Qigong p; is a traditional method of physical, mental, and Shen f^ (spiritual) cultivation. To learn the meanings of Q and Gong is a way to deepen our understanding of Qigong. We learned the meaning of Q while drinking the Gongfu tea, and the Gongfu tea will also help us learn the meaning of Gong.
Let us take a look at the Chinese character for Gong. This character contains the radical Gong land the radical Li fff.. GongH means labor, project, skill, delicate, result, work, or worker. The original meaning of GongJl was a carpenter's square, which symbolized the universal law. We will discuss its symbolic meaning in the next section (6.3 Wu fg—Chinese Shamanism). The second radical Li ff means all one's best, force, power, effort, or strength. The Han Dynasty (206 BCE—200 CE) dictionary Shouwen Jiezi ffff fffffl^ explains Li as "a pattern of tendons." Therefore, Gong ffff hints at the meaning that we should follow the correct way and work hard if we want to improve our skill. Following the correct way means finding and following the instruction of an illuminated teacher. Please remember, the illuminated teacher is not equivalent to the famous teacher. Be aware that some famous teachers are not authentic in their cultivation and are cheating their students.
Gong means work, exploit, skill, merit, or achievement, and it also means Gongfu In Chinese, Gongfu means time and it also means a skill that develops over a long period of time and through strenuous effort. It is the same as our needing to take time to drink the Gongfu tea to learn the Way. Let us have another cup of Gongfu tea to review the details of Gongfu in Part I, 1.2.1 Gongfu and Tea.
From the perspective of ancient Chinese philosophy, the great Dao is composed of the interaction of one Yin and one Yang and its expression throughout the universe. Heaven represents the Yang component while Earth represents the Yin component.
The balance and union of these Heavenly Yang and Earthly Yin energies result in a peaceful and harmonious world. Likewise, imbalances in these energies can result in disharmony in the world, which can take the form of natural disasters such as earthquakes, storms, floods, and volcanic eruptions. As a part of this dynamic universe, human beings are also subject to the effects of these energies. By following and living by the balancing principles of the universe, it is possible to achieve harmony in the body. Through study and observation of this Universal Way, the ancient Wu created numerous methods to help people maintain/rebuild their body balancing systems in order to keep their bodies, minds, and spirits healthy. People have used these methods to improve their lives for thousands of years in China. Now, we call these modalities Qigong.
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