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Emotions in early chinese philosophical and medical texts


Lunch, coffee/tea and handouts included

accreditation: NVA, Zhong, BAF

Date/Time: 31-8-2019 and 1-9-2019; 09.30 – 17.00

Venue: Kontakt der Kontinenten, Amersfoortsestraat 20, 3769 AS Soesterberg,

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In these two days teaching, Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée, the well known expert of Classical Chinese Philosophy, is giving us insight into the thoughts about emotions in early Chinese texts.

The seminar starts with a presentation of the vision of the emotions in Chinese classical though, Daoist  as well as Confucian. Each great Chinese philosophical school reflected on emotions, their unavoidable presence in all human beings, their dangers and their potential harms. They contemplate from where they are surging; for what reason they start and how the invade the mind and the consciousness, disturbing the regulation of life from the very inside. They appraised the responsibility of each person and the ways to avoid damages dues to emotions, according to their proper views.

It helps to understand the role of the Heart/Mind as the center of an individual and personal life; it is the place where all what is making spiritual, intellectual, mental, emotional life is unified and ruled.

All the mental faculties depending entirely of the state of the Five zang, united by and in the Heart, when a zang is disturbed, it not only brings out specific physical and psychological symptoms, but the person suffers an alteration in one’s faculty to perceive, to know, to judge, to feel, to react appropriately.

Therefore, the emotions must be ruled by a self-contained strength which comes from the depths of the individual nature: a empty and quiet heart, a clear awareness, allowing a perfect behavior and an authentic relation with Heaven. It produces regular movements of qi and good health.

The classical medical texts examine how emotions proceed to damage the health and to shorten life. The emotions are seen as inflating a movements of qi and thus disorganizing the vital exchanges and interplays of the I building and maintaining life. The pattern of order and disorder is often the one of the Five phases or element; therefore, each emotion is linked to one of the Five zang organs, as representatives of the Five phases. This approach allows to make a diagnosis and to find a treatment.

Each  of the emotions will be discussed in detail, showing how each  may injure the organ it is related to them and what are the symptom and pathologies they cause; also, since all the relationships which exist between the various functions of the body may be involved, how an organ may be affected  by various emotions and how an emotion may affect different organs.

During the presentation, we will explain the Chinese characters for each of the emotions providing for a deeper understanding and a better approach of what they are in Chinese thought. We will also explain the symbolic numbers associated with the emotions, as the Seven emotions, but also the Five aspects of will or the Six qi as emotions.

A choice of classical Chinese texts on emotions, in English translation, will be given to the participants.