The Three Treasures

The roots of Qigong and Tai Chi are in Daoism, which holds that human beings contain “three treasures”:

The Three Treasures

Jing: sperm/ovary energy, or ‘essence’, associated with the lower dan tian,

Qi: energy, including thoughts and emotions, associated with the middle dan tian

Shen: spirit, and spiritual power, associated with the upper dan tian and cultivated through meditation.

The state of wu, which literally translates as ‘does not exist’[1], is often translated in the West as ‘emptiness’. It is similar to the relaxed, unforced state one can reach in meditation where there is a sense of wonderfully spacious, easeful clarity. In Daoism, it is here that the three treasures come into being and can be unified.[2] Qigong brings about this union in a state of relaxed, tranquil alertness; it is sometimes called being in ‘Qigong mode’.

[1] Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy online, (first published Wed Feb 19, 2003; substantive revision Thu Jun 28, 2007), 9.4: Wei and Wu-wei, Deeming Action and Non-Deeming Action.

[2] Frantzis, Bruce (2006), p25.