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The Scientific Approach to Buddhist Study -- Human Life Science (III)

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The Scientific Basis for the Benefits of Meditation on Health

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The meridian points of the brain may not always exist in the material form.
There is a kind that exists in the form of energy.
Buddhist doctrine stimulates the brain to balance its excretions and to reactivate the unexpressed genes.

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Lecturer/Sun-Don Lee (Leader of the Forshang Buddhism)
Writer/Li-Kang Ho (Professor of Department and Institute of Pharmacology, National Yang-Ming University
Translator/Helena Chou (Resident Instructor of Forshang Buddhism World Center, LA Branch)

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Perhaps it was because I loved reading Chinese Kung-Fu novels that I was always deeply attracted by the plots of those stories, such as The Legend of the Swordsman in the Mountain Shu, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, etc. However, partly because I know that I would not be able to really acquire that kind of Kung-Fu with my limited capacity and causation, and partly because those story plots are in a far distance from the real life, I could not take those stories too seriously. Yet, when I first came across the "Shih-Yin-Tze Mediation Method", my mind was very much agitated. This simple but plausible way of opening the Ren and the Du channels made me sense that there seemed indeed to be something out there beyond the reach of those, like us, who were brought up under the traditional education. Later on, with broader experiences and more knowledge, I realized that, as Mr. Wei-Chiao Chiang said, it is not a method suitable for everyone. Also, different schools have different ways of meditation. For example, Mr. Deng-Hai Kao mentioned in his book the Regimen of Medicine the secrets of "the sixteen golden words in Taoism", "Inhale to bring all the breaths back to Dan-Tian. Exhale to harmonize Yin and Yang." Mr. Huai-Chin Nan made a quite thorough description of meditation in his books: Meditation and Immortality, and The Study of Proper Meridians in Zen Meditation. In recent years, numerous meditation methods were spread all over the country, including transcendental meditation, which was passed on from India into the society of the western world, and the contemplation of the Tibetan Buddhism.

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Besides those unfathomable mystic experiences, what could be the effects of meditation, an ancient art, on modern people°¶s physical and mental well-being? For decades, scientists have been diligently engaged in studies of various meditation methods on various subjects and have considered meditation beneficial to our health. In the meanwhile, meditation is also confirmed by the World Health Organization to be a traditional medicine. Recent study reports include discussions related to distinctions between the therapeutic effects of meditation and that of relaxation therapy. Moncha considers that meditation does bring out certain therapeutic effects; yet, before any specific conclusions could actually be reached, researchers need to find out the distinctions between various methods. Thus, different methods could yield different effects in meditation. Whether the subjects are healthy or chronically ill, or whether the effects of meditation on them are the same are issues that need further exploration.

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Forshang Meditation Promotes The Cardiopulmonary Functions in Patient with Stroke

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With the scientific approach to Buddhist study, one of the four preaching principles of Forshang Buddhism, the effects of Forshang meditation on human°¶s body and mind are topics that worth studying. The results of a study taking Forshang students in good health as subjects was published in The World of Forshang, No. 1, p26-29 and No. 16, p.136-139. In addition, the study that took patients with stroke selected out of a group who had never practiced Forshang doctrines found the obvious increase of cardiopulmonary functions among subjects after their 6 month°¶s practice of Forshang meditation.

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Methods of this study:

The subjects take Forshang meditation class once a week with ninety minutes each time. Before the practice of meditation in each class, the instructor states concisely Forshang doctrines for about forty minutes and then the practice begins. Subjects sit on mats in the sitting position with their legs crossed. The subjects meditate with Dan-Tien breathing method together with the Nine Word Zen Sound Dharani" for about half an hour. Besides the once-a-week practice, subjects are required to meditate every day for at least thirty minutes at their own home.

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The results in six months found that the subject°¶s cardiopulmonary functions indeed show significant increase (before the study, Max VO2 :18.9 °”5.7°Fafter the study, 22.7 °”6.2 (ml/kg/min)°AP°’0.05). Some progresses were indicated in the anaerobic threshold, the functional aerobic impairment, and the total exercise time. However, since only five out of seventeen subjects completed the training practice, unfortunately these data did not contain statistic significance. (Nien-Tzu Kao, etc. Journal of Chinese Rehabilitation, 2001, 29, 139-146).

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Patient°¶s physical activities are usually greatly impaired after stroke. Why can the practice of meditation and breathing that seems still improve their cardiopulmonary functions in a short period of time? What are the theories behind this phenomenon? What is the physiological significance of the brain wave changes in meditation? Master Sun-Don Lee has made further instructions in depth on this issue:

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The "Physical Meridian Point" And The "Energy Meridian Point"

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The changes of the mental state affect the physical state! Much more than a half, almost up to eighty percent of the physical functions are affected by the mental state! The rise of a thought is not simply the emission of electrons of the brain waves, but rather the stimulation of the brain blood flow resulted from the electron emission that penetrates our brain while the brain blood flow again stimulates the nervous system all over the body. If we consider the frequency of brain wave to be our thoughts, ideas, then when thoughts accord with Buddha nature, the points that sense the stimulus are called, other than the regular kind, the energy meridian points.

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Our regular meridian points are called the physical meridian points, of which some are fixed. Another kind of meridian points in the form of energy is created in our thoughts. When in accordance with Buddha nature, our thoughts will stimulate certain areas in our brain, or in other words, certain parts of the nervous system. Since the ancient time, various medical miracles were documented and those were because that person°¶s mental state had changed a great deal. Why do some people miraculously recover from deadly illnesses? Whether it is the believing in God or what we know as the praying, why do those things bring out what we called the miracles or various inconceivable empowerment? As we just said, this is because the emission of electrons of brain waves in our thoughts stimulates the brain cells, or the brain. The activities of the brain cells generate electrons, which group into electron bundles °V the so-called brain waves, being some kind of energy essentially that massages the brain and thus stimulates the meridian points of the brain.

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Brain Waves In Accordance With Buddhist Doctrines Activate The Unexpressed Genes.

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The meridian points of the brain may not necessarily exist in the material form; it may also exist in the form of energy. This kind of stimulation balances the excretion of the brain, and reactivates the inconceivable functions of unexpressed genes. Through this complicated transformation, our body develops enhanced physiological functions. Therefore, why do we need to preach Buddhist doctrines? Let°¶s not talk about Buddhist doctrines simply as something that touches people°¶s heart. Let°¶s leave those words alone. To be specific, preaching Buddhist doctrines creates brain waves out of our life force that happen to massage the correct points of our brain so as to activate its functions. This kind of thoughts and exertion of brain waves happen to enhance our physical state greatly. This is the scientific grounds of "the integration of body and mind".

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Let me repeat. When our thoughts arise, they generate electrons that group into electron bundles called brain waves. The outward emission of brain waves stimulates brain cells and brain meridian points existing in the form of energy. If the stimulation is appropriate, it brings great benefits to our physical development; otherwise, for example, the state of greed, anger and ignorance brings great harms to our physical state. Therefore, in Buddhist practice, the state of discipline, concentration and wisdom brings out many inconceivable effects as the result of the appropriate stimulation to the brain.

(Excerpted from Master Sun-Don Lee°¶s 2/1/02 class instructions)

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Why do Buddhist doctrines bring out the miraculous effects on health and illnesses? How do we explain what we called miracles from the viewpoint of modern science? Why do we need the cultivation that integrates body and mind? I believe that everybody would have come up to a deeper understanding in this respect.

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References:

1. Yin-Shih-Tze meditation method, by Wei-Chiao Chiang, Lin-Yu Culture Enterprise, Taipei, 1999

2. Meditation and Immortality, by Huai-Chin Nan, Ancient Culture Enterprise, Taipei, 1993

3. The Study of Proper Meridians in Zen Meditation, by Huai-Chin Nan, Ancient Culture Enterprise, Taipei, 1993

4. The Regimen of Medicine, by Deng-Hai Kao, Hsin-Wen-Feng, Taipei, 1982

5. TM Transcendental Meditation, by Mao-Tsun Lin, Hsu°¶s Foundation, Taipei, 1987

6. Hua-Fan Journal, by His-Chi Chen, 1997, 4, 45-53

7°BMoncha°mR. Australian Family Physician°n. 29(12):1135-8, 2000 Dec.

8. The World of Forshang Monthly Magazine, 1997, 1, 26-29 and 1999, 16, 136-139

9. The Effect of Meditation on Cardiopulmonary Fitness in Patient with Stroke-A Preliminary Report, by Nien-Tzu Kao, Chang-Ming Chen, Chen-Liang Chou, Sun-Don Lee, Su-Ying Hung, Tacho-Jen Liu, Rai-Chi Chan, Journal of Chinese Rehabilitation, 2001, 29, 139-146.

Figure 1:    Subjects are taking Forshang mental doctrine instruction.

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Figure 2:    Subjects are practicing Forshang physical Zen.

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Recite the above Nine Word Zen Prayer
to unite with the universal energy.

 

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