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Old 08-03-2008, 03:17 AM
trebar trebar is offline
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Exclamation The Devil

One of my new TCA ACC (NZ) Falls Prevention class students asked me this question after our last session: They have a Catholic friend who told her they would never attend a Tai Chi class because the devil will enter into their life.
My student (elderly of course), was happy to be in the class and a short discussion on the beginnings of Tai Chi explaining the modifications to the wushu form to our present day healthy and natural exercise programmes
(with emphasis on nature) assured her all was well in the world of Tai Chi.
Does this type of questioning of Tai Chi occur often, or is it a window into how some view our art? Was my response appropriate, as I did not want to begin a religious discussion?
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Old 08-07-2008, 01:04 AM
kathrynjay kathrynjay is offline
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Tai Chi vs Religion

I was interested to read someone elses isuue with the Catholic faith and Tai Chi. I recently had a patient of devout Christian faith who subsequently fitted after sitting in on a session of Tai Chi. The patient did not join in with the group but instead fought against it by going to sleep. In their mind it did not sit well with their faith. The fight, they said brought on the fit.

I wondered if anyone else had had similar issues and how one might address the issue of religion with Tai Chi. I thought the two were compatible, with the spiritual side being 'optional' in some ways.

Any thoughts are welcome,

Kathryn
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Old 08-07-2008, 05:54 AM
Dr. Paul Lam Dr. Paul Lam is offline
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yes agree totally, Tai Chi can be many things to many people. for most it is an enjoyable exercise for better health. It can be an art, a way to harmony with nature or even a martial art. But it was never a religion or in any way to do with devil.

Please read the last two of my newsletters (link below) which features different people's view of the spiritual aspects of tai chi, one of the articles is written by Dr and Rev Bruce Young who teaches tai chi at his methodist Church.
http://www.taichiproductions.com/new...ter.php?id=289

I have met many religious leaders from different denominations who support tai chi. The people who oppose it often know nothing about tai chi. It is more reasonable to have some knowledge of any subject before condemning it. I invite these people to learn more about tai chi or even try it.

Like one of the minister told me:" Tai chi is nature, it makes me appreciate the beauty of nature and appreciate the work of God more."
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Dr Paul Lam
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Director, Tai Chi for Health Institute
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p +61 2 9533 6511
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PS: If you wish to communicate with me personally, please send an email to the address above and write on the subject line 'For Dr Lam's Attention'.
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Old 08-07-2008, 10:30 PM
trebar trebar is offline
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Thumbs up

Thank you all for your answers, they are greatly appreciated.
My understanding of the art of Tai Chi has been reinforced. I can approach students with an insight and be more open to all curve balls students throw at us (teachers).
The best part of all this - I feel confident that I can re-open the dialogue with my student and her friend, if that is what they want, as my approach was the correct one.
Will re-read articles suggested by Dr Lam.

Last edited by trebar : 08-07-2008 at 10:33 PM.
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  #5  
Old 08-19-2008, 09:59 AM
Dahlis Roy Dahlis Roy is offline
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Tai Chi A Way of Life

Hello Everyone,

Agree Tai Chi is a way of life, not a religion!

Many years ago I was told by a church friend, "You don't want to practice Tai Chi, it is a heathen exercise." Of course I ignored the advice and benefit greatly everyday from the stimulation, relaxation, and many health benefits. Another friend from the same church loves Tai Chi and embraces spiritual uplift including starting to paint with great joy! Everyone is different. Groups of Nuns teach Tai Chi in many churches and spiritual centers.

In one class, a student stayed behind to say, "I find Tai Chi totally compatible with Christianity!" I feel Tai Chi is in harmony with any organized religion of any country or with ways of positive thinking.

See Dr. Lam's newsletters for July and August 08 for additional comments including my article (Aug 08). I feel increased spiritual benefit in painting and in all areas of my life with Tai Chi practice. I give daily thanks for Tai Chi!

Thanks for posting and good luck with your classes.

Dahlis
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  #6  
Old 04-13-2010, 05:35 PM
rofaith rofaith is offline
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Tai Chi and Biblical Christianity

I attended my 1st Tai Chi class this AM and immensely enjoyed it, but to a point. I researched the religious aspects of Tai Chi and it's connections with Taoism and at least some of the persons spoken about here were right on or possibly misquoted with respect to incompatibility with Christianity. Many Christians I have found are relationship challenged and when they disagree with something it seems they do their best to offend rather than connect with others during a discussion...

Anyway, to the point, there is really nothing in the spiritual teachings in the Old Testament or New Testament that support the idea of a "Chi" being part of the architecture of a human being. The focus is more on a person's soul, body, spirit and strength. The NT speaks in the KJV(which I don't care for) of something called the "old man" or the "flesh". This idea is a rendering of the truth about a person being coexistent to an extent with who they were prior to becoming alive in the Holy Spirit where they were endowed with and became in the constant presence of God which every Christian indeed is. This is often called a "new creation" in the NT. Whether they choose to live in the "before" or "after" image of what God wants them to be is another topic for a separate forum . The biblical concept of sanctification is allowing the soul to inherit through character, discipline, biblical reading, prayer and fellowship(relationships) and of course, the assistance of the Holy Spirit in overcoming the "before" image of one's self and being transformed into a person who is incrementally more and more like Jesus Christ in character, faith and behavior spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. Not an automaton mind you, since the soul in and of itself is unique. Although, I don't profess to be a biblical scholar, I know the bible pretty well... there is no mention of a "Chi" in any form, allegory or metaphor. That doesn't make the bible wrong, it just is what it is...

Now, here's the BIG however. While meditating in prayer and bible reading the other morning I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me that the actual physical moves, or the dance as I call it, are delightfully beautiful and that when practiced in the Holy Spirit in worship and praise as well as heart felt believed and spoken(whispered) scripture is a form of "Tai Chi" that can be practiced in His presence.(sorry for the run on sentence) Indeed, I practiced that this AM and thoroughly enjoyed my time with God who loves me ever so completely and indeed, He expressed that to me during our time together as I danced before Him in this "Tai Chi" way....

I must admit though, that I was distracted by the instructor who focused constantly on the "Chi" concept. Note, that this is not a criticism, it was her class, not mine. I said nothing about my objection as that would be rude to her and others. It's about submitting to her authority in the class and being courteous to others.

So for now, I am reserved about it... Once I learn the moves of the dance so to speak, I will practice it alone and/or teach other Christian friends where we can dance with the Lord together. This goes to the idea spoken of in Romans 14 where it says, "all things are profitable(that means good, no economic meaning here), but not all things are for everyone...."

As far as the devil... this is a created creature that actually exists, much to the chagrin of many. He destroys by being invisible and incognito... having said that, it's no surprise that he doesn't show up visibly in the Taoist teachings.... it's just how he operates.

I am hoping with all my heart that I have not offended anyone here. I respect all who have contributed to this forum and look forward to your responses....

blessings to you and I am off to dance with my wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,

Chris Martin
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Old 05-13-2010, 12:20 AM
pfcheah pfcheah is offline
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christianity and tai chi

catholics should not have a problem with tai chi. if any catholic has this problem, they should consult their local priest as they are misinformed.
some christian sects, however, believe that that tai chi, having some connections to taoist philosophy, makes it unacceptable to their brand of christianity!
i had a friend who taught me tai chi when we were young. years later, we met up again and to my surprise, he told me he does not practice tai chi anymore because he is a christian! some christian groups have also an aversion to the dragon symbols etc.
i am a practising catholic and tai chi enthusiasist!
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:59 AM
Dr. Paul Lam Dr. Paul Lam is offline
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Do read the Oct 2009 Newsletter with the theme tai chi and religion, including Rev. Dr. Bruce M. Young's view.

http://www.taichiproductions.com/new...id=343#article one
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Dr Paul Lam
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Director, Tai Chi for Health Institute
4 - 6 Fisher Place Narwee, Sydney NSW 2209 Australia
p +61 2 9533 6511
f +61 2 9534 4311
e service@taichiforhealthinstitute.org
www.taichiforhealthinstitute.org
Subscribe my newsletter: www.taichiforhealthinstitute.org/newsletter

PS: If you wish to communicate with me personally, please send an email to the address above and write on the subject line 'For Dr Lam's Attention'.
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Old 05-26-2010, 01:27 PM
drlip drlip is offline
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Although this is an old thread, I was moved to look again after reading Prof. Huston Smith's autobiography and re-reading some of his other works. He is a remarkable Christian fellow who has also embraced Yoga, Sufi practice, and other approaches to God, and who grew up in China amongst Buddhists. Some will say hence that he is not really a Christian but he certainly is. I am too. You do not have to be a Taoist to practice TCC.
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:35 PM
Dr. Paul Lam Dr. Paul Lam is offline
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totally agree, I certainly not a taoist! for that matter the vast majority of my tai chi colleagues are not either. We practice tai chi for health and harmony, we use the philosophical understand of nature to help us improve our tai chi - nothing to do with being a taoist.

Just because I love the philosophy of Christianity - does not necesary makes me a christian, and if one practices tai chi philosophy of harmony and nature -it really has nothing to do with Christianity!

A good way to look at this issue is that a healthy person can serve more effectively as a christian... or any other religions that advocate care and nature.
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Dr Paul Lam
Family physician and conjoint lecturer, Univ. NSW
Director, Tai Chi for Health Institute
4 - 6 Fisher Place Narwee, Sydney NSW 2209 Australia
p +61 2 9533 6511
f +61 2 9534 4311
e service@taichiforhealthinstitute.org
www.taichiforhealthinstitute.org
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PS: If you wish to communicate with me personally, please send an email to the address above and write on the subject line 'For Dr Lam's Attention'.
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Old 06-27-2010, 12:12 PM
eborreson eborreson is offline
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Tai Chi and Christianity

I am sure that many teachers have had experiences with Christians that are opposed to the ideas of Tai Chi and Qigong. This is especially true in the "bible belt" in the US. The people making comments don't know anything about what I am teaching, but they do know that it must be bad. I have even been told that I am going to go to Hell because I teach meditation. A namaste` greeting is an anti-religious symbol.

There is no use in explaining the truth to people that have already made up their minds. It seems that there is no need to learn when you already know everything. I have modified my teaching to be very clear that Qi has nothing to do with the Christian idea of a soul and that Qi is a physical phenomena.

Eric

Last edited by eborreson : 06-27-2010 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 07-02-2010, 11:40 PM
Dr. Paul Lam Dr. Paul Lam is offline
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Hi Eric

I share the frustration of working with people who already know everything and fixed in their minds. However looking at history, there are numerous people who are fixed in their minds but facts would eventually change that. For example, how many people believe the earth is round rather than flat 200 years ago?

Let us all try our best to put out the good will, and the fact that tai chi is good for health. A healthier person who would be more effective for their chosen task, including religion. I took heart at knowing many ministers of Christian faith who are actually teaching Tai Chi for Health!
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Dr Paul Lam
Family physician and conjoint lecturer, Univ. NSW
Director, Tai Chi for Health Institute
4 - 6 Fisher Place Narwee, Sydney NSW 2209 Australia
p +61 2 9533 6511
f +61 2 9534 4311
e service@taichiforhealthinstitute.org
www.taichiforhealthinstitute.org
Subscribe my newsletter: www.taichiforhealthinstitute.org/newsletter

PS: If you wish to communicate with me personally, please send an email to the address above and write on the subject line 'For Dr Lam's Attention'.
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:59 PM
JeffreyCharles JeffreyCharles is offline
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Some thoughts

Hello Everyone,

I am an evangelical Christian who is happily doing TCA I and II. I had to do some research and thinking as as Tai Chi at times is presented embedded in a Taoistic worldview and cosmology I frankly don't agree with, as it doesn't seem to present a personal Creator God as the central supreme ultimate. I see Tai Chi itself as a non-spiritual synergistic blend of movement, mental attention, breathing and posture that brings about a healing response in the bodymind. I'm an agnostic concerning the whole "chi" question, perhaps in Tai Chi you are working in some way with what the Bible calls the breath of life. Perhaps the effects and sensations encountered in Tai Chi could be seen as a a result of the relaxation response combined with movement and can be explained scientifically without recourse to the "chi" model. For me Spirit is accessed through Jesus Christ, Tai Chi neither helps nor hinders me in that area, but is good for me mentally and physically just as is the walking and weight lifting I do.
Thank you, Dr Lam, for making Tai Chi accessible.

JeffreyCharles
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Old 05-23-2011, 04:51 AM
eborreson eborreson is offline
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Tai chi and religion

There are many people who hold strong opinions about their religious faith, especially the more fundamentalist groups. If some leader in their particular faith speaks out of ignorance and condemns tai chi, then the followers of that leader will also condemn tai chi.

Logic has no effect on those beliefs. The followers are taught that an open mind is a path for the devil (Satan) to enter their minds. They take pride in having a closed mind.

If someone exhibits this type of attitude, there is nothing you or anyone else can do to persuade them that tai chi is good for them. Anyone who tries to do so is, by their definition, representing Satan.

This has happened to me in my tai chi classes and meditation classes. All you can do is try to minimize the disruption to your class and ask the person to leave. Remember though, that you need to be compassionate to their feelings. There is always a possibility that they will change some time in the future. We can always hope that a closed mind may sometime open up.
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