The Dream Trip to China is for people who believe that life is a spiritual adventure. It is for souls that hunger for the riches of ancient wisdom in faraway lands, and seek to merge them into the present moment.
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,but by the places and moments that take our breath away“.
Michael is founder and Director, Healing Tao University, past two-term President of the National Qigong Association, and an experienced traveler who has been to over 100 countries. He is an ex-war correspondent in Africa & Asia turned spiritual guide – exploring the shadow and light sides of humanity. He has led dozens of adventure & sacred tour groups over the last 30 years on five continents. This is his 13th trip to China.
Michael Winn, holding a rare Red Panda in China.
Assistant Trip Leader: Rachel Sun (Sun Li Yun). A native of Shanghai, Rachel is a devoted qigong enthusiast. She is warm, friendly, and dedicated to helping fellow Taoists understand Chinese culture and its people, and to travel comfortably inside China.
Swimming Dragon Qigong at entrance to Taoist temple.
“To experience the spiritual essence of China. To meet & study with spiritually powerful Taoists. To do qigong in its most sacred and beautiful landscapes and connect to its ancestral chi. To deeply taste China’s ancient culture and peoples, and feast on its local cuisines at sumptuous banquets. To share the very best secrets I discovered on previous trips to China — before it disappears in China’s madly modern rush to forget its rich history. In short, The Dream China Trip I would give to myself, if I could only visit China once.
This trip explores new riches not offered on the previous Dream Trips, including Tao Garden in Northern Thailand. The trips are designed to keep the door open between Western and Asian Taoist adepts, and to deepen the ground of our personal practice. Our qigong practice will connect us to the uniquely powerful Qi currents flowing in China’s sacred mountains. If your heart feels drawn to China’s mystery, I advise you to trust your soul’s guidance, and trust the Tao will supply the time and resources to GO.” – Michael Winn
A few succinct testimonials from earlier Dream trips (longer testimonials below, after the itinerary):
“I am still unpacking the chi from my unforgettable experiences doing qigong in China’s sacred mountains. This trip gave me continuous ecstasy, amazing landscapes, superb food and powerful sacred temples and monasteries – all with a crazy bunch of warm-hearted western adepts accompanied by a premium group of Tao immortals! Thank you all for such an extraordinary experience!” – Aurelio, Mexico City
“The Qi (chi) I experienced in China was simply mind blowing. I got a transmission from being in those mountains that has totally opened up new levels of my inner vision.” – Mark, Fla.
“Thanks seems extremely insufficient to express my gratitude to you for making this trip to China possible – but, anyway, please accept my sincere gratitude. It was the most powerful experience of my life and continues to have a palpable moment-to-moment effect upon me.” — Very Happy Camper
“I can’t begin to tell you how much we enjoyed the trip and what a profound effect it had on us and our practice” – Couple with minimal previous qigong experience
Primordial Tai Chi on the Great Wall of China.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you! You have been the gateway to what my soul was seeking for. This China trip is a milestone in my life, a profound spiritual development. Each time I think about you and the group my heart beats faster and a big unstoppable smile takes over!
The outer trip was set up perfectly, to make our inner spiritual trip go perfectly! From start of the trip to the end, it was like yin and yang making love… it was so beautiful! Poetic…simply magnificent! – 2nd generation Chinese man, living in Toronto
Come celebrate Healing Tao’s 30th birthday atop Mt. Wudang! Attending will be founder Mantak Chia, long time Senior Instructor Michael Winn (present at Mantak’s 1st class in Chinatown NYC in Dec. 1980), and a host of Tao Immortals and China Dream Trippers!
Follow your “Way” to China, on a Journey designed to be a life-changing spiritual experience. We visit the “must-see” highlights of China but focus on using Qigong to develop a profound “earth connection” – in mountains where Taoist adepts have cultivated chi for thousands of years. You’ll feel super-grounded, ready to follow your deepest Life Path.
Climb on three of China’s most powerful sacred mountains. Breathtaking Mt. Hua (“the Taoist Yosimite”) bursts with yang chi. Gentle Mt. Azure (Qingcheng) seduces with its soft yin chi. Mt. Wudang impresses with its immensity. All three are soaked in Taoist history.
Blissed out after Primordial Qigong at Lao Tzu’s Ascension Site, Louguantai.
Learn and practice 800 year old lineage Primordial Qigong (aka Tai Chi for Enlightenment) on Wudang Mountain, where it was first taught by Taoist Sage Chang San Feng, who also created Tai Chi. It’s an amazing form that combines qigong, inner alchemy, feng shui, and tai chi. Get free DVD in advance.
Group practice at Taoist “sacred power” sites is very, very empowering. This form feels different in China. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to practice it on Mt. Wudang. Tao Immortals such as Chang San Feng, who originally transmitted the form, are likely to show up!
Master Chen yuming at Mt. Qing
Regular daily qigong training in China by Michael Winn, and by local teachers where available. Currently planned is training at Mt. Qingcheng by Chen Yuming, former vice abbot of Huashan, a highly achieved inner alchemy adept. He will give a transmission on the “Tao of keeping to the energetic Middle”. We are arranging teachings on Huashan and Wudangshan as well.
Training by Michael Winn in the rare and ancient shamanic Seven Star Big Dipper Qigong Ceremony, from the Ni Xian Pai or “Path of the Female Immortals” lineage. Mantak Chia will be practicing this form with us on Mt. Wudang. Last year our Dream Trip visited Tao Garden and he learned it. It combines beautifully with his method of absorbing purple chi from the Pole Star.
This Big Dipper shamanic qigong generates a very special and powerful chi field. It was used in ancient times to build a protective field around one’s community or before going into battle. The Pole Star and the 7 Big Dipper stars are said to control human destiny. Are you ready to take control of your destiny?
We will practice this Shamanic Star Qigong, together with the wuji gong (Tai Chi for Enlightenment) form, throughout the trip. They generate an amazing synergy!
Master Jiang Nan, lineage holder, Path of the Female Immortals.
Master Jiang Nan, the lineage holder (Ni Xian Pai or “Path of the Female Immortals”) and my teacher of this Shamanic Star Qigong form, will be available in Beijing for personal astrology & healing sessions. 30 people had sessions with him on the 2008 trip, and every one was satisfied. $90/session. Please sign up in advance.
Taoist temples support deeply tranquil meditation.
Meditate in Beijing’s Temple of Heaven; Wudang’s Golden Peak Temple; Xian’s 8 Immortals Temple; Chengdu’s Green Goat Temple, Mt. Qing Celestial Cave Temple, and Louguantai’s Lao Tzu temple. We’ll stay in Huashan’s White Ruler God temple atop a mountain peak. These temples are all highly charged with deep spiritual energy of the Tao.
Terra Cotta Warriors near Xian: China’s most visited site.
China’s top cultural highlights: Do qigong on the Great Wall, view the magnificent and massive 2300 year old Terra Cotta Army of Emperor Huangdi, experience Sichuan’s amazing theatre/dance/music troupe, Xian’s colorful ancient Night Bazaar.
Optional add-on week; stay on Huashan in either a monastery or a cave, followed by a journey to Louguantai, where Lao tzu transmitted the Tao Te Ching. Near Louguantai is the most powerful and ethereal energy vortex I’ve found in all of China: Lao Tzu’s Ascension Site. After you feel the heaven-on-earth chi at his ascension site, you may believe in the possibility of your own immortality….
If you want to increase your resonance with all things Taoist, this is the trip for you!
Money back guarantee: on returning home, you will not be the same person who left!
Trip costis $4850. including international airfare from Los Angeles + three flights and all land costs within China, at 4 star hotels where available. (Note: the 3 flights within China cost nearly as much as the international flight. For perspective: our flights within China are equivalent to flying from New York to Phoenix, from Phoenix take train to Los Angeles, then fly to Phoenix and then back to New York.
Not included: airline fuel surcharges (set at time of ticket issue), visa fee, trip/medical insurance (about $150.+ strongly recommended). For tips to the dozens of porters, drivers, interpreter-guides, I simplify by asking each to contribute in advance $75. for core trip or $105. full trip (about $4.50 per day).
You must be at LAX (Los Angeles) late on Saturday night, May 8 (to catch early am flight May 9). Low cost round trip add-on fares to LAX from domestic US cities maybe available. Contact our travel agent, Virginia Chan, at 626-571-6727 (Calif.)
I’ve done my best to keep this trip affordable. It is priced about $2500. below comparable quality tourist trips to China, which don’t cover the same range of exotic locations. High inflation – 15 % a year in the cities – and a strong Chinese currency are driving up travel costs. In the travel market, this trip is a good bargain given all that is packed into it. But your life-changing experiences will be priceless!
Optional Week:Taoist Cave & Mountain Meditators Week: only $885. This covers all expenses (meals, lodging, travel, coolies to carry gear up mountain, extra guides, and donations made to support Taoist monasteries in appreciation for any teachings and use of caves for meditation. $150. Single Supplement extension available for Louguantai-Xian last 4 nights. Optional week atop Huashan and at Louguantai is offered only to those attending the core trip.
Travelers NOT flying from Los Angeles:cost for core trip starting in Beijing is $3995. (+$150. Air China non-international ticket surcharge on 2 domestic flights, unless YOU fly Air China). You’ll meet LAX group arriving on Monday, May 10 at 7 a.m. in Beijing’s 4-star Tientan Hotel.
If you arrive on May 9, 2010 we’ll arrange group hotel rate for you. Book your return flight from Beijing in afternoon/evening of May 24 or 30. There are many Xian-Beijing flights (we pay for it, just tell us which flight to Beijing you want).
$100. DISCOUNTto my personal students, Healing Tao instructors, past China trip members or any attendee of Healing Tao USA summer retreats in the past three years.
Single Room:$695. (for 17-day core trip only; no singles available two nights at monastery on Mt. Qing unless you want Chinese-style bathroom.
RESERVE YOUR PLACEwith $600. deposit, subject to terms of cancellation policy posted below. Credit cards accepted for deposit, but checks or wired funds are requested for balance of payments. If you need to finance the trip with credit cards, it’s acceptable, but please call us to arrange. The trip is not priced for everyone to pay by credit card.
BALANCE DUE: Trip fee balance due by Feb. 8, 2010. All checks payable to trip organizer: Dao Alchemy Research Institute (or its educational branch, Healing Tao USA).
TAX DEDUCTIBLE: As an IRS approved 501c3 non-profit activity, US nationals may claim 40% of total trip fee as tax deductible. Depending on your tax bracket, this may substantially reduce the actual cash cost of trip (in 30% bracket, over $500 savings).
TO MAKE A DEPOSIT FOR CHINA TRIP:
You may call in your deposit to our office at 888-999-0555 inside USA, or phone 828-505-1444, or email:firstname.lastname@example.org
A phone call or email will also “time stamp” your deposit for a week while you mail a check payable to:
Healing Tao USA , 4 Bostic Place , Asheville, North Carolina 28803
Trip registrar is Jan Gillespie. It is safe to leave credit card information on the message machine, or send an email with card number in two sections for security. Note: Jan has NOT been to China; email your questions towinn@HealingTaoUSA.com. You will receive extensive information on what to pack, how to stay healthy, how to prepare for cave experience, etc.
Read this article:For Michael Winn’s experience of living in a Taoist cave at Huashan for a week with no food or water, see article “Taoist Alchemy & Breatharians” originally published in Qi Journal:http://www.healingdao.com/cgi-bin/articles.pl(you must be subscribed to “Tao News” on homepage or articles page to enable reading of articles).
Also, please read the intense experiences from previous cavers following this itinerary.
I go out on a limb…my favorite meditation spot on Mt. Hua.
Who should attend this extra week?It is open to everyone with the time and interest. I’ve kept the cost minimal to encourage you to stay – you’ve come all the way to China, why not go a bit deeper?
The core 17 day trip gives everyone exposure to three sacred mountains and the highlights of Chinese culture. It’s a pretty action-packed travel itinerary. The extra week is time to stop moving around, to go within, to digest the powerful earth chi that is unique to these cultivated mountains. This week gives us time to relax, to sink in deep and attune ourselves to the spirits of Taoist masters who merged with the spirit of the mountains, opening an earth-centered portal to immortality.
For people who have already developed a serious meditation practice, it is suitable to spend part of this week fasting in caves on Huashan. For others, it will be far more comfortable and useful to sleep in a Taoist monastery atop Mt. Hua and explore its fantasically beautiful peaks and caves, with shorter periods of meditation and qigong. Or do both – two days in a cave, and two days atop Mt. Hua.
To sleep in the caves requires bringing special camping gear (sleeping bag, pad, extra warm clothes). It is a hassle to schlep this extra stuff across China for just a few nights in the caves. So you really have to deeply DESIRE this experience to go through the extra hassle.
Dream Trippers at Sun-Moon Cave facing Mt. Hua
It also requires extra hiking up a steep mountain opposite one of Huashan’s peaks. The caves can be cold even when its hot outside. You are not given any food (you can bring your own if you are not comfortable fasting). But basically it is a physical hardship to live in a hard cave.
I’ve designed the extra week to satisfy the needs of both paths of contemplation, one staying in mountain peak monasteries, the other spending part time in caves. Let me know which you feel called to follow when you put your deposit down. There are limited cave spaces and I may have to figure out a complex schedule to satisfy everyone.
Priority for reserving caves will be given to 1) my Kan & Li alchemy students 2) date when firm deposit is made, 3) general virtue and commitment to meditation, 4) willingness to explore bigu (fasting on food while feasting on chi) in the cave.
The Optional Week Itinerary May 23 – 30, 2010 CAVE & MOUNTAIN MEDITATOR-EXPLORER WEEK
Days 15-18: Those staying atop Mt. Hua after climbing on the peaks will divide into two camps: Cavers and Mountain Meditators-Explorers.
The Cavers will hike down for one hour from the cable car landing area, and then hike up for 1.5 hours to the Pole Star cave area where they will check into a pre-assigned cave. There is a wonderful Taoist hermit, whose spiritual name is “Master Stone of Perfection”, living in the cave area and maintaining the caves physically and with meditation and ceremonies. Even though you are there to fast, he will undoubtedly offer to feed you in case you’ve had enough of fasting.
The Mountain Meditators group will stay in a monastery atop Mt. Hua, in a temple compound dedicated to the “White Ruler God” of the mountain. White refers to the metal/white gold element; this temple is the ruler of all the gods and immortals who are attracted to this mountain.
The monastery group will stay for a three or four nights (you must choose in advance) in this Taoist monastery nestled beneath Huashan’s peaks and giant old pine trees. It has superb feng shui. There is a great courtyard for practicing qigong or talking to the Taoists living at the temple about their life as mountain adepts. In one corner of the courtyard is a cave, open for meditation with a small shrine inside it. The cave is said to have been used by San Simiao, a famous Chinese doctor from the Tang Dynasty.
The food at the monastery is excellent. The rooms are shared dormitory style, with two, four, eight or more beds in each room. The rooms will be divided into men and ladies rooms. By this point on the trip, we will be quite intimate after traveling for two weeks together, so this will feel somewhat like a spiritual slumber party. The monastery will be reserved exclusively for our group, not open to the streams of hikers who visit Huashan. We’ll have electricity, but no running water or heat. Hot water buckets available for bathing, and simple latrine. Mt. Huashan
After spending two days in the cave, some of the Cavers may wish to hike up to the monastery (four hours hiking) and join that group atop Mt. Hua in order to explore the peaks. And some of the monastery folks who want to stay in the caves will hike down (and back up, total 3.5 hours hiking) to the cave area. This exchange will depend on how many people are seeking the cave experience. We have a total four days atop Mt. Hua, and cavers may be limited to two days in caves in order to allow others to stay there. Usually some people end up loving the caves and stay all four days if there is room.
These caves have been used for hundreds of years by Taoist adepts, are carved from solid granite, and thus generally free of mold, dampness or water seepage. Their location has been kept secret, and thus energetically protected from the polluting influence or desecration of caves found on the main peaks by government and tourists. No cooking or heating fires permitted. Weather should be warm, even hot in June, but can still be cool at night. Come prepared for sudden changes in mountain weather (equipment list is provided). Some caves are large and may be shared by two people, both expected to maintain respectful silence.
Huashan’s death-defying “board walk” (optional)
Those staying at the monastery atop Mt. Hua will find plenty to occupy themselves exploring its different peaks and sheer cliffs. Many Chinese climb Mt. Hua to view the sunrise from the East Peak. The sunsets off the West Peak are amongst the most sublime I’ve found on planet earth, and strange paranormal events have been known to occur here (flying immortals showing up, etc.)
For the more adventurous, there are steep ladders and a “board walk” across the backside of the South Peak cliff that leads to a cave carved into the sheer side of the cliff. This gets you to the tree growing horizontally out over a 3000 ft. cliff, my favorite meditation spot on Mt. Hua. This group will also have the opportunity to practice the Primordial Qigong and Seven Star Big Dipper Qigong in a very powerful place. Mt. Huashan.
Day 19: Those staying atop Mt. Hua will descend to Huashan village where they can get a hot shower. You have the option of leisurely 1 hour hike halfway down the mountain and take the cable car to the bottom. Or hike down the other half of the mountain. This is a very beautiful hike, through a valley with a river filled with giant boulders and magnificent views of Mt. Hua in the background. It will take an extra 3.5 hours, more if you stop to explore and play along the river.
The cave dwellers will descend (baggage assist by porters), about a three hour hike. They will shower and join the other group at a lunch banquet. Then we will drive 4 hours across the Shaanxi plains to the smaller but exquisitely beautiful Zhongnan mountains.
We’ll stay at Louguantai, the Taoist monastery built on the spot where Lao Tzu is said to have written the Tao Te Ching after being stopped by the guardian of the pass to the West. We’ll stay at a lovely mountain resort up a nearby valley with waterfalls that cascade past our rooms. Louguantai.
Day 20: Rest, explore, meditate at Louguantai monastery or its nearby Lao Tzu Temple. The vibration here is soft but intensely spiritual, very different from Huashan’s strong yang rock & earth. A nice balance, and a good place to digest and internally cook the powerful Huashan experience. We may have a chance to meet with my friend the Abbot, Ren Fa Rong, if he is available. One of the most famous Taoist adept-scholars in China, he is very busy these days as he is currently the president of the China Taoist Association. We may spend some time with the vice abbott Ren Xing Zhi, who is also very accomplished in meditation and Taoist esoterics of the I Ching.
Cauldron at Lao Tzu Temple, Louguantai
We’ll tour the famous large temple and statue dedicated to Lao Tzu. Or hang out and do qigong or tai chi in a beautiful courtyard with red lanterns hanging from the Palace of Lu Dong Bing, the Taoist immortal who is the patron guide of inner alchemists. Another option is to rent horses and ride a short distance (or hike) to a majestic 10th century pagoda built by Nestorian Christians. The Taoists were generous and open minded to allow them to build near their most sacred site. Louguantai.
Day 21: Free day at Louguantai to meditate or relax. In the afternoon we’ll visit the Lao tzu Ascension Site. The chi is very ethereal here, and it takes a while to quiet down the mind enough to be able to entrain with it. This is my favorite power spot/vortex in all of China. We’ll do a powerful qigong ceremony here.
We will also hike the small mountain behind the Ascension site to a temple atop the hill, with a special cave dedicated to Lao tzu. This cave is famous for healing many people of illness. Louguantai.
Day 22: Depart in the morning to Xian. Two hour drive, then check into same 4-star hotel where we stayed previously. Time for final shopping spree in Xian’s wonderful bazaars and crafts shops, or explore the rich history of China’s ancient capital with its city walls still intact. Final group banquet. Evening free for packing. Xian.
Day 23: Depart to Xian on afternoon flight to Beijing, connect to Air China #983. Depart at 9 pm, arrive in Los Angeles at 6 pm same day (miracle of International Date Line), Sunday May 30.
There is no penalty for canceling before midnight Oct. 31, 2009 (full refund of deposit).
Note: Low cost travel insurance is made available to all trip members. (Last year it cost average $150.- 200. depending on your age & trip length). You are strongly urged to obtain it. If you do NOT obtain it, you must sign a legal release.
SARS has been officially eradicated in China according the World Health Organization. If SARS or some other killer bird-flu or swine-flu virus should it break out before the trip date, I personally believe the trip will still happen. Two reasons.
1. During the last epidemic there were virtually no cases where we are spending most of our time.
2. Chinese health system is much better prepared and alert this time around.
3. Extensive instructions are given to all trip members on how to stay healthy before and during the trip. These are my time tested travel methods to keep immune system at peak operating level. This strategy has proven very effective on previous trips.
Fees for cancellation are as follows:
1. if cancellation notice is received before midnite Dec. 31, 2009 – $300. fee.
2. If cancel Jan. 1 to midnite Feb. 8, 2010 – $600. fee.
3. If cancel between Feb. 9, 2010 and departure date of trip, full trip cost is owed and forfeited (NO REFUND). This is why it is essential you get trip insurance.
4. No refunds for termination of travel AFTER trip begins. Even if a member must involuntarily cancel for physical health reasons AFTER the trip within China has begun, and does not use a portion of their already pre-paid services, no refunds will be made. It is simply too difficult to collect in China, and not worth the trouble. No refunds are made for unused excursions and special program activities.
We will supply you with a reliable and inexpensive travel insurance option (or you can choose your own). Check the terms and conditions of the issuer of your travel insurance policy as they are defined in the policy’s cancellation clause, which outlines your coverage, its limitations and exclusions. Usually written medical excuse from doctor or proven death in family are accepted.
I hope to hear from you soon – that you’ve decided to join me for the spiritual adventure of a lifetime!