Saturday, July 30, 2011

Little Shaolin - Taoist Teaching & Healing Clinic

Back in 2002 I was on my second educational tour to China. The group I was with was visiting Wudang – well known for being the birth place of Tai Chi. This was a 22 hour train ride from Beijing, followed by a walk through a small village, followed by a long bus ride way up into the jungle-like mountains.

Wudang was beautiful, peaceful, and in the middle of nowhere. No computers, some electricity, and hot water turned on only at specific times of the day. The hotel had concrete block walls with holes left out for windows, no screen. Down below, the neighbors caught a chicken or goat each night and slaughtered it on the back porch for dinner. I remember having a zucchini-like squash cooked in a delicious variety of ways for almost every meal, since it was the most abundant locally grown food, and locally grown was all that was available.

We were there to study Tai Chi and QiGong and there wasn’t much to distract us from this incredible journey of self-cultivation.

One day, we took a trip to a nearby Taoist monastery where we had been invited to meet the monks that lived off the land and watch them perform Tai Chi. The monastery was ancient looking and had the feeling of many, many lives being lived there. This day was pure blue sky sunny and about 108 degrees F. No fans, no air conditioning, just cool water to drink and a little shade.

Standing in the hot sun, we were watching the monks do Tai Chi, when all of a sudden a man in our group turned very pale and collapsed. No doctors, no hospital, no telephone or anything else one usually thinks of in an emergency situation.

The monks immediately sprang into action. They carried him through a doorway behind us and laid him on the floor. A monk ran up and showed me a small glass vial with purple liquid inside (Chinese herbs), the look on his face obviously asking if it was ok to administer the liquid. I shook my head “yes” and he lifted our friend’s head and poured it into his mouth.

Another monk showed me an acupuncture needle – his big needle, only one, looked about 200 years old and not washed often. Again the questioning look of “can I do acupuncture on him?” “Yes” I motioned back. What else do you do in this situation?

The monk quickly visually scanned our friend’s body, then knelt beside him and stuck the needle in, pulled it out fast. He did this to about 9 different acupoints, then stepped back to do another visual scan. (In my travel diary I noted all the points used.)

Our friend opened his eyes, sat up a little, and said “I feel ok – thank you! Xie Xie!”

The monks brought him lots of cool water and were happy to see him doing much better. He left a large cash donation in gratitude for their emergency service.

In watching all of this, I was so impressed by how calm everyone was, and how they knew exactly what to do on the spot to take care of the situation. I thought, “This is what I want our school to be like one day! People can walk in and no matter what they have going on, we’ll know how to care for them using these wonderful and very old healing methods.”

This was the seed planted that has now sprouted into the Little Shaolin Clinic. I hope we make our monk friends, so far away, proud of what they inspired.  And thanks to our own Shifu for instilling the depth of cultivation involved in the strong foundation we have to work with.


~Cynthia McMullen, School Instructor, Master Massage Therapist & Oriental Bodyworker, Medical QiGong Therapist. Relieving pain and harmonizing symptoms since 1999.

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