Nurturing life through the body, heart, and spirit with the wisdom of Chinese medicine
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A collection of notes on the topics of classical Chinese, medicine, and traditional culture.
 

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.

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Posts tagged cosmology
Humming with Elephants???

An explanation for the strange title of my new book “Humming with Elephants”:

As a whole, the Great Treatise on the Resonant Manifestations of Yīn and Yáng discusses the correlations and correspondences, or in my favorite translation “resonances” (yìng 應), between the actions and movements of Yīn and Yáng in the macrocosm of nature at large and in the human body and an infinity of other larger and smaller microcosms, from the cells to plants and animals to society and the stars in the sky. Without going into too much detail here, I would like to suggest that what English-speaking scholars of philosophy, science, and medicine have been referring to as “correlative thinking” or as the “theory of systematic correspondences” deserves a stronger and more concise term to describe this relationship of “stimulus and response/resonance” gǎn yìng 感應.

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Z'ev Rosenberg on "The Seminal Suwen Chapters: A Blueprint for Human and Ecological Health"

Guest blog by Z'ev Rosenberg from his brandnew Returning to the Source: Han Dynasty Medical Classics in Modern Clinical Practice: "The essential first three chapters of the Huang di nei jing Su wen set the stage for the core principles of Chinese medicine. These opening chapters contain the compass of life and medicine; the text reveals the equations that allow us to see how far we've deviated from the principles of life. As Wang Bing explains in his commentary of Chapter 3 in the Su wen:...

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Frog in the Well

May I introduce you, dear reader to my two new friends?  A cedar and a pine tree living in a secluded corner of the thick rain forest, in a magical grove behind my home. On a recent morning walk, I found them in an intimate embrace with such good strong healing qì that they drew me in and convinced me to pause for a moment and listen to their wisdom. It was much-needed balm for my troubled heart and spirit so I decided to share it. I also got the strange sense that they wanted me to pass this on. Here’s what they had to share with me. 

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Ruminating on Suwen 5... Again...

In an escape from current politics and to regain my balance and faith in humanity, I have been burying myself once again in Suwen 5, which may or may not evolve into the next book-length publication by Happy Goat Productions. What follows is probably the nerdiest blog post I have ever written, but it has brought me great satisfaction. Feel free to share constructive criticism, questions, or any other feedback in the Comments section below. I am perfectly aware that I am trying to put something in written words that is ultimately better approached intuitively. The passage below is found about two thirds through the chapter, following directly after the famous passage where Qi Bo explains the associations of the five directions with the dynamic agents, organs, climatic factors, sounds, flavors, etc etc. I am aware that the references of traditional gender roles in my discussion below may strike some readers as offensive, but I ask you to reserve judgment that comes from a modern Western perspective. Yes, I have opened another can of worms there and I promise to address that can in a different blog post in the future.

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Random Thoughts on "Water is Yīn, Fire is Yáng"

水為陰,火為陽;陽為氣,陰為味。

WATER IS YĪN; FIRE IS YÁNG. YÁNG IS QÌ; YĪN IS FLAVOR.

A commentary on this line from the Lèi Jīng:

類經曰:『故天以日月為水火,易以坎離為水火,醫以心腎為水火,丹以精氣為水火。夫腎者水也,水中生氣,即真火也;心者火也,火中生液,即真水也。水火互藏,乃至道之所在,醫家首宜省察。』
“Thus in Heaven, the sun and moon are water and fire; in the Yì Jīng, [the trigrams] kǎn and lí are water and fire; in medicine, the heart and the kidney are water and fire; and in alchemy, essence and qì are water and fire. Now the kidney is water, and the generation of qì inside water is precisely true fire; the heart is fire, and the generation of fluids inside fire is precisely true water. The mutual storage of water and fire within each other, this is where the utmost Dào is located, and this is what any physician should first examine attentively.”
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Harmonizing yin and yang in an alpha versus beta world

In the traditional Chinese way of thinking, everything in the universe, from the tiniest cell to the tadpole in the puddle, the stalactite in the cave, and the thunderstorm on the mountaintop, is nothing but qi in continuously changing states of alteration and transformation (biàn huà 變化). As such, every aspect of the universe vibrates harmoniously with everything around it in a cosmic symphony of yin and yang. And in this symphony, nothing could be more detrimental to the ideal state of harmony between these two forces than the notion of power and domination of one over the other, which I see expressed so simplistically in the theory of alpha and beta males competing over sexual access to females. 

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More on the Liu He 六合: Guest Post by Daniel Skyle

It is with great pleasure that Happy Goats shares this guest blog by Daniel Skyle on the "Liu He" 六合, which was inspired by my previous post and request for feedback. It's a longer article but very well worth the read!

Here's what Daniel has to say:

It was very interesting to read the translation from the Neijing and then the comment on the idea of liu he on Sabine Wilms´s website. When I read it, I realized how much the concept of liu he has percolated through my life. It has taken its place very firmly both in my practical training and in clinic, and, by extension, in how I always try to share it with my patients to help them.

In the neijiaquan – the Internal Martial Arts (IMA) – and in Daoist practice, liu he is a core concept. This then later evolved into skills that are put into clinic, both for our own health and to increase the effect of our treatments.

In this context liu he is often translated into English as ”the six harmonies”. In the IMA, these are three external harmonies and three internal harmonies (waisanhe and neisanhe) which are practiced again and again and again, until they are finally hardwired into the person´s very existence.

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Forecast for the Year of the Wood Goat-Sheep (guest blog by Lillian Pearl Bridges

February 19, 2015 is the start of the Chinese Year of the Yin Wood Sheep or Green Sheep. The Sheep is fundamentally an Earth creature, so this year the elements of Wood and Earth are considered in conflict as Wood uses up Earth. However, the Wood Element also gets fed by Earth and therefore is a sign of steady growth for economies around the world. And, because it is Yin Wood, it will usher in more peace and calm. This will be a great relief after a turbulent and fast-paced Horse year. To many people, it may seem a bit boring. Remember that the Chinese consider boredom to be good luck because you have choices!

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