Nurturing the Three Treasures
Taking these primordial factors into account, a person can achieve glowing health by becoming in tune with Tao and the flow of nature. This is achieved through lifestyle choices. Achieving balance in one’s life is a matter of balancing Yin and Yang. But nurturing the Three Treasures is ultimately the most important task in attaining glowing health.
Zhou Jing said:
Jing, Qi and Shen activate the human being. If they are not depleted they will work intrinsically to produce the substances needed to remain youthful. The ancients have stated, “Heaven has three treasures — the sun, moon and stars. Mankind has three treasures — Jing, Qi and Shen."
Ancestor Lu said:
The human body is only Jing, Qi and Shen. Jing, Qi and Shen are called the Three Treasures. What are these treasures?
Jing. In people it is primal energy. Jing is our essence, the root of life, the body, flesh and blood.
Qi. In people it is energy, physical movement, activity, speech, and perception. Qi is the use of the body and the gateway of life and death.
Shen. In people, it is the spirit, the light in the eyes, thought in the mind. It is the wisdom and intelligence, innate knowledge and capacity. It is the ruler of Jing and Qi, awareness and understanding. It is the basis of the physical shell, the foundation of the life span.
If you want to learn the Great Way, you must value the Three Treasures. Without the Three Treasures you cannot live long, and deep attainment cannot be reached in the limited time we have. So without knowing and valuing the Three Treasures you will not learn the Great Way.
The Three Treasures are difficult to obtain. Since they are not easily obtained, how can we not take care of them?
They are to be taken care of, and this is accomplished by purity and tranquility.
The Three Treasures are taken care of by taking care to not agitate the Jing, not letting it leak, so that it abides peacefully in its original home, true to reality as it is, circulating three hundred and sixty-one times in a day and night, returning to its original home, true to its own nature, immutable, forming the stabilizing ingredient in the elixir of immortality.
Jing is controlled by Qi. Once Qi runs outside, Jing eventually leaks out. Therefore, to stabilize Jing one should guard the Qi.
Without Shen there is no Jing (substance), without Jing there is no Shen. Shen is active, Jing (substance) receptive; Jing acts through the Shen.
Emptiness and substantiality interact and balance each other, subtly combining into one whole. Those who understand and master this principle of Tao combine the qualities of firmness and flexibility. As emptiness and substantiality produce one another, they penetrate the mystery of life and death. By understanding this, creativity and receptivity are established in their proper places, and the great elixir of life is made.
Human life in the world is no more than that of a dayfly. This is true not only of ordinary people but also of the sages and buddhas of all times as well.
However, though a lifetime is limited, Shen is unlimited.
If we look on the universe from the point of view of our lifetime, our lifetimes are those of dayflies.
But if we look on the universe from the point of view of our Shen, the universe too is like a dayfly.