In China, the Han dynasty was a glorious and peaceful period. It was during the Eastern Han dynasty (c. 58 A.D., fcfc) that Buddhism was imported to China from India. Because the Han emperor was a sincere Buddhist, Buddhism soon spread, and became very popular. Many Buddhist meditation and Qigong practices, which had been practiced in India for thousands of years, were absorbed into the Chinese culture. The Buddhist temples taught many Qigong practices, especially stilt meditation or Chan (Zen, # ' &), which marked a new era of
Qigong practice. Much of the deeper Qigong theory and practices which had been developed in India were brought to China. Unfortunately, since the training was directed at attaining Buddhahood, the training practices and theory were recorded in the Buddhist bibles and kept secret. For hundreds of years the religious Qigong training was never taught to laymen. Only in this century has it been available to the general populace.
Not long after Buddhism was imported into China, a Daoist by the name of Zhang, Dao-Ling combined the traditional Daoist principles with Buddhism and created a religion called Dao Jiao Many of the meditation methods were a combination of the principles and training methods of both sources.
Since Tibet had its own branch of Buddhism with its own training system and methods of attaining Buddhahood, Tibetan Buddhists were also invited to China to preach. In time, their practices were also absorbed.
In addition to the Qigong meditations passed down secretly within the monasteries, traditional scholars and physicians continued their Qigong research. During the Jin dynasty (£■) in the third century A.D., a famous physician named Hua Tuo used acupuncture for anesthesia in surgery. The Daoist Jun Qian (##) used the movements of animals to create the Wu Qin Xi (Five Animal Sports, -5-ftA), which taught people how to increase their Qi circulation (some say that the Wu Qin Xi was created by Hua Tuo). Also, in this period, a physician named Ge Hong (8 at) mentioned using the mind to lead and increase Qi in his book Bao Pu Zi (iMli ). In the period of 420 to 581 A.D., Tao, Hong-Jin ( W frf ) compiled the YangShen Yan Ming Lu (Records of Nourishing the Body and Extending Life, * ), which showed many Qigong techniques.
Characteristics of Qigong during this period were:
1. There were three schools of religious Qigong which influenced and dominated the Qigong practice in this period. These are Indian Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Daoism.
2. Almost all of the religious Qigong practices were kept secret within the monasteries.
3. Religious Qigong training worked to escape from the cycle of reincarnation.
4. Relatively speaking, religious Qigong theory is harder to understand than the theory of the non-religious Qigong, and the training is harder.
5. Qi circulation theory was better understood by this time, so the Qigong sets created in this period seem to be more efficient than the older sets.
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