Sons of Reflected Light
Beginnings: the 'Sons of Reflected Light' 反光子 and the Early Taoists
How did the Chinese health arts begin? This is how my illustrious master, Professor Chan Kam Lee, told it to me in 1934: that some 12,000 years ago (approximately 10,000 BC), there arrived in China a race of people who were very tall indeed — reputedly over seven feet in height; and because of their unusual clothing they came to be known as the 'Sons of Reflected Light' (反光子 Fankuang Tzu, Pinyin: Fǎnguāng zǐ). Where they came from is still a mystery, and perhaps the true answer to this question may never be known, but on their arrival they wasted no time, for they soon began to collect together a group of skilled people from many trades and professions, whose intelligence was above the normal average during that period.
Having collected this band of people together, they then began to instruct them in many different arts and crafts which technically were far in advance of anything that existed in those far-off days, and many of which have still not been bettered even to this present day.
It took many, many years to instruct the Chinese in the numerous sciences that in those early days were absolutely unheard of. Not only were they new but in many cases they were completely at odds with the Chinese way of life, and with their thinking at that time. Many died trying to learn all that was being taught to them. So it happened that their children, and in turn their children's children, had to carry on the work and the studies of these various arts.
They were taught many arts, including silk weaving, pottery making, the utilisation of metals, and making and using gunpowder, making glass, and the most important of all, the vast range of health arts, such as herbal therapy, health diets, hot and cold treatments, massage, acupressure (spot pressing), respiration therapy and energy therapy.
Generation after generation have tried to carry on the work that these wonderful people bestowed upon mankind. Whether the Chinese people have succeeded in remaining true to the original teachings, over the many centuries that have passed, only time will tell. It cannot be denied, however, that there is at least a possibility that during the many years that have gone by, and owing to the absence of early written records, some of those teachings have been lost.
After many centuries the 'Sons of Reflected Light' disappeared, and nothing seems to have been heard of them since, except that the foundations that they laid in all the years of their work have been built on through the years. Many of the family groups slowly dispersed throughout the length and breadth of China, and because of this, you will find that certain of the health arts became prominent in particular areas of the vast territory of China, mainly owing to the simple fact that some of the arts were more suitable to the local climate and natural environment of particular territories.
Ch'ang Ming Taoist - Long Life Therapy
...Taoist natural health therapy has been a part of the Chinese normal daily life for thousands of years, basically brought into effect by the wisdom and recommendations of the 'Sons of Reflected Light'. Of course, it went through many changes, some of them detrimental to the general health, but it was the Taoists who through the search for physical alchemy finally brought it back to its original form. Since then it has been handed down through every family in the land, and has become a part of the Chinese way of life.Although today the Chinese in various parts of the world have made slight changes, depending on local habits, the fundamentals remain the same.
Ts'ao Yao — Chinese Herbal Therapy
...Through the infinite wisdom and teachings of the 'Sons of Reflected Light', the Chinese were given a really wonderful start and a unique foundation to their knowledge by being taught how to explore the great depths of herbal therapy, making possible the development of its vast potential in preventative and curative medicine.
Wen Chiech'u — Thermogenesis
...Many different kinds of heat treatments have, through the centuries, been used by the nations of the world, but they were mainly in the form of hot or cold water or applied with hot sticks or pokers. China, however, went into this field to a far deeper extent than most countries, and this was due entirely to the foundations which were laid down by the 'Sons of Reflected Light'. So it is today that there is a vast field of hot and cold therapy available to all traditional Chinese doctors whether they practise ancient or modern medicine, to expedite relief or to speed up the processes of healing.
Ch'ang Ming was developed by the Taoists between 10,000- 5,000 bc, on the basis of the guidelines and foundations handed down to them by the "Sons of Reflected Light", a sect of people reputed to have been over seven feet in height, and who wore a type of clothing that had never before been seen in China. Where they came from is still a mystery, and perhaps we may never know the answer to this riddle, but on arrival in China they began to choose artisans and craftsmen from every known profession, selecting those of the highest intelligence. Having collected this band of people together, they began to instruct them in many different arts and crafts far in advance of anything else that existed in those far-off days. Many of them are still a long way ahead of anything that is in existence even to this present age.
To learn these arts and crafts thoroughly took many years, and many died without being able to completely master them. Even so, the knowledge was faithfully passed on to generation after generation, and so the work and the studies continued. Among the skills passed on were silk-weaving, pottery, glass and gunpowder making, and metal working; but most important of all was the enormous range of the health arts.
Down through the ages, great efforts have been made to carry on the good work; but, in the many years that have elapsed since the "Sons of Reflected Light" first came to China, some of their teachings may, even so, have been lost. Just how much, it is impossible to say, for there are no known written records from those early days.
The health arts that the "Sons of Reflected Light" brought to China eventually came to be known as the "Eight Strands of the Brocade" (Pa Chin Hsien), and even to this day, after thousands of years have passed, they are still known to the Chinese by that name. In the West these same arts are being used for the benefit of all who wish to avail themselves of them, and in London there is a health clinic where they are used to help, free of charge, sufferers of all types of disease and infirmity.
Ch'ang Ming, the Taoist Long Life therapy has played an important part in Chinese eating and drinking habits for thousands of years. Derived from the basic principles laid down by the "Sons of Reflected Light", which are incorporated in the foundations of the "Five Elements" in reference to the Yin and Yang aspects affecting the human body, it has been handed down from family to family throughout the vast expanse of China, and has become a natural part of the average family way of living, so that it is now second nature to them.
The importance of herbs has been acknowledged by people of all nations, but the Chinese, through the infinite wisdom of the "Sons of Reflected Light", were given a wonderful start at understanding the value and properties of them.
Taoism came into being in China between 10,000 and 5,000 BC, and it was through the dedication and hard work of the early Taoists that they were able to develop so many arts and crafts from the foundations and guidelines given to them by the 'Sons of Reflected Light', a sect of people reputed to be over seven feet in height, and who wore a type of clothing that had never been seen in China before. Where they came from is still a mystery, and may remain a mystery for ever, but whilst they stayed they taught local craftspeople many different arts and crafts, which were far in advance of anything else that existed in those far off days. Many of these skills are still in advance of anything that is in existence even in this present day and age.
Great efforts have been made by the Taoists through the ages to carry on this good work and to pass on the knowledge that was given to them by the 'Sons of Reflected Light'. Unfortunately, since no written records were kept in those far distant days, some of their teachings have no doubt been lost in the realms of time.
Amongst the skills that were passed on are silk-weaving, glass and pottery making, the manufacture of gun-powder, and metal working. The most important of all, however, is the vast array of health skills, many of which are still being practised and taught today.
These health arts eventually became known as the 'Eight Strands of the Brocade' (Pa Chin Hsien), and in the West they are still being used to help sufferers of all types of disease and infirmity, often completely free of charge. This philosophical outlook is still carried on within Taoist families, for when it is your birthday you give your parents and your brothers and sisters a present each to thank them and to show your appreciation of being brought into this world amongst such nice people. We still keep up this practise in our house.
The 'Eight Strands of the Brocade' comprise eight distinct sections of the health arts:
- Chen Tuan — Diagnosis
- Ch'ang Ming — Natural Health Therapy
- Ts'ao Yao — Herbal Therapy
- Wen Chiech'u — Contact Thermogenesis
- Hsia Chen Pien— Acupuncture
- Tien An — Acupressure
- Anmo (T'ui Na)— Massage
- Ch'ili Nung — The Way of Occlusion