Have all of Chinese Medicine in your pocket – interview with Richard Bertschinger

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100 Richard Bertschinger is a practising acupuncturist, teacher of the healing arts, and translator of ancient Chinese texts. He studied for ten years with the Taoist sage and Master, Gia-fu Feng. He talks to Singing Dragon about his groundbreaking translation work, ‘the oldest book in the world’, and having all of Chinese medicine in your pocket.

Thanks for agreeing to talk to us, Richard, about your five books.  I wondered if you could tell our readers something briefly about each and how they came about?

Well these books are really a summation of my Taoist studies over the last thirty years.  The titles are worth repeating:  The Secret of Everlasting Life, Yijing: Shamanic Oracle of China, Everyday Qigong Practice, The Great Intent and Essential Texts in Chinese Medicine.  I was fortunate to meet a Chinese-American Giafu Feng in the ‘seventies who introduced me to the Chinese world of the Tao – really it was from Giafu that I got the inspiration for this work.  He was brought up in Shanghai during tumultuous 1920’s in China.  In his last few days (he died in 1986) he spoke to me about alchemy – in fact it was his overwhelming concern that I should work on making the idea of alchemical practice available to the West.  And I knew nothing about it!  So I dived into what was in translation at that time.  There was actually very little.  The oldest work, written in the 2nd century AD was this text – which I have presented asBertschinger_Secret-of-Everl_978-1-84819-048-1_colourjpg-web The Secret of Everlasting Life. It is primarily a Qigong manual, in fact the very first to be written, anywhere in the world!  So I cut my teeth on this and its Chinese commentaries.  All my work is based upon my reading of the Chinese commentaries – and on how they were explained to me by Giafu.  In this I think I was blessed, in having the ‘key’, as it were – his oral instruction – to unlock this extremely intricate puzzle.

What do you mean, then, by this ‘intricate puzzle’?

Actually this puzzle is just the Chinese Mind!  I feel strongly that the Chinese ideas and skills, knowledge and techniques (including acupuncture) should be taken within their own context – you cannot just import techniques and not understand the background teaching and philosophy.  It really will not work.

You are referring to acupuncture perhaps?  Where more ‘medical’ acupuncturists, such as doctors and nurses use acupuncture without a full apprenticeship?

Bertschinger_Great-Intent-Ac_978-1-84819-132-7_colourjpg-webNot really, I think that acupuncture can survive any usage.  It is resilient enough!  But certainly without the dedication of a three year training you are not going to be using its full potential. And you are not giving patients the best either! Anyway, this leads on to The Great Intent, which is actually a re-working of The Golden Needle, a book published earlier in 1991.  Singing Dragon was quite keen to reprint this, so I expanded and rewrote the introduction.  This is a first translation of many of the odes, song and poems which have, for centuries, been used in teaching acupuncture theory and technique.  Again I was keen to get all these ideas out to medical practitioners, who wanted to begin exploring some of the greater subtleties of needling – as well as brush up their theoretical knowledge.  I know these poems have proved an inspiration to many.

Now tell us a little about Yijing: Shamanic Oracle of China.  I understand the Yijing has been referred to as ‘the oldest book in the world’.  How can you justify such a statement!

Bertschinger_Yijing-Shamanic_978-1-84819-083-2_colourjpg-webBecause the Yijing has its origins, and no one would deny this, in the oracle bones, the scapula of oxen, tortoise shells and the like, which have been unearthed recently in China.  These prove that an oracle much like the Yijing (or ‘Book of Change’) was in use some 3000 years ago, in Bronze Age China.  The Yijing is all about communicating with the unseen and unsaid.  It is an oracle, yes, but also has a philosophy around it of Yin and Yang, the flux within the universe, light and dark, day and night, winter and summer, and the life and death of all living things.  It is thus at the threshold of putting an understanding of these things into words – it uses images to communicate ideas, on the borderline of thought, as it were.  And this was all happening 3000 years ago, before there were any books!  So unlike the Dead Sea Scrolls or Egyptian Scriptures, the Yijing was trying to be useful – not trying to hand down a received wisdom, or deal of concepts.  It was about meaning.  About the meaning of life, about greatness – about what it is to be human!  Like so much of Chinese philosophy, it told us how to live.

Bertschinger_Everyday-Qigong_978-1-84819-117-4_colourjpg-webWell, that is quite a topic.  The last two books you mentioned about are Everyday Qigong Practice

That one ‘does what it says on the tin’.  It is a simple introduction to Qigong exercises, with brilliant diagrams by Harriet Lewars – you can pick it up, and seconds later be practicing qigong, and circulating the Qi.

And the last, Essential Texts in Chinese Medicine: The Single Idea in the Mind of the Yellow Emperor?

Bertschinger_Essential-Texts_978-1-84819-162-4_colourjpg-webThis is my latest book. It is a digest of the medical writings contained in the Huangdi Neijing, or Yellow Emperor’s Book of Medicine, the great compendium of medical studies produced during the Han, and which has provided the backbone of all traditional medicine in the East for the last two-thousand years.  I was fortunate, again, to pick up a copy of a condensed version of this book in 1981 at Stillpoint, Colorado, where I was studying with Giafu Feng – and he started me off with some tape recordings, he would get up 4 am, make a large pot of Earl Grey tea, which we  would share and off he would go, extemporising a translation ‘on the hoof’ as it were of this book.  Page One, Chapter One.  It took him perhaps three months to finish, and I had to leave before it was done, but the next spring I remember him arriving at Heathrow airport with a large carrier bag in his hand, ‘here you are Richard the Book of Medicine, finished!’  There was no way I could turn down a commission such as this!  So I have been working at producing a readable version of this text.  Firstly I translated the Chinese commentaries, most from the Ming and Qing, then I collated them with his version.  Then I also interleaved my own acupunc­ture studies and notes from Jack Worsley’s teachings and finally, after many years work, I have a version which I think is just about ready to go to press.  It grew in the making, but from quite early on I saw that there was one thread running through the whole – this is obvious to anyone who begins to read the book.  This one thread I rather grandly name ‘the single idea’ – really it describes the workings of Yin and Yang and the Five Elements.  Once you can get a handle of what they are talking about and how they work, you really do have Chinese medicine ‘in your pocket’, as it were.

Singing Dragon complete 2014

This fully interactive brochure has all of the new Singing Dragon titles for the spring and summer of 2014 as well as our complete backlist. In here you will find books on Chinese medicine, complementary therapies, martial arts, nutrition, yoga, ayurveda, qigong, Daoism, aromatherapy, and many more alternative therapies and ancient wisdom traditions.

Click on the covers or titles to be taken to the book’s page on the Singing Dragon website. If you would like to request hard copies please email hello@singingdragon.com with your details and the number of copies you would like.

Review a set of the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches – TianGan DiZhi study cards

Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches

Would you like to review one of our newest resources? Enter now to get a free card set of Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches – TianGan DiZhi by Master Zhongxian Wu and Dr Karin Taylor Wu.

This complex calendrical system was created in ancient times to codify the patterns of life and of the universe itself, and is as relevant today it ever was. Through better understanding TianGan (Heavenly Stems) and DiZhi (Earthly Branches), you can deepen and expand your practice of Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, Fengshui and Chinese astrology, as well as internal cultivation practices such as Qigong, Bagua and Taiji.

This set of study cards decodes some of the fundamental messages from the 22 GanZhi symbols. The Chinese character and key characteristics of each Stem or Branch are shown, providing insights into their symbolic and numerological meanings. For calligraphers and those who want to draw the characters correctly, the stroke order is clearly illustrated on separate cards.

Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches

We have 5 copies to give away to anyone interested in writing an online or offline review.

If you’re interested add a comment to this post saying why you want to review this book. The deadline for submitting your request is May 31, 2013.

We will select 5 winners and get in touch after this date.

This giveaway is now closed – thank you to all who entered.

© 2013 Singing Dragon blog. All Rights Reserved

Request a copy of the UK Singing Dragon Complete Catalogue

Cover of the Singing Dragon UK Complete CatalogueMake sure not to miss Singing Dragon’s latest UK Complete Catalogue. If you have not yet received a copy, please sign up for our mailing list and we’ll send a free one out to you ASAP.

Readers in the UK and Europe who request a copy of the catalogue before February 15th, 2013 will also receive a voucher for a 15% discount on the entire Singing Dragon list of books, with free postage and packing.

Take advantage of this opportunity to find new, forthcoming and classic books on Chinese Medicine, Holistic Health, Taiji, Qigong, Herbal Medicine, Yoga, Spirituality and more. Also, sample health-promoting recipes with The Functional Nutrition Cookbook, and Make Yourself Better with Philip Weeks’ books. Delve into the history of Ayurvedic Medicine and the Mudras of India, and discover the Five Levels of Taijiquan, Daoist Nei Gong and Chinese Medical Qigong.

To request your copy of our Complete Catalogue, please click here. To receive your 15% discount voucher, please be sure to click the checkbox for “Singing Dragon” under area of interest or else mention this offer in the “any further comments” section.

If you have previously received a copy of the catalogue, and would like to take advantage of the 15% discount, please feel free to request a voucher via email at post@singingdragon.com.

VIDEO: “Heavenly Stems, Earthly Branches” – Master Zhongxian Wu & Damo Mitchell in conversation

In this final instalment of their discussion, Masters Zhongxian Wu and Damo Mitchell turn their attention to a fundamental aspect of Chinese philosophy which is often neglected in both Qigong practice and Chinese Medicine – the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches.

Watch Video #1: The foundation form as the most advanced – true learning in Qigong »

Watch Video #2: “The Art of Stop Fighting” »


Master Zhongxian Wu is the lineage holder of four different schools of Qigong and martial arts. While in China, he served as Director of the Shaanxi Province Association for Somatic Science and the Shaanxi Association for the Research of Daoist Nourishing Life Practices. He has now been living and teaching in the West for just over ten years.

Damo Mitchell has studied the martial, medical and spiritual arts of Asia since the age of four. His studies have taken him across the planet in search of authentic masters. He is the technical director of the Lotus Nei Gong School of Daoist Arts, and teaches Nei Gong in the UK and Sweden.

Copyright © Singing Dragon 2012.

VIDEO: “The Art of Stop Fighting” – Master Zhongxian Wu and Damo Mitchell in conversation

In this second of three videos, Masters Zhongxian Wu and Damo Mitchell look at the potency of softness in internal cultivation.

 
Watch Video #1: The foundation form as the most advanced – true learning in Qigong »


Master Zhongxian Wu is the lineage holder of four different schools of Qigong and martial arts. While in China, he served as Director of the Shaanxi Province Association for Somatic Science and the Shaanxi Association for the Research of Daoist Nourishing Life Practices. He has now been living and teaching in the West for just over ten years.

Damo Mitchell has studied the martial, medical and spiritual arts of Asia since the age of four. His studies have taken him across the planet in search of authentic masters. He is the technical director of the Lotus Nei Gong School of Daoist Arts, and teaches Nei Gong in the UK and Sweden.

Copyright © Singing Dragon 2012.

VIDEO: The foundation form as the most advanced: On true learning in Qigong – Master Zhongxian Wu and Damo Mitchell in conversation

Master Zhongxian Wu is the lineage holder of four different schools of Qigong and martial arts. While in China, he served as Director of the Shaanxi Province Association for Somatic Science and the Shaanxi Association for the Research of Daoist Nourishing Life Practices. He has now been living and teaching in the West for just over ten years.

Damo Mitchell has studied the martial, medical and spiritual arts of Asia since the age of four. His studies have taken him across the planet in search of authentic masters. He is the technical director of the Lotus Nei Gong School of Daoist Arts, teaches Nei Gong in the UK and Sweden.

In this, the first of three videos, the two authors provide key insights and advice for the Qigong practitioner on the steps necessary to move forward in practice, and on the gradual nature of learning and the importance of taking pleasure in repetition.

Copyright © Singing Dragon 2012.

VIDEO: Yijing, Shamanic Oracle of China – An introduction by Richard Bertschinger

Richard Bertschinger studied for ten years with the Taoist sage and Master, Gia-fu Feng. He is a practising acupuncturist, teacher of Chinese healing arts, and translator of ancient Chinese texts. He has just published a new translation of the Book of Change, Yijing, Shamanic Oracle of China: A New Book of Change, which he has been working on for the past thirty years.

In this video, Richard talks about the essence of change as explored through the Yijing, and on the elemental energies represented through the book’s trigrams.

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Read a Preview of Yijing, Shamanic Oracle of China »

Copyright © Singing Dragon 2012.

 

Singing Dragon Wins Gold at the 2011 Living Now Book Awards

We are pleased to announce that four Singing Dragon books have won prizes at the 2011 Living Now Book Awards, including two first place Gold prizes!

Singing Dragon received the Gold prize in the Enlightenment/Spirituality category for The 12 Chinese Animals: Create Harmony in your Daily Life through Ancient Chinese Wisdom by Master Zhongxian Wu.

Singing Dragon also received the Gold prize in the Yoga/Pilates/Bodywork category for Yoga Therapy for Every Special Child by Nancy Williams.

And in the Exercise/Fitness category, Singing Dragon scooped two prizes: the Silver for Vital Healing: Energy, Mind and Spirit in Traditional Medicines of India, Tibet & the Middle East – Middle Asia, by Dr Marc S. Micozzi, and the Bronze for Managing Stress with Qigong by Gordon Faulkner.

The Living Now Book Awards celebrate the innovation and creativity of new books that enhance the quality of our lives, from cooking and fitness to relationships and mature living. Visit www.livingnowawards.com for more info.

Congratulations to the authors, contributors, editors and everyone who worked on the winning books! Click below to learn more about each one.

Copyright © Singing Dragon 2011.

‘The 12 Chinese Animals’ Quiz – How well do you understand Chinese astrology?

Celebrate Chinese New Year with Singing Dragon! 

Did you know that in true Chinese astrology, not just the year, but also the month, day and hour of your birth matters?

Take this quiz to learn more and test your knowledge of Chinese astrology – the topic of the new Singing Dragon book, The 12 Chinese Animals: Create Harmony in your Daily Life through Ancient Chinese Wisdom by Master Zhongxian Wu.

[QUIZZIN 1]

About the Book

The Chinese horoscope holds the key to a better understanding of self and others, and to living a life of harmony. Making the wisdom of the twelve Chinese animals accessible to the Western reader for the first time in its relationship with the Yijing, The 12 Chinese Animals will teach you how to better understand your personality, and make choices that profoundly influence your health, relationships, career, and finances, allowing you to live up to your greatest potential.

About the Author

Master Zhongxian Wu is the lineage holder of four different schools of Qigong and martial arts. Since 1988, he has instructed thousands of students, both Eastern and Western. He synthesizes wisdom and experience for beginning and advancing practitioners, as well as for patients seeking healing, in his unique and professionally-designed courses and workshops. Please visit www.masterwu.net for details about his teachings.

Copyright © Singing Dragon 2011.