Jing as Process


A frequent mistake made in dealing with translation of Chinese words into  English (or other non-Chinese languages) is to take the Chinese terms as nouns or verbs, equivalent  in status to English (or French or German etc.) nouns and verbs.  We are prone to think of jing as a noun and thus to see these “literary classics” as artifacts…as things…as objects. In contrast to this thing-like conception of jing I’d like to offer for consideration the notion of jing as process. I make this offering in a self-conscious reference to what we’re really driving at with the work we do in Teaching from the Roots. In other words what we are doing with Teaching from the Roots can be understood as inviting, involving, and engaging one another in this process we call jing.

What I’m suggesting is that the classics are in fact not merely literary texts but living conversations in which we now find ourselves involved. They are living transmissions that contain essential life-sustaining bits of data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. To receive such transmissions requires awareness and refinement,  and this reception comes at a cost. The cost can be described as responsibility, specifically the responsibility to continue the conversation, to continue the transmission, to continue the jing. After all, many of these classics, both medical and non-medical, have made a lengthy journey to arrive at us. Can we seriously conceive of ourselves as the terminus of such journeys?

This raises the question of how do we take care…take responsibility to keep this conversation alive? We look for answers to this question continually. And in the laboratory sections of this class we explore and develop detailed answers.   Of late I have been exploring the differing conceptions of myself as a pusher of knowledge and as a facilitator of students learning to pull knowledge for themselves…and indeed for others, i.e., for their patients and students. No doubt you will hear more from me about this over the course of next year’s class. So I wanted to put it out here now for your consideration and comment.