Kung-Fu, or Tauist Medical Gymnastics, by John Dudgeon, , at sacred-texts.com
The Tauist work Tsun-sheng-pa-chien (#), in 20 books was written by Kau-lien-shen-fu (#), in 1591. The first and third prefaces are by the author, the second by Ch‘ai-ying-nan (#). The work is divided into eight parts; two books are occupied with the subject of Undivided Application, four with Seasonable Regimen, from which we have taken the Kung-fu for the year; two with Rest and Pleasure; two with Prevention of Disease, from which we have taken the Eight Ornamental sections; three with Eating, Drinking and Clothing; three with Amusements in retirement; two with Efficacious Medicines and one with Examples of the Virtuous, and the Contents form the twentieth volume. In the large list of drugs the poppy is mentioned only once and among a list of prescriptions opium occurs only once as an ingredient in a pill entitled The Great Golden Elixir.
This work is well got up: There is a sameness of language and illustration running through the works of this class. The more recent and cheaper books have been reproduced from the older works with minor changes and additions.
Another work called Hsing-ming-kwei-chih (#), is by an accomplished Tauist of the Sung dynasty called Yin-chen-jen (#), on the Government of the inner man. This is one of the most celebrated treatises on this art. It is in 4 volumes and treats at large of the principles and method of practice and is amply illustrated by plates. It was first printed in 1615 and another edition in a large and handsome style was issued about 1670. The 1st preface is by Li-p‘o, (#), the 2nd by Chang-chi (#), the 3rd by Tsou-yuen-piao (#), and the 4th by Yu-t‘ung (#), all in the time of Kanghi.
The contents of this work are of the usual Tauist character, discourses on the Great Reason, Birth, Life, Death, the Elixir, the Absolute, the Yin and Yang, Refining the Heart etc. One chapter, entitled the Three Passes, Agreeing and Opposing, begins thus:—Reason (tau) produced one; one produced two; two produced three and three produced the myriad things. Another chapter on the True and False or the deflected and the perfect beginning with the great Tau producing heaven and earth; and these, man and things, states that there are 3,600 Tauist methods; 24 sorts of the Great Elixir and 96 sorts of outside doctrines. There are numerous side sects but only one Golden Elixir Doctrine which is the one and only perfect way. Outside this there is no other way of becoming immortals and Buddhas. This is real, all else is empty and false. About sixty different sects are mentioned who prosecute their doctrines, hoping by means of which to gain immortality, The list is said to be inexhaustible. They are compared to looking through a tube at the panther [and seeing one spot only] or like looking at heaven from the bottom of a well the horizon in both
cases being contracted and limited. There is no panacea but the Golden Elixir—the Great Reason. This is the end and there is nothing better. Many of the sects are incidentally referred to in the preceding kung-fu. The list though intensely interesting and instructive is too long to reproduce here. Another work is called Fuh-show-tan-shu. (#), or The Elixir of Happiness and Longevity, in 6 vols., published in 1621. Hwato's Five Animals are drawn from the first volume of this work entitled An-yang-p‘ien. (#), a discourse of Peace and Nourishment; the 2nd vol., is termed Yen-ling-p'ien. (#), a treatise on Longevity, The Medicinal kung are extracted from this volume. The remaining four vols., are entitled respectively Fuh-shih-p‘ien (#), a collection on dress and food of prescriptions by Ying-yuen; the Tsai-pu-p‘ien. (#), by the same; the Hsuen-sien-p‘ien. (#) ditto, and on Drugs or the Ching-yao-p‘ien. (#) by Cheng-chi-chiao. (#) Another work is termed Tan-ching-san-chuen. (#), in 6 vols., consisting of the T‘ien-hsien-chêng-li. (#), in two books by Pa-tse-yuen. (#), reprinted in the year 1801. One vol. is entitled Foh-hsien-ho-tsung. (#), a Harmony of Buddhism and Tauism, by Wu-shen-yang in the reign of Wan li; three vols. entitled Wan-shou-hsien-shu. (#), the same in import as the yen ling p‘ien or Treatise on Longevity The first vol., contains the Eight Ornamental Sections and the year's illustrations, in every respect identical with those of the Tsun sheng pa chien, except that the list of diseases which the exercise is designed to cure is very much briefer and more reasonable. We have followed the earlier work from which this seems to have been copied. The miscellaneous illustrations in the second vol., are identical with those in the Yen ling p‘ien noticed above. The illustrations are inferior as works of art to the Yen ling p‘ien from which apparently they have been copied. My copy is, however, a cheap edition. The same vol. also contains Hwato's Five animals and also Chen Hsi-i‘s right and left sleeping exercise which occurs also in the vol., on Prevention of Disease in the future, in the Tsun sheng pa chien. The prefaces to most of these works are purely ornamental, conveying no exact truth or of historical interest.
Another work in one small vol., one of the smallest, cheapest and most popular books on Kung-fu, is the Wei-sheng-yi-chin-ching, supposed to be spurious by scholars. Several abridged editions of this book are sold under the designation Wei-sheng-yao-shu (#).
The first mentioned book has a preface by Sung-kwang-so (#), written in 1875, in which he says that he is a lover of good books, that he visited a great temple where Kung-fu was practised with advantage to the original air and vital spirits, protecting not only against disease but prolonging life and still more of enabling persons to become divine sages. He had much leisure and was anxious to reprint good books, dispense medicines and cure serious disease. People from all quarters praised his good deeds, his own evil thoughts banished, he ate and drank orderly and discreetly; his one desire was to obtain peace; he spent much time and labour in searching into prescriptions for the nourishment of the body, when he came across this book and he was rejoiced to obtain the benefit of the two books Hwang-ting (#), and Nei-ching (#), and learned the methods of the genii. He was glad at the possession of this book and wished others with the same heart as his own, to reap the same advantage and help them to nourish their bodies.
This is followed by a preface written by Li-ching (#), a great military officer of the Tang dynasty, in the second year (529 A.D.) of the second Emperor of that dynasty. He says in the time of the after Wei (#), in the year T'ai-ho (#), of the Emperor Hsiao-ming (#), the priest Ta-mo (#), (Bodhidharma—the sound of the last two syllables of his Indian name) arrived at the court of Wu-ti the first Emperor of the Liang dynasty, where he first dwelt and afterwards removed to the Wei Kingdom, and dwelt at a temple called Shao-lin-sze (#). After a residence of 9 years in China (he was 69 years’ old when he arrived in the year 526, and was the 28th of the patriarchs) he was changed (died) and was buried at the
foot of the Hiung-erh mountain (#), (between Honan and Shensi). He left one shoe. When his monument was being repaired after the course of years, an iron box, unlocked, but firmly fastened with glue, was found, which on the application of heat was opened. The inside was filled with wax and it was this that rendered its opening difficult. Inside were two books, one termed the Hsi-sui-ching (#), the other the I-chiu-ching (#). The latter had to do with the conservation of the body. After generations saw nothing of the former, the latter was found at Shao-lin-sze, written in the language of the country called T‘ien-chuh (# India). There was great difficulty in having it translated. Each one took the best meaning out of it he could and by so doing obtained the bypath—not the highway, the leaves and branches—not the stem, and so lost the real method of turning genii. At present the priests of the temple obtain advantage from the wrestling (method) merely. One of the more intelligent argued that what Tamo left could not be unimportant and so he went on a pilgrimage to the O-mei (#) mountain in Szechuen in search of one who could translate the work and there met an Indian priest by name Pan-la-me (#). To him he spoke of the classic and reason for his coming. The Indian priest explained the work so far as was possible, for the language of Buddha cannot be translated, it is extraordinarily deep, deeper than water. He was invited to stay at the temple and so got initiated by degrees into the details of Kungfu. In 100 days he became quite strong, in too more his entire body had received benefit and after the third hundred days he was able for everything and his constitution became as hard as steel, and he could aspire to the position of a Buddha. He accompanied the Indian priest wherever be went. One Hsü-hung met them and obtained from them the secret method, and he gave it to a red bearded guest who gave it to the writer of the preface, who tried the method with the best results and so became a believer. He deeply regretted he did not obtain the Hsi-sui-ching and he also felt regrets that his convictions were not strong enough to induce him to give up all and follow the priests and not being able to carry out this plan, he felt as if there was something a wanting in his heart. He complains of people not having heard of this work, so
he writes this preface to inform them how the work came into his hands and hopes that through this they may truly learn of Buddha. That each may attain to the Kungfu of Buddha is the ideal which Tamo had in his heart in bequeathing this classic. This is an extract and in, part the substance of the principal part of the preface. Dr. Edkins tells us that Tamo in carrying out his mystic views, discouraged the use of the sacred books. His highest aim was the work of the heart. He left Nanking where the Emperor resided and went to Loyang, the modern Honanfu. For 9 years he sat with his face to a wall, hence the epithet applied to him—"the wall-gazing Brahman." He died of old age. Sung-yün who was sent in 518 A.D. to India for Buddhist books by the Prince of the Wei country, returned and inspected the remains of Tamo. As he lay in his coffin, he held one shoe in his hand. Sung-yün asked him whither he was going. To the Western Heaven was the reply. Sung then returned home. The coffin was afterwards opened and found empty, the shoe alone was lying there. This shoe was preserved as a relic in the monastery but was stolen in the T‘ang dynasty.
The succeeding preface appears in the section entitled Physiology of Kung-fu. The concluding preface is by one Niu-kau, a military officer, of the Sung dynasty in the 12th year of Shao-hsing the first Emperor of the Southern Sung (1143). He was an illiterate individual, he says, ignorant of characters. He was a follower of a celebrated general named Yueh-fei (#); he once met a remarkable priest, so like a lohan. In his hand he had a letter which he gave to him to give to Yueh-fei, who, he said, had divine power—was able to stretch a bow with the resistance of 100 piculs’ weight, this strength was given him not by Heaven but by the priest. When a youth he was my pupil and he practised the Kung-fu most thoroughly. I asked him to become one of my followers and adopt the doctrine of Buddha which, however, he said, he did not believe and so left me to prosecute worldly affairs. He had become a great officer with a great reputation—this seems his destiny. Give him this letter and let him know the evils of the world—that he may be in Imperial favour one day and the next day in disgrace, suffering punishment; that the pursuit of the Buddhistic doctrines was alone satisfying. Niu was afraid to hear the priest talk thus—asked his name to which no reply was given. Yueh took the letter and
before finishing the perusal of it he wept and said: he was my master, a holy priest and if he had not taken care of me I should have died. Thereupon he brought out of his breast a book and told Niu to take it. He afterwards lost the Imperial favour; Niu-kau in order to hand down the work, hid it in a wall in the Sung-hill (#), that someone hereafter finding it might propagate it, he himself being destitute of all ability and in this way obtain some merit and be able to look Yueh-fei in the face, i.e., do something which would not only not disgrace him but be a credit to him.
The work begins with the rules for Kung-fu in rhyme to be committed to memory which we omit as their substance is embraced in the 8 Ornamental Sections. Next comes a discourse in general. Then follows a chapter on Membranes.
There are two grand methods included in Kung-fu, the internal and the external. The internal Method has to do with the Membranes. The body is distinguished into many parts of which the internal are the five organs, the six viscera, the animal vigour and the spirit; the external are the four limbs, the bones, sinews and flesh. These form one body. The essential part of them are the blood and the animal vigour. To invigorate these two things are therefore of the first importance in Kung-fu. The animal vigour and spirit are immaterial but the sinews, bones and muscles are material. The method is to discipline the material as the assistants of the immaterial and cultivate the immaterial to aid the material. These two are intimately related. If it is desired to discipline the sinews, the animal vigour comes first in order, then the membranes, and last of all the sinews which is then easy. To discipline the membranes is difficult but to discipline the animal vigour is the most difficult of all. The true plan is to lay the foundation in the difficult. The important part of kung-fu is to nourish the original air (constitution), to collect the central air, care for the perfect air, protect the kidney air, nourish the liver air, nurse the lungs and manage the spleen, transforming the turbid into the pure condition, to prevent the external things or emotions as grief, desire, and suchlike from injuring the constitution and thus enable it to become
tranquil, pure and even and then united its influence will be distributed to and felt over the whole body. When it arrives at the tendons and reaches to the membranes, the entire body is then full of motion; when the air arrives at the place, the membranes rise and when the air moves, the membranes are extended, so that the membranes and the air become equally strong. If the sinews be disciplined and not the membranes, there is nothing for the membranes to govern and vice versâ, if the two are disciplined and not the air, the two do not increase in strength, and if vice versâ, the air remains weak and fails to flow to the blood vessels but reciprocally if the sinews are strong but are not strengthened by the air and membranes, it is like planting herbs without earth
Pan-la-mi says that disciplining the membranes comes first but in order to do so, the discipline of the air is the lord or root of the matter. Most people do not understand the membranes—it is not the fatty membranes; it is the membranes of the tendons; the former is inside the middle of the breast, the latter is outside the bones; the membranes are the things that connect the vessels, arms and body, they protect and are in contact with the bones and sinews of the body. Comparing the sinews and membranes, the latter are the softer, they are harder than flesh and are inside the flesh and outside the bones; they are the substances that embrace the bones and support the flesh. In kung-fu the air must traverse to the middle of the membranes, protect the bones, strengthen and support the sinews which together form one body. This is the whole of kung-fu.
The discourse on internal vigour embraces three laws. First, protecting the animal vigour which includes attention to the five senses and motives. The best way to begin is by kneading, at which time the clothes are to be opened and the recumbent position adopted, with one palm placed on the space between the chest and abdomen. This is what is termed the "medium" where the animal vigour is stored and must be protected by closing the eyes and ears, equalizing the breath of the nose, shutting up the breath of the mouth, not overtoiling the strength of the body, preventing desire and evil thoughts. This is thinking of the "middle" and the road is then well regulated simply because the animal vigour, the essence and the spirit are accumulated here. Second,
the absence of thought. The animal vigour, the essence and spirit and also the blood are not independent but are under the control of motives and follow what the motives originate. It is necessary for the motive to agree with the palm (of the hand) when protecting the "medium;" if the motive should jump to another part of the body, the vigour, essence and spirit will be scattered and then it will become the external not the internal vigour. Third, the management of a sufficient circulation. The kneading and guarding have for their object the prevention of the dissipation of the air which has already been collected into the one place, the animal vigour, the essence and the blood will follow. By thus watching over it, we keep it from escaping and kneading it for a long time, the vigour is stored in the "medium" and prevented from running over to other parts of the body. Vigour so accumulated, energy will also accumulate and when the vigour is sufficient, then the energy will circulate. This air is what Mencius had in view when he said—the greatest and strongest is the strength of air which can fill the entire heaven and earth—i.e., air without limit. If the air is not full and has not circulated, and the motives are scattered, it is not only the internal but also external robustness that is devoid of strength.
Pan-la-mi held with Mencius that man's nature was originally good, that the good was gradually covered by the evil which found admission through the senses, the body and ideas, and clouded the understanding, so that a partition, as it were, has come in between the individual and the Doctrine (Tau). So Ta-mo at Shao-lin-sze remained 9 years ignorant of mundane affairs, and by shutting out the eye and ear was enabled to tie, as it were, his ideas which are like the monkey or the horse, so fleet that one cannot catch them, and so the Tau is closed, but shutting up the senses is like binding these two animals. So Ta-mo secured the true method and left a shoe and went to the West (died) and thus became one of the genii. Ta-mo left this true method and the Show-chung, (the shutting out of the world and guarding the "medium" and so preventing its dissipation). In this way an ignorant person can become wise and a weak one strong and so arrive quickly at the Happy Land.
The drugs recommended for internal robustness are the following: Take of Ye-chi-li (Tribulus terrestris.) (#), (roasted and
the seeds removed) Pai-fu-ling (skin removed) Pai-shao-tao (roasted a little with wine) Show-ti-hwang (prepared with wine) Liquorice (made with honey) Chu-sha (vermilion, precipitated with water) of each 5 ounces; Ginseng, Pai-shu (roasted with earth) Tang kwei (prepared with wine) Ch‘wen-hiung of each 1 ounce, powder and with honey make into pills of 1 mace in weight. Dose: 1 to be swallowed with soup or wine.
It is said that pills made up of so many ingredients, the strength is not one but must vary and go into different channels, so three prescriptions are added any one of which may be taken. (1).—Take Chi-li deprived of its pricks and made into pills with honey and take one or two mace. (This plant is of extreme value it is said, in bringing donkeys rapidly into fine condition.)
(2).—Chu-sha, 3 candareens, washed in water and swallowed in honey water.
(3).—Fu-ling, skin removed, powder and make into pills with honey or take water and mix and so take, or make into a paste and dissolve in honey water.