Introduction: The Importance of Jing, Qi, and Shen in Chinese Traditions and Internal Alchemy
Jing, Qi, and Shen are not just theoretical constructs but essential components in Daoist Internal Alchemy (Neidan) and other Chinese traditional disciplines like Traditional Chinese Medicine. Known as the ‘Three Treasures,’ these elements are different manifestations of universal energy. They are categorized as either acquired or innate and are deeply interconnected. Understanding these elements is more than an academic exercise; it’s a prerequisite for anyone seeking meaningful progress and achievement in the practice of internal alchemy and related disciplines. These acquired forms of Jing, Qi, and Shen serve as the “ingredients” essential for mastering the art of internal alchemy.
Acquired Jing: The Physical Fluids
Acquired Jing encompasses various bodily fluids like those produced during copulation, blood, saliva, and sweat.
Innate Jing: The Essence Beyond Desire
Innate Jing, or Yuan Jing, is the essence produced when one achieves a high degree of mental and physical stillness, leading to a physiological response to sexual arousal without stimulation or desire.
Acquired Qi: The Energies We Gather
Acquired Qi encompasses various forms of energy, including the Qi we inhale, as well as specialized types like Zong Qi (Gathering Qi), Gu Qi (Qi derived from food and water), Ying Qi (Nutritive Qi), and Wei Qi (Defensive Qi), among others recognized in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Innate Qi: When Emptiness Becomes Energy
Innate Qi, also known as Yuan Qi or Zhen Qi (True Qi), is generated within the body with a sudden movement when emptiness reaches its utmost point.
Acquired Shen: The Conscious Mind
Acquired Shen refers to our conscious, rational, and logical mind.
Innate Shen: The Realm of the Subconscious
Innate Shen, or Yuan Shen, represents the subconscious mind or the soul.
By understanding these different but interconnected elements, we can better appreciate the depth and complexity of Daoist Internal Alchemy and related Chinese traditions.