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location: Frist page History & Culture Qigong in Qin Dynasty and Before (21st Century B.C. – 206 B.C.)
Qigong in Qin Dynasty and Before (21st Century B.C. – 206 B.C.)
  After a long primitive period, qigong had developed along with the development of civilization. When it came to the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, qigong was no more a practical skill but became an academic study, it was implicated in books of various subjects.
    The Classic of Tao and Virtue/Tao Te Ching (Dào Dé Jīng, 道德经) written by Lao Tzu, the pioneer of Taoism, is a philosophy classic, and it established the philosophical ground of the qigong theories. The philosophy in Tao Te Ching is the source of the view of “correspondence with the nature” in qigong, and there are a number of ideas and methods of qigong cultivation mentioned in the book, such as the “guard-one method (守一法)”, “guard (守)” is to keep concentrate the mind, and “one (一)” is to gather all the consciousness and attention into one unity.
  The Confucian qigong emphasize the cultivation of personal conduct and morality as well as the cultivation of physical body. For example, it is described in The Teachings of Master Chuang/Chuang Tzu (Zhuāng Zĭ, 庄子) that Confucius (孔子) and Yan Hui (颜回) had conversation about “heart abstaining (心斋)[1]” and “sitting transcendence (坐忘)[2]”. “Sitting transcendence” is an early form of sitting meditation, Guo Mo-ruo (郭沫若) said in The Practice of Sitting Meditation (Jìng Zùo Dē Gōng Fū, 静坐的功夫), “the practice of sitting meditation, ……was originated from Yan Hui……Yan Hui’s talk about sitting transcendence, is probably the beginning of sitting meditation in our country (静坐这项功夫,……当溯源于颜回……颜回坐忘之说,这怕是我国静坐的起始).” In The Teachings ofMaster Meng/Mencius (Mèng Zĭ, 孟子), it discussed more detailedly about the practice of self cultivation, and suggested that “ the first is heart cultivation, the second is qi cultivation (一曰养心,二曰养气)”.
     The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic (Huáng Dì Nèi Jīng, 黄帝内经) is the first Chinese medical classic written in between the Warring States Period and the beginning of Han Dynasty, it is the medical foundation and a monument of the ancient qigong development. In Basic Questions –Treatise of Heavenly Truth from Remote Antiquity[3], it is said “avoid the evil and illness to take advantage of you, be indifferent and peaceful, then the true qi will be in harmony, contain the mind and spirit, how can disease attack? (虚邪贼风,避之有时,恬淡虚无,真气从之,精神内守,病安从来)” This is a fundamental principle guiding the qigong practice and study. Some of the qigong methods and techniques were also introduced in The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic, such as “tranquilization (入静)”[4], “qi pass through elixir field (气贯丹田)”, “touch the palate with tongue (舌抵上腭)”, “click teeth and swallow saliva (叩齿吞津)”, “drink jade like fluid to cultivate elixir (玉液还丹)”.
  According to professional study, The Jade Wearing with Inscription of Qi Moving (Xíng Qì Yù Pèi Míng, ******玉佩铭) is another precious artifact from the end of 5th century B.C. to the beginning of 4thcentury B.C. The inscription on it is so far the earliest description found about qigong practicing. The jade wearing is hollow in the middle and has 12 sides, with a 45 words description of qigong inscribed on it. It is an evidence of the high-level qigong practice during the Warring State Period.

[1]Heart abstaining: xīn zhāi, 心斋, “xīn 心” in Chinese means heart, and “zhāi 斋” means fasting or abstaining.
[2]Sitting transcendence: zùo wàng, 坐忘, “zùo 坐” means sit/seat, “wàng 忘” means forget.
[3] “Basic Questions” is one of the two parts composing the The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic, the other part is the “Spiritual Pivot”
[4]Tranquilization: rù jìng, 入静, “rù 入” means enter, ” jìng 静” means tranquility.
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