Due to the current nature of travel and restrictions in China, Heron Institute will not sponsor a Sacred Mountain Retreat for the summer of 2022.


Sacred Mountain Retreat 2019

Nourishing Life and Studying Classical Chinese Medicine

Heiner Fruehauf and Wang Qingyu

Qigong, Meditation, and Chinese Herbal Medicine
with Heiner Fruehauf and Wang Qingyu

September 1-15, 2019

Study at Puzhao Buddhist Temple at Mt. Qingcheng, near Chengdu (Sichuan province)
60+ NCCAOM PDA Credits pending




Traditional culture, in the quantum age, is being rediscovered as an immensely rich fountain of personal and scientific inspiration. China is one of the world’s great quarries of traditional knowledge. Chinese wisdom, however, is highly personalized and can rarely be found in an institutionalized setting. It is still primarily through oral transmission that the gnostic arts and sciences of China are passed on.

Prof. Heiner Fruehauf designed the Sacred Mountain Retreat Program in 1994 to facilitate a direct contact to this source, and has been bringing motivated groups for travel and study to China ever since. Because of the drastic environmental and socioeconomic changes that have taken place in China during the last decade, there have only been a few of these unique journeys in recent summers.

The Sacred Mountain Retreat program has purposefully been designed around the sacred mountains of China. Due to the protected setting of these sites, many traditional arts have survived more unscathed here than anywhere else in China. In particular, Sichuan province in southwest China is recognized as one of the ancient cradles of Chinese medical culture, where tribal shamanism evolved into the complex system of Daoist hermit practice. Laozi is said to have spent the last years of his life there, and Zhang Daoling, the founder of Daoism as a monastic form of practice, lived on several of its revered peaks.

The “base camp” for this year’s trip will be Mt. Qingcheng, a sacred Daoist mountain that forms the cultural and geographic border between the Chinese mainland and Tibet. It is one of China’s primordial sites where the Chinese quest for perfect health and longevity once began. Since time immemorial, the lush yin energy of this archetypical mountain has attracted many seekers of the Way, and many Buddhist and Daoist lineages trace their origins back to this Chinese outpost of the Himalayas. In addition to exploring some of the monasteries and teahouses on this primarily Daoist mountain, the group will have the opportunity to explore the environs of Tianguo Si (Paradise Temple) and Puzhao Si (Temple of Compassionate Radiance). Puzhao Si is the place where Heiner first studied Qigong in 1990 and has since cultivated a close relationship with the current spiritual leader, Abbess Guozheng. Puzhao Temple is surrounded by tea plantations and prepares some of the best vegetarian food in all of China.

Apart from conveying a thorough taste of the physical and cultural background of Chinese medicine, the main teaching objectives of this trip are:

  1. The transmission of the Eighteen Movements of the Jinjing School (Jinjing Shiba Shi), one of the esoteric long forms of classical Jinjing Qigong that has rarely been taught in a public setting. This form blends the effervescent spirit and the animated movements of the Shaolin “Transform Every Fiber in Your Body Classic” (Yijin jing) with the age-old art of life-spring renewal known as Daoist inner alchemy. In the evenings, Heiner will lead meditation and chanting sessions drawn from a variety of traditional cultivation systems.
  2. A systematic introduction to the most relevant practical aspects of Chinese herbal medicine; featuring those formulas Heiner has found most effective for the treatment of difficult and recalcitrant diseases during 30 years of clinical practice. In particular, he will focus on a limited amount of patent remedies and their combination potential, i.e. the Classical Pearls series of herbal products (including 27 new classical formula items).
  3. An introduction to some of Heiner’s most influential Chinese teachers and colleagues, who will guest lecture as time and circumstance permits:
  • Prof. Wang Qingyu, beloved lineage holder of the Jinjing Qigong lineage and one of China’s few officially recognized authorities in the field of “Nourishing Life”.
  • Prof. Deng Zhongjia, China’s most accomplished authority in the fields of Chinese medicine theory and formula studies.
  • Prof. Hu Changjiang, primary expert for the Sichuan lineage of Chinese herbal processing (paozhi). If time permits, he will conduct a hands-on introduction to various paozhi procedures at one of China’s most advanced herbal processing facilities located outside of Chengdu.

Altogether, it is our hope that from this dense fabric of lectures, practice sessions, tea tastings and sacred mountain walks will emerge a deep feeling for the way of Eastern thinking, as well as a sense of the profound value of traditional culture in general.


The various stages of the Program will be organized and conducted by Prof. Heiner Fruehauf and Prof. Wang Qingyu.

Heiner Fruehauf, PhD, LAc has been trained in the field of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. He has lived in China and Japan for seven years, speaks fluent Chinese, and has been teaching and practicing the Chinese healing arts since 1980. He is director of the Heron Institute, and the Founding Professor of the College of Classical Chinese Medicine at National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. He will lecture or translate during all teaching sessions.

Prof. Wang Qingyu was born into a traditional martial arts family, and trained in the classical tradition of Chinese energy work around the hermitages and monasteries of China’s sacred mountains since age ten. He is the official lineage holder of the Jinjing School of Qigong, professor of martial arts and Daoist heritage at the Sichuan Academy of Cultural History, and former physician of China’s Olympic diving team. He has authored numerous influential books and articles on Qigong, the traditional arts of nourishing life, and Daoist medicine.

Download the retreat flyer to learn more about cost, accommodations, and registration.

Download Flyer (PDF)


Heron Institute