New Interpretation of Dantian

Master Han Jingchen

I never intended to comment on whatever Dantian is interpreted by others in society. As one of the basic principles of Han Shi Yi Quan, we should always be ourselves. So I hereby would like to present to society what I have verified by myself. I wish that people of virtue and ability would discuss my discovery.

Let me start with the literal meaning of the term “Dantian.” The word “Dan” (meaning“Pill”) is an ancient scholastic term. It means literally consummation or perfection. The ancient people used “Jie Dan” (meaning that “the Dan is made”) as a metaphor to describe when the end or result of a thing is seen. To push it further, “Dan” is used by the wise in ancient times to indicate how they seek perfection or the highest achievement. So, in Daoism, the highest kung fu is when you do not “leak”. The “non-leaking” kung fu is exactly what “Hunyuan” means.

As to the word “Tian” (meaning “field”), land is the basis for the survival of the agricultural Chinese nation. In ancient days, the central area of China was a land culture. That “the earth generates everything” is rooted in this land culture. Also the land is a symbol of wealth. This national root remains unchanged today, even after thousands of years of vicissitudes. What do we do when we are rich? We buy houses and land. One who owns a lot of land is called a “landlord” or “wealthy man”. So, for the Chinese nation, “Tian” or “Field” is the basis of survival and should be cherished and protected.

Now, the meaning of “Dantian” cannot be more obvious.

The land is the basis of survival and closely bound up with people’s lives. So, it should be cherished and protected by people with double efforts. The same principle also applies when one’s life is concerned. The life should be cherished and protected by oneself. Only in this way can a consummate or perfect result be achieved, i.e. a healthy and sound life.

As the Han Shi Yi Quan founder, I believe that the term “Dantian” was devised by the people in remote ages long ago in their discussion and exploration into the phenomenon of life. It was a mandatory subject for Daoism practitioners in those days. In modern categorization, it should belong to the category of “physiology,” as it was the ancient physiology. As a scholastic term, it was used by the ancient people to reveal the truth behind the life.

Why do I categorize “Dantian” into physiology? I will explain it in detail below.

The ancient people used “Dantian” to refer to the most important part or function of one’s life. The life is divided to consist of three essential parts or functions, which are essentially correlated to the soundness and healthfulness of the life. These parts or functions were termed as “Upper Dantian” “Middle Dantian” and “Lower Dantian” by ancient people.

In the human body, the “Upper Dantian” is located in the forehead to refer to the brain. As the important organ of perception and thinking, the brain was called by the ancient people as “Yuan Shen” (meaning the “primordial spirit”) that manages the spirit.

The Middle Dantian is located in the chest to refer to the heart and lungs. As the important organs that move Qi and blood, the heart and lungs were called by the ancient people as “Yuan Qi” (meaning the “primordial Qi”) manages the Qi.

The Lower Dantian is located in the belly to refer to the liver, kidneys and spleen. As the important organs that produce and store fine elements, the liver, kidneys and spleen were called by the ancient people as “Yuan Jing” (meaning the “primordial fine elements”) that manages the fine elements.

To make it easier for readers to understand, I replace the above into the following table. You will soon find out how the interesting answer is reached.



Upper Dantian

Middle Dantian

Lower Dantian





Corresponding organ


Heart and lungs

Liver, Kidneys, Spleen

Primordial substance

Yuan Shen

(primordial spirit)

Yuan Qi

(primordial power)

Yuan Jing

(primordial substances)


Manages the spirit thinking

Manages Qi

movement of Qi & blood

Manages the fine elements

production & storage fine elements

Basic constitutive

conditions of a life

Shen (Spirit)


Jing (Elements)


This is how I reach Shen (Spirit), Qi and Jing (elements), which are the “Three Treasures” of one’s life in the words of the ancient people. They happen to coincide with the answer from the modern physiology. Bravo! Our ancestors have made this great interpretation and achievement in their exploration into the phenomenon of life a few thousand years ago.


Here is a poem:                       Dantian is as perfect as a pearl.

Divided into Spirit, Qi and Elements, it represents the treasures of life.

By grasping and maintaining these natural conditions,

  …..the basis is built, with no mystery in it.


Han Jingchen

© March 16, 2015 Han Jingchen