Qui Chuji’s Advice For Online Communications

Gregory Ripley
4 min readSep 13, 2023

Qiu Chuji, also known by his Daoist name Qiu Changchun is considered the founder of the Longmen (Dragon Gate) lineage of Daoism. He was the youngest of the group of disciples of Wang Chongyang known as the “Seven Perfected”. There are many interesting stories about Qiu, from his traveling for three years to visit Genghis Khan in the Hindu Kush, to his practice of carrying a stone up the mountain like a Daoist Sisyphus.

His legacy also includes texts on neidan or internal alchemy style meditation, but one of his most important writings for our current times might be his text, Qiuzu Chan Hui Wen (Ancestor Qiu’s Repentance Text). This text forms a part of the Morning Liturgy of Longmen Daoism and serves as a moment of reflection and repentance of our shortcomings. It allows us to acknowledge that ignorance is difficult to overcome and that we all have fallen short of our own ideals many times in the past. We have all behaved in ways that we regret and we all hope to do better in the future.

Repentance in Daoism is a little different than what we might typically think of if we have been raised in a Judeo-Christian society. We aren’t confessing our sins to a priest or other intercessor but are acknowledging our own mistakes to ourselves. We are seeking to be completely honest with ourselves so that we can move forward from an accurate perception of our lives.

This practice is often done daily, so with that we are acknowledging that we will surely mess up tomorrow and the next day (and probably every day after that). We might be aiming at some ideal of “perfection” but we don’t necessarily expect to get there any time soon. Whether we think of it as spiritual practice, self-cultivation, or simply refining our character, it is a journey, not a destination. It is a path we will continue to walk until we take our last breath and the only destination we can arrive at is here and now, in the eternity of the present moment.

As we practice, we remind ourselves to be mindful of our thought patterns and behaviors that we so often take for granted, unraveling the tangled ball of yarn made up of our unconscious habits and conditioning, the narratives we’ve told ourselves and the stories we’ve internalized from others. We then dedicate ourselves to doing better in the future, by reciting a series of vows, aspirations, or what I like to call “auspicious wishes.” A few of these that are especially relevant to online communications are included at the end of this post.

As we all know online communications are fraught with the dangers of misunderstandings, knee-jerk reactions, and the verbal violence of flame wars. The silent words on the screen of our computer or smartphone can resonate in our minds as though someone is actually there in person, insulting us or screaming in our face.

Couple this with the fact that it can be hard to discern when someone is trying to have a real discussion with us or is simply trying to score rhetorical points, or even just trolling to get a rise out of us. Add in the fact that social media algorithms love a good click bait hot take designed to get us all riled up, and it can be a recipe for disaster. The most well-intentioned post can become like chum in the digital currents attracting the most intense emotions to a discussion like moths to a flame. In that light we need to approach online communications with a cool head and an open receptive heart. We must sweep out any delusive thoughts and nonsensical views we may be holding onto and approach each online interaction with the freshness of Spring. (Changchun means Eternal Spring)

“Sweep, sweep, sweep!

Sweep clear the heart till there is nothing left.

He with a heart that is clean-swept is called a ‘good man.”[1]

This Spring cleaning of the mind is something we can do in every moment. When we do this before engaging with others, it allows us to take a step back and make sure we are using our words carefully and communicating clearly, and that we are actually seeking to understand each other in a meaningful dialogue, not the dueling monologues which so much of our online communications devolve into. While a conversation might begin like discordant dueling banjos, we eventually want to harmonize so that we resonate with new understanding, transforming our duel into a duet.

Returning to Qiu’s text, the following are some of the aspirational prayers which I find particularly relevant to good communication, especially online. Reciting these to ourselves, silently or aloud, or simply just reading them before we head into the fray of social media can ground us and remind us to keep a cool head and an open heart.

May these verses help you on your path, whether virtual or IRL.

In my online communications:

May I not speak rashly or deceptively and behave with honor and sincerity.

May I submerge the ego and forgive others, conceal my own anger, and tolerate that of others’.

May I have a compassionate heart, and humbly treat all with respect.

May I not lose balance and follow distorted views.

[1] The Travels of an Alchemist (1931), by Li Chih-Ch’ang, tr. Arthur Waley



Gregory Ripley

I’m the author of The Hundred Remedies of the Tao and The Tao of Sustainability. I’m an ordained Daoist Priest and Nature & Forest Therapy Guide.