Daoist Medicine – Origins & Development

Mount Wudang Abbot Du Song Feng

Daoist Medicine History

Daoist medicine takes the 《Dao De Jing’s》Central Dao and 《The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic》as foundational principles and applies the Yin-Yang Five Elemental phases theory for differentiation.
The Daoist Medicine was called a divergent of the Yellow Dao. Traditional Chinese Medicine in ancient times was called “a divergent of the Yellow Arts”, thus one can witness the relationship of Traditional Chinese medicine and Daoist Medicine in regards to their source of transmission and their differences in rank and level.

One should attempt to establish the “Dao” in order to explore Chinese pharmacology. For the time being, it is referred to as “Daoist Medicine”, the whereas the common Traditional Chinese Medicine is simply called “Chinese Medicine” as a means of differentiation.

Daoist Medicine’s earliest ancestor is the “shaman” of the remote ages. Later on, wizards were known by the name of “Heavenly Doctors”. Daoist Medicine’s concepts and notions deploy Lao Zi’s “Dao” of the《Dao De Jing》as their fundamental principle, as the core of their content. Furthermore Daoist Medicine utilizes form and spirit simultaneously for treatment in order to develop newly-emerging methods and strategies. Daoist Medicine can be defined as a Daoist follower in the process of passing on the Dao through medical activities, pursuing long life and cultivating immortality.

Taoist MedicineThrough increasing one’s knowledge and understanding of the universe, life, time, time-space, health and disease,one is capable of shaping a set of tools endowed with mystical characteristics. These tools embody the cultural qualities of the body-mind medical system that originated from the birthplace of Chinese culture, China’s Central Plains.

The art of healing pertaining to Daoist philosophies and later to Daoist sects gave birth to the common world’s Chinese Medicine, but it is at the same time distinct from it. Daoist Medicine places an even stronger emphasis on the principles of Jing [essence] Qi and Shen [spirit], as well as stressing the doctrines of the Generating and Controlling Cycles of the Five Elemental-Phases. Both Chinese Medicine and Daoist Medicine value holistic differentiation methods of the inter-relationship between humans and the natural world. Differentiation must search for root causes, internal causes and external causes. Providing treatment must also correspond to the holistic regulation and removal of root causes, internal causes and external causes. Qi is the source of Daoist Medicine’s numerous skills varying as ways in which it is applied. If one does not cultivate realization, in that case it is hard to grasp and physically experience its higher mastery and use.

Anyone desiring Great Medicine ought to know well 《The Simple Questions》, 《The Zhou Yi》, 《The Yellow Emperor’s Acupuncture Classic》, The Palace of Brightness, Stems and Branches Point Selection, the twelve meridians, the three positions and nine indicators, five Zang-organs and six Fu-viscera, interior-exterior acupuncture points, the 《Materia Medica》, Zhang Zhong Jing, Bian Que, Hua Tuo, and many other forms of remedies and formulae.
Five Immortals Temple, ChinaOne also must have an excellent understanding of peoples’ yin and yang fortune through life, each home’s physiognomy, and the “Shining Turtle’s Five Omens”. One must be equally proficient in the divination method of the “Six Ren” of the《 Zhou Yi》, then one is able to obtain the Great Medicine. Next, one must be well versed in all prescriptions, formulae and methods and ponder deeply about their wondrous principles. One must be mindful and scrutinize intensively. Consequently one is able of calling oneself a Daoist healer. One must also read curiously into a wide variety of books. Which ones? If one does not read the five classics, one is unaware of the existence of the Dao of benevolence and righteousness. If one does not read the “Three Histories”, one has no idea of the existence of the matters of past and present. If one does not read 《The Inner Classic》, then one is ignorant of compassion and fondness of giving alms. If one does not read 《Lao》and《Zhuang》, one cannot go beyond the mundane body and cannot give free reign to the true body’s movements, thus good and bad fortune will be restrained by fears and taboos.
When one comes into contact with the path of confusion that means one is alive. There is a physical body, there’s growth, health and death. One should go as far as delving into the secrets of the fall and rise of the five elemental-phases and the “Seven Illuminations of the Heavenly Bodies” [the astronomy of the 28 constellations]. One must equally explore the mysterious abstruseness. If one is capable of completely finishing this study, then there is no obstruction to the “Way of Medicine”, extremely benevolent, extremely beautiful.

“This is the reason why any Daoist studying the Immortal Dao ought to know medicine. Daoists not engaging in the Immortal Dao cannot become Daoist doctors.”