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.  


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...

The Five Treasures

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF LIFE? Humans have been searching hard to find the answer to this ultimate question. At the root of the many problems humans face is a lack of clarity of the purpose of life. In Ren Xue, the purpose of life is expressed as the Five Treasures (or...

Shen, the True Self  

Shen is the source of the heart and the consciousness. It is also referred to as the “True Self” because it possesses the true qualities and abilities of a human being. We can say Shen is the essence and the true identity of one’s life. It is the real ‘I’. Shen has...


Experience the State of Gongjing

Watch this short video to experience a glimpse of the special state of Gongjjng.  Take a moment to come back to your heart and feel this special state as Yuan Tze guides us through what Gongjing feels like. This is an excerpt from Yuan Tze’s Transforming Patterns for...

How to Heal a Broken Heart

Watch this short video of Yuan Tze supporting a questioner with a broken heart, guiding them back to a place within in themselves that can heal the pain. This was taken from an online Q&A retreat with Yuan Tze.  If you would like to learn more from Yuan Tze check...

Changing Patterns

In this video Yuan Tze answers an important question from a Ren Xue practitioner - how do we change patterns, especially the difficult ones?  Experience how Yuan Tze communicates the possibility for uplifting life through changing our patterns - and how no matter how...

The Fight Between Patterns

In this video get insight into Yuan Tze supporting a Ren Xue practitioner, with an issue they are struggling with, one that many of us may deal with. Is there a middle ground between a people pleasing pattern (to make peace as well as to not compete) and a competition...

Full Moon

The Illusion of Control with Over-Generalization

The Illusion of Control with Over-Generalization

We want to know because the unknown breeds a sense of uncertainty. However, grasping the whole picture is never simple. So human nature has worked out a way to simplify, to make the task of knowing easier, and it is over-generalization. With this handy tool, we can...

Transforming the Pattern of Over-Generalization

Transforming the Pattern of Over-Generalization

Simplifying is an essential skill for survival, for the need to “pursue interest and avoid harm”. At a time when potential threats lurk and decisions need to be made quickly, simplification is necessary for spotting the greatest risks and opportunities. This need has...

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...