Nurturing life through the body, heart, and spirit with the wisdom of Chinese medicine


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 yangsheng
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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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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The Synchronicities of an early fall morning inspired by Suwen 5

On the wonderful synchronicities of life, here is an early-morning commentary on Sùwèn chapter five (陰陽應象大論篇第五, “The Great Treatise on Yin-Yang Resonating in the Manifest World”), inspired by my walk with the dogs this morning in the first foggy rainy soupy Oregon fall day. Every year, I get to revisit this chapter, which I currently consider perhaps the single most important treatise in Chinese medicine in general, in the course of teaching three Neijing Seminars in the Classical Texts curriculum at the university. We start off with Suwen 5, and invariably some eager students will voice a bit of disappointment, after a quick look at the syllabus, that we are only going to cover a single chapter. Don’t we want to read the entire Néijīng (黃帝內經 “Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic”)? And equally predictably, we run out of time long by the end of the term, long before the end of this chapter. So here are some ruminations on just the first couple of lines.

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The Necessity of Art

Full disclosure: This post is directly inspired and owes its existence to a little article written by Sunjae Lee, artist, musician, and doctor of both Chinese and naturopathic medicine, who truly lives what he preaches, as an inspiration to the rest of us. Here at Happy Goats, we have been very fortunate to have his beautiful creations grace the cover of our books, which I have received many sweet comments about. The pictures in this blog post come from Sunjae's blog, and here is the link to Sunjae's blog.

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Love Letter to the Universe

Yesterday afternoon, I had the honor of attending the lineage ceremony for the 2015 graduating class from the School of Classical Chinese Medicine at the National College of Natural Medicine. The students expressed some beautiful sentiments towards us teachers, most notably this sentence: “As students, we may just be your love letters to the universe.” This sentence will stick with me forever because there is such truth, hope, and life-affirming beauty in it. 

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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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Zhuangzi 莊子: Mountain Tree 山木

Section One


Zhuangzi was walking in the middle of the mountains when he saw a large tree with abundant branches and flourishing foliage. A logger had stopped by its side but had not chosen it [for logging]. When asked for the reason he said, “It does not have any usable aspect.” Zhuangzi said: “Due to the fact that it is not timber,[1] this tree is able to live out its natural life [instead of getting cut down].

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