East Asian Taoism Qing Gong Share Flipboard Email Print Qigong master Zhou Ting-Jue is someone who has mastered qing-gong -- and so is able, for instance, to walk lightly enough to traverse thin sheets of paper without breaking through. Taoism Origins Principles By Elizabeth Reninger Taoism Expert M.S., Sociology and Philosophy, University of Wisconsin–Madison B.S., Mathematics and Women's Studies, Northwestern University M.S.O.M., Southwest Acupuncture College–Santa Fe Elizabeth Reninger is a Taoist practitioner of qigong, acupuncture, and tuina massage. She is the author of several books on spirituality, including "Physics, Philosophy & Nondual Spiritual Inquiry." our editorial process Elizabeth Reninger Updated May 09, 2019 Qing Gong (also spelled Ching Gung) is a qigong / martial arts technique for making the body extremely light in weight, by altering the distribution and flow of qi. (Think of the fighting scenes in Jet Li’s films “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” or “Hero.”) High-level qigong practitioners such as Master Zhou Ting-Jue have cultivated and demonstrated such Qing Gong skill. In relation to the Hindu yoga traditions, a similar power of "lightness" (Sanskrit: laghiman) is described in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras (III:45) -- as evidence of one's meditative mastery over the elemental energies. Light As A Feather How exactly such seemingly supernatural feats are possible is, of course, a very interesting question! Can the laws of physics, at least in certain instances, be transcended? As it turns out, time and space are essentially much more "strange" than we may habitually consider them to be. Albert Einstein's insights into space-time were, for instance, radically different from those of Isaac Newton. And our subjective or psychological sense of time is of a completely different order than "objective time." Intuitive Perception What this means is that space and time may be much more malleable than we think they are. And though our sensory perceptions are dependent upon the position of our human body with its sense organs, there's also a kind of intuitive perception -- or "apperception" -- which functions independently from the body's five main sense organs. Given all this, is it really that far-fetched to allow for the possibility of seemingly "miraculous" appearances? Qigong and martial arts practitioners who have cultivated their body-minds to a degree far beyond what is typical for a human being can do things that most of us cannot. Qing Gong is one example of this. Avoid Being Attached to Miraculous Powers It's also worth mentioning, however -- to close this essay -- that spiritual teachers, again and again, advise against becoming attached to miraculous powers. Instead, it's best simply to view them as the "fruits" or "flowers" of our practice, whose roots lie much deeper. As Paramahansa Yogananda remarked, in relation to Patanjali's description of such powers (i.e. "vibhutis"): "Patanjali warns the devotee that unity with Spirit should be the sole goal, not the possession of vibhutis — the merely incidental flowers along the sacred path. May the Eternal Giver be sought, not His phenomenal gifts!" What's ultimately most important, in other words, is the capacity to recognize and rest in our true identity as Pure Awareness, the Mind of Tao -- rather than the appearance of any merely incidental capacities. Miraculous abilities will appear, if and when they are needed, and while they can, of course, be enjoyed (for beneficial purposes), we should avoid granting them anything but secondary importance.