pneuma (breath, energy, vital force)

Well, we all know the fact that qi is not a breath, qi does not equal energy, qi is not vital force (how it can be defined in the modern biology?) but if we do some easy math and put all above terms together (breath+energy+vital force=pneuma) we shall get “qi,” and the first entry in the Encyclopedia of Taoism opening letter Q is qigong.


Qìgōng 氣功 practice of qi, efficiency of qi

About time and place of the term “qigong”  we learn from the entry written by Catherine Despeux: “Qigong is a product of the twentieth century, but is rooted in the earlier tradition. The term is mentioned in the Tang period (618-907) to designate the “practice of qi,” and in the Song period (960-1279) the “efficiency of qi.” In modern times, it has taken on a new meaning and refers not only to Nourishing Life (yangsheng) but also to martial and therapeutic techniques.”

And next follow six main branches of qigong:

  • a Taoist qigong, 
  • a Buddhist qigong, 
  • a Confucian qigong, 
  • a medical qigong, 
  • a martial qigong, and 
  • a popular qigong (including the methods of rural exorcists and sorcerers). 

Another approach gives historians a “strong qigong” (yìng qìgōng 硬氣功), incorporating martial techniques,  and a “soft qigong” (ruăn qìgōng 軟氣功).

Speaking about the “soft qigong” (ruăn qìgōng 軟氣功) we shall see:

1. Jìnggōng 靜功, or the practice of qi in rest, which traditionally was called “sitting in oblivion” (zuowang) by Taoists, “sitting in dhyana” (chánzuò 禪坐) by Buddhists, and “quiet sitting” (jìngzuò 靜坐) by Neo-Confucians. These sitting practices can be accompanied by breathing, visualization, and mental concentration. 

2. Dònggōng 動功, or the practice of qi in movement, which includes the gymnastic traditions (daoyin) of medical doctors, Taoists, and Buddhists. The induction of spontaneous movements (zìfā dònggōng 自發動功) is derived from traditional trance techniques.”

“As for the therapeutic technique of the qigong master who heals people at a distance through his energy of his hands—a method that actually revives the traditional Taoist practice of “spreading breath” (buqi)—the possible existence of an “outer energy” (wàiqì 外氣) and its efficacy have been debated at length.”—C.D.

See, classification is good enough to do a try to define your own place in the whole world picture:))

QUIZ 1 (Reading Traditional Chinese): 1—氣, 2—氣功, 3—硬氣功, 4—軟氣功, 5—靜功, 6—禪坐, 7—靜坐, 8—動功, 9—自發動功, 10—外氣.

QUIZ 2 (Translating terms from Chinese into English): 1—qì, 2—qìgōng, 3—yìng qìgōng, 4—ruăn qìgōng, 5—jìnggōng, 6—chánzuò, 7—jìngzuò, 8—dònggōng, 9—zìfā dònggōng, 10—wàiqì.

QUIZ 3 Write ten terms from the QUIZ 1 by memory.

Congratulations, it looks like you have understood totally what people are speaking about using “qigong”.