Origin of Shaolin Chan Medicine

发布日期:2010-05-31   字体大小:   

Shaolin Chan Medicine can be traced back to the time when Shaolin Temple was founded. Owing to the temple's royal status, there were a large number of monks in the temple during that period. They sat in meditation all daylong without motion, which affected their blood circulation and led to many diseases. Then the monks began to practice martial arts except meditation and accumulate medical experience by taking advantages of abundant herbal resources in the Song Mountain and benefitting from the folk medical approaches. Finally, they studied many secret recipes and developed the Qigong therapy, massage therapy and pointing therapy which have the effects of physical fitness and medical treatment. Shaolin Medicine can cure various kinds of diseases, specialized in treating traumatic injuries, and has many divisions such as surgery and internal departments, which forms the featured culture of Shaolin Chan Medicine. 


It is recorded that master Sengchou had made soup with the ginseng of the Song Mountain for master Batuo, and that Huguang, Batuo's another disciple, had treated a patient in a coma with iron needles.


After the 28th Patriarch of Buddhism Bodhidharma came to Shaolin Temple, he initiated the Chan meditation facing the wall and established Shaolin Temple's origin status of Chan sect. He also instructed his disciples in the Pancavidya (five classes of knowledge of ancient India: the language, the logic, the medicine, the technique and the philosophy), among which the medicine science was attached most importance by the eminent monks of all dynasties. After the second Patriarch Huike cut his arm, the temple monks heel his arm on Boyu Peak with herbs collected in the mountain. Shaolin Medicine has been carried down from generation to generation verbally as well as secretly.


Shaolin Temple has large quantities of well-known medical monks in history. Shaolin prominent monks Hongzun and Zhigang in the late Northern Wei Dynasty were honored as the Living Bodhisattvas, and they had work Shaolin Secret Acupuncture and Treasures of Shaolin Medical Monks respectively. Master Zishen in the Sui Dynasty was an expert in martial arts and medicine, and was especially proficient in Qigong and pointing therapy. He described in detail the positions, treatments and prescriptions of the sixty-eight acupuncture points of human body and listed the treatment gist of pointing therapy of more than one hundred kinds of common diseases. The Abbot Sengzhi in the Tang Dynasty, one of the thirteen monks who had saved Emperor Li Shimin, was another renowned medical monk. Before residing in Shaolin Temple, he has practiced medicine for ten years treating traumatic injuries. He often employed the method of acupuncture; if some were not cured, he would use the pills, boluses, plasters or ointments, which were made of medical herbs in the Song Mountain. Besides, master Sengzhi had the work Collection of Secret Acupuncture of Shaolin Monks. Master Fuhu in the late Tang Dynasty was a medical monk with superior skill and wrote Ten Great Recipes of Shaolin Traumatology. He was adept at acupuncture and the use of herbs, especially good at hemostasia and the treatment the syncopal case, critical case, etc. Master Hongwen of the Song Dynasty was accomplished in traumatology, and his specialty was acupuncture combining cupping. Before his death, he transmitted his skill to master Jueyuan, who was experienced on internal medicine and had the work Records of Magic Effects of Shaolin Internal Medicine. Master Huiding in the Yuan Dynasty was honored as the Magic Doctor and wrote Essence Shaolin Traumatology. Huiju summarized the experience of Shaolin masters before the Yuan Dynasty, which was the clinical quintessence of acupuncture. The well-known medical monks of the Ming Dynasty were Benming, Huanxiu, Zhengdao, etc. During the Qing Dynasty, Shaolin Medicine declined because of the declination of martial arts; some famous medical monks were Zhanju, Jiqin, Zhenjun, etc.


In 1217, master Zhilong acted as Shaolin Abbot and established Shaolin Pharmacy Bureau so as to serve Shaolin monks and the masses with Shaolin Medicine. It enjoyed great reputation and was called "Buddhist Medicine Origin". At the meantime, the secret recipes of Shaolin Medicine were transmitted to outsiders and benefited the people. In the period of the Qing Dynasty, Jing Dongyang from Dengfeng City studied medicine following Shaolin monks and later become far-famed due to the fact that he cured the disease of the empress. His work Song Ya Zun Sheng compiled late in life is the criteria of Chinese medicine up to the present. 


Shaolin Chan Medicine is a medicine school with more than one thousand years' practice and integration, taking the basis of the Indian medicine culture and the Chinese medicine culture. Combining traditional Shaolin Medicine with modern medicine, it takes "meditation" as the basic means, employs the doctrines of respiration, Daoyin, Qixue, meridians and collaterals and viscera-state as main theories, and adopts the approaches of "contemplation", "aeration", "massage" to diagnose, treat and nurse the patient. It also applies diet therapy and makes use of all kinds of medical herbs. Chinese Chan masters have been adept in curing people's physical and mental illnesses with Chan wisdom, while Shaolin eminent monks have summarized and perfected the theories and approaches of Chan Medicine gaining the strengths of all the medicine schools at home and abroad, based on Chan meditation.