Liu Dehua performs the esoteric, vibrating and sound humming Pengzu Qigong
WARRING STATES AND HAN DYNASTY (475 B.C. – 220 A.D.)
The earliest exclusive texts that deal with the meditative practices and the gymnastic exercises are the recent archaeological text discoveries.
Circulating Qi Inscription
Xingqi ming 行氣銘 (475 B.C. – 206 B.C.), scholars consider this text to be from the earlier Warring States Period. This is the earliest available text on the meditative practice solely. It appears to be an esoteric text, short but complete. According to Li Ling’s study, the text is identified as a complete “Rendu Channeling Micro-orbit Qi Gong 任督二脈小周天氣功,” and the much later concept of upper and lower dantian 丹田 was also indicated in the text. (Li, 342-346)
Yinshu 引書 (186 B.C.) is a gymnastic text, a detailed manuscript that includes five sections of health and longevity related techniques. (Li, 359-368)
Daoyin tu 導引圖 (168 B.C.) is a colored manuscript that shows forty-four moments in a series of sketches accompanied by commentaries on their therapeutic features. (Li, 356-359)
Abstaining from Cereals and Consuming Qi
Quegu shiqi 卻穀食氣 (168 B.C.), the text is a detailed manual of fasting from cereals, taking herbs, and consuming of Qi (breathing practice) techniques. The manual indicates the breathing methods and the herb formulas clearly in several sections: the time of breathing in the day; the volumes of breathing each practice; the qi should be avoided for breathing practice in each season; the qi should be avoided for practice in the day; the six type of beneficial qi of nature; (Li, 346-353)
THREE STATES, SIX DYNASTIES, AND SUI DYNASTY (221–617)
After the Han dynasty, the most obtainable texts have been transmitted in the Taoist Cannon, or Daozang 道藏, which was edited in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).
Methods for a Lasting Life of the Persons of Greatest Purity
Taiqing zhenren looming jue 太清真人絡命訣, from the 3rd or 4th century.
The manual emphasizes the techniques of visualization of the spirits of body by means of visualizing the Five Beasts (cun wushou 存五獸) and traveling through the Viscera (lizang 歷臟). (DZ 2:871)
Exposition of the Tao
Xiandao jing 顯道經. 3rd century.
This is an ancient manual of Tending Life practices that focuses on Fasting (duangu 斷穀). (DZ 18:644)
Treatise of Great Purity on Gymnastics and Nurturing Vitality
Taiqing daoyin yangsheng jing 太清導引養生經 from the 4th century.
This work consists of a collection of gymnastics and breathing techniques, including those of Daolin (i.e., Zhi Dun 支遁, 314-366), representing the schools of various immortals of antiquity (Chisong zi 赤松子, Ningfeng zi 寧封子, Pengzu 彭祖, Wang Ziqiao 王子喬). (DZ 18:401)
Precious Book of the Exterior Landscape of the Yellow Court
Taishang huangting waijing yujing 太上黃庭外景玉經. Before AD 255.
This is the original Huangting jing, the oldest copy of the present text is made by Wang Xizi 王羲之 (303-379). (DZ 5:913)
Records Concerning Tending Life and the Prolonging of Life
Yangxing Yanming lu 養性延命錄. Attributed to Tao Hingjing 陶弘景 (456-536).
This is a collection of instructions for healthy living, food, and breathing exercises for meditative healing, gymnastics and sexual therapy. The respiratory techniques including liuqi jue, 六氣訣, or “the oral transmission of the six type of (therapeutic) breaths” was introduced in this work, which follows the sound of the words xu 噓, he 呵, xi 呬, chui 吹, hu 呼, xi 嘻, each sound has a therapeutic effect associated with one of the five inner organs. (DZ 18:474)
Treatise on Tiantai Sitting Meditation for Beginners
Xiao zhi guan 小止觀 by Tiantai Zhiyi’s 天臺智顗 (538-597)
This work is fundamentally Chinese Buddhist, especially Chan/Zen Buddhist, meditation manual. The concepts and techniques such as tiaoshen 調身, or regulating and positioning the body, taioxi 調息, or regulating and focusing on the breathing,tiaoxin 調心, or regulating and empty the heart/mind; and the concept of the characteristics of breathing patterns, such as feng 風, or rasping and noisy, chuan 喘, or restricted and choppy,qi 氣, xi 息, fine and deep, were borrowed by Taoist and other meditative practices, which still play the fundamental role in the modern Qi Gong practices. (Fang, 357)
TANG DYNASTY (618-907)
Master Hidden in the Havens
Tianyin zi 天隱子 6 fols. By Sima Chengzhen 司馬承禎 or Bai Yunzi 白雲子 (647-735).
This manual deals exclusively with the meditative practices through five stages to attain liberation or awakening. Fasting, faith, and nourishing/cultivating qi attain the first stage. At the second stage, one empties the mind by retreating in the light-conditioned room, and at the third stage, one fixes the spirits by the heart/mind (xin) visualization on the body through knowledge. Next comes the stage of seated meditation, “sitting and forgetting” (zuowang 坐忘) through which one attains tranquility and finally forgetfulness both of oneself and one’s surroundings. The last stage leads to the spirit of deliverance, the One, or immortality. (DZ 21:699)
Treatise of Sitting and Forgetting
Zuowang lun 坐忘論.
The expression zuowang has become synonymous with meditation. This manual is attributed to Sima Chengzhen. The same terms denote the fourth and next to the last stage of the spirit, or “liberation through concentration.” (DZ 22:891)
Commentary on the Book of Fetus Breathing
Taixi jingzhu 胎息經註. Commentary by Huanzhen Xiansheng 幻真先生 (late ninth century?).
This commentary explains that the practice of fetus breathing enables one to keep the Primordial Qi (yuan qi 元氣) and the spirits (shen 神) within the body and thus to attain immortality. (DZ 2:868)
Master Huanzhen’s Oral Transmission of Consuming Primordial Qi
Huanzhen Xianshen Funeiyuanqi jue 幻真先生服內元氣訣.
The contents of this work can be grouped under three sections; dietary and general recommendations, the fetus breathing Embryonic, and respiratory techniques including liuqi jue, 六氣訣, or “the oral transmission of the six types of (therapeutic) breaths.” (DZ 18:440)
Most High Scripture on Fetus Breathing and Tending Life
Taishang yangsheng taixi qijing 太上養生胎息氣經.
This manual emphasizes the Shangqing techniques for the absorption of astral concretions, corresponding to the viscera and to particular periods of the calendar cycle. Each of the viscera and periods is put in correlation with a specific type of expiration. (DZ 18:401)
Inscription on Concentrating the spirit and Refining Breath
Cunshen lianqi ming 存神練氣銘 Attributed to Sun Simo 孫思邈.
The text is divided into three parts: a general introduction on breathing practices, in four-character verse; five preliminary steps for attaining the Tao; and seven subsequent grades for the advanced adept. (DZ 18:458)
Chart on the Procedures for Increasing and Decreasing the Six Receptacles and Five Viscera According the Inner Landscape of the yellow Court
Huangting neijing wuzang liufu buxie tu 黃庭內經五臟六腑補瀉圖. By Hu Yin 胡愔, 848?
This is an illustrated treatise on the Five Viscera and their corresponding directions, animals, and qi; therapeutic breath-swallowing, seasonal taboos, and gymnastics. (DZ 6:686)
Chart on the Four Qi for Conserving the Health
Siqi shesheng tu 四氣攝生圖. Late Tang.
This work describes and depicts the viscera and their functions, linking them to the seasons and to the rules to be observed to keep in harmony with their changes. (DZ 17:224)
Book of the Hidden Period and Causal Body of the Yellow Court
Huangting dunjia yuanshen jing 黃庭遁甲緣身經. Tang dynasty.
This work combines the meditation and invocation practice of the Book of Yellow Court, the inner landscape and dunjia method, which consists of writing Talisman of the Causal Body of the Six Jia (liujia yuanshen fu 六甲緣身符) and swallowing it. The repertory technique of liuqi jue, 六氣訣, or “the oral transmission of the six type of (therapeutic) breaths” was elaborated with descriptions of the Six Receptacles and Five Viscera in the work. This is a typical Taoist esoteric practice involving magical talisman. (DZ 18:706)
Scripture of the Most High for the Protection of Life through the Elimination of the Three Corpses and the Nine Warms
Taishang chusanshi jiuchong baosheng jing 太上除三尸九虫保生經. Late Tang Dynasty?
This manual presents the agents of decay and death as well as various apotropaic and medical methods and breathing methods for expelling them. The three corpses are identified as demons of human and animal morphology, the nine warms are given shapes similar to insects and germs, which has led scholars to propose that the existence of harmful bacteria was known to the Chinese of the time. (DZ 18:697)
Copy of Diagrams of Attested Method for the Cultivation of Perfection
Xiuzhen liyan chaotu 修真歷驗鈔圖. Tang dynasty.
This inner alchemy manual describes the formation of an elixir, which under natural conditions would require 4,300 years. The alchemist, however, using the yin and yang components of his body as ingredients, accelerates this process within himself. The procedure emphasizes emptying and fixing hear/mind. The diagram illustrates changes and transformations. (DZ 3:110)
SONG DYNASTY (960-1279)
Essays on the Awakening to Truth
Wuzhen pian 悟真篇, by the “Southern Patriarch” Zhang Boduan 張伯端 (984-1028); commentaries by Ye Shibiao 葉士表 (dated 1161), and Yuan Gongfu 遠公輔 (dated 1202).
This is one of the most important Taoist works with many commentaries. Written in the same obscure fashion as the famous Zhouyi cantong qi 周易參同契 , the manual is open to manifold interpretations, namely the facet of I Ching, neidan, and sexual techniques. Moreover, each master, to express his own ideas, could use it. Like almost all the Taoist classics, the concise or poem style writings were used as individual koujue 口訣 (oral transmission) for close up teacher-student lineage transmissions, which pose an impossible task for (the outsider) scholars and practitioners alike to reply. (DZ 4:605)
Alchemical Formula for the Inner Purification of the Gold Treasure; Secret Writings from the Golden Box of the Jade Purity, transmitted by the Immortal Qinghua
Yuqing jinsi qinghua biwen jinbao neilian danjue 玉清金笥青華祕文金寶內練丹訣, by Zhang Boduan.
This text explains in detail inner alchemical theory and practice using pseudo-philosophical terminology. The main emphasis is on “circulation of the inner light,” and the “fire timing” or the various breathing topics. (DZ 4:362)
The Cloud Bookcase with Seven Labels
Yunji qiqian 雲笈七籤. Complied by Zhang Junfang 張君房 (fl. 1008-1025).
This work is one of the major Taoist anthologies. The sections 12-26, covering volumes 29-86, which is almost half of the entire anthology, deals with the techniques of meditative and gymnastic practices, medical healing, and alchemy. (DZ 22:1)
Explication Concerning the Elixir of the True one
Zhenyi jingdan jue 真一金丹訣. By Wang Chang 王常, Song (960-1279).
The text comprises the three methods of Yinfujing 陰符經 on the circulation of qi through various points of the body, and methods of “Essentials of Fetus Breathing” Taixi jieyao 胎息節要. (DZ 4:328)
Commentary on Master Cui’s mirror on the Admixture of Ingredients
Cuigong ruyaojing zhujie 崔公入藥鏡注解. Attributed to cui Xifan 崔希範, commentaries by Wang Jie 王玠, or Hunranzi 混然子, ca. 1331.
The most common version of this work is in three-character poem line. Wang Jie interprets the poem as a guide to the Inner Alchemical process to be performed every night from 7 pm to 5 am. The first stage is breath control, then interaction of yin yang, Five-phases and Eight Trigrams, and finally the fire timing and the formation of the elixir. (DZ 2:881)
The True Immortals Secret Transmission of Fire Phasing Techniques
Zhenxian bizhuan huohou fa 真仙祕傳火候法. Late Song (960-1279).
The main methods described in this manual are those of breathing timing and volumes, or “macro orbit fire-phasing” (zhoutian huohou 周天火候), and restraining the seminal essence to increase (the power of) brain (huanjing bunao 還精補腦) techniques by circulating qi. The macrocosmic and microcosmic correspondences accompanied by the I Ching. (DZ 4:932)
Secret Transmission of Master Zhengyang’s Complete Methods of the Sacred Jewel
Bichuan Zhengyang zhenren lingbao bifa 祕傳正陽真人靈寶畢法. Attributed to Zhongli quan 鐘離權, or Yunfang 雲房, Zhengyang zhenren 正陽真人; transmitted by Lu Yan 呂嵒, or Lu Dongbin 呂洞賓, Chunyang zhenren 純陽真人.
This work is ascribed to the legendary Han dynasty Taoist Zhong Liquan; it has been transmitted to Lu Dongbin, a semi-legendary figure of Tang dynasty. They both were acknowledged as patriarchs of Taoist schools that emphasized Inner Alchemy, such as Quanzhen jiao 全真教. Zhongli classified the manual in three sections, representing the Three Vehicles (sancheng 三乘), or the Three Stages of Accomplishment (sancheng 三成). The first stage comprises four sections describing methods of breath control and gymnastics. The next stage, in three sections, deals with methods of circulating qi and inner fluids of the body. The final stage, in three sections, concerns methods of meditation and transfiguration of the sage-hood. (DZ 28:349)
YUAN DYNASTY (1279-1368)
Clear Directions on the Great Elixir
Dadan zhizhi 大丹直指. Attributed to the Quanzhen Patriarch Qiu Chuji 丘處機 (1148-1229), or Qiu Changchun 丘長春.
The techniques described in the text are based on the theory and methods of Secret Transmission of Master Zhengyang’s Complete Methods of Sacred Jewel. It indicates the Primordial Qi (yuanqi 元氣) is found in the center, which is, the navel. Through breathing exercises the center is activated leading to an unhampered natural circulation of the qi and body fluids. (DZ 4:391)
Shortcut to the Tao: A Miscellany
Zazhu jiejing 雜著捷徑. Yuan dynasty.
This is a collection of meditative and gymnastic practices, including breathing, physiological treatises on Five Viscera, descriptions of body. Baduan jinfa 八段錦法 or Eight Lengths of brocade Method was illustrated with the text ascribed to Zhongli Quan 鐘離權. (DZ 4:605)
Master Chen Xubo’s Central Directions
Chen Xubo guizhong zhinan 陳虛白規中指南 . By Chen Chongsu 陳沖素 (ca. 13th century), or Xubozi 虛白子.
This detailed and clarified treatise on Inner Alchemy is characteristically blending elements from the Southern tradition with that of the Quanzhen School. The term guizhong is borrowed from the Zhouyi cantong qi 周易參同契, or Concordance of the Three According the Book of Change. According to Xinshangbian 賞心編, or Chapter on Recognizing the Heart by Wang Xiangjin 王象晉 of the Ming dynasty (1338-1664): “In the studies of human body, the distance between heart and kidneys is 8’2” inches, in which, 3’6” inches below heart is yang, 3’6” inches above kidneys is yin. The inch in the center where fire and water is copulated and named guizhong.” (DZ 4:384)
Clarified Directions on the Words of Tao
Daoyan qianjin shuo 道言淺近說 By Zhang Sanfeng 張三豐 (ca. 13th century).
This short but unique manual describes the practical key concepts in the process of the Inner Alchemy. Unlike most of the Taoist Classics, the work gives a great deal of details on terms like xuanguan 玄關, “the mysterious gate, or the level of the mysterious qi lair;” xiaoxi 消息, “the news, or the time, when one acknowledges the gate of the mysterious qi lair;” ningshen 凝神, “the emptied mind/heart;” tiaoxi 調息, “the regulated breath.” The work indicates: ”When the heart/mind stills and goes below the navel is called the emptied heart/mind, when the breath gathers and goes below the navel it is called the regulated breath.” (Fang, 723)
MING AND QING DYNASTIES (1368-1911)
From the Ming dynasty to the 1911 revolution, many meditative and gymnastic practices have flourished and been widely developed from the Song synthesis of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, however, their original foundations have remained largely untouched. The Ming and Qing meditative and gymnastic texts are essentially commentaries and reinterpretations of the Han, Tang, Song, and Yuan classics.
The Imperative Doctrines for Cultivations in Human Nature and Longevity from the Ten Thousand Gods, (The Imperative Doctrines for Human Nature and Longevity)
Xingming shuangxiu wanshen guizhi 性命雙修萬神圭旨 (性命圭旨)
Although this work is a typical later Inner Alchemic synthesis of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, its essential approach is Taoist. The manual is divided into nine sections accompanied with illustrations and great details for the inner alchemic or meditative practices. (Fang, 734)
Chen Xiyi Twenty-four Seasonal-division Illustrated Gymnastics
Chen Xiyi ershisiqi daoyin zuogong tushi 陳希夷二十四氣導引圖勢.
Attributed to Chen Xiyi, or Tunan 圖南, a semi-legendary figure of the Song dynasty, transmitted by Gao Lian 高濂 (ca. 1341-1424) or Qi Jing 啟敬, Long Yangzi 龍陽子.The manual shows twenty-four positions in a series of sketches accompanied by commentaries on their healing and therapeutic features. Each of the two positions is associated with two seasonal divisions of every month. Every position is practiced at a given time of two hours with each of the main meridians that links to an inner organ of Viscera. The time of the practice and Viscera in turn are accompanied by the five elements in their nature of male and female; dry and wet; and cold and warm. (Fang, 255)
Clear Treatise on the Original Truth of Heavenly Immortal
Tianxian zhengli zhilun 天仙正理直論, Wu Shouyang 伍守陽, or Chongxuzi 沖虛子 was born in 1574. He found wuliu pai 伍柳派, the Wuliu School, one of the most influential inner alchemic school in Ming and Qing times.
This manual is one of the most important works of the Wuliu School. The text emphasizes the micro-orbit channeling, and combines Buddhist meditation techniques. Unlike most meditative or inner alchemic texts, the descriptions in the present work are lucid, direct, and vernacular. (Fang, 791)
The Eight Ways of the Divine Chamber
Shenshi bafa, 神室八法 Liu Yiming 劉一明 (1734-1821), or Wu Yuanzi, 悟元子. He is also known as the transmitter and commentater of Zhang Sanfeng’s Inner Alchemic work Wugen shu 無根樹, or Rootless Tree.
This text is another example of the Inner Alchemic synthesis of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. However, the author elucidates the Taoist Inner Alchemy in the light of Neo-Confucianism, which is unique and rare. It also shows how profoundly the thoughts and practices of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism are interwoven by the late Chinese imperial time. (Fang, 847)
The Heart Transmission of Heavenly Immortal’s Gold Elixir
Tianxian jindan xinfa 天仙金丹心法, written by Liu Shouyuan 柳守元 between 1813-1815.
The methods in this text belong to Quanzhen Northern School. What makes this text interesting is that the text was written in codes—the order of the words was arranged in a completely nonsense way. Accordingly, no one could have read the text until Zhao Songfei 趙松飛 decoded the text in 1988.
REPUBLIC AND PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC (1911- Present)
After the fall of the Qing dynasty, there has been a hope for China to create a new synthesis of government that would transform China into a modern nation-state. This hope largely depends on the ideology of moving China away from its “feudal” past, and releasing China from its “economic backwards” into a new and advanced level of development without the ills of the capitalist system. Under such a social and political background, the meditative and gymnastic practices along with other traditional cultural practices are inevitably considered as superstitions and anti-science. Regardless of the different ideologies of the Chinese Nationalism (1911-1949) and Communism (1949-present), there has been a great attempt to divest religious and cultural contexts so that the meditative and gymnastic practices can be scientifically proved, accessible to everyone, and undertaken collectively.
The Way of Sitting Meditation by Yinshizi
Yinshizi Jingzuo fa 因是子靜坐法, by modern Qi Gong master JIang Weiqiao 蔣維喬 (1872-1958), which was significantly important at the time. Jiang’s manual made a great impact on the backlash of traditional practices since the 1911 revolution, and revived the traditional meditative and gymnastic practices. (Wang, 523)
The Essential Secret for Sitting Meditation from Mr. Yuan Laofan
Yuan Liaofan Xiansheng jingzuo yaojue 袁了凡先生靜坐要訣, commentated by Buddhist monk Xing Huai 性懷 in 1929. In his preface, Yuan expressed the danger of learning meditation without a master or teacher. Yuan states that his transmission was given by two great Tiantai adepts. (Wang, 90)
The Essential Meaning of Sitting Meditation
Jingzuofa jingyi 靜坐法精義, the manual was written in 1920 by the Buddhist scholar Ding Fubao 丁福保 (1874-1952). In the preface, Ding indicates the importance of oral transmission. He claims that the accumulated and secret transmissions in his manual were edited from innumerable meditation books. (Wang, 137) The methods and techniques described in the above three texts are all based on the theory and methods of Tiantai Zhiyi’s 天臺智顗 Treatise on Calming and Discernment 止觀法, in which case, expression of “four kinds of samãdhi” is described as four ways of posture and physical activity, they could conceivably incorporate any form of spiritual discipline or techniques of mental discernment. The descriptions in the present works are lucid, direct, and vernacular.
Principal Secrets for Long Life
Changsheng zongjue 長生總訣, by Li Qingyuan 李慶遠 (1679-1935). Li was born in Sichuan province, the most long-lived person in modern time (256 years). Li lived most of his life as a hermit and herbalist. According to the local historical documents, he served in the Qing Army under General Yue Zhingqi 岳鐘琪 in 1749, and he was invited to a social function by the National Revolution Army General Yang Sen 揚森 in 1928. The manual states Ten Ways to prolong life and stay healthy. The essential method, however, is the synthesis of Taoist and Buddhist. One leads a simple and rustic life by emptying the mind/heart, and staying away from the physical and social desires. This tranquility of life will bring about the ultimate wisdom. According to Li, the true meditative practice is more a way of life style and a state of mind than the body posture and breathing method. (Wang, 151)
Experiences in Healing with Qi Gong
Qi Gong liaofa shiyan 氣功療法實驗, wrote by Liu Guizhen 劉貴珍 (1920-1983) in 1957. Liu’s central method is called the Inner Nourishment, which focuses breathing and concentration on the lower cinnabar field or xiadantian in the lower abdomen, had been transmitted in the Hebei area, especially in his family since the end of the Ming dynasty (ca. 1644). By divesting religious and traditional cultural contexts, Liu made his practice “scientific,” thus, he achieved acceptance and popularity under the new Chinese Communist regime. Liu’s practice and work not only established Qi Gong as the widely accepted terminology, but also established the legitimacy of the Qi Gong practice in People’s Republic China. (Tao, 1)
The Book for the Revitalization of Tendons and the Purification of Marrows
Yijin xisui jing 易筋洗髓經, was attributed to the first Chan patriarch Bodhidharma, written in 1624 by Taoist Zinin Daoren 紫凝道人, based on the Han gymnastics and the Yuan Eight Length of Brocade, commentated by Zhou Renfeng 周稔豐 in 1989.
The Way of Circulating True Qi
Zhenqi yunxing fa 真氣運行法, by Li Shaopo 李少波, transmitted by his grandfather, the manual is based on the traditional “Rendu Channeling Micro-orbit Gong 任督二脈小周天功,” “the oral transmission of the six types of (therapeutic) breaths 六氣訣,” and the “Five Animal Plays 五禽戲.”
DZ, Taoist Canon, Daozang 道藏. 1988. Beijing: Wenwu Chubanshe.
Fang, Chunyang 方春陽 ed. 1988. The Great Anthology of Chinese Qi Gong Classics, Zhongguo Qigong Dacheng 中國氣功大成. Jiling: Jiling Science and Technology Press.
Li Ling 李零. 2001. A Study on Chinese Occult Arts, Zhongguo fangshu kao 中國方術考. Beijing: Eastern Press.
Li Shaopo 李少波. 1999. The Way of Circulating True Qi, Zhenqi yunxing fa 真氣運行法. Lanzhou: Gansu People’s Press.
Tao Bingfu 陶秉福. 1987. An Outstanding Collection of Qi Gong Treatment, Qigong liaofa jijin 氣功療法集錦. Beijing: People’s Health Press.
Wang, Maohe 汪茂和. 1998. Commentaries on Selected Historical Treaties on Tending Life and the Original Nature, Lidaiyangsheng yangxing lunxuanyi 歷代養生養性論選譯. Beijing: Chinese Youth Press.
Wang, Xiping 王西平. 1993. The Collected Essential Secrets of Sitting Meditation, Jingzuo fajue huiyao 靜坐法訣匯要. Huhehaote: Neimenggu People’s Press.
Zhao, Songfei 趙松飛. 1997. The Heart Transmission of Heavenly Immortal’s Gold Elixir, and the Decoded Secret Qi Gong Texts, Tianxian jindan xinfa, fuqigong miwen poyi 天仙金丹心法附氣功秘文破譯. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju.
Zhou, Renfeng 周稔豐. 1989. The Book for the Revitalization of Tendons and the Purification of Marrows, Yijin xisui jing 易筋洗髓經. Tianjing: Tianjing University Press.
Web reference: literati-tradition.com
The purpose of this meditation exercise is to clear energy blockages along the front and back channels; to physically clear the roots of sickness; and to open the energy centers along these channels.
I highly recommend this exercise. If you have time to do only one Spring Forest Qigong technique, do the Small Universe. It is extremely helpful in opening blockages and balancing all the energy in your body. We have many energy channels and energy centers in our bodies. When energy starts at one point, visits all the channels and centers in the body, and comes back to the starting point, we have what is literally translated from ancient Chinese wisdom as a “Big Universe.”
The most important energy channels are the back and front channels in the torso. When energy starts at one point on these channels, visits all the parts of the system, and comes back to the starting point, we have what is called a “Small Universe.” By focusing on moving the energy along these two main channels in the Small Universe, you have a profoundly positive effect on the Big Universe of the whole body.
The back channel starts at the lower Dantian area, which is behind the navel. It goes down to the bottom of the torso, travels up along the spine to the top of the head and comes down from the middle of the forehead stopping at the roof of the mouth. It governs all the Yang or male energy channels in the body. The front channel also starts from the lower Dantian area, goes down to the bottom of the torso, travels up the body, passing through the heart and throat, and stopping under the tongue. It governs all the Yin or female energy channels in the body.
These two channels automatically connect together four hours a day: at midday between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and at midnight between 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Qigong practitioners like to meditate at noon and midnight because it takes less energy and generates greater benefits.
Nearly all the important energy centers are arranged along the back and front channels. As a result, a blockage in the heart energy center could cause not only heart problems but problems in the lungs, breasts, chest or even mental problems. A blockage in the tailbone could cause reproductive organ problems, low sexual energy, or even headaches. A blockage in the cervical bone #7 of the spinal cord could cause headaches, fever, diabetes or even lung or heart problems.
The Small Universe is the easiest meditation technique to open these two main channels. I have created an audiotape and CD with beautiful background music and guide you through each movement in this meditation. Especially if you are a beginner, it is very difficult to do this meditation on your own.
Listen to the master’s voice on the audio tape. You will hear two sounds [ … O O H M … ] and [ … M U AH … ]. (If you do this meditation without a tape to guide you make the “O O H M” sound with your first inhalation and visualize the universal energy flowing into your body and collecting in your Lower Dantian, which is behind your navel. As you exhale, use your mind to move the energy to the next area of your body as indicated in the picture. On the second inhalation, make the “M U A H” sound and again visualize the energy flowing into your body and collecting at this next point. Then as you exhale, use your mind to move the energy to the next area of the body. Repeat this sequence throughout the meditation.)
Born A Healer: I was born a healer. You were born a healer, too!
by Chunyi Lin / Gary Rebstock
P. 157 – 159
This exercise is very good for healing the lungs and skin and to balance the energy inside and outside of the body. If you are doing the Moving of Yin & Yang prior to doing the Breathing of the Universe you make the transition in the following way. Finish the Moving of Yin & Yang by slowly bringing both hands to a stop in front of your navel at the position of your lower Dantian. For men, stop with your left hand inside of your right hand. For women, stop with the right hand inside of the left hand. Again, your hands do not touch each other or your body. This space allows you to keep the feeling of the emptiness.
• Now, focus your mind on your lower Dantian and take three slow, gentle, deep breaths.
• Then, as you inhale the fourth time, move your hands apart and open to the sides.
• As you exhale, bring your hands in towards each other but your hands do not touch.
• Continue doing this movement with each inhalation and exhalation, slowly and steadily.
• Imagine you are using your whole body to breathe.
• When you open your hands, feel the energy as it expands in the space between your hands.
• When you close your hands feel the energy being compressed in the space between your hands.
• With practice, and perhaps very quickly, you will actually feel the energy expanding and compressing.
• Use your hands and body to feel the energy moving while you use your elbows to guide the movements.
• While you inhale, visualize the pure universal energy flowing into your body through every part of your body and gathering in your lower Dantian.
• While you exhale, imagine any pain or sickness turning into smoke or air and shooting out from every part of the body to the end of the universe.
• Do not let your body sway while doing these movements. Just keep your body still and relaxed and always wear a smile on your face. Do this movement for 5 to 10 minutes or longer if you have the time.
By moving your hands in this manner and combining the breathing technique, you help to open blockages in the whole body, especially the lungs. When you finish this movement, stop your hands in front of you as if you were holding a ball of energy in front of your navel – your lower Dantian. Take three slow, gentle, deep breaths in through your nose.
Born A Healer: I was born a healer. You were born a healer, too!
by Chunyi Lin / Gary Rebstock
P. 154 – 155
This exercise is very good for healing your internal organs. Through the guidance of your mind and the movement of your hands, the heart energy and the kidney energy join during this exercise opening many blockages in the body.
Again, you may do this exercise standing, sitting, or lying down. Use the same body positions as in the Beginning of the Universe and remember to place your tongue gently against the roof of your mouth.
• Continue to breathe deeply and gently as you raise your right hand, the Yang male energy, to the upper
Three Basic Spring Forest Qigong Exercises chest while you raise your left hand, the Yin female energy, to the lower stomach.
• Your hands and fingers remain slightly open to receive energy, with your palms facing your body, without touching the body, to create a sensation of emptiness.
• As you raise your hands, visualize a transparent energy column in the middle of your torso shining with beautiful colors. This energy column runs from the top of your head to the bottom of your torso. The size of the energy column depends upon your visualization. (If you have difficulty holding this visualization, don’t force it. Simply say it once in your mind and then know that the energy column is there.)
• Hold this position for about 30 seconds, longer if you wish, then slowly start moving your hands. Your right hand moves out and down to the bottom of the torso while your left hand moves in and up to your face. Again, your hands do not touch your body. • Continue moving your hands slowly in this circular pattern. Your hands move at a rate of 3 to 5 circles each minute.
• While moving your hands, visualize the energy moving up and down the transparent column and visualize the channels in the torso opening completely. (If you have difficulty holding this visualization, just say it once in your mind. Then, feel confident the transparent energy column is there and focus on guiding the energy with your hands. Feel the energy moving. This is a relaxed focus. It shouldn’t feel forced.)
Do this exercise for 5 to 10 minutes or longer if you can. The more time you spend doing this exercise the deeper you will start to go into the emptiness.
Born A Healer: I was born a healer. You were born a healer, too!
by Chunyi Lin / Gary Rebstock
P. 151 – 153
This exercise helps bring your focus back into your body and wake up your internal energy.
When doing this exercise while sitting, try to sit up and keep the spine straight.
When doing this exercise while lying down, lie on your back and keep your spine as straight as possible.
When doing this exercise while standing, stand straight with your toes pointing forward and bend your knees a little. (If you want to lose weight bend your knees a little more.)
Set your feet a little more than shoulder width apart for good balance while standing.
Eyes look forward. An Introduction To Qigong
Wear a smile on your face to relax every part of the body and stimulate your brain to produce endorphins.
Draw your chin back a little to straighten the entire spine. Energy travels up and down the spine in the governing channel more easily when the spine is straight.
Drop your shoulders and move your elbows outward a little.
Open your hands and gently spread your fingers. When you open your fingers you open many energy channels in the body. When you close your fingers you close these channels.
Slowly take a deep, silent, gentle breath through your nose. As you breathe in, draw the lower stomach in a little. As you breathe out, let your stomach out. This makes it easier for the Yin and Yang energies to communicate with each other and create balance.
Imagine using your whole body to breathe. Visualize the universal energy coming into every cell of your body and collecting in the lower Dantian. This is a primary energy center in your body. The lower Dantian is located in the area behind your navel.
When you exhale, visualize any pain or sickness changing into smoke and shooting out from every cell of your body to the end of the universe.
Gently close your eyes and lips.
Now say the password in your mind: “I am in the universe. The universe is in my body. The universe and I combine together.”
Continue breathing slowly, deeply and gently and feel the emptiness, the quietness, the stillness of the universe.
Do this exercise for 2 to 3 minutes or longer if you have the time.
Born A Healer: I was born a healer. You were born a healer, too!
by Chunyi Lin / Gary Rebstock
P. 147 – 150