MASTER JIANG FENG
Dr. Jiang Feng (江峰) was born in a rural mountain hamlet within Jixi County (績溪縣) in the province of Anhui, China, in 1965, the year before Mao Zedong’s “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” was to sweep the country. His father was a soldier who served in every major conflict from the Chinese Civil War through the Korean War before returning to Anhui to live a simple farmer’s life. The seventh of nine children in a family of little means and limited education, Dr. Jiang’s earliest years were spent in poor circumstances just barely spared from total deprivation.
At the age of eight Dr. Jiang was formally adopted by the itinerant Chan Buddhist monk Xuan Kong (玄空法師), one of the most renowned masters of classical Chinese medicine in 20th century mainland China, and an alumnus of the world-renowned Shaolin Temple from the time before it was shut down and converted into a tourist attraction. The monk was moved by the bleak circumstances in the village to adopt one of the local children, but only settled on Jiang Feng after closely examining each child according to the principles of Chinese physiognomy to determine who might be the most suitable student. At that time Dr. Jiang, who by his own admission was an undisciplined and rascally urchin, began an apprenticeship in medicine, martial arts and Buddhism which was to last until his master’s death in 2011, a span of almost forty years. It was Xuan Kong who passed to Dr. Jiang his full knowledge of classical medicine & medical qigong, choosing him to become what is known in China as his “cloak & bowl successor” (衣缽傳人).
For roughly ten years following his adoption the young Jiang Feng accompanied his teacher in journeys crisscrossing the south of China, often traveling on foot and enduring all manner of hardships, stopping in every small village to tend to the sick and the suffering. As the monk would diagnose each patient young Jiang Feng would transcribe his dictated prescriptions and then compound the herbal forumlae, insert the acupuncture needles, or apply whatever therapy was called for, all under his master’s watchful eye. Following this period of apprenticeship Grandmaster (師公) Xuan Kong personally arranged for Dr. Jiang to attend Anhui University of Traditional Medicine (安徽中醫學院) in order to pursue five additional years of research in the systemized blend of modern Western & classical Chinese medicine that was being promoted by the Chinese government as “traditional Chinese medicine” or “TCM” following the opening of the country to the West.
After graduating in 1986 Dr. Jiang went into private practice in Anhui at the age of 21. In a culture and a profession strongly biased towards the elder generation, his reputation as a precocious young master of the classical medicine grew with remarkable speed. Just two years later in 1988 he was personally invited to practice his medicine exclusively for visiting dignitaries in residence at the newly completed “Western Sea Hotel”, the Chinese version of a European chalet tucked away high up amongst the peaks of the Yellow Mountain. At that time early in China’s process of modernization any foreign visitor was considered a “dignitary”, and with only a tiny fraction of hotels authorized to receive foreign guests it was here that Dr. Jiang first began to treat Western patients.