Known in Australia to be in the forefront of promoting and teaching Penjing , Chinese Gardens & Chinese heritage since the 90′s, Philippe Tot’s chapter in studying Lingnan Penjing began by a stroke of luck as a child in 1984. Being captivated at such an impressionable age, Philippe began studying Chinese Bonsai (Penjing) in Sydney.
Through studying traditional ideals, & the right teacher Philippe had found a unique talent within himself and a seed which germinated into a lifelong passion was discovered.
This led to much drive and diligence, to further pursue his studies in Hong Kong & China. There, Philippe found his calling, immersed not only in Chinese studies with Penjing (Ancestor of Bonsai). But also Herbal Studies (Căo Yào), Fēng shuĭ (Wind-Water geomancy), bā guà (Eight Trigrams) and Lín Xué Qìgōng (Internal Tree Qigong).
In 1992, Philippe Tot sought to continually expand his knowledge in the field of Horticulture, Chinese and Eastern Landscape Design and soon became established in ‘The Chinese Garden of Friendship Darling Harbour’ Sydney, as ‘Penjing Caretaker’ and Horticulturalist employed by Darling Harbour Authority. At the young age of 15, Philippe Tot started to create a Penjing Collection in the Chinese Gardens that eventually led one of the highest standards in the country. From up until 2010 in The Chinese Garden his past works and legacy where admired by hundreds of people each day.
Philippe Tot’s main interest has been in continuously expanding his knowledge by studying under various cultures and Philosophies, exploring their relationship with Chinese teachings , plants and Gardens, Inner health and Well-being. Whilst never forgetting his Chinese roots, he sought not only the Chinese point of view, but later seeking Japanese (Bonsai), Korean (Bunjae), Vietnamese (hòn non bộ), Taiwanese and Singaporean variations, seeking as many point of view’s as possible.
In Late 2010 after more than 18 ½ years as Penjing and Garden Curator for the Chinese Garden of Friendship, feeling it was time . Philippe Tot made the decision to leave the Penjing & Chinese Garden he cultivated & end his full time care with The Chinese Garden of Friendship & Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (Darling Harbour Authority amalgamated into Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority 1998).
Philippe Tot feeling his correct path 2010 , chose to devote entirely to his studies and to teaching full time & to embrace and focus a deeper level in himself. As well as to pass on invaluable teachings to willing student’s of the Academy in Sydney. The Lingnan Penjing Academy of Australia is Australia’s only full time Institute.
He’s core values retained from these Chinese teachings over the years resides in not only in simple Penjing -Tree artistry, but going much deeper. Seeking the health benefits associated and what one can achieve via attuning oneself to tree energy, knowing the associated herbal qualities of each and which cultivation methods are best served to gain these health benefits. Practices as such, not at all common in the Japanese Bonsai or international Bonsai systems as practiced today. Rather, these are traditional methods used by the select minority in Chinese years long past. Philippe Tot seeing the rarity and value of such teachings, fully embraced all these studies .The Ancestral Heritage of teachings dates from the Qing Dynasty period of China’s history & resides in the Medicinal cultivation , Artistic virtues of Tree’s & Plants found to be rooted deep in Guangdong Chinese culture.
Sifu Philippe Tot’s core lineage via teachers, practices & respects resides in the traditions of Lingnan cultures of Guangdong . He has strong Association with Guangzhou, China and activities, & an Official Alliance Partner with the Yuyinshanfang in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China. South China’s oldest and most revered Lingnan Chinese Garden establishment of a State Level. As well as Director Member of the board with The China Penjing Artists Association of Australasia (CPAAA) since 2008.
Philippe Tot returns to China & Hong Kong regularly & has always held dear the values that he has come to love and master- which has taken most of his life to accomplish. Known as a deep philosopher in his approach has held many talks/lectures over the years, conferences and award-winning exhibitions both, teaching students about Lingnan Penjing, Chinese Gardens and their Associated philosophies.
‘One’s Time Is Truly Precious,
A Heavenly Gift. Your Perfect Elixir;
Flowing like Water Ever Forward, Earthly life.
What a Pity, To Go Through Not Attuned to its Sweetness,
One Cannot Afford to Waste it’