主 办:北 京 中 医 药 大 学
ISSN 1006-2157 CN 11-3574/R

JOURNAL OF BEIJING UNIVERSITY OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE ›› 2020, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (9): 714-717.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1006-2157.2020.09.002

• Theoretical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Confucianization of TCM and transformation of TCM physicians’ concepts of human body in the Ming Dynasty*

Liu Peng   

  1. School of Basic Medicine, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangdong 510006, China
  • Received:2020-03-20 Published:2020-09-29
  • Contact: Prof. Liu Peng, Ph.D., Doctoral Supervisor. Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine. No.232 Outer Ring East Road, Panyu District, Guangzhou 510006. E-mail: liupeng@gzucm.edu.cn
  • Supported by:
    Humanities and Social Sciences Research Project of Ministry of Education (No.20YJCZH099)

Abstract: Under the direct influence of Neo-Confucianism, it became the common pursuit of Confucianists and TCM doctors to understand the tai chi principle of the universe by exploring tai chi of the body. Therefore, in order to understand and explain the body from a Confucian perspective, physicians in the Ming Dynasty re-explored the origin of life by applying the cosmological model of Neo-Confucianism to life. As they re-explored and reconstructed the origin of human body, they sought evidence from perspectives of both medicine and culture.From the medical perspective, they borrowed the term “mingmen” (life gate), originally referring to “eyes”, from Huangdi Neijing (Huangdi’s Internal Classic), and the concept “the stirring qi of the kidney region”, which is regarded as fundamental to life from Nanjing (Classic of Difficult Issues). Through combination and transformation, mingmen began to refer to the stirring qi of the kidney region and became the new origin of life, thus forming the textual support from medical classics.In terms of culture, TCM physicians’ re-exploration of the origin of life in the Ming Dynasty were motivated directly by the pursuit of the ontology of the universe by Neo-Confucianism at that time. Drawing on Yi-ology, especially Zhou Dunyi’s new interpretation, they reshaped mingmen and the two kidneys in a metaphysical way, which gained the medical theory support from Confucianism that was widely acknowledged by the society. However, the transformation of the concepts of body by TCM doctors in the Ming Dynasty represented by the mingmen theory was more an analogy to Confucianism than any real breakthrough in and transcendence over the traditional system of pattern differentiation and treatment.

Key words: confucianization of TCM, mingmen, Neo-Confucianism, view

CLC Number: 

  • R2-05