In the context of my most recent book publication, a translation and discussion of the first section of an important thirteenth century text on gynecology, I have been thinking a lot about the current state of clinical practice of what I call “traditional Chinese gynecology” in the West. To be frank, for years now I have been hearing or reading statements that are appalling to me in their arrogance and ignorance vis-a-vis what I consider one of the crowning achievements of traditional (note the small “t”) Chinese medicine.Read More
This blog is a collection of ruminations, translations, and personal opinions by Sabine and some guest authors. Reflecting my own personality, some posts are academic, some clinical, and some personal, some are excerpts from existing books and some may become part of future books. Please leave comments with feedback, questions, constructive criticism, and differences of opinion as long as you argue your reasons for disagreement logically. Any personal attacks, uncivil remarks, or self-promoting comments will be deleted.
Look through the Archive by Topic or Search the Blog:
- Chinese history and culture
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- Divine Farmer
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- Wang Fengyi
- Yellow Emperor
- Zhang Jingyue
- medical ethics
- virtue healing
Sometimes life has a way of making connections for us, and all we have to do is get out of the way. My friendship with Jane English has certainly felt that way. What a serendipitous gift out of nowhere!Read More
This post is dedicated to the memory of my sweet sweet RosiePosie, the biggest most royal most beautiful dog I will get to know in this lifetime. She was ready to go and left us very peacefully two days ago, with my daughter and me holding her tight, after a last beach walk with laughter and a bath in the ocean and treats of chocolate and cheese.Read More
Inspired by my dear friend Lillian Pearl Bridges and her yearly choice of a Spiritual Action, I have been contemplating my own path. As I am beginning to prepare for a retreat on Virtue Healing in a few weeks, my head and heart are much concerned with the traditional Chinese Five Virtues 五德 or Five Constancies 五常:...All of these are obviously much needed these days, both in my personal life and in the universe at large, and I will spend as much energy as I can find in myself on cultivating each one of these. Nevertheless, I found it impossible to settle on a single one of these. Instead this morning, as I was getting ready to see my beloved daughter off to college a long day's drive away, it came to me...Read More
It seems we all need allies. The Lone Ranger had Silver, his faithful horse.
Davy Crockett had his coon-skin cap as well as his trusty rifle, Old Betsy.
Basho, Japan’s most famous poet, had the moon and a small boy I once saw
on the Moscow metro had a tiny hedgehog, which he kept in his pocket, but
brought out to stroke, much to the astonishment of his fellow passengers.
Maybe he reminded them of the value of friendship in an often hostile world.
Allies bring comfort, company and connection, a little personal touch of life
touching life that staves off that feeling of loneliness that seems such a
common undercurrent in people’s lives.
"Imperial Tutor: Translating Ancient Chinese Wisdom into Medicine for Today" is the title and subtitle of my newest project, rooted in my desire to share what I have learned from the ancient Chinese classics (medical, philosophical, cosmological, and otherwise) with you all, my students, friends, readers, and colleagues near and far, in a more direct and personal way than is possible in writing. To be sure, I treasure every moment of my new reclusive life on a magical island in the Salish Sea and feel so fortunate to be able to concentrate fully on my writing and translating. And I am very clear that without this peace and quiet I could never do the deep work that I am currently engaged in on my Sù Wèn 5 project, forthcoming as "Humming with Elephants: The Great Treatise on the Manifest Resonances of Yin and Yang" by the end of this year, I sure hope! But as I explain on the home page of my brand new website, which I quote below, I have always loved sharing what I know in small personal circles. And so I have created a vehicle for that in the formats that work best for me.Read More
The past few days, weeks, and months have been difficult ones for many of us, at least in the United States where I currently live, as we witness horrific events in our local communities, the country, and around the world. So much violence, rage, pain in this crazy year of the Fire Rooster! Like many of my clairvoyant, wise, or just empathetic friends and colleagues in the field of Chinese medicine, where the virtue of brightness or vision (míng 明) is the distinguishing mark of the sage, I have been finding the nearly constant onslaught of tragedies hard to digest and have had to consciously force myself to take breaks from the news and allow the soothing calmness of the Puget Sound to heal my heart and spirit. For me personally, a daily swim in the sea has been a life saver, in spite of the dropping temperatures, and I am extremely grateful to be in a position where I get to do that. Let us be consciously kind to each other, come together, and support each other as best we can with unconditional love while we grieve and squint our tearful burning eyes! I need to write a blog about kindness but am too raw emotionally to go there right now. Instead, I want to share an insight by Liu Yousheng from his book "Let the Radiant Yang Shine Forth," inspired by Wang Fengyi's teachings on the toxicity of blame.Read More
Rose does not ask for a pet, she powerfully demands recognition whenever she needs it or the mood strikes her. Luckily for me, that is actually quite often. At the same time, she is fiercely independent and happily and ceaselessly performs her task of guarding the farm. Our connection is not one of devotion or need but of choice, given as a mutual gift to enrich both of our lives from a place of power and freedom. Having this force of nature in my life serves as a constant reminder to myself of my own animal nature. It also inspires me to exist in the moment in a non-rational presence that perhaps can temporarily transcend the subjective or objective experience of reality, as it is filtered through the divisive activity of the rational mind. This is as close as I come on a daily basis to the ideal Chinese state of “fasting the heart.”Read More
This blog is a continuation of my previous post, “Why I Dislike Walls, Part One,” which you can read here. That post was an attempt to give voice to some of my personal experiences with walls in Germany and on the US-Mexican border, to explain my personal gut reaction. In the present writing, I am putting on my supposedly objective historian’s hat for Part Two, to look more closely at arguably the most famous historical example of wall-building, namely the Great Wall of China. So let us travel far away in time and space, to fifteenth-century China and the construction of the Great Wall in the Ming dynasty. And here I’d like to add the disclaimer that I am not a specialist in late imperial Chinese history, but merely get to revisit this topic once a year while teaching a survey course on Chinese History and Culture to students of Chinese medicine at the National University of Natural Medicine. My original inspiration for this topic came from a brief lecture that Professor Donald Harper gave more than two decades ago at the University of Arizona in an undergraduate Chinese Civilizations class, for which I served as a Teaching Assistant. All mistakes are of course my own.Read More