The Three Jewels of Taoism: Jing
The Three Jewels (sometimes called the Three Treasures) – Jing, Qi and Shen – are energies cultivated through the practice of Tantric Qigong (Chi Kung, Chi Gong), T’ai Chi, and certain Yoga and Tibetan disciplines. Jing (Ching), Qi (Chi) and Shen, may be translated as Essence, Vitality, and Spirit.
A Tantric Qigong practitioner studies techniques to convert Jing into Qi and then into Shen (the path of transmutation) – and also to transmogrify Shen into Qi and Jing – (the path of generation or manifestation). The Three Jewels can also be thought of as three frequencies of a common energy. Practitioners of the Inner Alchemy of Tantric Qigong (Neidan or Neigong) learn to control and transmute the frequency of their energy and consciousness along this spectrum – choosing the wave length they desire as we might we might choose a particular TV or radio station.
The most concentrated or densely vibrating energy is Jing. Of the Three Jewels, Jing may be the one associated most closely with our physical body. Jing is said to reside in the lower dantian (Tan Tien), or the Kidney System (sometimes thought of as kidney essence), and manifests itself partly as the reproductive energy of the sperm and ova. Jing can be stored in the kidneys and is the most primal energy within the body (Chi or Qi and Shen are progressively “lighter” or more refined in their vibration). Jing is said to be the basis for our physical bodies and is yin in nature, which means it is nourishing and cooling to the body. Jing is also thought to be the vehicle of our heredity – a concept similar that of DNA.
Jing is often considered the root of our life force, the physical substance out of which our life evolves. Jing may be likened to a wire through which the electricity of Qi is transmitted. One can also think of Jing as being analogous to the hardware of a computer – the physical foundation of an operating system. In this metaphor, Chi would be the electricity, and Shen the data that appears on your monitor.
Jing is consumed continuously by the activities of daily life, stress, illness, substance abuse, sexual excess, fear, pain, anxiety, etc. In addition to the practice of Qigong and T’ai Chi, Jing can be restored through dietary and herbal supplements, and balanced through acupuncture.
In women, Jing can be depleted through abnormally heavy menstruation and pregnancy. Some Taoist lineages promote exercises to diminish menstruation, reserving and recycling the energy that would be lost through the menstrual blood. There are corresponding Taoist and Tantric exercises for men.
In men, generation and replacement of semen lost through excessive sexual activity resulting in ejaculation contributes to the depletion of Jing. Some ancient texts actually define Jing (Ojas in the Tantra Yoga tradition) as semen, although this metaphor is not quite accurate. Semen contains and is energized by Jing energy, but Jing can also be expressed as ova, sexual energy in general, and bone marrow. In addition, through the practice of Taoist sexology and certain Tantric Kundalini techniques, the Jing or Ojas can be withdrawn from the semen, preventing its depletion.
Most ancient masters consider Jing to be the raw material of Qi (Chi), though some have said that Jing is an expression of Chi. Obviously, vitality and sexual energy are closely related, so it may be a bit pedantic to argue which came first, sex or life force, chicken or egg. Even in the Tantra Yoga tradition, these energies of the lower chakras are so closely related and wired together that artificial distinctions are ordinarily not that valuable. © 2010 Keith E. Hall, www.inner-tranquility.com All rights reserved.
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