Moy Lin-shin

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Moy Lin-shin (梅連羨 méi lián xiàn) (1931 in Taishan county, Guangdong – June 6, 1998, Toronto, Canada)[1] was a Taoist monk, teacher and T'ai chi instructor who founded The Taoist Tai Chi Society (道教太極拳社), the Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism and the Gei Pang Lok Hup Academy.

Early life[edit]

As a sickly youth Moy was sent to a monastery. There he was trained in the teachings of the Earlier Heaven Wu-chi sect of the Hua Shan School of Taoism and regained his health. Moy reported that he studied the religious and philosophical side of Taoism and that he had acquired knowledge and skills in Chinese martial arts.

Ahead of the Communist Revolution of 1949 Moy moved to Hong Kong. There he joined the Yuen Yuen Institute, in Tsuen Wan district in the New Territories, continued his education and became a Taoist monk.

The Yuen Yuen Institute was established in 1950 by monks from Sanyuan Gong (Three Originals Palace) in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, which in turn traces its lineage to the Longmen (Dragon Gate) sect of Quanzhen (Complete Perfection) Taoism. The Yuen Yuen Institute is dedicated to Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. In 1968, Moy co-founded, together with Taoist Masters Mui Ming-to and Mrs Tang Yuen Mei, the temple for the Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism (FLK; Penglai ge, 蓬萊閣) on the grounds of the Yuen Yuen Institute.[2]

In addition to his studies and education in Taoism Moy Lin-shin learned a range of internal martial arts including Liuhebafa (Lok Hup Ba Fa, 六合八法 liùhé bā fǎ), T'ai Chi Ch'uan (太極拳 tàijí quán), Hsing I Ch'uan (形意拳 xíng Yì Quán), Bagua (Baguazhang, 八卦掌 bà guà zhǎng) and Taoist Qigong (chi kung, chi gung, 氣功 qìgōng). One of Moy's main teachers in Hong Kong was Leung Ji Pang (Liang Zi Peng, or Leung Ji Pang, 梁子鵬) (1900–1974), an instructor in Liuhebafa and other arts, who was in turn a student of Wu Yi Hui.[3] Moy was taught Liuhebafa at the Chin Woo Athletic Association in Shanghai. Moy also trained in Hong Kong with Sun Dit, a fellow student of Liang Zhi Peng, who Moy said had developed skills in Hsing I Chuan and Push hands (押手 Yāshǒu).

Move to Canada[edit]

Moy was sent overseas with a mission of spreading the understanding of Taoism and its practices. After some travel, he settled in Montreal, Canada, and in 1970 began teaching a small group of dedicated students. In those early days, Moy taught both the health and martial arts aspects of Tai Chi. Upon moving to one of Toronto's "Chinatowns" a few years later, he changed his focus, emphasising mainly the health promoting and personal development aspects of tai chi, although Moy still did place strong emphasis on tai chi push hands practice and sometimes demonstrated other self-defense aspects of tai chi as well.

Moy started with a standard Yang-style t'ai chi ch'uan form, also saying he had mixed in elements of other internal arts, and taught it to condition students to learn Lok Hup Ba Fa later. Moy called this modified form Taoist Tai Chi. Moy emphasized the non-competitive nature of his style of teaching and of the form (see explanation in here). A teacher of Taoist Tai Chi is asked to conform to and live by what Moy called, "Eight Heavenly Virtues":

In accordance with these virtues, Taoist Tai Chi is a form that is taught by volunteers.

Organizations[edit]

To promote his understanding of the Taoist foundations of Tai Chi and to facilitate understanding between eastern and western cultures, Moy helped to set up a number of organizations. Initially he established the Toronto Tai Chi Association, which, after Taoist Tai Chi chapters were formed across Canada, became the Taoist Tai Chi Society (道教太極拳社) of Canada.[2] After expansion into the United States and later into Europe, New Zealand and Australia the International Taoist Tai Chi Society was established in 1990.

In 1981 Moy Lin-shin and Mui Ming-to established a Canadian branch of the Hong Kong-based Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism, which became the religious arm of the Taoist Tai Chi Society. This occurred with the opening of a Fung Loy Kok high shrine at the Society's Bathurst Street location in Toronto. They subsequently established other branches of Fung Loy Kok in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. This Institute maintains altars to the Taoist deities, i.e., the Jade Emperor (Chinese: 玉皇大帝, or Emperor in Heaven), Guanyin (Chinese: 観音. One of the mythological female deities in Buddhism), and Lü Dongbin (Chinese: 呂洞賓. One of the eight Chinese mythological "Transcendants", who became Immortals via "Inner Alchemy").[2]

Initially Moy concentrated on teaching just Tai Chi forms and later emphasized other internal arts. In 1988 Moy established the Gei Pang Lok Hup Academy, which is dedicated to the memory of his teacher Liang Tzu-peng. It was established with the intent to teach the internal martial arts other than Tai Chi, mainly Lok Hup Ba Fa.[4]

The organizations since his death[edit]

Since the death of Moy Lin-shin in 1998 the three organizations he founded have been amalgamated, with the Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism as the main organization and the Taoist Tai Chi Society and the Gei Pang Lok Hup Academy as part of the Institute. This brought together the financial and administrative management of the three organizations.

In order to broaden the emphasis on health and vitality, the Taoist Tai Chi Health Recovery Centre was established in 1997 near Toronto, at Orangeville, Ontario. On the same grounds a Taoist Cultivation Centre was built between 2005–2006.[5]

Criticism[edit]

Moy Lin Shin has been criticized for being unqualified[6] and for teaching a version of Tai Chi that is "not generally recognised as an authentic style of Tai Chi"[6] although even critics have admitted that his efforts "did a great deal to introduce thousands to tai chi".[6]

References[edit]

  • Henderson, Paul J. (January 29, 2008). "Learning to relax". The Chilliwack Times. Retrieved 2008-02-11. The founder of the Taoist Tai Chi Society, a volunteer-run registered charity, Master Moy Lin-Shin, said that those doing tai chi should practise together and eat together...Lin-Shin formed the society in 1970 and it now has more than 500 branches around the world, including seven in B.C.