How Are Qigong & Chan Related?

Qigong, literally translated means energy (qi) work (gong). Qigong consists of sets of exercises that couple movement with deep breathing and focused mental concentration.

Practices of Qigong play a significant role in Daoist practice, but also Chinese Buddhist practice. While Chinese Buddhism is best known for meditation and Shaolin-style Kung Fu rather than Qigong and it’s the emphasis on internal energy work, Chan Buddhism has a rich history of Qigong. 

Bodhidharma is credited with initiating Chan with it’s blending of Indian (Theravadan) Buddhism with Daoism and Chinese culture.  Bodhidharma is said to have introduced a number of Qigong sets into Chan, and Chan continues to emphasize these Qi-based exercises as part of it’s authentic lineage and practice. 

Cultivating Qi: The Root of Energy, Vitality, and Spirit
David Clippinger

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