QIGONG - the secret of youth

QIGONG - the secret of youth

(Parte 3 de 7)

You can see that tradition is the result of accumulated experiences filtered through human feelings. Different races have had different historical backgrounds and, there fore, have different traditions and rules. These traditions represent the characteristics of each race, which were developed through thousands of years.

Chapter 1 Introduction

In this century, modern science has developed and communication around the world has become very easy. Open minded youngsters have started to challenge the "traditional," and have re-entered the "experience" path of their ancestors. However, as they let go of the traditions they lose their bearings. Without experience to guide them they feel lost, and their lives seem to have no meaning. Because of this they suf fer pain and confusion. In order to escape from this, they look to drugs and alcohol for temporary relief. These have become an ever-increasing problem, and I really believe that it is because we have ignored our culture and traditions in the last two decades.

As the material sciences have developed, material enjoyments have become peo ple's main concern. They base their feelings and self-satisfaction on the enjoyment of material things. Tradition and accumulated human emotional experience have become the major source of a generation gap. Older people have lost the respect of the younger generation and become the lost group in this modern society. Human spiritual feel ings and the appreciation of culture and fine, classic, creative arts have been downgraded.

Not until recently did our society start to realize the value of tradition and experi ence. This is especially true for the knowledge and experience which are based on spiritual feelings. This new society is beginning to understand that in order to have a happy life, you need not just material comfort, but also, and more importantly, spiri tual cultivation in peace and calmness. Many people are starting to believe that the traditional practices of the ancient spiritual societies hold the key to solving many mental problems and improving our lives. Tradit·ion and spiritual science are being re evaluated. This tendency has become especially apparent in the last ten years with the increased cultural exchange between East and West. Finally, people are getting the chance to see how people in other parts of the globe deal with life's problems.

Chinese Qigong has started to bloom in the West. More and more, people are coming to believe that, in addition to maintaining health and increasing longevity,

Qigong can be one of the most effective ways to attain a peaceful, spiritual life.

Qigong is one of the greatest achievements of China. It was created from the accu mulated experiences of countless generations by thousands of "wise men." These wise men, after learning the traditional knowledge, modified and added their own experi ences to the practice. Finally, this treasure has reached our hands. Now, it is our responsibility to keep it and continue to develop it. Many of the theories and training methods of Qigong were kept secret, and only recently made available to the general public. There are many reasons for this secrecy: Every Qigong style considered its theory and methods to be precious trea sures which offered something which could not be purchased with money-health and long life. Because this was so valuable, many masters did not want to share it.

The Value of Tradition Many Qigong training theories are hard to understand, and the practices dangerous if done incorrectly. Only advanced disciples have the necessary level of understanding, and few ever get to this level. Many Qigong practitioners believed that the more you kept a mystery, the more valuable and precious it would be. Some of the Qigong training, such as Marrow/Brain Washing, involves stimulation of the sexual organs. In the ancient, conservative society, this was considered immoral.

Many Qigong secrets were passed down only to a few students or to direct blood relatives. In religious Qigong, the limitations were even stricter. The religious exercis es were passed down only to the priests. This was especially true for the Marrow/Brain Washing Qigong. In fact, these techniques were traditionally passed down to only a very few disciples who understood Qigong theory and had reached a high level of cul tivation. This situation lasted until the beginning of this century, when it was gradually revealed to laymen. It was only during the last twenty years that many of the secret documents were made available t.o the public.

Nobody can deny that Western science which has been developed today is main ly focused on material development. Spiritual science has been downplayed. The major reason for this is simply that the spiritual energy world is harder to see and understand. This spiritual science is still in its formative stage. Recently, it was report ed that even today's science understands probably only 1 0% of the functions of the human brain. You can see from this that, compared to the "great nature" which is still waiting for us to discover and understand it, science today is still in its infancy.

For these reasons, it is unwise to use today's infant science to judge the accumu lated experience and phenomena of the past. I believe that as long as we respect the traditions and experience of the past, and continue our study and research, we will eventually be able to understand all of these natural phenomena scientifically.

Following this reasoning, traditional Qigong theory and training methods should remain the main source and authority for your training. The correct attitude in prac ticing Qigong is to respect and understand the past, and to also examine everything from a modern, scientific point of view. In this way you can improve upon the knowl edge and experience of the past. The "secrets" should be opened to the public and should accept the questioning of modern science. A secret is a secret only if you do not know it. Once a secret is common knowledge, then it ceases to be a secret.

Many of you might be wondering: if people in ancient times had to invest at least fifty years of effort before they reached the higher levels of achievement, such as enlightenment, what chance do we have today to reach the same level? Very few peo ple in our busy society can devote the time that the ancients did. The answer is that

Chapter 1 : Introduction since the training theory used to be kept secret, it took most Qigong practitioners many years to learn and understand it. If we can first learn the theory and principles, and then train, we will start out on the correct path and avoid many many years of wondering and confusion. If you want to drive somewhere you have never been before, the best way is to check the map first to find the quickest route. However, if you get in your car with only a vague idea of where your destination is and how to get there, you may never reach it. It is said: "The Large Dao is no more than three or two sentences, when spoken and revealed, it is not worth more than half a penny."1 This means that the so-called secrets contain only some simple theories and principles. With the assistance of modern science, we might be able to find a path which short ens the training period.

Therefore, we should respect the past, and study and practice carefully. Whenever we are able to use modern science to explain something, we should dare to challenge the traditional beliefs and re-evaluate them. Only in this way will the ancient science be recognized and accepted in the present and future.

This volume will be divided into four parts. The first part, after introducing the general concepts, will survey the history of the Yi fin jing (Muscle/Tendon Changing Classic) and the Xi Sui jing (Marrow/Brain Washing Classic). We will then discuss the training background of the two major religious sources of these two classics: Buddhism and Daoism. Since many documents originated with the Daoists, we will discuss the different Daoist approaches to Qigong in the third chapter. Finally, in order to help you understand the major keys to the entire training, the fourth chapter will review the general concepts of Kan (Water, ·J.t) and Li (Fire, • ), which will lead you to a deeper level of understanding of adjusting and balancing your Qi.

In the second part of this book, we will first discuss the theory and principles of

Yi Jin Jing, and follow this with a detailed discussion of the traditional training meth ods. During the discussion, many documents will be translated and commented upon.

Xi Sui Jing theory, training principles and methods will be covered in the third part of the book. Naturally, the available documents will be translated and commented on. Finally, in the fourth part, I will list many of the questions I have about these two arts.

1.2 WHAT ARE Yl JIN JING AND XI SUI JING?

It is extremely important that, before you read any further, you have a general understanding of the Yi Jin Jing and Xi Sui Jing, and of what kind of roles they can play in your health and longevity. This brief introduction will offer you a general idea of what you can expect and what will be involved. Parts Two and Three will discuss these subjects in greater depth.

"Muscle Changing Classic,Tendon Changing Classic," or "Muscle/Tendon Changing

Yi ( �) means "to change, to replace, or to alter," Jin ( �) means "muscles and ten dons," and Jing ( �) means "classic or bible." Therefore, it is commonly translated as 6

What are Yi Jin Jing and Xi Sui Jing?

Classic." "Muscles and tendons" does not refer only to the literal muscles and tendons. It actually refers to all of the physical system which is related to the muscles and ten dons, including the internal organs. The Yi Jin Jing describes Qigong theory and training methods which are able to improve your physical body, and change it from weak to strong. Naturally, these methods are also very effective in maintaining your physical health.

Xi ( i;t) means "to wash" or "to dean." Sui ( t) includes Gu Sui ( f't ), which means "bone marrow," and Nao Sui (!!liltt), which refers to the brain-including cere brum, cerebellum, and medulla oblongata. Jing ( jJ!.) means "classic or bible." This work is commonly translated "Marrow Washing Classic," bur "Marrow/Brain Washing Classic" is a more accurate translation. The first translation probably became popular because of a misunderstanding of the scope of the work, which had been kept secret for a long period of rime. Also, the goal of "brain washing" is enlightenment or Buddhahood, which, in addition to being difficult to understand, is less interesting to laymen. It was nor until recently, when many of the secret documents were made avail able to the general public, that a dearer and more complete picture of the training emerged. A correct translation shows that Xi Sui Jing training deals with the bone marrow and the brain. However, the training does nor actually focus on the physical matter of the bone marrow and the brain. Instead, it emphasizes how you should rake care of the Qi parr of your body, and how to lead the Qi to the bone marrow and brain to nourish them and keep them functioning at an optimal level.

In order to give you a general understanding of how these two arts fit into the gen eral picture of Chinese Qigong, we would like to summarize some important concepts which were discussed in the book: The Root of Chinese Qjgong. First, we will discuss the concept of health, and then we will look at the different categories of Qigong which have been developed in China, and review their training goals. This will pre pare you for an understanding of the role which the Yi Jin Jing and Xi Sui Jing play in Chinese Qigong society. Finally, we will list the differences between the Yi Jin Jing and Xi Sui Jing. Once you understand these basic concepts, you will be able to enter into an examination of the deeper aspects of Qigong without being confused by mys tical "secrets."

1.2.1 What is Real Health?

Your body includes physical and mental parts. The physical body is considered to be Yang ( i'IJ) in Chinese Qigong, and the mental body, which is closely related to the Qi, thinking, and the spirit, is thought of as Yin ( � )Only when these Yin and Yang parts of your body balance each other harmoniously do you have real health. In other words, to have true good health, you must have a strong physical body and a healthy Qi body and mind. When you have both, your spirit can be raised and your whole being will be vigorously alive.

Chapter 1 Introduction

In order to keep the physical part of your body strong, you must have smooth Qi circulation. Qi is the energy source for all of the body's activities. You also need to have healthy blood cells to carry nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. According to Chinese medicine, the blood cells need Qi to stay alive. However, blood cells have also been traditionally considered to be carriers of Qi. They distribute Qi throughout the body, and also act as a battery, storing excess Qi and releasing it when needed. You can see that if the blood cells are nor healthy, they will nor transport nutrients and oxygen efficiently, and they will also nor be able to carry our the function of regulating the Qi.

In order to keep the mental parr of your body healthy, you must learn how to keep your brain healthy. Your brain is the center of your thinking and the headquarters of the Qi. In order to keep your brain functioning properly, you must have plenty of Qi to nourish it. When you have a healthy brain, your spirit of vitality can be raised. In order to have smooth Qi circulation in your body, you must first understand the Qi circulatory system. Your body has twelve primary Qi channels which relate to twelve internal organs, and eight extraordinary vessels which store the Qi. The twelve primary Qi channels are sometimes compared to rivers which circulate the Qi to the organs to maintain their normal functioning, and the eight vessels are compared to reservoirs of Qi which regulate the Qi rivers. To have a healthy body and a long life, you must keep the Qi circulating smoothly in the twelve primary channels, and keep the Qi reservoirs full so that they can regulate the Qi rivers efficiently.

Many Qigong styles were created upon this foundation of knowledge, which is drawn from Chinese medical science. Each style has irs own training goals. Generally speaking, the styles can be divided into four major categories.

1.2.2 Major Qigong Categories and Their Training Goals

Scholar Qigong. Styles in this category were developed by scholars, and their main purpose is maintaining health. They emphasize having an emotionally neutral, healthy mind and smooth Qi circulation.

Healing or Medical Qigong. This category was created mainly by Chinese med ical doctors. Special exercises were created to emphasize the Qi circulation in specific channels in order to cure specific illnesses.

Martial Qigong. The goal of this category is to energize the physical and energy bodies to a more vigorous state so as to increase fighting ability. Most of the exercises in this category were created by Qigong practitioners who were martial artists.

(Parte 3 de 7)

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