“Our personal wellbeing starts with our compassion for others”

As a Doctor of Acupuncture and someone who is endlessly curious about life, I am constantly seeking out new ways to better understand how to treat the different ailments I come across both in clinic and within myself. As with modern medicine, there are historically many doctors who have shaped the practice of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. The history and evolution is broad with many schools that have contributed to the beautiful entirety that is represented today.
To truly understand the Daoist doctors I had read about and admired, I felt I had to go to the source, so I found myself in China climbing up the White Horse Mountain peak in Wudang Shan. After a steep 90 minutes hike up with all my stuff on my back, I arrived at the Five Immortals Temple where I was to stay and attend a Daoist Medicine course taught by Li Shifu, the abbot of the temple for over 20 years. Li Shifu is a humble man with a laidback disposition but despite his otherwise relaxed approach, when it came to the medicine Li Shifu was very serious. The temple is beautiful and well maintained with a simple approach to life that strips its residents of all but the basic needs and provides a platform for connecting to the rawest version of self. No matter how prepared you think you are, the temple has a way to seep into your core and break down all your guards with only fleeting moments of escape when gazing out over the stunning mountain tops. Daily runs up the mountain, morning and evening qi gong, temple duties and sitting meditation were part of the daily routine in addition to the lengthy morning and evening classes which included copious amounts of scriptures and texts that require memorization on your free time. The content of the course built on the fundamental Daoist Medicine course, adding another layer, this course focused not only on treating the “form”or body, but also incorporated the “formless”. The concept of formless medicine could fall under many categories. Merging the form and formless opens up a whole new platform to treat holistically. Ancient and modern medicines all agree that the mind and body work together and I believe it is essential to treat them as a unit to achieve balance. With this focus in mind, we studied diligently the methods passed down generation to generation to address the intangible and go beyond the form. As with our bodies, our societies must work together to function harmoniously. Under the guidance of Li Shifu our group of 13 studied and lived together for the duration of the course, constantly supplementing and supporting each other’s deficiencies and learning about balance beyond the classroom through daily tasks. We learned in simple ways that our personal wellbeing starts with our compassion for others and is cultivated through our thoughts and the actions we take every moment, every day. To summarize in short I could say that what I have learned here is that compassion is like a seed and it is the balance between the form and formless that blossoms and shapes our wellbeing.

诚照 – Cheng Zhao