Adam invited a colleague to go snowboarding with us this weekend. During the ride back, I got to spend a lot talking to him. Heís American born Chinese. He spent the first half of his childhood in NYCís Chinatown. The rest of the time was spent in and around in NYC.

I know plenty of Asians that are truly bilingual and bicultural, but I think heís the first that seems to really embrace and value Asian culture and thought. He knows a ton about traditional Chinese medicine, which is not totally divided from the Japanese view of healing. Iím not sure, but it seems like some of it has traveled within the context of Buddhism. I donít know enough about it, though. Iím certainly no historian.

Itís something that Iím really interested in learning more about, but I donít want to get too scattered in my focus, either.

Last week, I purchased a copy of the I Ching. I just started learning a little bit about that, and I decided that I had to use it, for myself.

Anyway, we talked about cupping, acupuncture, herbal medicine, qigong, some weird sound frequency therapy, and reiki.

I know nothing about Daoism, and Iíve had almost no interest in learning about it, until now. I like the idea of living in harmony with the natural universe, if thatís how one could put it.

We ended up joking about garlic. Whatís there to joke about garlic?? Well, Iíll tell you.

So, in a lot of Asian cultures, garlic is something to be avoided. Itís said to over-stimulate the senses, ďboil the bloodĒ whatever that means, promote aggressive behavior, and other various bad things. We joked that the aggressive behavior came from monks living and meditating in close quarters after having eaten too much garlic. Can you imagine having to sit and meditate right next to a guy who has just eaten a bunch of garlic?

I am fascinated that, in Western culture, garlic is usually considered to be a positive thing. Itís said to boost the immune system and is supposedly naturally anti-bacterial. My reiki teacher uses it in the same way she was taught to use it by her folk healing granny. I told Adamís friend about that, and he seemed surprised, and then I was surprised by his surprise. How do you grow up in NYC and not have someone preach the benefits of garlic to you? Not even once?

And, of course, the whole vampire thing. Thatís when he told us that Chinese vampires are not repelled by garlic. No, in order to fight Chinese vampires, one must use one of three things; a coin that is shaped like a cross (I guess there must be a Chinese coin thatís shaped like a cross), a Daoist spell, which must be written on yellow paper, in chicken blood, or the urine of a virgin male.

Obviously, one must first figure out the logistics of using urine to protect oneself from vampires, as well as give their boys lots and lots to drink.

I questioned this method of ridding oneself of vampires, well, actually I said, ďIs that for real?!Ē and he burst out laughing. After he caught his breath, he explained to me that Chinese vampires arenít the same as regular vampires. Instead of draining blood, they drain chi (which makes a lot more sense).

Then I explained that when I asked if that was for real, I didnít mean, ďDoes that really work?Ē I meant, ďIs that really Chinese folklore, or did you just make that up?Ē It turns out, that it really is Chinese folklore.

I told him that I need to learn some of those Daoist spells because Iím pretty sure that I know some Chinese vampires. Not surprisingly, itís very esoteric, and itíd be really difficult for me to get access to them. Ah well. I guess Iíll have to stick to the virgin male urine method.

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Monday, Mar. 26, 2012 at 12:48 AM