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Longevity Guidelines are quoted from Dan Reid's book, "Guarding the Three Treasures- The Chinese Way of Health". It is presented here as a public information service. All rights are reserved by the author and/or the publisher. Click the book icon/image to purchase this book on-line.

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"When the three treasures of essence, energy and spirit remain calm, they nourish you day by day and make you strong.

When they are hyperactive they deplete you day by day and make you old."

Wen Tzu Classic (1st century AD)

 


 
 

Longevity guidelines
 

"Longevity is the sweetest fruit on the Taoist tree of health.

Throughout the entire 5,000 years of recorded history in China, prevention has remained the guiding principle in maintaining human health; essence, energy, and spirit upon which health depends were prized and protected as 'true' treasures of life.

Health was regarded as a primary responsibility of the individual, and disease as a mistake in lifestyle.

The greatest value traditional Chinese health care holds for modern medicine lies in the many simple but effective methods Chinese physicians developed for cultivating mental and physical health, balancing essence and energy, preventing disease and degeneration, and prolonging life. They recorded their discoveries in the medical archives of ancient China, which remain as valid today as they were then.

Longevity not only enables you to enjoy the fruits of your practices such as health, vitality, clarity, and equanimity, it also supplies you with the extra time and experienced required to traverse the highest paths of spiritual development and take a shot at the ultimate goal of enlightenment, or 'spiritual immortality'.

'The reason people die so young these days,' states the Classic of the Plain Girl, 'is that they no longer know the secrets of the Tao.'

That was written over 2,000 years ago as China entered its 'modern age' and people began to 'lose the Way'.

Straying far from the Great Highway of health, longevity, and spiritual awareness, people prefer to wander down the dead-end byways of worldly desires, where they're snared by the emotional machination of the "Chief Hooligan" and deceived by the sensory tricks of the "Five Thieves". Ever since civilization divorced man and woman from nature, human life has lost its natural harmony.

According to the Taoist view, nature designed the human body to live an average life span of about 100 years, and if we take measures to prolong our lives, we should be able to extend our life spans to 150 years or more.

There are many examples in Chinese history of Methuselah's who lived even longer than that, the most recent case being a Taoist adept and master herbalist from southwest China named Lee Ching-yuen, who lived to be over 250 years old.

Lee Ching-yuen was born in 1678, during the seventeenth year of the Manchu emperor Kang Shi's reign. He left home at an early age and traveled around southern China with a group of itinerant herb traders, from whom he learned the basics of herbalism. Subsequently, Lee had the good fortune to meet several highly accomplished Taoist masters, who taught him internal alchemy and Tee-Jung, and showed him how to utilize diet and herbal supplements for health and longevity.

Though not a strict vegetarian, Lee consumed very little meat and also limited his intake of grains and root vegetables.

His daily diet consisted primarily of lightly steamed vegetables, fresh fruit, and tonic herbs. The herbs he recommended most highly for promoting health and prolonging life were ginseng, gout kola, polygon, multiform, and garlic.

Nor was Lee Ching-yuen celibate: over the course of his long life he married fourteen times, and by the time of his death in 1930, he counted almost 200 living descendants within his extended family.

After his death, modern scholars confirmed his identity, traced his life all the way back to the year of his birth, and conclusively verified his life span.

Lee Ching-yuen's life demonstrates how well Taoist longevity techniques work when properly practiced. The point here is not only to add years to your life, but also to 'add life to your years", i.e., to maintain your health and vitality until the very end of your days.

Lee Ching-yeun continued to take long hikes in the mountains until the final years of his life, remained sexually active for over two centuries, never became senile, and died with all his own teeth and most of his hair. These days, few people even reach the age of sixty in that condition.

Modern Western medicine like to claim that it has extended the human life span by over twenty years since 1900, but this claim is based entirely on a dramatic decline in infant mortality, not on better health or longer life for adults.

Several studies have shown that the average beggar in India and peasant in Mexico are healthier than the average American college student, and few people in Western societies today reach old age with their bodies and minds intact.

While it is true that thanks to live-saving medical technology, a baby born in American stands a better chance of survival than in Africa or the Middle East, the USA now ranks thirty-seventh in the world for the life expectancy of a twenty-year-old person.

In an article published in the New York State Medical Journal, Dr. Norman Joliffe points out that 'although in America the life expectancy at birth is near the best of any civilized country in the world- at the age of 40 life expectancy in American is near the bottom'.

The overall health of the entire population of America- from children to the elderly - is appallingly poor and continues to deteriorate.

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Consider, for example, the following facts

  • 98 percent of Americans have some form of dental disease, and over 20 million adults have lost all their teeth.

  • Over 250 million cases of acute respiratory illness are reported each year in the USA, and almost as many cases of gastroenteritis (acute inflammation of the stomach and intestines).

  • Over one million cases of pelvic inflammatory diseases plague American women each year.

  • In 1900, cancer was the cause of 5 per cent of American deaths, today it accounts for 20 per cent.

  • 25 per cent of the American population suffers from chronic high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases now cause 50 per cent of all deaths in the USA, compared with only 18 per cent in 1900.

  • 25 per cent of the population of the USA suffers some form of chronic depression, anxiety, or other emotional disorder, and the homicide rate in the USA is over ten times higher than in Britain or Japan. Rape, child abuse, and other forms of violent assault are also on the rise in America.

These are only a few examples of the current health catastrophe in the USA, but they certainly suffice to confirm what the Taoist master Chang San-feng said 600 years ago, that 'medical science' can make a nation sick', for it is by the negligence of conventional American medical care that this crisis has arisen.

That negligence includes the failure to recognize the true causes of most human ailments, the failure to institute preventative health care, and the failure to permit American physicians as wall as patients to benefit from alternative medical theories and therapies.

Even American presidents are beginning to succumb to the health crisis sweeping through the USA.

Ronald Reagan had to have a section of his colon removed with its pre-cancerous growth caused by the Standard American Diet (SAD); former president Bush, as well as his wife and dog, suffers from some sort of auto-immune ailment; and President Clinton is a junk-food enthusiast with allergy problems. See the bags under our eyes, and you'll see the results of that habit.

Compare their health to that of the Chinese leaders such as Deng Hsiao-ping, who still managed to stay healthy enough to wield power in China at the age of eighty-eight, despite a life-long tobacco habit.

Morai Desai, the former prime minister of India lived a healthy vibrant life right up till the age of 100, and he attributed among other factors, his daily practice of auto urine therapy.

In Asia, all influential 'movers and shakers' such as presidents and prime ministers, military leaders and corporate tycoons, combine Eastern and Western medicine, traditional therapies and modern technology in their personal health care, with obviously beneficial results.

In Taoist tradition, the primary purpose of cultivating physical longevity is to provide the adept with more time and experience to complete his or her spiritual practices, not simply to live it up for a few extra years or decades.

If your sole purpose in prolonging your life is to enjoy extra years or sensual self-indulgence, then you're wasting your time and energy with these practices, because the self-discipline and restraint they require preclude that style of life. Those who wish may spend their entire lives consorting with the Five Thieves and Chief Hooligan and die young but full sated.

Another reason for prolonging corporeal life, in Asian tradition, is to enable accomplished master to continue their teaching and pass their insights on to their disciples.

Indeed, in the Mahayana schools of Buddhism, the purpose of enlightenment itself is to help others find the path and arrive at the same goal, not to 'ascend to heaven' all by oneself.

Fully enlightened masters who forgo the freedom and bliss of the 'spiritual immortality' they've painstakingly earned through countless lifetimes of suffering, and choose instead to return again and again to this 'dusty world' in order to liberate others from suffering, are known as 'bodhisattvas', or 'awakened one', and without them the rest of humankind would have no one to look to for spiritual guidance.

Bodhisattvas appear in many guises in all cultures and societies, not only Buddhist, and they teach according to the traditions and needs of the people among whom they are born.

By prolonging their lives as long as possible, these spiritually enlightened teachers are able to continue their good works in this world and share their wisdom with others, but this is only possible when their longevity is founded on health and vitality.

There is no point in living to the age of ninety-five, if the last twenty-five years of your life are spent confined in a hospital ward or nursing home.

And using modern medical technology to keep 'basket cases' alive, at enormous expense and trauma to their families, is a wretched abuse of medical science, whose limited resources would be much better spent keeping healthy people healthy and curing the curable."

 Eight simple longevity guidelines. 
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Environment
Diet and nutrition
Herbal supplements
Emotional equilibrium
Sexual discipline
Clarity

Exercise and breathing

Fasting

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