The Four Gates

The Four Gates


So what is the significance of Four Gates? It is the name of an acupuncture point prescription, a pair of acupuncture points that encourage the free-flow of Qi (i.e. promote good circulation), regulate the Liver and help undo the effects of stress on the body. These acupoints are used alone or in combination, almost daily in my acupuncture clinic – I like people to leave their session feeling relaxed.

 But the Four Gates has other meanings. The novelist Doris Lessing used the picture of a four-gated city to embody harmony, reconciliation and integration; a new Utopia rooted in the body as well as in the mind, in the unconscious as well as the conscious. Similarly, Western medicine is now recognizing a core premise of Eastern medicine, the interconnection of mind and body.

The Four Gates Pagoda is the oldest standing stone pagoda in China, built with four identical sides, each facing one of the four cardinal directions (North, East, South and West), with a gate in the centre of each wall. The same structure can be seen in ancient Chinese city walls, which tended to be rectangular, with well-fortified gates to defend the city from attack. Chinese medicine emphasizes strengthening the immune system so the body can defend itself from illness.

The Four Gates appear in many spiritual traditions. The Buddhist spiritual text, the Yoga Vasistha, describes four gates to freedom and enlightenment: tranquility, contentment, good company and inquiry. This is reflected in the design of the mandala, in which a square with four gates encloses a circle with a centre point. Jewish tradition also makes mention of four gates which must be mastered – the gate of seeing, the gate of listening, the gate of imagining, and the gate of speaking. And from the Sufi tradition, we are advised to speak only after our words have passed through the four gates of speech, ensuring they are true, necessary, beneficial and kind.

On a secular note, the Four Gates is also a small winery, in Santa Cruz, California, with wines that are “elegant, with great structure, well-integrated tannins and loaded with fresh fruit”. All things in moderation!

 

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7 Comments

  1. Papa Serra Jr. - June 19, 2012

    My next flight will involve a walk around the Pagoda, a quick tasting session at the winery then some free flowing Qi!

  2. Katharine Joyner - April 28, 2013

    I learned that ST 36 and LI 10 are the ” inner gates ” to be used when a patient is really deficient and the ” four gates ” LI 4 and LV 3 would be too moving for him or her.

    • admin - May 27, 2013

      Yes, the four gates can be quite moving and aren’t always appropriate, that would be a better combination in that case. I find LU 5 and SP 9 another good combination for gently moving the Qi dynamic.

  3. Jessica P. Ayala - July 8, 2013

    Think of yourself as a city. You have four magical gates: The Gate of Seeing, the Gate of Listening, the Gate of Imagining and the Gate of Speaking.

  4. Dewitt Wong - July 17, 2013

    The Four Gates appear in many spiritual traditions. The Buddhist spiritual text, the Yoga Vasistha, describes four gates to freedom and enlightenment: tranquility, contentment, good company and inquiry. This is reflected in the design of the mandala, in which a square with four gates encloses a circle with a centre point. Jewish tradition also makes mention of four gates which must be mastered – the gate of seeing, the gate of listening, the gate of imagining, and the gate of speaking. And from the Sufi tradition, we are advised to speak only after our words have passed through the four gates of speech, ensuring they are true, necessary, beneficial and kind.

  5. Summer R. Joyner - August 7, 2013

    The energy gates in your body are major relay stations where the strength of your chi (qi) are regulated. Many gates are located at joints or, more precisely, in the actual space between the bones of a joint. The concept of energy gates has been passed down from ancient China, originally worked out by the Taoists. Energy gates must be felt directly with the mind in your body, for they are part of your subtle energy body. You learn to feel these points in order to channel the flow of your chi to stimulate the subtle body to the greatest extent possible. The first practice in Energy Gates Qigong is to enter each gate and dissolve through them.

  6. Ila Calderon - August 10, 2013

    The Four Gates appear in many spiritual traditions. The Buddhist spiritual text, the Yoga Vasistha, describes four gates to freedom and enlightenment: tranquility, contentment, good company and inquiry. This is reflected in the design of the mandala, in which a square with four gates encloses a circle with a centre point. Jewish tradition also makes mention of four gates which must be mastered – the gate of seeing, the gate of listening, the gate of imagining, and the gate of speaking. And from the Sufi tradition, we are advised to speak only after our words have passed through the four gates of speech, ensuring they are true, necessary, beneficial and kind.

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