Dr Feng's class of August 2015, posing at the Tong Ren Tang dispensary for specially high quality herbs. This year I was the only ying guo ren, and met this whole bunch of amazing Jing Fang enthusiasts from the United States, Sweden, France, Canada, Australia, Israel and Zimbabwe. It was a truly international experience.
Dr Feng took us to this Tong Ren Tang dispensary to admire some extraordinarily expensive she xiang (musk), since he had just presented a case in which his teacher, Prof. Hu Xi-Shu, used it to move severe dry blood stasis in 1948 on the eve of the liberation of Beijing! It is quite extraordinary to have this kind of access to case records from Dr Feng's teacher.
This is a particularly old and expensive piece of ginseng that we also admired there - each bend of the root indicates 1 year of growth.
We spent a lot of time in clinic with Dr Feng, then in the afternoons he gave us discussion time to ask questions and get to grips with his formulas. This year I really felt that he responded to our ongoing interest, and to the work that we have put in over the past 2 years to getting to grips with this way of working. He gave us full and generous explanations of his thinking, and I had several flashes of understanding of how deep the knowledge that he is teaching us goes.
Here we are studying hard!
Several of us decided to take herbs ourselves during our stay...
Which I have to say, helped me deal with some raging yangming heat (the temperature was in the upper 30s, and very humid). But it wasn't all work and herbs - tea featured large!
This is a beautiful tea house in the Wang Jing area, where I bought a great quantity of my favourite rock wulong tea, plus discovered a new one called rou gui (not the cinnamon bark variety). Joakim from Sweden also introduced me to an ji bai cha, which is a delicate and fragrant green tea. And of course there was a bit of sightseeing. We went to the white cloud temple - Bai Yun Guan,
A copy of the famous Nei Jing Tu is on the wall just behind the plant on the right. Then when we got out of the temple, we stumbled across a place that somehow drew us in, and discovered that it was a new Classical Cultural Centre that has just opened. We were shown around by a very friendly and talkative woman, who explained everything to us in Chinese (we didn't understand much...), showed us a room full of qins, then proceeded to play one for us! She then showed us where they teach people how to paint and do calligraphy in the classical style. What a beautiful experience.
I have decided I have to learn to speak a bit more Chinese... Especially since Dr Feng is visiting us in England in just over a month!
At the end, there was the certificate ceremony, with many speeches and good wishes,
And of course the final group photo...
What a motley crew!