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179 Spirit and Life in Balance Zhao Bichen’s Lasting Influence on Qigong and the Marial Arts1 KENNETH S. COHEN The transformation of Daoist longevity techniques (yangsheng 養生) into modern qigong is generally attributed to the influence of three figures: Liu Guizhen 劉貴珍 (1920-1983), Hu Yaozhen 胡耀貞 (1897-1973), and Jiang Weiqiao 蔣維喬 (aka Yinshizi 因是子, 1873-1958).2 There was, however , another major influence on the development of qigong—especially its integration of the methods and terminology of internal alchemy (neidan 內丹), and that is the esteemed Daoist master Zhao Bichen 趙避塵 (1860-1942), also known as Qianfeng laoren 千峯老人, The Old Man of A Thousand Peaks. His Xingming fajue mingzhi 性命法訣明指 (Clear Guide to Cultivating Spiritual Nature and Life) was published in Beijing in 1933. Translated into English by Charles Luk 陸寬昱 (1898-1978), it was published in 1970 as Taoist Yoga: Alchemy & Immortality. It was thus one of the first works to offer advanced internal alchemy instruction in English. But Zhao’s teachings also formed the spiritual core of various Chinese martial arts, and many teachers of both martial and contemplative arts have been influenced by his lineage, myself included. 1 A portion of this essay originally appeared in Cohen 2012. 2 Details of this history may be found in Palmer 2007; Liu 2010. For Hu Yaozhen, see the exceptional outline by Yaaron Seidman at http://hunyuan institute .com/huandhunyuan.pdf. On Jiang, see Kohn 2002. 180 / Journal of Daoist Studies 7 (2014) Liu Guizhen was a leading doctor and scholar of Chinese medicine, recognized as the first person to promote the Daoist qigong method of Neiyang gong 內養功 (inner nourishing qigong), best known for its meditative methods of coordinating specific breathing patterns with healing affirmations. In 1948, suffering from tuberculosis, malnutrition, and other health conditions, he learned this technique from his uncle, the fifth generation master of the system. After practicing for a hundred days, he recovered from his various conditions. In the early 1950s, he collected and published research on the effect of Neiyang gong on digestive disorders . In 1954, he established the Tangshan Qigong Sanitarium 唐山氣 功療養院. One year later, it won a government award, and his methods were introduced in hospitals across China. Hu Yaozhen was a Daoist, qigong teacher, doctor of Chinese medicine , and master of the classic Neijia quan 內家拳 (internal martial arts; i.e., Taiji quan, Bagua zhang, Xingyi quan). He was friends with Liu Guizhen and, in the early 1950s, they first applied yangsheng in hospitals. However, because the Communist Party suspected Daoism of being ‚counter-revolutionary,‛ they realized that the only way to preserve these methods was by renaming and divesting them, at least in public discourse, of their Daoist roots. Thus, they popularized the little known term qigong and coined the phrase yigong, ‚medical qigong.‛ In 1956, Hu established the first qigong hospital in Beijing, and three years later demonstrated his skills at the first Chinese national qigong symposium. His books Baojian qigong (1962) and Wuqinxi (1963) are qigong classics and include methods that became part of the qigong fitness curriculum approved by the PRC Sports Administration in 2001. Hu’s most prized art, Hunyuan gong 混元 功 (primordial qigong) was transmitted only to his senior disciple, the famed Chen-Style Taiji quan grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang 馮志強 (1928-2012). Feng began to share this art widely in the late 1990s, and this legacy continues today among many thousands of Hunyuan students in China and abroad (Feng 1998). The third generally recognized ‚father of modern qigong‛ is Jiang Weiqiao, a Buddhist author, editor, and college professor. In 1914 he published the most popular Chinese work on meditation of all time, Yinshizi jingzuo fa 因是子靜坐法 (Quiet Sitting with Master Yinshi; Kohn 2002), which describes the practice and experience of Xiaozhou tian 小周 Cohen, ‚Spirit and Life in Balance‛ / 181 天 (Small Heavenly Orbit Meditation, aka Microcosmic Orbit). He was one of the first to try to explain meditation in physiologic and scientific terms. On 1 July 1957, Jiang became the senior advisor to the Shanghai Qigong Sanitarium 上海氣功療養院; soon after, he gave a qigong workshop at the influential qigong gathering at Beidaihe Sanatorium 北戴河氣 功療養院. 3 I contend that Zhao Bichen is the fourth ‚patriarch‛ of qigong. The sixteen chapters in his Xingming fajue mingzhi, referring to sixteen stages of Daoist...


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