What is a Jing? (Part 2)

Most people, including me, first learned internal martial arts and qigong with out a Daoist inspired view.

This missing view is "a way of seeing the world, or a way of affirming experience." If we are not presented with a view we tend to bring what ever view we are already familiar with to the new topic. [Like, dude, is this going to make me into the like ultimate greatest fighter?]

For example, because the Western historical view of creation is deeply embedded in the English language, even at the level of grammar and metaphor, people tend to see 'a divine agent' in the following translation which is not in the original classic text (jing). This translation from a Daoist Shangjing classic(jing), is itself explaining the nature of a jing:
Now the jing "in the beginning coexisted with the Original Breath and were produced at the same time as the Original Commencement." They are formed by the coagulation and the condensation of this first Breath or from one of the three primordial Breaths. Spontaneously born from the Void, they appeared as rays of light that came before the genesis of the world. In these grandiose divine prologues that refer to the time when yin and yang divided and "the five colors started to shoot forth,"....

"Purple books written in characters of red cinnabar" fasten themselves onto the Ch'ien tree growing on the moon. These Books shine "like moonlight" and are the nourishment for immortality. In the Pi-lo heaven within the trees of K'ung-ch'ing grove, the True Writings are formed in purple characters. In this sacred grove, the sound of blowing wind becomes music. And if a bird eats the leaves off the trees in this grove, then written texts appear on its body and whoever is able to obtain its feathers is able to fly. Thus the Tree of Life is Writing and Writing is a Tree of Life.
(Isabelle Robinet, Taoist Meditation, p21,23.)

This amazing definition goes on without a break for seven pages. This little reference may give readers a taste of what they can expect from any traditional Chinese subject.

Roger Ames makes some salient points about the nature of Chinese thinking:
We are always a participant in the unraveling of traditional Chinese subjects, never an 'objective observer.' From the Chinese perspective, agents cannot be decontextualized and superordinated in any final sense; to identify and isolate an agent [re: divine creator] is an abstraction which removes it from the concrete reality of flux, exaggerating its continuity at the expense of its change. Since change is interior to all situations, human beings do not act upon a world that is independent of them. Rather, they are interdependent in the world in which they reside, simultaneously shaping it and being shaped by it. Order is always reflexive, subject and object, are not contraries, but interchangeable aspects of a single category in which any distinction between the agent and the action, between subject and object, between what does and what is done, is simply a matter of perspective.(Roger T. Ames, Yuan Dao, p.20-21)

Roger Ames again:

In fact, categories used to define a Chinese world are fluid, and must be seen as often crossing the borders of time, space, and matter in an unfamiliar way. Dao so understood offends against the most basic of Western cultural distinctions, mixing together subject and object, as well as things, actions attributes, and modalities. Dao is at once"what is" (things and their attributes) and "how things are" (actions and their modalities), it is "who knows" as well as "what is known."(Ames, p. 27-28)

In the above paragraph the term Dao could easily be replaced with the words jing or qi.

In order to understand Internal Martial Arts or qigong and bring the practices to fruition, it may be necessary to relax some of the most basic ways we think about the world. What is the appropriate attitude with which to approach aLiao Dynasty Tea Ceremony traditional Chinese subject? How do we go about the process of unfolding the subject keeping in mind its traditional context?

While we are free to dive into these scholarly debates, there is a traditional answer which also points in the right direction and wishes a person good luck at the same time: Long-life!