By Elisabeth ROCHAT de la Vallee
Trade paperback book
196 pages, 6.25 x 8.50″
In this text the author explores the development of human consciousness through the classical Chinese literature. From an early understanding of the spirits as forces of nature, through reverence and propitiation of the ancestors, there was a gradual recognition that human beings are responsible for their own destiny, and that it is through the adaptation of human behavior that it is possible to affect good and bad fortune. In the classical texts of Daoism and Confucianism, these ‘aspects of spirit’ came to be understood as facets of the human psyche. Within the Chinese medical texts these subtle parts of the being were often referred to as the five spiritual aspects (wu shen) and correlated with the five elements and the five internal organs. The hun and po, the yin yang expression of the human soul, represent the powers of heaven and earth within us; the yi and the zhi represent intent and will, the ways in which the human heart/mind begins to construct reality. We work through yi and zhi, hun and po in order to become ‘spirit-like’ – or closer to our ‘true nature’.
This book has been adapted and edited from three seminars given in London over a period of two years. It begins with a section on hun and po, moves on to jing shen, and concludes with yi and zhi. Each section examines the characters for each term, followed by examples of their usage in the classical philosophical texts, and concludes with a selection from the medical texts of the Huangdi Neijing, Suwen and Lingshu.
Rochat de la Vallée has brought her intimate knowledge of both the medical and philosophical texts of this period to bear in presenting her deep understanding and insight to this fascinating and often misunderstood subject. This text establishes a firm grounding for thoughtful discussion, and as well as provides inspiration for individual spiritual cultivation.