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Secrets of Dragon Gate: Ancient Taoist Practices for Health, Wealth, and the Art of Sexual Yoga by Dr. Steven Liu and Jonathan Blank is a classic in Taoist studies. I highly recommend this book for anyone who places spiritual values and practice as a priority in their life.
The book features the philosophy and some practical exercises from the Dragon Gate School. The language of the text is very clear and concise, as it is written almost as a manual of initiation into the mind of the Tao. In order for one to benefit from this book, they must engage in the practical exercises, which are described in a simple manner. This book is a very good introduction into Taoist thought for those living in the Western world.
I have a lot of fond memories with this book, which I bought a few years ago as suggested by David Stolowitz. Although, it was not my introduction into Taoist thought, I deeply appreciated the material at hand. The history of Dragon Gate Taoism, cultivation of chi energy, the Five Elements, Dream Yoga, and other knowledge derived from Dragon Gate Taoism are covered in this book.
Another interesting feature that I really enjoyed about this book is that it also lists some academic information with many of the exercises given. Usually each chapter begins with a quote of wisdom that sets the tone for the information that follows. One of my favorite passages of this book falls under the Fourth Gate, entitled Cultivating the Mind, which gives light to a very famous Zen story:
“Two traveling monks, a teacher and his student, reached a rapidly flowing river, where they met a young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could help her cross.
“We are sorry, kind lady,” said the student. “A monk is not allowed to touch a woman.” But the teacher, having compassion for her, offered to carry her on his back, lifting her, proceeded to wade across the water. He put her down on the opposite bank. She thanked him, and the two monks went on their way.
The monks continued on in silence. But the younger monk was upset by his teacher’s actions. Finally, unable to hold his silence, he turned to his teacher and said, “Master, you know we have taken vows and are not supposed to touch women. How could you carry that woman like that?
“My dear student,” the master replied. I did carry that woman across the river. But there I put her down while you are apparently still carrying her.”
There are many more jewels that one can find in Secrets of the Dragon Gate. I urge all who have the opportunity to read this book to do so.