The Theory of Shen and Yi

The Theory of Shen (True Self) and Yi (consciousness) is one of three theories that form the foundation of the Ren Xue and its two application systems – Yuan Gong and Yuan Ming.   This theory has its roots in various sources, including the wisdom of traditional Chinese culture, modern philosophy, science (including biology, psychology, neuroscience, medical science) and other disciplines that set out to explore human consciousness. The main source of the theory is Yuan Tze’s realization and wisdom, which was an outcome of his serious and consistent exploration of life, especially of Shen and consciousness, through his own life cultivation and investigation in the areas of Qigong, special abilities, ‘super-natural’ phenomena and healing. 

Check out our Glossary of Ren Xue Terms page if some of the Ren Xue terms aren’t clear.

What is Shen, the True Self?

Used interchangeably with terms such as ‘true self’, ‘true nature’ and ‘true master’, Shen is the Chinese term used to refer to the source of the consciousness. In a live human being, it is based at the center of the head with connections to the brain and nervous system. Shen is strongly connected to and influences the Qi and the body, but it is in no way bound by the physical body.   An important attribute of Shen is the ability to attain realization and wisdom. Although everyone’s Shen has this ability, for various reasons, in most people it is more or less hidden and in a dormant state and therefore unable to manifest properly. It is waiting to be awakened and developed.  Although the causes of the inability to attain realization and wisdom are complex, in Ren Xue, unhealthy patterns of the consciousness (read our Intro to Patterns here) are seen as the core factor. This is why changing and uplifting the patterns of the consciousness is considered the core of life cultivation work.  

The Ren Xue Theory of Shen and Yi covers:

  1. The Meaning of Shen, the Consciousness and Other Related Concepts
  2. The Origin and Development of Shen and the Consciousness
  3. The Formation of the Consciousness
  4. Understanding the Consciousness
  5. The Functions of the Consciousness
  6. The Patterns of the Consciousness
  7. Five Essential Qualities of the Heart
  8. Human Nature
  9. Future Prospects for the Development of Human Jingshen
  10. Establishment of New Views and Values
  11. Realization and Wisdom
  12. The Features of Ren Xue Theory of Shen and Yi


The Theory of Shen and Yi aims to help individuals and society gain better understanding of life as well as changing and elevating life, to experience good health, happiness, wellbeing, realization and wisdom. As we continue to make progress in understanding and applying this theory, the relationships between individuals and the relationships between humans and nature will be characterized by the following:  trust, openness, love, gratitude, Gongjing (respect), and harmony.

How can I learn more about this topic? 

The Theory of Shen and Yi is taught in Level Two of the Six-Level Ren Xue Teacher Training.  

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