Chinese Medicine Times : Keeping You Informed

Chinese Medicine Times : Keeping You Informed

Pairing the Extraordinary Vessels and the Zangfu, Part Two: Manifestation, Connection, and Transcendence

Introduction

I

n the last issue of Chinese Medicine Times, I introduced a perspective that pairs the extraordinary vessels with the primary channels and zangfu in a one-to-one correspondence. In that article, I examined the relationship between the first three paired primary channels and zangfu of the horary clock (Lung-Large Intestine; Stomach-Spleen; Heart-Small Intestine, corresponding to the time period from 3am-3pm) to the three extraordinary vessels that form the quiescent state (ren mai-chong mai-du mai), as well as the relationship of both systems to the vertical axis (the connection between Heaven, Earth, and Humanity). In this article I will continue this exploration, turning now to examine the three pairs of primary channels and zangfu that correspond to the second half of the horary clock (Bladder-Kidneys; Pericardium-San Jiao; Gall Bladder-Liver, corresponding to the time period from 3pm-3am) and their relationship to the remaining extraordinary vessels: qiao, wei, and dai mai, respectively. After examining the correspondences between them, we will look at the relationship of both systems to the processes of the horizontal axis and transcendence.

The Quiescent State

In Part 1 of this article, the daily cycle of the ying qi through the 12 primary channels was used to shed light on several connections between the extraordinary vessels and the primary channels and zangfu. In summary, this cycle demonstrates a clear one-to-one correspondence between the confluent points of the extraordinary vessels and the paired zangfu and primary channels. This is illustrated in the table below:

Table 1. Pairing the Extraordinary Vessels and the Primary Channels.

Horary Clock

Primary Channels

Confluent points

Extraordinary vessel

3-7am

LU-LI

Lieque LU 7

Ren mai

7-11am

SP-ST

Gongsun SP 4

Chong mai

11am-3pm

HE-SI

Houxi SI 3

Du mai

3-7pm

KD-UB

Zhaohai K 6, Shenmai UB 62

Qiao mai

7-11pm

PC-SJ

Neiguan P 6, Waiguan SJ 5

Wei mai

11pm-3am

LIV-GB

Zulinqi GB 41

Dai mai

As seen in Part 1, when looked at from this perspective there are a number of functional, anatomical, and relational correspondences between the first three pairs of primary channels and zangfu and the ren-chong-du mai. Beyond the general and anatomical correspondences between the ren mai and the Lungs/Large Intestine, both of these systems also relate to the process of embodiment, which can be seen particularly through the intimate correspondences between jing (ren mai) and po (Lungs/Large Intestine). Similarly, the du mai and the Heart/Small Intestine (along with the Brain, which is the extraordinary fu paired with the du mai within this system) share a close relationship to shen, as well as the three dantian. Lastly, the chong mai and Spleen/Stomach can both be seen as the pivot between yin and yang, ren and du, Heart and Lungs, which is particularly demonstrated through their roles as the Sea of the Zangfu and Primary Channels, as well as their relationships to qi and blood. Thus both of these triads (ren-chong-du mai and LU-LI, ST-SP, HE-SI) have deep relationships to the vertical axis, which corresponds to the trinity of Heaven, Earth, and Humanity. We shall now continue on to examine the correspondences of the second three pairings.

The Qiao Mai and the Kidneys and Bladder System

Turning to the second half of the horary clock, we come to the Kidney and Urinary Bladder primary channels and zangfu, which are theoretically paired with the qiao mai in this system. In the horary clock, these primary channels correspond to the time period from 3-7pm; as the ying qi flows through these channels it passes the confluent points of the yang qiao mai (Shenmai BL 62) and the yin qiao mai (Zhaohai K 6).

As noted in the previous article, the confluent points of the qiao mai are also the starting points of these extraordinary vessels, thus demonstrating a very close connection of the yang qiao mai with the Bladder channel and the yin qiao mai with the Kidney channel. As stated in the Ling Shu (Spiritual Pivot):

The Yin Anklebone Channel separates from the Minor Yin and begins

behind Blazing Valley [Rangu K 2; modern descriptions say that it starts

from Zhaohai K 6]…It enters the cheekbones, subordinates the inner corner

of the eye, and joins with the Major Yang, Bladder Channel, and the Yang

Anklebone Channel and travels up. When the qi move mutually and together,

it will result in nourishing the eyes. When the qi does not prosper, it will result

in the eyes not closing (Wu 1993, p88).

The qiao mai literally "branch off” from the Kidney and Bladder primary channels, and for this reason have even been likened to luo-connecting channels of the Kidney and Bladder. As summarized by John Pirog (1996, p178):

The yin and yang qiao mai are the only two extraordinary vessels that have

master points which physically intersect with their pathways. The master

points, in fact, are actually the starting points for these two vessels: Ki 6 for

yin qiao mai and UB 62 for yang qiao mai.This results in a channel structure

that is reminiscent of that of the luo vessels, with the two vessels branching

directly out of their "home” meridians. This connection creates a close affinity

between yin and yang qiao mai and the meridians they branch from.

The comparisons made between the qiao mai and luo vessels is quite significant, given that four of the other confluent points are also the luo-connecting points of their respective primary channels (Lieque LU 7, Gongsun SP 4, Neiguan P 6, and Waiguan SJ 5), as noted in Part 1. This is noteworthy, as luo-connecting points are one of the primary distal places along the primary channels where the yin and yang aspects connect and intersect with each other. We see this theme expanded when examining the qiao mai and the Kidney and Bladder channels, in relation to the intersection of yin and yang:

The Leg Major Yang has a penetration at the nape of the neck which enters

into the brain…This penetration enters the brain at the separation of the Yin

Anklebone Channel and the Yang Anklebone Channel, for yin and yang intersect mutually, so that yang enters yin and yin comes out of yang with a crossing at

the medial corner of the eye. When the yang qi is full, it causes the eyes to glare

and remain open. When the yin qi is full, it causes the eyes to close (Wu 1993, p99).


Here in the Ling Shu (Spiritual Pivot) we again see the close relation and intersection of the qiao mai with the Bladder channel, as well as their close relationship to the coming together and intersecting of yin and yang. We see this theme continued in Larre and Rochat de la
Vallée (1997, p186), citing Zhang Zicong:

Tai yang and shao yin of the foot are the source from which blood and qi, yin

and yang are originally produced. Yin qiao mai and yang qiao mai master the

free communication of yin and yang. Blood and qi from below rise and have

an exchange and mutual connection at the eyes.

Another significant association between the Kidney-Bladder system and the qiao mai is their relationship to Marrow (which is the extraordinary fu associated with the qiao mai, in this system), and specifically the Sea of Marrow (the Brain). The Marrow and Bones correspond to the Kidneys and Bladder, and it is from the Kidneys that the jing-essence transforms into Marrow and moves through the body to nourish and sustain the organism. Specifically, the jing-essence descends from between the Kidneys to the perineum, where it enters the tip of the tailbone, rises up through the center of the spine to nourish and fill the Brain. We can see this process mirrored, to a large degree, when examining the pathways and functions of the qiao mai, which start from the Earth and rise up to nourish the head and Brain. Similarly, the Bladder channel is one of the only primary channels that enter the Brain, demonstrating further confluence in the anatomical pathways of the Kidney-Bladder channels and the qiao mai.

Lastly, we see further correspondences when we look at the ways in which both the Kidney-Bladder system and the qiao mai are associated with the nourishment of all of the other zangfu. As stated by Larre and Rochat de la Vallée (1997, p174):

The commentators of the Nan jing and other texts suggest that the zang

and the innermost are irrigated by the yin qiao mai, and the fu are watered

by the yang qiao mai. This is just another way to show the total impregnation

in the rising up movement of the yin and yang of the body. This could be

interpreted as the zang and the fu, or the inner and outer parts of the body,

or the front and the back – all interpretations are possible, because the main

function of the qiao mai is to rule the exchanges and to create equilibrium

between the yin and the yang at every level.

Typically it is the Kidney yin and yang which are thought of as the underlying foundation and nourishment of the zangfu organs; here we can see that the qiao mai also have a strong relationship to the mobilization of Kidney yin and yang, in addition to the mobilization of the jing-essence and Marrow. It is also interesting to note the choice of words in the above citation, that the yin qiao mai "irrigates” and the yang qiao mai "waters” the zang and fu, respectively. This language clearly draws on underlying associations of the qiao mai to the Water element, and the Kidneys and Bladder.

As noted previously (Richardson 2009a), both the qiao mai and the Kidney-Bladder system relate to the mobilization of the fundamental yin and yang within the body—the arising, spreading, and intertwining of yin and yang. In terms of the evolution of consciousness, this is the process of manifestation that occurs once the axis of vertical integration is established. The movement and interplay of yin and yang occurs once the vertical foundation of the three (Heaven-Humanity-Earth, or ren-chong-du mai and LU-SP-HE) is established, thus allowing the free-flowing interaction of yin and yang at all levels throughout the individuated being.[i]

The Wei Mai and the Pericardium-San Jiao System

After flowing through the Kidney and Bladder channels, the ying qi moves through the Pericardium and San Jiao primary channels (corresponding to the time period from 7pm-11pm in the horary clock), where it passes the confluent points of the wei mai—Neiguan P 6 and Waiguan SJ 5. In this section we will examine the correspondences between the wei mai and the Pericardium and San Jiao, specifically the ways in which both systems relate to boundaries and the connection between Self and Other at the level of humanity.

‘Wei’ () is often translated as ‘linking,’ thus ‘yin wei mai’ is often translated as ‘Interior Linking Vessel,’ and ‘yang wei mai’ as ‘Exterior Linking Vessel.’[ii] As stated by Li Shi Zhen: "Hence, the yang wei governs the exterior of the entire body while the yin wei governs the interior of the entire body, and so they are referred to as qian and kun” (Chase and Shima 2010, p96). Thus the yin wei mai functions to link the interior and all of the yin meridians, and the yang wei mai functions to link the exterior and all the yang meridians; together the wei mai are thus able to allow interconnection between the interior and exterior.[iii]

Building on this concept, the wei mai are often depicted as nets or boundaries. The nature of boundaries is that they simultaneously integrate and separate, determining what is allowed in and what is kept out, and it is through this function that they maintain individual integrity and ‘hold one together.’ Thus boundaries relate to the pivot between two individuated entities or aspects of being, and have the potential to maintain separateness or transcend the duality to enjoin oneness. In this case, the wei mai form boundaries between the Inside and the Outside, and Self and Other. As explored previously (Richardson 2009a), the yin wei mai relates to the connection and integration within Self, an integration of the internal manifestation of the moving polarity of yin and yang; once this integration occurs, one can extend to connect with all else present at the level of humanity.[iv] Such extension is a connecting of the exterior, and relates to the function of the yang wei mai.

This function of connecting and separating Interior and Exterior, and Self and Other, is in perfect resonance with the functions of the Pericardium and San Jiao. The Pericardium in its physical form is often known as the wrapping of the Heart (xin bao), which is a wrapping, net, or boundary that simultaneously connects and separates the Heart from everything else around it, thus protecting the Heart from pernicious influences while letting in those things which we hold most dear in our lives and our experiences, those things which we ‘allow into our hearts.’ Similarly, the San Jiao is often described as the three body cavities, which are boundaries that connect and separate the rest of the internal organs from the periphery and exterior. As written by Hua Tuo in the Zhong Cang Jing (Classic of the Secret Transmission), "‘The Triple Burner…assembles and directs the 5 Yin and 6 Yang organs, the Nutritive and Defensive Qi and the channels, [it harmonizes] the Qi of interior and exterior, left and right, upper and lower’” (as cited in: Maciocia 2005, p88). Thus both the Pericardium-San Jiao system and the wei mai function as pivots or boundaries between Interior and Exterior.[v]

In the five-element tradition according to Lonny Jarrett, the Pericardium is said to regulate intimate relationships, whereas the San Jiao regulates social relationships. As stated by Jarrett (2004, p217-219),

The heart protector is concerned with discerning the appropriate cues for

lowering the boundary that limits access both into, and out of, the inner

frontier which is the domain of the heart…Compared to the heart protector,

the triple heater governs the more social aspects of fire, and gathers and

assimilates subtle cues in the environment relevant to the regulation of intimacy.[vi]

This offers further support that the Pericardium and San Jiao are boundaries that simultaneously connect and separate individual entities from each other at the horizontal level of manifestation, that they form boundaries in the movement between the Inside and Outside.

Another interesting correlation arises when examining possible pathways of the wei mai. In the contemporary Chinese medical tradition, the pathways of the wei mai are vague at best, with no clear consensus about where they start and end.[vii] However, in certain Daoist traditions the pathways of the wei mai closely parallel the pathways of the Pericardium and San Jiao primary channels. According to Deng Ming-Dao (1990, p93-94), the yang wei mai "…travel bilaterally along the back of each arm, around the tip of the middle fingers, along the inside of the middle fingers to the point laogong,” while the yin wei mai travel "From the laogong point of the palm…along the inside of each arm, curve across the pectoral muscles, descend through the nipples, and connect with the renmei via a brief trip along the daimei.” Also, as explored previously (Richardson 2010a), the wei mai have a relatively stronger correspondence to the arms, while the qiao mai have a relatively stronger correspondence to the legs. This demonstrates further resonance between the qiao mai with the Kidney and Bladder primary channels (Foot Shaoyin and Foot Taiyang channels, respectively) and the wei mai with the Pericardium and San Jiao primary channels (Hand Jueyin and Hand Shaoyang, respectively).

Further correspondences can be extrapolated when we examine the role of the Pericardium and San Jiao as the Ministerial Fire, when compared to the role of the Heart and Small Intestine as the Emperor Fire. As discussed in Part 1, the Emperor Fire has a strong resonance to the vertical axis, while the Ministerial Fire has a strong resonance to the horizontal axis. While the role of the Emperor is to stay in the palace, centered between Heaven and Earth, it is the Minister that goes out to connect with the rest of the kingdom. Thus the Emperor Fire (relating to the Heart/Small Intestine and du mai, in this model) is responsible for the vertical axis of integration, while the Ministerial Fire (relating to the Pericardium/San Jiao and wei mai, in this model) is responsible for the horizontal axis of integration, connecting with all else that exists at the level of humanity.

We can also examine the pathologies associated with the wei mai and the Pericardium-San Jiao system. As stated in the Nan Jing (Classic of Difficult Issues): "When the yin tie has an illness, one suffers from heartache” (Unschuld 1986, p333). The Heart symbolizes the one of the deepest unities of yin and yang within the human being, and corresponds to the middle dantian; heartache (whether physical or emotional) is often associated with a separation of yin and yang, of a loss of integrity within self.[viii] Heart pain is also one of the primary signs of a Pericardium issue; thus it makes sense why Neiguan P 6 is one of the pre-eminent points for any form of Heart pain. Not only is it the confluent point of the yin wei mai and a point along the Pericardium channel, it is also the luo-connecting point…thus assisting in the re-integration of yin and yang and possibly helping to re-establish appropriate boundaries within Self.

Similarly, the pathology associated with the yang wei mai has resonance to the San Jiao. According to the Nan Jing (Classic of Difficult Issues): "When the yang tie has an illness, one suffers from [fits of] cold and heat” (Unschuld 1986, p333). Chills and fever are seen primarily in exterior pathologies, when the wei qi and the outermost level of the body is being affected—thus offering confirmation of the yang wei mai as one of the outermost boundaries, much as the San Jiao is one of the outermost boundaries of the zangfu organs. Similarly, alternating chills and fever are one of the primary indications of a shaoyang stage imbalance; the San Jiao is the channel of hand shaoyang, and points along the San Jiao primary channel are often used for such disorders.

The Dai Mai and the Liver and Gall Bladder System

Finally, we shall examine correspondences between the dai mai and the Liver-Gall Bladder system. After cycling through the Pericardium and San Jiao primary channels, the ying qi finishes up its horary cycle with the Gall Bladder and Liver primary channels. This corresponds to the time period from 11pm-3am, during which time the ying qi passes Zulinqi GB 41, confluent point of the dai mai. Many of the connections and correspondences between the dai mai and the Liver-Gall Bladder system have been covered previously (see Richardson 2010a, Richardson 2010b, Richardson 2009b), so here I will only briefly summarize some of the major points relevant to this discussion.

Zulinqi GB 41 is the confluent point of the dai mai as well as the exit point of the Gall Bladder channel, as noted in Part 1 of this article. Thus it is the place where the ying qi leaves the Gall Bladder channel to connect with the Liver channel during the horary cycle, suggesting that the dai mai may share in this connection between the Gall Bladder and Liver channels—similar in many ways to the actions of luo-connecting points. Further, in the proposed theoretical framework pairing the extraordinary vessels with the extraordinary fu (Richardson 2010a and 2010b), the dai mai and Gall Bladder are paired together, as they have strong correspondences to each other—functionally, anatomically, and evolutionarily.

Another significant correspondence between the dai mai and Liver-Gall Bladder system is in the relationship they both have to transition/transcendence, the movement from the end of one cycle to the start of the next. In the daily evolutionary cycle of the extraordinary vessels (Richardson 2009a), we explored the ways in which the dai mai may function to take one from the most exteriorized/manifest state all the way back to the deepest quiescence, to the lower dantian and the ren-chong-du mai. The dai mai is known to bind the ren, chong, and du mai (at the level of the lower dantian) and may thus act to bring each individuated being full circle: back to the beginning of undifferentiated oneness, back to the quiescent state.[ix] Similarly, the Gall Bladder, which pertains to the zangfu organ system as well as doubling as an extraordinary fu, provides a means to connect post-heaven back to pre-heaven.[x] We also see this theme continued when examining the place of the Gall Bladder and Liver primary channels along the horary clock—they are the last primary channels of the horary clock through which the ying qi cycles on a daily basis, before returning to the Lung channel to start the cycle over again the next day. Thus they function to bring us back to the beginning, and to continue the cycle anew each day.

The Horizontal Axis and Transcendence

Just as the first six primary channels of the horary clock and the extraordinary vessels that form the quiescent state share an intimate relationship to the vertical axis, so too is it clear that the next six primary channels and extraordinary vessels share an intimate relationship to the horizontal axis and transcendence.

While the vertical axis relates to the connection between Heaven, Earth, and Humanity within each individuated being, the horizontal axis relates to manifestation, and to the connection between Self and all else that is manifest at the level of humanity. We can see these processes demonstrated in the functions and correspondences of the qiao mai and Kidney-Bladder (manifestation) and the wei mai and Pericardium-San Jiao (connection between Interior and Exterior, Self and Other). As noted above, both the qiao mai and the Kidney-Bladder system relate to the dynamic polarity of yin and yang as it manifests throughout the body, nourishing the zangfu and creating the connection between Earth and the lower dantian and Heaven and the upper dantian. Thus they have a direct relationship to the process of manifestation in the evolution of consciousness, the coming together and interweaving of Heaven and Earth, body and spirit, jing and shen. Similarly, we saw above how the wei mai and the Pericardium-San Jiao system have a direct relationship to the connection between Interior and Exterior, and Self and Other.As summarized by Larre and Rochat de la Vallée (1997, p19), "Here we have the four direction: south and north, the great axis for rising up and descending, the vertical axis between heaven and earth, and the horizontal axis, east and west, with all kinds of exchanges in daily life between left and right, yin and yang, woman and man, interior and exterior. All this is under the qiao mai and the wei mai.” Thus the qiao mai and wei mai, as well as the Kidneys-Bladder and Pericardium-San Jiao, have intimate relationships to the horizontal axis.

Through these processes, we see a clear correlation between the 12 zangfu and the 8 extraordinary vessels with the evolution of consciousness. The first half of the horary clock corresponds to the establishment of the vertical axis of integration within the body, the triad of Heaven, Earth, and Humanity. Once this triad is established, we have the process of manifestation reflected in the Kidney-Bladder system and the qiao mai. Once the dynamic polarity of yin and yang is created, one is able to integrate these dynamic aspects within Self, at the level of the Heart and the middle dantian, as represented by the yin wei mai and the Pericardium. After the internal integration, one is able to connect with all else present at the level of humanity, as represented by the yang wei mai and the San Jiao. The wei mai and Pericardium-San Jiao system thus allow for the connection of oneself with all else that is present; they are boundaries that allow for each individuated being to have an experience of oneness with all of creation even while maintaining an individuated state. The final stage in the evolution of consciousness is transcendence of duality and the return to oneness. This is very clearly represented by the dai mai and the Gall Bladder-Liver system. Both of these systems allow for the return to the quiescent state of oneness, to the beginning of the cycle so that it can start again the next day.

Conclusion

As explored in these two articles, there is strong evidence to suggest a direct connection between the zangfu organ and primary channel systems with the extraordinary vessels. Not only are the confluent points of the extraordinary vessels perfectly distributed amongst the primary channels, but there are also a number of clear anatomical, functional, and relational correspondences between each system of zangfu organ and primary channel pairs and their associated extraordinary vessels. Beyond these correspondences, we also explored the relation of each system to the vertical and horizontal axes and the processes of Daoist cosmogenesis and the evolution of consciousness. In the systems of the first half of the horary cycle (corresponding to 3am-3pm), can see clear relationships to the triad of Heaven, Earth, and Humanity and the vertical axis. In the systems of the second half of the horary cycle, there are clear correspondences to the horizontal axis and the processes of manifestation, connection, and transcendence.

The zangfu organ and primary channel pairs are yin-yang complements of a whole; they exist at the level of duality and relate to manifestation and day-to-day living. However, all that exists at the level of duality is rooted in the primal unity; thus there is something that precedes them, and that transcends their duality to reconnect to the original unity. Perhaps it is in fact the extraordinary vessels that underlie and transcend the duality of the zangfu organ and primary channel pairs, perhaps it is there that we can find a direct connection that links the manifest duality with the original unity.

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Will Morris, PhD, DAOM, LAc, and Doan Ky, MAcOM, AcA, for their support, guidance, and editorial assistance throughout the writing of this article.

Biography

Thomas Richardson currently lives and practices in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA. This article is part of an emerging model that examines the foundational place of the extraordinary vessels within the channel and organ systems, as well as the relationship of the extraordinary vessels and the extraordinary fu to the evolution of consciousness (Extraordinary Chinese Medicine: Medicine for Extraordinary Times). Thomas is available to teach seminars on Neoclassical Pulse Diagnosis and Extraordinary Chinese Medicine, and can be contacted at tomasrichardson@hotmail.com.


[i] Also see Larre and Rochat de la Vallée (1997, p169): "It is obvious that because there are two malleoli on two legs, we have two yin qiao and two yang qiao, and therefore the first differentiation between the right and the left within the extraordinary meridians. But what do we mean by the right and the left? It is not only the right part and the left part, but also all the movement and circulation made by the left and the right – the ascending and the descending movements.”

[ii] It is interesting to note that the character ‘wei’ () and the character ‘jiao’ () of ‘San Jiao’ are based upon the same character, which has a relation to the idea of linking or attachment—see Larre and Rochat de la Vallée (1997, p209) for a fuller discussion on the relationship of these characters.

[iii] Also see the 27th Difficult Issue, "The yang tie and the yin tie vessels are tied like a network to the body. When they are filled to overflowing, [their contents] stagnate; they cannot [return to the] circulating [influences] by drainage into the [main] conduits. Hence, the yang tie [vessel] originates from a point where all yang [vessels] meet each other, and the yin tie [vessel] originates from a point where all yin [vessels] intersect” (Unschuld 1986, p327).

[iv] In the evolutionary unfoldment of the extraordinary vessels, the polarity of the qiao mai arises from the quiescent/pre-heaven state, creating the spiral of yin and yang that moves throughout the body manifesting all that is present. This dynamic polarity of yin and yang is integrated and rendered whole by the yin wei mai, which then allows the yang wei mai to extend outwards to connect with all else present at the level of humanity. Together, the yin and yang wei mai thus allow the connection and interpenetration between interior and exterior, and Self and Other.

[v] On a side note, it is interesting that Waiguan SJ 5 is one of the primary points used for any arthritic (bi) syndrome. The term arthritis is derived from the Latin ‘arthros,’ meaning articulations. Joints are places of articulation, or pivot, between two distinct aspects. This relates to joints at the physical level, but can also be extended to the boundary between Self and Other, which is another form of articulation. Arthritic syndromes are often related to the invasion of external pathogenic factors that make their way to the interior; they are then shunted to the joints as a means of preventing it from penetrating to the interior. Thus the joints are a form of pivot, or boundary, between inside and outside.

[vi] Also see the following citations from Jarrett (2004): "The heart protector and triple heater may be thought of as the guard stations protecting the imperial city and the borders of the country, respectively” (p359); "These two points [Neiguan P 6 and Waiguan SJ 5] functionally unite the heart protector and three heater officials in a way that empowers the healthy balance of social and intimate relationships” (p360).

[vii] Li Shi Zhen has stated that "The yang wei arises at the meeting of all the yang and travels upward from the outer ankle in the protective aspect; the yin wei arises at the intersection of all the yin and travels upward from the inner ankle in the nutritive aspect, and [together] they constitute a binding network for the entire body” (Chase and Shima 2010, p95). As noted by Pirog (1996, p202), "It is not made clear, however, where their exact trajectories lie. The two "confluences” mentioned in this passage were later interpreted by Li Shi Zhen as UB 63 for the yang wei mai and Ki 9 for the yin wei mai, and these points have been accepted as starting points for the two vessels ever since. Given the location of these two points, they seem unlikely candidates as "confluences”…Presumably, Li Shi Zhen was following an independent unwritten tradition, as is so often evident in the writings on extraordinary vessels.”

[viii] Also see Larre and Rochat de la Vallée (2003, p64): "The heart is the deepest and most important dwelling place for the unity. It is the residence of the spirits and the place which attracts the special concentration of essences coming from all the other zang. The heart is also the master of the psychological world, the emotions and sentiments, so it is also master of the upper orifices and sense organs because, acting as a master, it has to make decisions based on the information coming from outside. We can use this unity in order to have a curative effect for our patients.”

[ix] According to Li Shi Zhen, "Zhang Zi-He says that…The three vessels of the chong, ren, and du have the same origins but their trajectories differ. They are of a single source but have three branches and all network with the dai vessel” (Chase and Shima 2010, p157). Also see Jeffrey Yuen (2005, p46): "…Dai Mai is often referred to as the Meridian that maintains the integrity of the First Ancestries, that returns the integrity: the Chong in the middle, the Ren in the front, and the Du in the back.”

[x][x] As stated by Jeffrey Yuen (2005, p31), "What is the link between Pre-Natal…and Post-Natal Energetics?...And the link happens to be the Gall Bladder. The Gall Bladder is the Organ which also happens to be not only a Zang Fu Organ, but also a Curious Organ…The Gall Bladder is seen as the link between Post-Natal and Pre-Natal. Which is also the suggestion that some scholars have made within Chinese medicine, that, perhaps, without Eight Extra Channels, how the Chinese try to get into the level of Jing, was by working on Gall Bladder. And that’s even suggested by the writings of Sun Si Miao…The idea that, if you’re going to tap into the Kidney, you tap into the Kidney through the Gall Bladder.”

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