I am interested in learning about chi.I really don’t know much about it, and its hard to know how accurate the information you find on the internet is. Also if anyone could recommend books on the topic that would be awesome. Thanks for the help.
I can give you a quick summary of hundreds of books I’ve read over the years. Lots of different names, languages and symbols, but it all says basically the same thing.
Ch’i is biological energy (bioenergy). It has three “states,” analogous to heat/light, electricity and magnetism. In India, they are referred to as Fohat, Prana and Kundalini. In the Chinese systems, Jing, Qi and Shen.
Jing is the form of bioenergy you receive at conception from your parents. It is what determines your life expectancy. Once your expend your jing, you die. However, you can acquire additional jing over the course of your life (acquired jing) which can then use as not to consume your innate jing.
Jing can be converted into Qi, the basic life force, and Qi can be converted into Shen (a type of intellectual energy).
The process of converting acquired jing into qi and storing it is the basis for many of the Qi Gong and Nei Kung techniques; qi is stored in the lower dantien (elixir field, if you know alchemy). There are two schools of thought on the storage of qi in the dantien; the first is to bind the energy through “sealing” it in, in which case it becomes yours to manipulate. The second is using it as a focal point for obtaining qi externally, through the sun and Earth (sort of like a matter-antimatter reactor being powered by the Universe).
Qi can also be converted into Shen, a higher form of bioenergy that powers the intellect and what folks call “free will.” It takes a lot of qi to produce shen, and a lot of jing to produce qi, so it is an “expensive” proposition. But… shen is the power source for your personality, or “self,” and is not stored in the biological organism. If you have sufficient shen, when the body dies–you continue on, essentially being immortal.
Bioenergy flows through the meridian system of the body, most noticed at the points called chakras, which are analogous to bioenergy valves. How much, and of what type, of bioenergy is flowing in and out of the chakras can determine many things, from character traits to psionic ability.
One of the older schools of thought, the Mo Pai, instructs that the chakras are actually “knots” in the system, and has developed a practice to untie the knots, allowing all the bioenergy to flow smoothly throughout the body, which can give rise to some extraordinary abilities. Most New Age practices have different views.
Though there are only three, primary “dimensions” of bioenergy, there are 12 forms of energy that arise, in two states, a yin bioenergy, normally associated with involuntary or repetitive functions) and a yang bioenergy, associated with voluntary and projected functions). Yang bioenergy is what is most often demonstrated by things like telekinesis and teleportation. Healing is a yin function.
There is a LOT of information out there, in many different forms and presentations; I hope this summary is some help to you.
@bruce very interesting and informative.
I saw a video once of a man lighting a fire without flint or match, but simply using his hands and chi. It could have easily been faked but it did not seem so. he also punctured a table with a chopstick. I have no idea where to find the video :( but does this make any sense?
To me chi is what bruce said, biological energy. like metabolism. Making the most efficient amount of energy for your body and then knowing how to distribute it through your body.
Ki is the stuff that the world is made out of, it’s this “energy” that hippies talk about. It’s all ki. Just like the force in Star wars.
A lot of people confuse Ki with other energy stuff, like Kan & Li (the polar union, also known as kundalini) or Gong (higher energy / “godforce”) or Jing (life energy.)
@colton: That video is about John Djang (Chang), who became rather notable for his mastery of Mo Pai. It concerns is the healing aspect of Qi.
I have a personal preference for the Chi Kung techniques that create a rapport of Qi between people. This allows a sharing of bioenergy–or the overriding of it. This can be used for healing as well as boosting physical strength in a group activity, or increasing intellect by sharing Shen.
There is a very interesting YouTube video by Lama Dondrup Dorje, giving a demonstration of this rapport in a discourse on the Heart Sutra (4 parts):
I get a good laugh from it, as these martial arts experts just don’t have a clue as to what hits them! And it’s just their own energy, being controlled by Lama Dorje. It’s worth watching.
@colton: Book list would be tough; I’ve probably read over 1500 books on metaphysics and from those resources, attempted to identify the common denominators and build a core theory.
Probably the most influential series of books I’ve read in my life have been Dewey B. Larson’s books on the Reciprocal System of physical theory, first published in 1959 under the title, “The Structure of the Physical Universe,” and later expanded to the 4-volume set, “Nothing But Motion” (concerning physics), “Basic Properties of Matter” (atomic and molecular properties), “Universe of Motion” (astronomy) and “Beyond Space and Time” (life, metaphysics). Larson’s work is unique in that it IS a “theory of everything” derived from two, basic postulates concerning the reciprocal relationship between space and time. NASA consulted with Larson back in the 1960s on his astronomical concepts in order to help them get to the moon.
One may think that atomic physics has little to do with Qi, but it is a lot easier to bake a cake if you know what the ingredients are. (But make no mistake, Larson’s theories are not accepted by conventional science… despite the fact he predicted the existence of Quasars some 4 years before one was actually found. And I do not totally agree with all of Larson’s conclusions, though he made one heck of a good “first draft.”)
I have used Larson’s theories as a basis to interpret metaphysical theories, as a type of underlying structure, since Larson addresses both local (spatial, structural) and non-local (temporal, energetic) aspects of physical existence, and his premise that the “natural datum” of the Universe is UNITY makes things a lot easier.
I’ve also studied a good bit of psychology, C.G. Jung in particular (Volume 8 of his collected works, “The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche” is particularly interesting), because psychology does play an important role in bioenergy–our emotions, feelings and thinking all affect Qi significantly.
I’ve read a lot of channeled material, particular favorite there being the “Law of One” (Ra Material). But I have come to the conclusion that “enlightenment” is not a bureaucracy, so one does not have to go through channels.
I’ve also had a few exceptional teachers, though they would never call themselves “teachers”–just other travelers on the Path that were willing to share where they’ve been. A philosophy that I also hold true.
It all comes down to a simple understanding of dichotomy, as the Chinese say, yin-yang, as physicists say, time-space, as ethical philosophers say, rapport-rivalry. Once you comprehend the the dichotomy, then take a look at how that dichotomy is projected and interpreted by consciousness, which will eventually lead to the particle-versus-wave idea of physics, and the quantum-versus-aether theories of the 19th century. And don’t discount aether theories… a lot more there than you may realize. If you want a good book on that, try, Stanley Grimes’ book, “Etherology, and the phreno-philosophy of Mesmerism and Magic Eloquence,” written in 1850. It is one of the founding works on which all of today’s “synergy” concepts are based.
@bruce: I gotta say you are pretty amazing. I didn’t realize how much you had studied this. Everything you said sounds pretty interesting, so I guess I will just have to start researching and reading myself. It sounds like it will probably take me a few years though ;). Thanks for all your information!