Qi: "When it goes into man's chest, the man becomes a sage"

Spiritual Education
"What, if any, are the equivalent Chinese terms for 'spirit' and 'spirituality'? A brief consideration of this question provides some helpful background for understanding how the spiritual dimension of human life is conceptualized and expressed by the Chinese.

Etymologically, in Chinese 'it is probably qi that bears the closest resemblance to 'spirit' (Adler 1997). A simple comparison shows the basis for this judgment. According to Barnhart, 'The original English use of spirit are mainly derived from passages in the Vulgate, in which Latin spiritus is used to translate Greek pneuma and Herbrew ruah' (1999; 1047). Holl gives the original meaning of ruah as 'air in movement' (1998: 8), while Adler highlights 'the analogous words in Hebrew, classical Greek, and Sanskrit (ruach, pneuma, and prana) that similarly cover the range of meanings from wind and breath to spirit' (1997).

The original pictograph for the Chinese character qi consists of three roughly horizontal strokes representing parallel layers of clouds arising from the condensation of moisture. It thus denotes 'air, vapour, gas' (Lindqvist 1991: 172). Later, the pictograph for rice was inserted under the original strokes, probably to show the 'vapors' rising out of a saucepan of boiling grain (172). This composite pictograph became the present character for qi. Pas and Leung speculated that, in a natural extension of meaning, qi as vapours came to mean 'breath' (which in winter is very similar to steam). Because in many cultures 'breath' signifies 'life,' a further extension became understandable: 'vital spirit, vitality, vital breath, life energy, vital force' (1998:78). They stress the parallels qi has in other traditions, particularly regarding the fact that the same vital principle or energy that qi represents is supposed to course through both the cosmos and individual beings, quoting Mair's judgment that 'The same concept exists in the Indian tradition as prana, in the Greek tradition as pneuma, in the Latin tradition as spiritus, and in the Hebrew tradition as ruah' (Mair, quoted in Pas and Leung 1998:78).

Qi is a central term in both Daoism and Confucianism, the two dominant Chinese intellectual traditions influencing all aspects of life, from health to medicine, martial arts, fengshui (geomancy), to literature and various fine arts. A multiplicity of terms have been used for translating qi into English, including 'ether, elan vitale or vital force, humour, breath or psychosomatic force' (Lai 2001:446), but often it is simply left untranslated. Interestingly, qi is seldom translated as spirit, suggesting that, despite the commonalities, there are also important differences between the two.

In its most generalized sense, qi denotes 'the primal stuff out of which everything else in the universe condenses' (Van Norden 1996: 227). Its all-encompassing nature is exemplified by the following extracts from the ancient classis Guanzi:

'the qi of all things changes and thus becomes life'; 'when qi goes to the ground, grain grows; when it goes into the heavens, there emerge constellations; when it floats in the air, it becomes ghosts and spirits; when it goes into man's chest, the man becomes a sage,' and 'therefore when there is qi, there is life; when there is no qi, there is death.' (quoted in Tang, 1991:21)"

Cathy Ota, Clive Erricker, Spiritual Education
Sussex Academic Press, pp. 154-55

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The fulfillment of eschatological instruction promised by Jesus
“The original meaning of the word ‘apocalypse’, derived from the Greek apokalypsis, is in fact not the cataclysmic end of the world, but an ‘unveiling’, or ‘revelation’, a means whereby one gains insight into the present.” (Kovacs, 2013, 2)
An apocalypse (Greek: apokalypsis meaning “an uncovering”) is in religious contexts knowledge or revelation, a disclosure of something hidden, “a vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities.” (Ehrman 2014, 59)
“An apocalypse (Ancient Greek: apokalypsis ... literally meaning "an uncovering") is a disclosure or revelation of great knowledge. In religious and occult concepts, an apocalypse usually discloses something very important that was hidden or provides what Bart Ehrman has termed, "A vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities". Historically, the term has a heavy religious connotation as commonly seen in the prophetic revelations of eschatology obtained through dreams or spiritual visions.” Wikipedia 2021-01-09

Shri Mataji
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (1923-2011) was Christian by birth, Hindu by marriage, and Paraclete by duty.
Total number of recorded talks 3058: Public Programs 1178, Pujas 651, and other (private conversations) 1249

“The Paraclete will come (15:26; 16:7, 8, 13) as Jesus has come into the world (5:43; 16:28; 18:37)... The Paraclete will take the things of Christ (the things that are mine, ek tou emou) and declare them (16:14-15). Bishop Fison describes the humility of the Spirit, 'The true Holy Spirit of God does not advertise Herself: She effaces Herself and advertises Jesus.' ...
It is by the outgoing activity of the Spirit that the divine life communicates itself in and to the creation. The Spirit is God-in-relations. The Paraclete is the divine self-expression which will be and abide with you, and be in you (14:16-17). The Spirit's work is described in terms of utterance: teach you, didasko (14:26), remind you, hypomimnesko (14:26), testify, martyro (15:26), prove wrong, elencho (16:8), guide into truth, hodego (16:13), speak, laleo (16:13, twice), declare, anangello (16:13, 14, 15). The johannine terms describe verbal actions which intend a response in others who will receive (lambano), see (theoreo), or know (ginosko) the Spirit. Such speech-terms link the Spirit with the divine Word. The Spirit's initiatives imply God's personal engagement with humanity. The Spirit comes to be with others; the teaching Spirit implies a community of learners; forgetful persons need a prompter to remind them; one testifies expecting heed to be paid; one speaks and declares in order to be heard. The articulate Spirit is the correlative of the listening, Spirit-informed community.
The final Paraclete passage closes with a threefold repetition of the verb she will declare (anangello), 16:13-15. The Spirit will declare the things that are to come (v.13), and she will declare what is Christ's (vv. 14, 15). The things of Christ are a message that must be heralded...
The intention of the Spirit of truth is the restoration of an alienated, deceived humanity... The teaching role of the Paraclete tends to be remembered as a major emphasis of the Farewell Discourses, yet only 14:26 says She will teach you all things. (Teaching is, however, implied when 16:13-15 says that the Spirit will guide you into all truth, and will speak and declare.) Franz Mussner remarks that the word used in 14:26, didaskein, "means literally 'teach, instruct,' but in John it nearly always means to reveal.” (Stevick 2011, 292-7)
The Holy Spirit as feminine: Early Christian testimonies and their interpretation,
Johannes van Oort, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Department of Church History and Church Polity, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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