What is Chinese Metaphysics? (Part 2 – The Five Arts)
Mountain Arts 山 - It encompasses the knowledge and skills acquired through years of meditating, studying and mastering ones internal Qi flow and cultivating the Dao deep within the Mountains. Martial Arts is considered a form of Mountain Art. When this was mentioned, many would picture that it is akin to Shaolin Temples atop the Mountains where Grandmasters taught their monk disciples the Shaolin Kung-fu or Wushu.
This Mountain Arts were originally designed to facilitate Spiritual, Mental and Physical Development, that helps develop and balance one’s Qi 气 (Life Force Energy / Vital Energy). Traditionally, Martial Arts was an art cultivated for optimal health acquired through meditation, healthy diet, good body posture, proper breathing techniques, exercises and movement. As such Qigong 气功 and Tai-Chi 太极拳 are the common two forms of Mountain Arts that are still practised today.
Medicinal Arts 医– Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a style of traditional medicine built on the foundation of thousands of years Chinese Medical practices employing the Theory of the 5 Elements, Yin and Yang, as well as the Qi Flow within a person’s body (known as Meridians / Chanel Network) connected to the bodily organs and functions to diagnose and treat the root cause of a medical concern. Chinese Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture, Chinese Massage (Tui Na) and the likes are a part of this branch of studies. Since all matters are interconnected, Qigong, long promoted as the exercise that improves one's Health, Well-being and Longevity is also one of the remedies prescribed in TCM for good health.
The Art of Divination 卜 – Many cultures either use similar or different techniques of divination around the world under different names. Just Google "Methods of Divination" and you can find out all about the divination methods used worldwide. The Yi Jing Divination, the 64 Hexagrams and Gua is among one of the most well-known methods practised. The Liu Ren, Tai Yi, Plum Blossom Divination and Qi Men Dun Jia are also some of the numerical analysis tools used for prediction and forecasting.
The Art of Destiny Analysis 命 – A birth chart based on the time and date of birth of a person is generated. Chinese Metaphysics Practitioners can utilise either Bazi (4 Pillars) or Zi Wei Dou Shu (Purple Star Astrology) to identify the influence of destiny in a person’s life, including the highs and lows that a person could potentially face. Destiny Analysis is an excellent diagnostic tool that can chart a person’s life map, i.e. a guideline to a person’s challenges, problems, and capacities in life as well as his path to success. Thus each and everyone has his own map of destiny based on his birth date, fortunes and luck. A person’s fate still lies in his / her own hands. Ultimately, he / she is responsible for the results of his / her decisions, choices, actions or inactions.
The Art of Physiognomy 相 – Palmistry, Face Reading (Mian Xiang) and Feng Shui are categorized under this. Feng Shui (translated as Wind-Water) is a study of the land formation of the environment. The word Physiognomy is defined as the general form or appearance of something. Feng Shui is actually the combination of Forms and Formulas because it scrutinizes the appearance of the land formation by taking note of the Mountain and Water within the landscape as well calculating the movement of the Qi flow within the area by using various mathematical formulas. Thus it can evaluate the potential of a person living in a certain property and surrounding environment.
Palmistry is the art of reading the lines of the palm and making an assessment to determine a person’s fate and fortune. Face Reading is the technique used to predict a person’s character, fate and fortune by observing his / her facial features. By understanding themselves and the environment that they live in, it is expected that the persons are able to align their own personal Qi with that of their environment. Therefore resulting in them being able to enjoy a better quality of life and happier outlook.
By now, you would have noticed that the Five Arts are actually inter-related. There is not one that is more superior to the other. They are just different tools that can be used for us to understand more about our strengths and weaknesses, our capabilities, talents, skills and destiny so that we can make better decisions in our lives.
It is believed that one who can make better decisions would be able to enjoy a more fulfilling and happy existence. The ancient philosophers believed that the wisdom of Dao cultivation is that of listening to the voices of nature and the implicit knowing that human can genuinely thrive when aligned in harmony with the rhythms of the Universe.
Thus, I consider the Five Arts and Chinese Metaphysics as wondrous gifts from the Chinese Sages to us human kind.