mardi 1 mai 2012
This "Qi" is, then, very close to the second one that Madam Despeux is talking about. Especially when we take a close look to a very common mistake made in its interpretation : Here, it is said that this character is made of the fire element on its lower part (灬) and of the negation (无) but the element on the uper part (旡), according to Leon Wieger, is the opposite of the element (欠) which represents the act of yawning or noisy exhalation. This Qi is often used to describe the pre-heaven vital breath (xiantianqi) and it is probably the reason why this confusion came out : the Qi "without fire" makes sense when we know that the fire represents the conscious spirit which doesn't exist before our birth. Actually, this character represents the fact of breathing in ( 旡) put into action by the conscious spirit (灬, the fire) : It is the first inspiration, the newborn's first breathing in, which starts every human being's life.
To these different characters representing the Qi that Madam Despeux is talking about, we can add one more, the caracter 既 (prononced Ji). This one is composed of two elements : a seed (the life potential) on the right and, one more time, the breathing in on the left.
According to those different characters, it seems that the Qi notion comes together with the chinese traditional cosmology, born under the Zhou and brought to the present through the Taoïsm. A very important point to better understand the sens of this "vital breath" lies in the relationship that it has with water and fire elements (body and mind, yin and yang). Qi is representing an "harmonious link" between those two major elements. This link is expressed in the Taoïst alchemy by the association "Jing - Qi - Shen" (essence - vital breath - spirit) and represented with the water - wind - fire elements.
Thanks to Gary Mc Cabe for his help in the translation