By Stephen Pan, Ph.D.
For many centuries, meditation and special exercises forms have been used by the Ancient Chinese, Hindus, Arabs, Jews and Christians as a means of improving the human mind and body. In China, the Taoists called it "Chi Kung," or "Cultivation of Energies." According to Taoist classics, Tu Hse, who lived about 8,000 years ago, was the successor to many great pre-historical sages. He was the great Taoist sage who began the use of the eight kua of the I Ching such as the great power of observation and the power of simplifying obscure masses of material. This resulted in a most perfect yogic and meditational form, which incorporated the insights of Tao philosophy.
Perhaps it is more than a coincidence that the Indian practice today of Kundalini Yoga is somewhat similar to the Taoist "Chi Kung." More than 2,000 years ago, the Indian Master Bodhidharma traveled to China. There he meditated for nine years facing a wall at Shao Lin Temple. He established a school, which incorporated the Indian practice in a new manner. From the time of the founding of this school, many Chinese men of great ability practiced meditation as taught by this Indian Master and gradually applied to it the perticular qualities of the Chinese culture.
These esoteric practices were an integral part of the development of Chinese medicine, where acupuncture, herbology and other aspects of what would now be called "holistic" medicine reached a state of high refinement unsurpassed by any other early civilization. But by the end of the fourteenth century in China, these arts were in decline for various political reasons, causing many of the teachers to be scattered from their schools and forced to go under ground.
The various approaches have been compiled in a Chinese Taoist encyclopedia that fills hundreds of volumes. The Taoist approaches have been divided into more than ten branches of study, some of which have very different methods of practice ranging from breathing techniques to alchemical secrets.
Western medical researchers are just beginning to realize the ancient masters understood profound aspects of the human mind and body without the aid of sophisticated diagnostic machines. The difficulty is in penetrating the veil of secrecy drawn across these Chinese practices which prevents their open examination by the modern medical community.
Mantak Chia is one of the first Chinese masters to arrive in the west with a comprehensive mastery of both the traditional chinese healing arts, diet, Five Elements nutrition, herbs, Tai Chi Chuan, massage, moxibustion - as well as the esoteric arts of Chi Kung, Healing palm, Five Finger Kung Fu, Seminal and Ovarian Kung-Fu, and the meditative aspects of Taoist yoga.
Chia is heir to a secret method which has been passed down by word of mouth only. Unlike his forebears, he feels that it is time that what he has learned should be made public. In the book he has attempted to simplify what he has learned by way of his own experience and those of his students into a system in which traditional and modern medicine are fully integrated.
The medical applications of the chinese esoteric system are traditionally said to be extensive, and include remedies for a side range of illnesses:
1. Asthma and Chronic Bronchitis
2. Rheumatism and Arthritis
5. Cirrhosis of the Liver
6. Pulmonary Tuberculosis
7. Recurrent Headaches
8. Frequency of the common cold and other Episodic diseases
Long-term diligent practice beyond two years and, most effectively, if practiced life-long, reportedly could retard the various degenerative changes associated with old age e.g. skin changes, senility, slowed reaction time, impaired memory, ambulatory impairment and the frequency of various diseases common at old age.
A diligent practioner often lives to ninety years of age and remains healthy and alert, is able to jog, run and climb mountains with ease, and continues to enjoy life more fully than most people. Many reportedly could forecast their own time of death and pass on peacefully and gracefully in the posture of meditation.
However, it should be noted that in old China your doctor was considered a failure if you became sick. The best doctors trained their "patients" to prevent illness by maintaining a high level of health. The promise of Esoteric Taoist Yoga is to reveal the methods bringing your various bodily energy systems into harmony.
Stephen Pan, Ph.D.
Dir. East Asian Research Institute
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