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The Ki Process
Korean Secrets for Cultivating Dynamic Energy
By Scott Shaw
Samuel Weiser, Inc.Copyright © 1997 Scott Shaw
All rights reserved.
THE HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF KI
In order to begin your work with Ki energy, you must first possess a basic understanding of Asian medicine. This knowledge will greatly enhance your path to Ki mastery. While most people who read this book may already possess a knowledge of the terms which relate to Ki science, a brief overview follows for those of you who nlay not be familiar with the terminology. Even if you are familiar with this work, this section will introduce you to the terms I will be using in subsequent sections.
THE NEI CHING
The Huang Ti Nei Ching Su Wen (The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine), commonly referred to as the Nei Ching, was the first written text ever to discuss Ki (internal energy) and its interrelationship with the human body. In the Nci Ching, Ki is described as the "universal energy" which nourishes and sustains all life.
The Nei Ching is written in the form of a dialogue on the subject of healing between the Yellow Emperor, Huang-ti, and his minister, Chi-po. Huang-ti was a mythological ruler of China, whom legend claims to have lived from 2697 to 2599 B.C. He is said to have invented most aspects of Chinese culture. Though Chinese folklore claims the Nei Ching was written during the life of Huang-ti, historians date the book at approximately 300 B.c., during the Warring States period of Chinese history.
The Nei Ching not only describes Ki, but extensively details the functions of the human body. It represents an incredible accomplishment for this text to have been conceived and written by metaphysicians and medical practitioners of this time period, for along with a relatively correct detailed internal anatomy of the human body, the Nei Ching was the first text ever to detail blood circulation. The concept of blood circulation and its effect on the human body was described in the Nei Ching 2,000 years before European medical science "discovered" it in the 16th century.
The Nei Ching describes how Ki circulation in the human body is directed by invisible circulation channels known as meridians. The meridians are named for the major body organ or the bodily function they impact: i.e., the Heart Meridian, the Lung Meridian, the Conceptual Meridian, and so on. Located along these meridians are precise access points which allow the trained individual to stimulate the flow of Ki, thus nourishing and healing the body with accelerated Ki current.
The Nei Ching claims that if an individual is ill, listless, or having any physical or mental problems, the Ki flow along one or more meridian is blocked. This Ki-flow blockage can be due to the body's Yin and Yang being out of balance. To remedy this imbalance and restore proper Ki circulation, Chinese physicians of this time period developed acupuncture to stimulate the flow of Ki in the human body. This medical practice and those it spawned are still in use today.
YIN (UM) AND YANG
The concept of Yin (Um in Korean) and Yang is no doubt the theory most integral to understanding not only Ki energy but the Asian mindset toward life and the universe as a whole. This fundamental concept of universal duality extends at least as far back as the eighth century B.C. in China.
The Yin and Yang philosophy was developed by thinkers who watched all aspects of the functioning world which surrounded them. They came to the conclusion that all life exists as a duality. For example, there can be no day without night. There can be no hot wlthout cold. There can be no life without death. With this theory as a central focus, Chinese philosophers concluded that everything is in a constant state of flux attempting to find a balance between these two polar dualities.
In Yin and Yang philosophy, Yin is the negative and Yang is the positive. Yin is the earth; Yang is the heavens. Yin is cold; Yang is hot. Yin is female; Yang is male. Yin is emptiness; Yang is fullness. Yin is white; Yang is black.
In the symbol which came to represent Yin and Yang, there appears a white dot on a black field and a black dot on a white field (see figure 1). This demonstrates that within all Yang there is the essence of Yin, and within all that is Yin, there is a trace of Yang. Throughout the continuous evolution of the world, these opposites have given birth to one another.
In the Nei Ching, health is seen as a harmony between the Yin and Yang forces and illness is an imbalance of the two. Yin and Yang are equal powers but are in constant motion, causing continual change. To remain healthy, one must constantly redefine the balance between the two. The primary role of the physician is to restore the balance between the Yin and Yang in an ailing individual.
For the practitioner of Ki, Yin and Yang comprise duality which one must experience and with which one must come into harmony by understanding the particular defining aspects of each element. In this way, Ki energy may be utilized and directed in a fashion which is acceptable by nature. Thus no imbalances between the two energies will be created.
THE FIVE ELEMENTS
In association with the dualitistic concept of Yin and Yang, Chinese philosophers and physicians, witnessing the process of continual change in the world around them, organized these changes into five specific categories known as the Five Earthly Elements. These five elements are: fire (Pul), earth (Chigu), metal (Kum-sok), water (Mul), and wood (Nu-mu). Each of these elements has its own individual attributes which affect not only the health and well-being of the human body, but the state of the world as well. (See Tables 1 and 2, pages 6 and 7).
As stated in the Nei Ching, all of the five elements are continually present within the human body. The amount and balance of each element is in proportion to the other elements and is dominated by Yin or by Yang.
Each element exists within its own time cycle of Creation, Interaction, and, finally, Destruction. The time cycles of the hve elements are defined by Earth's interrelationship with the Sun, and thus relate to the time of day.
As time moves forward, each of the five elements flows into its own Cycle of Creation. As it does, it destroys the prevlous element. Thus, the fire element creates the earth element. During the transitional period of time between Earth Element Creation and Fire Element Destruction, they are interactive. Both of their individual characteristics are prevalent in the world as each individual element continues on its path of nonceasing creation, interaction, and destruction (see figure 2, page 8).
Each meridian of the human body is activated by one of these five elements (see Table 3, page 9). Each meridian is additionally dominated by Yin or Yang. As each of the five elements has a specified time period when it is most active, the human body is directly affected by the duration of the element's presence. Therefore, the flow of Ki into the body and how one utilizes Ki is directly related to the interaction of the five elements.
From ancient China, through ancient Korea, and even today, a homeopathic doctor will diagnose either an overabundance or a deficiency of one or more of the five elements in the body of a patient who is ill, unhappy, or disassociated from the world. To effect a cure, herbal medicines, acupuncture, acupressure, or dietary changes are prescribed to rebalance the five elements in the body, thus realigning Yin and Yang.
To the modern mind, it is somewhat difficult to conceive that an earthly element such as fire, earth, metal, water, or wood has anything to do with the overall balance or health of the individual. It must be remembered that these five elements are not actual physical entlties in the body. They are, however, descriptions of specific states which exist within the human body and mind. If an overabundance or a deficiency of any of these states exists, it can cause a susceptibility to ill health. To, this end, what the five elements represent in today's world is a method of gauging the overall physical and mental makeup of a specific person. Once the physician has gauged this, balancing methods may be put into action to make any person more healthy and emotionally whole.
THE EXPANSION OF KI KNOWLEDGE THROUGHOUT ANCIENT ASIA
From the third century B.C., the Nei Ching set the standards for Chinese medicine and the defined knowledge of Ki. This knowledge was passed on predominantly by monks and priests who were the healers of ancient Asia. From China, the knowledge of Ki traveled first to Korea and then, much later, from Korea to Japan.
Formalized Chinese contact with the Korean peninsula began in approximately 200 B.C., during the Qui Dynasty (221-206 B.C.). This contact was intensified by the placement of Chinese military colonies on the northern Korean peninsula during the Han Dynasty (202-220 B.C.). From these contacts, the Korean peninsula was led into a period of rapid advancement in agriculture, health science (which includes the doctrine of the Nei Ching), and formalized governmental statesmanship. Confucianism, Taoism, and, later, Buddhism were all introduced to Korea from China.
Due to the advancements in civilization and growing individual tribal unities, three Korean tribal kingdoms were formed: Paekche (18 B.C.), Koguryo (37 B.C.), and Silla (57 B.C.). This was the beginning of what became known as the "Three Kingdom Period" of Korean history.
The Three Kingdoms of Korea entered into a period of continued war against each other and the expansionist Tang Dynasty of China (A.D. 618-907) during the sixth century A.D. This warring period in Korean history instigated the formation of the first group of formally trained and organized soldiers who utilized Ki for other than medical purposes. They were known as the Hwa Rang (Flowering Youth) warriors.
The Hwa Rang warriors were first organized by King Chin-hung of the Korean Kingdom of Silla in A.D. 576. Though his kingdom had its army, his soldiers were believed to be of an unexceptional nature, accounting for his inability, through continued conflicts, to defeat his geographical neighbors, the Koguryo, the Paekche, and the invading Tang Chinese. So King Chin-hung set about organizing a group of talented young noblemen who were exceedingly loyal to the throne, who could be extensively trained in all forms of warfare and then successfully go into battle.
The Kingdom of Silla was based on a Confucian doctrine of society. King Chinhung believed, however, that the Buddhist canon led to a more calm and pure mind than did Confucianism. To this end, young, hand-some males of Noble birth, some as young as 12 years old, were gathered together. They were dressed in the finest clothing and their faces were attractively painted with elaborate makeup. They were instructed extensively in Buddhism (Puk-kyo), medicine (Yak), and the theory of Ki according to the Nei Ching, and in poetry and song. It was believed that those who fared well in these activities had the divine grace to become superior warriors. A certain number of these young men who excelled were thus recommended to enter the ranks of the Hwa Rang.
These chosen young noblemen were then trained in all known forms of martial combat. As part of this training, they were instructed by Buddhist monks who, through years of meditation, had refined the knowledge of Ki to a point where it was no longer simply a method of rebalancing the Um (Yin) and Yang in the human body. This advanced Ki training taught the young Hwa Rang how to channel Ki energy, first internally to strengthen their bodies against the fierce Korean climate, and then externally in order to become more powerful warriors in battle.
As Buddhism, for the most part, simply passed through China and was not thoroughly absorbed, the Korean peninsula was the first East Asian region to truly accept the doctrine. It was the belief of the Hwa Rang that meditation took place not only in the traditional fashion, in a sitting posture, but was also achievable when individuals focused their personal spirit and then entered into battle with a highly refined purpose and a vision of victory. The battles the Hwa Rang fought thus became spiritual exercises in enlightenment.
The Hwa Rang were the first group of trained warriors ever to possess a spiritual attitude toward warfare. Though the Chinese wrote great philosophic works on warfare, such as The Art of War (Sun Tzu), their focus was on the Confucian concept of political loyalty, not on refined spirituality leading to ultimate enlightenment, as Korean Buddhism taught. This spiritual warrior code developed by the Hwa Rang was first passed on to Japan in the sixth century A.D. From this the famed Samurai tradition was eventually born.
Once a Hwa Rang was fully trained, he was put in command of a military troop composed of several hundred common soldiers. The battles won by the Hwa Rang brought about the unification of Korea. History would not be sewed, however, if it were not acknowledged that this unification was achieved by very bloody conflicts in which a large percentage of the Korean population was killed.
After the unification of Korea and the defeat of the invading Tang Dynasty, the mind of the Korean people rapidly began to shift from conflict to more philosophic thoughts. As warriors, the Hwa Rang fell into decline by the end of the seventh century. Their refined knowledge of Ki and its healing abilities caused them to become known as a group specializing in Buddhist philosophy, healing, and poetry No longer, however, did they maintain the high status of royal warriors.
From the Korean kingdom of Paekche, Chinese philosophic ideals were first transmitted to Japan by King Kunch-ogo (A.D. 346-375). Two Korean scholars, A-Chikki and Wang-In, were sent to Japan to instruct the Japanese Crown Prince in the Confucian doctrines. They brought with them ten copies of the Analects of Confucius and one copy of the Chien Cha Wen (The Thousand Character Classic). This first exposure to Confucian thought proved to be one of the most influential cultural events in ancient Japanese history.
From this initial cultural awakening emerged a group of rulers from the Yamato plain in the southern region of the main Japanese island of Honshu. These rulers, influenced by the concepts of Chinese statesmanship, claimed descent from the Sun Goddess and achieved the first known political unity for Japan by the mid-fourth century A.D. This was the beginning of the Yamato Period in Japanese history.
Buddhist monks were sent to Japan from the Korean state of Paekche in the sixth century to introduce Buddhism to the island nation. The Buddhist monk Kwall-uk (Kanrohu in Japanese) crossed the Sea of Japan in A.D. 602, bringing with him a large number of Buddhist sutras, historical books, medical books, and works on astronomy, geography, and the occult arts. Kwall-uk was Instrumental in the founding of the Sanron school of Buddhism in Japan.
As there was no evidence of Chinese medical practices in Japan until this period, it is believed that this is when the knowledge of Ki, as detailed in the Nei Ching, was first transmitted from Korea to Japan. Though Chinese and Korean medicine rapidly expanded throughout Japan and was practiced by monks and priests from this time period forward, the use of Ki for other than medical purposes did not evolve in Japan until the 12th century, with the advent of the Samurai.
The medieval Samural were military retainers, who, for the most part, were illiterate, rural landowners who farmed between battles. Samurai involvement in government began in 1156. Eventually, the Samurai emerged as military aristocrats and later as military rulers.
In the Gempei War (1180-85), the ruling Taira family was displaced in Japan by the Minamoto clan. Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147-1199) established the first military government, leading Japan into its Kamakura Period (1192-1333) by establishing the Kamakura Shogunate. This was a period of Japanese history in which the aristocratic Samurai governed the country with military rule.
Excerpted from The Ki Process by Scott Shaw. Copyright © 1997 Scott Shaw. Excerpted by permission of Samuel Weiser, Inc..
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