Secret of Longevity

tao of longevityThere are two things that you can do immediately to stay healthy and active

Once upon a time, there was a remarkably young-looking – but extremely old man — whose name is Peng Zu.

Believe it or not! Pengzu’s lifespan crossed a few Chinese dynasties, and by the time when he was seen during the Zhou Dynasty, he was already at the ripe old age of 800 years old.

Many were curious about – and eager to know — how Peng attained the longevity. The old man was generous about his advice, and shared his secret of long life.

To him, the most important thing one needed to do to live a long and healthy life was conservation. In Chinese, conservation is known as ‘yang’ (养), which may also be translated as nurturing.

There are three aspects of conservation. They are jing, qi, and shen 精、气、神 — known as the Three Treasures of longevity.

The three Chinese words are not easy to be translated into English. My attempt is to describe them as essence of life, chi energy and mind and spirit.

  • Essence of life: Jing had been part of us before we were born, and ought to be maintained and replenished to a certain extent through our diets and physical exercises after we were born. It is the source of energy for our vitality and reproduction.
  • Chi energy: Qi or chi is the life-force energy. It is the energy that animates our bodies and keeps us alive and active.  We need to keep our chi energy strong and ensure that it circulates smoothly in our body through the 12 meridians.
  • Mind and spirit: Shen is the commander of our body. It regulates the jing and qi energies mentioned above and their conservation. The impact goes the other way around as well.  When the jing and qi energies are strong, our mind and spirit are strengthened, and we can be emotionally more stable and physically stronger.

In a nutshell, when we cultivate our jing, we strengthen our qi. The strong flow of qi would keep our shen robust.  For the same token, if we can keep our shen balanced and lively, we can enhance the vitality through the workings of Jing and qi.

Do not worry if you cannot grasp the idea instantly.  There are two things that you can do immediately to start you conservation. First, avoid anything excessive. Eat right and sleep well.  Second, stay mentally balanced — knowing what is enough, and happy with what you have.

“There is no greater misfortune
than not knowing enough.
There is no greater flaw
than wanting more and more.

Whoever knows contentment
is blissful at all times.”

Tao Te Ching quotes, Verse 46

 

 

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2 Responses to “Secret of Longevity”

  1. Gabriella May 13, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

    Hello, my name is Gabriella and I´m from Spain. Sorry because my english is bad. I would like to write in Chinese language, but I can´t. I hope you can understand me.

    I write because long time ago I´m looking Videos, or books about Huashan 华山. Specially I´m looking for “Ancient Daoist Huashan Exercises” 华山道教古演习

    Because in Spain is impossible to find anything about “Ancient Daoist Huashan Exercises”. Here you only can find indian yoga (I´m not interested in indian yoga. I don´t like it. I prefere Ancient and traditional Chinese culture, because Ancient Chinese culture is very interesting for me).

    Do you know where I could find videos about 华山道教古演习

    I know one taoist grandmaster called Bian Zhizhong, who wrote some books about “Ancient Huashan Exercises”:

    -Daoist health preservation exercises.
    -A taoist guide to longevity.

    Do you know where I could download?

    I know some great grandmaster which comes from Huashan. I say some names:

    -Grandmaster Cai Yixian 17th generation of Huashan sect successor.
    -Grandmaster Feng Liliang 18th generation of Huashan sect successor.
    -Grandmaster Bian Zhizhong 19 th generation of Huashan sect succesor.
    -And specially Great Grandmaster from huashan Chen Tuan (who lived centuries ago).

    Please, Can you help me? In Spain are living many Chinese people, I asked them about “Ancient Daoist Huashan Exercises” (华山道教古演习), but anybody know what I´m talking about.

    Good bye from Spain.

    • Soon Teo June 10, 2016 at 7:50 am #

      Dear Gabriella,

      Great to hear from you. Sorry for taking some time to get back to you.

      I’m not sure I could be of help, but especially for the ancient Taoist practices they are often taught privately and so I’m not surprised if you could not get the video. Neither am I surprised that your Chinese friends do not know anthything about it.

      For the book written by Bian Zhizhong, I don’t whether this is the book that you are talking about: Daoist health preservation exercises. A Taoist Guide to Longevity

      I will definitely bear in mind your concerns and should I come across any information on the Huashan practices, I would get back to you.

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