Visit to the White Cloud Temple

I'm in Hangzhou, China as I write this with my Taiji and Neigong Shifu Wang Fengming. Before coming I was in Beijing for a few days, and when I'm there I usually like to visit the White Cloud Temple (白雲觀), the modern headquarters of Quanzhen Daoism and the Chinese Daoist Association. Unlike many of the other sights in Beijing, including most large Buddhist temples, the White Cloud Temple is usually an oasis of quiet in Beijing's sea of people. 

At the temple there is one shrine devoted to medicine, where Zhang Zhong Jing, Sun Si Miao, and Hua Tuo are venerated in deity form and worshiped. Here is a photo of my son Henry outside of that small temple.

 Outside the temple of the three Medicine Deities at the White Cloud Temple

Outside the temple of the three Medicine Deities at the White Cloud Temple

In the back area of the temple along one wall (the first time I went to the temple about 10 years ago I actually couldn't find it) are two stone steles that depict the inner landscape of Daoist cultivation. One, the Neijing Tu (Diagram of the Internal Pathways), is perhaps one of the most famous diagrams of Daoist Inner Alchemy. I first saw a rendition of it back in 1996 when I started my practice of Daoist meditation, and I also have a rubbing of the stele hanging in my office in NJ. The stele was carved back in 1886 and then installed at the current location in 1890.

 The Neijing Tu 內經圖 at the White Cloud Temple

The Neijing Tu 內經圖 at the White Cloud Temple

And this last photo is one I really like. I took a few minutes this trip to really inspect the carving up close (you can walk right up to it in the temple and even touch it). This is a close up photo of the artist's representation of the Dan Tian in the stylized lower abdomen. The Chinese characters here read "True Dan Tian" (zheng dan tian 正丹田).

 The Dan Tian

The Dan Tian