When the Yi Jing (Book of Changes; 2400 B.C.) was introduced to the Chinese people, they believed that natural energy or power include Tian (Heaven, A), Di
(Earth, and Ren (Man, A). These were called San Cai (The Three Natural Powers, These three facets of nature have their definite rules and cycles. The rules never change, and the cycles repeat periodically. Therefore, if you could understand the rules and the cycles of Tian Shi (Heavenly Timing, ^st), you would be able to understand natural changes such as the seasons, climate, weather, rain, snow, drought, and all other natural occurrences. Among the natural cycles are those of the day, the month, and the year, as well as cycles of twelve years and sixty years.
If you understand the rules and the structure of the earth, you will be able to understand geography, how plants grow, how rivers move, where the best place to live is, where to build a house and which direction it should face so that it is a healthy place to live, and many other things related to the earth. As mentioned earlier, in China today there are people who make their living in the profession called Di Li (Geomancy, or Feng Shui (Wind Water, H,*-). Feng Shui is commonly used because the location and character of the wind and water in a landscape are the most important factors in evaluating a location. These professionals help people choose where to live, where to bury their dead, and even how to rearrange or redecorate homes and offices so that they are better places to live and work in.
When you understand Ren Shi (Humans Relations, Ai), you will be able to understand the relationship between nature and people, interpersonal relationships, and the destiny of an individual. If you understand the Three Natural Powers, you will be able to predict natural disasters, the fate of a country, or the future of a person. The Chinese believe that in this universe, it is the Qi, or natural energy, which demonstrates these natural rules and cycles. This natural force decides everything, makes the plants grow, affects the birth of a child, and influences the destiny of a country, or even a person's desires and temperament. This field has generated a profession called Suan Ming (Calculate Life, which is devoted to fortune telling.
It is easy to understand that you were formed and grew under the influence of natural rules and cycles. You are part of nature, and you are channeled into the cycles of nature. If you go against this natural cycle, you will become sick and soon die. If you know the natural cycles and learn how to live with them, you will gain a long and healthy life. That is the meaning of "Dao," which can be translated as "The Natural Way."
Based on the understanding of these principles, the Chinese people figured out a way to calculate the changes of natural Qi. This calculation is called Bagua (The Eight Trigrams, From the Eight Trigrams are derived the 64 hexagrams.
Therefore, the Yi Jing was probably the first book which taught the Chinese people about Qi and its variations in nature and man. The relationship of the Three Natural Powers and their Qi variations were later discussed extensively in the book Qi Hua Lun (Theory of Qi's Variation, fcitiir).
Around 1766-1154 B.C. (the Shang dynasty, Chinese doctors started using stone probes called "Bian Shi" ((Figure 1-2) to adjust people's Qi circulation. This is considered the beginning of acupuncture. During the Zhou dynasty (1122-934 B.C., $), Lao Zi (£f-)(also called Li Er, #4) described certain breathing techniques in his classic Dao De Jing (Classic on the Virtue of the Dao, il&if). Later, Shi Ji (Historical Record, £ to ) in the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods (77022 1 B.C., also described more complete methods of breath training. About 300 B.C. the Daoist philosopher Zhuang Zi (£■?■ ) described the relationship between health and breath.
During the Qin and Han dynasties (221 B.C. to 220 A.D., & • * ), several books were written that discussed the circulation of Qi, such as the Nan Jing (Classic on Disorders, ) by Bian Que ( A*^), Jin Gui Yao Lue (Prescriptions from the Golden Chamber, by Zhang, Zhong-Jing (»if*), and Zhou Yi Can Tong Qi (A
Comparative Study of the Jou (Dynasty) Book of Changes, ® n & ) by Wei, Bo-Yang (lift(ft). It can be seen from this list that up to this time, almost all of the publications were written by scholars such as Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi, or medical doctors such as Bian, Que and Wei, Bo-Yang. Characteristics of Qigong in this period were:
1. There were two major types of Qigong training. One type was used by the Confucian and Daoist scholars, who used it primarily to maintain their health. The other type of Qigong was for medical purposes, using needles or exercises to adjust the Qi or to cure illness.
2. Except for Daoism, there was almost no religious color to the training.
3. All of the training was passive rather than active, gently improving and maintaining health.
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