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#1 sillybearhappyhoneyeater

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 07:24 PM

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Because there is so much discussion on this board about the small heavenly orbit, I want to share some knowledge from the classics here in order to clarify some things.

 

I'm going to do the first part of the post in point form and then elaborate on somet things as need be:

 

- the MCO of Daoism represents a small version of the universe which is contained in the human body.  The Da Zhou Tian, or great heavenly orbit in Daoism is the actual universe.

- the small heavenly orbit in Qi gong more specifically means the connections between the Du Mai in the spine and Ren mai in the front of the body.  The big heavenly orbit in Qigong is the whole body.

- When we want to open our Du mai and ren mai (because this is what most MCO threads are talking about) we have to decide whether we want to use post or pre birth Qi.

- if we are using post birth Qi, such as with Qi gong practice, it will take much longer to open the orbit, but it can be done in coordination with physical exercises and intention.

- if we want to open it with pre heaven Qi, we have to accomplish this through "action without action," and it can only be done through silent meditation.

- it is most common to be able to do a superficial orbit of these meridians, but that doesn't mean that they are open, it just means that you can either send some post birth qi, or pre birth jing around the orbit, depending what type of exercise you are doing.

- a deeper opening of the dumai and ren mai accompanies all kinds of physical symptoms such as "he che," the water wheel, or the movement of the perenium and so on.

 

I want to touch on the most important aspects in a bit more detail.

When we want to open the du mai and ren mai, we have to be aware of the method we are using to do this.  Doing Qi Gong can have an effect on these parts of the body, but to really open them deeply will require many years of effort.  Qi gong will also only work with post birth qi, which means that even though we can move Qi through the orbit, it will only be related to breathing, blood flow, and intention, rather than opening the yang gate and so on, which is more associated with Daost practice.

If we meditate, we have to be aware that Qi moves sponteneously in Nei Dan and that this isn't something which can be put under our conscious control.  We have to adopt the mind set of no mind, the posture of no posture, and learn to gradually forget the breathing.

This is actually a much easier and faster process than Qi gong, but it also requires more theoretical knowledge to do correctly.

If you want to open your MCO through meditation, the first thing you have to learn to do is successfully hide your intention in your dantian.   This hiding of intention involves places the mind in the LDT, leaving it there and not letting it rise up the front of the body.   It can take several days to several years for the intention to begin moving Qi, but most people can experience this within a few weeks, at least in a superficial way.

 

Sometimes people get the symptoms of meditation confused with the practice, and I want to expressly state here that:

- contraction of the testicles, perinium and stomach are natural symptoms of the yin qiao meridian opening and are not things which you should intentionally practice.

- clenching the anus during meditation is incorrect practice, since it will disable you from achieving genuine non action.

- when things like the anus and testicles naturally move, this is called "he che," or the water wheel, and is simply a symptom of Qi beginning to do stuff.  Don't try to augment it in any way.

- leaving the anus relaxed will not cause Qi to leak.  Qi leaks through thinking perverse thoughts, speaking excessively, eating poisoined foods, having negative emotions and so on. The anus is composed of two sphincter, one on the outside is somewhat relaxed, but the one inside is always tight unless you are deficating.  You don't need to worry about your anus while meditating.

- the reason why martial arts and qi gong people tighten the anus is actually to support the abdominal floor in order to stabilize their physical practice during movement.  Meditation doesn't move, it doesn't require this.

 

Usually the Du mai will open first and the qi will pass the three gates (wei lu, jia ji, yu zhen) and make it to the head.   At this point, the Qi will fall down naturally when it is ready to.  If you want to control it a bit, you can gradually move it through your three dantian.  It is better to do this with as little intention as possible.  In the end, the du mai and ren mai should open naturally and without effort.  The Qi should just go there and you should simply be present for it.  These are natural pathways in the body and can work by themselves and without outside help.

 

If you find that your Qi won't go to your Du Mai, you can "chong Qi," or purposefully slightly move your intention deeper into your dantian.  The idea is you should relax and then relax again, return the mind to the dantian, and then return the mind again.  This constant returning and relaxing will help you Qi move better.

 

 

Remember in the long run that this is less about moving Qi and more about cleaning your body and mind of obstructions.  If the Qi is healthy, it will move naturally, and you should be aiming to be healthy.


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#2 leth

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 02:23 AM

What is the difference of opening the ren and du meridians in this aspect and opening the ren and du meridians in the sense that you do in TCM?


Edited by leth, 29 September 2015 - 02:23 AM.


#3 sillybearhappyhoneyeater

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 04:10 AM

I don't understand TCM deeply, so I may not be completely qualified to talk about the differences.

I can say that in terms of comparison with Qi gong, Daoism works directly with pre birth Jing, qi and shen.  Qi gong tends to work with post birth energy.  The key difference is in the way the energy manifests.

Very early Daoist classics didn't alk about Jing Qi and shen, but instead used the terms Xi, Yi, and Hui,  or faint, deep, and invisible.  Basically the idea is that Shen is invisible and can't be felt, but that it can be directed to cultivate Qi.

Chen Yingning said that the relationship between Shen and Qi is that the shen boils the Jing essence of the body (basically sexual fluid) and causes steam to rise, which becomes Qi.  The steam when it is further boiled evaporates and becomes shen.

This is a very simplistic explanation, but it is basically right (there are actually a bunch of phases left out such as yuan shen, yuan jing and so on, but at a basic level it follows principle).

qi gong focuses on the concept that the mind can move Qi in the body, so when you put your attention on a specific point, say the hand for instance, then the Qi will move there.  This is very in keeping with western medical knowledge showing that the mind can actually lead blood to specific parts of the body.  Qi gong is quite mixed up with the medicine idea that Qi moves in the blood as oxygen and can be directed by the mind.  In Daoism this is typically called "jing gong," or "nei gong."   Meditation doesn't work according to this principle, it works according to the principle of the Qi spontaneously moving from deep in the body and making the track of the du and ren mai all by itself.  The feeling is also very different.   I have good circulation in the du and ren mai from meditating and can say that the Qi fills the entire body from the inside out, and emerges seemingly from nowhere.  Chen Yingning also used the analogy that Qi moves in meditation after yin completely finishes its course and becomes totally still and silent.  at this time the Kun trigram begins to change and give birth to the Qian trigam, meaning that the energy of the body naturally becomes pure yang with no flaw.

The basic principle of Neidan is to use pure yin to cause the energy of the body to revert to pure yang, pure growth, and repair of energetic injury and leaking.

In a nutshell  :)


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#4 leth

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 05:25 AM

I don't understand TCM deeply, so I may not be completely qualified to talk about the differences.

I can say that in terms of comparison with Qi gong, Daoism works directly with pre birth Jing, qi and shen.  Qi gong tends to work with post birth energy.  The key difference is in the way the energy manifests.

Very early Daoist classics didn't alk about Jing Qi and shen, but instead used the terms Xi, Yi, and Hui,  or faint, deep, and invisible.  Basically the idea is that Shen is invisible and can't be felt, but that it can be directed to cultivate Qi.

Chen Yingning said that the relationship between Shen and Qi is that the shen boils the Jing essence of the body (basically sexual fluid) and causes steam to rise, which becomes Qi.  The steam when it is further boiled evaporates and becomes shen.

This is a very simplistic explanation, but it is basically right (there are actually a bunch of phases left out such as yuan shen, yuan jing and so on, but at a basic level it follows principle).

qi gong focuses on the concept that the mind can move Qi in the body, so when you put your attention on a specific point, say the hand for instance, then the Qi will move there.  This is very in keeping with western medical knowledge showing that the mind can actually lead blood to specific parts of the body.  Qi gong is quite mixed up with the medicine idea that Qi moves in the blood as oxygen and can be directed by the mind.  In Daoism this is typically called "jing gong," or "nei gong."   Meditation doesn't work according to this principle, it works according to the principle of the Qi spontaneously moving from deep in the body and making the track of the du and ren mai all by itself.  The feeling is also very different.   I have good circulation in the du and ren mai from meditating and can say that the Qi fills the entire body from the inside out, and emerges seemingly from nowhere.  Chen Yingning also used the analogy that Qi moves in meditation after yin completely finishes its course and becomes totally still and silent.  at this time the Kun trigram begins to change and give birth to the Qian trigam, meaning that the energy of the body naturally becomes pure yang with no flaw.

The basic principle of Neidan is to use pure yin to cause the energy of the body to revert to pure yang, pure growth, and repair of energetic injury and leaking.

In a nutshell  :)

 

 

All of this is very much in line with TCM theories on internal alchemy. (There are some differences on the theories of the inner workings of the internal alchemy as thought in TCM and Daoist practices). But the way acupuncture works is sometimes different from how Qigong works aswell.

 

But I guess what I wanted to know is how we affect this system when we use acupuncture to open up the extraodrinary meridians. In general when we use acupuncture we do affect the flow of the Qi in the meridians. But the extraordinary meridians are somewhat different, and there is also a question on what it means to move the Qi around and what acupuncture really does. Besides it's fully possible to (atleast indirectly) affect Jing this way (But again, what does this mean, and how does it compare to nei dan). Not to mention that there are a number of different kinds of Qi, and that Jing is sometimes just categorised as a form of Qi which is arguable true from a philosophical level but doesn't help making the nomenclature very clear. Granted the Ren Mai and Du Mai both have points located on them and we can directly go in and manipulate them which is not true for the other extraordinary meridians. I have looked into the extraordinary meridans somewhat but i haven't really researched it deeply, there seems to be different views on them sometimes. What is clear is that energy is considered to move slower in them than in the Zangfu meridians. Some say that Jing rather than Qi moves through them, and of course here the whole confusion about the usage of the term Jing in TCM gets more confusing. Some speak only of movement of Post-heavenly Jing, and thre are some theories of the origin of Post-heavenly Jing, and transformation of both QI and Jing using Pre-heveanly Jing, but it's hard to find a consensus on this from what i have read. All in all what is meant with opening the Meridian in the sense that is used in TCM is rather confusing. It is rather obviously not the same thing as what happens if one practices neidan but yet i wouldn't mind understanding what is meant by it, and how it relates to opening the meridans as meant in neidan.


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#5 sillybearhappyhoneyeater

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 05:34 AM

Interesting that you mention that.

Xian xue, or the immortality school, which is a 20th century Daoist school that combines Daoism with Chinese medicine and Gongfu, has an entire passage on using accupuncture as a form of external elixir practice.

I don't know much about accupuncture, so I haven't bothered reading that section, since it will just be gibberish to me unless I learn TCM theory more deeply.

I know there is a deep connection, but obviously each practice does something different.  I am strongly of the belief that dao tong culture (culture connected to Daoism) is all complimentary and I have also done a great deal of research into the effects of tea ceremony as a type of external elixir practice.  :)


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#6 Daeluin

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 11:07 AM

My musing on the extraordinary vessels, compared with the meridians, from my experience so far.... is that the vessels opening is more related to the dissolving of obstructions along these pathways in a thorough way. When the pathways have become completely dissolved, there is a feeling of clarity along the pathway between its two endpoints. When this happens, I think it follows the principle of yin culminating to generate yang, and so on.

 

I've been focusing on dissolving the yin heel vessel via standing meditation, which is said to be needed before the renmai and dumai vessles can be dissolved/opened. I feel from each eye, flowing straight down two pathways past the middle of my jawbones, throat, to meet and cross over at the cleft of the neck, down two pathways along the front of my body, down to the gua to flow down the inner thighs and legs to the heels. When this pathway is fully dissolved, without obstruction in any of the joints, I feel as though my spirit has fully returned to my body, that my mind is still, and that I have become completely grounded between heaven and earth.

 

In some classics I've read it is important to wait for the return of energy bubbling up from the sole of the feet, and I ponder that this clearing of the yin qiao vessel might be the culminating of yin that allows the yang to begin bubbling up one of the yang vessels. Perhaps.  :)  The sense I get of this particular cultivation seems to be along the lines of the principles sillybearhappyhoneyeater is sharing.

 

Also my personal feeling is that it is possible to follow the flowing of these pre-celestial energies through movement, if one follows the same basic principles of allowing the energy to move the body without getting in the way. In a sense, this is necessary, as one should be able to integrate with and move through the world, adjusting to the changes in one's environment by following the principles of non-doing and ziran to avoid upsetting the internal balances.

 

And this is related to working within the post-celestial to nourish and cultivate the precelestial. If one does not know how to do this, the post-celestial will always be tugging at the pre-celestial. By the time most of us being cultivation work, much energy has been lost and we aren't full of energy like we were as children. Thus in the beginning qigong can be very important, so as to replenish the health of the energy body, the ming. Once the ming is complete, the stage of non-doing can be entered and one works on the xing to integrate the spirit into the energy - though in practice it is recommended for one to begin with turning the spirit within even as one works to replenish one's energy. My sense is that over time one's pre-celestial reserves emerge and quickly become transformed into post-celestial energy to replenish what needs replenishing. So one can use qigong to replenish one's health and avoid the expenditure of the pre-celestial, so that the precelestial can be used in internal alchemy.

 

Also, if the post-celestial originates from the pre-celestial, there must be a way for it to return to the pre-celestial. In general if one is controlling the qi, one is following Liu Yiming's principle of controlling what has been created, which leads to a post-celestial direction. On the other hand, he says that creation within control leads to the pre-celestial. We can think of this as using the guiding of our present environment to move in the direction of harmony and balance, following the principle of wu-wei, not controlling the energy, not getting in the way of the energy, but letting it flow naturally toward balance - like the stream returning to the ocean. There will be smooth periods, and challenging periods, but like Zhuangzi's cook, we can come to understand that what we perceive as a roadblock from one particular perspective can become wide and expansive, easily maneuvered through when one is able to adapt one's perspective, usually by increasingly surrendering to the natural flow of the celestial mechanism. At first it may seem like following this method, one is only preventing the post-celestial from controlling the pre-celestial. Yet as we come to confluences where everything meets, and are able to harmonize everything, I believe we are creating the pre-celestial from the post-celestial.

 

So to bring this back to the topic, it's all about balance and harmonizing, deliberate adjusting when necessary, but then once the body is dissolved and replenished, one must too dissolve the mind and step away from controlling things, so that the natural flow of shen can emerge and integrate with the jing and qi to return them to each other as a unity within emptiness.

 

Lu asked:

 

"The process of extracting must complement the process of replenishing. What does it mean that up and down, back and forth, the movement follows a course?"

 

Chung said:

 

"When it should rise, it must not descend; when it should be extracted, it should not be replenished. There must be no mistake in its movement, whether it is up and down or back and forth. Everything relies on the strength of the Waterwheel."

 

Lu asked:

 

"What is the Waterwheel?"

 

Chung said:

 

"in the old days, the wise ones noticed that clouds blocked out the sun and figured out how to build shelters for shade. They saw leaves floating on water and figured out how to build boats. Seeing things swirled by the wind, they intuited the theory of rotation and built the wheel. What is the wheel? It is patterned after the structure of the sky and the earth. The rim is round like the sun and the moon, and when it is rolled on the ground, it can travel across the land.

 

"Those who understood the principles of the Tao used the concept of the waterwheel to talk about movement in the body. They said that because the body is filled with water, yin dominates yang. Using the images of a wheel to describe movement and a river to describe the waters in the body, they came up with the term waterwheel. This wheel in the body does not travel on land; rather it moves through water. Ascending and descending, moving backward and forward, it traverses the eight pools and the four seas. Upward it rises to the top of the K'un-lun Mountains; downward it rushes into the Gate of the Phoenix. It circulates the primordial yang between the heart and the lungs and sends it into the palace of li. From there it carries true vapor back to the house of longevity. Swirling in the Yellow Chamber and circling around the nine continents, the Waterwheel is always in motion. Journeying through the three tan-t'iens, it is never at rest.

 

"When the dragon and the tiger copulate, the Yellow Woman will enter the Yellow Chamber and lead and mercury will be separated. The metal of the male will enter the Golden Tower and move into the Jade Spring in the ni-wan (Mud Ball) cavity. Only half a day of circulation is needed to produce one jar of the golden elixir, and within a fleeting moment, the transfer is completed. If the five elements are not carried by this wheel, how can they be created and nourished? If the one vapor is not carried by this wheel, how can copulation occur inside? If we are to initiate the alchemical processes in accordance with the seasons and the hours, we must use the wheel. Otherwise we will achieve nothing. the process of incubating yang and refining yin also relies on the wheel. Initially, when ch'ien and k'un are not pure, we will need to use the wheel to get yin and yang to interact. when the [internal] universe is incomplete, we will need the wheel to circulate the blood and the vapor. Moving away from the outside to the inside, the wheel circulates the pure yin and pure yang vapors of the sky and the earth and directs them into the home of the primordial yang. Transforming the mundance into the sacred, it circulates the true vapors of yin and yang to repair and refine the house of the primordial spirit (yuan-shen). The things that the Waterwheel can do are amazing."

 

 

The zhong lu chuan dao ji (above translation by Eva Wong) is full of complicated details.... if we look, there is so much going on. It is difficult to understand the complex theory, and understanding the theory can be important, so one knows where one has gone off course. However the process still needs to be cultivated naturally without controlling it. People see all these details and get confused about that. The concepts can be understood in much simpler ways, but people should also be careful to avoid taking the complexity of what they are doing for granted.


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#7 leth

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 12:18 PM

Xian xue, or the immortality school, which is a 20th century Daoist school that combines Daoism with Chinese medicine and Gongfu, has an entire passage on using accupuncture as a form of external elixir practice.

 

It would be interested to read on how they do this, mostly because I would want a better understanding of acupuncture. I am a firm beliver in the idea that the internal alchemy/medicine/elixir is far greater than the external.



#8 sillybearhappyhoneyeater

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 07:08 PM

Daeluin:

You don't need to work with post heaven material before learning pre heaven material.

Opening the Yinqiao meridian can be done direclty through seated meditation.  At the time when the pre heaven Jing circulates through the body (yuan jing) it will also begin to accumulate in the yinqiao.    One of the biggest things to notice when the yinqiao begins to open is that the testicles contract (naturally) and the area around the prostate begins to move on its own.  This happens around the same time as "He Che," or the water cart, when the Jing begins to rise within the body.   Lots of people do both jing gong (post heaven work) and neidan together, so do I, but there is no specific requirement for it.  If you read Chinese, you should have a look at the book Dao De Jing Chan wei, as it is the best classic explaining pre birth training for those who haven't practiced it yet.  What you are talking about is a popular idea in some parts of the Northern school, but it was never advocated by Lu Dongbin, Zhang Boduan, Yin Xi, or any of the other big names in Neidan.  It is a specific belief held among some groups of people in Daoism, but it doesn't represent the big picture of Daoism.

I also suggest looking into the work of Chen Yingning and Hu Haiya, since they write in much more modern language which is easier to understand.

 

leth:

Do you read Chinese?  You should get the book "xian xue," immortality study by Chen Yingning.  If you can't find it, you can get the book of his student, Hu Haiya, who basically collected all of Chen's essays and explained them.  Xian Xue is by far the easiest to understand school in Daoism and it also includes TCM, so I suspect it would be right up your alley  :) :)


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#9 leth

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 07:35 AM

Do you read Chinese?  You should get the book "xian xue," immortality study by Chen Yingning.  If you can't find it, you can get the book of his student, Hu Haiya, who basically collected all of Chen's essays and explained them.  Xian Xue is by far the easiest to understand school in Daoism and it also includes TCM, so I suspect it would be right up your alley  :) :)

 

Unfortunatly my chinese is not on a level where i could read books with ease yet, but i hope it to be in the future. (I really should spend more time in china to remedy this, i'm rather sure it's the best method) Perhaps that is a good book to start with when i am proficient enough however and thus it might be a good book to get. Thank you for recommending it.


Edited by leth, 30 September 2015 - 07:37 AM.


#10 Daeluin

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 08:26 AM

Thank you for the recommendations. I do not read Chinese, but recognize the need to learn, and I will try to find the works by these authors.

 

In regards to pre/post, I have much more learning to do. Obviously the pre-celestial is key to neidan. Something tells me given our polluted world these days, dealing with the post-celestial might become more important than in the past, but this might be mostly unrelated to neidan.

 

Yes, I've felt this natural opening adjusting of the yinqiao and contraction of the testicles. Much different than via qigong, and a great indication that one is letting the body replenish and purify.

 

Perhaps on the topic... do you recommend any particular seated position? I've heard that full lotus is ideal, for various reasons, among them being it allows the wood channels to reverse their flow, IE the gallbladder channel would flow upwards instead of downwards in full lotus. Not sure if this is true or how this might help the work. Also if it is difficult for some to maintain, I imagine it could be counterproductive.


Edited by Daeluin, 30 September 2015 - 12:07 PM.

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#11 opendao

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 10:46 AM

Daeluin:

You don't need to work with post heaven material before learning pre heaven material.

Opening the Yinqiao meridian can be done direclty through seated meditation.  At the time when the pre heaven Jing circulates through the body (yuan jing) it will also begin to accumulate in the yinqiao.    One of the biggest things to notice when the yinqiao begins to open is that the testicles contract (naturally) and the area around the prostate begins to move on its own.  This happens around the same time as "He Che," or the water cart, when the Jing begins to rise within the body.  

 

well, such things usually happen during postheaven work in seated positions, basically that's what people name "meditation" nowadays. Yinqiao is important, but when it's open, the results are much more powerful then just "testicles contract and prostate begins to move". It seems you speak about yinqiao in terms of TCM and qigong, because in Neidan even its location is different, and results of opening it are overwhelming, so nobody cares about "prostate moving" )))

 

Also, there are some people who are trying to open yinquao on their own, by books and without teacher's control: if they have success in what they do, they will simply die very quickly. Yinqiao is not a toy, if it opens, then students have to know how to deal with all extensive changes in their body.

 

Lots of people do both jing gong (post heaven work) and neidan together, so do I, but there is no specific requirement for it.

 

And most of the people who do it, get only changes in their postheaven energy channels and vessels. Traditional Neidan doesn't work with postheaven jing intentionally. It's a mistake there, and many exercises are performed to avoid such mistake.

 

  If you read Chinese, you should have a look at the book Dao De Jing Chan wei, as it is the best classic explaining pre birth training for those who haven't practiced it yet.  What you are talking about is a popular idea in some parts of the Northern school, but it was never advocated by Lu Dongbin, Zhang Boduan, Yin Xi, or any of the other big names in Neidan.  It is a specific belief held among some groups of people in Daoism, but it doesn't represent the big picture of Daoism.

 

What you describe as "seated meditation" is more close to Northern school method, but many important things are missed, so such "meditation" becomes more a psychotherapy and spontaneous qigong (when postheven moves on its own), and can't get to the stage of replenishing yuan jing, which is the beginning of Neidan.

 

Ancient Chan and original Quanzhen Qiao use dazuo differently, so the results are way different.

 

Liu Dongbin, Zhang Boduan and other big names in Neidan have never advocated any "seated meditation".

 

In southern schools their methods have been preserved completely, it's not the same as Northern school, but for sure it's not about dazuo, seated meditation, wuwei as "relax and do nothing" and other modern allusions on Daoism.

 

I also suggest looking into the work of Chen Yingning and Hu Haiya, since they write in much more modern language which is easier to understand.

 

leth:

Do you read Chinese?  You should get the book "xian xue," immortality study by Chen Yingning.  If you can't find it, you can get the book of his student, Hu Haiya, who basically collected all of Chen's essays and explained them.  Xian Xue is by far the easiest to understand school in Daoism and it also includes TCM, so I suspect it would be right up your alley  :) :)

 

Chen Yingning was a good scholar, educated etc, but what's about practical results?

 

I think for any research in Daoism we can rely only on opinions of masters who achieved high stages of Dao cultivation, became xian-immortals (shenxian and higher), or we're doomed to believe in various fantasies and keep illusions that postheaven MCO is the same as Neidan MCO as in this topic.


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#12 sillybearhappyhoneyeater

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 07:11 PM

Daeluin:

Hu Haiya suggest not to adopt a specific posture when you meditate.

What he says specifically is that the ancients sat in a cross legged posture simply because that was the custom of the time.

His advice is that in order to meet with Qi, it is enough to simply sit in a comfortable position and breathe to the Dantian.

Obviously the practice has many more layers to it than that, but as a basic requirement, basically you can sit in a comfortable position.

Actually, I was doing a bit of work with Huang Yuanji's book yesterday, I'll pass along some notes here:

 

鸿蒙未兆之先,原是浑浑沦沦,绝无半点形象——虽曰无名,而天地人物咸育个中
 

"in the state of hong meng (before creation) and before things can be predicted (to occur), originally there is mixed chaos, with no way to see even a fraction of its image (the dao's image), so it is called "without name" (at the time of creation, heaven and earth have no name), and heaven and earth, people, animals, and natural objects are all raised from its centre."


this is fundamental to understanding Huang's technique.  during hong meng, before an event can even be predicted,  the original nature (of the universe) will be in the chaos state,  there is no chance to even fathom a fraction of its image, so that is why it is called Wu ming,  and why all beings, people minerals and the world come from its centre.
This passage mainly deals with how the Dao cannot be observed through "you wei," which is the biggest aspect of Haung's writing.

学人下手之初,别无他术,惟有一心端坐,万念悉捐,垂帘观照。心之下,肾之上,彷佛有个虚无窟子。神神相照,息息常归,任其一往一来,但以神气两者凝注中宫为主

"before the student can put down his hand (to practice), his art hasn't been differentiated. with one heart (focus the mind) sit upright, subtract the ten thousand thoughts (calm your mind), close the curtain and observe the illumination (close the eyes and illuminate the mind).  Below the heart, above the kidney, place Buddha in his silent cave (place your mind in the solar plexus area.  Actually, this works the same way as the LDT, so your choice).  The spirit will seem to light up,  the breath will continuously return.  assign one to go and one to come, but don't forget to send both breaths to rest in the middle palace (solar plexus area)."

 

We can see from this document that the basic of meditation in Huang's method (Qing dynasty era, Middle school) is about gaining a sense of relaxation and calm while gradually and conscsiously breathing and illuminating the Dan Tian (in this case the area inside of the solar plexus which he calls the middle palace).

Some very important points here are:  惟有一心端坐,万念悉捐,垂帘观照。 with one heart sit upright, subtract all of the thoughts, close the curtain and observe the light.

 

This section doesn't mean to sit in a full lotus or anything like that.  It means that the method by which you sit should have your full attention.  In this case, the word 端 duan, which is sometimes read as upright, actually just means sit in a comfortable upright position. It is ok to sit in a chair to do this, just focus on  being aware of your body in space.   Reducing the ten thousand thoughts just means that you should think less as you start your practice.   close the curtain and observe the light means that the eyes should close as if they were curtains. There isn't any tension involved at all. observe the light means that you should illuminate the mind slightly.

 

 

神神相照,息息常归

the spirit seems to illuminate

the breath continuously returns.

 

this is very hard to translate directly, so I want to comment on it here.

Daoism has a principle (from very early on, I think Zhang Boduan said it first in understanding reality) you need to be able to relax and then relax again, illuminate and then illuminate again.

This is a direct interpretation of Laozi's "mystery within the mystery."

The idea is that the first time you illuminate the area and relax, it will only have a superficial result.  the second time you illuminate and relax, it should be much deeper.  actually, this may occur many times, and ideally after a sufficient period of practice, it will become natural.

 

 

I hope this is of some assistance in understanding posture and mindset, at least from the Middle school tradition of Nei Dan Dao.


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www.daoistmeditation.com

 

please read my book "internal elixir cultivation, the nature of Daoist meditation"

 

 

http://daoistmeditat...theory-classes/

 

weekly classes in Daoist meditation methods.

 

 

www.chayotea.com

 

great tea from China and taiwan.


#13 Daeluin

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 04:56 AM

Thank you, sillybearhappyhoneyeater. I appreciate your gentleness and simplicity in sharing these concepts, and believe this is likely more helpful for those getting started on their way.

 

It makes sense why being upright would be one of the main important concepts, as this allows us to work better with the play of heaven and earth in their dance with gravity. Relaxing to our depths is also important, as relaxing is a type of receptivity that allows absorption of spirit. It is easy for spirit to rise up and our material components to become more dense, and we can see this in how children begin very upright, but the elderly tend to become shorter over time. By relaxing and hiding our spiritual intention deep within the lower abdomen, we can help to re-infuse the material with the spiritual, with time and patience.

 

In some ways this is related to our breathing - we can simply rest our mind on our breath, and breathe deeply and naturally. Naturalness is very important, for if we try to control our breathing too much we get in the way of what is natural. These days it is common for people to read about daoist practices and attempt to learn how to reverse breathe. However reverse breathing is something that comes naturally after a while of practice.

 

 

神神相照,息息常归

the spirit seems to illuminate

the breath continuously returns.

 

This is beautiful, and reminds me of chapter four from the secret of the golden flower, which speaks of tuning the breath, how the breath should be both deep and gentle, heard only by the mind, not the ears. At first, before we are refined, if we intensify the breath to make it deepen, it also becomes coarse, and if we focus on keeping it only gentle we are working more shallowly. Yet over time as one practices, this gentleness will deepen. In a way, as we focus on this breathing, we are working all three dan t'iens - note how the nose is in the area of the upper dan t'ien, and as one's breath becomes more gentle the sensation of breathing somewhat raises up to be perceived more from the top of the nose between the eyes -  and as the dan t'iens return to fullness on their own, the last line of this chapter says one will achieve "absorption" (Cleary's translation).

 

I found myself experiencing what I think might be this absorption, in conjunction with what I feel in class associated with "emptying myself of everything", where inside felt luminous, and after my inhale from upper dan t'ien through middle into lower dan t'ien, as the exhale turned around, in emptiness the spirit began to reverse with the breath to continuously return to my lower dan t'ien, inhale, exhale, continuously returning. Perhaps this is related to these lines you translated for us.


Edited by Daeluin, 01 October 2015 - 04:59 AM.

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#14 Daeluin

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 05:32 AM

More on the theory side of things, I picked up An Exposition on the Eight Extraordinary Vessels this morning, which is a translation of Li Shi-Zhen's Qi jing ba mai kao, by Charles Chace and Miki Shima.

 

Li Shi-Zhen's Exposition on the Eight Extraordinary Vessels (Qi jing ba mai kao) is among the most remarkable text in the Chinese medical literature. Bringing together writings on acupuncture, herbal medicine, and internal cultivation (nei dan), it argues that physicians and aspiring adepts alike must understand the full scope of the extraordinary vessels if they hope to achieve their goals.

 

 

In the beginning there is a section on the Microcosmic Orbit, with an excerpt from the text:

 

 

Li Bin-Hu [Li Shi-Zhen] says that the two vessels of the ren and du are the human body's zi and wu [midday and midnight]. They are the elixir cultivator's pathways for the ascent and descent of the yang fire and the yin talisman. They are the place of intersection of kan water and li fire.

 

Kan and Li ☲ are symbols that represent the yang that is hidden within yin, and the yin that is hidden within yang. Thus we can come to understand the importance of the waterwheel as a tool to extract and replenish the true that is hidden within the false.

 

And on the yin qiao vessel (just an excerpt):

 

People have these eight vessels, but they all remain hidden spirits because they are closed and have not yet been opened. Only divine transcendents can use the yang qi to surge through and open them so that they are able to attain the way. The eight vessels are the root of the great way of Former Heaven and the ancestor of the Unitary Qi. Only when the yin qiao is selected [for cultivation] first and only once this vessel has been activated will all the other vessels open.

 

Next, the three vessels of the du, ren, and chong [should be selected for cultivation because they] are the source of creation for all the other channels and vessels. And yet, mention of this particular vessel the yin qiao is scattered throughout the Cinnabar scriptures where it is variously referred to by many names. It is called Root of Heaven; it is called Death's Door; it is called the Resurrection Pass; it is called the Ghost Door of Feng Du; and it is called the Root of Life and Death. As the governor of the spirit, it is often called the Peach of Well-Being. Above, it penetrates the mud ball and below it reaches down to the Gushing Spring [KI-1. If one has knowledge of [the du, ren, and chong], then one can induce the true qi to accumulate and dissipate [at will], all from these barrier orifices. Thus, the heavenly gate will be constantly open, and Earth's Door will remain forever closed. The buttock vessel will flow throughout the entire body, linking and flowing freely both above and below, harmonious qi will naturally ascend to the imperial court. The yang will grow and the yin will diminish, fire will issue from the midst of water, and flowers will blossom through the snow. This is what is referred to by 'When there is a languid ebb and flow between the Heavenly Root and the Moon Grotto, then the 36 officials are all spring-like.'

 

When this is achieved, then the body will become light and strong. The adept's aged countenance regains its vitality; in quiet silence, he becomes recondite as if he were an imbecile or intoxicated. [Such experiences] are proof [of the effect]. It is essential to understand that the location of the southwest is in kun earth, in front of the perineum, behind the bladder, below the small intestine, and above the divine tortoise. This is the ground where heaven and earth day by day engender the root of the qi and give birth to lead. Physicians do not understand this.

 

[Li] Bin-Hu says that the discussions in the alchemical texts addressing the yang essence and the Water Wheel are most often spoken of in the context of the ren, chong, and du vessels and the life gate and triple burner; the yin qiao is not emphasized. And yet, Zi-Yang's Eight Vessel Scripture, which recorded the [pathways of the] channels and vessels, differs slightly from the teachings of medical people. Therefore, in following the path along the inner landscape, only those who turn back the senses will be capable of an illuminated examination [of the eight vessels], and therefore these statements must not be misconstrued.


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#15 sillybearhappyhoneyeater

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 05:40 AM

Thanks very much for sharing and thanks for the kind words.

I'll have a more detailed look a bit later.

I think when we start to train, we should try to read as much classical writing as we can.  If we can master the meanings of the classics, we will already have a good foundation from which to start.

I like the looks of the book you quoted from, it also looks a lot like Xian xue.  :) :)

Daoism is about kindness,  Laozi said that very clearly in his three treasures chapter  :) :)


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www.daoistmeditation.com

 

please read my book "internal elixir cultivation, the nature of Daoist meditation"

 

 

http://daoistmeditat...theory-classes/

 

weekly classes in Daoist meditation methods.

 

 

www.chayotea.com

 

great tea from China and taiwan.


#16 leth

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 01:30 PM

More on the theory side of things, I picked up An Exposition on the Eight Extraordinary Vessels this morning, which is a translation of Li Shi-Zhen's Qi jing ba mai kao, by Charles Chace and Miki Shima.

 

I've been looking at that book before, and considered buying it, but i am always buying too many books, and have currently limited my funds for buying more books lately. What do you think of it so far, would you recommend it?






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