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Philosophical and Practical Precepts

The following is a basis to a paper written by James Middleton for presentation at international conferences. Compiled from the lectures of Professor Wong Lun (OAM), Director of the Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine Australia. The paper seeks to present a basic over-view of philosophical and practical precepts, also to illuminate the actuality of an ongoing and dynamic ancient tradition of medicine.

A statement from the Chinese medical classic, Huang Di Nei Jing

A healthy life depends on a harmonious and balanced interaction between Xing, physical and Shen, spirit.  When a person becomes sick – in whatever context - it represents a breakdown of this relationship; either physical, Xing or Spirit, Shen is leading the cause. 

The advanced physician can define the cause of sickness; is the cause from a break down of physical health, or from matters relating to the mental/emotional aspects of Spirit, or are both responsible for the breakdown of health; in TCM practice, this sets the foundation for the diagnosis and the treatment that follows.

Professor Wong Lun has practiced and researched the classical writings of TCM for over sixty years.

“I travelled the world for three years from 1969 to 1972. The purpose was to continue my research on the persona of old cultures and to understand more about the history of ancient medicines. I wrote numerous articles and a book on these subjects. Included within this book were descriptions of the origins of the ancient medicines of Egypt, Persia, Babylon, the Greeks and hypocrites, as well as the origins of surgical operations. In China I found an old book of Anatomy with hand drawn diagrams. In one isolated place I saw a woman who had come into our camp, she was eight feet tall. Her young son was with her; he was already six feet tall. I tried to talk to her about her people, but she ran away. I found so many interesting facts about ancient human beings and the cultures that existed before the age of writing. People change and adapt according to where and how they live, their physical size will vary, diet and temperament will also vary. Some will have a long life and some only a short life, all according to the endless combinations of physical and emotional environments”.

I would like to explain something about the heritage of TCM and what it is I think China has to share with the modern world. Even though I am now at a high age, I still keep my health and continue to help and teach people. I came to Australia in 1973 with the hope of sharing my culture. I opened a TCM college and research clinic in Melbourne, the continuation of the work I began in Hong Kong in 1958. Since that time and before, I have sought to explain to TCM practitioners about the practicality of combining the five arts of TCM into an integrated medical treatment i.e. Wu Da Liao Fa. And to help all people learn about the importance of the balance between the physical, Xing and spirit, Shen, i.e. Xing Shen He Yi.

The purpose of this study is for the relief of suffering, and to present time tested precepts to fulfil the quest for long, healthy and happy lives. The effort towards the attainment of long healthy robust lives is not new. I would like to remind people of a conversation that took place in the earliest days of writing.

Chinese Emperor Huang-Di (the Yellow Emperor) questions Daoist medical master Qi Bo

The following conversation paraphrases a famous excerpt from Chinese historical literature. The Yellow Emperor Huang Di, questions Daoist master Qi Bo, in matters concerning medicine, natural health and longevity, thus forming the body of work immortalised within Huang Di Nei Jing, the great classic of TCM internal medicine that has pervaded the art of medicine in China for thousands of years.
Compiled 2,300-2,800 years ago.

Emperor Huang-Di says to Qi Bo; "I have heard that in the time of our ancestors common life expectancy was one hundred years. Now, in our own time, people reach only fifty years of age before starting to run down, what's wrong? Why is our time so different".

Qi Bo replies: The people of the old time clearly understood union with the Dao, the Way of Life. They were able to practise Daoist precepts such as Yin/Yang and Yi Jing theory in order to balance and harmonise their lives to nature’s way. Thus, they formulated practices such as Dao-in Bi, techniques combining stretching, massage and breathing exercises to promote energy flow, and meditation to stabilise the mind and harmonise with the greater universe. They ate a balanced diet at regular times, arose and retired at regular hours and all of this in accord with changing seasons and personal lifestyle. Daily activities were governed to balance work and rest, neither to consistently overwork Xing, form, or Shen, mental/emotional resources. They knew how to balance one with the other (Xing and Shen), never allowing prolonged depletion of either. This is why they were able to live happily for over one hundred years.

Wrong thinking and wrong action is all from ignorance of a correct way. Many people simply suffer from overwork, thereby creating any of the five taxations, without knowing how to recover well enough, before doing it again. Overindulgence, over sex, over work (in which ever form) and a resulting lack of sense of purpose, will cause loss of balance between a person’s Yin and Yang. This is why our people in this time begin to run down at only fifty years of age". Paraphrase of Professor Wong’s lecture 19/5/02

As the above conversation indicates, knowledge regarding natural life and health and longevity has passed to us from the old culture. From a lineage reaching back in time to the ages before writing developed.  Further, from ancient concepts regarding the study of nature, (Nature Dao) originated the foundation principles of TCM medical practice. From teachers and medical scholars such as Fu Xi, Guang Cheng Zhi, Yu Huang Da Di, Hong Jun Lao Zi, all of who enunciated principles concerning the lore of nature and how these precepts directly relate to human beings.

In the interest of general education, I would like present a brief overview of a few of these basic concepts. Some of which our Australian people might have heard something about.

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