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August 2005 Journal - Zen Readings: Beware of

"Human beings have three treasures:
Vitality, Essence, and Spirit.
In old age, beware of exhausting vitality;
when vitality is exhausted, you die.
In old age, beware of leaking essence;
if energy is drained, you die.
In old age, beware of
dissociation of the spirit;
if the spirit is gone, you die. " — August 2005 Journal - Zen Readings


This is the variant of the Three Treasures known as Qi-Jing-Shen (Vitality, Essence and Spirit).

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), exhausting Vitality, leaking Essence, and dissociation of Spirit may lead to spiritual death; if not physical death.

Qi is Vitality, which is life-force energy, and refers to movement of breathing, movement of blood through the body's arteries and veins, movement of the functioning of various organs, movement of limbs, and related movement. Qi is the anima/animus dressed in Taoist symbolism, and is like a candle's flame.

Jing is Essence, which is also known as life energy, and refers to densely-vibrating energy which closely associated with our physical bodies. The Buddhist precept about being discreet about sexuality activity is associated with caution by TCM practitioners to not engage in excessive sexual activity. Jing is like the wax and wick of the candle.

Shen is Spirit, which is also known as the True Mind, the mind that transcends the body. It represents loving-kindness, compassion, and enlightened power, for Shen symbolizes a heart filled with wisdom, forgiveness and generosity, through mindful practice, be it meditation, or helping other sentient beings. Shen is the radiance given off by the candle flame.

To summarize, Jing is the wax and wick of a candle, Qi is the candle flame and Shen is the clear light given off by the candle flame.

Original post: August 17, 2005 2245H
Update posted: March 11, 2013 1247H


Energy is also known as essence.
Heaven and Earth:
Chinese Three Treasures:
Three Treasures:

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