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193 Daoist Martial Alchemy The Yijin jing at the Tongbai Gong HIRSH DIAMANT & STEVE JACKOWICZ The Yijin jing 易筋經 (Changing Tendon Classic) is a text of classical martial arts widely taught in traditional China and popular in qigong circles today. Commonly held to reflect a practice created by Bodhidharma in the 6th century in Henan, it supposedly served to help monks at the Shaolinsi 少林寺 in their attainment of enlightenment. Several scholars have examined this legend, reaching the conclusion that the work has neither a connection to Bodhidharma nor to Shaolin (see Hu 1965; Henning 1999; Shahar 2008). At the Tongbai gong 桐柏宫 on Mount Tiantai 天台山 in Zhejiang, Daoist monks practice a form of the exercise under the same name yet attributed to the Daoist master Zhang Boduan 張伯端 (987-1082). It offers a case study in the culture and martial practice of self-cultivation in the Daoist tradition. The Tongbai gong Tradition There are numerous versions of the Yijin jing; one website on Daoism lists as many as eighteen, some allegedly of Shaolin origin, others claiming to go back to Daoist groups on Mounts Wudang or Emei (Mak 1996). Martial curricula at Shaolin include Yijin jing practice, and several monks have produced videos detailing it. However, the version practiced at Tongbai gong is unique. Its alleged author Zhang Boduan, aka Ziyang 紫陽, was an aristocrat from Zhejiang, well trained in Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, medicine, 194 / Journal of Daoist Studies 8 (2015) military strategy, astronomy and geography. After he failed to pass the civil service examination, he trained under the Daoist master Liu Haicao 劉海螬, aka Qingcheng zhangren 青城丈人 (Hudson 2008, 82), and went on to synthesize a complex understanding of internal alchemy (neidan 內 丹). He wrote his famous collection of alchemical poems, the Wuzhen pian 悟真篇 (Awakening to Perfection; trl. Cleary 1987), as well as several other texts, including the Jindan sibai zi 金丹四百字 (Four Hundred Words on the Golden Elixir). Zhang combined conceptual theory and physical practice, dividing the cultivation process into four stages. First comes building a foundation; second is refining essence (jing 精) into energy (qi 氣), followed, third by refining energy into spirit (shen 神), and fourth, refining spirit to merge with the void (xukong 虚空). He also incorporated Buddhist concepts, notably the role of mind (xin 心) and inner nature (xing 性) as requisites for the return to original nature (yuanxing 元性) (Lu 2009, 73). The Yijin jing version used at the Tongbai gong consists of 160 characters, arranged into eight lines of twenty each. The lines further subdivide into five phrases of four characters. Its rhythmic organization lends itself to memorization and recitation. Neither the Wuzhen pian nor the Jindan sibai zi use the expression “tendon changing.” However, the text contains many similarities to the theories of Zhang Boduan. 沐浴守中: 雙手合十,冥心泯意,融入虛空,洗清萬念 鐵牛犁地: 雙手握拳,拇指力挺,虛頂垂尾,拔背含胸 海底歸元: 雙手推下,真意貫充,任督中通,玄關神開 兩儀融清: 雙手平推,疏胸開節,肝膽利導,金木交化 神象飛精: 雙掌前推,三陽通利,舒中強筋,返元還精 摘星望月: 單掌探月,掌護命門,紫霄撫龍,坎宮守元 鼎立乾坤: 下撈海川,上推天頂,水火即濟,天地泯合 歸元丹田: 雙手合掌,歸胞丹田,儲立清心,復歸寂靜 Diamant & Jackowicz, “Daoist Martial Alchemy” / 195 Text and Practice1 First Set 沐浴守中: 雙手合十,冥心泯意,融入虛空,洗清萬念 Cleanse yourself and guard your center: Bring hands together and unite the ten[fingers]. Deepen the mind and abandon desires. Dissolve and enter the void. Cleanse to the purity of the 10,000 chants. Muyu 沐浴 means “bathe,” or “shower.” This phrase refers to the movement in the practice where the practitioner raises both arms and brings them down as though imitating the movement of water cleansing oneself from head to toe. Next, the arms come in front of the body as though ready for a fight, corresponding to the term shouzhong 守中, “guard the center.” The arms protect center, i.e., the elixir field (dantian 丹田) below the navel. This first set or opening sequence begins the practice; it is also repeated at the end of each set of movements and thus provides a consistent segmentation to the practice. Also, since some movements are physically strenuous, repeating the first set allows practitioners to rest and feel centered. The first four characters serve as the title of the set, describing movements further explained in the remaining four lines. This structure repeats consistently throughout the text. As they undergo this initial practice, adepts enter a deeper state of mind, moving their intention inward while letting go of goals and aspi1 Each posture has an attendant illustration drawn by one of the authors, Hirsh Diamant, in the traditional style. 196 / Journal of Daoist Studies 8 (2015) rations. As Zhang Boduan advised, “Practitioners must purify the mind...


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