The Three Treasures
Your Life is Like a Candle
A simple, traditional analogy by which one can understand the Three Treasures concept is to think of life being like a candle. The BODY
material of the candle itself, the wax and the wick form the innate substance, or essence, of the candle is analogous to JING
. Depending on the quality of the wax and the size of the candle, the candle can be expected to have a certain life span (candle length).
is the actual activity of the candle. The flame is energy manifested. It provides the source of light. However, it eventually consumes the candle. The flame is analogous to QI (Chi)
given off by the flame is the ultimate purpose of the candle. A larger candle, and thus a larger flame, will give off greater light. The light given off by the candle is analogous to Shen, which is the spirit of the candle. Our lives are like that of a candle. Genetically we are given certain regenerative power, but when our Jing is used up, we die. The purpose of taking Chinese tonic herbs is to replenish the JING and QI
and to stabilize our emotional body so that SHEN (spirit and love)
may fully develop.
Jing has been called the "superior ultimate" treasure, even though in a healthy, glowing body, the quantity is small. Jing existed before the body existed, and this jing enters the body tissues and becomes the root of our body. When we keep jing within our body by preserving our sexual urges, our body will have vitality and vigor. If a person cares for the their jing, and does not spend it recklessly, it is very easy to enjoy a life of great longevity. Without jing energy, we cannot live.
Qi(Chi) is the invisible life force which enables the body to think and perform voluntary movement. The power of qi can be seen in the power that enables a person to move and live. It can be seen in the movement of energy in the cosmos and in all other movements and changes. Coming from heaven into the body through the nose (yang gate) and mouth (yin gate), it circulates through the 12 meridians to nourish and preserve the inner organs.
Shen energy is similar to the English meaning of the words "mind" and "spirit." It is developed by the combination of jing and qi energy. When these two treasures are in balance, the mind is strong, the spirit is great, the emotions are under control and the body is strong and healthy. But it is very difficult to expect a sound mind to be cultivated without sound jing and qi. An old proverb says that "a sound mind lives in a sound body." When cultivated, shen will bring peace of mind.