Tucked away just off of Greenwood Ave on Phinney Ridge is one of Seattle’s hidden treasures. Part museum, part Taoist temple, and part school, the Taoist Studies Institute offers classes on Taiji, Qigong, Chinese nutrition, calligraphy, Yang Sheng (the art of nourishing life), and Taoist psychology… to name just a few subjects.
The Institute is located in the old sanctuary of the Woodland Park Presbyterian Church–which was built in 1919. Inside, the walls are covered with Chinese calligraphy and paintings. Scattered among the antique Chinese furniture are a great variety of scholar stones–amazingly shaped stones long valued in China for their aesthetic qualities. There are also rubbings and paintings depicting Taoist internal alchemical meditation practices. The sound of the guqin, an ancient Chinese stringed instrument, gently fills the space beneath the 25 foot ceiling. On the north wall are Taoist shrines to the Three Pure Ones (San Qing) who represent both cosmic principles and the subtle energies in the body; Guanyin (Ci Hang), goddess of compassion; and Xuan Wu, patron of internal alchemy and martial arts associated with Wu Dang mountain.
Whether you are interested in studying Taiji or Qigong, delving into Taoist philosophy and culture, or just visiting an interesting place, the Taoist Studies Institute is well worth checking out.