We live with some sorts of health problems. We are the person who should know about our health conditions best. When we get sick, we know that it may be caused by weather changes, from hot to cold or from cold to hot; we know that we might have eaten something wrong; we know that if it is an injure from accidents. We are the ones to know about the causes and conditions best. If the case is serious, we shall go to the doctor or emergency. In most of the case, we might be feeling weak; or it is a long-lasting problem; it might be ignorance or lack of medicine in the past. Except for serious cases like fatal injury inside or excessive loss of blood, we can deal with most problems ourselves. If we know the treatments, we can take proper measures. We can take precautions, and we can use simple methods for the recovery of simple problems. The recovery process relies more on our own efforts than the doctor’s help. If you have learned the basic reasons in this book, you must be able to deal with many problems, and this book is a good guide to your health.
We should know that we live with the Five Elements that support our vitality. Our physical health depends on healthy breaths. Short of breaths cause illness; block of breaths also causes illness. To overcome our illness, we shall first build strong breaths. Herbal medicines can provide us with vitality in the form of heat, warmth, cold, or a balance of them. They give support to the Five Elements and are helpful for illness. Within our physical body, there is the fundamental vitality; that is the base of the Five Elements. Herbal medicines bear different qualities; they can kill a patient instantly if used not in a proper way. We shall best bring up our fundamental vitality to defeat the illness. The method lies in our minds. The mind is like a general in the war who gives orders. Our fundamental vitality is stored somewhere under the heart and above the kidney, near the navel. The core of the navel relates to the spleen the soil; it is the center of organs and nerves; within this core, there are eight channels that connect to arteries and veins. If we can keep this core healthy and strengthen its vitality, we can defeat illnesses easily and live longer. The beginning of symptoms mainly comes from outside weather changes. If we are weak, short of energy, or having too many worries, working too hard, having too much alcohol or sex, we can easily get sick when the weather changes. Rheumatism is paralysis or pain of the joints; problems of the mouth, eyes are results of troubled arteries and veins. When our left body is paralyzed, hands or feet can not move freely; this is weakness or block of blood. When our right body is paralyzed, hand or feet cannot move freely, this is the weakness of breaths. When the two sides are paralyzed, both our blood and breaths have problems. When our hands are paralyzed, mouth thirsty and we speak with difficulty, our blood has problems and our liver is dry. Our blood supports the breaths, and breaths support the blood. They are one system, not two. If we look at the computer screen for too long, it hurts our blood; if we lie in bed for too long, it hurts our breaths. If we sit still for too long, it hurts our flesh; if we stand still for too long, it hurts our bones. If we walk for too long, it hurts our joints. If we have too much sex or our feelings are hurt deeply, it hurts our heart and kidney and weakens our vitality. When there is a fire burning inside us; when we have consumed too much of our fundamental vitality, we may have symptoms of coughing with phlegm, breathing deeply with heat, coughing blood, night sweating, or having nocturnal emission. When we have a fever and feel weak, we shall feel warmth in our hands and feet; our skin looks dry; in the afternoon we feel cold and in the evening we feel hot. If the fever does not go away, and we have more worries, we might be vomiting, feeling very uneasy, feeling chest pain, with diarrhea if we eat too much, frightened, face pale, lip reddish, with a dizzy head, back pain, four limbs weak and urine reddish hot. These are symptoms of deteriorating vitality when a fire is burning, but not enough water to balance it. Therefore we say the key lies in the circulation of blood and breaths.
A person shall not be blamed if he is born with poor health, is short-lived, or die young. First, that is his fate. Second, it is a problem with his parents. Without a good education, parents do not know how to raise the child even before he is born. If a child has digestive problems, the parents and baby-sitter shall be blamed. Parents may have the excuse of being too busy, and baby-sitters may show no care for the child. If born into a wealthy family, too much junk food hurts the child’s digestive system. An arrogance of himself causes damages to his liver. There are many reasons that a child may die young. Although he may not die young, diseases have already grown in his digestive system. In times of red spots or other illnesses, he may not have the defense. Wealthy families might have more dangers in their children’s health. This is one of the main reasons. A second reason, a patient might have taken his symptoms too lightly, and is not alert to his illness early enough, especially young people who suffer from a hereditary illness from their parents and are very weak of health. When a person lives in poor conditions, the danger is also there. Among school friends, for example, differences in living conditions, poor or rich, often causes resentment among the youngsters. Relations between young girls and young boys are related to this. Inequalities of society make some young people have negative viewpoints of the world. Bad friends lead them with temptations, bringing up their greed and fear. In school, if a student is under the pressure from lessons, he may have a tendency to go into fights with others. After graduation, if someone cannot find a job, he shall have more worries. These are the reasons for illness. And thirdly, some people work too hard and don’t know the importance of taking some rest from time to time. Especially the middle-aged people, they experience the hardship of life, their spleens hurt with worries, their livers hurt with anger, their stomach hurt with uneasy breaths, their gall bladder hurt with terror, their kidney hurt with too much labor. When all problems gather, they threaten the heart. The liver relates to wood; wood controls soil; therefore he has bad digestion, uneasy sleep at night being the result. Kidney relates to water; when the water dries up, there is fire. Heart relates to fire. So when the heart is burnt, a person is in trouble. A man’s energy and semen are kept around the heart and distributed across the body parts. If his spleen and stomach are weak, they receive less energy. When the heart lacks the support of energy, all other parts suffer. When a fire is burning, it consumes more energy from the blood; if the heart is too weak, there might be a sudden collapse. Strokes and cerebral bleeding are the results of this. They are caused by a weakness of the heart and block of blood and breaths. The situation is like soil collapsing, very difficult to save. Therefore we say that our human body is like a house. Only when there is sunshine, we can repair it; when there is heavy rain, we can do nothing about it. We talk about the fourth point. Some people are so blind that they know nothing about medicine or medical reasons. They have no idea of what basic health common senses are. They go for one doctor today and another doctor tomorrow. We must be cautious: do not take medicines unless you know about them. Some people, within one day, go for a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor and a Western Medicine doctor, and take all the medicines they both doctors give them. This is the way to hell. The fifth point: Some people are afraid of death; they give themselves more trouble than help. Some people do not die of illness; they die of terror, by themselves. So we must be reasonable; never think of ourselves as patients of fatal illnesses; try to forget about your sickness and be a happy man. Calm down in all cases; don’t be frightened; don’t let dirty thoughts into your mind. The sixth point: some people have troubles because they are feeling uneasy all the time. Even when we are diagnosed with a fatal illness, we shall take things easy; give up our jobs and sit down to rest. When you just recover from a fatal illness, don’t go for a haircut immediately, or take a cold water shower. The seventh point: too much sex. Some people have an excessive amount of sex; this is also a cause of death. The desires for sex burn out your energy and disturb your organs and thus cause formless damages.
I have listed ten main causes of illnesses here: One, the uneasiness of mind and spirit; two, irregular lifestyle; three, eating or drinking too much; four, working too hard; five, affected by exogenous factors; six, too careful about everything; seven, be frightened with terror; eight, bewitched by ghosts and spirits; nine, incorrect meditation; ten, natural disasters, traffic, and man-made accidents.
And I have listed ten major reasons for death here: one, depend too much on doctors and medicine; two, lack of nourishment after recovery from illness and reoccurrence; three, too careful in everything to prevent illness; four, past karma; five, taking the wrong medicines; mistakes in diagnosis of symptoms that result in the delay of treatment; seven, helpless by medical means; eight, the bad temper of the patient that results in loss of control; nine, ignorance of self-assistance and no confidence in treatment; ten, death by sins, suicide or assassination.
As a whole, the main cause of illness or death is rooted in the mind. When our mind is not in peace but disturbed, we are in bad temper, worried, and lost in control. This is the main reason for sickness and death. Therefore, how to set our minds in peace is fundamental.
When dealing with our illness, we shall not only deal with the symptoms; we shall look for the root causes and find a solution to both. I used to have hepatitis B before thirty. Every year I was checked for HBsAg which was mostly positive with a high level of GOT or ALT. To deal with this problem, I quit my job as a tour guide traveling all over the country. I move from busy cities into the quiet country of more green trees and fresher air. I used to have serious ulcerative colitis that lasted for a year or so. My treatment is to quit all McDonald’s, KFC, and other junk food. Gradually I became a vegetarian. Soon my long-lasting problem of hemorrhoids was eradicated too. I used to have allergic rhinitis that lasted for over ten years. For some time, I could only breathe with my mouth and my nose could not smell the flowers. I made up my mind to get rid of all these problems. I changed my living environment; I changed my diet; I changed my job. More importantly, I started to have a meditation every day. After about three years, my problems started to go away. And gradually I regained my mental and physical health. In many cases, it is not because we do not know about the reasons; it is that we do not know the root causes of these reasons. We know some of them, but we have excuses to ignore them. We may have some limits on our diet, for example; but soon we forget about it. We cannot stick to what is right for us; we have caused all the problems.
When the disease has spread to vital organs and a patient is in serious condition, he shall feel sometimes cold and sometimes hot, with changes over and over, with pain in bones and joints, eyes red with tears, ears hearing voices from far away, with sore-throat, the torn tongue of dark color, with a dizzy head, body dry without perspiration, a block of poopoo and weewee, with the swollen body of irregular reddish color, uneven speeches sometimes rough and sometimes too weak, spots of green and yellow or other strange colors, full abdomen and difficult to speak.
When a doctor has given up his efforts and medicines no longer work, most patients are left without hope. That might be the case of serious lung diseases, neurasthenia, insomnia, high blood pressure, weakness of heart, intestinal tract diseases, paralyzing strokes, hepatitis, deficiency of the kidney, blood problems of women. For serious diseases like these that have last for a long time with occurrences, my tutor of an older generation left a method of treatment that might be helpful for most people. The only difficult thing is trust. If you truly believe in it and continue to do it with patience, you shall see the good effects. When you are helpless, you have to listen to some sorts of methods by the experience of the elder generations. Only you can save yourself from the edge of death. And these methods past down from my tutors have proved to be effective many times:
First, don’t be afraid of death. Have full confidence that you will recover from the illness. Not only that, be sure of yourself that you will get better, stronger, and live longer. Because, within your own physical body, you own the unique capabilities for recovery, and this is not just comforting.
Second, be confident that even without the help of doctors or medicines, there must be ways out there to prolong your life.
Third, starting from today, I have made up my mind never to disturb my sick body with bad things. I don’t even think that I am a sick person, when I get sick and how I shall deal with it. Just live the way as if you were a healthy person.
Four, wake up with spirit and live a normal life. Like a machine that has been running for a long time; now it has some problems and needs to be fixed; to wake up with spirits is to get it a fix. During the repair period, forget about the work, forget about how much time and money you will lose. Just focus on having it fixed, give no delays.
You must remember the above four points fully and take them seriously.
Five, a way for self-recovery: mainly through meditation.
Every day in the morning, when the air is fresh and the room is warm, without much disturbance, we let the patient lay down on the bed, tell him to forget about everything even his sick body, just lay down and rest. Try to breathe naturally, do not use force; do not think too much. As we cannot live without thoughts, we think of our foot bottom, somewhere there, no breathing hard, no thinking of holding your breaths, not thinking about the time, not thinking about your sick body. If you want to sleep, then let yourself sleep. When you wake up, do the same as above; just do not think about your sickness. You can think that you have new blood coming to support your body, to give you vitality, and to help you with recovery. Your body might feel a bit cold or a bit warm; just leave it alone, only thinking that the bottom of your feet is yours. In the beginning, your breaths may be rough; gradually, they become gentle. Just let them the way they are. Forget about the time. When you feel this process go for about seven times, this is one treatment. After three to four days, forget about the bottom of your feet as well. Do not use force, try to do things naturally. At first, you may find it hard to keep on that way; you need time to let your mind calm down. When it is difficult for your mind to calm down, think of the bottom of your feet. Try this for three weeks; you will see good results. Your color will change for the better and you will feel more vitality. Do this every day, once or twice; a short process lasts for 21 days, a long process 100 days. Do this when you wake up in the morning, and you will live long. You will feel the changes in your health conditions.
Six, let’s talk about the reason why we should be our own doctors. My daughter is in primary school now. Since her birth, I have been watching her grow up and from the first month to 3 years old, it was me who helped her with her bath. She is physically strong and healthy under my guidance of proper exercise. Even in cold winter, I do not let her put on too many clothes; I walk her to school every day instead of driving a car. She is most of the time active. I don’t have that much precaution for her or give her too much protection. I don’t give her much good food or many beautiful clothes. I only have the idea to let her grow more naturally. When she is sick with minor problems, I do not take her to see the doctor; instead, I try to help her with my own hands and simple treatments. Weather changes and food are the major causes of her problems, the same as other people, so I pay extra attention when it comes to these two problems. When we take care of our children this way, they will not have serious problems.
We live in Australia. Normally when our child is sick with coughing and colds, a fritillary and loquat cough mixture will help. When she is having a bad appetite and cannot sleep well, some Chinese herbal tea will do. As a parent, we shall be the person who knows best about our children’s health. You do not have to go to a doctor for everything. Once my daughter had her foot burnt with boiling water in St. George Hospital and it was quite serious. There was no specialist in the hospital, regret to tell, for treatment and she was sent to West Mead Children Hospital in Sydney west. A specialist told me that she needed an operation; and they were going to cut a portion of skin from her thigh to cover her burnt foot. I asked them repeatedly:” Do we have better options?” They said no. I was a bit disappointed and somewhat frustrated. I asked them to try to open their mind wider and think of better options. When they insisted on an operation like this; I refused their help. I took my child home and have my own treatment with herbal medicine. My wife and I helped her to clean the wounds daily and cover the burnt area with herbal paste. When she felt extreme pain, we just gave her some pain killers. In about two weeks, her burnt area becomes good and she was recovering very well. After this accident, my child learned her lesson and has become stronger both physically and mentally.
I remember my childhood in the countryside in the south of China. There was no hospital there, not even a clinic. Although poor at home, every day only grains and vegetables for food, meats only during the Spring Festival and on birthdays, often hungry in primary and middle school days, I seldom had to experience sickness. I can remember the first time I went to the hospital at the age of twenty-one after graduating from university and entering a government office. When I asked my colleagues how to register for the first time with the hospital, they laughed at me. But from that time on, I moved from the country to live in big cities. Overwork plus irregular diet brought about allergic rhinitis, hepatitis B, and other long-lasting illnesses. Only twenty years later when I migrated to Australia, I started to regain health. When the first time I smelt the fragrance of flowers in Sydney parks, I was extraordinarily amazed because it had been many years since I could not smell things. Our health like other happenings of life needs reasons for changes for recovery.
The middle way is the standard for good health. The middle way means normal. When a baby is born with normal health, regular milk and warm clothes are enough to keep his middle way; and he will grow fast. We may see babies with swollen limbs; that is normal because his body is expanding. Without outside factors to disturb him, his functions work naturally and his body develops normally. If a baby feels too hot, he will suffer from excessive heat. When his pores are open, he is easy to catch a cold; or as a result of disturbance, he gets inflammation of the throat or chronic bronchitis. If a baby eats too much, or he is caught with a cold, or his mother’s milk is not clean, he is easy to get short of breaths or have vomiting, or diarrhea. That is a disturbance as well. Children under the age of fifteen have many chances to suffer from disturbances. Their problems are nothing more than eating too much or being exposed to bad weather or hurting themselves in sports. When they get sick, conditions may become really bad if lack of care. As to us adults, we have too many reasons to get sick. Our wants and desires are all causes of disturbances. When we cannot keep this physical body well, it gets ill. When we do not have enough energy to deal with all those daily chores, we become sick. In the beginning, they may be just minor problems; as days go by, they get serious, and there are times we have delays in treatment. Therefore we should wake up now. Since we have known about some basic reasons for health, we shall stop for a fix. Try to fix this machine now; it has been running very hard; it needs some rest and it needs some help. Think about things, for many years you have been working really hard, day after day, night after night, without giving your mind a rest. Your machine is no longer working normally. If you keep on like this, you will have time for illness, or even die of hardship. If you are in bad spirits, with worries, you shall have a bad appetite and eat less. An uneasiness of your digestive system makes you roll about at night without good sleep. You start to have problems. With liver fire burning and kidney water dry, your heart and back will suffer. As the weather changes, it is easy for you to have bronchitis. Bad digestion and block of breaths must cause lung diseases. A person with dry kidneys must have a stronger desire for sex. In modern society, many people give birth to unhealthy babies because they have brought about too many problems to their own bodies. Under such circumstances, no one can save them but themselves. Today we have the chance to learn about the reasons, and we shall make some changes from today. Today I ask you to put aside other things and pay attention to your mind, putting it under your foot. The center at the bottom of your foot is the Springs Point. It leads the water upwards and fires downwards. Why not put your mind under the navel? If you do that, breaths will go in there and it’s easy to have problems. We hold and lead our breaths or mind towards the bottom center of our foot, away from under the navel but still connected to the navel area; this is a way of treatment. We do this naturally, in no hurry; and only let our body parts rest in peace, without outside disturbance. This is a way of treatment that will bring about good results.
Important to say, a patient shall try to remain calm and have a clear idea of his conditions. Think of other patients who might be under worse conditions and feel that you are luckier than many people. To be reasonable and having a loving heart; don’t be too selfish; have a peaceful mind; this is a great encouragement. And you will get better soon.
We know that arsenic is poison, but it is good medicine for malaria. Ginseng and chicken are good food; but for a patient with serious conditions, a soup of a mixture will cost his life. Medical science is much developed now; we have developed too many techniques and medicines. But as a whole human being in the world do not see a fundamental improvement of their health. The main reason might just be our own prejudice.
Buddha has told us a story. Once upon a time, there lived a king who was short of wisdom. He had in his palace a physician who had serious prejudice but received good pay. This physician used only milk to treat all patients, regardless of their causes. He only knew about milk as medicine but never learned about the reasons. Whether it was illness by heat, cold, or anything, milk was the only medicine. One day, coming from afar was a doctor who knew about all the reasons for health and diseases. The physician was too proud to learn from the doctor who was so modest that he asked the physician about all sorts of problems. The physician said, “Be my servant for 48 years and I will teach you medicine.” The doctor said, “OK！I am happy to be your servant.” The physician thus introduced the doctor to the king, saying that he was a servant. The doctor now had the chance to teach the king all about health and diseases. After hearing about this, the king expelled the physician, thinking he was too stupid, and treated the doctor as a distinguished guest. The king asked the doctor what he wanted as a reward. The doctor said, “Your Majesty! I do not have many wants. I only want you to give notice to the whole kingdom that from now on, milk shall not be used as medicine. Why? Milk is poison, and it damages your body. Please say that you shall kill those who continue to use milk as medicine.” The king agreed to this and issued a notice.
From then on, the doctor used different flavors to make medicines and he helped lots of people gain recovery from illnesses. Soon, the king became sick again and asked the doctor for help. He said, “I am feeling really bad and it looks like I am dying. What can you help?” After diagnosis, the doctor said, “You shall drink milk. In the past, I said milk was poison and that was not true. Milk is the best medicine for you now.” The king said, “Are you crazy? Aren’t you cheating on me? You said milk was poison and you are asking me to take poison? You are no better than my former physician!” The doctor explained, “A worm is eating wood and accidentally creates a character on the tree. A worm is not educated and knows nothing about writing. We know about the reason and will not think that a worm can read and write. My Majesty! It’s the same reason with milk. The physician knows nothing about medicines. To treat any disease, he only uses milk. He is like the worm who accidentally writes a character.” The king asked why. The doctor explained, “This milk is poison as well as good medicine. Why? Some people take medicines and die young; some people take medicines and live long. Some people take poison and die instantly; some people take poison and recover instantly. When they work, they are medicines; when they do not work, they are poison. If the cattle are raised not on high land nor in wet grass; it only drinks clear springs; it does not wander about; it does not eat grains, grass, or other remains, its milk is healthy and can be very good medicine. Other things are poison.” The king was very pleased to hear about this. He knew about milk now and was happy to take it as medicine. After recovery, he issued another notice to his kingdom: “Milk can be used as medicine now”. And the king gave an order to the public that the doctor should teach each and everyone reasons about health and medicines. The doctor received much honor from the people since then.
Why do we call Buddha a great doctor and a great teacher? It is because he knows about the diseases, the causes, and treatments. A good doctor knows many techniques; he knows all symptoms and causes of diseases. These are normally related to three aspects: wind, heat, and water. When a disease is associated with wind, oil might be a good medicine; when a disease is associated with heat, honey might be good medicine; when a disease is associated with water, soup with ginger might be good medicine. When someone knows about his own body and health conditions, when he knows the causes of illnesses and uses the right medicine, he becomes a good doctor.