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Qi and Consciousness

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What is the relationship between qi/chi and consciousness or Mind? It's often said that jing, qi, and shen (which is seen as consciousness, spirit, or mind) are actually one. Does this mean that qi is related to, possesses, or actually is identical to consciousness?

 

On the topic of qi, is anyone aware of a good study of the topic from a Daoist perspective which perhaps might go in greater depth than is typically found, i.e. an entire article or book devoted to the topic?

 

Thanks.

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What is the relationship between qi/chi and consciousness or Mind? It's often said that jing, qi, and shen (which is seen as consciousness, spirit, or mind) are actually one.

Would that be the case there would not be 3 names

 

Does this mean that qi is related to, possesses, or actually is identical to consciousness?

Yes, no, no.

 

 

On the topic of qi, is anyone aware of a good study of the topic from a Daoist perspective which perhaps might go in greater depth than is typically found, i.e. an entire article or book devoted to the topic?

 

Thanks.

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What is the relationship between qi/chi and consciousness or Mind? It's often said that jing, qi, and shen (which is seen as consciousness, spirit, or mind) are actually one. Does this mean that qi is related to, possesses, or actually is identical to consciousness?

 

Postcelestial Shen is related to the consciousness.
 
Precelestial Shen is not a consciousness.
 
Postcelestial qi and consciousness affect each other all the time, but they are separated and not identical.
 
Precelestial Qi, Jing and Shen are of the same nature, but they relate differently to each other at different stages of life (and practice). That's why names are different, but sages speak about one in a proper context.
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I like to think that chi and the mind (heart mind) morph from one to the other that cannot be actively (in the Western sense) controlled.

 

That in the end, they are all the one and the same thing.

 

Only our terms and our minds want to make them different.

 

 

Idiot on the Path

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Would that be the case there would not be 3 names

 

Well I can't recall the exact source, but I believe I read Liu Yiming in some Fabrizio Pregadio article (or perhaps Pregadio himself) stating that they three are actually different aspects of one "thing", I'll have to see if I can find the citation.

 

Anyway, what spurred my question was contemplating how various traditions, specifically Pratyabhijna or Kashmir Shaivist philosophy, but also Chan depending on how you read it (concepts of One Mind, etc.) claim that all of reality is consciousness or exists within consciousness/awareness. The Daoist tradition of course tends to say that all of manifest reality is qi, with the most purified and subtle qi being heavens, deities, etc. and the coarsest being matter, but all qi nonetheless. This got me thinking about the relationship between the two views and how Daoist's view consciousness/awareness. 

 

I've seen some Daoists speak of the Dao mind (ťĀďŚŅÉ) and even say a variation of Bodhidharma's famous statement with, "The Dao is the Mind and the Mind is the Dao", but I am still unsure on how Daoists view the topic, specifically consciousness or Mind's relation to qi.

 

 

Precelestial Shen is not a consciousness.

 

What is it described as then? Non-consciousness or unconsciousness? Of course when speaking of consciousness in these contexts, sometimes regular or human consciousness, such as the consciousness skandha in Buddhism, is seen as being "anatta" or not myself, of a lower and corruptible sort, but then there's also a higher consciousness or Mind too, so it gets confusing.

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The mind in Daoism is spread into five parts:

 

Shen: the mind of the heart, the fire element.  It is a combination of two full lines on the outside and one broken line inside.  This represents that the fire can be controlled by cooling it with its inner yin energy. 

 

Jing:  Jing is the latent energy of the kidneys, it is a combination of two broken outside lines and a solid inside line, and represents the water element.   Jing is fluid and smooth, but it has yang energy hidden inside of it, so it has a subtle use in providing the body with essence needed to move as Qi in the blood.

 

Hun: Hun is the masculine spirit in the liver.  Hun is what gives the mind its ability to become more vibrant or violent.

 

Po: po is the female spirit of the lungs, it is the wood element and the female, quiet, and latent aspect of the mind.

 

Yi: yi is the mind of intention in the spleen.   It is represented by earth, and represents out ability to concentrate on things. It can channel hun and it can be controlled by po.

 

The Yi can become realized by placing po in the heart, thus giving it the ability to focus softly and constantly, rather than jumping around everywhere and causing the Hun to try to leave the body.

The Yi is represented as two halves of the earth element: Xu and Ji, which represent both pre and post birth states of mind (non conscious and conscious).

The goal is to use the subconscious yi in order to pair the fire of the heart with the water of the kidneys and cause it to create the alchemy of Qi.

Pre birth Jing qi and shen are only accessible indirectly, as opposed to post birth jing qi and shen which can be obviously felt.

 

That is why Zhang Boduan said "Xu and Ji are the beautiful matchmaker."  because the cultivation of the pre birth state has a direct effect on the post birth state and cultivates the post birth jing qi and shen to make the body stronger and better.

 

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

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Jing - essence of the Yin (your connection to this astral plane), your life battery. Once exhausted the hun will rise to Heaven, your spirit-wisdom (Heart) will move on to the next life cycle and your Po (animal soul) will drop to Earth.

 

Qi - the connection between this and the spirit world, a fluid-like mechanism

 

Shen - the spirit in general, not the spirit of the heart as Shen which is more like the heart-mind In this case it refers as a combined action of the five spirits (water-wood-fire-earth-metal).

 

Qi is what connects/binds everything in the duality of samsara (yin+yang). Outside samsara is the realm of the Tao, nirvana, the Source from which everything emanates and to which everything returns, constantly, eternally, harmoniously, even though beings think is all chaotic and miserable.

 

Life is not suffering as such but a condition of existing, a necessary event in this eternal flow. You suffer if you misbehave (or place excessive attachment to material things and/or other beings which are journeying to the Dao in separate journeys) and as a result you have to deal with the consequences but if you remain neutral, life is what IS. Virtue is what keeps you out of 'karmic' (breaking the harmony of things, i.e. I steal, I hate, I kill, I envy, etc.) trouble.

 

Hope this all helps.

 

:)

Edited by Gerard
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Well I can't recall the exact source, but I believe I read Liu Yiming in some Fabrizio Pregadio article (or perhaps Pregadio himself) stating that they three are actually different aspects of one "thing", I'll have to see if I can find the citation.

Broadly speaking the whole universe is one thing. The 3 things are spoken about as one when pointing out their unity is serving didactic purposes. It is true in some sense but useless out of the didactic context.

 

Anyway, what spurred my question was contemplating how various traditions, specifically Pratyabhijna or Kashmir Shaivist philosophy, but also Chan depending on how you read it (concepts of One Mind, etc.) claim that all of reality is consciousness or exists within consciousness/awareness. The Daoist tradition of course tends to say that all of manifest reality is qi, with the most purified and subtle qi being heavens, deities, etc. and the coarsest being matter, but all qi nonetheless. This got me thinking about the relationship between the two views and how Daoist's view consciousness/awareness. 

 

I've seen some Daoists speak of the Dao mind (ťĀďŚŅÉ) and even say a variation of Bodhidharma's famous statement with, "The Dao is the Mind and the Mind is the Dao", but I am still unsure on how Daoists view the topic, specifically consciousness or Mind's relation to qi.

Qi is a flashdrive, the mind is a file stored on it.

 

 

Precelestial Shen is not a consciousness.

 

 

What is it described as then? Non-consciousness or unconsciousness? Of course 

Of course it is a consciousness. Shen means a spirit. And a spirit is defined as

 

spir·it
ňąspirit/
noun
 
  1. 1.
    the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character; the soul.
    "we seek a harmony between body and spirit"
    synonyms: soul, psyche, (inner) self, inner being, inner man/woman, mind, ego, id; 
    "harmony between body and spirit"
     
     
    To say that shen/spirit is not consciousness is absurd. But then in western commercial daoism absurdities are the name of the game.

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Well I can't recall the exact source, but I believe I read Liu Yiming in some Fabrizio Pregadio article (or perhaps Pregadio himself) stating that they three are actually different aspects of one "thing", I'll have to see if I can find the citation.

 

Anyway, what spurred my question was contemplating how various traditions, specifically Pratyabhijna or Kashmir Shaivist philosophy, but also Chan depending on how you read it (concepts of One Mind, etc.) claim that all of reality is consciousness or exists within consciousness/awareness. The Daoist tradition of course tends to say that all of manifest reality is qi, with the most purified and subtle qi being heavens, deities, etc. and the coarsest being matter, but all qi nonetheless. This got me thinking about the relationship between the two views and how Daoist's view consciousness/awareness. 

 

I've seen some Daoists speak of the Dao mind (ťĀďŚŅÉ) and even say a variation of Bodhidharma's famous statement with, "The Dao is the Mind and the Mind is the Dao", but I am still unsure on how Daoists view the topic, specifically consciousness or Mind's relation to qi.

 

 

 

What is it described as then? Non-consciousness or unconsciousness? Of course when speaking of consciousness in these contexts, sometimes regular or human consciousness, such as the consciousness skandha in Buddhism, is seen as being "anatta" or not myself, of a lower and corruptible sort, but then there's also a higher consciousness or Mind too, so it gets confusing.

 

I think the use of 'consciousness' (vijnana) as a skandha relates specifically to the condition for subject object duality.  While the Mind of Cittamatra (Mind-only) schools of Buddhism including Ch'an / Zen is more like a field of sentience or even 'mind-stuff' which is the original meaning of citta in Samkhya and Yoga philosophy - a medium which can take up and discharge form (as with thoughts arising and falling away for instance - but applied to apparent objective reality also).

 

I think the idea that jing-qi-shen is a spectrum and not three entirely separate things is commonly mentioned.  Rather like ice - water-steam ... phases of manifestation of a single 'substance'.  Given that, it seems an inescapable conclusion that qi cannot be viewed as something entirely distinct from sentience or awareness, by which I mean if qi transforms to shen in the MDT as described in internal alchemy then the spirit must be somehow latent in qi or even the shen seen as a specific rarified form of qi.

 

Generally speaking I find the most successful writings on these topics tend not to translate terms like qi but allow the reader to gain understanding through use of the term in context.  

Edited by Apech
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Of course it is a consciousness. Shen means a spirit. And a spirit is defined as

 

spir·it
ňąspirit/
noun
 
  1. 1.
    the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character; the soul.
    "we seek a harmony between body and spirit"
    synonyms: soul, psyche, (inner) self, inner being, inner man/woman, mind, ego, id; 
    "harmony between body and spirit"
     
     
    To say that shen/spirit is not consciousness is absurd. But then in western commercial daoism absurdities are the name of the game.

 

  ;)

 

  • spirit (n.)¬†dictionary.gif
  • mid-13c., "animating or vital principle in man and animals," from Anglo-French¬†spirit, Old French¬†espirit¬†"spirit, soul" (12c., Modern French¬†esprit) and directly from Latin¬†spiritus¬†"a breathing (respiration, and of the wind), breath; breath of a god," hence "inspiration; breath of life," hence "life;" also "disposition, character; high spirit, vigor, courage; pride, arrogance," related to¬†spirare¬†"to breathe," perhaps from PIE¬†*(s)peis-¬†"to blow" (cognates: Old Church Slavonic¬†pisto¬†"to play on the flute"). But de Vaan says "Possibly an onomatopoeic formation imitating the sound of breathing. There are no direct cognates."¬†

 http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=spirit

 

Absurdity is not to have any practical understanding what you're talking about, dear non-commercial pseudo-daoist?

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What is it described as then? Non-consciousness or unconsciousness? Of course when speaking of consciousness in these contexts, sometimes regular or human consciousness, such as the consciousness skandha in Buddhism, is seen as being "anatta" or not myself, of a lower and corruptible sort, but then there's also a higher consciousness or Mind too, so it gets confusing.

 

Even if we write Mind with capital M, it is still just an ordinary human mind: combination of memory, thoughts and feelings. It can be better and more auspicious for the practice, it can destroy any attempts to practice... Anyway that's all postheaven. In Daoist tradition it's called Xin ŚŅÉ. We can stop all that by using "meditation" of any sort. In Daoist texts such practice was named śěĮÁ¶™ - "dull sitting". Many people believe it's a state of Anatman, "not me", "Dao mind" etc. But it's just a state of no thoughts, when humans can't do anything except starring at one point. Many people believe that they can "raise Yang" through that, but they just exhaust their innate yuan qi, because of the raise of yin, which is useless. "The sitting gives rise to yin, and yin leads to the death" - hard to say better.¬†

 
So there is no any Mind or Higher Consciousness except ordinary consciousness every person has. Same as awareness, which is a function of consciousness. You can find some interesting insights even by analysing the etymology of the English words, it helped me a lot to understand what is consciousness, and that modern ideas about "Consciousness Universe" are kind of stupid - Universe is much better then always mistaken human mind:
 
Preheaven Shen-Spirit is different. We cannot feel it directly. In ordinary life it manifests very rare: the innate Shen is weak and dormant, that's why it has Yin line in the center (Fire trigram), and it needs a solid Yang line from the Water trigram to get the power and "wake up". This is the alchemy to unite Xing (Shen) and Ming (Qi). Basically, that's the only relation between Qi and Shen we have to care about: Qi is needed for Shen to fulfil its purpose. And such process is started with the mind, by proper thoughts and logic, then "Mind-Xin is Dao" is explained.
 
> Apech: "I think the idea that jing-qi-shen is a spectrum and not three entirely separate things is commonly mentioned."
 
Right. So any allusions to "flash drive and files" have no sense. There is a very important question what really reincarnates (if any), but ancient Daoist texts avoid this subject, because practically it's counter-productive.

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Preheaven Shen-Spirit is different. We cannot feel it directly. In ordinary life it manifests very rare: the innate Shen is weak and dormant, that's why it has Yin line in the center (Fire trigram), and it needs a solid Yang line from the Water trigram to get the power and "wake up". This is the alchemy to unite Xing (Shen) and Ming (Qi). Basically, that's the only relation between Qi and Shen we have to care about: Qi is needed for Shen to fulfil its purpose. And such process is started with the mind, by proper thoughts and logic, then "Mind-Xin is Dao" is explained.

 

Ok. So if I've followed you correcly: the central yang line of Kan is Qi we refine out of Jing (that is Kan) and that we coagulate with the Shen (that is Li) in order to "repair" it and obtain Qian. Is that so ?

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Ok. So if I've followed you correcly: the central yang line of Kan is Qi we refine out of Jing (that is Kan) and that we coagulate with the Shen (that is Li) in order to "repair" it and obtain Qian. Is that so ?

 

yep. It's the standard process of refinement in alchemy: refine jing, then jing into qi, qi into shen. Instead of deadly yin become completely yang = Qian.

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.....

 
> Apech: "I think the idea that jing-qi-shen is a spectrum and not three entirely separate things is commonly mentioned."
 
Right. So any allusions to "flash drive and files" have no sense. There is a very important question what really reincarnates (if any), but ancient Daoist texts avoid this subject, because practically it's counter-productive.

 

I hope I haven't used the computer analogy because I think it is inherently false - or at least inherently so limited as to be dull and redundant.  After all we invented computers during WWII to do dull repetitive calculations and now they have become something like a super advanced telephone and an enormous reference library.  All of this is necessarily limited to be lesser than whatever we are and can be.

 

As to what reincarnates ... this is not a Daoist question is it?  It's not a Buddhist question either since rebirth doesn't require a 'thing' to reincarnate.  But if you hold in the reality of subtle levels of being then there's no problem in continuity during and post death of physical body ... but it is as you say unproductive to speculate ... just have to wait and see :)

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I hope I haven't used the computer analogy because I think it is inherently false - or at least inherently so limited as to be dull and redundant.  

 

no worries, it was Taoist Text, he has a strange love to express "inherently false" ideas in a form of ultimate truth  ;)

 

After all we invented computers during WWII to do dull repetitive calculations and now they have become something like a super advanced telephone and an enormous reference library.  All of this is necessarily limited to be lesser than whatever we are and can be.

 

agree. What's interesting is that humans made computers to mimic their mind, but now people become more and more like robots...

 

As to what reincarnates ... this is not a Daoist question is it?  It's not a Buddhist question either since rebirth doesn't require a 'thing' to reincarnate.  But if you hold in the reality of subtle levels of being then there's no problem in continuity during and post death of physical body ... but it is as you say unproductive to speculate ... just have to wait and see :)

 

it's not a Daoist way to wait for a physical death, it's considered to be too late to get any answers )) Sure it's just a speculation, but it's a productive one based on practical experience of many generations.

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it's not a Daoist way to wait for a physical death, it's considered to be too late to get any answers )) Sure it's just a speculation, but it's a productive one based on practical experience of many generations.

 

No you are right I was being flippant.  You could say all mystery is around death either eastern or western will confirm.

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