The most prominent feature of the Mt. Emei Sage Style Qigong is union, a concept that dates back to ancient Chinese civilization. In his book, Peasant Society and Culture, sociologist Robert Redfield explains that in any civilization, both great and little traditions exist. "The great tradition is cultivated in schools or temples; the little tradition works itself out and keeps itself going in the lives of the unlettered in their village communities."3 The two traditions are interdependent. The Mt. Emei Sage style of Qigong, along with other classical styles of Qigong, can be considered a little tradition while Daoism and Confucianism can be considered great traditions. The great and little traditions have long affected each other in China. The great tradition was formed from the little tradition and then became the main momentum in the development of Chinese civilization. Great or little, the core feature of all Chinese traditions is union rather than separation.
Many aspects of Chinese culture (music, art, medicine, science, etc.) are attributed to a single great tradition when, in truth, other traditions contributed to their development as well. For instance, the Yijing (I Ching or Book of Changes) is regarded as the most revered classic of Confucianism. It would be incorrect, however, to think that the Yijing is based solely on Confucianism since Daoism contains most of the pragmatic methods of Yijing science, such as Chinese Five Elements Astrology, Fengshui, and various divination methods.
Confucianism and Daoism, the two main pillars of classical Chinese tradition, both originated in the ancient world of shamanism. As the way of humanity, Confucianism inherited and rationalized the knowledge of courtesy, ceremonial rites and regulations, and aspects of personal emotion from the ancient shamanic rituals. As the way of nature, Daoism rationalized and expanded the wisdom of the way of the universe and applied pragmatic knowledge from the ancient shamanic rituals.4
Another important classical Chinese tradition is classical Chinese medicine (CCM). It represents the joining of Daoism and Confucianism and is thoroughly based on Yijing science. The Tang M Dynasty (617-907 CE) sage Sun Simiao , who is respected as the "Medical King" by the Chinese, stated that "nobody qualifies to be a master physician without knowledge of the science of change."5 Indeed, CCM and Chinese shamanism are widely considered to have originated from the same source. In Chinese, the term is H |W| jg Wu Yi Tong Yuan, which translates literally as "shaman and doctor come from the same source." In fact, many of the ancient documents verify that ancient Chinese doctors were shamans.6
From this we can conclude that shamanism, Confucianism, Daoism, and classical Chinese Medicine connect to each other to form a union—and union is the prominent feature of the classical Chinese traditions. Through the Qigong form, we will come to see this feature more clearly even though we will not discuss the martial arts application of the Tiger form in this book.
Was this article helpful?