jīngshén (精神)

this pair of characters is most often translated as the conjunction of two nouns “essence” and “spirit;” however, it is also a yīn-yáng nexus, and even a more structured Heaven-Earth nexus, so jīngshén () can meaningfully be rendered as a complex; in most contexts, I’ve chosen to render jīngshén () as “embodied spirit.” Jīng (精) provides the basis for essential yīn (陰) — the source of physicality, and shén (神) provides the basis for essential yáng (陽) — the source of animation. As noted in the opening line of Língshū (靈樞) 47, each jīngshén () receives a ‘mandate’ to live out through his or her experiences; that mandate, mìngmén (命門), animates jīng (精) into yuánqì (原), which is then disseminated out to support ‘post-natal qì (氣).’ [see also entries on zhìyì (志意) and húnpò (魂魄).]

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