Recorded Talks by Zhen Dao
Why Anti-black Racism Endures in America: On the Spiritual Necessity of Shame
Zhen Dao is the founder of the philosophy of Post-Daoism and the MogaDao practice tradition. A teacher and innovator of sacred, psychospiritual practices for nearly 30 years, she is a writer on a wide variety of spiritual, philosophical, and cultural subjects. She was a Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, and has published fiction with Penguin Books. She lives in a small cabin deep in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico, and in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she teaches Ethos Program Immersions and classes at the MogaDao Institute and trains and rehearses with the SACRA: Immanence Theater Company, of which she is the founder. In addition to directing SACRA, she writes the scripts and develops the choreography for the company's productions, and is herself a player in the troupe. MogaDao is an original tradition of graceful, medicinal, and ensouling qigong, spiritualized asana, and somatic meditation, created by Zhen Dao, based on a radical faith in the mythopoetic and archetypal power of somatic experience. The MogaDao "techne," or practices, represent dynamic sacred architectures of human potential, nourishing and informing the fields of anxiety and trauma, imagination and vitality, essence and transformation, ritual and cosmology, sexuality, and sociopolitical responsibility. These techne are supported by the novel philosophy of Post-Daoism, originated by Zhen Dao, which combines the history of Continental thought with Eastern philosophical foundations, finding them both lacking in what Zhen Dao calls "justified ontology," or what it is to be an emotional, intelligent, complex, caring, sensual, and sexual human being within a larger frame of potential cosmological harmony. This video was filmed and recorded by Brian Roberts, MogaDao’s Director of Technological Resources, onsite at the MogaDao Institute, in Santa Fe, NM, on June 3, 2020. Tremendous thanks go out to Brian for his instant availability and support for this project, given the timing of events in America relating to this talk, as well as his customary care and precision in the technical matters of recording and filming.
"Deep Health": Revisioning Wellness in Pandemical Times: A Post-Daoist Perspective
Zhen Dao’s first “live” online talk, recorded as the Coronavirus crisis escalates all throughout the world, represents a radical revisioning of the entire concept of health, imagining health through a Post-Daoist lens in which countless values that we generally see as “negative” or “unhealthy” or “unsuccessful” are shown to be the very fabric of her concept of “deep health” and representative of the way we as a species might truly belong in the fabric of life and world.
Zhen Dao: The Uncut Interview: Post-Daoism and the Mogadao Practice Tradition
Zhen Dao is a poet, novelist, playwright, choreographer, and innovator in the fields of spiritualized physical practice, comparative philosophy and religion, and experimental theater. A transgender woman, she is the founder of the practice tradition of MogaDao, and the founding director of SACRA: Immanence Theater. This uncut and spontaneous interview of Zhen Dao was conducted by Felise Nguyen and Eve Bradford, and filmed by Brian Roberts and Koa Kalish, on January 6th, 2020, at the MogaDao Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The interview was intended to comprise only “rough material” for the creation of a short, artistic documentary on the practice tradition of MogaDao, and the philosophy of Post-Daoism. That documentary is forthcoming; however, because of a certain comprehensiveness that chance seemed to lend to this spontaneous interview, the decision was made to publish this footage untouched by editing, as it represents, rather remarkably, not only the arc of the MogaDao tradition itself, but also the natural atmosphere of the MogaDao Institute. The material on Zhen Dao’s philosophy of Post-Daoism, including her original conceptions of Yin, Yang, and the introduction of the Post-Daoist essence of Yun, as well as her seminal work in human sexuality—the Erotic Basis of Being—are forthcoming in her book: POST-DAOISM: THE PHILOSOPHY THAT NEVER WAS.
20 Questions, Hamlette, and the Transgender Necessity | Zhen Dao | TEDxBerkeley
Zhen Dao discusses the transgender identity as well as her latest work to write Shakespeare’s Hamlet from the point of view of a female transgender protagonist. Zhen Dao is a poet, novelist, playwright, and director of SACRA Theater Company. A transgender woman, she was a Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, and has published fiction with Penguin Books. She is the founder of the practice tradition of MogaDao, which incorporates original forms and practices of qigong, meditation, and yoga, and the Heartmind Warrior Training Program (studies in spiritualized martial arts), and the Depth Sexology and the Erotic Basis of Being Program. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx
Zhen Dao: Reclaiming Emotion: SAND 2018
Reclaiming Emotion: How Spiritual Consumerism and Scientific Materialism are Damaging our Faith in the Cycles of Life, Zhen Dao Emotion moves us, changes us, visits us and seems to come from “nowhere” and sometimes to disturb what we thought was our “equanimity,” our calm, our sense of control over our lives. In the 21stcentury, our lives seem more out of control than ever; we feel that we are not so much living as being lived by forces outside of ourselves. We feel programmed from without, distracted constantly against our inmost instincts, and prey to massive forces—sociopolitical, consumerist, technological—that we cannot control. Therefore we have begun to suspect emotion, and to treat it as something that we must control; we feel that emotion is “bad” for us, something that is deterring us from our right and prescribed course, from our rewards. To Zhen Dao this represents nothing less than a tragic loss of faith in being itself. For emotions—like Daoist conceptions of 5 Element Theory—have patterns which fulfill themselves through faith. Zhen Dao will talk about the spiritual purpose of emotion, in particular, the so-called “negative emotions,” for no wind, no weather, no authentic tempest in the human soul can be wrong. Rather, it must be seen (and felt) all the way through to its magnificence, that is to say, its value and significance for a whole life—and for all of being that touches and depends on that life.
The Challenge of Pornography and the Imagination of Eros | A Talk by Zhen Dao
In this talk Zhen Dao, the transgender founder of Post-Daoism and a sex-positive sexuality teacher, speaks about the relationship between sexuality and world, defining that intersection as “the erotic.” The erotic, according to Zhen Dao, is never simply intense sexuality performed as a commodity separate from other forms of lived experience. Rather the erotic—the multiplicity of desires both explicit and subtle—is the will to be, to be fully alive, which is often expressed through intense sexuality and desire, but also—and not separate from—our attentiveness to all of life, especially to our relationships and to the natural world, and to the life of the imagination through which power we are able to perceive reality. The whole structure of pornography, Zhen Dao suggests, even so-called “feminist” and “queer” pornography which can mask convincingly as forms of emancipation, is based on corporate models of the body as capital, conscious and unconscious exploitation, and divisions of subjectivity and objectivity that imitate the forces and histories of oppression which true eroticism would help to liberate us from. Zhen Dao is the founder of the practice tradition of MogaDao, and the MogaDao Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, encompassing MogaDao Qigong, MogaDao Yoga, MogaDao Gongfu, Empty Sky Meditation, the Depth Sexology and Erotic Basis of Being Program, and the Heartmind Warrior Training Program (a spiritualized martial arts program and an academic seminar covering art and aesthetics, sociopolitical issues, and spirituality) at the MogaDao Institute, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is also a poet, novelist, and writer on a wide variety of religious, philosophical, and cultural subjects, and the director of the theater company SACRA: Immanence Theater, also based in Santa Fe, NM.
Sexual Predation and The Betrayal of the True Yang | A Talk by Zhen Dao
Sexual Predation and The Betrayal of the True Yang: How the Gender Binary Code makes us less human | A Talk by Zhen Dao In this talk, given at the MogaDao Institute in Santa Fe, NM on January 5, 2018, Zhen Dao discusses her philosophy of the “True Yang” and the “True Yin,” which are original conceptions of these Daoist essences, and central to the ideology of the practice tradition and Post-Daoist philosophy of MogaDao. The central theme of the talk is the way in which the prevailing culture’s limited definitions of gender and sexuality—the binarism of our culture—might contribute to pathologies of sexual predation. Zhen Dao also addresses the “inherited mythologies” of the West, and how these mythologies—consciously or not—serve to destroy or “cleanse” the chthonic energies (the primal forces) of the Earth and of human bodies. This “Chthonic Cleansing,” Zhen Dao’s term for the destruction of the chthonic through inherited mythologies, serves to widen the gulf of “otherness” between the genders, an estrangement that not only leads to sexual invasion and predation, but also diminishes the magnificent width of human being—a width that is stymied by reductive definitions of sex and gender. ~ Zhen Dao is the intersex transgender founder of the practice tradition of MogaDao, encompassing MogaDao Qigong, MogaDao Yoga, MogaDao Gongfu, Empty Sky Meditation, and Depth Sexology, and the Heartmind Warrior Training Program at the MogaDao Institute. She is also a poet, novelist, and writer on a wide variety of religious, philosophical, and cultural subjects, and the director of the theater company SACRA: Immanence Theater. Before founding MogaDao, she was a professor of Literature, and a farrier and horse trainer. She has been a Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, and her first novel was published by Penguin Books. For more information please visit: http://www.mogadaoinstitute.com