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  2. Hi Sub, Happy One Month! In my traditional domain, one month old babies are celebrated with red-dyed hard boiled eggs, among other goodies. Keep the shells on before dying; but please remove them before eating. But if you culture is shilly-shally about egg shells, then eat your red eggs accordingly. Thank you for your courage to start this thread; and your courage to bite the bullet. You have shown us that we can take ownership of our own problems, no matter what. Trust everyone reading your thread is encouraged to do likewise, depression-wise ... and be wise. Everything is all about the MIND, depression included. March on brother! - LimA
  3. Hi Starjumper, Sorry. Just woke up. Vision still not focused. I trust you. When you decide to change (or have just changed), please let me know. As a budding Taoist, I want to be yin-yang sensitive. Black dragon? - LimA
  4. From the tears of samsara and never ending machinations,even then the young Buddha awakes telling of a path with all might such path is both easy and hard to find wrong turns and thorn brambles exist then stop searching and you have found it The path belongs to the Tao the path of life in the company of Krishna Jesus and Buddha then in such company what else matters
  5. I am a he, I just checked ... =) ... my profile and it does say male. I have some time now, it can change fast though. I'll send you a personal message.
  6. Thank you Earl Grey
  7. Hi Starjumper, Like your social sensitivity. Are you 'he' or 'she'? Just visited your profile page and it is not indicative. Since about 4 hours back, I am now 'gender' sensitive. I wanted to ask you for some time - are you into long jump or high jump or both? Just woke up. It is now 6am in Singapore. Good morning. - LimA
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  9. Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn't even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back. Hereclitus
  10. Welcome Eric, I look forward to hearing more perspectives on tai chi from someone with experience. If I may suggest a small name change. Sifu doesn't just mean teacher, it means my teacher. So the technically correct way to use the word sifu is for a student to address their teacher in person. I should not call you sifu and you should not call yourself sifu, nor should it ever appear as part of a title. It is a word that only one's own students should use when speaking with fellow students or with their teacher.
  11. "I am not altogether on anybody’s side, because nobody is altogether on my side, if you understand me: nobody cares for the woods as I care for them, not even Elves nowadays. Still, I take more kindly to Elves than to others … And there are some things, of course, whose side I am altogether not on; I am against them altogether" ;)
  12. Welcome, Sifu Eric Randolph! The nice thing about the new forum is that we change it every few minutes. Keeps people engaged and on their toes...
  13. Hello Sifu Eric Randolph, and welcome. Your membership is approved and we're happy you found your way to us. We look forward to accompanying you on some of the way that you still have to go. Please take the time to read the post pinned at the top of this Welcome page and take a look at the forum terms and rules. This covers all you need to know when getting started. For the first week you will be restricted to ten posts per day but after that you can post as much as you like. Also, until you’ve posted fifteen times in the forums, you’ll be a “Junior Bum” with somewhat restricted access and will be allowed only two private messages per day. Good luck in your pursuits and best wishes to you, Marblehead and the TDB team Hi Eric, Thanks for joining up with us. I am sure many will appreciate what you are able to share with us. You are welcome to jump right in ongoing discussions, revive an older thread, start a new thread of your own, or start a discussion in the "Newcomer Corner" sub-forms to expand on your introduction or ask general questions to help you get started. May you enjoy your time here. Marblehead
  14. On the willows, thereWe hung up our lyresFor our captors there Require Of us songsAnd our tormentors mirth
  15. "I will not be judged by you or society, i will wear whatever and blow whomever i want as long as i can breathe and kneel." Samantha Jones
  16. When I was in my teens, I dabbled with Christianity and wanted to be an exorcist after watching that movie Why Christianity? Well, mainly because I had designs on a school mate's sister, and showing a fervour for Yahweh gave me the excuse to be close with her via bible study sessions and prayer meetings, camps and flag days (we sold tie pins shaped like a flag with a big cross in the middle). She was rather cool (and hot at the same time), come to think of it. The secondary reason, I guess, was simply to act rebellious - I grew up with a dad who practiced Theravadin Buddhism and a mom who devoted her spiritual self to Guan Yin and other Daoist saints and sages. Amazing how well they got along I grew out of that phase eventually, and gave up hopes of realising my rather dismal (so my folks said) career choice. Returned to studying Buddhism and works of some prominent teachers from other Eastern traditions in the late 80s, and took up serious Buddhist practice early '96. Of all the writings i had access to at that time, the ones by J. Krishnamurti impacted my thinking the most. His words challenged me, and formed the early catalyst that radically shifted me from under a coconut shell and made me want to explore greater mental and spiritual possibilities. I am always open to what others choose to practice (or not practice), so i wont really consider myself fundamentalistic, although at times I can catch some subtle dialogue going on in the background while in discussion over something or other. My reactions no longer prompt needs to argue or engage in conflicting debates. Work in progress... thats about it i guess.. thanks. edit/typo
  17. Brocade leg and flower fist is the term used for those who practice Tai Chi and have no kung fu / skill in fighting. For fighting one must train the martial methods, sparring, free fighting and a lot of conditioning. We have many MMA and black belts that come and train and many are unable to do a simple task like standing front kick extended and only last a few minutes. Many fail with the plum flower post. 900 kicks few can last. There are many MMA when they become professional that do way more training than any weekend warrior. Sport fighting is much different than real life so one can be easily mislead as an observer of fighting skill. School yard fighting in a ring is not something to be respected. Not fighting has great respect. so yes Tai Chi is totally fake and also unbeatable.
  18. I was wondering about the word ai 愛 in Daoism. I have seeing the word in some chapters of the DDJ and translated as "love". What is love? What is love in Daoism? Is the word ai in Chinese equates the same as in English ( I don't say western languages as the cultural connotations are different). I have also read that compassion in Chinese has love content just as benevolence. Just wondering and picking brains here and there. Thanks and Happy Friday!!
  19. One of the reasons for much of the suffering that we go through in life is taking life too seriously. It is not uncommon though; almost everyone is so serious about the drama of life. So, everyone has assumed that there is no way out of it. But, there is a potential for a change in your attitude towards life which will make you to treat life as the lifelong movie in which we all are just characters. There is also a potential to remove all the unwanted suffering that we have imposed on ourselves by removing the serious identification with the character called ‘you’ and your story.. I went through a journey myself that helped me to realize this potential and make it possible. (You can read more about my journey here: The Journey of a Seeker). I will call that whole process as ‘Awakening Through Mindfulness (ATM)’. If you believe in God, you can use the belief itself as an aid towards changing your attitude. Many people consider themselves as a puppet of the God’s hands. That helps them change the way they react to the situations and stop taking everything personal. But it is just a coping mechanism; No one is actually sitting up there and directing your life. Life and the force of the life itself is a deep and interesting mystery. If you want to call that force God, you can. That is a beautiful personification. Warning! For many people, beliefs have actually been a hindrance in the whole process. There is a way to really experience life as a movie and to be not affected by your self-image. You can completely detach yourself from the identification you have with the self image. .. Changing the attitude is the first step to ending the self created suffering and experience the life impersonally.. Your personality and your ego that projects the personality are just a part of the mask that you, as the character of this movie, are wearing. What hurts the mask doesn’t hurt you anymore, once you start experiencing life this way. Not only your ego and personality, but every thought, emotion, experience and knowledge that you witness in your consciousness is a part of that mask. Remembering this analogy of the mask and contemplating on it can help you to change your attitude to be favorable in the process of awakening. As you proceed with this journey, you will eventually have to drop a lot of your beliefs and directly choose to know what you believed is true or false. Then, either you know or you don’t know. There is no need in believing something. The sense of security that we get from beliefs will not at all be needed anymore once you start experiencing the life devoid of self-created suffering. You don’t need any solace from the beliefs anymore. That life experience which stands apart and independent from your identity is what I call as an ‘awakened life’. What you Call as Self is an Illusion! The next step is just to realize and remember always that there is no self; I am not kidding! It is a scientific fact. What you perceive, think and experience every moment is the result of millions of neurons in your brain communicating with the neighboring neurons through electrochemical signals. This constant perceptual activity gives an illusion that there is a static self. This self which is experienced as being the one who inhabits the body, being the one who is thinking the thoughts, being the one experiencing emotions, being the agent of actions and having free will is an illusion. Also, every person you see is a complex network of forces communicating with each other in cell level, chemical level and atomic level. 2500 years ago, a man called Gautama Buddha revealed the truth of the no-self for the first time. Seeing this in neuroscientific perspective, what you experience as you and your story is just a result of activity happens in a combination of brain structures called Default Mode Network DMN). This network is active when you are mind-wandering,thinking about others, thinking about yourself, remembering the past, and planning for the future. Hyperconnectivity of the default network has been linked to rumination in depression. Studies have shown that meditators and people who claim spiritual awakening have less or almost no activity in DMN. This illusory self is not consistent and static; it is ever changing. But the only thing which is consistent and constant throughout your life is your existence; the conscious, moment to moment experience that you are alive. Three Aspects of the Absolute Reality There are three aspects to what that is consistent: Existence, Consciousness and experiencing. Existence can be defined as whatever that exists in the ultimate, absolute level. You perceive and know that objects exist because of this. It is the sense of being alive.The objects may keep changing but the existence itself is something that is constant. It is not a ‘thing’ though. It is the basis of anything that is subjective. Consciousness is like a light that shines up everything in the existence. It can be compared to the light in a movie screen using which your thoughts, emotions, perceptions and experiences are constantly being played. The movie screen is static all the time. It also exists in sleep, but there is nothing to show. Since consciousness is completely dark and since voluntary functions of the mind are shut off, there is actually nothing much is happening that is worth to be recorded in the brain and stored in long term memory. Experiencing is not about various experiences that you go through every moment. It is the base of all experience, which is naturally peaceful. Peace is always the first and last experience of the lifetime. Even in death, the final moment is peace; a lot of scientists believe that a neurotransmitter called Dimethyltryptamine or DMT released in the brain during the last moment of death which gives peace and bliss. You are so peaceful during the birth too. You can obviously see that in the new born babies. Even throughout the life, you go through a lot of peaceful moments where you are ultimately content, all drives seem to be temporarily satisfied and you experience the ultimate peace and contentment. That peace is not really something that comes and goes. It is the subtle backdrop of all the noisy perceptions happening in the mind and never changes too. It is the base experience of all the experiences. An awakened person may often go through peak experiences (rare, exciting, oceanic, deeply moving, exhilarating, elevating experiences that generate an advanced form of perceiving reality, and are even mystic and magical in their effect upon the experimenter – Abraham Maslow) when they touch the ultimate level of peace. During peak experiences, the boundaries of experiencer, experiencing and the experience dissolve and they all become one. The same happens with the knowledge as well. The knower, knowing and the known become one. Note that, when I say experiencing, I am talking about the ‘experiencing’ aspect of your existence; not about an independent experience. Any experience, including the peak experience com and go. But the ‘experiencing’ part of that which is consistent never changes. It would be better to use a different word than experiencing but I can’t think of anything that comes closer right now. So, whatever that is consistent which has the aspects of existence, consciousness and experiencing can be called with any name you want to use. You can call it XYZ if you want! Some words that have been used in eastern traditions are absolute, Om, brahman, Sat-Chit-Ananda etc… Some call it as your ‘true self’. The problem with all these labels is that you start to see this XYZ as some object, a thing; Something that can be either perceived, experienced or known. But it is actually like the space or the field in which everything is perceived, experienced or known. So, it is very important to not to get too attached to the word. Seeing the illusory self for what it is and completely removing the identification with it lets you to relax yourself in the truth of being alive and conscious. It will eventually let you free from hedonic treadmill and the pursuit of subjective self worth. You will feel liberated from the prison of this illusory self. This will give you a tremendous acceptance of what is; You will see life as a game with its own rules and challenges. But seeing that as just a game which will eventually end, makes you to play it with enjoyment and a great sense of peace. Many practices have been suggested which help you to go through this process of awakening; self-inquiry, contemplation of the truth and so on. The practice that I can suggest for you is the one which worked for me.. It is called Sati in buddhism, Shikantaza in Zen, Shakshi bhav in Upanishads and mindfulness by buddhists as well as modern psychologists. Mindfulness is used not only as a path to awakening, but also in modern therapies as a means to decrease depression and stress, increase well being, control addictions, slow down emotional reactivity etc. What is Mindfulness and How to Practice it? Mindfulness can be defined as focused nonjudgmental attention to experiences of thoughts, emotions, and body sensation in the present moment that is practiced by simply observing them as they arise and pass away. The paper ‘Mindfulness: A Proposed Operational Definition’ which was published by University of Toronto in 2014 suggests a two-component model of mindfulness: 1) Regulation of attention in order to maintain it on the immediate experience 2) Approaching one’s experiences with an orientation of curiosity,openness, and acceptance, regardless of their valence and desirability. When you try to observe your thought process, you may lose your attention many times. Once you notice that the mind has wandered, you just bring it back to the awareness of thought process or body sensations again. No matter how many times the mind wanders away, you must take it easy and accept it. You can do this while doing whatever you are doing, like walking, eating, working out, waiting in a queue etc. Notice the flow of thoughts as if you are watching a stream flowing or traffic moving. Eventually you can extend the time that you practice mindfulness to most of the waking hours of the day. This may take years and years of practice. When practicing mindfulness, don’t approach it as if you are working towards a goal. That would simply mean that you are enhancing the self-concept and strengthening the identification with it .Awakening is not an achievement. It is getting rid of the craving for any achievement that increases your self-worth or enhances your self-concept. Seeing mindfulness as a means for something to be achieved itself is a trap which may slow down the process of awakening. In a couple of months of practice you may start noticing gaps in your thought process.You may also notice reduction in the number of thoughts. Also, a lot of unconscious patterns and repressed thoughts may start to come up and appear in the light of your conscious observation. It is quite normal. Just pay attention to whatever that comes up without reacting to it. But if you do react to it, that’s ok. Just notice that and wait to see what comes up next. As you do it more and more, the gaps will be more frequent and you may even start to wait for the next thought or feeling to arise. In a few months, you will start to feel more peaceful and relaxed. Your emotional regulation would also have improved. While practicing, become aware of the defense mechanisms of the ego whenever you notice them. Notice the repeated thought patterns and your attempts to maintain and protect your self-esteem. Reading the authentic sources of Zen and Advaita can help you a lot in moving through the process. Personally for me, reading the transcribed talks of Osho and J.Krishnamurti were helpful in understanding how mindfulness works and how to go about practicing it. Osho called it ‘witnessing’ and J.Krishnamurti called it as ‘Choiceless awareness’. The names are different but the meaning is exactly the same. Once you have practiced mindfulness for long term for a year or two, you may go through a crisis at times, usually called ‘Spiritual Crisis,’ a form of identity crisis where you experience drastic changes to your meaning system (your unique purposes, goals, values, attitude and beliefs, identity, and focus). It may cause a lot of disturbance, but don’t be alarmed. It happens to everyone but it will pass. The fruits of mindfulness always outweighs the disturbances caused by spiritual crisis. Benefits of Mindfulness I came across an interesting paper ‘How Does Mindfulness Meditation Work? Proposing Mechanisms of Action From a Conceptual and Neural Perspective’ published in 2011 by Association For Psychological Science. It lists 5 major benefits of mindfulness and also lists the details of studies which support them. Here are those five benefits: Attention regulation Body awareness Emotion regulation, including a. Reappraisal b. Exposure, extinction, and reconsolidation Change in perspective on the self. The fourth one, ‘Change in perspective on the self’ is very important, which explains in detail about a lot of what we discussed about ‘Self’ in this post. You can search for this paper in ‘Academia’ and download it for free. There have been many other studies done on mindfulness which show that mindfulness decreases suffering and increases subjective well being. Buddha prescribed mindfulness as the path to spiritual enlightenment. Whether you are looking for spiritual enlightenment or just improved well being, there is no doubt that mindfulness is the way to go. Also published in my blog:
  20. Being a well rounded practitioner is of great value IMO. By well rounded i mean you can look at other techniques from different traditions and see the underlying "science" behind them. This is of great value IME as it gets you a broader view of the path and all of the different roads the student can take. It is the mut that i think has a higher probability of gaining this knowledge if he is able to experiment with many things while still practicing intensively in what he's doing (to much knowledge without practice is not good). I think this can be of value if one ever becomes a teacher because instead of just giving a student techniques you can look at what "science" the person in front of you needs and create the techniques that will give him the most bang for his buck. Were all muts energetically speaking as we have different powers and qualities of chi that we gravitate towards. This is something to be mindful of IMO.
  21. I am a polyhistor and my personal belief system or worldview is a product of that. My current "spiritual practice" is nominally a combination of Daoism, Buddhism, American Indian"ism" (whatever that might be called) & shamanism but its roots are ancient and I have come to realize the authentic threads of all traditions are part of a shared tapestry.
  22. Thank you for sharing your story and your thoughts. Far as I'm concerned, the mutt is not a bad thing at all unless he or she proclaims muttdom to be the only true religion. Too many newagers not only do but are fundamentalists in this -- they actually consider muttdom superior to traditionalism (which they have developed a party line to condescendingly berate), and themselves to lineage followers and to people who tend to stick it out rather than smorgasbord it and then move on to something new. It all depends. Also, I tend to think that it's age related (spiritual age, not necessarily biological.) The young and inexperienced need to experience stuff for themselves -- in fact it is often counterproductive to jump to conclusions about what you're going to be cultivating too soon. I've heard more than once from people who started out like that, "took me thirty years to find the teacher/practice/the real thing I've been looking for." The danger here is to gradually and inescapably turn this eclecticism into the perennial dabbler's "Jack of all trades, master of none" outcome. The remedy, from my perspective, is the taoist approach -- whatever you undertake as a pursuit on the side, you don't mean to dabble in. You mean to match or surpass those for whom it is the main thing. Or as an accidental "side guru" of mine says, "Take very good care of what you care for, and get rid of the rest."
  23. Hi Brian, My goodness. Will pray before I sleep. Will sleep with a mutt smile to keep anything 'feline' away. Peace sister peace. Meow - LimA
  24. Hi Brian, You are brainy, you take the Wikipedia path. I have recently met a cat of dubious origin. He is a 'qicat'. It is approaching 3am in Singapore. Time to put my head on my pillow. Meow, - LimA
  25. Nice change for smaller devices. Also, we've moved the PPDs to the bottom of the Pavilion so not so much scrolling is needed on small devices.
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