Saturday, October 26, 2013

Searching for the lost spirit of Chinese medicine

Searching for the Lost Original Spirit of Chinese Medicine 《寻回中医失落的元神》 by Pan Yi  潘毅 is a new book, which I found during my recent visit in Beijing.

The book is in Chinese and has two parts: the first one is on Yi Jing 易经 and Dao 道, and the second part - on symbols and phenomena 象 related to the concepts in Chinese medicine.

Pan Yi is a professor at the University of Chinese Medicine in Guangzhou. When in the 1990s he started teaching Chinese medicine classes to his students, he wanted to add more content beyond the textbooks, so he started reading Yi Jing (the Book of Changes) and other classics, and then found that the standardized content in the textbooks is very shallow and have lost the original way (Dao 道) and spirit of Chinese medicine.  The current textbooks are serving to accomodate the technical approach to modern science and make it easy for the students to pass the exams, however they don't reach the level of effective depth that is inherent to the classical Chinese medicine.

In this book Pan Yi has made a thorough study of  how the Yi Jing hexagrams and the principles of the five elements integrate with Chinese medicine, i.e. the characteristics of the inner organs, the properties of herbs, the making of herbal formulas and many other related topics, using examples and quotations from different classics.

I highly recommend Searching for the Lost Original Spirit of Chinese Medicine to all who are interested in the topics of Chinese medicine and Yi Jing.

Here is a link to the author's blog with the table of contents of the book in Chinese:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Is the right bank of the river more auspicious?

Recently I read in some Chinese books and articles that the right bank of the river is better for living as it acummulates more auspicious energy (sheng qi 生气).  Right side of the river - this is the right from you when you look at the direction of the river flow.  An old feng shui saying goes: "The right bank of the river is auspicious, while the left bank of the river is ominous"  河右为吉,河左为凶.

Some relate this notion to the Earth rotation from west to east, which in the Northern hemisphere creates an offset force towards the right side of the flow of the river. The opposite statement will be valid for the Southern hemisphere, where the auspicious will be the left bank of the river.

It is considered that most of the cities situated on the right bank of a river prosper more. Given examples of such cities are Ottawa in Canada, Cairo in Egypt, Seoul in South Korea, Moscow in Russia, Hanoi in Vietnam, and also such cities in China as Nanjing, Luoyang, Xian, Lanzhou, Suzhou, Zhenzhou, Kaifeng, Chongqing and many others. Of course there are many cities that develop and prosper on the left bank of rivers as well and there are different factors contributing for this. 

In addition to this, in the old books of Tibetan medicine it is also pointed out that herbs growing on the right bank of the river have more healing properties.

It's interesting to note that the Russian scientist Karl Ernst Ritter von Baer (1792 - 1876) has examined that in the northern hemisphere, erosion occurs mostly on the right banks of rivers, and in the southern hemisphere - on the left banks. In geology this is known as Baer's law and Albert Einstain has explained this phenomenon in an article in 1926.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

No demon can pass through a crooked bridge

  Who would believe that in the beginning of 19th century Shanghai county has been surrounded by this beautiful round town wall with 10 gates!
  The old stone bridges in Shanghai were accurately located by the principle of not pointing at the door of any building, which in feng shui is considered as bringing bad luck. There was only one exception, but soon the mistake was fixed: one of the bridges was pointing at the town wall gate and the people started complaining that this will invite Yin qi of the ghosts from the nearby graveyard to pass through the bridge and start making problems. So the design of the bridge was changed and since then it is known as the "Crooked Bridge". No demon can pass through a crooked bridge...

Friday, March 22, 2013

"Picking wormwood, if one day not seeing it is like three years"

  - 《诗经·王风·采葛》

"Picking wormwood, if one day not seeing it is like three years".
-  from Book of Songs (chapter "Wang Feng. Picking kudzu")

This shows how important was the use of wormwood in ancient China.
The sentence has become a Chinese idiom and means something, which you like and miss a lot.

一日三岁 yī rì sān suì   "One day is like three years".

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Vernal Equinox and the Qi in the Body

   On March 20th is the March (Vernal) Equinox. The three days before and after the Vernal equinox are considered as a valuable time for more meditation. As the qigong saying goes: "the six days around the Vernal Equinox are the most important for the first half of the year".  This is a good opportunity to stimulate the opening of the meridians and achieve a better balance in the body.

The Governing and the conception channels form the Small Heavenly Orbit. At the different 15-day solar terms the energy is concentrated and active at a certain area on the Small Heavenly Orbit, thus making a complete circle in the whole year.
 At the Vernal Equinox the energy is concentrated at the Jia Ji points  (Hua Tuo Jia Ji points of the back). You can easily feel the flow of qi inside this area now.

Enjoy the meditation in the Spring!

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Moxibustion is your happiness"

This Japanese painting from 18th century is named "Moxibustion is your happiness" and shows moxa treatment for hemorrhoids.The moxibustion has anti-inflammatory and detoxifying actions and is traditionally used in China and Japan for curing different diseases, including hemorrhoids.