Clarifying the Truth

Qigong: The Differences Between Qi and Gong (Basic vs. Higher Energy)

The qigong arts have a long history that dates back to ancient times in China. Chinese people thus have a natural advantage in practicing qigong.

There are two upright systems of qigong cultivation, the Buddhist system and the Daoist system, which have made public many great methods of cultivation that before were taught in private.

While most people believe that qigong is about cultivating and harnessing “qi” (pronounced “chee”), the true practice of qigong has their practitioners focus on cultivating “gong”.

The Origins of Qigong

My Master said qigong as we know it today was not, in fact, originally called qigong. It originated from the solitary cultivation ways of the ancient Chinese people and from cultivation in religions. The two-character term, qi gong, is nowhere to be found in texts such as The Book of Elixir, the Daoist Canon, or the Tripitaka.

During the course of our present human civilization’s development, qigong went through the period when religions were in their infancy; it existed before religions came into being. After religions formed, qigong came to have something of a religious flavor to it. 

Qigong’s original names were the Great Cultivation Way of Buddha and the Great Cultivation Way of Dao. It had other names too, such as Nine-Fold Internal Alchemy, Way of Arhat, Vajra Meditation, etc.

People now call it qigong so that it better suits our modern thinking and can be more easily popularized. It’s in fact a means expressly for cultivating the human body that we have in China.

From a low-level perspective, qigong can change the condition of the body, achieving the goals of healing and health. From a high-level perspective, qigong refers to the cultivation of a person’s innate body (ben-ti).

The Differences between Qi and Gong

The qi we talk about nowadays was called chee by ancient people. They are essentially the same, as both refer to the qi of the universe—a shapeless, invisible kind of matter that permeates the universe. Qi does not refer to air. The energy of this matter is activated in the human body through cultivation.

Its activation changes the body’s physical condition and can have the effect of producing healing and health. Yet qi is merely qi—you have qi, he has qi, and one person’s qi can’t do much to dominate another’s qi. Some say that qi can fix health problems, or that you can emit qi towards someone to heal him.

Putting it that way isn’t very scientific, as qi can’t heal people in the least. When a practitioner’s body still contains qi, it means that his or her body is not yet a Milk-White Body. That is, the person is still sick or injured.

A person who has reached a higher level through cultivation does not emit qi. Instead, he or she emits a cluster of high energy. It’s a form of high-energy matter that manifests in the form of light, and its particles are fine and its density high. That is what gong is. Only it has the power to do things to an ordinary person, and only with it can a person heal others.

There’s a saying, “A Buddha’s light shines everywhere and rectifies all abnormalities.” It means that people who truly cultivate carry immense gong in their bodies. Wherever those persons go, any abnormal condition within the area covered by their energy can be corrected and restored to normal.

For instance, sickness in the body really is an abnormal bodily state, and the sickness will disappear after that state is corrected. More simply put, gong is higher energy. Gong has physical characteristics, and practitioners can experience and perceive its objective existence through cultivation.

Gong Potency and Supernatural Abilities

The gong that truly determines the level of a person’s gong potency isn’t developed through performing qigong exercises. It is developed through the transformation of the form of matter called virtue (de), and through the cultivation of character (xin-xing).

The transformation process isn’t accomplished by “setting up a crucible and furnace to make an elixir (dan) from gathered chemicals,” as ordinary people think. Gong as we know is generated outside the body, and it begins in the lower half of the body.

As your character improves, it grows upward in a spiral shape, and all of this is formed outside of your body. Upon reaching the crown of the head it then develops into a gong pillar. The height of the gong pillar determines the level of your gong. The gong pillar exists in a deeply hidden dimension, making it hard for the average person to see it.

Supernatural abilities are strengthened by gong potency (not qi). The higher a person’s gong potency and level, the greater his or her abilities are and the easier for them to be used. People with lower gong potency have weaker abilities; they find it harder to use them, and some are completely unusable.

Gong potency is the determining factor [when it comes to levels], it is developed through character cultivation, and it is what’s most important.

(The above is an excerpt from “Falun Gong” by Master Li Hong Zhi)

Why Doesn’t Your Gong Increase with Your Practice?

Why doesn’t your gong increase with your practice? Many people think this way: “I haven’t received any genuine teachings. If a master teaches me some special skills and a few advanced techniques, my gong will increase.”

Nowadays, 95% of people think this way, and I (Master Li Hong Zhi) find it quite ridiculous. Why is it ridiculous? It is because qigong is not a technique of everyday people. It is something completely supernormal.

Accordingly, the principles of higher levels should be applied to examine it. I can share with you that when people don’t see the results they hope for, it’s because they are overemphasizing the physical aspect of practice to the neglect of its spiritual component.

The keys to success do not lie in outward, or physical techniques. With an ordinary person’s body, an ordinary person’s hands, and an ordinary person’s mind, do you think that you can transform high-energy matter into gong or increase gong? How could it be so easy! In my view, that is a joke. That is the same as pursuing something internally and seeking something externally. You will never find it.

Spiritual practice doesn’t work like worldly skills, where you can pay some fee to learn a technique and then it’s yours. It is not like that, as it is something beyond the level of ordinary people. You will thus be expected to follow supernormal principles.

What’s required of you, then? With this kind of practice, you must cultivate your inner self and not pursue things externally. And yet many people are doing just the opposite. They pursue one thing today and another tomorrow. In addition, they are obsessively attached to seeking supernormal abilities and carry all kinds of intentions. Some even want to become energy healers so that they can make money from it!

But true spiritual practice is about working on the mind, or character. For example, it entails learning to worry less about the disputes that might surround you, and value less the worldly things that people normally want and feel strongly about.

You shouldn’t expect many results from your practice if instead you are all caught up in competition with others and pushing hard to come out on top. In that case, you are just like everyone else, and shouldn’t expect to get any gong from it.

This is why you need to put character at the heart of your practice. And if you can do that, you will find yourself elevating spiritually and your energy growing.

(The above is an excerpt from “Zhuan Falun” by Master Li Hong Zhi)