Whether you are interested in Taoist philosophy, meditation, Qigong, Tai Chi, or Internal Alchemy, the Sanctuary of Tao is here to support you to develop your practice and to discover and follow your Tao.
The Sanctuary of Tao is an online school, based out of Phoenix, Arizona, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, that offers Taoist resources, perspectives, and practices. Much of what we offer here is from the work of author/translator Stuart Alve Olson and what he learned from his teacher Master T.T. Liang and other teachers.
A Personal Path
Taoism emphasizes self-cultivation with an individualized approach to spirituality since people have their own distinctive natures and endowments. We advocate that you experiment and discover what beliefs and practices work for you.
We value pluralis
Clear, Accessible, and Comprehensive Taoist Teachings
Because we are an online organization, you don’t need to go to a physical Taoist center or temple to access Taoism, we bring Taoist teachings to you in the comfort of your own home.
Our goal is to make Taoism accessible, to translate these teachings into modern, English language and make them relevant and understandable to the modern, Western mind. We do our best to provide big-picture, conceptual understandings as well as detailed, “how-to” explanations of many important facets of Taoism.
Our main focus is to make it easy for you apply what you learn here to your personal path of cultivation in a practical way. So we present the resources we believe will most support your practice, and we organize them based on how you can apply them in your life.
Informal and Flexible Learning
Sanctuary of Tao follows the old and original Taoist tradition of a “Teacher-Student” model, which was the method of one-to-one transmission of teachings from a teacher to a student, with teachings passed down from generation-to-generation. This form of cultivation is a much more individual path than the paths of monks, nuns, and priests who learn and practice as a group, often within a temple or monastery. These more defined, formal, and systematic traditions began after the time of Confucius.
Before that time Taoism was not yet an organized religion, and this Teacher-Student model of learning was the norm. Students generally studied intensely with one teacher for many years, then they would depart to practice on their own, and come back to the teacher regularly for review, guidance, and further teaching. This Teacher-Student tradition has continued alongside the clerical and monastic traditions and exists as an important pathway within Taoism to this day.
Through our website, free resources, membership, and programs, you can learn in a way inspired by this Teacher-Student Model—personal, less formal, and flexible—from Stuart Alve Olson and the other instructors of the Sanctuary of Tao, all of whom have been studying, practicing, and teaching with Stuart for many years.
Teacher as Friend on the Path
We believe in equality, that we are all friends on the path, there are no Gurus here. Instead Taoism holds the perspective that everyone has their own unique path, and that you discover that path by following your Spirit through your inner journey, and the teacher and community are here to support you to do that. Here is what one cultivator and student of the Sanctuary of Tao, William McCracken, had to say about our head teacher, Stuart. This is an excellent description of the role of a teacher in the Teacher-Student model.
“He makes sense of these sometimes esoteric-sounding ideas and speaks about them as if he’s an old friend sitting next to you with a good cup of tea and having a fun and interesting dialogue. Stuart is the kind of teacher that is more of a friend or elder brother walking the path with you.
He sincerely wants you to learn. He leaves it up to us to do the work and he has no special requirments other that we put in a sincere effort to find our Way. Stuart firmly believes that if you show up for your practice, the rest takes care of itself. Meanwhile, having a guide like Stuart along the way can be a very helpful part of the equation.”