Chinese Traditions – Three Treasures…


In long-established Chinese traditions, the “Three Treasures” are the essential energies sustaining human life:

  • Jing 精 “nutritive essence, essence; refined, perfected; extract; spirit, sperm, seed”
  • Qi 氣 “vitality, energy, force; air, vapor; breath; spirit, vigor; attitude”
  • Shen 神 “spirit; soul, mind; god, deity; supernatural being”

This jing-qi-shen ordering is more commonly used than the variants qi-jing-shen and shen-qi-jing.

In Neidan “internal alchemy” practice (Despeux 2008:563), transmuting the 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”.