The Tao of Life, a book written by Master Hyunmoon Kim, is an investigation of Sun Do Taoism's personal growth model as a process of self-actualization. This book discusses the effects of Sun Do on physical, emotional and mental health. An overview on the history of Taoism and Master Kim's autobiographical information are documented as well. The total number of pages is 635.
See a sample paragraph and a book review below.
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A sample paragraph from the Tao of Life:
"The SunDo breathing postures, as pictographs of life's different teachings, create a natural environment that teaches us the way of life (Tao). Practitioners come to know existence. The postures are a kind of text unwritten and non-conceptual, which provide opportunities for the body and mind to experience harmony and disharmony without thinking. This process is described in verse 2 of the Tao Te Ching, "Things arise and she lets them come; things disappear and she lets them go." We can think of SunDo as a form that creates the communion of body-mind. The process of completing the postures brings the student to intuitive wisdom - jukwan - and non-conceptual reality."
Personal Reflections on The Tao of Life
by John Antonucci
Medical Director, Veteran's Administration Medical Center
Upon reading The Tao of Life: An Investigation of SunDo Taoism's Personal Growth Model as a Process of Spiritual Development, I was happy to discover distilled information about the ancient and modern thought behind Sun Do practice. Master Kim attempts to track something difficult to define (spiritual development) using measurements that don't exist - an ambitious undertaking!
The project tracks spiritual growth in over 200 Sun Do practitioners. Master Kim discusses several possible models for spiritual growth; perhaps analogous to someone discussing the many models of psychological development. He developed and elucidated one model, which he called "Kim's Five Archetypes of Personal Growth." After completing the process of subjective content analysis, Master Kim's findings reveal increased spiritual growth throughout long-term Sun Do practice; supporting the idea that our practice does do what we hope it will!
It is especially significant for the future of this science that these models and instruments are useful for measuring spiritual growth. I think that one of the main contributions to the body of
knowledge in this difficult-to-study area will be the methodology. It would be as if someone in the "hard" sciences invented a new way to see something extremely small or extremely large: that method
could then be used to find out new things and the science could take a step forward. Master Kim asserts that spiritual growth is different than other modes of inquiry "but not in research
Along the way there are some wonderful things for us to read about. Although ours is not an intellectual or dogmatic practice it is founded on Taoism. Well, what is that? One source in the paper is quoted as calling Taoism "the most incompletely known and most poorly understood philosophy" there is. Master Kim even questions it being a philosophy at all. There is a very informed and thoughtful discussion about the nature of Taoism including its pre-history, its early written forms in the Tao Te Ching and Chang-Tzu, and then its manifestation in several forms later on. Master Kim clarifies the confusion by dividing "Taoism" into "religious", "public" and "mountain" Taoism. There is a central theme, however, which Master Kim states is "to live naturally with the flow of life." Sun Do, as you may have guessed, is a form of Mountain Taoism.
One of the themes in the discussion is on the concept of "wholeness". Wholeness vs. fragmentation figures in several areas of the paper, including the motivation for spiritual growth, the definition of enlightenment, the process of spiritual growth, the comparison of East and West, and the author's personal history.
Eastern and Western models of wholeness are mentioned and compared. This gives conceptual clarity to an otherwise vague concept. "This study elucidates the nature of the SunDo perspective of wholeness and its link to the Western model of wholeness...a more comprehensive understanding is much needed to clarify and describe their practices in light of the fact that each characterizes wholeness differently." Master Kim is repeatedly forced to define concepts like this during his discussions, because he does not have established parameters to work with. He is, as it were, on the frontier. He consistently seeks the ideas of great writers on these topics, reflects critically about them, and usually adds something new of his own.
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