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Taoist Medicine

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  • Taoist Medicine

    Dear Shaolin Wahnam Family,

    Recently I came across some very good articles on Taoist Medicine and how it differs from Chinese Medicine. These provide great inspiration and information to anyone wanting to become a Chi Kung Healer. I've excerpted below some introductory passages.

    Although the terms Daoist Medicine and Chinese Medicine are both broad and difficult to define, especially as there is a large overlap of each other and mutual influence. Yet, there remains enough discrepancy to make comparison not only viable, but necessary in the consideration of the totality of medicine practiced in China as a whole. Daoist Medicine manifests itself in a great deal of different forms, and although this essay only deals with one strain of it, it aims to provide insight into the broader themes inherent in Daoist Medicine in its entirety.


    One of the primary differences between 中醫 (Zhongyi, Chinese Medicine) and 道醫 (Daoyi, Daoist Medicine) – acknowledging that the borders between the two are often blurred both historically and in contemporary practice – is that the latter involves more esoteric elements lacking in the former. This work with the sacred is something missing in the popular practice of contemporary Chinese Medicine, both in China and abroad. Daoist Medicine involves a consideration of 有形 (form) and 無形 (formless), and many of the methods incorporated in Daoist Medicine deal with the 虛體 (formless body) as well as the 肉體 (physical body). Lower levels of formless existence are classified as being yin, higher ones than this are a mixture of yin and yang, whilst the very highest are considered 纯阳(pure yang). Accordingly, the diagnostic scope of Daoist Medicine is significantly broader than that of contemporary Chinese Medicine, taking into consideration 天因,人因,地因 (Heavenly, Humanly and Earthly causes). Heavenly causes include 先天,因果,精神,心理和無形因素 (Pre-heaven, karmic, spiritual, psychological and formless factors). People can be born with certain disease states, or a pre-disposition to develop them which can stem from pre-heaven or karmic origins. These can be transmitted from parents or other ancestors, or even due to types of heavenly contracts decided before birth. This inherited karma is the responsibility of the inheritor to resolve or repay; often it is not the appropriate place for any doctor to interfere, or must do so in a careful, considered manner.
    Forgotten treasures of Daoist Medicine King Sect

    The foundation of Chinese Medicine comes from Daoist Medicine. Daoist Medicine originates from the remote antiquity‘s Fu Xi, Shen Nong, the Three Sovereigns, as well as the Qin and Han Dynasties. To the cavemen, Daoist Medicine was known by the name of shamanism. The ancient character for shaman signifies communication with the upper heavenly realms and the lower earthly realms; it denotes reaching the will of the spirits, knowing the four seasons, comprehending cause and effect, esteeming the rules and laws. The shaman stands for the unification of Heaven and Human; Form and Spirit’s simultaneous healing (the form being of equal importance). However, China’s contemporary Daoist Medicine and Chinese Medicine move along with the currents of a transforming society. Using Western Medicine as basis, ignorant people reject, attack and pressure them. All influences from the environment of our modern society – devoted to financial gain – cause the greatest, most lasting and extensive damage. The majority is lost, having strayed far from the initial purpose of facilitating healing. Gradually, day by day, this influence vanishes on the horizon.

    Medicine is divided into five categories:
    Great Medicine, High Medicine, Intermediate Medicine, Low Medicine, Inferior Medicine.

    Great Medicine eradicates karma.
    High Medicine cures future diseases.
    Intermediate Medicine cures present diseases.
    Low Medicine applies static methods.
    Inferior Medicine takes peoples’ lives.

    Nowadays Great Medicine and High Medicine are very rare, Intermediate Medicine and Low Medicine are both widely witnessed.
    The Current Issues of Contemporary Taoist and Chinese Medicine

    Taoism is certainly a quite different path from Zen, requiring diligent observation of both moral conduct and ceremonial duties.

    On this occasion it would be good to recall Sitaigung Ho's background as a great Taoist Master. His medical abilities were rather literally out of this world:

    [...] My teacher, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, was a great Zen master as well as great Taoist master. In the Chinese society where I learned the Shaolin arts from him, he was better known as a Taoist master. But in the Western society, probably because of his Shaolin mastery, he was better known as a Zen master.

    Many people regularly consulted my Sifu for spiritual advice. His Taoist magic, which he always used for good, was very, very powerful — more powerful than what many people would believe. One day there was a Taoist celebration. My siheng, Ah Seng, who was learning Taoism from my Sifu, gave a demonstration of Taoist magic. He chopped his own leg with a sharp, heavy sword.

    Normally the sword would bounce away as my Siheng would be protected by Taoist gods. But that day the gods did not come to protect him, and he did not know. This was because the previous night Ah Seng went out with his girlfriend who happened to be in the midst of her menstruation. Menstruated blood is considered “dirty” by Taoist gods, and Ah Seng was contaminated.

    So the heavy sword cut right to his bone. Blood splashed out all over the place. Even if he were taken to hospital, he would bleed to death before arrival.

    My Sifu quickly but calmly got a piece of paper nearby. With his sword finger (formed by holding the thumb, fourth and small fingers together, leaving the index and middle fingers straight) he drew some magical formula on the paper while he canted some Taoist mantra. He placed the paper on Ah Seng's huge wound. The bleeding stopped immediately. The next day there was not even a scar on Ah Seng's leg! In the range of my Sifu's Taoist powers, this was only middle-level.
    If anyone has further information or experiences with Taoist Medicine, please do share!

    With sincere respect,

  • #2
    Hi Olli,

    I did the Internal Alchemy and the Daoist Medicine courses at the Five Immortals Temple last year. I have to say that both were excellent, in an authentic location, and with an impressive Master in the form of Li Shifu. Although I had read a lot about Daoism it was mainly intellectual knowledge. But, as a consequence of being at the only Daoist temple that Westerners are allowed to train at within the Wudang area (the altar has been there for a thousand years), I now have a much more realistic and profound understanding (and appreciation of) the potential of Daoist meditation and the formless aspects of Chinese medicine. I was originally inspired to go to the Five Immortals after reading Lindsey Wei's book "The Valley Spirit" and it did not disappoint. Note however, that it is a temple "in the sky" and Westerners need to realistically prepare themselves in terms of not expecting to have the creature comforts they have grown up with - especially WIFI! All the food and other necessities are carried up the mountain and there are limited shower and hot water facilities. Also, the Five Immortals temple is at the far edge of the Wudang Mountain area of 72 peaks, and some distance from the main tourist zone, but it is close (about 1 hour) to a major Chinese city called Shiyan, which has its own airport. We would regularly go down to the city on days off for Wifi, cake and coffee etc. I did have time to visit the famous tourist sites too which were truly epic and it was even possible to join the monks and nun at the Purple Heaven Temple at 6am for their morning service in what is an awe inspiring main hall. To conclude, if you are considering one of their courses I'd highly recommend it and you'll also meet a range of interesting and like minded people from all over the world.

    At the summit of White Horse peak:
    Five Immortals.jpg
    Last edited by RDBoucher; 6th August 2018, 05:32 PM. Reason: To add an image
    Kind regards,


    • #3
      Hi David!

      Thank you for sharing! Sounds like a very special experience.

      Have you continued training or applying what you learned with Shifu Li?

      I have heard of so bad eye witness reports about many Taoist temples in China that it turns stomach sick. Monks and nuns are paid actors with no care nor respect for their traditions and the overseeing name-only abbots and abbesses report directly to Chinese Communist Party public image offices who are their employers. There is no real heart in those endeavors, but the once living spiritual communities of China are turned into tourist theme parks for profit and state propaganda. It's a small wonder that a sanctuary like Five Immortals Temple still exists.

      Yours in Tao,