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Tao Fawu Monastery

Kulshan College is based upon the monastic tradition rather than academia. It is not affiliated with any religion. We are cultivating an organic community based upon our shared commitment to service as a spiritual practice, and traditional practices of qigong, shengong, healthy diet, exercise, and mysticism. We are open to all--no restrictions on belief system, age, gender, etc. We ask only that members commit to a path of service, to bettering themselves, and follow our rules and protocol. Tao Fawu logo

We seek to find relevance for the monastic tradition in our current lives. We wish to improve our own lives as well as those of others. What is the role of physical labor outdoors in our world of electronic screens and office chairs? What is the significance of growing a garden, supporting local farmers, fermenting our own vegetables, eating meals in community? What dress code makes sense in an American monastery? How do we respectfully treat all races, genders, ethnicities, orientations, religious beliefs and lack thereof as relevant or irrelevant, but equal in community? How are decisions made? What do we choose to study, to learn about ourselves? How do we become more self-sustaining? What is the best way to contribute to and interact with the world? What role does the monastic culture play in our lives? How much and in what ways do we participate in culture, in the world, outside the monastery? These are some questions we ask ourselves as part of this process.

The Monastic Residential Hall provides living quarters for some of our students in Bellingham, Washington. We have a second house that provides space for labs and clinics, classes, community meals, daily meditation, and band practice. Our use of qigong, shengong, and traditional practices of monasticism and mysticism improve our lives and offer us ways to become more efficient and effective. Working together as a community greatly increases the success of our endeavors, as it is difficult or impossible to maintain a spiritual practice in a vaccuum. We benefit when we are of genuine service to others. We focus on virtues of humility, patience, persistence, compassion, justice and honesty, to name a few. We seek to be healthy in the midst of sickness, to be generous in the midst of selfishness, and to learn what healing is and how to go about it without damaging other living things or the environment. The monastery framework gives us a way to learn and practice in community.

Everyone begins as a Beginner--the logical first step. No matter who they are, what they've done, or what they know, they start at the beginning. How quickly they advance is up to them. Once a student demonstrates certain qualities and proficiencies and takes on some responsibility within the community, they are advanced in a personal ceremony to the rank of Novice. Novices are expected to demonstrate humility and respect to their community and teacher. Only with sufficient humility can one proceed to the rank of Apprentice. Only with remarkable skill can one proceed to Adept. A Master must truly master oneself, as well as a skill. The term "Master" is much abused by frauds and those invested in aberrant paths. Our standards are high. Few obtain mastery. Ranks beyond Master exist, but are usually kept secret.

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