At some stage during the same period of san-shin and other mythological figures, Taoism was generated, probably as a result of Shamanism as the two are interconnected. In Korea this form of Taoist practice is known as Sun Do. It originates from the ancient Korean people in Northeast Asia, where it was practiced for centuries as Mountain Taoism. With the arrival of foreign influences and philosophies, some practitioners retreated to the mountains to preserve and protect this art from extinction. Since then, Sun Do has been passed down from teacher to student for thousands of years.
Sun Do is an ancient healing system sometimes referred to as Taoist alchemy or metaphysics. Taoists believe that, on a grand scale, the powerful energy of nature and the cosmos are mirrored in the smaller-scale functions of the human body. In order to harness this power and increase vital energy, individuals practice lower abdominal breathing. The breath is synonymous with the concept of spirit in many different cultures. In Sun Do, breath becomes a connection between a person's ego (personality) and his or her deeper or true self.
Sun Do-Taoist alchemy works with three energy centers: the ha-tancheon (navel chakra), the jung-tancheon (heart chakra), and the sang-tancheon (third-eye chakra). Balancing these centers makes individual transformation possible.
Three categories of Taoist practice include: Religious, Public and Mountain Taoism. Religious Taoism is practiced in temples, while Public Taoism is practiced in everyday life and folk culture. Practitioners of both Religious and Public Taoism depend on intermediaries such as priests, shamans or healers to assist them in rituals that enhance personal growth or moral standards.
Sun Do Mountain Taoism does not require another person to act as an intermediary to self-realization. It is a self-cultivating practice that depends upon an individual's ability to sustain his or her own inner process of development.