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(8 pages total)

Page 5 - The Dao of Herbs


The Chinese tonic herbs appear to help these fundamental regulatory systems in maintaining optimal functioning and provide increased vitality in carrying out their roles efficiently and accurately. Furthermore, adaptogenic herbs and formulations appear to expand the range of adaptability, thus increasing the amount of stress an individual can sustain before breaking down.

This adaptogenic quality is the basis of the Daoist concept of "radiant health," which is generally defined as "health beyond danger." If one has increased adaptive capacity, it is possible to survive or even thrive under stressful conditions that other: more common, less well-nourished individuals might not.

When we have mastered the principle of yin and yang, we have mastered the art of living.

Reishi Mushroom

Jing, Qi and Shen

In the Daoist tradition, which forms the foundation of the traditional Oriental healing and health-promoting arts, there are said to be Three Treasures that in effect constitute our life. These are known as jing, qi (pronounced "chee") and shen. The ultimate goal of all of the Oriental healing and health-promoting arts is to cultivate, balance and expand the Three Treasures. At the highest level of the Oriental healing arts, the practitioner is attempting to harmonize all aspects of one's being. This is accomplished by focusing one's attention on the Three Treasures. There are no exact translations for the terms jing, qi and shen into English. They are generally translated, though, as essence, vitality and spirit.

The author's great teacher, Daoist master Sung Jin Park, described the Three Treasures by comparing them to a burning candle. Jing is like the wax and wick, which are the substantial parts of the candle. They are made of material, which is essentially condensed energy. The flame of the lit candle is likened to qi, for this is the energetic activity of the candle, which eventually results in the burning out of the candle. The radiance given off by the flaming candle is shen. The larger the candle and the better the quality of the wax and wick, the steadier will be its flame and the longer the candle will last. The steadier the flame, the steadier the light given off; and the greater the flame, the greater the light. Master Park described it like this:

There are three treasures in the human body. These are known as jing, qi and shen. Of these three, only qi has received some recognition in the West so far. Qi is but one of the Three Treasures--the other two are equally wondrous.

Jing has been called the "superior ultimate" treasure, even though even 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, our body can be vigorous. If a person cares for the cavity of jing, and does not hurt it recklessly, it is very easy to enjoy a life of great longevity. Without jing energy, we cannot live.


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