Evolution of biological Energies and Immunity—The Early Heaven
In order to understand the nature of the Immune System, we need firstly to investigate the matrix of its functional energies.
The Samkhya tradition of Ayurveda is often used to describe the process of individuation. This begins with the Ahamkara. Ahamkara, meaning literally the “I”, or “image maker”, and can be understood to be a point within the infinite relatedness of the Karan-akasha in which the evolutionary impulses within Kar-yakasha come into focus. ‘Karan‘ in Sanskrit means ‘that which effects, the creative cause’, whereas ‘-Kas‘ means ‘that which radiates; non-resistence’. ‘Ya-Kasha’ means “primordial wind”, the archetypal form—creating event itself.
Therefore we can say that Karanakasha corresponds to the undifferentiated, unstructured dynamic creative field of energies—the “field” in Quantum Physics, whereas Karyakasha refers to the kinetic matrix, which is the ground of all quanta (Dhatu) arising from the field. Akasha is the ’space’ necessary for the manifestation of all phenomena, as well as being the potential within which all transformation evolves. Thusly Akasha itself has two aspects—the original and the generative. These relate to the spheres of Karana and Karya respectively.
The Chinese concept closest to that of Ahamkara, in its general sense, is connected to the bio-cosmic concepts of Tian and Di (see below), while in a more specific sense, is described as being a field of interrelated form-creating processes belonging to the constellation of Hsueh Ch’i and Ching Shen.
Hsueh formally means ‘blood’, however in Classical Medicine, blood is not only a circulating fluid, but more importantly, represents the individual’s ‘vital essence’—the biological quintessence of all collective processes both mental and physical characterizing the individual. This vital essence when conceptually combined with Ch’i(see below) its kinetic dimension, expresses the individual and its re-creative possibilities.
By combining the concepts Ching and Shen (see below), one arrives at a form-creating field which contains phylogenic, constitutional, and cosmic elements, thereby connecting the incarnate manifestation of an individual to the vast sphere ofKaranakasha and Karyakasha. This is the actualization of conception, expressed in the ‘breathing’—the point at which the organism shares life with all that lives—the function of Ta Ch’i, the “Great Ch’I”, which is the basis of physical respiration. The combination of the breath Ta Ch’i, Hsueh Ch’i, and Ching Shen therefore not only reflects theAhamkara, but also reflects the individuals system of basal integration—the immune system.
Tian —Di —Hun dun; Cosmic and Terrestrial Energies
The corresponding term in Chinese Medicine for Karanakasha is Hun dun– ‘Primordial Chaos/Order’, also called the Earlier Heaven; whereas Karyakasha represents the inseparable dual concept of Tian —Heaven, and Di —Earth.
As in the Ayurvedic concept, we see in Tian a focal point of individuating energies arising from the infinitely ‘chaotic’ field of Hun dun to become the prime instigator of corporeal life in Di that carries the reflection of Divine unity hidden in its transient form.
Tian contains the sphere of evolutionary relational energies which operate centripetally—condensing the ‘breaths’ of Hun dun to descend as an inseminating ‘rain’ upon Di , bringing forth the full scope of cosmic and terrestrial power within the constantly evolving organism.
The relationship between Tian and Di creates the Great ‘pulse’—the subtle contraction and expansion, which we observe in every aspect of life. We see it mirrored in the symbol of the Dance of Shiva, in the great Taoist symbol for Yin and Yang, as well as in the symbol of the Bell and Dorje in the hands of the Lama presiding in the Mahayana Buddhist puja.
Tian is the constant purveyor of macro-cosmic forces to the micro-cosmic orbits, the meridians/channels Ching mo, of the living system, contributing to the metamorphosis of its structure, and creating a face/interface biao/li relationship between the specific organism and the entire cosmic field of energies from which it arises.
It is worth noting that Tian and Di have different essential ‘qualities’—gunas(Sanskrit). The gunas represent the actualized primary attributes of Primordial Nature,Prakriti, and are the basis for the properties of all manifest form both material and mental.
The energies associated with Tian that is basically Yang in nature, contain qualities analogous to the Mahagunas Sattva and Rajas: clear-vishada; mobile-chala; light-laghu; penetrating-tikshna; subtle-sukshma. The Sattva Guna represents the luminescent (prakashika) principle of intelligence, which pervades Prakriti. It shows us that Intelligence is a primary and inseparable attribute of the form motivating energies associated with the Rajoguna working within Tian, and which fertilizes the receptive anabolic energies of Di. At a later time, we will observe how this quality of Intelligence plays a major role in basic immunity.
The forms developing within Di, which is basically Yin in nature, slowly begin to obscure the mobile, light, and clear luminosity of Tian; Di being inherently heavier, and more solid—tending towards inertia. This reflects energies analogous to the Tamoguna: cloudy-piccila; heavy-guru; dense-sandra; slimy-slakshna; and static-sthira.
These energies reflect dissipation and are associated generally with degenerative processes in most of the Eastern concepts. This is commensurate with the concept that no form or being has permanent, separate existence, but is constantly fragmenting and re-creating itself within the great pulse of the universe. It should not be forgotten however, that Tamas is inherent in the very nature of form itself, being the basis for physical/structural manifestation, and provides the resistance that qualifies the ‘breaths’, Ch’i. This is true of all forms, whether mental or physical. “Cloudy’ thought forms for example obscure the natural clarity of consciousness and obstruct the respiratory patterns of the organism, being based as they are on the ‘breaths’, Prana Vayu—Ta Ch’i; yet Tamas prevents these forms from fragmenting too quickly and allows them to be an active part of the organism’s developmental process.
It is important therefore to understand that Karyakasha—Tian Di , are parameters referring to an all pervading, inseparable unity, the ‘container’ of all specific energy constellations which manifest as organism. These specific energy constellations act collectively within Di, Earth—the functional, germinative substrata of an organism’s configurative energies.
San Tsair – Atman The Image and Likeness of the Divine
The interpenetrating constellations of Tian -Heaven; Di -Earth; and Ren —Man, is called San Tsair, the “Three Natural Powers”. To understand Man, Ren, we must see him not only as being inseparably one with Tian and Di, but also as being the fulfillment of both Tian Heaven and Di Earth. In a ’spatial’ sense, Man stands between Heaven and Earth, being a child of both as well as being the focal point through which all of the cosmic ‘breaths’ flow.
Man is the most complex of all Beings. According to the Ayurvedic tradition his creation stems from a co-mingling of the two great universal motivators of CreationPurusha (Sanskrit), the ‘World Soul’ and Prakriti, the natural laws of the cosmos. Inherent in Purusha, is its reflective mirror in Man, Mahat. Mahat, the ‘Divine Mind’, the ideal of creation that transcends both the noumenal and the phenomenal, indiscriminately reflecting all, retaining nothing. In Man, Mahat becomes Buddhi, All Prevading Wisdom—the source of Ahamkara. In Sanskrit, Man is termed Atman, the highest personal of personal life, and with his luminescent Consciousness, mediates creation.
In Ayurvedic and Chinese cosmology, the phenomenon of Creation is not relative to any dimension of time, nor does it contain any differentiated qualities. It is without form or distinction. It is one vast sea of ‘breaths’, a metaphoric embryo—the dynamic locus within Creation that is both the Cause of the emerging form and also the Ground of its very existence. In the sphere of the apprehending Mind it is the Emptiness ofSunyata/ Wu hsin; in cosmology it is called Avyakta, that which is ‘unknowable’ as quantity or number—a quality of Akasha/Hun dun. It is in every moment, invisibly present in the visible—the space of every breath, the Mother of every Child.
‘Breaths’—Ch’i —Rajas Primary Biological Energies
Within Avyakta/Hun dun, is found the Dynamic Principle of all Life, the ‘breaths’, that pervade and penetrate all phenomena and qualities, uniting all form in spite of the fact that they appear separate and individual. In Chinese the ‘breaths’ are called Ch’i, and in Ayurveda they correspond to the Mahabhuta Vaju and the Primordial Rajoguna.
It is important not to think of Ch’i, Vaju, or Rajoguna as being merely forms of energy. In the conceptual projections that constitute our world view, the phenomenon of reality is a relationship between two transformative nascent states—matter and energy. Matter and energy however are in themselves phenomena, and as such have arisen from a condition which pre-dates their specific manifestations. In all Classical sciences, this condition is described as featureless and formless, though made up of the dynamic, active potentials that precipitate all possible phenomena. Its one pole is the potential of the energy event itself, while its other pole is the kinetic manifestation of that potential. These two poles do not exist independently but are co-creative, being the elementary cause of one another.
From within the dynamic evolutionary principle of Hun dun, the ‘breaths’ “separate” into Tian and Di, creating the polarity of Heaven and Earth—the ‘energy’ and it’s ‘resistance’, which characterizes the inherent nature of all form including Man.
The Tamoguna, the principle of resistance (in this sense related to the quality of Yin), is vital to the evolution of form in a two fold way. On the one hand resistance qualifies the nature of change by maintaining the integrity of the evolving form; and on the other, resistance ‘creates’ energy for further transformation much the way the filaments of a light bulb (which represent a resistance to electro-magnetic energy) produces heat and light. Energy itself could be said to be a product of resistance—without resistance energy cannot transform, only dissipate, without energy form would cease to ex-ist. This applies as well to the realm of the Mind, Manas, where Ignorance (Avidya) provides resistance to Pure Consciousness (Buddhi), creating ‘experience’ which is the basis for psychological and mental maturation.
Agni the Metabolic Event
As we have seen, the primordial kinetic and formative energy pervading Hun dun,Di, and Tian has a correspondence in Ayurveda to the Rajoguna. Potentially present within the Rajaoguna is Agni, the great principle of transformation.
Agni’s primary correspondence in Chinese is Original Yuan Ch’i (do not confusePrimordial Yuan Ch’i with Original Yuan Ch’i which is a physiologically employedPrimordial Yuan Ch’i —in the same way that Vayu Mahabhuta represents a physiological projection of Rajaguna, see below).
It is important to understand that the Rajoguna provides energy for the transformative processes of Agni, while at the same time resistance to these processes is provided by the Tamoguna. The entire phemenological universe is therefore the outcome of Agni working on and within the primordial germ or ‘root’ of matter-Mulaprakrti. Mulaprakrti embraces the operative field of Karanakasha and Karyakasha, and corresponds to the elemental potentials of Hun dun.
Tanmatras – Mahabhutas The Senses and the Energy of Manifestation
Di is the crucible within which the organism is formed. The formative energies operating within Di are referred to in Ayurveda as the five Tanmatras, literally, that which is ‘deliniated’, the ‘prime measure’, the kinetic principles of creation. These are the Sabda; Sparsa; Rupa; Rasa; and Gandha Tanmatras, and correspond to the subtle vectors of form creating processes that collocate in different proportions to create the Five great manifest elements—the Pancha Mahabhutani: Akasha —Space/Ether; Vayu—Air; Agni —Fire; Ap —Water; Prthvi —Earth. The variable configurations of theMahabhutas make up the entire substratum of function and form in corporeal life. These archetypal elements are metaphors for the interchangeability of matter and energy, and represent basic principles of the creative event.
Ayurveda posits a further constellation of energies evolving from the Mahabhutasand used to delineate concrete events occurring within the organism. These are theTridosas, Vata—;Pitta—and Kapha, each containing specific gunas or ‘qualities’ of manifestation.
The Vata dosa is comprised of the Akasha and Vayu Mahabhutas and contains the following gunas: light/laghu (reducing, supports metabolic events, and clarifies); dry/ruksha (absorbent, and reduces fluid events); cold/shita (produces contraction, and reduces sensitivity); rough/khara (creates rigidity); subtle/sukshma (penetrating, and supports all processes); mobile/chala (promotes motion and change); clear/vishada (promotes integration and dispersion).
The Pitta dosa is comprised of the Agni and Jala Mahabhutas and contains the following gunas: oily/snigdha (creates moisture, promotes fluid events and supports metabolism); sharp/tikshna (promotes activity); hot/ushna (promotes heat and metabolic events, promotes expansion); light/laghu (as in Vata); mobile/chala (as inVata); and liquid/drava (dissolves, liquefies, promotes cohesiveness).
The Kapha dosa is comprised of the Prthvi and Ap Mahabhutas and contains the following gunas: heavy/guru (increases bulk and heaviness); slow/manda (reduces activity in processes); cold/shita (as in Vata); oily/snigdha (as in Pitta); slimy/slakshna(reduces roughness, supports fluid events); dense/sandra (increases solidity, strength, and density); soft/mrudu (supports processes, decreases stasis); and static/sthira(creates stability, structural stability, and obstruction).
The traditional Ayurvedic concept of atomic physics is very timely even in terms of our own current Western concepts. It teaches that molecules are made up of anus—atoms, and that atoms contain paramanus—sub-atomic particles. ‘Anu‘ in Sanskrit refers to the universal principles of life associated with the Tanmatras. Each paramanucontains a larger portion of its own tanmatra while at the same time containing lesser, though equally important portions of the other four form creating events. This insight is not so much based on concepts of ‘matter’ or ‘particles’ as building blocks of the universe, but rather on the supposition that sub-atomic events are creative patterns of dynamically related principles contained universally in all form creating processes, revealing the underlying unity of all matter and energy.
The Bhutas are the archetypal principles of matter precipitated by the Tanmatras, to which they are associated, and are inherent in the creation, evolution, and metamorphosis of Form. They each represent a different relative level of density and process in matter, and at the same time, they are configurative potentials that create specific modes of response. They are the ‘quality’ or ‘nature’ belonging to different states of matter—put another way they are the ‘causes’ of different states of matter. They represent the principles of: resistance/solids—Prthvi (Gandha Tanmatra); cohesion/liquids—Ap (Rasa Tanmatra); heat/energy induced radiation—Tejas/Agni(Rupa Tanmatra); movement/gaseous—Vayu (Sparsa Tanmatra); and non-resistance/space—Akasha (Sabda Tanmatra). Being specific form creating principles, they are also active in the bio-psychic mind, Manas, and relate to the formation of mental constructs, psychological projections, and the psych-somatic realm of emotions.
In Ayurveda, the Five Sense Organs Pancha Jnanendriyani, have a special status in primary form creating processes, both mental and physical. The subtle form creating energies of the Five Tanmatras work on and through the sense organs to which they are connected: Akasha Sabda by the ear—hearing; Vayu Sparsa by the skin—touch;Tejas Rupa by the eye—sight; Ap Rasa by the tongue—taste; and Prthvi Gandha by the nose—smell. The events precipitated by the dynamic relationship between the Five Sense Organs and their related Tanmatras create the actual physical properties (bhutas) of the specific organism. This occurs in accordance with the individuation processes of Ahamkara active in the constitutional energies of the organism—Hsien—T’ien Chih Ch’i.
The metamorphosis of the embryo is a manifestation of the creative energies mentioned above. It also reveals the deeper post-natal functional patterns that become the basis for accurate diagnosis and therapy. The three embryological germ tissues can be related to the primary dosas: Ectoderm—Vata; Mesoderm—Kapha; Endoderm—Pitta.
Man is conceived within the great cosmic field of condensing energies in the Early Heaven (xian tian). But his image, the Image of this Divine conception, is initially formed and maintained in the womb through a constellation of so called Hereditaryand Adult Energies. These energies create or modify one another and flow from within the sphere of the Early Heaven down through the embryological and post-natal spheres of the Later Heaven, making Man both recipient and creator within the manifest universe.
Though the womb is the physical crucible that contains the initial form-creating energies, we see these energies extending beyond the physical locus of the uterine embryo to work throughout Man’s entire biological existence.
In Ayurveda this is described as a two fold evolution of Man’s psycho-physical systems. Firstly the union of Mahat —cosmic Consciousness, with Ahamkara, the purveyor of form-creating Intelligence (Prahashika), and their action upon the fiveTanmatras, the subtle root of sensory energies; and secondly, the primordial influence of the Trigunas —Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas upon creative events. This meeting produces the primary functional systems of incarnated life: the Jnanendriyas —five senses (hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell); the Karmendriyas —five motor organs (the ear, the skin, the eyes, the tongue, and the nose) which create evolutionary impulses from their associated Tanmatras; Manas—the psycho-somatic Mind; and theMahabhutas—the principles of primary matter.
Fetal and post-natal life differs not so much in terms of energies and functional systems as it does in the relationship of these systems to the environment. The fetus arises from the same functional systems as are active in the postnatal organism; the difference is that in the fetus, the nutritive elements are mediated via the mother rather than directly from the external environment. The definition given to the energies of the Earlier and Later Heavens, are in my opinion, semantically, not functionally dissimilar.
There are formally four Hereditary Energies that are grounded in the Early Heaven:Yuan Ch’i, Ching Ch’i, Tsung Ch’i, and Shen. These forms connect the Quanta with its Field—the individual to the cosmos. They are that which makes the cosmos visible in its Child. It is the common yearning of all living for ultimate fulfillment—it is also the shadow behind our most basic fears, the fear of loss, of ceasing to ex-ist. It is our encounter with the Space (Akasha) of Creation which presents itself as Sunyata —non-resisting Emptiness. It is therefore also our greatest affirmation, the invitation to a life without the restrictions precipitated by Ignorance (Avidya).
Yuan Ch’ i —Hsien T’ien Chih Ch’i Energy and Constitution
The character Yuan Ch’i is written in two ways. The first alludes to the undifferentiated structural potential found in the Early Heaven and called Primordial Ch’i. In this we see Man (Ren) being ‘born’ of the two great polarities Tien and Di , Heaven and Earth. The second, called Original Ch’i, is more complex. The main radicalHan, pictures a cliff, a potentially dangerous exposure—Man’s exposure to Life, the physical and spiritual journey of the incarnate being. The second radical of the character denotes a spring from which flow the waters of Life welling out from under the ‘cliff’ and flowing out over the fertile land—the Dharma, the call to life and purpose, gushing forth from its cosmic source and carried forth by each Self.
Hsien T’ien Chih Ch’i, the constitutional matrix, is the quintessential ground of the fetus—its potential for incarnated life. Both forms of Yuan Ch’i are related to Hsien T’ien Chih Ch’i, though Original Ch’i is physiologically active in the constitution, bringing its potentials into the realm of transformation, whereas Primordial Ch’i is the underlying dynamic structural aspect of Ching. It originates in the kidney system and combines with Tsung Ch’i to form Chen Ch’i (see below). In this sense Yuan Ch’i is related to D.N.A., the phylogenic dimension that acts as a link between the individual and his common inheritance.
Ching Functional Energy
Since no process in reality has a true isolated ‘beginning’ and no true ‘end’ (which is a cultural projection positing a linear two-dimensional universe), we must create an incidental point of view that allows us to observe Ching as it operates. Seen from theEarly Heaven, Ching is the ’semen’, the inseminating principle, coming from the parents and providing the basis for the conception of the fetus. It is not a specific ‘configurative energy’ but an unstructured generative force that underlies the metamorphosis of the embryo. Specific ‘configurative energies’ can only evolve from unattached, undifferentiated energy, and the interrelationship of these two fields gives us a picture of an endless involuted circuit of cause and effect.
In relationship to the Later Heaven, Ching becomes the fulfilled manifestation of this inseminating process—its refined quintessence. The Early and Later Heavens are joined in this circuit through the double role played by Ching. One the one hand we see it as ’semen’ belonging to the reproductive system, and on the other we observe it utilizing the transformed essence of cosmic matter found within the physical environment that underlies the growth and maintenance of the individual. We might say that cells are ‘conceived’ by Ching and that the end product of all cellular metabolism is ultimately again expressed in the reproductive system as ’semen’ and ‘ovum’—Ching.
The vital replenishment of Ching, and the ground of the immune system is to be found in the Wei the ‘Tastes’ (not to be confused with Wei Ch’i), and is called rasa inAyurveda. In Classical Medicine, the nutritive elements of basic foodstuffs are not classified in terms of their bio-chemical make-up but by their energetic components. Each of the six rasas (sweet, sour, saline, pungent, bitter, and astringent) is a dynamic manifestation of a specific combination of the Mahabhutas. The subtle transmutation of the pancabhutas during digestion by JatharAgni (primary digestion), and their subsequent re-assembly by the bhutAgnis (cellular/tissue metabolism) into the nutritive elements needed by the organism, is an important key to understanding the metabolic event.
The Pancha Mahabhutas contained in the food we eat and comprising their ‘tastes’, have a ‘foreign’ character, belonging as they do to the primary individuation of an organism other than ours. We must remember that the life of the individual is entirely relegated to the energies under the command of Ahamkara, and that each ingested nutrient must be ‘individualized’ into a manifestation of the particular organism’sAhamkara before it can serve as the life of that individual. This is accomplished by theAgnis, the cosmic Fires of transformation (also termed tejas in conjunction with theMahabhutas) which is the basis for Ahamkara’s evolutionary processes. (It is interesting to note that in the first translations of the Christian Bible into Hindi, the Holy Spirit was identified as Agni).
The concept of Taste—rasa /wei, is crucial to an understanding of any living cellular system. Each rasa reflects one or more Mahabhuta and thusly represents the point at which the individual organism meets the universal attributes it shares in common with all creation within its own evolutionary sphere. In this sense the Tastes can be associated with hsing Ch’i (see below) the form creating potentials inherent in kaya the physical body.
The Sweet Taste is comprised of Prthvi and Ap Mahabhutas and is primarily related to the Kapha dosa, containing the oily/snigdha, cold/shita, and heavy/guru gunas. It is extremely anabolic increasing the form creating energies associated with Tsung Ch’i. Its action is primarily cold/shita and heavy/guru.
The Sour Taste is comprised of Ap and Prthvi Mahabuthas and is related to theKapha and Pitta dosas, containing the oily/snigdha, hot/ushna, and heavy/guru gunas. It is anabolic, though in a lesser sense than the Sweet Taste. Its action is primarily oily/snigdha and slow/manda.
The Saline Taste is comprised of Ap and Teja Mahabhutas and is also related to thekapha and Pitta dosas, the difference is in the vipaka, or post-digestive effect that, in the case of the Saline Taste, is Sweet. It contains the same gunas as the Sour Taste but its primary action is hot/ushna and sharp/tikshna because of the Teja Mahabhuta. It is both anabolic and catabolic, and can be associated more closely with Ying Ch’i then the other Tastes. This is due to the fact that primary metabolism is an archetypal combination of Water and Fire.
The Pungent Taste is comprised of the Vayu and Teja Mahabhutas and is related to the Vata and Pitta dosas, containing the rough/khara, hot/ushna, and light/laghu gunas. It is catabolic, and its primary action is light/laghu and dry/ruksha.
The Bitter Taste is comprised of the Vayu and Akasha Mahabhutas and is stronglyVata, containing the rough/khara, cold/shita, and light/laghu gunas. It is strongly catabolic and its primary action is light/laghu, and its vipaka is Pungent.
The Astringent Taste is comprised of the Prthvi and Vayu Mahabhutas and is related to the Vata dosa, containing the same gunas as the Bitter Taste, the difference is in the primary action that is cold/shita and heavy/guru, due to presence of the Prthvi Mahabhuta. In this sense it is both catabolic as well as anabolic.
Ahara, the nutritional event, is therefore an outcome of Agni working on the Tastes, bringing universal energies and qualities into play within the specific evolutionary sphere of the organism itself. Vital to the whole concept of Ahara as the origin and maintenance of the organism is Bala, unstructured vital energy (Sahaja—Kalaja—andYuktikrita Balas). Bala arises from the Sara (essence) of all metabolic events within the Dhatus (tissues), and these metabolic processes are referred to as the DhatuAgnis (tissue metabolism).
Directly related to these processes is Ojas, the pre-physical manifestation of non-specific immunity, which is also present in the sperm and ovum. It is important to note that Yuan Ch’i, Ching and Bala, and Ojas belong to the sphere of the kidney and therefore to the primary function of the reproductive system—the Sukra Dhatu.
Tsung Ch’i Heredity and Metabolic Processes
Tsung Ch’i known as Ancestral Energy, forms the first full manifestation of energies in the Later Heaven. The written character Tsung Ch’i pictures a dwelling from which emanates the influence of an individual’s ancestors, guarding his prosperity throughout life. Tsung Ch’i is the potential of Original Yuan Ch’i manifesting as a dynamic form-creating energy operative within the scope of biological functions—much the same relationship as ‘messenger’ R.N.A. has to D.N.A. Tsung Ch’i is a confluence of the energies surrounding alimentary metabolism Ku Ch’i, and respiratory metabolismTa Ch’i.
In Ayurveda, the dynamic of Tsung Ch’i belongs to the main sphere of Kapha Dosaactivity where Avalambaka Kapha, Prana Vayu, and Sadhaka Pitta meet in the processes of the heart and thorax (Upper Heater-shang chiao). This is not only active in the first breath taken by the new born infant, but is also active in the embryo, working through the anabolic configurative agency of the Kapha Dosa to bring forth the body (Kaya —hsing) of the fetal child. Belonging to the constellation of Heart, Blood, and Lungs, it becomes the basic pulse of the Mesoderm Embryological Tissue system, the rhythm of movement—the process of Change and transformation.
This primary sphere of biological life connected to the shang chiao also mediatesSahajabala—genetic non-specific vital immunity—a corollary to Tsung Ch’i. Belonging to the heart/lung constellation, Sahajabala represents the process of immunity that circulates at the psychosomatic level connecting the physiological processes of the body with the psychological processes of the Mind. In this sense it is the meeting of the individuating influence of Ahamkara with its projection, the Mind/Body, and the physiological processes of nutrition, which continually recreate the organism.
In Ayurveda, we see that Hrdaya is both cor, the heart organ, and also the seat of the Mind. As the heart system, it carries, by way of the vessels comprising the Rasa vaha srotas (lymph system and capillaries), the subtle Balas and Ojas commingled with anna rasa (nutritional fluids) of the Rasa Dhatu (‘plasma’ tissue—the first stage of nutritional metabolism). In its connection with the Mind, Hrdaya mediates Prana Vayuthat controls the energy vectors of consciousness—Avalambaka Kapha that works through the pericardium (related to Hsin Pao Luo the Master Heart see below)—andSadhaka Pitta that governs the memory, desires, emotions and the higher mental functions associated with Manas, the Mind.
Shen —Hsing —Kaya; Spirit and Body
To understand the Shen we must see clearly the relationship of the physical body,Hsing/Kaya, to its origin in the field of creation. Hsing means literally ’structure’, image, Form—it is the physical manifestation of the primordial transformations taking place within Tien. The infinitely conditioning factors active within the universe create dynamic centripetal patterns—a mirror of the cosmos itself—these patterns, the archetypalQuanta, are ‘conceived’ in Hun dun, begin their evolution in Tien and Di , are formed in the womb of the Earlier and Later Heavens, and evolve into a psycho-physical body —the ‘image’ of the cosmos. Here we see a reflection of Ahamkara precipitating the Body/Mind from the sphere of Mahat, cosmic wisdom.
The Shen are the dynamic configurative forces of Tien, which when observed in Di , become the Intelligence (Prahashika) active in the form creating process. The shen, as true configurative forces of the individual can be likened to Ahamkara, the ‘image maker’. It is not only that which inspires the morphological development of the individual, but is also the agent that selects or de-selects the basic constitutional responses to the environment which express themselves in the constantly changing and evolving integration called the Mind/Body.
The Shen accomplish this task in a two fold way: one, by manifesting themselves asCh’i, they comprise the active configurable energies in Tien; and two, by constitutingHsing the form creating energies of Di , they translate the elementary forces of creation into the manifest form of the Mind/Body. There are five shen, each relating to one of the five Yin (zang) organs—the liver’s Hun; the lung’s Po; the spleen’s Yi; the heart’sShen; and the kidney Zhi.
Being the center of Man, the heart is the home of all the shen. It presides over all aspects of an individual’s life from the highest aspirations of the Spirit to the most humble process of digestion. The shen control the differentiation of each organ and are active in all mental processes and the limitless depths of consciousness.
The Hun of the liver governs the ‘the function of imaging’ and imprints the phylogenic patterns from the kidney’s Ming men (Gate of Life) onto the evolutionary matrix of all subsequent mind/body functions. Archetypically the Liver system is related to the season of Spring and we could say that the Hun shen is like the living codes in a seed that determine its species and growth. The Hun shen is also active in our vision, both our seeing as well as the recreation of the images of life in the body and mind.
The Po shen of the lungs is the purveyor of the basal energy for the function of all biophysical processes. The Po shen governs the lung’s metabolism of cosmic energy (Ta Ch’i) that activates all of the ‘images’ and ‘patterns’ of the liver’s Hun shen, and is the basis of organic life. The Po shen is also reflected in the sense of smell that stimulates the central nerve system and provides the mind/body with a visceral interface to the environment.
The Yi shen of the spleen coordinates the ‘intentions’ inherent in all biological codes. In this sense, the Yi shen reflects Ahamkara and governs the functional integrity of the unity of body with mind. This interface reflects the coordination of mental and emotional dispositions arising in the organ systems. The Yi shen is therefore active in the creative Word (Logos), the “music of the heart”, connecting the individual withPurusha, the World Soul.
The Zhi shen of the kidneys governs the ‘will’ behind the evolutionary process and moves the organism to the actualization of all its potentials. The Zhi shen is an actuality behind the kidney’s Ching ch’i that is the active principle of “semen’ that contains both Bala and Ojas at the root of our reproduction and rejuvenation. Zhi shen is therefore also the ‘knowing’ of the organism in how to live its life. Zhi shen participates in the organs and sense of hearing that connects the mind/body to the infinite spaces of cosmic fertility.
The Shen are the ’spirits’ of psycho-biological life working through the channels as the wisdom of the functional energies, and are mediated by the heart (Hsin —Hrdaya)Shen, the guardian mentor of Dharma.
Ku —Chen —Ying —Wei; Post-Natal energies and Immunity
The macroscopic Adult Energies represent the functions of physiological activity within the organism. These energies travel throughout the body from their primary areas of transformation in two different ways. Firstly, Ying and Wei (with their corresponding Ayurvedic counterparts the Balas and Ojas) flowing upward from their loci in the pelvic region to the Heart/Lung constellation where they mingle with theHereditary Energies and Ku Ch’i, products of primary digestive metabolism. This meeting results in Chen Ch’i, the foundation of the body’s bio-dynamic energies that flow outward as functional instigators through the circuit conduits of the channels (Ching mo), and through the vessels of the heart (Dhatuvaha srotamsi).
Ying Ch’i is the energy governing the primary digestive metabolism of the body. Its analog is the Agni associated with Pacaka Pitta, also called Jathar Agni, and takes place in the Middle Heater-chung chiao (the area from the pylorus through the duodenum and the small intestine). Ying Ch’i is the foundation of the nourishing metabolic processes occurring within the Endoderm Embryological Tissue System and represents its purest essences (sara). It is not only associated with primary nutrition (Ahara) but is also thereby directly connected to the formation of Wei Ch’i, ‘defensive energy’ and its counterpart in Ayurveda Ojas. In this sense, primary non-specific immunity is a direct product of the nutritional event and its metabolism.
Ying Ch’i and Wei Ch’i are mutually dependent and complimentary forces. Ying arises within the ‘Pure’ components of the digestive process and is associated on the physical level with the production of red blood cells (the sphere of Sthayi raktadhatu) and the ‘heme’ factor in non-specific immunity. The ‘Murky’ components are analogous with the plasma and white blood cells (sphere of Sthayi rasadhatu) contributing the lymphatic factor to primary immunity. Ying carries oxygen and bio-energetic potential to the body’s cells, while Wei Ch’i provides the plasma defense mechanisms and subtle Ojasto all tissues. In Ayurveda, the physical qualities (gunas) of Shleishmika Ojas are analogous to lymphatic plasma, sperm, and ovum, while its subtle qualities are comparable to the energy component of Wei Ch’i.
It is interesting to note that Wei Ch’i, when it is functioning as the primary point of contact and integration between the organism and its environment, represents in Western medical terms, the first line of the body’s tissue defense. In this particular function, Wei Ch’i is circulated through the Tendo-Muscle Meridians (Ching chin) and the skin zones (P’i Pu), which correspond to the Mamsa dhatu, a tissue constellation belonging to the Kapha dosa and associated with Shleishmika Ojas.
Classical medicine sees Man as being a cosmological event in which every function is reflected and held within the tissue of the One Body that is called Creation.