Translation and Study of the “Tendon Transformation Classic” (Yi Jin Jing)

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Research professor
Affiliation: National Research University "Higher School of Economics"
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameProblemy Dalnego Vostoka
EditionIssue 6

The article includes the first complete and annotated translation of the “Tendon Transformation Classic”, the fundamental treatise in the tradition of spiritual-somatic practice specific for China. Both by its language and contents, the Yi Jin Jing which connects medicine, spiritual self-cultivation and martial art occupies a unique place in the history of Chinese civilization, hence its interpretation encounters some special difficulties. Until now complete translation and systematic study of this scripture has not appeared in Western literature. The author analyzes the historical and cultural background of this unusual text and various legends related to it. Translation is accompanied by textual notes.

The most salient feature of the “Tendon Transformation Classic” is the idea of the natural and hence innate unity of spiritual and physical dimensions of human individual. Interestingly, the proofs for this thesis were ascribed to the legendary founder of the Chan school in Chinese Buddhism Bodhidharma (in Chinese Damo). The main link between psychic and biological plans of human existence according to the authors of the Yi Jin Jing is fascia (mo). A special attention is paid to the meaning of this original concept in Chinese medicine and somatic psychology as well as its relation to the idea of nurturing “life energy” (qi) and organic unity of “inner” and “outer” strength etc. The article reveals this scripture’s importance for the evolution of the bio-spiritual practice in China and contradictions inherent in it.

Keywords“Tendon Transformation Classic”, life force, fascia, spiritual-somatic practice, inner strength, outer strength
Publication date16.12.2021
Number of characters52970
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