Classical Sources

Study centre Pakua also aims to initiate research and post-graduate courses on the subject of the philosophical roots of TCM as they are described in the classics. Throughout our professional field at the present time, we see a renewed interest in the classical sources of TCM, as well as for the many styles and schools which have given practical shape to these source theories over the past centuries. Across the board within the TCM community there is an increasing trend to re-examine the standardized form of TCM ,which has become so popular during the last decades. At the same time there seems to be more of an appreciation for the original character of diversity and pluralism of Chinese medicine, and a willingness to explore this wealth of vision with an open mind. Pakua study centre hopes to contribute to making that visionary wealth accessible by offering post-graduate courses which take this open, explorative attitude as their first criterion.

Each vision or perspective which lies at the heart of a style of treatment stems from a series of interpretations of classical source texts, combined with personal practical experience and personal understanding. Not a single school, style or treatment method can rightfully claim that their way of treatment is literally described as such in the classics. The classics simply do not read as if they were manuals. Most instructions written in the classics are implied, inferred or suggested by their context. More often than not, these source texts are written in archaic language. This is a poetic use of language that, over the centuries, evolved in the process of writing and compiling, against a continually changing cultural background. As such, the meaning found within these texts is quite organic in character.The way the texts are formulated is the result of multi-layered perspectives. Bringing the theory of these source texts to a system of therapeutic application is an undertaking much larger than mere translation: we have to read between the lines in order to find understanding. Ultimately, the meaning found in between the lines that so beautifully describe a philosophy of life's process, cannot be defined absolutely by the words alone. Perhaps the opposite rings more true: when reading the classics, how we read them, how we find meaning through them, defines us instead and inspires us to broaden our horizons and transcend the limitations of our understanding.

The meaning behind the words and in between the lines reveals the poetic character of Chinese philosophy. It is not the form of a vessel that gives meaning to its function, but the empty space encompassed within that vessel.

When we become too attached to the specific forms that Chinese medicine might take, then we run the risk of losing the functional meaning behind it. Then we end up reading the medical classics as treatment manuals, as justifications of one or another treatment form. However, when we continue to cultivate an open attitude to studying, and keep on looking for the meaning behind the words, we might just find something truly authentic and original. In the words of the late father Jean Claude Larre: "Could it perhaps be so that these so-called medical classics are just books that describe the human condition, and, as a side effect, also offer some treatment options?"

In all our activities, study centre Pakua intends to emphasize the search for function and meaning, the empty space so to speak, with the utmost respect for the many different vessels in which that void could be contained.