Camp and Guard Qi from the Ling Shu chapter 18.

This chapter from the Ling Shu, which is also commonly translated as the Spiritual disclosure describes the secret to living long and healthy.

It revels the source of our energy, and describes the different kinds of Qi. Commonly known as Jing Nutritive Qi and Defence Wei Qi.

Chapter 8 Ling Shu

Camp and Guard Qi Generating and meeting

Where from does man receive his Qi? Where do yin and yang meet? Which Qi constitute the camp Qi? Which Qi constitute the guard Qi? Where are camp and guard Qi generated? And where do they meet?

Man receives his Qi from somewhere. We are referring to Qi in a general sense. The gathering of Qi gives rise to form. Our body is formed from something, so please tell me where does it come from.

Camp and guard Qi are terms used in an army. The camp Qi is the aspect of the army that stays home and the guard Qi is the aspect of the army that goes out on patrol. Both the camp and the guard Qi are part of one army.

We define camp Qi as the yin aspect of the Qi that gives rise to form. We define guard Qi as the yang aspect that brings life to the yin aspect. They work together in nourishing and protecting the body.

Yang rises, yin grows, yang declines, yin stores. This illustrates the relationship between yin and yang. Together they bring life to beings.

The Qi of the old and the Qi of the strong differ. The yin and the yang Qi change their positions. I wish to be informed of where they meet.

Beginning with the age of fifty one is old. Beginning with the age of twenty one is strong.

Man receives his Qi from the grain. The grain enters the stomach, and from there its Qi are transmitted to the lung. This way, all the long term depots and the short term depots receive Qi.

The grain is referring to all that we eat that nourishes our body. The Qi from what we eat enters the stomach, where the process of rotting and ripening occur. What we can use is called Gu food Qi and this is separated out in the small intestine. The small intestine receives the useful part as a sacrificial gift. The grain Qi is then raised to the lung by the tai yin spleen Qi. If the spleen is not strong the raising is lacking and there will be less nourishment for the lung to distribute.

The tai yin spleen must raise the grain Qi to the chest. This is known as middle Qi or raising of clear Qi. The spleen raises the clear Qi and the stomach family descends the unclear part. This is referred to as the pivot of the middle. The pivoting function of earth, spleen and stomach, must perform its duty correctly.

The raising of clear Qi to the chest and then lungs depends on the original Qi from the kidneys in the lower burner. The original Qi is referring to the shao yin heart and kidneys that work together as true fire and true water. The fire and water must be balanced and strong.

This whole system is what brings spirit brightness to the head as beauty. It is what brings life to our face. It is our radiance. It also connects us to the eternal Dao.

The long term depots is referring to the storage of essence Qi. We call these yin organs because they store Qi just like earth stores yang Qi and nourishment.

The short term depots is referring to the stomach family, which is the stomach, small intestine and large intestine. The short term depots are yang because they circulate Qi just like the heavenly Qi.

Their clear parts become the camp Qi. The turbid parts become the guard Qi. The camp Qi are in the vessels. The guard Qi are outside the vessels. They circulate without stop. After fifty circulations a grand meeting happens. Yin and yang Qi penetrate each other’s realm. This is like a ring without an end.

The part that is raised to the heart and lungs contains two parts of one whole. We call it clear Qi. The gathering Qi spreads this around the body.

The clear Qi are yin and their nature is that of essence purity. Hence they transform to blood and are situated in the vessels. They move inside the channel vessels and are called the camp Qi.

The turbid Qi are yang and their nature is that of being wild, smooth, and fast. Hence their flow does not follow the channel vessels. Rather, they proceed directly into the skin and they are the exterior. They fill the space in the skin and are the partings of the flesh. They are the guard Qi.

After fifty circulations the yin and yang become one Qi that flows in the channel vessels.

The tai yin controls the interior. The tai yang control the exterior. They pass through twenty five units each, divided by day and night. Midnight is the yin apex. After midnight the yin weakens. At dawn the yin Qi are exhausted and the yang channels vessels receive the Qi.

Interior refers to the camp Qi and exterior refers to the guard Qi. The guard Qi begin their flow in the foot tai yang vessel and they return to the foot tai yang vessel. Hence the tai yang Qi controls the exterior. The camp Qi begin their flow in the hand tai yin vessel, and they return to the tai yin vessel. Hence the tai yin Qi control the interior.

At noon the yang has reached its apex. When the sun is in the west, the yang Qi weaken. When the sun goes down, the yang Qi are exhausted and the yin vessels receive the Qi. At midnight there is a grand meeting. All the people are asleep. That is called the link up of the yin Qi. At dawn the yin Qi are exhausted and the yang vessels receive the Qi. This continues without end. It is the same set-up as that of heaven and earth.

When old people cannot close their eyes during the night, which Qi causes this to be so? When young, strong people are unable to close their eyes during daytime , which Qi cause this to be so?

In strong persons the yang Qi and blood abound. Their muscles and their flesh are smooth and the paths in the vessels are passable. The movement of their camp and guard Qi never loses its regularity. Hence, they are of a clear mind during the day time, and they close their eyes at night.

In old persons the yang Qi and blood are weak. Their muscles and their flesh wither and the paths in the vessels are rough. The Qi of the long term depots strike at each other. The camp Qi are weak and diminished, and the guard Qi attack their own interior. Hence, they are not of a clear mind during the daytime, and they do not close their eyes at night.

The yin organs over control each other in the five agents movement. The person loses their connection to the Dao. The spirit brightness becomes weak. The radiance becomes weak.

I wish to be informed of the places where the camp and guard Qi move. On which paths do they come?

The camp Qi emerge from the central burner. The guard Qi emerge from the lower burner.

The camp Qi start their circulation with the lung. Which is also the starting place in the traditional meridian and channel system used in acupuncture.

The central burner is the stomach and spleen. They each have their own yang Qi transformational energy. Yet they are very dependent on the body’s own source of circulating yang Qi.

Tai yang and shao yin are internally and externally connected and represent the body’s true fire and water.

The guard Qi emerges from the lower burner and is dependent on the yang Qi just like the center burner.

I wish to be informed of the locations where they emerge from the san jiao.

The Qi of the upper burner emerge from the upper opening of the stomach. They ascend parallel to the throat, penetrate the diaphragm and dissipate in the chest. They extend further into the armpit, follow a section of the tai yin vessel, turn around to the yang ming vessel, ascend to the tongue and descend the foot yang ming vessel.

They usually move together with the camp Qi in the yang vessels over twenty five units, and in the yin vessels over twenty five units. This constitutes one circulation. The fact is, After fifty units another grand meeting occurs in the hand tai yin vessel.

When a person has heat in his body and ingests beverages and food that move down into the stomach, and before the Qi are stabilized this results in sweating, sometimes in the face, sometimes in the back, sometimes involving half the body, that is, the sweat does not follow the paths of the guard Qi and leaves the body, why is that?

That is a harm caused by wind from the outside. Internally the skin structures open. The body hair is steamed with heat, and the skin structures experience outflow. The guard Qi is processed there. Hence they are unable to follow their regular paths. These Qi are wild, smooth and fast. When they see that the skin structures have opened they leave from there. Hence they are unable to follow their regular paths. Hence, that is called leakage outflow.

I wish to be informed of the location where the Qi emerge from the central burner.

The Qi of the central burner, they to emerge from the stomach opening, they emerge from behind the upper burner. The Qi received there are discharged as dregs, steamed as jin and ye body liquids, and transformed to fine essence. The latter pours upwards into the lung vessel where it is transformed to blood which in turn is supplied to the entire body. There is nothing more precious! Hence it may pass only through the vessels. It is called camp Qi.

Now, blood and Qi, their names differ, but they are the same type. What does that mean?

The camp and guard Qi are essence Qi. The blood is spirit Qi. Hence blood and Qi may have different names, but they are of the same type.

The fact is, When someone has lost his blood, he has no sweat.

When someone has lost his sweat, he has no blood.

The fact is, In his life man has two things that may causes him to die, but he does not have two independent items that keep him alive.

When blood and sweat are absent, man cannot generate himself.

I wish to be informed of the location where the Qi emerge from the lower burner.

The lower burner discharges into curved intestine and pours out into the urinary bladder where its liquid seep in.

The fact is, Water and grain are regularly present together in the stomach. There they are transformed to dregs and together they descend into the large intestine. Where they constitute the lower burner, where its liquid seep in. A separate juice is secreted along the lower burner and seeps into the urinary bladder.

When someone drinks wine, the wine enters the stomach. The grain consumed earlier has not been digested yet, and the urine is discharged separately first. How is that?

Wine is a liquid made from fermented grain. Its Qi are wild and clear. Hence even if its is digested only after an earlier ingestion of grain, it will precede the grain and leave the stomach as a liquid first.

Good, I have been informed.

The upper burner is like a fog.

The middle burner is like a humidifier.

The lower burner is alike a ditch. That is what is meant here.

Published by Paul Freedman

Herbal Nerd

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