[full of energy]Taoist thoughts on health preservation
Taoism refers to a philosophical school centered on the pre-Qin Laozi and Zhuangzi theories. Lao Tzu’s representative work is “Tao Te Ching”, whose basic thought belongs to naturalism philosophy.
In the early Warring States period, “Zhuangzi” inherited and developed Laozi’s thought. In addition, those who served the rulers religiously were called the “Huang-Lao School”.
Taoism achieves the goal of curing illness and prolonging life through methods such as keeping in good health, avoiding the world, purifying the heart, and avoiding desires. The “Tao” advocated by Taoism refers to the nature of all things in the world and the law of natural circulation.
Lay the theoretical basis of health preservation in traditional Chinese medicine
“Tao Te Ching”: “Man follows the earth, the earth follows the sky, and the sky follows nature”, which is the specific elaboration of “Tao”. Therefore, people’s life activities conform to the laws of nature, that is, “the way of deep roots and long-term vision” can make people live longer.
Taoism’s propositions such as pure inaction, returning to nature, conforming to nature, noble softness and deep depression have had a great influence on the thinking of health preservation in traditional Chinese medicine.
Taoism believes that when qi gathers, life occurs, and when qi disperses, death occurs. Sufficient essence is the foundation of human health, healing and prolonging life. The concept of “Essence, Qi and Spirit” proposed by Taoism has laid the theoretical foundation of TCM health preservation.
Static health preservation is proposed based on Taoism’s advocacy of nature, advocating returning to the original, pure and inaction. Purity refers to tranquility of mind; inaction refers to not acting rashly. The spirit of man is still, like muddy water, calm and clear. As long as people’s thoughts are quiet and leisurely, and follow nature, they can make their minds sound, keep their energy inside, and prolong their lives. “Food is sweet, clothes are beautiful, living is comfortable, and customs are enjoyable” expounds that quietness is the way to rejuvenate the mind, to be quiet and indifferent, to be lonely and do nothing.
In long-term practice, Taoism has absorbed the essence of folk Daoyin health-preserving exercises and created Qigong health-preserving exercises that are in line with nature.
Bringing important content to TCM health preservation
“Zhuangzi” has a record of “telling the old and accepting the new, bear the scriptures and birds stretch”. In “Cultivating Nature and Prolonging Life”, Tao Hongjing concluded that the “Liuzi Jue” that has been handed down in later generations is a further development of “exposure the old and absorb the new”. Hua Tuo’s creation of TCM health-preserving exercises “Wu Qin Xi” is obviously an extension of “Xiong Sutra and Bird Stretching”.
“Returning to nature” is often quoted by many health-preserving families, but it actually means returning to the pure state of no desire, ignorance, and inaction. Only in this state can the maintenance of life be completed without being affected by external disturbances. “Supreme goodness is like water” is weak but invincible.
Temperance, including various desires such as sexual life, is an important content brought by Taoism to TCM health preservation. Maintaining kidney function is a very important part of TCM health preservation in preventing diseases and improving health. The “Nei Jing” mentioned many times the harm of indulgence and the benefits of abstinence.
In the end, “doing what has never been and ordering what is not chaotic” is an important concept of Taoism. Traditional Chinese medicine health preservation focuses on “preventive treatment of diseases”, which is in line with Taoist health preservation thought. “Wu Wei is sick, so he is not sick.”
Written by Dr. Chen Guoqiang, a registered member of the Malaysian Federation of Chinese Physicians and Acupuncture and Moxibustion (Medical Federation)