In the previous episode, we introduced a French man named Thomas. Why he came to China, why he chose to be an hermit in Wudang mountain, living like Immortals. In this episode, we look closer at his life style and his way to search for the “Dao”.



What Thomas is looking for is the harmony with nature, having the Earth and the Sky as masters, the natural as principle, inaction as a ba-x-se. But in his eyes, the daoist path is more about predestinated affinity. In this place he lives there is the tomb of a highly recognized daoist master, as he says : “ to be able to live here, I feel very lucky, as everything was organized in advance”.




杨来旺道长的墓,托马斯在墓旁修建了隐居的小屋。the tomb of master Yang Laiwang

Thomas:This is is the tomb of master Yang Laiwang, old of already a hundred years. He became an Immortal after he passed away. He is quite famous in Wudang, because he was an official at the emperor court and then became monk and started to renew monasteries. He became famous for that. There are lots of stories about him. He was also a very capable person.

I think him devoting his life restoring temples in Wudang, and me coming far away from France to here, ten thousands kilometers away, is just "by chance". I didn't try hard to find this place, it just occurred to me naturally. The first thing I did, is actually to renew this place. I took it as a challenge given by master Yang. He looked ( and is still looking) if I’m able to serve Daoism. The first step is restoring this place.

Renewing this place was a process of renewing myself too. Maybe one day I’ll construct or renew places for daoist practices in France. So I believe in the karma li-x-nk between master Yang and I. Sometimes, I will come in the middle of the night to meditate here. I hope to get his teachings and instructions. So I’m kind of lucky to live here.



For the highly spiritual life, the exchange with spirits is enough, but for Gongfu ones need a real master to be able to study from. When Thomas arrived in Wudang, he took the famous wushu master Yuan Xiugang as a master.

托马斯的武术师父袁修刚 the Wushu master of Thomas



托马斯曾在这里学习武术Thomas has learnt Wushu here

In his studies he is very studious and courageous, this is the impression he gave me. He thinks that the Wushu learning shouldn’t stay on a movement level, he seeks the level of harmony between nature and man.

The Dao sources itself in nature, harmony between the sky and man, this is what he is looking for. He is actually looking for a state of being. What he is looking for, is also what we were looking for when we started to study Wushu, so he is walking the same path.

After he studied in this school, he rent a place by his own, and then restored it with old Chinese furniture and decorations, very simple and pure, very simple and pure. Being alone in the mountain, he can endure loneness. Coming from a big city like Shanghai, where he studied Chinese medicine for five years, shows that on the path of life he is looking for something.

At the beginning we had some talks, he thinks that the medicine he studied combining daoist regimen and Taiji will be very useful when he go back to propagate the Dao. He thinks very far away and that inspire me some respect.


Thomas:I think his whole life is not that easy. He is a whole of pure yang energy, always has been that since childhood. I think he is really admirable. Many strong people are strong but it was inherited from birth, in fact, they didn't have to fight that much, what they are doing is very smooth at most of the times. On the other hand there are some people whose life isn’t that easy, but through their will power to improve themselves, they can achieve certain goals and be someone else. He is such a role model for me .



The Wushu training is a ba-x-se , while spiritual work is the higher training. Thomas has taken an old local hermit as a master to study spiritual cultivation.



My master Bi who is 88 years old is also a very typical example of care freeness state. He totally ignores what people think and he has reached a state of hermit in town。That’s beautiful. He gave me a lot of inspiration because he is one of the first that can embody the teaching to this point, even here, in the Wushu or religious field very few people can make it at his age with such a health. Many people practice inner alchemy, practice or study it very well, but their life isn’t that long. Maybe their spiritual life is very high, and their life very vivid but they don’t last long.


This master, he doesn’t put his aim too high. The only thing he want is a healthy body, an happy soul, and that's enough and wonderful. His teaching isn’t difficult, his regimen isn’t difficult, but he does it very diligently, and never gives up. Sometimes his clothes is quite tattered, other people make fun of him, he only laughs, as naive as a child. He is totally carefree, let go fame and wealth. He doesn't have any consciousness about it. I think most of the people, including me have lots of trouble to give up on that.



Because of the teaching of the wise master, Thomas has gained his own understanding about the word "hermit".



I think reclusion has no standard. Why should I act according to others standard, I don’t think I should, I should make my own definition. I act the way I want to, if you want to call me an hermit,that’s fine, but if you don’t,that’s fine as well. I don’t do that for showing people. I know what I did and what I’ve been through, that was a very natural process and not according to anyone else plan.


Asking the Way to masters is something Thomas has to do regularly as going in temples and receiving energy from those places.

紫霄福地——紫霄宫Blessed Place of Purple Heaven


This is the Purple heaven temple. It’s the biggest temple of Wudang in surface. Before it was for daoist monks and now it’s for nuns. It’s a perfect example of harmony between nature and a daoist construction. It suits very well in the landscape, leaning against a mountain so the place has a very nice Feng Shui. It has been constructed in the Song dynasty but the original has been destroyed by fire, nothing of that time remains. So it has been reconstructed at beginning with the emperor Yongle. That is this piece of history we have under our eyes.


The Purple heaven temple is the main construction of the eight series of construction in Wudang, it’s one of the most well preserved temple in Wudang. Constructed in Ming dynasty (1413), at its most flourishing time had around 860 rooms, huge construction being unique.

The mountain around this palace naturally form a throne with two dragons playing a pearl, so the emperor Yongle named this place as the "Blessed Place of Purple Heaven". From the place where Thomas lives, it takes 30 minutes to arrive The Purple heaven temple. It's the only route Thomas will pass to exercise every day.



Going up and down the mountain the road seems short, but Thomas already walked on it three years. The humble shelter at the beginning has now completely changed with a new look, became convenient and very clean. His retreat has become a sight of Wudang. Many people visit here and study together.




In the evening, we practice calligraphy and painting here. Most of my friends here are also into Chinese traditional culture. Everyone will write or paint something, they more or less like one of the Chinese four arts, regardless of the level. As long as practicing all together

is actually really enjoyable. We are looking for this atmosphere of regimen, because health preservation is obviously ba-x-sed on happiness.

Last time one of my friend came with his young boy, that is a very young boy, he told me he also practice calligraphy. I ask him to write something for me, he wrote four characters "all rivers run into sea". His name is Jia Shu. Then his elder brother wrote, and then his father, and another friend. Finally me, all of a sudden it was five writings.

Then i have the idea to ask people who visit here to write this words, such as some local folks, a manger of a tourist company, people from Xian, Beijing, someone from an hotel in Wudang, my 88 years old master, my friends from France, a famous calligrapher in Beijing Yu Xiuxi, who is also a famous writer, a master from Wuhan Changchun guan Ren Zongquan, some local masters, a German daoist brother, another French friend......


Beside people and friends visiting Thomas, in his spare time has some colorful activities. He studies calligraphy, Chinese music instruments, painting, chess and so on...



Surrounded by water and hills,the practicing of Daoism is to reach a state of mind. Ten thousand of miles away from the west, He is looking for a real daoist heart. About future Thomas also has his own view. He wish he can share happiness with more people.

“和谐”是托马斯的追求之一 he is pursuing harmony all the time


In fact, happiness is a state of being in Daoism,as my understanding of Daoism,it’s not an aim like in Buddhism. It's not. It’s an effect,a result that comes along with the right practice. Take regimen as an example, you don't have any disease of your body, you get an happy mood every day, you have few worries, nothing can be a big problem to you. To other people, it is very useful. Each time speaking with someone, even without speaking about specific topics, the person can feel the peace and happiness from your soul, and then benefit from it too. This should be the results we have from the practice. If it’s possible for me to become an Immortal, then this Immortal is surely happy and well-being himself, and diffuse happiness around him, which could help a lot of people.

他希望把快乐带给更多的人He wants to bring happiness to more people


The interview coming to an end after few days of living together. We surely saw a real local Wudang person, his Taoist seeking, his own understanding about life, the curse to an ideal inspired us some respect. Let us silently make a wish for him, that he can go far and far on the way of Dao practice.(编辑:行云)



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