Qigong Vocabulary


Ba Duan Jin – Golden Brocade: ba – figure 8, duan – sections, jin – group of exercises, practices. Another meaning of the notion of jin is silk fabric (brocade). The 8 sections are the “8 treasures” of the technique, as precious as the pieces of silk from which the clothes of dignitaries and the army banners of General Yueh Fey, from the Southern Song Dynasty (1177-1279), were made, considered the father of this set of techniques . According to other sources, the authorship of the exercises is attributed to Zhong Li, of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and it is the general Yueh Fey who finished them for the training of soldiers.

Bai Huia hundred meetings or a hundred convergences: refers to the energy point located at the crown of the head. It is the tip of the taiji pole and, at the same time, an important energy center in the practice of qigong, but also a significant acupuncture and acupressure point.

Bing Qistagnant energy: appeared as a result of a process of interruption, blockage of the flow of energy (qi) in the body, caused by the somatization of stress, anxiety and emotional disharmony in general. It can be removed from the body using qigong techniques.

Dan (pronounced tan) – elixir, cinnabar: it is a life-extending substance that Chinese Taoists have sought for millennia. They originally believed that the elixir was something physical that could be brewed with herbs or purified chemicals in a furnace. After thousands of years of study and experimentation, they discovered that the elixir can form in the body. If you want to prolong your life, you must form the elixir in your body and then learn to protect and nourish it.

Dantian (pronounced tantien) – sea of qi, field of elixir, field of cinnabar or energy: refers to a natural energy, a center where qi is condensed and stored. The dantian is sometimes divided into sections: the lower dantian (xia dantian – in the area below the navel) is associated with physical and sexual energy. The middle dantian (zhong dantian – heart center) is related to breathing and the health of the internal organs. The upper dantian (shang dantian – in the forehead area) refers to consciousness or shen, and the brain. Dantians play a significant role in neidan (internal alchemy), energy cultivation processes and breathing techniques, as well as traditional Chinese medicine. They are also widely used in East Asian meditation and martial arts theory.

Dao (pronounced tao) – road, way: understood as a universal order, specific to the phenomena of nature, social life and human thought (see Taoism, MDA2010) or as the natural way of things, as a law of movement and universal change, as a foundation of the world (DR1994) Dao refers to the natural order of all that exists. It is the source and fundamental energy of the world and the universe itself. In the Dao De Jing (Daoist canonical text), it is said that “The Dao that can be named is not the Dao.” Dao is ultimately ineffable and omnipresent and yet remains indescribable.

Daoyin (pronounced taoyin) – lead, to lead (in qigong, energy) or guide and stretch a bow: a unique system of methods that arose in China thousands of years ago for maintaining health, removing disease and prolonging life . It is considered the source of all modern qigong exercises. Daoyin techniques can be postural, breathing or mental cultivation practices. Daoyin, as a term, is the forerunner of what later became known as qigong.

De (pronounced te) – virtue or moral: refers to innate virtue or universal characteristics and less to social moralism.

Du Mai (pronounced tu mai) – the governing meridian or governing vessel: it is the confluence of all the yang channels, over which it is said to “rule”. Because it controls all the yang channels, it is also called the “sea of yang meridians”.

Gong Fu (pronounced kung-fu) – human effort: 1. in qigong – skill that is achieved through long-term repetitive practice, mastery. 2. in martial arts: a. misnomer for all Chinese martial arts; today in China the term wushu is preferred, and in Japan, kuteijutsu. b. fighting genre that knows a diversity of styles; it is characterized by karate-like movements and others that imitate the movements of animals and originate from the therapeutic gymnastics of the Chinese. It was popularized by Bruce Lee in his films, made in Hong Kong in the 60s (DE). Generally, the word gong fu is used as a term to describe the practice of martial arts in southern China and among English speakers, but the term is not commonly used in this context in northern China.

Hun – the soul after leaving the body; when it is still in the body it is called “shen”.

Hymn of the QilinGong School (Healing Incantation): certain sounds, like a mantra, with a healing effect. These sounds were revealed to a master in Tibet in a meditation and have been passed down and used for centuries to preserve health, up to the present day. The hymn text is: Om Bi, Lu Na Qi,/Jian Do, Xi Hao,/Mi Sha Ma, Xue Ha Mu,/Jian Do Qi Bei, Xie Na Da,/Bi Na Ya, Soa Ha

Jing (pronounced cing) – nutritive essence, Essence, sperm, seed: sexual energy, essence, sperm, generically body fluids. It is one of the three treasures (sanbao) of man and is believed to be stored in the kidneys.

Jingluoenergy meridians: in qigong, the path through which qi circulates in the body, also known as “channels” or “vessels”. There are 14 main meridians in the human body: 3 yin meridians and 3 yang meridians of the arms (yin: lung, pericardium, heart; yang: large intestine, small intestine, triple heater), 3 yin meridians and 3 yang meridians of the legs (yin: kidney, liver, spleen; yang: bladder, gall bladder, stomach), ren mai (conceptor meridian) and du mai (governor meridian).

Liu Zi Jue – The Six Healing Sounds: system of techniques based on the theories of traditional Chinese medicine related to yin and yang, the five elements, the cycles of generation and restriction, the unity between man and nature. The essence of the practice consists in vocalizing six different sounds at the moment of exhalation.

NeidanInternal Alchemy: internal Taoist practice that deals with the formation of dan (elixir), its refinement, which actually means the refinement of the three treasures: jing, qi and shen. If these three treasures are abundant and flourishing, the body is strong, if they are drained and impoverished, disease will set in.

Powhite soul: refers to the bodily aspect of the soul. This is the background soul yin that falls apart with the decay of the deceased physical body. Po, compared to Hun, represents more of the instinctive animal aspects of a person. Po manifests in response to physical needs or material desires.

Qi1. vitality, energy, strength, breathing; 2. gas, air, smell; 3. state of mind; 4. primary energy, breath: intangible by scientific means, which keeps the organism alive (DE). The term is found in qigong, but also in traditional Chinese medicine, martial arts, etc. It corresponds to the Greek “pneuma”, the Sanskrit “prana” or the concept of “bioelectricity” in Western medicine. Qi is part of everything that exists. It is detected and classified relationally, but also through subjective observation, based on frequency and vibration. The nomenclature of qi in the human body is different from that for the environment and differs according to its source and location (eg weiqi – body protective, immune qi; yingqi – nourishing qi; yuanqi – origin qi; zangfuqi – and organs).

Qigongthe mastery of qi; the ability to work with energy: complex of traditional Chinese techniques for preserving vital energy (MDN). Ancient Chinese healing art involving meditation, controlled breathing and movement exercises (MW). It is composed of the terms: qi – energy and gong – mastery, long-practiced skill. In modern usage, it refers to a wide range of practices based on slow, fluid movement, controlled breathing, and dedicated mental activity. Much of the purpose of qigong practice is to cultivate this energy and store it in the dantian so as to potentiate the body’s natural ability to gather qi and then store or circulate it to the internal organs, energy centers and meridians. Qigong is practiced for various purposes such as health, strength, longevity, enlightenment, etc. a. m. d. It was not until the 1950s that the word qigong became generalized to serve as an umbrella term for many different practices and schools of thought.

Qilinlegendary animal: 1. in the QilinGong School it is represented as having a dragon’s head, deer horns, tiger’s body, bull’s hooves, lion’s tail and body covered with scales. The Qilin is a symbol of wisdom, serenity and prosperity; 2. the name of the unicorn among the ancient Chinese, which reveals the fusion of the two opposites: qi – the male unicorn yang (heaven), lin – the female unicorn yin or unicorn (earth). In ancient texts he is often represented as the leader of reindeer, stags. Qilin is the symbol of love for people, of humanity. The appearance of a qilin brought harmony and the flourishing of nature and was the sign of the imminent birth of a sage.

San BaoThe Three Treasures: Refers to jing, qi and shen, which are said to be the essential energies that sustain human life. Jing is essence, qi is vitality, energy or force, and shen is spirit or soul. In qigong, a practitioner learns how to strengthen, condense, and conserve his jing and transform it into qi. Then learn to direct the qi to the head to convert it into shen and nourish it. Following this “internal alchemy”, the practitioner discovers his true potential as a human being.

Shenspiritual energy: often translated as “spirit” or “soul”.

Taijitutaiji diagram or map: known mostly as “yin-yang symbol”. The modern graphic representation consists of a circle divided by a curved line, in the shape of the letter S, into two equal parts: half white, half black, highlighting both the monistic (wuji) and the dualistic (yin-yang) aspect of the whole . About the dynamics of the two parts, Chu Hsi (11th century AD) stated: “Yang transforms and Yin preserves. Yang and Yin manifest as movement and rest: Yang moves to the maximum, then rests; Yin rests to the maximum, then moves. Therefore, Yin rests within Yang and Yang exists within Yin; the two are inseparably intertwined. Thus there is only one element that is confused with the Tao.”

Wu Tiao – refers to the 5 adjustments in qigong practice, which involve: 1. regulation of the body (tiao shen), 2. regulation of breathing (tiao xi), 3. regulation of the emotional mind (tiao xin), 4. regulation of qi- of the heart (tiao qi), 5. regulating the spirit (shen tiao).

Wu XingThe five elements: wood (mu), fire (huo), earth (tu), metal (jin) and water (shui). According to the theory, these elements are not qualities of solid objects, but transformative processes of energy. Analysis of these energy transformations can be found throughout the spectrum of Chinese philosophy and is applied to medicine, society, martial arts, and of course, qigong. In the body, the elements are associated with the organs and function in two main cycles: of creation, which represents the way in which the organs support each other; of control or domination – represents the way in which the organs temper each other.

Xia Dantian lower dantian: energy center located approximately two to three finger widths below the navel, inside the body. It is considered to be the body’s storehouse of vital energy.

Xiao Zhou TianSmall Heavenly Circuit: a form of meditation at the level of energy centers found on the governor (du mai) and conceptor (ren mai) meridians. It is an advanced qigong technique of qi refinement, which together with the collection and cultivation of qi make up the system of internal alchemy (neidan). To practice it, the initiation of a Master is needed. The technique is very effective against aging and many diseases; it is also called the art of longevity. The Little Celestial Circuit is said to have been practiced in China for nearly 1500 years.

Xinemotional mind; the mind of wisdom is yi.

Yang – a part within the taiji symbol: 1. The full, positive or strong or energized pole of the manifest world; 2. qualities: positive, tough, strong, masculine, active, bright, sky in the yin-yang symbol.

Yi – intention or thought; desire; the will. Mind (yi) directs movement (qi). Yi is the mind generated from wise judgment, while the emotional mind is xin.

Yin – a part within the taiji symbol: 1. the empty, recessive, weak (apparent), negative pole of the manifest world; 2. qualities: soft, weak, feminine, passive, dark, earth in the yin-yang symbol.

Yi Jin Jing The method of transforming tendons into 12 sections: yi – to change, replace, jin – muscles and tendons, and jing – treatise or method and, at the same time, of high quality. Here, “muscles and tendons” does not strictly refer to these anatomical parts, but to the entire physical body, including the internal organs. The technique comes from the Shaolin temple. It is attributed to Da Mo (or Bodhidharma), a prince from an Indian land. Da Mo arrived in China in 526 AD.

Yuan Shenthe original spirit: mind or spirit.

Yuan Qi – a person’s original qi, inherited from the parents, which is created from the original essence (yuan jing).

Zhen Qiessential energy from the Universe.

DE – Encyclopaedic dictionary
MDN – The Great Dictionary of Neologisms
MDA – The Little Academic Dictionary (2nd ed., 2010)
DR – Religious Dictionary (1994)
MW – Merriam-Webster

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