 page report on your general impressions of the book. For instance, what was your favorite part or what didn’t you like. Give me a couple of your favorite quotes from the book. Was there anything in this book that surprised you on the practices of a modern day Daoist?

Review of “A Daoist Practice Journal, Book 2: Circle Walking, Qigong, and Daoist Cultivation” by Bryan Sweet

Review by Bryan Sweet of “A Daoist Practice Journal, Book 2: Circle Walking, Qigong, and Daoist Cultivation” (Author: Shifu Michael Rinaldini)

This book, A Daoist Practice Journal, Book 2: Circle Walking, Qigong, and Daoist Cultivation, is the second book written by Michael Rinaldini (Shifu Li Chang Dao). His first book, entitled A Daoist Practice Journal, Come Laugh with Me, was well received by a diverse audience. In this book Shifu Michael weaves together multiple strands of Daoist practices to form a captivating mosaic. The strands include Circle Walking, Qigong, Daoist Scriptures, acupressure, teaching, zouwang meditation, and the importance of cultivating serenity. It is Shifu Michael’s erudition that allows him to integrate, for instance, an ancient scripture with his thoughts which emerged while gazing at the sky on a starry, summer night, or how the seasons of the year can palpably influence the impact of Circle Walking.

Shifu Michael’s Journal Entry – 1.27.17

Shifu Michael Rinaldini

Well, it’s the Chinese New Year of the Fire Rooster (Phoenix). One resource I have says it started at 4:07 pm PST, and another resource I came across says it starts tomorrow, the 28th. Either way, another new Chinese year has started, or will start very soon. I even got a Chinese New Year email greeting from Ken Cohen and his wife, Grace. That settles it, it must be today.

Shifu Michael’s Journal Entry – 12.21.16

Shifu Michael Rinaldini

JOURNAL ENTRY (and beginning of Shifu’s 3rd book)
December 21, 2016

Today marks the beginning of my third Daoist journal book. Since the ending of my second journal on October 6, 2016, I have been keeping loose notes of things that I want to include in the beginning entries for this next journal.

A Daoist Practice Journal: Circle Walking, Qigong & Daoist Cultivation. 2016 Fall

Shifu Michael Rinaldini

May 16, 2016
11am

I would like to get back to my April 24, 2016 entry from Professor Esposito’s book, Facets of Qing Daoism. Remember, I said her last point referenced a direct connection to the Eight Extraordinary Vessels and Anterior Heaven, which connects to our circle walking practice. Here’s a final quote from her book regarding the Central Channel:

Shifu Michael’s Journal Entry – 04.24.16

Shifu Michael RinaldiniI just finished reading a second book by Professor Monica Esposito. Prof. Esposito was a prominent researcher and author in the field of Daoist studies. The two books I read are very different than other books on Daoist history that I have read. First, their titles are Creative Daoism, and the one I just finished reading is Facets of Qing Daoism. I don’t intend to go into the differences, but perhaps, to only say that Professor Esposito’s books are very dense and you almost need a background in understanding general Daoist history before attempting to read her approach to the history of Daoism. Her books are also more focused on specific time periods and topics. For instance, the book, Facets of Qing Daoism restricts itself to the Qing dynasty of 1644 to 1911. And the reason it was of utmost relevance to me was because it featured the Longmen school of Daoism, the tradition I was ordained into in 2003.

Shifu’s November Retreat Journal: Sky Farm Hermitage

Shifu Michael Rinaldini

November 16, 2015
11:48 am

I arrived at Sky Farm Hermitage about an hour ago. I could feel the stillness and silence even before I unpacked. My chair was on the pouch of the hermitage and I immediately settled into it and before you know it I was in meditation. It was a restful meditation not a deep one, restful.

Journal writings from Shifu Michael’s next book – June 19, 2015

And now I want to return to my review of the book by Jill Gonet, Riding the Phoenix to Penglai. I previously mentioned how I appreciated the discussion around the topic of Anterior Heaven in Poem Two on page 32 and 33. Another important point Gonet makes a few pages later is on the need for detachment when one sets their goal on moving forward: “Forward momentum generates more forward movement, insight, and creation, and this reinforces the wellspring of one’s Qi and also nurtures it with good health and gratifying joy.” (Gonet 2014, p. 35)

Journal writings from Shifu Michael’s next book – May 29, 2015

A thought just popped into my head while I momentarily reflected on Riding the Phoenix to Penglai. I thought of why I was drawn to the zuowang method of meditation in the first place and certain Daoist and Buddhist scriptures which stress the absolute release of concepts, conceptual thinking and dualistic imagery, yes, even, Daoist dualistic concepts like yin and yang, heaven and earth and so on. So though the poems of Sun Bu’er have validity as guidance on the Daoist path, they still create more conceptual, and intellectual thinking instead of the opposite, the clear and empty state of mind receptive to the workings of the Dao.

Journal writings from Shifu Michael’s next book – May 27, 2015

I have slowed down my readings of the Gonet book, too many things on the burner right now. But here’s some notes I added to the margins of the Riding the Phoenix to Penglai.

On Poem Two I have several notes on Gonet’s use of the concept of “earlier heaven version of creation.” (Gonet 2014, p. 33) In my red marker I wrote Anterior Heaven above the earlier heaven text. That was my way of acknowledging the connection between this book and the Master Wu book (Daoist Meditation). Master Wu uses this concept extensively throughout his book in explaining the deep significance of Anterior Heaven as being identical to Emptiness, or Primordial Chaos. (Wu Jyh Cherng 2015, p. 33)