Practicing Chinese Calligraphy & Its Longevity Benefits


Chinese calligraphy is not only a beautiful art, its practice is also an effective way to enjoy healthy life and longevity. Many medical reports and research studies in Mandarin speaking countries of Asia have rated practicing Chinese calligraphy as the number one activity for benefiting longevity among other twenty activities or so. Chinese calligraphy is both an artistic and physical practice. It can elevate one's body, mind, and spirit from internal and external practices. It has been regarded as a good way to strengthen one's will and lead to a healthy life.

 

Master Tu explains the longevity and health benefits associated with practicing Chinese CalligraPainting.

 

 

   

Calligraphy Therapy BY2000 TV Interview
書法治療 BY2000 電視台訪問

 


Calligraphy Therapy WMHC-3 of 5 書法治療
Five Lecture Series

 

 

Many principles and benefits of practicing Chinese calligraphy are very similar to meditation, Qi Gong, and Chinese internal martial arts. While one is practicing Chinese calligraphy, one has to calm the mind, body, and breath and focus on writing. The breath is very smooth and the mind is very peaceful and joyful.

For Chinese calligraphers, literally, we are "writing (not painting)" the characters with brushes made of animal hairs. Technically, we are "carving" the characters to some extent by using the brush tip to mimic a knife. Mentally, we are "projecting" the characters - that's why Chinese calligraphy is also called the "picture of soul" or "heart painting" or "mind image." ( 字即心畫 ) To project our characters and images beautifully, Chinese calligraphers need to enter a meditative mode to create beautiful, profound, and artistic characters. This is not in a religious sense. More and more medical and scientific studies have proved the value and benefits of meditation. Meditation for the sake of the art of Chinese calligraphy is to cleanse and purify our body, mind, and spirit from inside out and corroborate the external and internal conditions for the visualization, creation, and enjoyment of art. One of the ways to "project" writing from our mind is to treat the hairs of a writing brush as our extension of nerves with the mind being the commander. In order to write beautifully, we also train and fine-tune our nerves and hand movement with correct body mechanics which benefit our well being. The upright and ergonomically correct postures required during practicing Chinese calligraphy as well as one's enjoyment and focus upon writing beautiful Chinese characters can lead one to a higher coordination of mind, body, and spirit and attain longevity without specifically working on it.

More articles about the longevity benefits of practicing Chinese calligraphy can be found by searching "calligraphy ( 書法 )" and "longevity ( 長壽 )" in Google and "http://lsl.sinica.edu.tw/LibraryResources/Journals/avtype.php?classtype=DVD." Since Chinese calligraphy is also a very meditative, disciplined, and relaxing practice, master calligraphers and those who enjoy practicing it have been known to outlive their contemporaries throughout the history of China. The following chart lists some of the ancient masters with their ages. 

 

Calligrapher

書法家

Dynasty
(Years)

Age 

Liu Gong-Chuan

柳公權

Tang

87

He Zu-Zhang

賀知章

Tang

85

Oh-Yang Sheun

歐陽詢

Tang

84

Yu Shi-Nan

虞世南

Tang

80

Hsu Hao

徐浩

Tang

79

Yang Ning-Shu

楊凝式

Five Dynasties

81

Weng Zeng-Ming

文徵明

Ming

89

Liu Shu-An

劉世安

Ching

85

Liang Tung-Shu

梁同書

Ching

92

Wong Tung-He

翁同和

Ching

85

Leon Chang

張隆延

1909-2009

101

 

Other Chinese CalligraPainters listed at http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s?__biz=MjM5MTEzMTk0NA%3D%3D&mid=200358087&idx=4&sn=93224cb3e0387420300463c6a9eb9e83&scene=4#rd also lived long lives. 

Among Wu Changshou's ( 吳昌碩 ) students, Zhu Qizhan ( 朱屺瞻 ) lived until 105 years old.

 

Because of environmental, medical and other conditions in ancient China, the average life of a person, say, of the Tang Dynasty, was about 60 years old. The following chart lists the ages of the most famous poets in the Tang Dynasty adapted from "http://www.zhsc.net/Article/scll/lwjx/200504/20050425184742.html." Some of them, such as He Zu-Zhang and Lee Bai, were also famous calligraphers. As Du Fu wrote in one of his poems, "... It's common to be treated with free wine, but from ancient times it has been rare to reach an age of seventy years old." (人生七十古來稀是中國的一句老話。在唐詩中始見于杜甫的《曲江》詩:酒債尋常行處有,人生七十古來稀。後來白居易在《感秋詠意》詩中也有類似的詩句:舊話相傳聊自慰,世間七十老人稀。白居易作此詩時已年逾七十,故應用了這句老話,引以自慰。白居易又有《對酒閑吟贈同老者》詩云:人生七十稀,我年幸過之。可見在唐代,這句老話即使在大詩人中間也非常流傳,而且年過七十後,便會情不自禁地自我慶慰。古人由于當時政治、經濟、社會、醫療、衛生等原因,一般人的壽命均較短,不僅詩人為然。人生七十古來稀這句老話概括了舊時代的實際情況。)

It was rare to see a man who could live up to eighty years old in ancient China, with the most exceptions found among calligraphers.


Famous Poets in the Tang Dynasty

 

賀知章 He Zu-Zhang
poet and calligrapher
(659744)85歲

高適
(706
765)59歲

張九齡
(678
740)62歲

杜甫 Du Fu
(712770)58歲

王之渙
(688
742)54歲

岑參
c.715770)55歲

孟浩然
(689
c.740)51歲

錢起
(722
780)58歲

李頎
(690
751)61歲

戴叔倫
(732
789)57歲

元稹
(779
831)52歲

韋應物
(737
786?)49歲

祖詠
(699
c.746)47歲

盧綸
(748
c.800)52歲

王維 Wang Wei
(701761)61歲

李益
(748
c.827)79歲

李白 Lee Bai
(701762)62歲

孟郊
(751
814)63歲

王建
(767
c.830)63歲

賈島
(779
843)64歲

張籍
c.767 c.830)63歲

李賀
(790
816)26歲

韓愈
(768
824)56歲

杜荀鶴
(846
904)58歲

劉禹錫
(772
842)70歲

杜牧
(803
852)49歲

白居易 Bai Ju-Yi
(772846)74歲

李商隱
c.813 c.858)45歲

李紳
(772
846)74歲

溫庭筠
c.812866)54歲

柳宗元
(773
819)46歲

羅隱
(833
909)76歲

姚合
(775
854后)79歲

司空圖
(837
908)71歲

 

There were two emperors in the Ching Dynasty, Kun Xi ( 康熙 ) and Chian Long ( 乾隆  ), who lived longer than most Chinese emperors. Most emperors of China had shorter lives than ordinary people, mostly due to excessive indulgence. Emperor Chian Long (1711-1799) lived up to eighty-nine years old and had the longest life among all Chinese emperors. He had a nickname as "The Old Man of The Complete Ten Talents." Besides keeping a peaceful mind and enjoying vegetables, multigrain, and natural food, and training martial arts, he also loved to practice calligraphy throughout his life. He practiced more diligently than most other members in the royal families. He still enjoyed himself with practicing calligraphy even after his inauguration. Poems and literature written in Chian Long's calligraphy still exist all over China today and the quantity exceeds those of other emperors in the Chinese history.

 

 

Emperor Chian Long's Fondness of Chinese Calligraphy

 

Emperor Chian Long in His Study Practicing Calligraphy

 

Recent calligraphy therapies in Asia have focused on a graphonomic process involving handwriting of linguistic characters or letter forms through the control of a writing instrument for the purpose of improving one's general health or for rendering effective treatment of certain disorders associated with one's perception, cognition, emotion as well as psychosomatics. It is developed on the basis of behavioral theories, experimental research, and clinical verification. The study of handwriting behavior as Graphonomics and the graphomotor benefits related to a healthy lifestyle and Eastern philosophy may help more people realize the great treasure of Chinese calligraphy as handed down by the ancient Chinese.

With the improvements of modern living conditions, Chinese calligraphers are enjoying longer lives than many ancient masters. More detailed discussions of combining Chinese calligraphy and longevity and their practices will be added in other WebPages in the future. A brief preview of guidelines is located at http://www.art-virtue.com/philosophy/index.htm#7

 

書法長壽  ( 書道養生 ) 基本理論依據

摘自 http://baike.baidu.com/view/8706445.htm

 

小運動:  科學研究證明,人大腦緊張的工作開始得越早,持續時間越長,衰老速度反而會越慢。

 

不分心:  凝神于書法,省去與人爭辯。對眼前發生的不愉快事情視而不見、聽而不聞,進入輕鬆舒適狀態,沒有妄念煩惱,精神得享受,還能達到意念集中,襟懷坦蕩,身心愉悅的境界使體內陰陽平衡,保證人體內環境穩定狀態,延緩細胞分裂周期,體內氣血在最低限度內變化,代謝相對緩慢。

 

心靈太極:  書法能養神,養神能煉意,有效地減少心理對生理的干擾,使一切雜念全拋九霄雲外,全身心的投入,其作用不亞于練氣功、打太極拳。練習書法,形神共養,使書家形神一體,心身統一,從而健康長壽。

 

書法家長壽名單:

虞世南 80

顏真卿被害時79

柳公權 88

文徵明 90

董其昌 82

翁方綱 85

包世臣 81

吳昌碩 84

現代書法界名人齊白石、黃賓虹、何香凝、章士釗、郭紹虞、蕭龍士、蕭嫻、啟功、舒同都享九十高壽。百歲以上的有朱屺瞻、蘇局仙、孫墨佛。

 

長壽皇帝與書法:

查遍史書二百三十多個皇帝,長壽者少。乾隆活八十九歲,是中國最高壽的皇帝。乾隆喜書法,寫得一手好字,其字圓潤遒麗。每到一處,必要御筆垂青。西湖十景就是由他親手題的碑。書法愛好對乾隆健腦、強身、養性,是大有裨益的。

 

清康熙皇帝酷愛書法,他說:人果專心于一藝一技,則心不外馳,于身有益。朕所及明季之與我之耆舊,善于書法者俱長壽,而身強健。由是觀之,凡人心志有所專,即是養身之道。

 


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