Chinese medicine is completely different from that of the West. As a system it has its own integrity and internal coherence. Its parts are so interrelated and dependent upon each other that there is almost no point in trying to find correspondences or parallels between the Western and Chinese systems. Techniques lifted from Chinese medicine often do not work well outside the context of their
"The Western tradition..
developed from the study and dissection of corpses"... "Correspondingly, many of its treatments tend to reflect this outlook n own system and culture. This Ls not to say that the techniques are ineffective but that Chinese medicine works best as a whole and rxx in Isolated parts.
A Western doctor and a Chinese doctor may take identical cases and form entirely different diagnoses, use entirely different methods of treatment to cure the patient, and both be successful. Each system is completely valid in its own terms and in the clinical testing of their relative results, but there does not seem to be any possibility of integrating the two systems into some kind of grand unified theory. The two theories start from the common ground of symptoms, but then pull in entirely opposite directions.
I believe that this stems from the ways in which the two traditions developed. Traditional Chinese medicine developed from the careful study of the body by extremely perceptive and sensitive monks and doctors who "listened" to the flow of energy and fluids in their own bodies, and observed how imbalances manifested themselves. Ch er a long period of time this diligent study developed into a corpus of knowledge which, around 100 B.C.F.., was gathered together into the Nei Jing (The Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor) which Ls generally regarded as the source of the Chinese medical tradition and is still essential reading for ckxlors today.
The Western tradition, on the other hand, developed from the study and dissection of corpses. As such. Western medicine has developed in parallel with clinical anatomy. It specialises in the precise study and identification of the fixed structure of the bcxly. Correspondingly, many of its treatments tend to reflect this outkx>k.
The differences in these (HJtlooks can be seen by comparison of the two traditions' understanding of
Qi Mjgj/irxr 9
the organs. Within Chinese Medicine the body is viewed as an integrated set of functions and relationships. Organs are defined by their activity and not by their physical structure as they are in the West. The Chinese have no traditional system of anatomy. Hence traditional Chinese medicine does not recognise many of the organs and glands (e.g. pancreas or adrenal glands) that are fundamental to Western medicine. On the other hand the West, because it has no tradition of interpreting the flow of energy within the body, does not recognise some of the organs of Chinese medicine (e.g. the Triple Burner) or even what Chinese medicine would regard as the fundamental substances of the body (l.e. Jlng, Qi, Shen).
The medicine of the West is reductive. It takes hold of symptoms and reduces them down until it discovers the minute pathological elements producing the symptoms, which it then tries to eradicate or remove from the body. The Chinese on the other hand, take the symptoms and expand them until they produce a general picture of disharmony within not just the body but the life of the patient, who they then cure by a subde art of re-balancing. The relationship of the two traditions is well represented by the five elements theory where the East is represented by wood, which is subde, harmonious, and growing; and the West by metal, which is cutting, decisive and technological.
Both systems can prove their validity in clinical testing. There are areas where Western medicine is superior to the Chinese, but there are also just as important areas where Chinese medicine is superior to Western. Both systems grew up in entirely different historical, political and cultural contexts and it would seem that they draw their strengths from being a part of their relative cultures' discourse rather than apart from them, as neither is able to transfer directly or coherently into the other's epLstemology^
Wld goose qigong
Yang Meijun is the 27th generation inheritor of Dayan Qigong (Wild Goose Qigong). She began practising when she was just thirteen. Now she is 100 years old and is one of the most famous Qigong masters in China.
She attributes her good health and long life to her daily practice of Wild Goose Qigong. Now for the first time she has written a book in English covering the entire 128 movements of the Wild Goose.
Treasure of the Chinese Nation
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For hundreds of years Kung Fu has been practised in China. Throughout much of this time the Shaolin Temple has represented the very pinnicle of these arts.
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The Shaolin Temple's reputation as a centre of excellence for Martial Arts is a well known fact to modem martial artists across the world. Few people, however, realise that the Shaolin Temple is also a Buddhist Temple which has been prominent in the historical development erf Buddhism.
Bodhidharma (Da Mo in Chinese) came from India in the 6th Century AD as one of the few teachers to come to preach Buddhism in the 'Middle Kingdom', China. Bodhidharma brought a new brand of Buddhism which did not rely on the study of scriptures (Sutras) and devotional practice, but depended more on individual direct experience of Enlightenment through meditation, or 'mind to mind transmission'.
According to one story, the Emperor of the day questioned Bodhidharma as to how much merit, in terms of future rewards, he had accumulated through his construction and patronage of numerous monasteries and temples throughout his kingdom. Bodhidharma answered "nothing!". The Emperor, not understand the meaning of 'nothing', felt terribly offended and chased Bodhidharma away. Fleeing for his life, Bodhidharma took refuge in the famous Shaolin Temple, where he sat in meditation for nine years. Many legends surrounding his stay at the temple subsequently developed.
Bodhidarma'ssignifkance, apart from the legends describing his contribution to the development of Martial Arts and Qigong exercises, is primarily that he was the first Patriarch of the Ch'an (Zen in Japanese) sea of Buddhism in China. The word 'Ch'an' is a transliteration of the Sanskrit word 'Dhyanna', which means meditation.
Ch'an Buddhism took on a Chinese character in the 7th Century under the 6th Patriarch, Hui-Neng. Mixing its doctrines with the indigenous Chinese philosophies and practices (especially Taoism), a new Ch'an Buddhism was bom that combines the metaphysical spirit of India with the practical spirit of China.
The ultimate aim * of Ch'an meditation is to realise one's original nature through Enlightenment. In simple terms, the objective is to open our eyes to the ultimate truth, the ultimate reason of the universe, seeing things as they are in their undefiled nature, to understand ourselves, the reason for being, the purpose of life. To be able to do this, our mind needs to be cleansed of all the restrictive concepts we have accumulated over the years, so that the wisdom which is inherent in all of us can spring back into our conscious mind, and this can only effectively be done through meditation.
"The ultimate aim of CL' an meditation is to realise one s original nature tkrougk Enlightenment."
The first discipline to learn in meditation is the ability to focus the mind and not to be attached or encouraged by uncontrolled thoughts. Without realising, all of us have 'thought impulses' coming and going all the time. Good thoughts make us happy, and bad ones make us sad. Experiment by sitting in a comfortable position and emptying your mind for five minutes. For non meditators, this will feel like an eternity, and you will notice that all sorts of thoughts and impulses come and go.
Thoughts are a chain reaction. For example, a thought of a bad past experience may lead to a thought of hate for someone else. One after another, the thoughts multiply. Suddenly, without knowing it, you can end up hating the whole world. This happens with good or bad thoughts alike. We can see how thoughts can create moods without us knowing.
Meditation slowly makes us aware of the workings of our mind. Experiment by asking yourself, whenever you are sad or happy, what it is that makes you sad or happy. Inevitably it has its source in a thought impulse from the subconscious of your mind. In Chan meditation, we leam how to be in control of these impulses. Thoughts are powerful, and an old Buddhist saying reflects this:
Sow a thought, reap an action;
Sow an action, reap a habit;
Sow a habit, reap a destiny.
Big things are achieved with a simple beginning ... just a thought, the mother of all action and destiny.
The mechanics of meditation
Mechanics of meditation are simple. The difficulty lies in th will to practise"
are simple. The difficulty lies in the •will power' to practice. In Buddhism, there is no dependence on God or a supernatural power. You have to leam to find and rely on your own strength. There is no one else to blame for your own weaknesses and failures but yourself. The secret of meditation is to be patient and to practise, practise and practise.
On a more physiological level, uncontrolled thoughts have an impact on our mental and physical well being. Excessive negative thoughts can, for example, cause stress and unnecessary worries which can lead to health problems. Body and mind are interlinked. Correct posture therefore disciplines the body and is the most important foundation of meditation. The ability to sit motionless for at least half an hour has a deep, calming effect on the mind. In your daily life, you have probably noticed that body movements often reflect one's state of mind. One example is that you can notice a nervous person through signs of trembling fingers or hands. The list is too long to enumerate. Calming and relaxing the body creates a corresponding effect on the mind.
The traditional posture in Ch'an Buddhism, and generally in Asia, is die 'Lotus' posture. This is the posture in which the Buddha is often pictured.
You should practice for twenty minutes at least twice a week, and try to gradually increase it to thirty minutes daily. Some serious meditators practice for over two hours daily in sittings of half an hour, with breaks of a few minutes in between. In some monasteries, temples, or Ch'an organisations, intensive retreats of one week or more of meditation are organised. During these retreats, meditation practice can be up to eight hours daily B
by Patrick Wart
37 Fluttering the Wings
i. Begin to flutter the hands from the wrist, keeping the hands open, and the wrist and the forearms relaxed. The fluttering should not be too fast or too vigorous, but also not too slow.
ii. Look up and begin to raise your hands up. At the same time, slowly begin to rise and start to shift your weight onto your left leg.
ill Continue to rise until your hands are above your head but keep your arms slightly bent, your right leg is straight and all your weight is on your left leg.
The fluttering of the hands stimulates the internal oigans as the fingers are connected to the organs and so fluttering the hand stimulates the oigans and releases energy.
This is a special movement in Dayan Gong. Fluttering your hands, like a pair of wings, continually moves the fingers up and down. This smoothes the channels throughout the body as each finger is connected to a different channel and releases negative energy and recharges the positive energy.
Meanwhile, moving from a squatting position to a standing one and looking up, raises the Qi to the face and head. This enables you to gather more energy from the sky and helps to smooth the Ren and Du channels. I Open your arms out to either side.
38 Looking at the Water
Continue fluttering your hands ... ii Shift aO your weight forwards, allowing your left heel to lift up. As you shift forwards bring your hands down and to the back so that the palms face your kidneys and look straight ahead.
Within this movement, the main points are the palms facing the kidneys. Thus gives the kidneys energy which strengthens them. Looking forwards and opening the chest releases excessive Qi through the eyes and Qihui points.
39 Pat Water and Fly Away
Again continue fluttering the hands ...
i Raise up your arms to shoulder height, so that (he right arm is bent and the fingers of your right hand point forwards and the fingers of your left hand point to the Hegue point of your right hand. Look at your hands.
ii Begin to shift your weight to your left leg. Allow your arms to drop slightly.
iii Shift all your weight onto your left leg allowing your right heel to rise and gendy swing your arms up and to the left, so that the right hand points to the left Hegue point.
iv 'Swoop' back to the right and once more to the left.
v Gendy swing round to the front so that your weight is on your right leg and your hands flutter in front of your chest, Hegue points facing the Qihui points.
This movement should be gentle and smooth. Your weight and your hands should swing together and the attitude should be that of a flying bird.
Moving the waist and fluttering the arms releases the poisons in the body and smoothes all the channels (this is the same as the animals shaking off the water when they get wet). This movement Is particularly good for the eyes.
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