This article is about the “Three Treasures” in Chinese medicinal theory. Chinese medicine and practices such as Neidan, Qigong, and T’ai chi. Jing, qi, and shen are three of the main notions shared by Taoism and Chinese culture alike. The ideas and practices associated with each term, and with the three terms as wuji qigong and the secret of immortality pdf whole, are complex and vary considerably in different contexts and historical periods.
Tao Te Ching 67, tr. This jing-qi-shen ordering is more commonly used than the variants qi-jing-shen and shen-qi-jing.
Three Treasures is expressed through the phrases lianjing huaqi 鍊精化氣 “refining essence into breath”, lianqi huashen 鍊氣化神 “refining breath into spirit”, and lianshen huanxu 鍊神還虛 “refining spirit and reverting to Emptiness”. Yuanjing 元精 “Original Essence”, Yuanqi 元氣 “Original Breath”, and yuanshen 元神 “Original Spirit”. If either of them loses their proper position, they will all come to harm.
Spirit, the Breath, and the Essential Vigour”. Know well this secret formula wondrous and true: Spare and nurse the vital forces, this and nothing else.
Guard these with care, securely, lest there be a leak. Lest there be a leak! Three Brief Essays”, The China Review 9: 380-382.