Taiji Quan: Fan (Art of Purple Butterfly)
Once Zhuang Zi had a dream Ė he dreamt that he is a butterfly, a jolly little butterfly. In his dream he was fluttering about and really enjoying himself, and he had no idea that in reality his name is Zhuang Zi. Then suddenly he woke up and was unable to understand whether he is a butterfly or if it was the butterfly dreaming about being Zhuang Zi. Well, certainly there is a difference between people and butterflies -- Zhuang Zi just experienced what is called the process of transformation.
The Purple Butterfly Doctrine is the Art of gathering external essence by using a fan. It is also known as the Art of gathering Five External Fillers.
According to the teachings of the Supreme Purity Sect, fans symbolize good luck. They are tools capable of changing the adeptís internal filling. They are also a symbol of resurrection and they help to develop the sensitivity of a human body.
The main distinguishing feature of the fan-practice is not certain forms per se, but instead a skill of being able to connect the work of the fan with your body work.
Initially fans were one of the main tools of the Daoist practice, and they were primarily used for alchemic work. Later some masters included fans into their practice and teachings. Currently fans are becoming more and more popular in different Taiji Quan styles.
Fan practices date back to the great antiquity; however, this art is generally associated with (Zhongli Quan).
Zhongli Quan was born in (Xianyang), which is located in (Shaanxi) province. According to one of popular stories surrounding his life, Zhongli participated in some wars with Tibetan tribes. During one of the battles he had an enlightenment moment and met one of the Immortals - (Li Tieguai). Li Tieguai taught him the Dao Way; however, he didnít let him to win the battle, and Zhongli had to run away and hide from people in some remote areas, where he nearly lost his life.
When Zhongliís soul was just about to leave his body, he had a vision: he was visited by the Leader of the Orient (Cang Di) (also known as the Green Sovereign). Cang Di used his fan to bring Zhongli back to life. He realized that Zhongli had an immense inner potential so he taught him to gather the essence of space. After this Zhongli Quan started studying Alchemy and mastered the art of transforming copper and tin into gold and silver. A fan was his main tool.
Fans are also associated with Zheng Trigram.
The process of mastering the Purple Butterfly Doctrine consists of five different levels.
The art of gathering the external alchemic element by using Water. This art focuses on developing sensitivity of the body and facilitates the ability to direct and absorb the energy by using Water.
The art of gathering the external alchemic element by using Wood. This level focuses on developing the principles of working with the body by using a fan.
The art of gathering the external alchemic element by using Metal. This level means an ability to keep what you have gathered by using a fan.
The art of gathering the external alchemic element by using Fire. Level 4 is fundamental in this practice because it helps us develop our inner fire and strengthen our internal breathing, which also corresponds to the concept of the Ďinner faní.
The art of gathering the external alchemic element by using Earth. This level enables us to fasten our internal and external links by using a fan.