Shen ( Spirit )

May 14, 2007

Translated in TCM and internal exercise texts as “Mind” or “Vitality”. Mental faculties, consciousness and thinking are all included in the translation. The state of the mind can have a direct or indirect impact on the state of the body in various ways and forms. In TCM the “Shen” or “vitality” can be a reflection of the level of health, mental functioning and well-being of a person. The clarity or lack of clarity in the mind will manifest in the body through it’s actions or inability to perform these actions.

When looking at the more common translation of “Shen”, the words “Mind” and “Spirit” are most frequently found. Using only these two words however cannot convey a translation accurate to the meaning intended by the ancient texts as they only encompass a small part of the meaning.

The concept of the mind in ancient times went far beyond than thoughts or mentality. The mind was said to be connected to the intent, the intent connected to the spirit, the spirit connected to the consciousness and the consiousness in turn connected to both the consious and subconscious mind for example.

So it can be clearly seen that the concept of “Shen” can be approached from various viewpoints, ranging from a simple translation to several words trying to explain one aspect.

Trying to understand the mind, however, is an art in itself. It requires a great degree of self-reflection and training. This kind of training is known as training the Shen or “Lian Shen”.

Translated from TCM references and also standard dictionary translations. Bear in mind, however, that the use of these words varies depending on the circumstance and also the context in which they are used. The Chinese characters for all the noted translations of Jing, Qi and Shen respectively are the same.

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Qi ( Energy )

May 14, 2007

Translated in TCM and internal exercise texts as “Vital Energy”, “Lifeforce” or “Energy”. Qi was believed by the ancient Chinese to be the basic element that constitues the entire universe or cosmos, producing everything through it’s movements and transformations. It is also considered to be one of the fundamental elements that gives rise to the form and function of the human body. Qi is also fundamental to our existence, without it life would cease.

In the common translations words like “Breath”, “Air” and even “Atmosphere” can be found. Due to the fact that Qi in it’s nature is so intangible, yet so important to our existence, we can begin to see or perhaps even understand the use of such words to convey it’s meaning.

Many modern scholars considered the ancient’s to be naive in their beliefs of “Qi”. For something that could not be perceived with any of the sense organs was reason enough for them to brush it aside as mere mysticism and hold to the teaching that it was only an idea presented by the ancient philosophers as a means to explain the unexplainable.

The nature of Qi can only become clear through daily practice and cultivation. This kind of practice is known as training the Qi or “Lian Qi”.

Translated from TCM references and also standard dictionary translations. Bear in mind, however, that the use of these words varies depending on the circumstance and also the context in which they are used. The Chinese characters for all the noted translations of Jing, Qi and Shen respectively are the same.


Jing ( Essence )

May 14, 2007

Translated in TCM and internal exercise texts as “Essence of Life”, “Vital Essence”, “Body Essence”, “Congenital Essence” or just plainly “Essence” .

Jing is considered to be a fundamental substance in the body, which is connected to both building up of the physical structure and also maintaining the body’s numerous functions.

In more common texts the meaning of Jing can be defined by using several words. Examples are: refined, pure, perfect, excellent and superior. These various meanings describe Jing as something of great importance, pure in nature, perfect in arrangement, a refined substance likened to tempered gold.

From the texts we can see that the well-being and relative health of the body depends on the stated of the Jing. This essence is inherited from birth and it’s abundance or deficiency is, to a degree, connected to the state of the parents essence before and during conception. It requires continual nourishment throughout our lives and is therefore affected by the lifestyle we choose to lead. There are various ways of reinforcing the essence. This is known as training the Vital Essence or “Lian Jing”.

Translated from TCM references and also standard dictionary translations. Bear in mind, however, that the use of these words varies depending on the circumstance and also the context in which they are used. The Chinese characters for all the noted translations of Jing, Qi and Shen respectively are the same.