Three Treasures

Taoist speak of 3 Treasures: Jing, Qi, and Shen. Jing is your physical body, your trillions of cells, that which perishes. Some resources identify Jing as essence and then they refer to semen and sperm. Those thoughts are based on ancient Taoist Alchemy. Taoists were obsessed with finding Dan, the Elixir of Long Life... But as Master Chan explained to me, in ancient days, no one knew about eggs or ovum as female essence. They only knew sperm. No one could see the human egg... So if you are researching don't be confused... Jing really means your physical body, the Jelly of it...

Qi (pronounced Kee not Chee) is Energy. There are many many different kinds of Qi. Universe Qi. Apple Qi. Human Qi. Ren (Heart) Qi... Even Ghost Qi. Many many kinds of Qi... But for Qigong purposes we are concerned mostly with Yuan Qi (Universal Qi). And Human Qi (Ren Qi)... Taoists discovered we can replenish our Qi through the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and through our movements and thoughts...

I sometimes like to think of Yuan Qi like stem cells, Yuan Qi can become any kind of Qi. Taoists developed many methods for cultivating Yuan Qi to make Dan, the Elixir inside the Body, inside our Jing; more specifically inside the 3 Dan Tiens or 3 Dan Tians...

Shen (pronounced Sun) is our Spirit. Together these are the 3 Treasures of Taoist Science. Taoist were concerned with achieving longevity in a time when average life expectancy was perhaps 35! They were concerned with essences, with Alchemy, trying to discover the pill, the medicine, that would be the secret to long life. Eventually they discovered the Golden Pill must be created inside the body. This Elixir, this Medicine of the "Cinnabar Field" they called Dan, and is created in the Dantian. The secret ingredients to creating Dan they called the 3 Treasures... 3 Essences... 3 Essentials...

Some have tried to explain the relationship between the 3 Treasures as being like a candle: Qi is the Wax. Jing is the wick. Shen is the flame... Others have likened the 3 Treasures to the three states of water: Liquid water is Qi. Ice is Jing. Steam is Shen. But these are very poor analogies...

As someone who has kept and raised bees, I discovered quite naturally that a bee hive is the best metaphor for the process of Qigong. When we do our form we are gathering Qi-pollen, Qi-nectar like bees. It takes effort. But this nectar is not Honey yet. The nectar must be brought back to the hive and placed into the cells of the honeycomb.

This Hive is our Jing. The Lower Dan Tian.... Even then it is not Honey yet. The bees of the hive have to cook the nectar with the heat of their bodies. After a period of time the Honey is at last ready. But still, the Honey is not the Shen. The invisible nourishment inside the Honey is the Shen. The life-giving energy produced by the Honey is Shen. And it is Golden like the Sun.

--Pahka Dave

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