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.  


Yuan Tze on Anger

Harmony is a state of peace and balance, a state free of conflict. Harmony nurtures growth. When harmony is present, no harm is done. I would like focus on one thing that often disrupts harmony – anger, in particular anger in reaction to injustice. When facing...

Yuan Tze’s New Year Message

Dear Ren Xue family, In this time of celebrating a new beginning, I would like to extend my best wishes to you. Every 365 days, we have this opportunity to start anew. How would you like to make a good start for your 2023? I have a few suggestions here. Firstly,...

What is Jingshen?

The common translation of the word Jingshen is spirit or spirituality. In Ren Xue it refers to the totality of the heart (Xin), consciousness, and True Self (Shen). These three components have close connection with one another and therefore can be seen as a unity....

What is Realization and Wisdom?

  Realization and wisdom are the natural abilities of the True Self. They constitute the core content and ultimate goal of Ren Xue life cultivation. From the perspective of Ren Xue Realization manifests as the growing ability to better understand, face, change,...

The Theory of Totality

The Theory of Totality 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 absorbed relevant teachings and wisdom from both traditional Chinese culture and modern science. It can...


Yuan Tze on Money

Take a little longer and watch as Yuan Tze helps us to see more of totality in terms of the role money plays in life.  This is an excerpt from Yuan Tze's 10-day Seeing Your Original Face 2 retreat that took place in France in May 2023, where he focused on two of the...

Who are we protecting? How to truly love and protect your (True)self

In this 28min video Yuan Tze applies how the pattern of Polarized Thinking (right/wrong, good/bad, black/white) can influence the setting of boundaries in life, and helps us to understand the best way to 'protect' ourselves. This is an excerpt from Yuan Tze’s 10-day...

The Pattern of Fixed Expectations

Watch this short video where Yuan Tze talks about the pattern of Fixed Expectations. This is an excerpt from Yuan Tze’s Transforming Patterns for Unconditional Gratitude workshop that took place in 2022, where he spoke about the barriers to experiencing unconditional...

The Importance of Working on Identity

Watch this short video where Yuan Tze helps us to experience what, when we're working on patterns, we should identify with and why it is so important to work on identity and identification when working on patterns.  Join Yuan Tze for his two-part workshop on Identity...

The Pattern of Avoiding & Hiding

Watch this short video where Yuan Tze talks about what's behind the pattern of Avoiding & Hiding. This is an excerpt from Yuan Tze’s Seeing Your Original Face 9-day retreat where he focused on two of the Ten Fundamental Patterns identified by Ren Xue: Avoiding...

Full Moon

Identification and the False Self

Identification and the False Self

We have built a very strong identity that has mistaken the false self for the True Self. This false identity serves as a foundation to support our unhealthy patterns. The patterns are like a house built upon this foundation. We create a reality based on living in this...

Identification and Identity

Identification and Identity

When we take something as true or real, and fully accept it and take it onboard, we have identified with it. This is an internalization process, making it part of our own lives or our own identities. For example, when we equate having big muscles with being healthy,...