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QI JING BA MAI THE EIGHT EXTRAORDINARY MERIDIANS part #1
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  ACU CENTREwww.acucentre.com.au(613) 9532 9602ACU CENTRE, Suites 2 & 11, 219 Balaclava Rd., Caulfield North. Victoria. 3161.Australia 1 I NTRODUCTION Q I J ING B A M AI T HE E IGHT E XTRAORDINARY M ERIDIANSpart #1L ARRE & R OCHAT (1997)FOREWORDThe work of sinologists Claude Larre and Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée allows us access to thesrcins of Chinese medicine. Through their detailed study of the Nei jing, Nan jing and theircommentaries we are connected to the perceptive minds of the classical authors. Claude Larre'sprofound understanding of the philosophical and cultural background, and Elisabeth Rochat'sthorough knowledge of the medical classics give us a unique insight into the eight extraordinarymeridians.When recently teaching a class of first year acupuncture students I was reminded of the usualstatus given to this subject - a few pages at the back of a text book, or an afternoon tacked on the endof a crowded syllabus. These eight meridians are seen as something extra, almost superfluous, ratherthan the extraordinary and 'marvelous' foundation of our entire energetic network.  ACU CENTREwww.acucentre.com.au(613) 9532 9602ACU CENTRE, Suites 2 & 11, 219 Balaclava Rd., Caulfield North. Victoria. 3161.Australia 2 This primitive organisation into eight meridians governs the relationships between yin and yang,interior and exterior, providing the basic pattern for energy exchange between heaven and earth. It liesbeneath the more accessible division into the twelve ordinary meridians. This presentation of the eightextraordinary meridians, firmly rooted in the medical classics, elucidates the mysterious yetfundamental interaction of yin and yang within the human body and the evolution of the meridiansystem. As acupuncturists this is our medium, and yet in an education system dominated by herbaltheory we learn so little about it. It is my hope that this book goes some way to redress that balance.The text has been edited from two three day seminars, and is not intended as a complete historicaloverview or detailed analysis of the entire subject, which, throughout the long history of Chinesemedicine, has been presented in many different ways, by many different schools. The intention of theauthors here is to give practitioners a fresh approach to the subject by study of the classical Chinesetexts. Sandra Hill, London, 1997  INTRODUCTION Claude Larre : Our subject is the extraordinary meridians, the qi jing ba mai, which are not onlyextraordinary, but marvelous. I personally prefer to use the word extraordinary, but there is also theother aspect - that they are doing marvels. Perhaps they are extraordinary because they are part of theprimitive constitution of the being, and represent the purest stimulation of life given by heaven, whichis in itself an extraordinary power when contrasted with earth where things are developed and seen.Heaven represents creation and the invisible power of life. So when something is unseen but workingfor life, it normally has the attribute of being a truly marvelous thing.For that reason the qi jing ba mai must be seen as the foundation of life from the very beginning tothe very end. They are active from conception to birth, working within a state of life which is not soorganised. With the development of the arms and legs, hands and feet, the number twelve isappropriate and will come into full effect after birth, with the twelve ordinary meridians taking theirstrength from the srcin of life. The number twelve is the natural extension of the four (of the fourlimbs) stimulated by the power of the qi which is the number three. So heaven and earth working inthe developed form of humanity can work through twelve different pathways, and contrasted to thatthe more primitive will be like winds in the atmosphere. The winds are governed by the number eightwhich is four times two, and with these eight winds the general animation of the universe isunderstood.This distinction between the twelve which are ordinary and the eight which are extraordinary isvery appropriate - not just for the beginning but also for the end of life. Because the beginning and theend of life have to turn, or return, in a circle. When the meridians become eight from twelve, thatcould signify the return of that person to a previous state of life, no longer made by the feet and thehands. The feet and hands stop, the power of the person is absorbed and there is no longer a way tomanifest externally. That seed of life has to be there at the end of life as it has been at the beginning.So the Chinese expression qi jing ba mai, the eight extraordinary meridians, is a very good one.  Elisabeth Rochat  : This expression appears for the first time in Nan jing difficulty 27, and asFather Larre has said, it is a very good expression to describe these eight extraordinary meridians.  ACU CENTREwww.acucentre.com.au(613) 9532 9602ACU CENTRE, Suites 2 & 11, 219 Balaclava Rd., Caulfield North. Victoria. 3161.Australia 3 The extraordinary meridians do not appear in the Su wen or Ling shu as a set linked together. In onechapter we have a reference to the ren mai and chong mai, in another chapter chong mai with thekidney meridian, in another a mention of the qiao mai etc., but it is in the Nan jing that they areorganised and gathered together for the first time in written form, although they might have existedbefore as oral teachings or in lost texts.STUDY OF THE CHARACTERS  Elisabeth Rochat  : The name given is qi jing ba mai, and each character is important. As usual inChinese we begin with the end.Mai is a general word for the network of animation, meridians as well as luo and other kinds of circulation. There are mai in the depths and there are mai up to the surface of the body. The qi jing bamai are the expression of this general network of animation expressed by the number eight.As Father Larre has said, this is very important because eight (ba) is the number of the winds andthe distribution of vitality, essences and spirit. In the depths of our being we have five zang and sixfu. Then there is a kind of bursting out of vitality with the number seven, which is why we haveseven upper orifices, or seven emotions, because seven is the number of this spreading vitality. Eightis the proper number for the penetration of all space by the vitality coming from seven. Through thesymbolism of these numbers and through the graphology, we have a kind of division, a firstdifferentiation. We are moving from the area of undifferentiated qi to a network of animation,occupying all the vital space in order to distribute spirits, essences and qi.These eight are not only mai but also jing or meridians. A meridian is a norm. It is a basic principlefor the animation and organisation of life relying on the model and principle of heaven, but taking intoaccount all the earthly surroundings and the earthly shape of the body. This is the meaning of jing.There are only twelve jing, only twelve meridians, and it is important to understand that the luo or thebie, the so-called divergent meridians, are not jing, and they are not called meridians in the Chinese.The texts tell us that there are only twelve meridians, but now these eight are also called meridians,and at the symbolic level of eight they represent the organisation of the territory inside the body andcontrol all the great powers of life which create the human body and to keep it in balance.Allowing the manifestation of the great principle of cosmic balance within the body, but not havingany relationship with the external surroundings. These eight extraordinary meridians are not exactlydividing the bodily territory or area into eight parts as do the twelve ordinary meridians. Generallyspeaking, they share pathways and their pathways may have common srcins, as for example with dumai (governor vessel), ren mai (conception vessel) and chong mai (penetrating vessel), while this  ACU CENTREwww.acucentre.com.au(613) 9532 9602ACU CENTRE, Suites 2 & 11, 219 Balaclava Rd., Caulfield North. Victoria. 3161.Australia 4 kind of sharing of pathways does not happen at all with the twelve ordinary meridians. We can seethat the division is much more clear cut for the twelve meridians than for the eight extraordinarymeridians. Therefore, although they are also called meridians, they do not have the same purpose.They are rather for the inner organisation of life and are preparing the way for the twelve meridians of the adult, which just act in their own areas and are able to resonate and respond to external influences.That is why these meridians are called qi, extraordinary, marvelous, singular, and so on, as thischaracter has a lot of very interesting meanings.Qi is extraordinary, surprising and strange, because etymologically speaking it is a man uttering anexclamation of surprise. But qi can also mean marvelous, so marvelous that it is beyond compare,utterly unique. With unique we get to the meaning of single, and also odd, like the odd numberswhich are single and unique because they are not divisible by two. Another meaning can be irregular,against the norm, because if you are unique you are very close to being an anarchist.Another important meaning, which is also a classical one, is of a kind of fraction, the remainder of a fraction in division, or small remainders when you have cut time or space geometrically. Forinstance, the day has twelve or 24 hours which is very efficient and useful for our watches and ourschedules but astronomically speaking is not quite true, there are always some seconds remaining. InChinese this is called qi. It is the same for the year; there are 365 days but it is not exact, and thisremainder is also qi.These meridians are singular, extraordinary, because they are different from the other meridianswhich are called zheng, correct, ordinary, without any diversion, right. The extraordinary meridiansare not so tied by principles, not so constrained and constricted. The twelve ordinary meridians relateto each other in couples in a face/interface, internal/external, biao/li relationship and they makecouples as foot and hand meridians. They also have a special relationship with the zangfu, eachmeridian having its proper zang or fu. These normal meridians also have a correspondence to the fiveelements through the zangfu, and through the external heavenly influxes, cold, heat, wind, damp,dryness and fire, and according to Ling shu chapter 12 they have a special correspondence with therivers on earth:  ... the Jing mai relate on the exterior to the twelve water courses, and  on the interior are under the authority of the five zang and the six fu. It is very strange and extraordinary, but the qi jing ba mai have none of that, they have no pairedrelationships. In some later texts a kind of relationship is mentioned for example between du mai andyang qiao mai, but that was much later, and it has nothing to do with the biao/li, face/interfacerelationship, it has another meaning. These eight meridians also have no hand and foot differentiation,they are hardly seen in the legs and not at all on the arms. As far as du mai ren mai chong mai and daimai are concerned, there is no quality of yin and yang in their names. There is no special relationshipwith the zang and fu. Not that they do not relate in any way to the zang and fu, but these relationshipsare not regular and systematic. It is not a question of the relationship between one extraordinary
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