Taoist Health Regimen

Taoism advocates “precious life”, “rebirth” and “happy life”, which means that life is highly cherished; it also attaches great importance to the issue of “health preservation” and has constructed a set of systematic theories and methods on health preservation. 

From the Taoist perspective, there is nothing in the world that can restrict the innate life. Ge Hong, a famous scholar in the Eastern Jin Dynasty, once said, “My fate is my destiny.” Zhang Sanfeng, a nobleman in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, once said: “Blessing is for oneself, life is for oneself”. Needless to say, Taoism pursues longevity, but this is by no means a vague and infinite fantasy. We can even think of this as a bold challenge to the limits of human life! It is very inappropriate to dismiss such reasonable pursuits and explorations as superstition and fantasies in general. 

The breakthroughs in the research of human genetics in contemporary science are enough to prove that the prolongation of human life does have unlimited potential, which needs to be explored and explored continuously. Looking at the problem from this perspective, the relevant discussions of the Taoists in the past are just the bold pioneering of “life” and “life”, and they have contributed a lot, and they still have positive practical significance to this day.

What deserves our attention is the positive attitude of Taoism to care for and love life. Taoists focus on the exploration and research of the way of health preservation on the “unification of form and spirit” and “double cultivation of life and life”. According to Taoism, “sex” refers to a person’s xinxing; “fate” refers to a person’s body shape. The so-called “double cultivation of life” refers not only to optimize the physical function of a person through physical fitness, so as to extend life as much as possible; but also to purify the human mind through the cultivation of the mind and to improve the value of life, that is, the quality of “life” . Lao Tzu said in the 54th chapter of the “Tao De Jing”: “If you cultivate in the body, its virtue is true; if you cultivate in the family, its virtue is more than that; if you cultivate in the country, its virtue is long; if you cultivate in the country, its virtue is Abundance; repair in the world, its virtue is pu”. Here, at least two meanings are embodied. One is the continuation of human society and individual life and the value of existence; the other is that to build morality, we must first start with me and spread it to home, town, country, and even the world. In this way, the meaning of cherishing life is further extended from the individual to the social function.

Zhuangzi believes that “cultivating one’s body and nurturing one’s character” should focus on “nourishing one’s character” and maintain inner peace, that is, the purification of the soul. In “The Great Master”, he said: “An ancient real person has no dreams, no worries, unwillingness to eat, and deep breath…. Those who have deep appetites have shallow secrets.” If you can maintain inner peace, you can be undisturbed during the day and night (that is, “If you sleep or sleep, you don’t feel worried”). On the contrary, if you are troubled by material desires, you will naturally get out of balance between your body and mind, and your yin and yang will be out of balance. In Zhuangzi’s view, a healthy mentality is of the utmost importance to health preservation, because “body” and “mind” are actually a unity of opposites. How can we achieve a state of psychological balance and tranquility? Zhuangzi emphasized the word “forget”. That is, “the one who cultivates aspirations forgets the shape, the one who cultivates the shape forgets the profit, and the one who causes the Tao forgets the heart” (Zhuangzi’s “Let the King”). Forget your body, all the fame and fortune in the world, and the delusions in your heart, so as to achieve “introspection of the heart, the heart has no heart; the appearance of the shape, the shape has no shape; the distant view of the thing, the sublime realm of tranquility and emptiness of “nothing” will naturally lead to physical and mental health and achieve longevity.

Taoism pays attention to the cultivation of the “three treasures” of the human body, and believes that the human body has “three treasures inside” and “three treasures outside”. The inner three treasures refer to the person’s essence, vitality and soul; the outer three treasures refer to the ears, eyes and mouth. When practicing, we must pay attention to the internal and external response. If we don’t let the “three treasures of the inside” go out, we must block the desire of the “three treasures of the outside”. This is the so-called “three treasures of the ears, eyes and mouths of the Book of Changes”. In fact, it is also equivalent to saying that if you can get rid of the temptation of fame, fortune, and hue from outside the world, you can achieve great success, keep your youth forever, and live forever. See. In the “Quotations of Ma Danyang”, Ma Yu, the Gao Dao of the Jin Dynasty, made the content of Taoist self-cultivation more concrete. He said: “Thin taste is why you can nourish your qi, you can nourish your anger; you can nourish morality because of low humiliation, and you can nourish morality if you are quiet and calm.” Here, Ma Danyang pointed out for us four important aspects of self-cultivation, namely “nourishing qi”, “nourishing nature”, “nurturing virtue” and “nourishing Dao”. We are required to be “thin taste”, “to get rid of anger”, to be indifferent to “low humiliation”, and to achieve the highest level of enlightenment “Dao” with a “quiet and calm” mentality. If we can do this, we can naturally also “live forever”. Look at it.

At the same time, Taoism does not reject the physical fitness effects of physical training and medical treatments, such as scientific exercises and martial arts exercises. Many of the great virtues are, in fact, famous doctors who have made outstanding contributions to traditional medicine, such as Zhang Zhongjing, Sun Simiao, Ge Hong, Gu Huan and so on.

We always feel that the regimen advocated by Taoism is very different from the traditional Western regimen. The latter focuses on food hygiene and physical exercise; while Taoism focuses more on the cultivation of the whole body and mind, and advocates “sex function”, that is, psychological control, in order to achieve the highest state of “the harmony between man and nature” and “the integration of Dao and me.” . Fortunately, with the advancement and development of medical science, people’s understanding has become more comprehensive and rational. Modern medicine began to actively advocate “psychotherapy”, and finally found a point of fit with our Taoist traditional health regimen. This should be said to be a great improvement.


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