A tentative survey of qigong theory of Confucianism

Author: Chen Xiaoqi
The Public Health Bureau of Tiantai County, Zhejiang Province, China [1]
Conference/Journal: 2nd Int Conf on Qigong
Date published: 1989
Other: Pages: 232 , Word Count: 1739

Confucianism, which came into being 2,500 years ago, has been improving the wisdom of mankind during its long existence by its doctrine that 'Rectify your heart and cultivate your person 80 as to govern the State rightly.' The voluminous texts of Confucianism through the ages contain rich contents about Qigong theory which has played an important role in the emergence, establishments and development of general Qigong theory. Here, I only concern myself with the contents in the texts that deal with Qigong and give a tentative survey, which T hope will serve as a good start for further researches.

I. The world view of Confucianism and Its Rational Knowledge about Qigong
The Doctrine of the Mean says: 'The doings of the Supreme Heaven have neither sound nor smell.' This refers to the nebulous state before the universe took shape. At that time, Qian (heaven) and Kun (earth) were in positions as illustrated in Fu-Hsi's Order of the Diagrams. When human beings appeared in the universe , they were endowed with rationality which became part of their nature. What dominates the rationality is man's innate soul. As in the nebulous state there were no sound or smell, no shape or image no sense or knowledge , The Book Of Changes arranges Qian on the top and Kun at the bottom in Fu-Hsi's Order of the Diagrams and manes innate nature is purely rational. The Book of Changes says, 'QIAN IS A CIRCER.' when the nebulousness was broken and the heaven was open, the circle was turned into a line , which can be represented by the Chinese character “One”( “-” ). So The Book of Changes says: QIAN IS THE ONE “-”. The Mystical Pivot: Treatise on Nine Needles says, 'The one is heaven” The Mystical Pivot: Treaties on Organic Function says, 'The One is the key to all laws of nature, which should never be made known to the wrong men but the wright ones.” The Tao The Ring says, 'The key is limpid in virtue of the one .' In virtue of the one , man will certainly become wise. Confucianism claims, 'The One is the essence ', Buddhism, 'All doctrines originate irons the one ', and Taoism ,'KEEP YOUR VITALITY AND HOLD THE ONE '. The one is the heart of Tao and Sian is heaven.So the heart of Tao accords with heaven .It is dominated by one's innate energy ,fixed in one's state of the person. As The Doctrine of the Mean says, 'Let the states of equilibrium and harmony exist in perfection , and a happy order will prevail throughout heaven and earth, and all things will be nourished and flourish .” If man loses his tranquility and innocence , becoming worried and contemplative, the middle lines of QIAN and KUN will exchange their positions, changing into LI and KAN respectively. Thus the innate position of Qian and Kun is replaced by the acquired position of Li and Kan , In Order of Diagram, Li stands for xing (nature, mind or disposition) and Kan fire sing ( life or body) This acquired xing is that the Confucianists called 'disposition'. When in acquired positions, Li(fire) and Kan (water) depart from each other . Therefore those who seek for immortality should realize the importance of 'returning to emptiness by getting rid of one's acquired disposition '. The way to go back to the innate position is to put the strong line of Kan back into Li and turn Li into Sian again. In other words, one should drive out the heart of man but keep the heart of Tao. The Song of Understanding the Truth says, 'The strong Sian appears when the divided line in the middle of Li is replaced by the undivided line in the middle of Kan. But you can never succeed in achieving it without using the trained mind' It coincides with Confucians’ words,' Intelligence results from sincerity.', 'Try to find out illustrious virtue', ' Contemplate and study the illustrious decrees of Heaven' and 'Rest in the highest excellence'.

As to the relationship between heaven and man, The Doctrine of the Mean says, 'What Heaven has conferred is called THE NATURE; an accordance with this nature is called the TAO'. The Song of Understanding the Truth says, 'Tao coming from nothingness produces a wisp of air from which come the Yin and Yang. The combination of the two forms the three which begets the myriad creatures.' Simple Questions: Treaties on the Communication of the Force of Line with Heaven says, 'From Earliest times the communication with Heaven has been the very foundation of life. 'All these words show that there is an exchange of energy and information between living things and nature.

II. The Theory of The Doctrine of the Mean and the Practice of Qigong
The Doctrine of the mean says, 'while there are no stirring of pleasure Anger, sorrow, or joy, the mind may be said to be in the state of EQUILIBRIUM. When those feelings have been stirred, and they act in their due degree, there ensues what may be called the state of HARMONY .This EQUILIBRIUM is the great root from which grow all the human acting in the world.' This shows that one's passions have effects on the result of one's Qigong practice. Therefore to let feelings' act in their due degree' and n to embody the right way naturally and easily are the key to 'sincerity'. The Doctrine of the Mean says, ' He who possesses sincerity, is he who, without an effort ,hints what is right ,...'and 'When we have intelligence resulting from sincerity, this condition is to be ascribed to nature.' A Qigong practitioner should always keep these words in mind, for this
means a leap from low-level to high-level in the course of one's Qigong practicing . It also coincides with Confucius' words, 'This was the manner of Hui:--he made choice of the Mean,and whenever he got hold of what was good ,he clasped it firmly, as if wearing it on his breast, and did not lose it.', and 'It is only he who is possessed of the most complete sincerity that can exist under heaven,who can give its full development to his nature,Able to give its full development to his own nature,he can do the save to the nature of other men, he can give their full development to the nature of animals and others. Able to give their full development to the natures of creatures and things, he can assist the transforming and nourishing powers of Heaven and Earth, he may with Heaven and Barth form a ternion.'

Huang Yuanji says, 'If a learner keeps the mean and embrace the One, he will achieve emptiness...' and 'Keeping the Mean is indeed the key to the cultivation of the person.' And Lsozi also says, 'A multitude of words or examples will do no better than keeping the Mean.' In other words, you cannot explain the subtleties of Tao, no matter how many words you use ; you cannot prove what rational knowledge is-, no matter how many examples you cite; only through ' Keeping the Mean' and embracing the one n can you return to emptiness and see your true nature . Therefore,the Confucianists view that 'He is the sage who naturally and easily embodies the right way' coincides with the 'rest -and- observation' theory
'observing the Mean ' put forward by Tiantai sect, and with Laozi's 'keeping the Mean'.

III. The Qigong Theory of Confucianism about the Exploitation of Morality and Intelligence.

The famous scientist Qian Xuesen once said that 'ACQUIRING wisdom through deep meditation ' is one of the major aims of Qigong practicing.This point can also be found in The Great Learning: n What the Great learning teaches, is to illustrate illustrious virtue; to renovate the people;and to rest in the highest excellence .The point where t.o rest being known, the object of pursuit is then determined: and that being determined , a calm unperturbedness may be attained to. To that calmness there
-will succeed a tranquil repose. In that repose there may be careful deliberation, and that deliberation will be followed by the attainment of the desired end.' These words contain rich Qigong and philosophic theory,shoeing that to be a man virtue and wisdom, on must go through the systematic training from discipline to meditation to wisdom so that his potential energy can be developed. 'The point where t;o rest' refers to the discipline, i.e., conforming to the moral standards. 'A calm unperturbedness' means quietness and concentration of mind .' Tranquil repose' means quietness and self-examination. '... and that deliberation will be followed by the attainment of the desired end' refers to the acquisition of wisdom .In other words, with tranquil mind and developed potential energy, one can bring the function of his cerebrum into full play and explore the laws of all objects' movement and development. in the universe.

There is such a paragraph in The Great Learning: ' wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts, wishing to rectify their hearts , they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things . Things being investigated , knowledge become complete^. Their knowledge being complete,their thoughts were sincere. Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their persons were Cultivated.' It gives quite a comprehensive sum-up about the necessary conditions and process of cultivation of the person. Confucianism claims that 'Cherish your mind and cultivate your nature', Buddhism 'Clear your mind and cultivate your nature', Buddhism' Clear your mind and see your nature, and Taoism 'Cultivate your mind and train your nature'. A11 the three teachings are the same in holding that 'mind' and 'natures are of the same origin. Confucianism claims that 'Hold the Mean and master the One?', Buddhism, 'All doctrines originate from the one ', and Taoism, 'Embrace vitality and keep the One', all showing that mar and nature share the same characteristics. From above we? call see that there is rich content about Qigong theory in Confucianism which had a profound influence on the emergence, establishment and development of Qigong theory and is worth for the Qigong Avers to make further researches.