Qigong & the Dao-De Jing

Return to stillness. Return to what is.

Qigong & the Dao-De Jing Qigong & the Dao-De Jing Qigong & the Dao-De Jing East Mountain
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What you will learn?

Qigong & The Dao-De Jing
Introduction Free class!

Thank you for join this course!

This first class introduces the basic format for the course: 

We being with a short standing meditation to signal the start of the class. Followed by a sequence of warm up Qigong postures. This is followed by a series of classical qigong movements and a short discussion. Each class closes with a sitting meditation.

In this lesson I discuss the idea of Yin & Yang and the importance of seeing them from a traditional perspecitve.

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Lesson One Free class!

In this lesson I introduce the Dao-De Jing and we look at the all important first verse of the Dao-De Jing.


The Dao called Dao is not the true Dao

Because naming things is not the same as the thing itself.

Without name: the origin of heaven and earth

Named: the mother of ten thousand things

Without desire: perceive subtlety

With desire: perceive its manifestations

Both have the same origin but different names.

Both are deep and profound.

This is the gateway to understanding.

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Lesson Two

This class looks at the second verse of the Dao-De Jing:

Recognize beauty and ugliness is born

Recognize good and evil is born

Is and isn’t produce each other.

Difficult and easy are mutually created

Long and short are mutually gauged

High and low are mutually measured

Sound and tone are mutually distinguished

After and before mutually follow. 

Therefore the Sage is devoted to non-action.

Teaching without speaking

The ten thousand things arise without hesitation.

Creates but does not own

Acts but does not presume

Accomplishes without assertion. 

Without assertion, accomplishments endure. 

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Lesson Three

This class discusses the fifth verse of the Dao-De Jing:


Heaven and earth are not kind

The ten thousand things are straw dogs to them (honoured then forgotten)

The Sage is not kind

People are straw dogs to them (honoured then forgotten)

The Space between heaven and earth

Is like a bellows or flute (is extraordinary & magnificent)

Empty yet not

More there is movement, more that springs forth

Too many words is exhausting

Not as good as maintaining the centre.

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Lesson Four

This lesson looks at the often quoted eigth verse of the Dao-De Jing:


Best to be like water

Which benefits the 10,000 things and does not contend

It gathers where people disdain to dwell. Its intent reflects the Tao

In living, virtue is inhabiting place

In thinking & feeling, virtue is in being deep

In relations, virtue is kindness

In speech, virtue is talking plainly

In conduct, virtue is facilitation

In duties, virtue is being competent

In action, virtue is timing

Only do not contend and you will not go wrong.

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Lesson Five

This lesson looks at the tenth verse of the Dao-De Jing and it's central relationship to Qigong:


Can you embrace your spirit and hold your body as one without separation?

Can you gather your Qi gently like a baby?

Can you clarify your subtle vision to not be jaded?

Can you love people and govern the country with non action?

Can you open and close the gate of heaven gently?

Can you gain realization in four directions without knowledge?

Create and foster

Create not possess

Act without dependence

Lead but don’t rule

This is called subtle virtue. 

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Lesson Six

In this class I discuss the eleventh verse of the Dao-De Jing and the concept of emptiness as it related to both Taosim and Qigong Practice:

Thirty spokes join one hub,

The wheel’s use comes from emptiness.

Clay is fired to make a pot,

The pot’s use comes from emptiness.

Window and doors are cut to make a room,

The room’s use come from emptiness

Therefore, having leads to profit,

Not having leads to use.

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Lesson Seven

This class inlcudes verse thirteen of the Dao-de Jing:

Favour and disgrace are like distress.

Value and suffering are like the physical self.

What does “favour and disgrace are like distress” mean?

Favour is the upper, Disgrace is the lower. (2 sides of judgement)

Obtaining it causes distress, losing it causes distress.

What is the meaning of “value & suffering are like the physical self”?

The experience of suffering comes from the experience of self

Without self, what suffering?

Therefore value yourself as the world, and be adopted by the world.

Love yourself as the world, be entrusted by the world.

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Lesson Eight

This class discusses verse fourteen of the Dao-De Jing:

Looking, it cannot be seen. We call it dim.

Listening, it cannot be heard. We call it faint.

Reaching, it cannot be held. We call it subtle.

These three cannot be fully grasped. They merge to be one.

Rising, it is not bright.

Setting, it is not dark.

Continuous, un-named, it returns to emptiness.

It is called the form of formlessness, the face of emptiness.

It is the faintest of faint.

Meeting it, there is no front. Following it, there is no back.

Grasp the ancient Dao to manage being in the present. 

Understanding the origin is the throughway of the Dao.


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Lesson Nine

This class includes verse fifteen of the Dao-De Jing and the characteristics valued by Taosim and cultivated by Qigon practice:


Masters of old who studied the Tao

Mysterious, wondrous, profound & carefree.

Their depth cannot be grasped.

Because they cannot be known, they can only be described.

Alert, like crossing a winter stream

Sensitive, like respecting next door neighbours

Polite, like a guest

Un-fixed, like ice about to melt

Natural, like uncarved wood

Open, like a valley

Mixing freely, like muddy water.

Through calm stillness, muddy water becomes clear

Through movement, peacefulness arises. 

Those who follow the Dao

Do not desire perfection

Because they do not desire perfection, they can sustain without continual striving. 

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Lesson Ten

In this lesson I discuss verse sixteen of the Dao-De Jing:


Attain the utmost emptiness

Preserve sincere stillness. 

The 10,000 things rise together

I only look for their return. 

Things flourish and grow, each returning to its root. 

Returning is stillness. 

Returning to what is (recovering destiny)

Returning to what is is a return to the unchanging. 

Understand the unchanging, enlightenment. 

Misunderstanding the unchanging leads to misfortune. 

Know the unchanging, provides tolerance. 

Tolerance provides compassion

Compassion provides authority

The authority of compassion provides the Mandate of Heaven. 

The Mandate of Heaven leads to the Dao. 

The Dao endures. 

Let go of the self without fear. 

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Lesson Eleven

This class includes a talk on verse eighty one, the final chapter of the Dao-De Jing:


Sincere words are not pretty. Pretty words are not sincere.

Good people do not quarrel. Quarrelsome people are not good.

The wise are not learned. The learned are not wise.

The Sage isn’t acquisitive. Has enough by doing for others.

Has even more by giving to others.

Heaven’s way, benefit with harm.

The Sage’s way, acting without striving.

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Lesson Twelve

In this final lesson we look at verse eigthy of the Dao-De Jing which is a utopian description of humans living in harmony with Yin and Yang and a fitting conclusion to our course.

Thank you for being a part of this class!


Small country with few people

Hundreds of devices but none are used. 

People ponder death carefully and don’t wander far. 

They have chariots and boats but no one goes on board. 

They have weapons and armour but no one brandishes them. 

They use knitted chords for counting. 

Sweet their foods. Beautiful their clothing. Peaceful their homes. Joyful their customs. 

Neighbouring countries are so close you can hear their chickens and dogs. 

But people grow old and die without needing to come and go. 

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About the course

Explore Qigong and the classic Taoist text, the Dao-De Jing (Tao Te Ching).

There is a strong Taoist influence in the history of Qigong and understanding key ideas from this tradtion will help further your Qigong practice.

Each lesson combines Qigong practice, standing and sitting meditations and a short discussion of one verse from the Dao-De Jing and it's relation to QIgong.

No experience with either Qigong or the Dao-De Jing is required for this course. For even experienced students, I hope this course will provide greater understanding of these two traditions and enrich your practice.

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About the teacher

James Saper R.TCM.P


While living and studying Traditional Chinese Medicine in Victoria, I had the good fortune to meet & train Chinese Martial Arts with Shane Watson & Andrea Falk. I began a serious study of Yang & Chen styles of Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) in Victoria under Andrea's vigilant eye. I also was able to learn the Qi Gong form, Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa (18 Postures for Daily Practice), in Victoria from Sue Jiang. I graduated from Oshio College with distinction in 2002 & was among the first group of registered practitioners recognized by British Columbia's College of TCM Practitioners & Acupuncturists.

Since moving to Guelph, Ontario, I have been able to deepen my Chen Taijiquan studies with Master Jack Yan, one of the eighteen inheritor disciples of Grand Master Chen Zhenglei. And since 2004 expanded my training with Andrea Falk to include Bagua & Xingyi.

Since 2004 I have been teaching internal styles & since 2002 operating a solo Traditional Chinese Medicine practice in Guelph, Ontario.

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