According to traditional Chinese medicine and philosophy, Qi or Chi (pronounced “chee”) is a natural phenomenon. It refers to the “energy” or “life force” that forms the building blocks of the universe and of all living beings. Correspondingly, Qigong (chi-gong or chi-kung) refers to the practice or system of cultivating Qi and connecting to the universal Qi.
Zhineng Qigong is a branch of Qigong created by grandmaster Pang Ming in the 1980s in China. It distils the wisdom of classical forms—traditional Qigong, martial arts, Taoist, Confucian and Buddhist Qigong—and adapts this rich legacy to modern science, medicine and contemporary needs. Grandmaster Pang Ming simplified classical Qigong so that anyone, even those suffering from illnesses, can enjoy its benefits.
Zhineng Qigong consists of a comprehensive philosophy and series of movements (called “Methods”), performed in a state of relaxation, that range from basic to advanced levels. In Zhineng Qigong, directing the internal activities of the mind-consciousness is as important as performing the actual physical movements. Students learn to regulate their internal Qi flow to improve their health and wellbeing, help recover from illnesses, enhance their mental faculties and promote longevity. Practitioners can also use Qi to heal themselves and other people, drawing from the limitless reservoir of Qi from the universe. What distinguishes Zhineng Qigong from other disciplines is that it is simple, easy to practice, effective and safe.
Zhineng Qigong was founded in the early nineteen eighties by Professor Pang Ming, reverently known as Pang Lao Shi (Teacher). From the age of six, grandmaster Pang Ming studied Qigong, T’ai Chi and Martial Arts with nineteen different Grandmasters in China with backgrounds in Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian, martial arts, folk and other traditions. In 1958, Pang Ming graduated from Beijing Medical University and from 1958 to 1962, studied traditional Chinese Medicine, specializing in acupuncture. From there, he began his research into Qigong, drawing on both his Western and Chinese medical background.
In November 1991, grandmaster Pang Ming founded the Huaxia Zhineng Qigong Centre in Qinhuangdao, China. Over a period of more than ten years, 200,000 patients (Pang Ming called them students) were treated at the Centre, the largest medicine-free hospital in the world. All patients were tested and diagnosed, then put through intensive training in Zhineng Qigong for a month, after which the tests were repeated. The healing rate for patients was over 95% and encompassed over two hundred disease categories including cancers, liver disorders, heart disease, paralysis, diabetes, congenital defects etc. More than 3000 scientific reports about Zhineng Qigong have been published in China and in 1998, grandmaster Pang Ming was the first person to receive a certificate of appreciation from the Chinese Ministry of Sports and Health. Of the eleven Qigong forms that were researched by the Government, Zhineng Qigong was recognized as the most effective for healing purposes.
In 2001, the Centre in China was closed due to the Chinese government’s problems with the Falun Gong movement. The authorities banned gatherings of more than fifty people and the Huaxia Centre, where thousands congregated, was shut down amidst this political firestorm. Students and teachers of Zhineng Qigong were scattered in smaller centres throughout China and abroad.
Grandmaster Pang Ming has published nine seminal volumes on Qigong:
The original Chinese texts are available as PDF’s on this Chinese website. As of this writing, there are no complete authorized English translations of all of Grandmaster Pang Ming’s seminal works. Talk to our staff at the Centre for additional reading materials including:
English language books based on grandmaster Pang Ming's teachings include:
For over thousands of years, the Chinese have recognized Qi as the life force or vital energy that is the basic building block of the universe and living beings. There are two types of Qi: vital energy of the universe (universal Qi) and vital energy within the human body (internal Qi). According to Qigong theory, the life process involves the healthy interaction and interchange between universal Qi from nature and our internal Qi. This is because man and nature are one.
According to traditional Chinese medical theory, Qi flows through the human body along a network of Qi channels or meridians. Metabolic processes rely on Qi and Qi, in turn, is generated through the metabolic process. Thus energy converts into matter and matter converts into energy. It follows, therefore, that disease and illness are the result or manifestations of blocked Qi or deficient Qi, and the re-establishing of good Qi flow, in turn, restores the body to health. See jing-Qi-shen paradigm.
It is possible that Qi, like a magnetic or gravitational field, is not something physical that can be observed under a microscope. Or, it could simply be that current technology is not yet capable of detecting phenomenon of that scale. Fortunately, due to the proven effects of acupuncture anesthesia, the existence of Qi meridians has gained great credence in the Western world in recent years. In fact, Chinese scientists have conducted numerous experiments to prove the existence of Qi.
Ultimately, people find it hard to believe in the existence of Qi because we cannot believe that physical things in this world—trees, soil, animals, our own physical bodies—are made from something invisible and amorphous like energy or Qi.
We don’t believe that we can connect to and interchange energy with the Universe because we cannot truly grasp that energy and matter are interchangeable.
However, think again—didn’t we all learn in our physics textbooks that the world is not what it seems to the naked eye? Remember that years ago, Einstein proved mathematically that e=mc2, unveiling the startling reality of the reversibility of energy and matter.
In the book Life More Abundant, the authors distilled Grandmaster Pang Ming’s teachings to approximately:
“The spiritualization of matter, and conversely, the materialization of spirit, are achieved through the conscious dilation of the human energy field unto the cosmic energy field. This represents a heightened interchange of primordial energy with human energy.” This idea closely echoes Einstein’s theory of the reversibility of energy and matter. Although Einstein’s discovery was a shock to the Western scientific world during his time, this idea of the interchangeability of energy and matter had long been postulated in ancient Chinese texts.
Back in 4th Century B.C., ancient Chinese sage, Lao Tzu, spoke about an elemental force as the origin of the universe in the ancient text Tao Te Ching (verse 25):
There was something formless and perfect
before the universe was born.
It is serene. Empty.
Infinite. Eternally present.
From it, like from a mother,
everything living has come.
It has no name
so I shall call it Tao.
It has no limit
So I shall call it the infinite.
It flows through all things,
inside and outside, and returns
to the origin of all things.
it manifests as the spaciousness of the sky.
it manifests as the vastness of galaxies, stars, and planets.
it manifests as human life.
- Lao Tzu
Jing refers to the physical body and structures such as cells. Qi is the life force or energy source. Shen is roughly translated as mind/consciousness. Consciousness (shen) is the master of Qi, while Qi dictates the physical body (Jing). Likewise, the body nourishes Qi and Qi nourishes the consciousness. This holistic view of humans as an integration of jing-Qi-shen forms the underpinning of Qigong healing and therapy.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, there are three energy centers (dantian) in the human body: the upper Dantian is connected to the brain and senses (situated between Yintang and Yuzheng acupoints, see diagram); the middle Dantian is connected to the heart and lungs (situated between the Dabao acupoints); and the lower Dantian is connected to the abdomen (situated between the navel and Ming Men acupoint). The lower Dantian is the most important, because it is the reservoir of our Qi. It is from the lower Dantian that Qi is distributed throughout the body along a network of energy meridians.
Although, for some of us, this may be an unfamiliar way to look at the anatomy of the human body, many people, including Westerners, have witnessed the effects of acupuncture and are forced to concede the existence of acupoints throughout the body as gateways to the body’s energy meridians.
In Chinese, “hun” means to blend and transmute; and “yuan” means unity or one-ness. HunYuan Entirety Theory, a rational theoretical system with various far-reaching implications, is the foundation of Zhineng Qigong set forth by Grandmaster Pang Ming in one of his seminal texts.
Ancient Greek philosophers held that every substance is formed by discrete and indivisible particles—later known as atoms. In contrast, Chinese sages summed up the building blocks of nature as invisible, continuous, and indivisible source-substance. Lao Tzu called this “Tao”, while others called it “Yin/Yang.” We call it “Qi” or primordial energy.
Another key idea in this theory is that all matter possess three elements—mass, energy and information— and exist in three classifications—substance, field and primordial energy (Hunyuan Qi). We already know that substance possesses mass (energy and information are concealed within this mass) whereas fields (eg radio, magnetic, electric fields) possess energy (with mass and information concealed within the field). According to HunYuan theory, HunYuan Qi is the third classification and exists as information (with energy and mass concealed within). Essentially, Qi allows nature to become flexible enough to permit the seemingly inexplicable transformation of non-matter into matter, time into space, mass into energy.
Without delving deeper, suffice to say that human consciousness (shen) is the activity of HunYuan Qi of the human brain. The practice of Zhineng Qigong at an advanced level will involve harnessing that consciousness. As you can see, words in the English vocabulary like “consciousness” or “mind” or “spirit” are inadequate in encapsulating the meaning of shen or other terms and phrases as posited by Grandmaster Pang Ming. One must read his works to understand the nuances of each concept that we have summarily explained with simple accessible language here. For most Westerners, there exists neither the context nor the practical experience to understand these terms without further study.
If HunYuan Entirety Theory sounds like science fiction to you, it is worth mentioning that Western scientists have begun to explore the possibility that the fundamental particles of matter—long established to be electrons, neutrinos, quarks—may be broken down to even smaller building blocks that scientists do not yet have the technology to examine (see, for example, String Theory).
For those who are interested in this fascinating study, the HunYuan Entirety Theory consists of: the HunYuan Theory, the Entirety Theory, the Theory of Consciousness, The Theory of Morality, and the Human HunYuan Qi. The HunYuan Theory includes the Concept of Change, Concept of Time, and Concept of Space, whereas the Entirety Theory includes the Entirety Theory of the Universe, of Man and Nature, and of the Human Body. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the HunYuan Entirety Theory, please read source materials to learn more.
The Methods in Zhineng Qigong are movements and postures that are synchronized with internal visualizations (activities of the consciousness).
When we talk about visualizations, we are referring to the use of our consciousness to draw Qi, channel Qi, and transmit Qi. Thus, the internal visualizations that Zhen laoshi will teach you as you go through the movements and postures are as important as the actual physical activity of the methods. It is through these visualizations that we learn to achieve an energy-sensitive state in which we can connect with the universal energy.
It is worth pointing out that many methods come with oral mantras (kou jue). These are poetic Chinese verses that distill the essence of the visualizations. For Chinese practitioners, they are extremely useful and easy to remember. For non-Chinese speaking practitioners, it is still helpful to learn the translations of the verses as they provide vivid imagery that help to direct the flow of Qi in a particular Method.
In Grandmaster Pang Ming’s Practical Methodology of Zhineng Qigong, he lays out the methods of active and passive forms of Zhineng Qigong.
Active Zhineng Qigong combines movement with intent (consciousness/thought). It comprises six levels:
Passive Zhineng Qigong consists of forms that focus on the activities of the consciousness, using few movements and maintaining fixed postures. The main forms include standing forms, sitting forms and reclining forms. Among the passive forms, the Three Centers Merge standing form is commonly taught to help students transition from Level 1 to Level 2 practice.
Here, we will roughly describe only a few of the most commonly practiced methods: Lift Qi Up and Pour Qi Down, Three Centers Merge, Wall-Squat, the simplified Pouring Qi method, and touch briefly on the Body and Mind Method. These are the basic methods that Zhen laoshi and other teachers usually include in their recommended regimen for students.
A word of caution before we proceed: please consult your healthcare professional before undertaking any of these exercises. The following descriptions and illustrations are meant to give you just a small taste for Qigong. Therefore, we are not responsible for any injuries that result from the incorrect use of the methods and forms described on this website. To learn Zhineng Qigong, you should go to a trained Teacher like Zhen laoshi to receive proper guidance on the subtleties of the forms and the corresponding visualizations.
Lift Qi Up and Pour Qi Down represents the essence of Zhineng Qigong at its basic level. The method involves drawing Qi from the universe, lifting up this Universal Qi, and channeling it through one’s body and energy meridians. In this method, the body stretches and extends, moving rhythmically and pulsating with mild effort and relaxation. The body’s biological functions are harmonized as the energy flows through the meridians. The effect is detoxifying as Qi begins to flow freely, eventually forcing out impurities, and the body is diffused with life-enhancing energy drawn from the universal Source. Most significantly, students learn to use their consciousness/intent to direct Qi and to connect with the universe/cosmic void. The establishment of this connection with the Universe is the foundation of greater health and wellbeing.
The Lift Qi Up and Pour Qi Down method includes the following postures:
The Three Centers Merge is one of the more popular “passive” standings. The Method focuses on merging or connecting the three extremities—the crown, hands and feet— with the Vital Energy Center or dantian, which is our reservoir of Qi located in the lower abdomen. Since there is very little movement in this form, you can focus on gathering Qi in the dantian and pay attention to the positioning of your legs, pelvis and spinal column. If you are in the correct position, the method will help to open up your lower back and you will feel the Qi in your Energy Center and a clearness and calmness in your head. The Three Centers Merge is often taught to students as a bridge from Level 1 to Level 2.
The wall squat is a deceptively simplistic looking method, one that might appear slightly childish to some people. The Chinese, however, have long understood this method to be a fundamental exercise for keeping the Qi channels in and around the spinal and lumbar region clear. It is very effective in alleviating mental and nervous disorders, and is also the recommended way to alleviate Qigong reactions if and when those occur.
The method is simple. Facing the surface of a wall, keep your feet together and the tip of you toes touching the base of the wall. Make sure your body is upright and centered and your arms are hanging naturally on both sides. Then lower yourself, bending the knees, shoulders forward and tailbone pulled back. When your waist is level with your knees, you may rest a little and then lower yourself further before rising slowly again. Repeat as many times as you’d like, the more the better. The reason for using the wall is to prevent your knees and upper body from advancing beyond the vertical plane of the toes. You may, of course, substitute the wall with a tree or any other vertical surface to help you keep your alignment.
This is excellent practice for beginners as it does not require the use of consciousness/intent. As long as you practice the form correctly, you will be able to reap the benefits. Practitioners can practice this method at varying levels of difficulty and there are easier variations for beginners. Beginners may try doing the wall squat with the feet slightly apart and the tip of the toes an inch or two away from the base of the wall. With regular practice, you will find it easier to perform the squat, and you can move your toes closer to the wall, thus increasing the difficulty. For advanced practitioners, the wall squat is even more effective if you focus your consciousness within the navel as you lower yourself, and on the baihui (crown) as you rise. With daily practice, this seemingly simple method can help to elevate you to a higher state of energy-sensitivity.
The Body and Mind Method is the second level in active Zhineng Qigong. It should be practiced only after the student has built a solid foundation through Level 1 practice and established a strong connection to the Universal Qi. This method involves a higher level of difficulty as its movements utilize every part of the body including seldom-used muscles and joints and require more exertion. Unlike Level 1, which focuses on channeling Qi with the consciousness, the Body and Mind Method focuses on channeling and directing the flow of Qi through physical movement and thereby integrating the mind and body.
It requires a balancing of many seemingly opposing factors: one must exert oneself while maintaining a state of relaxation, pay close attention to the many small movements of the body while simultaneously performing very large movements, and maintain rigidity but also flexibility. And finally, one must seek calm amidst motion and eventually bring the consciousness to a state of complete calm and, thus, unity with the body.
Zhineng Qigong Development Centre