Introduction to this article
This article was first published as part of the book “Kyo-Jitsu” in the June 2001 Edition of Vitalis. And in 2003, it was published in German, Italian and North American Shiatsu journals as well. When I looked at the title recently, I thought, “How symbolic this title is!” This feeling came about because when we use the word kyo-jitsu in daily life in Japan, it translates as “lies and truth”. And the reason why I feel this way is because I was the ghostwriter of the main part of this article. The credit was not mine and I even changed the sentences to pretend that it was not written by me but by someone else in order to promote this person as a Tao Shiatsu teacher. And when I looked at this article again, I felt a strong need to change some parts and re-write them. If the article had not been written by me, I would have no right to make any changes, as I feel to change someone else’s article in not right. But in truth, this was my first article written directly in English, and because I had no idea how to use this article in Japan, I became the ghostwriter many years ago. And now the time has come to confess that this article was indeed written by me, and change the parts I feel need to be changed.
Studying Eastern Tradition
As people who grew up in the modern age and had a western style education, and now take an interest in eastern culture, we need first of all to understand that the study of eastern philosophy and the healing arts that evolved out of eastern thinking require us to change something in our perception.
Since our perception of things is based on the criteria to which we are accustomed, we tend to “bend” things for our convenience in the way that we are used to acting and thinking. We study in western system schools (this is same in Japan since the Meiji period), following a western schedule and western examination systems. Our lives are different from life in the traditional east and our way of looking at things is different. Therefore, it is very important that we do not try to “adapt” these healing arts to ourselves; if we have chosen to treat people using a method whose source is in the eastern traditional spirit, we must examine carefully the philosophy and the life from which it originated. When I say this in various forums, I immediately sense resistance from the listeners. Some of them even criticize the Japanese way of life in the last century, or the Japanese and Orientals in general.
It is not within my ability, my role or my wish to criticize and judge either the East or the West, but I must emphasize and reiterate the importance of a thorough and profound understanding of the method of treatment we use, and the philosophical and practical sources from which it sprang. This is a basic condition. If we understand, our entrance to the ki-world and the meridians will be easier and smoother. In this article I will attempt to describe some of the vital principles for the understanding and application of Tao Shiatsu therapy, which originates from Japan.
Kyo is whole and Jitsu is part (From Master Masunaga’s lecture)
The concepts of kyo and jitsu, which are the basis of eastern medicine, may be unclear or confusing to therapists of western origin. This confusion stems mainly from a basic error in understanding these concepts – an error that leads to further errors, particularly in kyo-jitsu diagnosis. The aim of this article is to clarify anew the terms kyo and jitsu, and thus to show that the kyo meridian cannot be diagnosed and located by the conscious mind. We know from Shizuto Masunaga that “kyo is the whole and jitsu is the part. Kyo is also yin and jitsu is yang.” However, these words are not written in any of Master Masunaga’s books. I heard these words from Masunaga sensei’s own lecture during his classes in Tokyo. I followed these words, and I described them in my first book Tao Shiatsu as “Yang (jitsu) is what is perceived by the conscious mind, and kyo (yin) is what is not perceived by the conscious mind”. And to make this clearer, I added in my second book (in Japanese) as below; -A good example of this can be seen by looking at the portrait of a person. The person is perceived and identified by the conscious mind – yang, while the background is identified and perceived as yin. This identification of the background occurs in the subconscious mind. What is this consciousness? One of the first functions of the conscious mind is to distinguish between the “self” and the “other”. In the case of a therapist and a patient, the conscious mind is what enables us to separate ourselves, the therapists, from the patients. (Iyashi no Shiatsu Ho) written by Ryokyu Endo. Published by Kodansha 2000)
What Buddhism says, Wisdom of non divisiveﾓ is what Jesus said, Love others as yourself
Now let us go back to the subject. If kyo (yin) cannot be identified by the conscious mind, how can we diagnose kyo in the patient? When a person with a modern mentality thinks of the terms kyo-jitsu or yin-yang, he might easily interpret them as relative concepts, such as yin is negative and yang is positive; kyo is less and jitsu is more; kyo is soft and jitsu is hard. Many books try to convey the principle of yin and yang in this way. However, this is a classification that divides and separates – something very common in western (modern age), dualism ever since the time of Descartes. If we perceive the idea of yin-yang in this dichotomous way, we err in interpreting eastern philosophy. It is not our “fault”: we can only perceive and interpret things with the tools we possess. The entire western natural scientific approach is based on such thinking. Therefore it is important for us to understand the gap between the true meaning of kyo-jitsu and their interpretation by a dualistic approach.
As Master Masunaga explained in his lecture, kyo and jitsu are the whole and the part, or the subconscious and the conscious mind. Their meaning cannot be grasped in terms of less/more, soft/hard, protruding/submerged. This way of understanding comes from a state of comparison and putting others as your object. And this attitude has been recommended by modern education because this is very much a scientific attitude, analyzing the truths of the world. But in the other hand, eastern philosophy says the opposite. For example in Buddhism, the state of non-comparison is also called “non comparison wisdom” and the truths of the world can be only understood with this way of understanding. And when Jesus said in the Bible “Love others as yourself” he meant from this same state. The state of non-comparison is not just a philosophy. As I wrote, oneness of self and others means not seeing others as objects. Actually this means feeling others as yourself, being responsible for other’s lives, and taking other’s problems/happiness as your problems/happiness. And of course, our ego won’t enjoy this at all. But why this is important? Because it is impossible to diagnose kyo-jitsu using a comparative state and using terms such as less/more, soft/hard, protruding/submerged – which are divisive terms of the conscious mind.
State of Kyo Diagnosis
We may also encounter questions such as: “Which meridian is more in kyo? Which is more in jitsu?” revealing that the approach of the one who asks is based on a comparative viewpoint. Let us try to examine the concepts kyo and jitsu and the diagnosis of meridians from a truly eastern point of view, from within a state of Tao. Is the diagnosis of the meridians based on a divisive and searching approach? In the following lines I will attempt to clarify the true meaning of kyo-jitsu and the meaning of true diagnosis.
For example, what is the meaning of information obtained from pressing on the Hara? Is a soft, deep meridian really kyo? Is a hard meridian jitsu?
The unequivocal answer is no. This diagnosis stems from the sense of touch. With the sense of touch we identify an object. When we press we feel if it is soft or hard. The sense of touch also helps to make us aware of our existence. Actually the wisdom of non-divisiveness will be born from the state of emptiness. But please don’t misunderstand what the state of emptiness means. It doesn’t mean nothing exists. In the deep meditative state which we call “Samadhi” in Buddhism , we experience losing sense of our existence and are filled up with the spirit of universe. Then what happens? One receives deep happiness, joy and a relaxing feeling, accompanied by a deepening wish for other’s love and peaceful heart to naturally expand. And when you see others with it, you will feel it as yourself, and the Kyo meridian of others will clearly reflect to your heart just as a mirror shows what’s in front. It is very symbolic that Kyo originally means “Emptiness”. As I already wrote, emptiness is the state of non-divisive wisdom and hence the reason why ancient Chinese masters named the Kyo Meridian; only through this state of the heart, one can recognize the Kyo meridian.
How touch sense bothers you when diagnosing a meridian
“Please close your eyes for a while and try to feel your body. After a few seconds it will be hard for us to feel the body as a whole” (from my 1st book “Tao Shiatsu- Life Medicine for the 21st century” – 1995 published by Japan Publication Inc.). Our conscious mind will always feel only part of the body, but never the whole. Eastern medicine is holistic. That is to say, it deals with the effect on the whole body – physical, emotional and energetic – and not just with a part of it. The aim of shiatsu is not to manipulate the body; the aim is to release negative energy that is stuck in the meridians and might cause disease. We can perform manipulations on part of the body using the sense of touch, through physical pressure, but without connecting with the ki or the whole body. Hence, it is not possible to diagnose ki and meridians by the sense of touch. Through yang consciousness we can connect only to part of the body in the ki-field. That is the meaning of the sense of touch: it cannot serve as a means of affecting the whole body.
The reason for this is that the function of the conscious mind is always to separate the self from the other and to identify the object. If we have no comparative consciousness we cannot identify the object. And when we deal with identification we cannot connect to the whole.
Our ego conscious is based on our touch sense. When we deeply reach into the state of Samadhi (deep meditative state of oneness with the universe), we lose the feeling of our individual existence. And in this moment, our touch sense is gone, and we no longer feel our own physical body.
The non-comparative world clearly exists
In daily life, we live in a state of comparison; more or less, you and me, etc and etc. But as a dog hears 2000 times more than what we hear with our ears, there clearly exists an non-comparative world (emptiness/absolute). In some way, this is a much clearer world than what we recognize as the world in the comparative state. And Ki and meridians belong to this world. Actually I must say that to try to recognize the meridians with a daily life comparative mind is just like trying to know the taste of an apple by reading the dictionary definition of an apple.
The ideal spiritual state, according to Tao or Buddhist philosophy, is a state of emptiness. But this doesn’t mean one has to be a “philosopher” or something of that nature. If we truly take responsibility for other beings happiness, for our heart, then our heart becomes “empty”, without consciousness, and we see the kyo meridian clearly.
There is one meridian out of the 14 that unites with absolute nature or the universal ki, and that is the kyo meridian”. A heart that is empty sees the kyo. This is not philosophy; it is concrete and practical. This is how the kyo meridian is diagnosed.
We don’t need any philosophical thought to heal others with meridian; all we need is our sincerely devotional heart for other beings, as when a mother takes care of her beloved sick child.
Universal spirit is source of emptiness/Tao heart
Master Masunaga diagnosed kyo and jitsu from a state of emptiness, and so did all the masters before him, since the days of Lao-Tse. This is the heart of diagnosis in eastern medicine. As we saw above, we cannot diagnose kyo-jitsu with our conscious mind, nor can we identify the meridians in this way, because the meridians are not physical matter. It is a common error to try to locate a meridian with the help of a map or anatomical measurements. The meridian, by its very nature as a channel of ki or life-energy, constantly changes its position and is not to be found in one definite place: meridians exist as ki, and they respond to our intention and our heart, and not to our ego-consciousness. They can be identified only in a state of unity between the therapist and the patient.
Therefore, when our ego-consciousness disappears, there is no relative world. When we press on the hara with our primal sense and not with the sense of touch, we will not feel the object as soft or hard: in this state we identify the meridian with our heart, and see it reflected in our heart. This is the way to see the meridian: a meridian is not part of the physical body; it is a channel for the flow of ki. And again, because the meridian has no physical existence, it cannot be identified physically. Even if we try to imagine the meridian as a physical line, we will be trapped in an illusion.
The meaning of Master Masunaga’s words: “Kyo is the whole”, in that kyo is the meridian that is connected to the whole of nature. The kyo meridian, the “emptiness” meridian, is connected to the universe, the whole. Kyo does not just mean emptiness: it also represents the desire and the need to be filled with ki, the need of all beings to live an active and healthy life. Health means that the kyo meridian changes constantly, because of the movement between yin and yang, just like in nature or in simple activities that the body performs. By definition nature is not static: it changes and fluctuates, moves and flows, and so does our body and our energy. When kyo becomes fixed on one meridian and does not change, it causes physical symptoms and illness. Therefore Lao-Tse said: “People will be healthy by uniting with nature”. But please don’t misunderstand the word “nature”. Because in the East there was no word that meant nature until western culture arrived. When ancient masters said “nature”, it meant, the world of non-comparison, the universal spirit. What Lao-Tse says is that one will be healthy if one is unified with the universal spirit, which is the source of all creation and the source of emptiness (Tao) heart.
There was a Questions and Answers part at the end of this article. I am not 100% sure, but I don’t think I wrote those answers, because I would never answer that way (I hope nobody asks me the same question, but I can write more articles on the subject of Kyo and Jitsu) . Therefore, with the exception of the Q & A part of the article, I will not stop anybody from using the article for any purpose. Only the Q & A part should not be under my credit and it should be not under the name of Tao Shiatsu.
In addition, even though my second book in English “The New Shiatsu Method” (Kodansha International) was a translation of my Shiatsu book in Japanese (except for 2 pages), I didn’t take credit for the whole book. And now I must confess about this as well because due to the same reason as stated above.
Finally, in regard to this article, I changed the sentences back to their original state and also changed some parts, as any author has a right to do.