Jiǎng Wéiqiáo 蔣維喬 (1873-1958)
Jiǎng Wéiqiáo 蔣維喬 (1873-1958) was an important educator, politician, and lay Buddhist of the Republican period. He was also a seminal figure in the development of modern qìgōng 氣功.
In 1892, Jiǎng received his xiūcái 秀才 degree. After getting his degree, he became familiar with the scientific and technical translations produced by the Jiangnan Arsenal 江南機器製造總局, which caused him to become increasingly interested in Western Learning 西學. In 1895, he tested into the Nánqīng Academy 南菁書院 in Jiāngyīn 江陰. One of his classmates there was Dīng Fúbǎo 丁福保.
With the establishment of the Republic in 1912, Cài became head of the new Ministry of Education, and Jiǎng served as Secretary under him. In April, they moved from Nánjīng to Běijīng. Because of various upheavals in the government, he quit and returned to Shànghǎi in October, 1913. There, he took a job as chief editor of the textbooks division of the Commercial Press 商務印書館.
In 1914, Jiǎng published Master Yīnshì's Meditation Method 因是子靜坐法, in which he tried to establish a qìgōng 氣功 scheme on scientific grounds. For this reason, he is often cited as one of the fathers of modern qìgōng. Jiǎng's book was heavily based on the book Mr. Okada's Meditation Method 岡田氏靜坐法" by the Japanese author Okada Torajirō 岡田虎二郎 (1872-1920).
Jiǎng began working for the Ministry of Education again in July, 1917. That year, he was part of a team doing an audit of educational systems in East Asia. They first went to Japan and the Philippines, before traveling around China investigating the nation's educational institutions. Around this time, Jiǎng got to know Xú Wèirú 徐蔚如, who was the chief of accounting for the government. Xú had recently converted to Buddhism, and under his influence Jiǎng began to study Buddhism seriously. He studied on his own,, as well as with Táng Dàyuán 唐大圓. Jiǎng and Xú also studied Consciousness-Only with Zhāng Kèchéng 張克誠 at Guǎngjì Temple 廣濟寺 in Běijīng.
In March of 1918, Dìxián 諦閑 came to Běijīng to lecture on the Sūtra of Perfect Awakening 圓覺經, which Jiǎng and others recorded, and which was eventually published as 圓覺經親聞記. At this time Jiǎng, Xú, and others took refuge under Dìxián. Also in 1918, Jiǎng began teaching a course on Consciousness-Only in the Philosophy Department at Běijīng University.
In 1925, Jiǎng began teaching at Southeastern University 東南大學 in Nánjīng, which had recently had its name changed from Nanjing Normal High School 南京高等師範學堂 by its president Jiāng Yìyuán 江易園. There he taught introductory courses on Buddhism as an academic subject.
In 1949, he was elected chairman of the people's representative body for Southern Jiāngsū.