[The Chinese Septenary Division]
The Theosophist, October, 1882
Our Brother1 has but to look into the oldest sacred books of China—namely the Yi King, or Book of Changes (translated by James Legge) written 1200 B.C., to find that same Septenary division of man mentioned in that system of Divination. Zhing, which is translated correctly enough ‘essence,’ is the more subtle and pure part of matter—the grosser form of the elementary ether; Khi—or ‘spirit,’ is the breath, still material but purer than the zhing and is made of the finer and more active form of ether. In the hwun, or soul (animus), the Khi predominates, and the zhing (or zing) in the pho or animal soul. At death the hwun (or spiritual soul) wanders away, ascending, and the pho (the root of the Tibetan word Pho-hat,) descends and is changed into a ghostly shade (the shell). Dr. Medhurst thinks that “the Kwei Shans” (See Theology of the Chinese, pp. 10-12) are “the expanding and contracting principles of human life”! The Kwei Shans are brought about by the dissolution of the human frame—and consist of the expanding and ascending Shan which rambles about in space, and of the contracted and shrivelled Kwei, which reverts to earth and nonentity. Therefore, the Kwei is the physical body; the Shan is the vital principle; the Kwei-Shan the linga-sariram, or the vital soul; Zhing the fourth principle or Kama-Rupa, the essence of will; pho (the animal soul); Khi the spiritual soul; and Hwun the pure spirit—the seven principles of our occult doctrine!
1. This appeared as a footnote to an article titled “Theosophy and the Avesta” by “A Parsi F.T.S.” [Fellow of the Theosophical Society]