Still Point of the Turning world: The Life of Gia-fu Feng by Carol Wilson

Author of the best-selling translation of the Tao Te Ching
By Carol Ann Wilson

A student, the son of an influential banker, flees mainland China for Hong Kong during the Chinese Civil War and begins a journey that will ultimately lead him to America and the counter-cultural revolution. His story, chronicled in 300 pages of a forgotten biography, was passed down to a virtual stranger who made it her mission to remember the life of Gia-fu Feng.

Born to a wealthy, traditional family in Shanghai, Gia-fu lived through tumultuous periods of exponential change in China. After leaving his homeland for graduate studies in the States, he found himself stranded on the other side of the world with the home he knew crumbling before the world’s eyes.

Landing in the mid-1950s at San Francisco’s American Academy of Asian Studies, Gia-fu unexpectedly found a niche, a place from which to explore who he was. Within a decade, his path took him to Esalen in Big Sur and the human potential movement of the 1960s. Gia-fu went on to found Stillpoint, a Taoist community of families living simply and honestly with each other in nature.

Teacher, translator and Tai Ji master, Gia Fu-Feng is remembered for his colorful life in which he learned and taught alongside some of the twentieth century’s greatest writers and thinkers, including Jack Kerouac and Alan Watts. Through his life and work, he sought to bring the ancient wisdom of the Tao into the modern world. His translation of the Tao Te Ching has sold over 1,250,000 copes and is widely considered to be one of the most readable and influential translations of our time. His translation of Chuang Tsu: Inner Chapters, now published by Amber Lotus in a 35th anniversary edition, has sold over 150,000 copies.

Still Point represents thirteen years of research by dedicated author Carol Ann Wilson, sister to Gia-fu’s heir. Using Gia-fu’s biographical notes and numerous outside sources, Wilson has given us the extraordinary story of a rogue Taoist sage. To catch up on her current projects, visit her at her website.

Still Point of the Turning World: The Life of Gia-fu Feng interweaves the life of translator, teacher, Taoist rogue Gia-fu Feng with the tumultuous historical tapestry of 20th century China and the United States. From Chinese warlords, Japanese occupation, and World War II to 1950s disillusionment, the Beats, Esalen and beyond, the story traces major events and personalities on opposite sides of the world. In the mix is Gia-fu and the Stillpoint community’s best-selling translation of the Tao Te Ching, the ancient Chinese classic that is the most translated book in the world, next only to the Bible.

Told from the perspective of someone who never knew Gia-fu but who became his heir through the untimely death of her beloved sister, Still Point of the Turning World tracks a life that began with external privilege but culminated in the gradual discovery of the still point within.

This book is about far more than the life and times of well-known 20th Century Taoist teacher and author Gia-fu Feng. As in the very best biographies, the reader identifies with the joys and sorrows, the strengths and weaknesses, the challenges and lessons. Gia-fu becomes a mirror for the reader’s own life and soul. Wilson’s work brilliantly explores and juxtaposes critical periods in Chinese and American social and political history—the Japanese invasion of China and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Communist Revolution and the Beatnik Movement.

And what a cast of characters, from Chairman Mao to Alan Watts! Gia-fu reconciles the contradictions of his age through his radical Gestalt therapy-like approach to life—uncompromising honesty that flies in the face of the Confucian social decorum with which he was raised, spiced with a healthy dose of humor and rascality. His love of nature and the Tao eventually lead him to the still point between yin and yang and to creating an American community in which others can join him in the search for a truth beyond words. I highly recommend At the Still Point of the Turning World. Filled with wisdom and compassion, you will be engaged and entranced by Carol Wilson’s beautifully written book.
–Kenneth Cohen

Carol Ann Wilson Biography

Born in the Florida panhandle, Carol Ann Wilson has lived primarily in Colorado. She graduated from Golden (CO) High School in 1962 and continued her education at the University of Colorado in Boulder. There she earned a B.A. in English Literature, M.A. in Social Foundations of Education/Philosophy Emphasis, and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction.

Carol’s professional life has centered on education and schooling. She taught English at Arvada High School, was an assistant principal at Arvada West High School, and principal at Wheat Ridge High School. During her tenure as principal, her school received the U.S. Office of Education Secondary School Recognition Award and was named one of the top U.S. high schools by Money Magazine. Carol was also named Woman of the Year by the local newspaper, the Wheat Ridge Sentinel. Carol’s service through education continued as assistant superintendent for curriculum in Adams County. She also served as regional coordinator for the National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER), a national collaboration of school-university partnerships.

Beginning in 1984, Carol directed the Colorado Partnership for Educational Renewal (designed to renew schools and teacher education programs), and grew the non-profit organization from six school districts and two colleges/universities to include 16 districts (more than 600 schools) and eight higher education institutions. Building on her work in the humanities through education Carol helped develop a number of national initiatives. These ranged from community engagement, diversity in teaching and teacher education, and teacher leadership. As she was ending her seventeen-year role as director of the Colorado Partnership, she received the University of Colorado’s Alumni Leadership Award from UC Denver.

During the early 1990’s Carol co-founded Stillpoint: A Center for the Humanities & Community to promote a sense of community through the humanities. Programs sponsored by the Center have included poetry readings, author talks, musical events, writers’ workshops, and a visit from Gia-fu Feng’s brother in China, as well as fund-raising efforts for special projects in Poland and Kenya.

Inspired by the visions of her late sister, Margaret Susan Wilson, and Gia-Fu Feng, Carol along with her life partner David Chrislip has been instrumental in not only preserving the 166-acre sanctuary that is Stillpoint, but also supporting the evolution of a legacy begun by the Taoist teacher and countless others who helped create this oasis of peace. Stillpoint presently serves the community in numerous and varied ways, including activities of groups such as Odyssey Expeditionary Learning School, Naropa University’s Wilderness Therapy and Environmental Leadership Programs.

Carol’s role in the world community, like that of Stillpoint itself, continues to grow and evolve. In 2009 the biography of the self-described “Taoist rogue” and author of the best selling translation of the Tao Te Ching, Gia –Fu Feng was published by Amber Lotus Publishing. The book titled Stillpoint of the Turning World is a finalist for two book awards, ForeWord Review’s Book of the Year Award, and the Colorado Authors’ League Top Hand Award. Carol is currently at work on a book about her mother, tentatively titled About Earline.

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Chakra Mantras – Liberate Your Spiritual Genius Through Chanting By Thomas Ashley-Farrand


About the book:
Description: Thomas Ashley-Farrand is the preeminent authority on yogi mantra. In “Chakra Mantras,” he brings forth previously hidden knowledge from India and Tibet, and teaches readers through the use of mantras how to activate their secret chakras, which contain the keys to spiritual progress.

Description: Located along the spine, the chakras process energy for all of our waking activities, and during sleep they provide energy for healing and cleansing the physical body, but there is another, higher octave of functioning that these charkas can achieve, if they are given higher states of spiritual energy in which to operate. This higher octave provides paths for spiritual development that ultimately lead to spiritual liberation or freedom from karma. A powerful method for charging the charkas with higher energy is through the use of Sanskrit mantras.


Thomas Ashley-Farrand is one of the Western world’s foremost authorities on the application of Sanskrit Mantra to life’s problems. In December 2008 and June 2009, he received empowerments from Satguru Rama Mata, his lineage holder, to be a guru.

In 1968, Ashley-Farrand began having experiences of a mystical nature, which over the next few years became more intense and profound. He began to read the spiritual literature of the East, where he found eloquent explanations of his specific experiences in the Upanishads. In 1972, he received Kriya initiation from the Self Realization Fellowship. Mr. Ashley-Farrand began practicing extensive mantra-based spiritual disciplines in 1973, when he became a student of Sadguru Sant Keshavadas and Satguru Rama Mata. From 1973-1984, he was the priest for the Temple of Cosmic Religion (Sanatana Vishwa Dharma) in Washington, D.C., first as priest-in-residence where he performed ancient Sanskrit ceremonies (pujas) twice daily, and later as traveling priest based in Southern California. In 1974, he received initiation from Sadguru Sant Keshavadas into the universal mantra for spiritual illumination, the Gayatri Mantra, and other mystical formulas. He also studied with Christian mystic Dr. Leon Wright of Howard University. In 1975, he received Tibetan spiritual empowerments from the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa.

In 1978, Mr. Ashley-Farrand journeyed to India with Sadguru Sant Keshavadas and Satguru Rama Mata, where he met a wide variety of spiritual teachers both famous and unknown. There he astonished swamis, pundits, shastris and others with his intonation and pronunciation of complex Sanskrit mantras, slokas and spiritual formulas. From one end of India to another, he was asked to demonstrate his mastery of this complex spiritual liturgy for assembled Indian spiritual teachers. Repeatedly, they told him that he had been a swami and spiritual teacher for several lives in India. A highlight of his trip there came as he was blessed by two of the most prominent spiritual personages in all of India, each having spiritual authority over more than 150 million people, H. H. Pejor Math Swami, and Sri Sri Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati Maha Swamigal of Kanchi.

In 1982, when he moved to California, he conducted meditations and ceremonies in people’s homes, local colleges and for various religious organizations. He received empowerments from Kalu Rimpoche, the Dalai Lama and Sakya Jetsun Chiney Luding (Jetsun Ma), a woman guru from Tibet.

In 2001 he became president of a new non-profit organization, Sanatana Dharma Satsang, Inc. He is also president of Saraswati Publications, LLC, formed in 2001. In 2007, Sanatana Dharma Satsang opened a Gayatri Temple in Beaverton, Oregon.

Since 1989, he has been a frequent lecturer for such organizations as the Theosophical Society of Long Beach, California, and Astara, where he has assisted in annual Fire Initiation Ceremonies since 1991.

Mr. Ashley-Farrand’s understanding and expertise in the disciplines of the ancient religious ceremonies (Puja – water and Yajna – fire) is almost unique among Westerners. Some of the ceremonies he performs can last as long as eight hours. In a departure from the enigmatic portrait of the mystic, Mr. Ashley-Farrand teaches that “mysticism is the ultimate in personal practicality,” and need not be a withdrawal from the world. He maintains that an increasing ability to serve is the only reliable sign of spiritual progress.

Mr. Ashley-Farrand is the author of several books and audio programs including Healing Mantras, Shakti Mantras (Ballantine Wellspring,) Chakra Mantras (Weiser Books, 2006), Mantra: Sacred Words of Power (a 9-hr. workshop), several other CDs and Mantra Meditation (a Book/CD) (Sounds True), Mantra Therapy Healing Intensives, Gayatri Mantra Meditation, Mantras of the Goddess and more (Saraswati Publications), The Ancient Science of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony (in three volumes, with recorded mantras, slokas, astottaras, etc.) and other works. This last book for advanced students contains over 4,000 mantras and is the most comprehensive book on transliterated Sanskrit mantra in the English language. For more information about his many works, see his website, http://www.sanskritmantra.com.

Mr. Ashley-Farrand regularly leads retreats at Kripalu in Mass. and Far Horizons in the Sierras and other locations. He also teaches workshops regularly in the US, Canada and London.

With experience in the broadcasting industry, he has been producer-director for a Washington, D.C., television station, taught broadcasting and communications courses as a full-time faculty member of George Washington University, and was vice president for a privately held television company in Washington, D.C. From 1982-99, he was a management and marketing consultant based in Southern California with clients in the health care and computer technology industries. His marketing and management experience included large scale efforts for the United States Army and a national foundation.

Mr. Ashley-Farrand earned a BA from Ripon College and an MA from Marquette University. He is married to Margalo Ashley-Farrand. They have resided near Portland, Oregon, since 2006.
Pancha Devata Puja -western vedic pundit

For the first time. A traditional puja (Hindu Worship Ceremony) is recorded as conducted by a Western Vedic Priest (Thomas Ashley-Farrand) … all » trained in the Eastern Rites since 1973.

Adi Da Samraj: EgoDeath and the Chaos of Experience: Parts 1 – 3

BIOGRAPHY OFADI DA SAMRAJ

Adi Da Samraj Born on Long Island in 1939, Adi Da describes his early years as being focused in two fundamental activities: investigating how to realize truth, and developing the ability to communicate that truth through artistic means (both visual and literary).

Adi Da graduated from Columbia University in 1961 with a BA in philosophy, and from Stanford University in 1966 with an MA in English literature. His master’s thesis, a study of core issues in modernism, focused on Gertrude Stein and painters of the same period. In 1964, he began a period of practice under a succession of spiritual teachers in the United States and India that culminated six years later in the conclusion of his spiritual quest.

In the years since, Adi Da has created a large body of spiritual writings-over sixty published books-and is widely recognized as one of the most significant spiritual teachers living today.

Adi Da began his first serious work in the photographic medium in the early 1960s. During the mid-60s to mid-90s, he also produced a body of drawings, paintings, and sculptural forms. Between 1998 and early 2006, he concentrated on camera-based imagery (both photographic and videographic), creating a highly complex body of work that exceeds 60,000 still images (and also includes a great many hours of videographic image-work).

Adi Da Samraj in his studioHis work in the photographic medium evolved through black-and-white to color (and combinations of the two). He relates to his photographic images as “blueprints”, using them as the basis for making fabrications of many kinds. To date, these fabrications include photographic prints, pigmented ink on canvas, plasma screen installations, and multi-media screen-projected performance events-with additional forms of fabrication planned for the future. These fabricated works characteristically involve the grouping of multiple images in specific combinations and configurations.

Beginning in early 2006, Adi Da Samraj initiated a new phase in his artistic work by beginning to work entirely in the digital medium, and also by fabricating his digitally-based images principally as monumental pigmented-ink prints mounted on aluminum substructures. In some cases, this digital imagery incorporates photographic elements, while, in other cases, the imagery is generated entirely by digital means.

Adi Da Samraj states that his intention as an artist is to offer a visual communication of the truth of “reality itself”-by “allowing reality to manifest itself” in and as the “space” of his works of art.


Adi Da links the mind and ego in understanding and calls for the non-mythic seriousness in spiritual practice.

Adi Da Samraj: EgoDeath, the mind Is Narcissus

Adi Da Samraj continues to illuminate the separate self and the illusions of inwardness, mind, popular religious techniques, and the search for experience. “The truth is absolutely NOT within.”

Adi Da Samraj: EgoDeath3

Adi Da continues to criticize the “inner-consciousness”, the “I”, the inwardness of mind as the “way” of salvation. He leads listeners to accept, utterly accept their deepest fear instead of strategizing ways to avoid our primary fear.

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