Embryology and psychology in traditional Chinese Medicine

Av: Jan Schroën

Man consists of Three Treasures (San Bao): Jing, Qi and Shen. When there is enough Jing, in quantity and in quality, there is a solid basis for life. If Jing is abundant, the surplus will create Qi. And if Qi is abundant, in quantity and in quality, there will be Shen. So the Spirit, the Consciousness, or whatever word you choose to translate the Chinese concept Shen, is firmly grounded in Qi and Shen.

One of the most intriguing aspects of TCM is the complete unification of body and mind. Body and mind do not form a unity, as in western holistic thinking, but they are absolutely the same: body is mind and mind is body.
Since Jing is the basis of the San Bao, and so of every human being, we have to investigate Jing and the foetal development to understand the origin of our psyche.

Fu Shi (2953 – 2838 BC)

Fu Shi (2953 – 2838 BC)

Fu Shi (2953 – 2838 BC) was the first of the Five Emperor’s of the Legendary Period. After a period of 12 year pregnancy, he was born in Shensi. He taught his people how to hunt, fish and keeping a flock. He showed them how to split the wood of the t’ung tree and how to attach silk threats over the wood in order to make music.
In the figure left you can see Fu Shi. He is often pictured with animals like a snake or a turtle. This to emphasize his great knowledge on animal behaviour. A quality he used to discovered the Ho-t’u. This Pre-Heavenly Ba Gua was written on the back of a horse that came out of the deep to the surface of the river Ho to show itself at Fu Shi. The sequence of the eight trigrams of the Pre-Heavenly Ba Gua indicates the origin of all the things, as they are present in Pre-Heaven. In the same way as Pre-Heavenly Jing is the origin of Post-Heavenly Jing in our human body, the universe consists of Pre-Heavenly Jing that creates Post-Heavenly Jing. Our body is an exact copy of the universe. They have a fractal relation.
The Pre-Heavenly Ba Gua according to Fu Shi shows us the state of the universe before it manifests itself.
When Fu Shi discovered this Ba Gua and understood the origin of the universe, he taught his people the three most important aspects of life: Qi, Li and Shou.
Qi in this meaning refers to the concept Qi we also know in Chinese medicine, but also to the idea of breath and movement. Li means law, the rules that Qi obeys. And Shou refers to the number, the rhythm: all rules of Qi have a rhythm, a numerical ratio, for example Wu Xing, Ba Gua etcetera). When one understands the Shou of the Li of the Qi, one understands the universe. From these three concepts the philosophical ideas of the I Jing, the MingShu, the FengShui and music developed.
Emperor Yu, a legendary emperor from a later ear, saw a turtle surfacing the river Lo. On its back was the Lo-shu engraved. This Lo-shu is the Post-Heavenly Ba Gua that later was reinterpreted by King Wen from the Chou dynasty and explains the Post-Heavenly situation of the universe to us.
The uterus is the gateway between Pre-Heaven and Post-Heaven, nourished by Pre-Heavenly Jing (as Extra Fu the uterus is connected to the Jing and the Kidneys) as well by Post-Heavenly Qi and Blood.
The origin of the unborn child is in Pre-Heaven. The Huang Di Nei Jing says: “When the white Jing of the man melts together with the red Jing of the woman new Jing is created”. This means that the unborn child excists in a place where consciousness of time and space is non-linear. Inside the uterus this Pre-Heavenly Jing of the foetus is transformed and prepared to excist in our Post-Heavenly, linear reality where time and space are connected to each other in a continuum. Several taoistic alchemists refer in their texts to a “previous life” or a period or place of “immortality”. Actually they are referring to the period or the place in the uterus.
Since the foetus is only Jing, it observes its environment with a “Jing consciousness”. The foetus lives in a non-linear reality where time and space are not connected to each other in a linear way. So there is no causal reality to the unborn child. By this fact the foetus consciousness is immortal. For a person outside the uterus, in daily reality, the mother-to-be will be pregnant for 10 moon-month (e.g. 9 sun-month). In our linear reality we are time-bound and we see the development of the foetus in 2 times 5 moon-month. One yin cylce of 5 moon-month and one yang cycle of 5 moon-month. These 5 moon-month cycle correspond to the Wu Xing (e.g. Five Elements cylce), beginning with the Wood element.
And at the end of the pregnancy, the foetus has transformed from a being of the non-linear reality of Pre-Heaven to a being ready to function in our linear reality of Post-Heaven. This transformation is done by the Qi Jing Ba Mai, the Eight Extraordinary vessels. Each of them control the development of the physical, mental and spiritual constitution of the foetus. Since the foetus belongs to the Pre-Heaven, the Qi Jing Ba Mai develop itself (and so the foetus too) according to the Ba Gua sequence of Fu Shi. In this way we can see the correspondence between the Ba Gua, the Qi Jing Ba Mai and the development of the psychological basis of the human being.
Publicerad: |2007-09-15|