We already know that the cosmos is a certain functioning of qi energy. Here we analyse what this means for a person and what kind of energy it is.
Pre-heaven Qi – Xian tian qi
The most important is pre-heaven qi (xian tian qi 先天炁), also known as original qi (yuan qi 元炁).
先 (first/prior/pre) – 天 (heaven)- 炁 (qi) = inborn/innate qi
Yuan qi, together with yuan jing, constitutes what we know as ming – the destiny, the vitality of a person. Yuan jing is produced only after puberty and is the function of yuan qi to pass on to offspring. A person receives yuan qi even at conception. Its supply depends on how much each parent could give.
The yuan qi energy is the basis of life. The more there is and the more active it is, the healthier a person is, and the better he feels. The decrease of this qi energy in the human body is the cause of aging and death. A person cannot feel that this energy is leaving their body but it can be seen over the years by the greying of hair, wrinkles on the skin, and increasing weakness as a person ages.
This brings the question, how come we feel tired after work, and we can feel recovered after eating and sleeping well? is this not recovering qi-energy? The answer is, yes it is recovering qi – a different type of qi known as post-heaven qi (hou tian qi).
Post-heaven Qi – Hou tian qi
后 (after/later/post) – 天 (heaven)- 气 (qi) = acquired (not innate) qi
A person receives post-heaven qi from the external environment, for example, water, air, and food, directly in nature and the environment he is living. He spends it and can replenish it. Decreasing the spending of houtian qi slows down the spending of yuan qi, but it does not stop it.
The further a practitioner advances in the practice of neidan Daoist alchemy, the better one’s sensitivity to ming becomes. At a certain (advanced) stage, a practitioner restores the full charge of yuan qi. This topic is discussed in detail in the treaties Hui Ming Jing by Liuhang Yang.
It is also important to note, that in Daoism the character used for pre-heaven qi is simply 炁, while common post-heaven qi is 气. Mistakingly many Chinese doctors and scholars today write pre-heaven qi as 元气. When yuanqi is simply 炁 (qi) or 元炁 (yuanqi). 炁 being the Daoist alchemy character for yuanqi.
Mystery of replenishing Yuan Qi
So where do Daoist alchemists get yuan qi to replenish ming, if the post standing (zhan zhuang) and other practices of using external qi do not work? The bottom line is that it is necessary to combine in a certain way the energies of the qi of the cosmos and the internal physiology of a person in such a way that it corresponds to the laws of the book of changes (yijing). Conventional qigong or meditation methods, not knowing such a device, do not provide a connection between the qi energies of the cosmos and man. For alchemy, this is an unconditional basis; one cannot change without knowing what, how, and what will change in space and in man.
Yuan Qi knowledge – the source of the most important Daoist prescriptions
Thus, it becomes clear where the source of Daoist wisdom comes from – from the comprehension of the laws of the original energy of yuan qi. The understanding of yuanqi is precisely the basis of all ancient Chinese prescriptions for the life and practice of a person, and it is not from social, moral, cultural, ideas, etc.