8 Pillars of Taoism

Source: The Complete System of Self-Healing.. Internal Exersizes Stephen T. Chang, Tao Publishing,San Franciso,1995 Eight Pillars of Taosim
Pa-Kua (Symbol of Taoism). The eight trigrams
(pointing in 8 different directions from the Yin-Yang symbol)
represent The Eight Pillars of Taoism.

Many true Taoist teachings have been kept secret for many centuries,

1. The Tao of Philosophy

2. The Tao of Revitalization (Internal Exercises)

3. The Tao of Balanced Diet

4. The Tao of Forgotten Food Diet

5. The Tao of Healing Art

6. The Tao of Sex Wisdom

7. The Tao of Mastery

8. The Tao of Success



The Tao of Philosophy discloses the logic underlying the way life unfolds and the purpose of destiny. It is a collection of guidelines that is used by the individual as well as the collectivity for attaining success and spiritual elevation. Based on the spiritual discovery of hidden but ever- permeating and reliable laws of this universe, the Tao of Philosophy provides detailed information on the proper methods of government and fosterage of social development and individual well-being.


This is the subject of this book, the purpose of which is to explain clearly the complete theory and practice of the Tao of Revitalization. The Internal Exercises direct the innate healing power to specific internal organs and glands to energize the entire body, balance the energy level, and promote a more effective functioning of the internal organs, in order to heal, adjust, correct, and above all prevent disease. In sum, their main purpose is to promote longevity. There are three categories of Internal Exercises. The first category of Internal Exercises includes those designed to correct sitting, reclining, walking, and working postures, to facilitate healing. These exercises are the Five Animal Exercises, Eight Directional Exercises, Twelve Zodiac Exercises, and Twelve Nerve Exercises. Also included are the basic exercises known as the Deer Exercise, the Crane Exercise, and the Turtle Exercise. The second category includes Meridian Meditation, also known as Trip-Around-the-World Meditation, or simply Taoist Contemplation. A tremendous healing art, Meridian Meditation is used to adjust, balance, and elevate the energy level in the body. By meditating on the pathways of energy in the body, anatomically known as the meridians, a person is able to feel the energy flow along these pathways and balance the energies within the body. The mind, body, and spirit are completely integrated, and the individual is completely enlivened. Acupuncture and acupressure techniques, which originated from Merid- ian Meditation, are used to help others, whereas Meridian Meditation is used to heal oneself. The third category of Internal Exercises concerns energy breathing techniques. Through these techniques, energy can be absorbed through the acupuncture points which lie atop the meridians which traverse the body. Energy breathing is a vital step in self-healing and in forming an indivisible link with the energy permeating the universe.


The acid-alkaline balance of our food is very important. Foods that are pH-balanced will not corrupt quickly, and the eater will be able to extract the maximum amount of nutrition available from those foods. If the food we eat is not pH-balanced, it becomes corrupt as soon as it enters the digestive tract. The body, instead of benefiting from the nutrients in the food, absorbs the poisons resulting from the corruption. (If one ever goes to the back door of any restaurant, one will find food corrupting in garbage cans. Not long ago, this food was served to customers. So the only thing separating the front and back of the restaurant is a wall and a few hours' time.) We would not purposely eat garbage because we know we will become sick from ingesting its poisons. Yet, we do eat garbage every time we eat without a thought for pH balance. (A telltale sign of food corruption in the stomach is bad breath.) For a complete study of the Tao of Balanced Diet, please refer to the Tao of Healing Diet: Secrets of a Thin Body.


We rely on our regular diet for enjoyment and satisfaction: we take pleasure in the appearance, smell, and taste of our daily meals. But regular foods do not provide enough nutrients to maintain a continuous state of health. They must be supplemented with stronger foods, or herbal foods, which constitute the second level of diet, or Tao of Forgotten Food Diet. Over the ages, Taoists thoroughly studied the healing composition of herbs and became highly proficient at the use of herbs. For example, several thousand years ago, surgeons were able to anesthetize their patients for six hours without side-effects just by using an herb tea. (Surgery was very popular at that time. The surgeons often removed the organs of the patient, washed them in herbal solutions, and reorganized them inside the body. This practice eventually died out as these doctors came to realize that it was an inefficient and incomplete treatment for illnesses and that the final answer lay in illness prevention. They realized that any illness, including tumors, was the result of a particular lifestyle; constant surgery could not prevent the recurrence of tumors, whereas a change in lifestyle could prevent the recurrence of tumors.) Herbs have many properties that modem science has yet to discover. The Academy of Sciences currently estimates that there are approximately one million plant varieties in the world. As yet, only an insignificant portion has been examined by modem means of analysis. The food we buy in the supermarket is the weakest food available. The selection there is very limited if one considers the varieties of food actually available in the world. God created leaves, branches, trunks, and roots for our consumption, but they were completely overlooked by most people. Called "forgotten foods" by Taoists, herbs were forgotten because they were eliminated from our ancestors' diets through a process of selection which, over the course of thousands of years, rejected foods that were unappealing to the eyes, nose, or mouth. When man learned to cultivate his own food, he naturally chose to cultivate only those foods that appealed to his senses. As the saying goes, we are what we eat. If we eat stronger foods, we become stronger ourselves. If we eat better foods, our health improves. But, if we eat weak foods, we become more vulnerable to diseases. When we compare a magnolia tree to a bunch of celery, we will see that the tree is much stronger than the little clump of celery. Investigating further, we will find that the tree is of greater medicinal value than the celery. In fact, the various properties of the magnolia tree build up the stomach tissues and strengthen the female sexual organs. Ginseng is another example of a strong food. It grows in cold and harsh mountainous regions, yet it can survive for more than a thousand years. Imagine what such great vitality could do for your body. (Please use discretion when ingesting ginseng. It must be balanced with other herbs, since it produces strong side-effects as well as benefits.) In sharp contrast, a carrot grows only in temperate climates and its lifespan is about three months. If you do not unearth it within three months, it will decay and disappear. Herbs give everlasting strength, whereas regular foods give only temporary strength. The foods we commonly eat and love are also eaten and loved by the germs in our bodies. They utilize this food (organic or junk) to maintain their lives just as we do. Fortunately, herbs do not nourish germs and human beings equally. Human beings, exercising their will power, are able to ingest sometimes distasteful herbs. Germs, not being blessed with will power, are simply repelled by herbs. When human blood is permeated with herbal nutrients, the germs in the body will starve to death, and the human body will be naturally cleansed and purified. The cleansing and purifying qualities that allow herbs to last for years without rotting are the greatest benefits to be gained from herbal diets.


Like the Tao of Revitalization, the Tao of Healing Art adjusts, balances and elevates vital energy. Unlike the Tao of Revitalization, which is primarily a means for self-healing, the Tao of Healing Art is utilized for healing others. The Tao of Healing Art, also called Tui-Na, is basically a form of massage that follows the body's energy pathways, anatomically known as meridians, to regulate the body's vital functions. By using the sixteen different handling or manipulating techniques of Tui-Na, one can also reposition disarranged internal organs. In conjunction with these tech- niques, which were designed to adapt to various pans of the body, appro- priate mediums can also be used. These can be any of the five fundamental elements: earth, metal, water, wood, or fire. Acupuncture needles (used to channel energy into the body) and moxibustion are two of the best known metal and fire mediums in the West. Acupuncture and moxibustion are derivations of Tui-Na principles and methods. For more information, please refer to The Great Tao, Chapter 5.


Taoism was the first philosophy to take human sexuality fully into account, to present it in such a way that people could use their sexual energy to transform themselves. Taoist Sexology directs people so they can enjoy sexual play without depleting themselves, explains how to strength- en the sexual organs and use sexual energy to cure specific ailments, strengthens the bond of love, elucidates various positions of therapeutic intercourse, provides natural methods of family planning and eugenics, even includes ways of selecting the sex of your child. For a complete study of The Tao of Sex Wisdom, please refer to the book The Too of Sexology.


The Tao of Mastery provides us with tools to help us gain insight into ourselves and others, bend surrounding energies to our nature and purpose, and become masters of ourselves. In order to facilitate personal and working relationships and reduce stress, the ancient Taoists developed a collection of different methods: 1. PERSONOLOGY reveals the current abilities, attitudes, personal traits, and health conditions of an individual. Instinctive anticipation of forthcoming events is reflected in some of the 108 locations of the face, constituting a recognizable warning system. 2. FINGERPRINT SYSTEM reveals the inherited part of personal- ity and health tendencies. Also, fingerprints are changing delinea- tions of our naturally developing personal and professional potentials and are warning signals of our inherited weaknesses, which we must be aware of in order to conquer them. 3. TAOIST NUMEROLOGY gives precise insights into our life patterns and circumstances. 4. NORTH STAR ASTROLOGICAL SYSTEM—more compre- hensive and scientific than Western astrology—reveals our destinies and financial prospects; describes the physical, mental, and spiritual attributes of our spouse and children; and unveils all other facets of our lives. 5. DIRECTIONOLOGY is the study of the surrounding physical laws of nature, especially those of electromagnetism. A complete knowledge of such forces allows us to orient ourselves and our belongings in ways compatible with the electromagnetic influences, in order to live in harmony with the laws of nature and facilitate obtainment of goals. On the collective level, it can be used to reduce in-fighting and promote the "chemistry" or cooperation between workers. It is used in modern Japan to organize working groups as well as coordinate the various departments of a company. In the West, the awareness of these influences is reflected in conversations about the "ambience" or the "morale" at working places. 6. SYMBOLOGY deals with forms and symbols related to the laws underlying natural events. It can be used to condition, for instance, weather changes, business trends, self-defeating habits, etc.


The Tao of Success discloses the precise mechanics of life's greatest events and the forces that shape all events. The ancient Taoists discovered analytical methods to study these forces, identified recognizable patterns of change, and systematized strategies of success to deal with these patterns. The Tao of Success helps you adjust your everyday actions in accordance with the universal law, to make every aspect of life more pleasant. A clear and powerful instrument ofTaoist wisdom, the Tao of Success is divided into three parts: 1. The study of symbols and signs that represent the endless changes that occur throughout the universe. These phenomena are governed by exact laws defined by physics, chemistry, biology, geometry, algebra, and other branches of mathematics. 2. The Tao of Change, or the study of social philosophy and trans- actional psychology, as represented by sixty-four hexagrams. Each hexagram is composed of six lines, each of which represents a developing stage in individual or group transactions. Recognition of a certain pattern allows one to develop successful, detailed, and accu- rate strategies against the causes of adversity. The Tao of Change is invaluable to those who wish to develop wealth, power, harmonious familial relations, social position, and foresight fully. 3. The actual practice of forecasting events, known as the Space and Time I-Ching System. This system is based on the principle of cyclicalness—that is, everything that has happened is going to hap- pen again, and everything that is going to happen has happened already in some form. Like Albert Einstein, the ancient Taoists understood that time was illusory. Like him, they studied situations in the space-time system. Thus, they arrived at a means for interpreting events occurring within our time concept. This is the key to "fore- casting", or seeing into the future. The Eight Pillars of Taoism cover every aspect of our daily existence. They were designed to completely satisfy our basic physical needs in a manner that allows us to realize our full potential as human beings. Then may we leap beyond the degenerating aspect of time, to live with the Tao, or God.