The Ming Dynasty Pharmacist Li Shizhen compiled a ‘Compendium of Native Chinese Medicinal Plants’, containing up to 1892 different kinds of medicinal plants, used to generate 11000 prescriptions. Different drugs are used to treat different conditions, and today there are currently more than 40 cigarette factories in China producing more than 50 kinds of TCM-derived cigarettes, containing different natural TCM ingredients.
Although there has been scientific advances and definite benefits developed through the study of psychiatry as an academic subject, nevertheless, there remains a number of scientific and ethical issues that need to be explored concerning its application as a medicine, and the culture of patient disempowerment it represents.
‘In the meantime Richard was pursuing an academic career in Chinese Buddhist studies, and for a time ran the Chinese Buddhist Association at Essex University. This part of his life is rather diverse, involving an Oxford University sponsored research programme about the famous psychologist Carl Gustav Jung, which involved a trip to Zurich and a meeting with Jung’s grand daughter. At this time Richard was shown a document written in Jung’s handwriting apparently expressing his belief that reincarnation might well be a real phenomena. This, and similar work was kept from the public by the Jung family because they thought that its content might diminish Jung’s academic standing. Richard’s interest with Jung arose because of Jung’s contact with Charles Luk. In 1961, when Jung was on his death bed, he was reading Luk’s first volume of Ch’an and Zen Teachings. Jung had his secretary write to Luk and explain that when Jung read what master Xu Yun taught, and when Xu Yun explained the realisation of the mind – Jung felt that he himself could have said just that! Much later, whilst living in Japan, Richard stumbled upon Jung’s entire published works in English in a small bookshop for a very small price. Before this, however, Richard had settled in Norfolk founding the Norwich Ch’an Association. Many people would visit Richard’s home and seek Ch’an instruction, and on occasion Charles Luk would even send one or two people, notably Chinese students from Malaysia.’
‘In 1992 much of his output centred on the defeat of George Bush Jr, in the US Presidential elections following his successful invasion of Kuwait and southernIraqin the first Gulf War. Through such material Hicks described his political stance ‘as a little to the Left’. He says that he did not vote for Bush because the recent Republican administrations had sponsored genocide in South American countries – whilst the US media limited the issue to whether a new Democratic President would raise taxes. The natural Rightwing bias within theUnited Statessystem is so prevalent that any legitimate notions of Socialism are treated as if they are a crime of immense immorality, stupidity and the product of extreme mental illness. Hicks detested the mainstream media – and along with corporate advertisers – viewed it as a product of Satan’s seed. In this respect he could be very forceful in his opinions – surprisingly so when his style of delivery is taken into account. The passion manifests suddenly within a meandering narrative about this or that. Regardless of the raw human emotion, he never abandoned the principle of considered opinion gained through intellectual analysis. The intelligence of Hicks – and his intelligence was as able as any renowned thinker Western civilisation has produced – never abandoned an accompanying morality that moulded ideas and directed actions.’