No. 1 – Sleep
Sleep is the first element of nourishing life. Your preferred time to sleep is between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., becausethis time in the course of the day matches the season of winter. If things are not contained in the winter,they cannot grow in the summer, which means that on the next day your spirit will be low.
No. 2 – Medication
All the various medications used to cure diseases work on the surface and don’t penetrate to the root, no matter whether they are Chinese herbs or Western drugs. Because all the different diseases arise from basicmistakes in living and are the result of such mistakes, as long as you do not remove the cause of the mistakes,their result cannot be eliminated at the root.
Now, the root of health is the mind-and-heart and all life factors and experiences originate from there. If themind-and-heart is pure, the body is pure. So, if you get sick, don’t look for a cause outside, but rely on the innatepowers of your own body and self to recover. This reality applies equally to human beings and animals; ifanimals can recover from diseases relying on their own powers, so can people.
No. 3 – Correct Behavior
The right understanding is to stay far away from expensive drugs and dangerous surgery in helping patients to get rid of their diseases. Based on this, you tend to make the right decisions and follow the right patterns of behavior. This will also allow you to ward off the arising of numerous diseases.
No. 4 – Innate Wisdom
People all have innate wisdom, which definitely does not come from book learning. Rather, it comes from their own true mind-and-heart, their pure and clear mind-and-heart (what Daoists call “Dao nature” and Buddhists call the bodhi-mind).
No. 5 – Inner Regulatory Abilities
Among all living beings, people have the most beautiful and complex body, but the degree of its health is determined at birth. Their level of health, then, depends on their original body’s innate regulatory and recovery abilities; it has nothing to do with outside elements. Outside factors can only aid in its functioning.
No. 6 – Purification
The vast majority of symptoms people develop are signs of their bodies ridding themselves of internal toxins in the process of adjustment and purification, conditions that appear as part of the body’s automatic regulation and balancing process. You should therefore take them as signs of the proper functioning of life and never forcefully get rid of them, thinking that they are the beginning of a disease and should be eliminated.
For this reason, when you are sick, by all means avoid developing a mind that is full of resentment, hatred, anger, and anxiety. Rather, make sure there is peace and stability in your mind-and-heart. When the mind is stable, the qi flows properly; when the qi flows properly, the blood is vibrant: the hundred diseases will dissolve.
No. 7 – Qi and Blood, Meridians
People’s heath is closely connected with two factors: sufficient qi and blood; free and open meridians (including blood vessels and the digestive channels).
No. 8 – Good Living Habits
Having sufficient qi and blood depends on sufficient food + bile + good sleep at the right time—from dusk to 1:40 a.m. when the brain does not work at all and we are guided by plants and spirits— + good living habits.
No. 9 – Clear and Pure Mind
To have free and open meridians you most of all need to have a clear and pure mind. The seven emotions and six desires all harm you’re your mind-and-heart, which in turn causes harm to the proper circulation in the meridians.
No. 10 – Enhance and Control Qi
To maintain a healthy body, you need not only to enhance (increase qi and blood) but also to control (diminish the loss of qi and blood).
No. 11 – Control Food
A massive increase in food intake not only will not increase qi and blood but will produce a greater burden of toxins in the body. To return to normal, rely on the purifying powers of digestive blood and qi. The five organs and six intestines all work due to the efforts of blood and qi. Food is their raw material, but there is a limit to how much their work capacity can be increased. Since there is no limit to available food stuffs, we must establish control over the amounts we eat.
No. 12 – Relaxation
Appropriate exercise can aid people’s blood and qi circulation, but it can also contribute to the loss of blood and qi. The energetic cycles in the human body should most of all be approached in a state of relaxation: never compromise on this rule of health!
No. 13 – Detoxify, Open Meridians, Increase Blood and Qi
The greater the amount of toxins in people’s bodies, the more they need to purify their blood and qi. However, people’s blood and qi are reduced because of this increase in toxins and blockages in the arteries. This creates a vicious circle and becomes the main mechanism of aging and decline. For this reason, people who want to be healthy and stay young should do three things: reduce the amount of toxins in their bodies; increase the open passage in their blood vessels and meridians; and increase the blood and qi in the body.
No. 14 – Own Intuition and Awarness
Having faith in the efficacy of medications and diagnostic measurements is not as good as trusting your own intuition and the adequacy of your body’s regulatory abilities. However, these presuppose that you have attained the Dao or opened your inner wisdom and live from that perspective.
No. 15 – Study Buddhism
Health begins with regulating the mind-and-heart and inner nature. So, for the sake of your health, start to study Buddhism. Finding happiness through the practice of Buddhism is the highest fortune among humanity.
No. 16 – False Symptoms
Speaking of someone with an old disease, as long as his blood and qi are kept full (by using the qi-replenishing methods introduced here and by having him do quiet sitting to open the qi nodes), the feelings of the disease may come out in full force.
For this reason, people who practice various forms of cultivation may experience all kinds of “disease-like” symptoms when they reach a certain level. At that time they should intensify their qi-work and firmly stick to their practice of quiet sitting, thereby to increase qi and blood. This way they will move quickly through this situation.
No. 17 – Endangering Life
People who go against the basic rules of nourishing life, even though they may not get obviously sick, as they get habituated to this unhealthy life-style, set themselves up for major disease. It is quite like the basic rules of traffic: if you go against them, you may not have an accident immediately, but the danger of having one is easily obvious.
No. 18 – Emptiness
Why is it beneficial in nourishing life if people maintain a certain level of hunger and thirst? In fact, this is the wonderful application of “emptiness.” Daoists say that emptiness leads to numinosity. This together with humility allows people to make progress, while being full in themselves just makes them drop back to square one. For this reason, one should always maintain an attitude of “empty numen.” This way one can constantly maintain inner clarity and awakeness which in turn allows one to maintain health.
No. 19 – Food Quality
People who want to live a healthy life need to make sure that they take enough qi-bringing and qi-transforming foods. Just by doing this you will avoid accumulating lots of toxins in the body. You will also prevent having too much food releasing a roving “empty fire,” which will deplete your inner organs. Plus, this “empty fire” can turn around and deplete your internal qi. For this reason and speaking from this perspective, when people today get sick, it is for the most part because their intake of food and drink is not properly regulated.
No. 20 – Quiet Sitting
To nourish life by quiet sitting, sit (or lie) on your bed, completely relax body and mind, let your whole body melt without using even a tiny bit of effort, so that you feel as if there was no body. Breathe naturally and exert not even a trace of effort in the mind-and-heart—when a thought arises, this is already using effort. Place your mind calmly on the soles of your feet and from there guide fire down and water up, so that qi and blood in the entire body flow vibrantly.
No. 21 – Turning Point
There is a common saying: “When the turning point is right, a good plan will come.” To properly understand this idea of “turning point,” you need to open your sense of intuition. A teacher giving instructions, a physician curing diseases—these are turning points that fall into your lap and open new chances for you. This “turning point” at times also may be a key opportunity.
Naturally this “turning point” needs to be properly used in the right circumstances which merge with the atmosphere around you to create a certain energetic density, just like by getting ahold of fire one can set off fireworks.
Just to make sure: other people’s activities and events are outside causes; your own talents and tendencies are proper insight causes. If they come together in the right way, this is what we mean by “turning point.” The arrow in the bow ready to be released: you must find the right “point” for your shot. All affairs are ultimately like this—they each have their specific turning point.
If you just connect to this, all kinds of things will evolve. If you don’t connect to it and are involved in too many other affairs, there is no way things will start moving. The turning point is just like this: it is the central element and key opportunity for things to develop. It is a core point, not just a surface appearance. But by setting this core point in motion, you can also move the surface appearance along with it.
For this reason, the turning point of any disease is the central element and key opportunity when the disease arises, develops, and changes. In other words, reaching a turning point of disease, people’s condition becomes openly manifest and they enter a vicious circle of “being sick.” Responding to the turning point of disease opens the “turning point of life.” Once this is opened, people enter a positive circle of health. In fact, these two turning points of disease and of life are two sides of the same coin, a matching yin-yang pair. As the turning point of disease opens, that of life closes, and vice versa, as the turning point of life opens, that of disease gradually begins to close. Such is the honest truth.
No. 22 – Book Learning
The fact is, to appreciate numerous good discoveries and inventions there is no need for book learning. At the proper time, even someone without any kind of traditional education who has a highly developed sense of intution and can completely let go of conscious thinking will be able to arrive at enlightened truth.
No. 23 – Disturbance
The thing people need to be most wary of is something called “disturbance.” If the mind-and-heart is disturbed, it will get entangled in affairs on the outside and cause harm to blood and qi on the inside. All vexations, anger, fear, anxiety, joy, worry, confusion, and doubt mean disturbance. They are the root cause of many diseases and shortened life expectancy. Thus it is not only during times of healing diseases that one should avoid all disturbance but one should keep the mind free from it throughout everyday life.
No. 24 – Excesses
Much sadness harms the lungs; much pleasure (sex) harms the kidneys; much food harms the spleen and stomach; much worrying harms the spleen; much anger harms the liver; much labor harms the spirit. In all cases it will lose its proper course.
No. 25 – Craving
If disease arises in the body, it is in all cases from the mind-and-heart being vacuous empty and the qi being weak. This state makes it possible for outside heteropathies to enter. The mind-and-heart being vacuous and the qi being weak always comes from the mind and the spirit soul(s) being disturbed and agitated, the body structure not being full, and all sorts of anxieties arising: craving for food, for success, for wealth, for happiness—all these are quite enough to produce disease.
Then, when these cravings are not fulfilled, they turn into aversion (anger). Craving and aversion make the mind-and-heart agitated and the qi tense, the gall bladder nervous and the liver excited, the six meridians tremble and the five organs boil. When some outside heteropathy enters at that time, disease results.
No. 26 – Long Life
When people want to reach long life, they first must get rid of diseases. To get rid of diseases, they must first understand the proper application of qi. To understand the application of qi, they must first nurture their inherent nature. The way to nurture inherent nature is to first balance the mind-and-heart.
No. 27 – Five Elements
People receive the five phases to come to life, thus the physical body is dominated by qi. If qi is deficient, there is disease; if qi is obstructed, there is disease. Thus, to cure any disease, first remedy the qi.
No. 28 – Attaining Balance
Qi moves blood; blood enhances qi. They are two yet only one. If people do not sleep for a long time, they harm their blood; if they sleep for a long time, they harm their qi. If they stand for a long time, they harm their bones; if they walk for a long time, they harm their muscles. If they engage excessively in the seven emotions and six desires, they harm their primordial qi as well as their heart and kidneys. As these body aspects increase in fire, perfect yang energy is depleted.
No. 29 – Five Organs
To cure the diseases of the five organs, one must first enhance qi. The kidneys are particularly important in this. One best enhances qi by not moving the mind-and-heart, because whenever the mind-and-heart moves, the liver gets excited and the meridians agitated. Then perfect water is depleted. The mind-and-heart is like a fan: it moves with the wind. When the wind blows, fire rises; when fire rises, water dries; when water dries, the earth is depleted.
No. 30 – Unified Mind and Spirit
When the mind is stable and the spirit unified, one can be cured. Faith strong and the mind concentrated, the two minds [of healer and patient] are in harmony and one can cure the hundred diseases. None is not ultimately the effect of spirit.
No. 31 – Two Kinds of Diseases
People’s diseases are of two kinds:
1. The meridians are vibrant and open, but the qi is deficient. Symptoms include various pains here and there. This is so, because when the qi is deficient and cannot properly digest the food, it brings forth apparent fire (also called false fire or empty fire), and the meridians in the body get agitated. Then energy flows every which way until it hits some obstruction which then manifests as pain. People like this can take some medicines and get better.
2. The meridians are blocked and the qi has no place to go in the body. Symptoms include nothing specific on the outside for the longest time, then all of a sudden a major crisis. People like this may take medicines but the cure will be very slow. They may even be affected at the root and cannot be helped.
No. 32 – Nourishing Life
The highest field of Chinese medicine is nourishing life. The highest field of nourishing life is nourishing the mind-and-heart. For this reason, when speaking about nourishing life, the lowest type of practitioner nourishes the body, the medium type nourishes the qi, while the highest type nourishes the mind-and-heart. Examining people is the same way: looking at outside features is not as good as looking at qi; looking at qi is not as good as looking at the mind-and-heart
No. 33 – Mind at Peace
When mind and spirit are not at peace, feelings and inner nature are rushed and hectic—the ultimate cause of disease and death. Thus calming the mind-and-heart is the first step in guarding life. The mind-and-heart can control all other aspects. Thus, when the mind is stable, the qi is harmonious. When the qi is harmonious, the blood circulates well. When the blood circulates well, essence is sufficient and the spirit is bright. When essence is sufficient and the spirit bright, all internal parts are strong and vigorous and the various diseases dissolve naturally. Thus in curing diseases managing the mind-and-heart is the first priority.
No. 34 – Personal Resistance
Wind and cold, yin and yang, heat and dampness all can cause disease in people. If your resistance is weakened, they can take advantage of your inner vacuity and enter the body. This is why, if the body is weak, there are many diseases.
Rich people have some protection through clothing, food, shelter, and so on. Poor people also have some resistance if their qi is sufficient, their spirit bright, their skin thick, and so on, making it hard for these outside factors to enter. On the other hand, rich people tend to eat heavy food and sweetmeats, thus harming their stomach and hurting their teeth. Poor people often suffer hunger and there is no variety in their diet, so they tend to be free from intestinal disease.
Rich people have many obligations (and avoidances), so they have many irritations to their qi. Poor people work very hard, so they don’t get sick so fast. If rich people don’t produce wealth, they become unhappy. As their wealth diminishes, they eventually become poor. Poor people, on the other hand, work hard and save, and thereby create wealth and good fortune. Then, once they have the protection of wealth through clothing, food, shelter, and so on, their resistance against outside invasions of essence, qi, and spirit lessens. Thus, as the protective devices diminish, personal resistance grows.
No. 35 – Baths
When one first recovers from a grave illness, it is best to avoid washing the feet and taking baths.
No. 36 – Inner Stability
To pursue long life and freedom from disease, one should strengthen the physical body. To strengthen the physical body, one should balance essence, qi, and spirit. To do so one must eliminate all impact of frustration and agitation.
To control them, first work hard to manage the mind-and-heart and transform the three poisons of craving, aversion, and ignorance. Once you have gotten rid of these, you must learn to control the mind-and-heart with the help of precepts. However, just talking about precepts without using them in actual practice and yet hoping to develop wisdom is no different from remaining ignorant. If you really want to develop wisdom, you first must pursue inner stability. And to do so, you need to practice quiet sitting.
No. 37 – Benevolence
Once quiet, you are benevolent; once benevolent, you can live long. Living long is perfect happiness.
No. 38 – Let Go, Look Back
All the various methods of cultivating body and mind have two key aspects: let go and look back. Let go of the butcher’s knife, stand firmly on the earth, and become a buddha. The ocean of suffering has no end, so look back to the shore. All you need to do is let go and look back for once and your diseases will suddenly be healed—which erroneously is called sudden awakening. This really is unlimited life.
No. 39 – Mind Overwork
In people who overwork their mind, the heart is tired and the liver excited. An overworked mind means that it is too full and not empty enough. In this situation, it cannot control the fire generated by the liver (wood), and if that is the case, liver-qi accumulates and overflows.
Now, liver-wood moves on to earth, and so the spleen and stomach get sick next. Then the digestion is not good and one cannot sleep at night. Earth in turn controls water, which leads to the depletion of kidney-water. If the water is not sufficient, this will once more incite fire. The heart and kidneys are closely linked, thus the heart-qi is weakened even more and the lung-qi is affected.
The various parts of the inner body are closely interrelated: if one moves, all move; if one gets sick, all suffer. However, the beginning lies in the mind getting distorted, so the cure lies in calming it. As the mind gets clearer, it finds spontaneous awareness. So, all key efforts for health lie in quiet sitting.
No. 40 – Achieving Liberation
Quiet sitting is a way of giving rest to the mind-and-heart. When it is at rest, the spirit is at peace. When the spirit is at peace, the qi is sufficient. When the qi is sufficient, the blood is bright and both blood and qi flow vibrantly. Then, even if there is some ailment, one can get rid of it easily. If there is depletion, one can enhance qi to fullness; if there is sufficiency already, one can enhance it to greater increase. One can get rid of diseases now and prevent the arising of all future ailments. This is the least of it.
Also, when the mind-and-heart is at rest, the spirit is radiant. When the spirit is radiant, the turning point is numinous [inner center is connected to heaven]. Resting in quietude, the mind-and-heart becomes more wondrous and one can observe the turning point in its full truth. All outside phenomena are clear and one sees cosmic order as being just right. Then one creates no more detachment to ordinary affairs and is no longer alarmed by random disturbances. Seeing the mental projections for what they are, one remains unaffected and can pervade all, naturally achieving a state where there is no subject of observation or one-sidedness of any kind. Then one can greatly apply the numinous pivot and achieve liberation.
No. 41 – Resents
When people get sick, they often resent it and develop a great deal of anger and frustration in their mind-and-heart. At this time it is essential to calm all mental input and allow the mind-and-heart to find peace and stability. Doing so, one can slowly balance it, and health will soon be restored. Only when the mind-and-heart is calm can the qi flow properly; and only when it does so can disease be eliminated. Otherwise, the mind-and-heart gets hectic and fire rises, liver qi is depleted, and the disease gets worse. When mind-and-heart and spirit are restful and unified, the blood and qi that circulate through the body are naturally healthy and whole, and bring forth a glow.
As regards the mind, there are two: one is the perfect mind; the other is the distorted mind. The true mind is like water; the distorted mind is like waves. Waves move because of wind, and when the wind stops the waves rest and the water no longer moves. Being serene and without thoughts: this is the mind of no-mind.
No. 42 – Insomnia
If you can’t sleep in the middle of the night, it is because your kidney water is deficient. Heart and kidneys are closely interrelated, so when water is deficient, fire rises. This may well harm the spirit.
No. 43 – Mental Unrest
If you have a lot of thoughts when trying to sleep at night and cannot calm down, do not toss and turn on your pillow, pursuing these thoughts. This will seriously diminish the spirit.
No. 44 – Noon Hour
The noon hour matches the mind-and-heart. Thus it is good to sit in meditation for a quarter of an hour around this time. Close your eyes and nurture the spirit. This will strengthen mind and qi.
No. 45 – Getting Up
In the morning it is best to get up between 3 and 5 am. If you do so, be careful to avoid all sadness and anger. Otherwise you will cause harm to the lungs and liver. Be very careful.
No. 46 – Stable Spirit
All the various affairs of human life have their root in the spirit. All declining and rising, strength and weakness of spirit, moreover, completely depend on the mind-and-heart. Thus spirit should be quiet, stable, and without agitation. Even a small measure of agitation is enough to obstruct all the good work.
No. 47 – Qi and Blood
In human life, the free flow of blood and qi is most important. If there is an obstruction of qi, this may cause a stoppage of blood which can develop into all sorts of poisons. These in turn can cause clots, swellings, ulcers, cancers, and the like. All these come from blood and qi not flowing freely.
In qi, the right circulation is most important; in blood, openness means vibrancy. All the hundred diseases come from an obstruction of qi. When the qi is blocked within, the first organ to be affected is the liver. The solution to this lies in transforming and releasing it.
To do so, there are two ways: 1. Seek out its root, which is in the mind-and-heart; when the mind-and-heart is empty, all transforms naturally. 2. Use medication and massage to help it release, allowing the qi to regain its free flow.
No. 48 – Craving
Nurturing and curing diseases cannot be hastened. This is because any rushing in inner nature supports fire and rising fire diminishes qi. Turn away from the world and give up outside beauty. Go your own way and do not crave for much. Any craving means lack of constancy and thus rushing inner nature. Thus the hundred diseases all arise from craving and any increase in craving means an increase in disease and suffering.
No. 49 – Steam of Qi
The heart belongs to fire; the kidneys belong to water. Heart and kidneys are closely interconnected. Fire has a tendency to sink down; water has a tendency to rise up. When fire and water are evenly balanced, a steam of qi arises within. Each part of the body then moves appropriately and can be fully healthy.
One can tell whether this is the case from examining the tongue. Without water the tongue cannot live, thus the word for “tongue” combined with the three strokes signifying water is the word for “life.” On the tongue one can see each body part’s state of disease—whether light or serious—and even judge the presence of life and death.
No. 50 – Healing from Serious Disease
The way to heal yourself from serious disease:
Do not fear death and firmly believe not only that this disease can be completely cured but also that the body can attain exceptional good health and can reach great longevity. This is so because at the core of the body is a very special faculty. These are not just empty words of consolation.
Trust that even without any medicinal drugs or relying on special nurturing foods, there is without yourself a great and wonderful method of eliminating disease and extending the years.
Say to yourself: “From today on, I will not be frustrated by my sick body, I will not keep thinking about what kind of disease I have, and I will under no circumstances compare myself to others.”
During the period of recuperation, don’t let yourself think about work or regret lost time and opportunities. Keep your mind-and-heart completely focused. Otherwise you will delay or derail your healing.