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  1. 10 points
    It's been about a month since my mother passed away. It was surreal. I almost got killed the day after by an angry semi truck driver that tried to drive me off the road as I drove up to get her belongings from the nursing home. I had grown distant from my mother over the last few years, but a couple months ago I found out she was dying from cancer and reached out to her to make my own amends. I was able to do all of that, which made it that much easier when she finally did pass. So this is the thing, I don't believe in heaven or an "after life", nor do I believe we can without a doubt prove that reincarnation exists. I'm agnostic at best, maybe I lean a bit more towards the atheist side, however, I don't grieve for her. The reason being that I know, regardless, she's not suffering and she was suffering. People can argue the "sanctity of human life" but until you see someone suffering immensely you don't realize how much of a blessing death can be. My greatest and only regret, was not being there at the end. I didn't want her to be alone in that moment, not because I wanted to spend those last minutes with her, but because I didn't want her to die suffering and alone, I wanted her to know she had people that loved her at that time. Again that's my only regret, and If I could've been there I would've, however I had surgery the week before she passed and was still suffering from complications. The night I found out she had passed there was an odd peace. It's hard to explain, a bit of sadness, but more of an emotional silence. I loved my mother, but my time as a Taoist/Buddhist/hindi/etc. has taught me that even though I think she's gone, she's not really gone. She may very well never have been here in the first place, so putting the time and energy into grieving for her does nothing to bring her back and does nothing to ease my own suffering, nor does it somehow quantify how much I cared for her, so if I am truly being compassionate towards her and myself, then learning to let her go and let myself move on should be my goal. So, how was this different from my father's passing? Well he passed when I was much younger (twenty-one) and I had only just begun to read about Taoism. Attachment was the norm and compassion, especially towards myself, wasn't something I really understood. I was devastated when he passed. I had been living with him at that time and had actually argued with him the night before. My greatest regret at that time was that I thought he had died thinking I was angry or hated him. In retrospect I realize that he knew better. However the memory of those emotions, of that feeling of loss, comes back even now, which is strange, because he was also dying from cancer, he just never told anyone, and you would think I would feel relieved for his passing. So the difference, I guess, is that knowing my place in this world and my relationship to other people has allowed me to accept this as not a loss, but a blessing for my mother. Whereas my still undeveloped mind was unable to accept the death of my father, due to my inability to understand the nature of death at that time. Both deaths were blessings, and if anyone suffered from those deaths, it was not my parents, but their loved ones, and of course, me. Oh that's the other thing, both my parents passed away from lung cancer. You can guess what habit I gave up. I just thought I'd share, because this is one of those universal experiences and I thought maybe these observations might help someone else.
  2. 9 points
    People are mystified with or annoyed at people who have woken up making statements like “all you need is to be silent/still” or “nothing needs to be done”. For those who have spent years trying to “get something” - energy, grace, etc, is an assumption that they are somehow incomplete and will be fulfilled when they “get some thing”. Years of toiling, practice, austerities, thinking pile on. But mostly there are moments of experiences of “bliss”, a glimpse here, a taste there, and the elusive “awakeness” keeps playing hide and seek! But there really is nothing to “get”. There is a lot to give up though. The reason is simply because there is nothing one gets from the “outside” that wakes you up. In a sense no one really was asleep, so no one wakes up. What goes away is the mistaken identification and sense of bondage. All that is needed is simply that — give up the mistaken notions of bondage and simply trace the culprit back to its source. The culprit is the mind, and the 10,000 things it creates. It seems so hard because it calls for a type of undoing that is counterintuitive. The mind likes to do this and that. It’s job is to solve problems and subdivide one into many. So simply letting it be seems like the hardest thing to do. But all is needed is, to not get swayed by its fluctuations. Just keep watching it and trace it back to its root. Feel free to discuss the points raised here. Happy awakening
  3. 8 points
    I had glimpses of waking throughout my decades of seeking. Briefly opened windows onto the raw potent, simple beauty of it. That which is... then gone... back to searching... where did that come from? Who has it? Can they give it to me? Every time the bellows shifted, the glimpse would pass and I'd be back to 'seeking it'... seeking everywhere but here... seeking with desperation... with all my power, all my strength, all my mind. Seeking in others, from teachers, from books, from places in nature, seeking it from the right dietary restrictions, from the right soaps. But always somehow sure that I needed something outside of me to show me, to unlock in me the truth. Seeking always to achieve something external, to grasp something that I always assumed was 'out there'. I perceive so clearly now how that very seeking was what impeded the simple realization. Rather than seek elsewhere for that which already abides... within. Release. Be. Strip away, release and let go of every notion, intention, thought and seeking impulse. What remains is... it. The very act, impulse and desire of seeking occludes the realization of what is... When utter spiritual and physical exhaustion led me to completely surrender and give up, in suicidal despair. While lying in complete quiet and solitude, in the midst of one of the greatest cities of the modern world. When I had released all notions I previously held... all desires, all concepts of should and shouldn't... When I had release everything... one thing remained. I am aware. This is it!
  4. 8 points
    Hi all, This looks like a good forum so decided to join! I am new to qi gong and started with Ba Duan Jin with a local sifu in Sep of 2016 and have practiced each day since. Also started Taoist Microcosmic circulation since 2017 albeit from a book. Yeah, I know its not recommended but I find it challenging to find a reputable instructor. In any case, just taking the training easy by not rushing or forcing anything to avoid problems... Anyhow, just shouting out hi to the community. Sincerely, on-ca
  5. 8 points
  6. 7 points
    Disclaimer: 1. This thread is NOT meant to discuss your political beliefs or superior systems. It is a reflection on controversy and having many different interests and views. If you want to argue about Trump, go to that thread; if you want to discuss which religion or martial system is superior, start your own thread. 2. I appreciate and am well-aware of feminist concerns about language. To avoid stylistically cacophonous phrases like his/her or he/she and man and woman, I follow the traditional style, and when I refer to man or mankind, I am referring to our higher selves: the man versus the child, the man who has earned their right to be a man rather than just a mere male, and our species, and am not creating gender segregation. 3. If this thread gets out of control and creates controversy because people do not respect the first point stated above, I will ask the mods to move this to my PPJ where I will become a virtual tyrant moderating and deleting or hiding posts as necessary. Look for things you agree on more than you look for things you disagree on. - Andrew Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People I've been poking my nose into the Off-Grid section for a couple weeks now and it is interesting to see the heated debate on the Talk Trump thread on both sides of the spectrum with many of my favorite individuals whom I interact with on a spiritual and philosophical level more than anything else, as is the nature of this forum. Often when people are members of a forum, it is different than with normal social media because we have a niche that involves a self-selection process for those who wish to join and participate. A couple students of mine participated in a mental exercise from one of my favorite authors, Robert Anton Wilson. This exercise is on reality tunnels, which comes from his non-fiction book Prometheus Rising and was featured in Ultraculture. If you are a progressive, spend a week reading nothing but conservative or libertarian news sources like The Drudge Report, The Blaze or Reason. Are you a conservative? Spend a week reading nothing but progressive or socialist websites like Think Progress, The Daily Kos, or Jacobin. If you’re a spiritual person, read nothing but the skeptic and atheist subreddits. Or maybe you’re a free thought rationalist—follow the /r/psychonaut subreddit, or read Ultraculture, or even take a class on Chaos Magick. Do your best to convince yourself and your friends that you sincerely hold these alternate beliefs. This exercise will help you break your reality tunnel—Wilson’s oft-used term that means a worldview conditioned in the individual through biological programming and socioeconomic factors. We are all trapped in reality tunnels, and every single one seems totally crazy except for our own. These exercises are designed to allow you to see beyond your reality tunnel and take an active role in collectively shaping the universe. After spending a week in one extreme, go to the exact opposite and do the same for another week. See how you feel after those two weeks. Observe how your thinking changes. Observe how your perception and your thought processes change. I assigned this because one of my students told me that her teacher at a Jeet Kune Do school said that she "had" to join Facebook again in order to get news updates, and that liberal and progressive views were the natural inclination for those who were spiritually awakened. That sounded a bit off to me due to the complexities within each spectrum of political views. I strive to catch myself in a reality tunnel, and sometimes I get caught up in the more emotional ones rather than the ideological ones. What was particularly striking to me was that my student could never imagine a Trump supporter, a Christian, Men's Rights advocates, and others as individuals embracing the Tao or doing internal training, thinking only Democrats, Buddhists, and Feminists and the like would be interested in this kind of life. This really rubbed me the wrong way because in our school, we strive not to judge people for their politics or religion, because doing so means that the Tao is partial and biased. When I give Reiki healing, I don't ask someone if they are Muslim or Jewish or Scientologist, or if they voted for Hilary Clinton or Trump, or what their race is and if they were born a biological male or female. When someone has walked into my space because they want healing or instruction, my role is to honor the will of the universe through me, not to judge or hold it against someone. When I take in students for myself or for my Sifus, I don't favor rich or poor people, I look for sincerity, commitment, and discipline. If we are to look only for people who think like us, look like us, and act like us, the world would be quite boring and the reality tunnels would become echo chambers and all the more dangerous. The mark of an educated man is someone who can entertain others, entertain himself, and entertain new ideas. In this age of instant gratification, many of us unknowingly and reluctantly find we are only entertaining others, bored and unable to entertain ourselves, and completely disinterested in entertaining new ideas. Through this digital abyss, we forget there are actual individuals with their own experiences, values, memories, personal histories, trauma, families, health problems, and contribution to life. Knowing there are people here, why judge and condemn them when we find one thing that we disagree with when there just may be at least a few more things they agree with us on and can introduce us to new ideas? The Art of Manliness, my most-quoted source here, has an interesting article on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien found here: https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/the-power-of-conversation-a-lesson-from-cs-lewis-and-jrr-tolkien/. Can we imagine a committed atheist since the age of 15 (Lewis) and faithful Catholic (Tolkien) would have a deep and meaningful friendship in this day and age? More importantly, can we catch ourselves judging rather than being open and considering? I myself am an Asian American male who identifies as a political moderate and Taoist spiritually, and those characteristics have often led to people making many assumptions and projections about who I am without actually listening or engaging with me. What I find fantastic is if I were to judge people for having views different than mine (on issues like Trump, Christianity, etc) and knew them only as that, then I would never have made several friends on this forum who do happen to enjoy one end of the spectrum more than I ever would. This is also before my own political advocacy on the international level due to my own career in development and with NGOs like the Asian Development Bank or UNICEF and government programs like the US Peace Corps. In fact, last year, we had a mixed team of foreigners and locals in the ADB who were hardcore supporters of Duterte (whom some would say is the Philippine analogue to Trump but I disagree) and people who were calling for him to be impeached and brought to the International Criminal Court. Did any of them let that get in the way of doing a good job as a team knowing that our work was more important (feeding people, reducing poverty, and promoting sustainability amidst climate change)? Nope. We could have heated arguments over drinks one evening and the next evening be in the karaoke room singing Bohemian Rhapsody and other classics. One member here in a thread told me that if we met in a bar and didn't talk about religion or spirituality, we might just get along. I believe that to be quite true. A few years ago in Bangkok, the same thing happened: an Asian American from the military and I met through a mutual friend and we got along very well until the topic of religion came up, and after he equated the Dalai Lama to Osama Bin Laden, I told him that it may be a good idea for us to not continue on that topic considering my own views, and so we toasted each other's mugs and agreed to disagree, and were happy we could both be gentlemen about it. Contrast that with another evening where an American from North Carolina was shouting with an Englishman from Liverpool on gun control laws in the USA, and as their argument escalated (as well as the volume), the other gentleman I was with moved aside to talk about things far more pleasant like what brought us all together initially before the debate came up, which then led to the Thai staff first playing the music progressively louder until they couldn't take it anymore and asked the American woman and Englishman to leave. Or another incident: at a game store, I made friends with another expatriate with political views very different from mine and yet we both agreed it's best we avoid that topic and focus on what brought us together, which in this case would be video games and collecting Nintendo amiibo. This compartmentalization of relationships is something we have been doing to function and adapt in the social environments we move ourselves across, which has been both a form of survival and a tool for growth (see: https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/the-5-types-of-friends-every-man-needs/). I have certain friends I'm more inclined to talk politics with rather than others, not just because they agree, but because they respect my view and I am open to theirs, and the same can be said about our metaphysical views. Then there are friends whom I engage with only to discuss fitness and women we find attractive, but would never trust them with my wallet. Or the friends I go to the pub with who may not be the people I would invite to watch a musical or ballet with me. So one point here then is the compartmentalization of friendships through interests and values, but the main point is how we are engaging with one another when it comes to controversial and fundamental issues we disagree on, such as politics and certain systems of practice. The Tao of Controversy to me is thus a reminder to check my reality tunnel, to refrain from judging others who think differently from me, and to strive to see the better parts in them, for how I treat them is not just a reflection of who I am, but is unfortunately also a representation (often unwilling) for the many parts of me that others may both knowingly and unknowingly judge me for, meaning some may use me as a means to judge Asian Americans, Third Culture Kids, video gamers, comic book nerds, Taoists, political moderates, martial artists, speculative fiction fans, and international NGO staff--all parts of my identity and interest among many more not mentioned. So I can inspire racism, classism, smugness, and all sorts of reactions based on what I say and what I do which in turn can lead to some people making conclusions about not just who I am, but who my tribes are. The Tao of Controversy is also a long thank you to everyone who contributes to my learning and personal growth so that I may lessen judgments and practice patience, remain open, and be graceful when disagreeing and more so when exiting.
  7. 7 points
    He doesn't, nor does he even read the topic, he finds a phrase there and then turns it into something that fulfills an agenda for his research or plugging his free pdf. While I have him on ignore, I check from time to time to see what has been dumped onto any thread I follow, especially ones I have created. Creating his own topics seem to be something he isn't inclined to do, which makes the Tao of Controversy interesting as he isn't even engaging or saying anything to do with the topic, while the Off Grid participants are at least focused on topic.
  8. 7 points
    My son just did a catered event for Bernie Sanders providing food for the event. He has conservative political views so I have been having a great time calling him a left wing, Communist, socialist. I say things like are you going to advertise your business in the local left wing paper this week and when he is going to start the free health care system. . My kids have been exposed to a verity of religion, people from different cultures and the extreme bottom of the barrel which is political views .As a family we are not interested in any of it but it can be interesting as an observer. We celebrate Christmas I get the kids dradels for a gift. We as a family are convinced the dog is Jewish so we had to make sure her food was kosher and participate in her religious ceremonies just out of respect. Diversity in the garden makes the garden stronger and grow. If we plant only one species it is easily wiped out by a single type of bug or what ever bugs us
  9. 7 points
    Please: (1) I keep having these intense moments of immense wonder and gratitude lately. (2) The amount of authentic spirituality available to us with the internet today is truly staggering. (3) I'm old enough to remember the mid 1960s . . . when there was just Krishnamurti . . . Yogananda . . . Gurdjieff . . . and that was about it. (4) No Daoists. No Tibetans. No Sufis. No Advaitists. No Zenists. (5) You had to travel (time and money) to meet people and get a chance to compare and contrast methods for your specific needs. (6) What then took a year to figure out . . . follow up on . . . and check out . . . you can now do in a week. (7) Do the corresponding numbers: it's like living 52 lives in this one. (8) It's like living . . . 52 incarnations. (9) We're getting it done better and faster than any generation in the history of this planet. (10) It's overwhelming to consider . . .
  10. 7 points
    Everybody wants to feel that their pain is special and unique and that`s probably exactly right. So why do I want to tell these people that they aren`t different from so many others who also have sexual problems? Probably because it`s hard to sit with someone else`s hurt without offering up (non) solutions and platitudes -- and never more so than when that hurt lies adjacent to one`s own tender places. I don`t know what it is like to be an adult virgin, but I do not know what it`s like to feel alone. So if I could I`d tell these virgins that many, many of us have sexual difficulties. Some people, like themselves, have never had sex. Others have had way too much of the wrong kind of sex. Sex can sometimes leave a person feeling disconnected and discombobulated. Sometimes this sex is what is commonly called "consensual," though that word skips over all sorts of nuances that don`t matter very much from a legal standpoint but often matter a great deal to an individual. Sometimes this sex is very obviously not consensual. Sex can result in an unwanted pregnancy and lead to an unwanted abortion, or worse, an unwanted child. Sex can result in sickness and death or the fear of sickness of death. Sex ties people together and splits them apart. And then I`d say that we`re never alone, or perhaps that we`re always alone. One or the other, I guess. There`s nothing inherent about having sex or not having sex that changes these existential conditions. Still, I don`t think there`s any denying that sex is a doorway to a certain kind of bliss. Not the only kind of bliss there is or even the best bliss, but darn good bliss just the same. It`s at least as good as a rare roast beef sandwich with lots of horseradish sauce. But not much better. Not really. Most of the time.
  11. 6 points
    I've been a big fan of fitness without gym membership and an advocate of needing zero weights for about ten years now. Honestly speaking, when I was in university, I only cared about checking out attractive women and tailored my workout to require minimal effort for health and maximum enjoyment of the company I was around (all within healthy and respectful boundaries for them, mind you). After I had ACL surgery on my knee, returning to the gym was not pleasant anymore, and looking like a fat slob with all the weight I gained from inactivity, I refused to go out in public for a half year. During that time, I began researching ways to become fit and strong, and went from triathlon training to body hacking to European strongman training and martial exercises. Being the archetypal college graduate of the MTV generation, I of course didn't take any notes or stay consistent and instead fiddled with myself, wasting more time and avoiding effort and consistency. Years later, what caused me to really take fitness seriously began with well-known YouTube snake oil salesman, Mike Chang of the former sixpackshortcuts channel who made bold claims about fitness that didn't require more than 5-10 minutes a day with his towel torture workouts or ripping your abs. He of course also lifted weights, which I ignored, but saw results from doing his shorter bodyweight and towel exercises, and ironically, ended up doing multiple workouts mixing his bodyweight exercises for up to an hour. This created my continued interest in daily fitness, for the initial high from endorphins in less than ten minutes made me want more, and what started out as a way to stay fit in the busy life of a grad student back then. When I moved to Indonesia, this stopped because now I no longer had Pandora Radio or a good Internet connection, being moved around the country for work in different provinces and rural areas, and eating right was a challenge that I couldn't match with not having personal space or time to practice. At that point, I began doing predominantly Tai Chi and Qigong exercises, namely our school's form of Tai Chi derived from Yang style and the Baduanjin, and Zhan Zhuang. This in turn led to a routine daily, and eventually, when it dawned upon me that health and fitness are two very different things, I began mixing my martial training with fitness derived from calisthenics and isometrics primarily. Let us define health and fitness as follows: fitness is looking and feeling strong, muscle work, cardiovascular adequacy, and being able to handle strenuous exercise yet can still get the flue, whereas health is not necessarily looking fit but being balanced physically, mentally, and emotionally, and often does not get sick or even have symptoms of illness like the flu. These are not reviews of the systems presented, but personal experience that I am sharing. As stated above, I don't want to go into Mike Chang's program as how he presents it is exclusively for marketing his products now, and now he is no longer part of the company, which is far more notorious in that regard. All I will say is that the calisthenics he teaches do work, but to do them only for 5-10 minutes is not as effective as they are stated to be, which I learned from personal experience. Now moving forward and beginning with Charles Atlas, I find his program is not outdated at all, but rather quite timeless. There are a few things he teaches that could benefit from modern developments in fitness, such as cold showers, but in short, I have found his system to be one that I return to again and again, in spite of how most people may have difficulty reading what his instructions are in the absence of pictures for a few exercises. As he also promotes character building and a very important but hidden secret of looking in the mirror and visualizing what body you want, he teaches students to be better people through fitness rather than just a way of having a muscular body. What I gained from the program more than just the fitness was that I reaffirmed the sacredness of my body and respect for it through exercise. It is to me parallel to the joy people have who discover yoga at their gym or DVD discount section, without the profound spiritual insight of deeper studies, but instead a spirituality that teaches a kind of self-love for some. I should also mention it did make my chest larger and back more pronounced, and my arms looked like I came out of the military at the end of the third month. With Dynamic Strength, Harry Wong's book, it is a perfect book that does exactly what it says it will do: provide supplementary exercises that can be added on top of someone's existing program or can be used on its own. I have never used it on its own, but I have also seen that it does affect my training when I skip the warmups he insists we spend 10-15 minutes doing before any workout, and it causes exponential growth when doing even just seven of the basic strengthening exercises after a warmup. As it is designed for a martial artist, you are expected to have some degree of fitness, but if not, you will still see results. I usually do his exercises alongside my Charles Atlas regiment, and they both share the philosophy of visualizing and treating your workout as sacred time to be enjoyed, not a chore to be endured. The exercises are not isometrics, but look like them and actually require a range of motion and intent. This is because isometrics may give strength, but the power is only in isolated positions, not consistent throughout. Both Wong and Atlas are very much proponents of moderation, balance, and the slow and steady growth with constant diligent effort. This is quite the contrast from Chang who promises a shortcut to looking good, whereas Atlas and Wong talk about feeling good and being healthy. The last program I tried and have reservations about recommending people strongly is the Solitary Fitness program of Charles Bronson (the British convict, not the American actor). It is a great program, the problem is, it's very hard and can cause people to get frustrated fast due to how demanding it is. I thought I had a head start with my background, but it is brutal and effective. It mixes cardio based off of calisthenics and a lot of isometrics, plus a few weird exercises from prison such as rolling around a sock tied into a ball on the floor using only your chin for 40 meters to develop neck strength. It could greatly benefit from better organization too, as it is hard to follow and requires constant leafing back and forth. There are other chapters such as on solitary organ growth (penis enlargement) and nutrition and fat loss, though some people may be put off by some of his coarse language, but overall jolly fellow. My biggest gripe with it is that it can really, really tire you out to the point that while he mandates Sunday to be your rest day each week, I find myself so tired sometimes that I have had several days where I dreaded the workout because it is demanding in terms of energy, effort, and time. Day 21 in particular is 25 exercises that took me two hours to complete, and my previous routine was both Charles Atlas with Harry Wong in under one hour. Don't ever feel like you won't be challenged by Bronco--you will feel it for days. Not for the lighthearted. Currently, I mix and match parts I like from Charles Atlas, Charlie Bronson, and Harry Wong, and yes, will occasionally use one of four of the only useful 5-10 minute workouts of Mike Chang, and each has individually brought cardiovascular and muscular growth that supplements my martial training. At the very least, I do Atlas's eight main daily exercises after Wong's warmups, then the intermediate program of Wong, and end it with one section only for Bronson, meaning one chapter on leg work one day a week, one chapter on upper body work a different day, and so on, which takes about an hour of my days after my meditative qigong. This prepares me for a good day ahead after a hearty morning training and makes evening practice on forms like Tai Chi and Liuhebafa better.
  12. 6 points
    One of the foundations of the Daoist way of liberation is in lessening and draining away that which hides or obscures what one has received from heaven. “In this regard, the Zhuangzi admonishes that for human beings the issue does not lie in having a transitory and limited individuality, defined (among other conditioning factors) by forms. For the Zhuangzi, the issue lies in the attempt made to compensate for those perceived limitations by “adding” something to one’s individuality, and in performing actions with that purpose. ...One may become “settled” or “stabilised,” by not being dependent on the transiency of forms, and instead by letting “what is provided with a form be an image of the formless”. Accomplishing this does not require a process of “increase” or of perfectioning but rather of “decrease” or of return, as the Zhuangzhi says quoting Laozi: Practicing the Dao is called decreasing day by day; decrease and then again decrease, until there is no doing; when there is no doing there is nothing that is not done. p. 106-107 https://www.persee.fr/doc/asie_0766-1177_2004_num_14_1_1202
  13. 6 points
    @Earl Grey I may have inadvertently given the impression that I`d prefer a bland forum populated exclusively with unchallenged liberal clones. If so, let me back up and say that I too appreciate the diversity of views that give this place it`s color and kick. What makes me feel isolated and out-of-sorts is contempt, the suggestion (explicitly stated or implied) that people who think or feel differently from the poster are inherently less-than. The Trump Talk thread is rife with expressions of contempt from members of all political persuasions. I`m happy to provide examples upon request. This kind of I`m-better-than-you talk isn`t Lewis and Tolkein reaching out across an ideological divide to forge mature friendship. It`s pouring battery acid on the community. People who object to the pouring of battery acid -- people who say that it burns -- are told that they wouldn`t mind so much if only they were more emotionally mature or spiritually developed. Well I say fooey to all that. I want civil discussion; I want mutual respect; It`s not wrong to say so.
  14. 6 points
    I've been recently exposed to Taoism, Qigong and the likes and I find it fascinating as much as it is baffling. I signed up here to get a better grasp and understanding of these practices from real people. I look forward to learning from you all.
  15. 6 points
    This is the 'awakened' paradigm. There always seems to be this element of utter despair and giving up. Quite opposite to someone like the Buddha though, who determined to sit without moving until he was enlightened. Determination seemed to work well enough for him, I believe his last words were "Strive on with diligence." Which then begs the question what is the difference between 'enlightenment' and 'awakening'.
  16. 6 points
    This controversy regarding whether we need to clean or whether we are always already pure seems to arise from a failure to acknowledge the two truths. The two are not mutually exclusive. To the extent that we are able to rest in the nature of mind, accruing no karmic traces, in every waking, dreaming, sleeping, and dying moment, what is there to clean? Hui Neng's poem was an indication that HE had realized the primordial, stainless perfection. It was not an instruction that there is nothing to purify for those of us who are not yet there. To the extent that we continue to live in the world of cyclic existence, there is plenty opportunity for cleaning and purification.
  17. 6 points
    Or, to put it in other words, think through the situation. 1. Dude gets messed up by energy work. 2. Dude gets even more messed up by Chia-based energy work. 3. Is it good advice to do even more energy work, especially when Chia is one of the sources referred to? If performed under personal supervision from someone who actually know their thing and are able to teach it, maybe. I trained with a gal that was slightly messed up, years ago. She decided that the effect of practice was to slow and since she was a very bright and ambitious person she didn't have time with that, so she went to see a healer. That didn't go too well. So she decided to see another healer, who claimed he removed "carmic bands". After that she started to experience energetic things, which made her think that training to channel energy was a good idea. Which lead to burn-out and anti-psychotic medication. Which gave her the idea that seing a healer and doing some energy work might be a good idea. At this point, I made sure we lost contact. Yes, this is not relevant for the OP, just me associating with a sad life story I once witnessed.
  18. 5 points
    This is a purely Taoist practice, not contaminated by Buddhism at all, which makes it very rare. The website, soon to be modernized: http://www.tienshan.net Above the Sacred Valley of the Incas Practice center Real Nei Kung
  19. 5 points
    a human, from a place, with a culture... expresses some xenophobic tendencies about other humans from other places with vastly different cultures? staggering! shocking!
  20. 5 points
    I consider myself in control enough...porn and masturbation has been used to manage many other potential problems, such as being too horny and choosing to be with the wrong woman. I used to do these things daily, and really had to, but now am able to skip a few days easily (which is a result of probably a decade of figuring out what works for quitting/cutting back). Aside from sometimes experiencing road rage (getting angry at horrible drivers), lust is really my final vice, which I think is a positive thing. I view ultimately quitting porn as a pleasant thought, the kind of thing where I say "I should quit". Seems to me like any time we're saying "should", the desire isn't yet strong enough to bring about effort necessary for the result...so in my worldview, it's better to put the "shoulds" on the backburner, rather than live in a constant guilt trip, and wait for the time when the desire to stop is adequate. My belief is that willpower can only go to so many endeavors at once. Actually, I think it's best if our willpower is focused on ONE thing, so I have to pardon myself in this for the time being due to already having too much on my plate. When we're overstretched in what we're trying to do, then it's easier to fail...and I think it's better to succeed at our attempts rather than to give a partial effort and really just end up cultivating failure. With too many irons in the fire, I think that we can get "decision fatigue" and end up being much less effective at everything we do. Willpower is like a muscle...using it appropriately, like doing 5 reps of an exercise, makes that muscle stronger...but training it to failure, like doing 50 reps of 20 exercises, can cause injury and exhausts it. The minister fire flaring can cause lust. Another way to say it is when the shen/mind is disturbed, lust goes along with it. So it can help to do a legitimate form of meditation, like shamatha, to still the mind. There's also the saying that "when jing is full, there's no sexual desire"...there is some truth to this... Sexual over indulgence pretty much directly weakens the Kidney yin (which includes jing) and yang. With low back pain, feet being cold to the touch...that shows the Kidney yang is deficient. I personally can notice that if I abstain from sexual stuff for 3+ days, the feet tend to warm up again, I tend to feel more vibrant in a subtle way...but if I am sexual for a couple of days in a row, the feet will get cold, minor health things will happen and I'll have less energy. When Kidney yin is deficient, it causes the yang to float upward (due to not being held down by the yin, in a mutual relationship). This yang goes up to the pericardium, and ends up disturbing the mind by having too much fire there (called "minister fire flaring upward"). It's better if the yang (which is fire) can stay down in the region of the water...then things are more balanced. So when you've been sexual, due to the yin and yang being deficient, the mind gets disturbed and we end up feeling more lustful. If we've abstained from any sexual stuff for a while, then the yin and yang are in a good relationship in the Kidney, and our mind isn't disturbed in that way, so our sexual desires are more normal and not excessive...meaning that we'd feel lustful if we were being seduced or something (normal), but we're not thinking about sex every 2 seconds (minister fire flaring). Hope that all makes sense...just my understanding of TCM's take.
  21. 5 points
    Additionally, Hitler was big into martial arts and meditation as well!
  22. 5 points
    Luke, I go back to my original post here about how Lewis and Tolkien, people from different metaphysical world views, came together and became close friends because of their differences, not in spite of them. The exposure to individuals who have different political views than mine don't just give me a window to their world, but also into my own as I've often seriously annoyed both liberals and conservatives since I tend to have a fairly independent view that many find hard to classify. Such exposure I know has changed someone I knew who was a hardcore supporter of removing illegal immigrants until he became close friends with some people I knew who would fall into that category, so going from a policy on paper to being exposed to someone with a face and a family who you play poker with every week is an example of why encountering and engaging with people is crucial for growth. I can't really look at people here and change my opinion based off of political opinions, because first and foremost, I knew them for our spiritual and philosophical interest, as is the niche of this forum. As people join forums in a self-selecting manner, it shows what their predominant interests are, and when I think of fair and balanced people who are very well-read and great to talk to, and feel like they are friends and family to the point I forget I even met them here, if politics ever comes up when we do our international Skype calls, then that's when I realize how little that actually means when I've made a connection. Characterizing this place as Cheers is how I saw it when I first joined, on my first major thread on martial arts. Calling it an old west saloon--maybe since the Trump thread that might be it, but I would never have noticed it until I started lurking there and entertaining myself. Having friends from both ends of the political spectrum, you can imagine how fun dinners are and how we end up going from shouting matches over beers to wrestling on the living room floor and then resolving our differences over a few rounds of Mario Kart or Street Fighter. I've found my friends become better liberals from mingling with my conservative friends and vice-versa, not just because of the backfire effect, but because it effectively proved that some of them may identify with the label, but didn't actually know much about the history and preferences of each party once you cut past the media games and social media memes. I believe this is like Cheers because my view is even with our disagreements, we have fun here, which is why we come back. I don't go to sleep wishing people's bowels would explode here, even those whom I've argued with, if anything, I just ignore them and often we end up getting along in other threads or topics. And in Cheers itself, they certainly didn't all think or act alike, it was the eclectic personalities that made the place Cheers. I'd say it's both a place to civilly discuss things and a vehicle of spiritual cultivation. I don't believe they are mutually exclusive. If we are civil, certainly walking with a fair bit of openness gets us talking, and by nature of signing up for this, many of us are open because we want to talk with other individuals here on this forum. It's the moments of pressure that facilitate change and insight, and one of my teachers always tells me to be grateful for the people who piss us off because they show us our weaknesses, whether it's judging them or failing to articulate ourselves or respect ourselves to know their view can't offend or change our views without our permission. Your understanding of things is actually the kind that makes me want to swing by Florida and have a drink with you or walk and chat because of your anarchic and Taoist views, as well as your military experience and humor. You remind me of when I lived next to the American embassy when I first came to Manila in '97 and had befriended retired people from the Silent Generation all the way to early Gen-X working with the military or the embassy and hearing stories of Korea '51 and 'Nam '75, and growing up watching MASH and every Vietnam War movie ever made, it was interesting to meet people who had such distinct personalities and character. Besides citizenship, it was the fact we found ourselves away from the US that made us say, "At least we have that much in common even if your parents voted for the guy I voted against". So I was already exposed to people who thought differently from me and liked them because learned new things. I also learned slang from multiple states and regions, so my accent and vernacular confuses the hell out of Americans and Brits when I talk. The exposure to different people makes it hard for me to relate to people on the level of judging by nationality since I don't think of stereotypes after I made friends from different states and countries growing up, I think of names and people I personally know instead of this nebulous idea of believing everyone should think, act, and look like me. Again: considering another idea and learning about it. Yes, most people don't step into these discussions to change their opinion or learn. But why do most of us go into those controversial threads? I go there to observe and learn. I go to appreciate. I don't participate because I actually don't have much to say that isn't already said by people arguing for the views I have. When my friend and I argued about Uber, he simply ignored the counterpoints and supporting facts I gave, and for whatever reason he had, either he didn't want to argue, couldn't have a retort, or got angry I didn't agree. Other friends I know agreed with me completely on my disdain for the company, but I had to agree with them in a place like Manila or Jakarta, how else can you stay safe or avoid being gipped? They chose one corporate devil over having to deal with the imps and goblins ferrying us around the metro because it gave them something of value even if the greater cost was something we all agreed was bad. So living life, which includes engaging people in discussion to me, is something that is hard to stomach for those who hate arguments, but is necessary for growth and great for training. I actually learn to bite my tongue more because my view is that most people here have a better understanding and far more patience, maturity, and openness than me and that I'm the bottom heap here. In turn, they prove me right and I'm happy to be everyone's student in this forum when it comes to socializing.
  23. 5 points
    I share your sentiments. Many times I have been sucked into the 'Off Grid' vortex and have found myself posting something that I later regretted. I suppose that is human nature and quite natural to give in to emotion only to vent like a child and then regret. Well, I'm not sure about the regret. What I am sure of is that a person who has achieved true equanimity can rise above such petty behaviors and the fact that I cannot always do so is a signpost leading me to where I need go if I want to grow spiritually. In that respect the 'Talk Trump' thread is an amazing cultivation tool, but there is a cost. Which leads me to ask: what is the purpose of The Dao Bums? Is it a place to civilly discuss matters of spiritual cultivation, or is it a vehicle of spiritual cultivation? If it is the former then the entire 'Off Grid' section is arguably harmful, but if it is the latter then 'Off Grid' is absolutely necessary.
  24. 5 points
    Personally, I struggle a lot with the more controversial (read: political) topics here on the forum. A liberal friend of mine was aghast after I told him about the many Bums who appear to approve of Trump or otherwise espouse conservative political views: how is it, he wondered, that someone on a "spiritual path" could support Trump? I assured him it was indeed possible. Believe me, nobody is more surprised than I, but there ya have it. Although some here believe I`m more concerned with feelings than facts, I`m glad to have had my eyes opened. It`s been enlightening to realize that spiritual practice knows no particular social ideology; many of the people whom I respect the most here on the board in terms of their spiritual development have radically different views than I on gun control, abortion, immigration issues, transgender rights -- you name it. And yet it`s also sad to see how some of the Off Grid discussions have divided people who, I believe, would otherwise be allies. I`m not a fan of divisiveness or sarcasm or contempt. Perhaps Bums with thicker skins than I love those things? All I know is that we`ve lost some good people as a result of skirmishes in Trump Talk. Brian seems gone for sure. I see Taomeow`s name listed as present now and then but she hasn`t posted, that I`ve seen anyway, so who knows. (Only she, I suspect.) For my part, I`ve often considered leaving and may still do so (although don`t hold your breath). I want for Taobums to be like the cyber version of Cheers, the bar where "everybody knows your name," and too often it feels more like an old west saloon. The people on "my side" are sadly outgunned by the shoot-em-up crowd on the other and I fear for our continued existence as a vocal presence. I swear, sometimes this place can be so lonely.
  25. 5 points
    I've found that taking it literally is of immense value as well. We busy ourselves with so many unnecessary tasks, thoughts, words.... Those very things obscure.
  26. 5 points
    Is qi that rises up the du channel yang fire? How can it be yang if the lower part of the body is yin and the upper part of the body is yang? It would make more sense (when you visualise the hexagrams) that the lowest part of the body is fully yin, and that which rises up the du channel from it is still yin, with increasing amounts of yang? Yes it is confusing. I was researching this yesterday - rereading Taoist Yoga: Alchemy and Immortality. I did a blog post on it. http://elixirfield.blogspot.com/2018/06/how-quick-fire-activates-positive-fire.html Only I called it "positive fire" - as the book calls it - meaning Yang Fire. How Quick Fire activates Positive Fire (positive vitality) or Yuan Qi that is the secret of the small universe meditation So the Yang Fire does go up the governing or control channel in the spine but it first has to be CREATED alchemically. So the Lower Tan T'ien does not exist for most people. The Jing-Shen is "hidden" and brought forth or created alchemically as Shen-Jing or shen under the jing creates Qi. This is why kundalini literally means Fire in the hole in the Earth. The upper body is yang as Heaven - while the lower body is Yin as Earth. This is called the four yin-yang with the Heart as yang and Heaven and the Kidneys as yin and Earth. But alchemically - the Fire of the Heart as Yang is the Yuan Shen from the Yuan Qi of the middle tan t'ien. O.K. so alchemically this is the eternal process of putting the Shen as Fire into the Earth to turn the Water into Air (qi). So the alchemical meditation starts with the yang of the upper body and it has to "descend" - But just as importantly the Water has to be raised above the fire - and this is what the Quick Fire breathing does. So you use the Post-Natal fire (breathing) to activate the pre-natal fire as Heaven. So the Lower Tan T'ien contains the alchemical pill as the shen under the jing - which creates yuan qi. But the lower body, as was pointed out in this thread, is the Yin Qi - and so for the golden Yang Shen to develop - then this Yin Qi emanates a golden light as the yin qi is increasingly converted to yang or yuan qi. So first you have to restore the yin qi so it fills the body - and so you have the energy of a 16 year old full of generative force. Most people never even achieve this first step. That then means the lower tan t'ien is fully activated with the fire but - now the Cauldron as the Middle Tan t'ien is activated as the Yuan Qi. So you have to maintain celibacy - which is difficult - because everyone is going to want your energy. So the Eyes are the only positive Yang aspect of the body - which means the eyes constantly send out the yang qi (the yuan qi) from the heart. But with the Eyes open - then Heaven and Earth are SEPARATED - and so the Heart and Kidneys are also not mixed alchemically. So by closing the eyes and rotating them - the left eye is the yin qi of the liver and the right eye is the yang qi of the lungs - this is the dragon and tiger. So then only by using Quick Fire as deep strong breathing and rotating the eyes - do you then "cure" or bake the bricks - or turn the lead and mercury into gold - meaning turn yin and yang qi into yuan qi of the heart. So Yuan Qi is "undivided yin-yang qi." If there is impurity - then the lower tan t'ien is deconverted back with the separation of yin and yang. Yang qi has substance and so is the real lead of the white tiger. Yin qi does not have substance and so it is the mercury. Yang qi is the ionized lecithin - and so is the fluid within the vapor. Yin qi is in the blood and so is the vapor in the fluid. So the alchemical pill is a mixture but the Qi itself is Pressure Energy - and so creates a strong "basketball" anti-gravity pressure force. So when Yuan Qi is activated then the Yuan Shen manifests - and so the Yang Fire is both the Yuan Qi and the Yuan Shen. Then Yuan Shen is yellow light that is seen externally - and so it is the Yellow Sprouts as the Middle Tan T'ien. But to fully open the third eye - then you have to keep building up the Yuan Qi by building up the yin qi - and so any lower emotional energy as yin qi has to be cleansed and purified back into yuan qi - constantly. You can not leak energy either physically or psychically. And... so the Yuan Qi is the "one" - meaning it is also the Emptiness as the source of the Shen. So the Yuan Qi actually guides the Shen - from the Future. This was referred to in this thread - meaning that when you build up a Yang Shen you are also restoring the Yuan Jing - and this is called "yin matter" (alchemically) - and it is actually from the future - virtual quasi-matter. So to convert the yin qi into yuan qi means to have the Shen or Light get turned around - and this is the relativistic mass of light from the future - the virtual photons that turn matter into mass. So this process is eternal - as listening - the formless awareness - also called Fa Shen - or the Absolute Void that radiates light. So we store the Yuan Qi in the lower Tan T'ien but originally it was united - pre-natally or pre-heaven - through the heart. And so through the heart again we access the formless awareness of the Cosmic Qi - that is also Yuan Qi - when the body is filled with the yin qi and the yuan qi is activated. So just as dragon and tiger "copulate" or mix - then since Light does not experience space and time - the Light has zero rest mass - and so it is eternally being guided by the Yuan Qi as formless awareness. This is called Shen-Qi. So as I quote on my blog: General Discussion of the Medicine Collecting Method. excerpted from The True Transmission of Ba Gua Zhang 八卦拳真传 Ba Gua Zhang Zhen Chuan by Sun Xi Kun 孙锡 堃 https://www.internalartsinternational.com/free/sun-xi-kun-daoism-part-iv-general-discussion-medicine-collecting-method-2/ and http://www.goldenelixir.com/jindan/ruyao_jing_1.html So why is it called the Mysterious-Female if is it Yang Qi as Yuan Qi? Because alchemically the Positive Fire as Yang Qi has an inner "Female" that must descend while the Earth as yin has an inner "male" that must ascend. But this process takes "place" in the 5th dimension that is non-local - as TIME - as listening or logical inference. http://qianfengdaoismuk.weebly.com/daoist-meditation-stills-and-calms-the-mind.html Zhuang Zhou, Zhuangzi chapter 4 The heart is called Yi because when intent moves, spirit is agitated; qi is dispersed. Qi is the Mother of spirit; Spirit is the child of qi. So Yang Shen creates yuan jing. Yin qi creates yang qi - also called "positive generative force" or "positive vitality" or positive fire or prenatal vitality (yuan qi). Yuan qi activates Yuan Shen which is still a Yin Shen. The yin qi also has yin shen. So the Hun Soul of the liver is a yin shen and the Po Soul of the lungs is a yin shen. So the spirit of the Earth is a Yin spirit but as the yin qi is converted to yuan qi - then white-yellow light of the Moon becomes Golden as the Yang shen. Is qi that rises up the du channel yang fire? How can it be yang if the lower part of the body is yin and the upper part of the body is yang? It would make more sense (when you visualise the hexagrams) that the lowest part of the body is fully yin, and that which rises up the du channel from it is still yin, with increasing amounts of yang? This is what is being referred to - the golden light of the Yang Shen is created from the Yuan Jing by converting the yin qi into yuan qi. Yin qi has no substance while Yang qi has substance as the alchemical pill since it creates yuan jing or original essence. This is why celibacy has to be maintained and purification and cleansing has to keep occurring.... And also if a person does create a yang shen - then it will not want to enter back into this body, once it leaves the body. So it has to be "trained" to enter back into the body - since there is still some demonic yin qi left in the body, even though the yang shen has been created. And so the Yuan Qi is what guides this whole process and then in the end the Yang Shen still vaporizes back into Yuan Qi. The Yuan Qi decides if the Yang Shen will manifest again - as a golden immortal body. So the paradox being that the more immortal a person becomes, the less of an individual person or mind they have. It is an impersonal process of energy transformation. The Emptiness does the healing and transformations.
  27. 5 points
    The "images" described is talking about astral viewing or what the Bible calls "false light", as astral stuff is not the true light. Astral stuff is more "energy" and energy is sort of like "attached" light that is obscured. True light is not visible or something that you see. Also, the light is really more like the "motion" of the father, and hence you could say the father is hidden (or behind) his light.
  28. 5 points
    I have been walking this way for 30 plus years. I can still go to DDJ 1 to be inspired and to appreciate how much I do not know, which may be one the most significant things to achieve. I wander off the path due to my own "coming late". I am now a stupid old fool who just done that yet gain. But I come again and find this way is still the same and there is no yea or nay, an emptiness that is endlessy full. I get kindly chided for "coming late" and things go on as before, embraced and embracing. I wonder when I will get tardy again? "Coming late" is a phrase one encounters in the Yi Jing. It is not being present. Not being present for a moment or for a year or two means I do not see or hear what's actually going on. It was still actually going on. You try to find "Sages" of a way that declares that naming or describing is some other way but not this one, as if painted in big letters over the first "door" people often come through to it. Try not to be foolish. But even in your foolishness (and mine) , even if you flee, if you have come near, it may yet come again and surprise. Don't ask me how whatever "it" is does "it". I can't seem to get away from it, no matter how a hard I try to be not present. Even in my "not presentness", like a playful cat I find it whacking at the trouser cuff of my left leg when I thought it was outside. May I recommend the book "Dao De Jing - A Philosophical Translation" by a couple of old fool honkey professors of philosophy departments. The DDJ was first written in Chinese characters, you may need to know furher how that can be a many nuanced way of communicating. It may also help you appreciate the life enhancing richness on DDJ if truly wished to be helped at the present time - to try and be more present. To this end may I suggest more respectful dialogue with your many correspondents, not for their sake, or the Dao's, but for yours. But if you do not wish too, so be it, we will all enjoy yapping with each other around the fire. The Dao is in all things , without exception.
  29. 5 points
    As I understand it it is a description of rising yang that needs to be balanced with retreating yin at the correct time(-ing) to find the right 'heating' that enables the forming of the jindan 金丹. I found the best description of this delicate process in the 中國道教大辭典: 指坐功時,體內的氣、自尾闊升上泥丸,乃在背脊一路,名為進陽火,自泥丸降下氣海,乃在胸前一路,名為退陰符。以升為進, 以降為退。又凡後升之時,身中自覺熱氣蒸騰,乃至前降之時, 則熱氣漸歸冷靜。此以熱氣盛為進陽火, 熱氣平為退陰符。(陳櫻寧〈孫不二女功內丹次第詩注〉) 。 I can relate to this because 凡後升之時,身中自覺熱氣蒸騰,乃至前降之時, 則熱氣漸歸冷靜 is what I sometimes experience during my (far too few) meditation sessions (although in my case the sensation does not start at point 氣海 but lower) even though my goal is not to arrive at the 金丹. In other words, yanghuo to me is not so much a substance or anything but a process of rising yang (complemented by descending yin) that can be felt or experienced. This process is often depicted with the hexagram sequence of 2, 24, 19, 11 etc. There exists a picture of these hexagrams with the human body in the centre but I can't find it. Anyway, Liu Yiming elaborates on these hexagrams and more in his description of the 陽火陰符六陰六陽全圖, a description that is partly translated by Cleary in I Ching Mandalas (p. 108-109; picture of 陽火陰符六陰六陽全圖 on p. 39).
  30. 5 points
    That is a truth bindi! Also i would not say that waking up is enlightenement at all. We have to be careful to use words more wisely in that field. It is waking up...the first change in identity from being a person to the pure awarness underneath it. Usually there comes a "honeymoon" phase and after some time karmic cleansing starts at a higher rate. Which often results falling back into addictions and really dark emotions (i know of 2 people who where awake who commited suicide). Awakening has to mature and to be embodied for that to occur. There are more shifts coming if one matures, one of the matures ones is beyond that infinite awarness into well........and then into something even more beyond, the source of the source. From my expierence, this "there is nothing to be done" talk is often in the beginning or if it is not well embodied, after the awakening gets better embodied the talk usually changes to reflect that maturing. like awake beings that are matured talk, like Almaas, Aisha Salem or Scott Kiloby. A friend of mine who is very awake has created a kind of "map" to show some of the primary shifts one can move through after initial awakening. I will post a summary here and the link to the full article. The post-personal Stages in summary: 1 – Cosmic Consciousness (CC) or Self Realization (that is the stage that dwai talks about) 1a – Refined CC or God Consciousness (GC) 2 – Unity Consciousness (UC), Oneness or non-duality 2a – Refined Unity and God Realization 3 – Brahman or Beyond Consciousness 3a – Refined Brahman 3b – Parabrahman or Wholeness (that is the source of the source; the source of infinite awarness) https://davidya.ca/2014/01/25/stages-of-development-in-consciousness/ best!
  31. 5 points
    I just returned from my own mothers funeral held on friday. I had a few false alarms " You better get down here, she is on her way out." then the next morning she is sitting up in bed having a cup of tea and asking what all the fuss is about. I got another warning on monday but she died on tuesday night. My elder brothers eulogy was great, heard stuff I never knew about. Mine was off the cuff, seemed to please the congregation but the catholic priest maybe didnt agree with it . One thing that impressed me, my brother was saying how he was a primary school teacher and he worked in some pretty rough areas with abused kids. One kid would come to school very early ( to get away from the home situation) and he would find him, in winter with tattered clothes huddled up near the door waiting and shivering. So he went and bought him some thick flannelette shirts, one for each day, and would give him a clean one and take the old one home to wash for him, mum would wash and iron them for him. he said one day he noticed a lump in the folded shirt and opened it, in the pocket was a 'freddo frog' , chocolate. She had been slipping in treats for the kid, Eventually it graduated to biscuits and sandwiches. Then she found out, of off my brother , some never celebrated their birthday or the parents didnt acknowledge their own kids birthdays ( wtf ! ? ) so she got him to get their dates off the schools record and would make a cake for him to take to school and they would have a little birthday party there . Thats a mum for ya ! My dad died when I was around 17 .... yes very different expereinces because of my age difference .. but I came after to appreciate him more . You know that (supposed) Mark Twain quote : " When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years. "
  32. 5 points
    Thanks for the link. I've just sat through both parts. Very well put together and inspirational. A recurring theme I got from watching was that: All paths (and none) are equally valid (as most of us here already know). There is no place for religious or spiritual fundamentalism, as in my path is the best/only Way. No organisation has the monopoly of awakening. The mixing of paths, taking from various traditions is as equally valid, in fact, I feel it is encouraged in these films. We are so fortunate in these times that we have instant access to the wisdom of the entire world. This forum has introduced me to teachings and practices that I would otherwise had not heard of. The Daobums is a special place, and I hope it continues to be.
  33. 5 points
    My suggestion is to not make your practice about sex or the lack of sex. In the beginning many have an increase of vitality. It is possible to turn this energy into what animates the body (this happens any way) and achieve goals we otherwise would not have the energy to achieve. Vitality is not only what many refer to as sexual energy that is a very small part of our vitality. With desires if we TRY to cut them off sometimes it creates more. When full we do not desire more. When harmful habits take their toll on our bodies and in our lives we will simply not desire to do that anymore. Life is not perfect Live and let live
  34. 5 points
    Booo Gerard I’m currently sticking to just one practice and I'm very happy with how its going. I have recently increased my ZZ stand up to 30 minutes and am now experiencing some nice new energy flows that are the result of a daily commitment. But, I’d never have discovered ZZ with out this information age. Whether someone commits to one thing for a long time or not is quite a bit down to their own character and whether they’ve come to the realisation that the more you focus on one thing the more results you get.
  35. 5 points
    Both paths are equally valid in my opinion and I work with both. I really respect and appreciate you sharing your feelings on this. I think this is a very valid criticism. The "pop spirituality" appropriation of non-duality and dzogchen is often as empty as the emptiness they misunderstand. There's a lot of misunderstanding and misapplication of these things and there's a lot of spiritual materialism and ego out there. I see those tendencies in myself, including many misunderstandings, and try to be very aware of it and address them whenever I can. Your post is a great reminder so thank you! One of the teachings in the Bön dzogchen cycle I'm currently studying, called the Oral Transmission of Zhangzhung, cautions against feeling superior because of practicing dzogchen. It's considered the highest vehicle but it is not the "best." By highest, what is meant that the view of dzogchen encompasses, the views of all the other "vehicles" in the Bön system. It does not exclude any of the other views. This egotism related to practicing the "highest" path is one of many pitfalls we need to navigate in the practice and it's very real. One thing that helps me avoid this pitfall is being honest with myself as to how much farther I have to go and how weak my practice it. I think this is, in part, a Western phenomenon. We are always infatuated with the best, the fastest, the highest, etc... It doesn't matter if it is real, or effective, as long as it satisfies the ego's cravings. So when we see dzogchen is the "highest vehicle," well then that's the one for me! I think knowing where I am and what's working with that, being honest with myself about that, will take one much further than the folks you are referring to. Many of them get an intellectual glimpse of things like non-duality at a conceptual level and don't really do anything with it. They are stagnant, in part because they think they understand something that cannot be intellectually grasped and also because they are following a path that is not legitimate. And they're fine with it, they're not really working on themselves, only collecting a trophy. Your sincerity, on the other hand, will serve you well and I think you'll see meaningful growth as a result. Not sure how to quote the quote within the quote.... I was a "doer" on the Neidan path for about 15 years in my meditation practice before getting a glimpse of the non-doing path and beginning to follow it in a dedicated way. I'm still a doer in very many ways, including my formal and informal practices. We never stop doing. If we think or claim that we have, it is evidence of a serious lack of awareness in our practice.
  36. 5 points
    The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains.The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.―William Arthur Ward
  37. 5 points
    It's like the most important principle of existence which I have been so constantly repeating in the past few months: 1. Mind creates reality 2. An open Body leads to the Mind (second principle). The trick is to OPEN THE BODY...and this requires: 1. A teacher 2. A proven method 3. A student better (as in willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING) than the teacher 4. Bull mentality: not to give up and endure, and work your ass off as if it was your last day on Earth. Good luck!
  38. 5 points
    That is not the dynamic at all, that's not how it works and that's not the right attitude.
  39. 5 points
    Hi Charlie, I missed this posting earlier. Glad to hear that you've experienced similar rejuvenation from your FP Qigong practice with the same visible signs. I got over all my the allergies of my first 25 years of life when I completed training in the entire Tao Tan Pai Nei Gung system around 1982 and had practiced its three capstone meditations solidly for about 8 years from 1982 to 1990. I remember that I used to be allergic to horse piss (because during horse trips in Utah and Colorado, in the mornings when we'd saddle up (and the horses would always piss on their ropes overnight), I was just wheezing and tearing and almost going blind. But by the 1990's, during horse trips in the same region with the same friends and outfitters, no problem whatsoever with horse piss. Now that's what I call evolution. Then when GM Doo Wai came into my life and taught me the FP Qigong starting in 1991, as I think I've mentioned several times on this thread, the effects were FAST and profound because I had the Tao Tan Pai already established PLUS he personally initiated each of us (at least 2 others that I witnessed) with a personal transmittance of energy that raised or "stretched" the energy capacity of our bodies to an indescribable degree. Then we would still have to do the FP and other practices to "fill" and mantain that capacity to carry Qi to peak levels. Yup. From 1990 through 2010 (when i was age 45 to 55), my hair remained jet black even though many friends my age--even those who practiced Chinese internal martial arts and qigong--started getting a lot of gray hair, dry skin, joint problems, muscle atrophy, and other more subtle signs of aging when they hit about 53. But then I encountered major, major with a big litigation against a film studio from 2010-2014, my normal work hours, sleep, and Tai Chi/Kung Fu/Qigong practice routines, got disturbed and became very, very irregular. (see this link for the ugly background details/facts: http://www.kungfupandalawsuit.com/Timeline_Hotspots_New.html ). As result of the high stress day to day for 4+ solid years, I got lot of gray hair and beard that i considered to be way too sudden and pre-mature. So I would intensify my FP Qigong practice each time there was noticeably new gray hair, and that would "beat back down" the gray level on a cyclical basis. But 2015 was a big turnaround year of practice for me because the stress of the litigation started to lift. I did FP Long Form Standing an average of every other day, at least 3 MSW seated meditations each time I practiced, and I would do 9 of the 54 Meditations from the 10,000 Buddhas' Meditations System every other day, plus 4 to 5 Eight Sections of Energy Kung Fu Forms at least 4 times a week. Certain days I would practice all 8 BDG (8 Sections) forms, which would take 3 hours. Fortunately, over the past 3 years, hair growth all-over has been restored to its natural color--through regular daily practice of FP Qigong levels, related Bok Fu Pai arts like 10,000 Buddhas Meditations, Tao Tan Pai Nei Kuing-- ranging between one hour to 3 hours a day--no including time spent teaching. There's just one tiny stand of hair that stays gray, which is the spot where the very first greying started about 8 years ago. And just today, I was talking to a young police officer (2 years on the job) watching over the weekly Farmer's Market in Lenox, MA and after talking about police training for a while (one of my favorite civic-minded topics) he was gobsmacked when I told him how hold i was. He said he thought i was in my early 40's. I said "bless your soul." and "Hey, my stuff works." In general, on any day when I practice either Moonbeam or the FPHHCM Long Form, and 2 or 3 MSW seatedl meditations, I actually feel that my body is getting younger, or let's say fresher, more pristine. And skin, especially on the face gets smoother and wrinkles (that appear from lack of sleep and oxidants like alcohol--I still like a good glass of wine with dinner sometimes ) disappear just over the period of practice. The same has been reported by students in my 120-minute FP Class for beginners that I teach at various venues in the Berkshires and in L.A. Anyway, Charlie, enjoy your marrow cleansing. And keep those toe- and finger-nails growing super-fast! Sifu Terry www.taichimania.com/chikung_catalog.html
  40. 5 points
    Hi Steve, I have seen one angel in my lifetime--fortunately on a recurring basis-since 1994. It happened to be in human form. No wings. But with an energy field and aura extending beyond 8 inches from all surfaces of his body (it was a he on this plane), And this energy field was so dense in that particular moment when he allowed me to experience it that I would have burned myself irreparably had I moved my hand closer to his skin. No, he was not Chinese. On occasions when I sat in a chair right after he did, or laid on a mattress that he had been using for days before, my body was infused by a deeply sweet energy that is best described as "divine" and in the case of the mattress, dreams of absolutely unique and new content came, lucidity in dreamstate was enhanced to levels never experienced before, the simplest of foods shared at the same table with him tasted better than anything I had had before, and the wine (of brands and vintages that I knew well) each time tasted like incomparable heavenly nectar, and in watching him help and heal others, I felt the "passion" in compassion on a cellular level. Once, on the streets of New York City, where trouble comes looking for you, a couple of very destructive and demonic spirits automatically carom'd off the sidewalk at an angle and went across the street each time they came within 25 feet in front of us and that occurred only because I was with this person. STD
  41. 5 points
    Thanks for the welcome Fa Xin. I'm more or less okay thanks. I do have some background / training in Tai Chi, and other Doaist arts. Generally, not something I like talking about though. Maybe it's my imagination, but I often find people can get quite sensitive about this stuff; for example, "my version of Daoism is the true one, superiour to yours, and you have no business even discussing this stuff"; general brow-beating and bullying. Anyhow, I can only relate what I know personally and understand from my own life experience, and hopefully have a positive, respectful and insightful discourse with the other people here.
  42. 5 points
    Looked at it slightly differently, it can be looked at as All One. We are all the same entity - life manifesting and expressing itself. To take responsibility for everything is to realize that what I see in you is what is inside me as well, otherwise I wouldn't recognize it. No need to point fingers and make judgments, as it would be to only be judging ourselves. As I too see it, Christianity per se still does the punishment and abasement thing. This is not to recognize the connectedness between all of us; it singles out and judges (at least the old type of Christianity - I don't know how they handle this now) and people can feel self-righteous and better than their neighbor because they judge. I think it comes naturally to our human nature as it is now - but it is a true Practice to look with the eyes of love at everyone, regardless of what their deeds are. There but by 'the grace of god' go I. In any given situation - had I been given the same conditioning, I probably would have done that crime. The criminal too is Life expressing itself. I think the greatest challenge of all is to turn on the TV, watch the political news, and try and make no judgments. To realize that 'that too is Me.' In metaphysics this state is the 'I Am' consciousness.
  43. 5 points
    Hi KuroShiro, sure I can talk about it. First off I practice the Dragon Gate Lineage as passed on by Wang Liping, and don’t speak for Taoism in general (if there is such a thing). In his teaching Wang Liping emphasizes personal responsibility, and that life is up to each of us to figure out for ourselves. Our present moment is a product of our past choices/actions (including past lives). I have chosen to be here. No matter how sucky the present moment is, I am %100 responsible for it. Furthermore, my interpretation of the present moment is based a choice. We chose a narrative, we chose our drama. Or as Wang Liping puts it, good and bad does not exist outside of our body. Therefore we are responsible for what happens to us. However, this is a practice not a philosophy. It does not matter if the above is true or not, what matters is the results we get when we apply the perspective in every moment. I have been working with this for a few years and it’s changed my life. For me this perspective/practice has allowed me to be much more present and accepting of the moment. And there is a lot of power in that. I can still take action, however when I do it seems to be much more appropriate and effective action, not bogged down with a lot of drama. Well, less drama anyway, it's a work in progress. Wang Liping talks about learning this from his teachers. They would use the phrase “just the way it is” 就是這漾 (jiu shi zhei yang) every time something “bad” happened to them, implying they were responsible for it. They would have great fun with it, one time Wang Liping was eating a bowl of noodles and his teacher came over and knocked the bowl on the ground. When Wang Liping emotional reacted his teacher just laughed and said, “just the way it is.” Wang Liping explained that in that moment he had to accept he was responsible for his teacher knocking the bowl on the ground.
  44. 5 points
    "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want." Calvin & Hobbes
  45. 5 points
    Verse 8 "In meditation go deep into the heart" (Li Erh Xian Shi)
  46. 4 points
    So here's a brief outline of the views that influence my opinion on multiculturalism and the paradox you speak of based off of my experiences: my heritage as an Asian American and living in the United States, my travelogues as a tourist and a genuine vagabond, my life as an expat and my life amongst expatriate communities, my experience and identity as a Third Culture Kid, my professional work as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and both formal and informal training in these theories. Let me start by saying the idea of multiculturalism is often misunderstood and paraded as a great thing. The politics of multiculturalism, however, are not so great. What I have learned is that it is easier to glean concepts in this from narrative rather than theory because there are more examples to draw from and it is not so nebulous. This is why I am sharing parts of my narrative to illustrate some points. As an Asian American, especially having attended university and graduate school on the west coast, a hot spot for multiculturalism, it is quite baffling for me that people act like it can only lead to good things. Let me tell you that for the good things of being exposed to other cultures, there are funny ideas I do not agree with such as exoticism of cultures based off of people's looks or creating Otherness both to project onto other individuals and onto oneself. I can't recall the many times people said I was not a "real" Asian (whatever the hell that means) because I am not a "pure" northeast Asian, or that because I hold my chopsticks differently, that I am a failure as an Asian. These criticisms came from other "Asians" who from one extreme lump everyone into one nebulous group called "Asian", cultural groups with individuals whose heritage come from countries like China, Indonesia, Taiwan (they make a distinction and assert it, especially in Southern California), Korea, India, and the like that somehow because of geographic proximity are supposed to be the same when they immigrate to the United States. On the other hand, you have people who will declare their pride in being Taiwanese Americans but hate being called Chinese, or people asking strange questions like "Are Filipinos Asians? Aren't they Pacific Islanders?" (the answer is yes, they are Asian, and no, they are not Pacific Islanders). For the sake of avoiding a tired narrative, I am excluding examples of racism I experienced from non "Asian" groups (whites particularly) because that's a tired one that I don't need to retread. The multicultural aspect there for me basically means "Feel free to look different but don't you dare think differently from others!" when you are presented with the illusion of free choice when creating your identity and is limited between to the two extremes with nothing in-between or beyond that dichotomy. Other people discard their heritage and focus mostly on their citizenship. I was often reviled by others because I questioned these politics in Asian American circles. Chang has alluded quite well to Cultural Marxism which is what a lot of these so-called "diversity" politics have become, to the point I find myself wondering if people have missed the point of Avenue Q's song, "Everybody's A Little Bit Racist (Sometimes)". The influence of my own views came from (take your pick) being either someone who has less confusion about identity because he lived in his two heritage countries (China and the Philippines), or has more confusion because of living in three countries of ethnic heritage. The Third Culture Kid I shall quickly define here: The "third culture" to which the term refers is the mixed identity that a child assumes, influenced both by their parents' culture and the culture in which they are raised. While Useem first used the term during the 1950s, it was about forty years later that third-culture kid (sometimes spelled without a hyphen and often abbreviated TCK) emerged in the mass media. TCKs move between cultures before they have had the opportunity to fully develop their personal and cultural identity. The first culture of such individuals refers to the culture of the country from which the parents originated, the second culture refers to the culture in which the family currently resides, and the third culture refers to the amalgamation of these two cultures. This is what I am classified as both for having grown up in several countries by the time I reached high school. It also has an extra layer of complexity being surrounded by individuals like me from having attended an international school for expatriates, consisting of military brats, missionary kids, corporate kids, diplomat children, and rich locals. In my day, it was an alienating experience because before the Internet, I was just considered strange. With the Internet, it becomes an ostracizing experience because the natural assumption is that I'm a spoiled rich kid, not helped by BuzzFeed articles talking about how the TCK loves to travel and actually embodies many of the Millennial stereotypes that are universally abhorred, and a privileged kind of individual rather than the TCK, which also includes refugees, mind you. Yes, we grow up with a kind of third culture, but our views on diversity do not all reach the same point: I have seen people from the same family develop completely different personalities even if they went to the same schools and countries growing up, with one person becoming a hardcore patriot and her brother a jaded individual who embraces life as an expat because he isn't an expat in his own country yet he feels like one without the privilege or the benefit of a doubt for not knowing obvious things people who have grown up there do that only a foreigner would not know. Just because we grew up exposed in different countries doesn't automatically turn us into progressives or liberals, and just because someone is not well-traveled doesn't mean they will be a conservative. I can only think of the arguments I have gotten into with rich TCKs I've met whose whining sounds more like a rich kid complaining they don't get to go to Europe and America in the same year and them trying to act like I understand and am of the same ilk, which I am not. It is made worse with social media creating echo chambers and people not meeting qualified individuals to help them through their development or their struggles with identity. The expatriate life I have really varies based on my life as an NGO development worker and Peace Corps Volunteer in addition to being an international school kid. My experience in development in the early days was that running into foreigners in places like Timor-Leste (East Timor) or in Manila before the 2000s was that you met someone who was one of the few crazy people to wind up away from "home" and you immediately bonded because very few people "get" you or the life you live. More often than not people did think we were crazy (and most of the time weren't wrong) because that identity crisis and the amalgamation of habits and norms couldn't be pegged to a nationality, which means we are either considered universally rude because there's no consistency to expect and we don't match our nationality or ethnicity, or we are considered insincere because we are too polite, and worse, some of us strive to become our national stereotype because a bad identity is better than no set identity in where we came from, let alone what we consider "home" due to having no place we felt comfortable connecting to our sense of self. That isn't even multiculturalism as I would call it. That would be cultural exposure. The multicultural politics I ran into in California meant someone starts asking me where the Filipino community is and why I say I'm also Chinese when I don't look Chinese or people speaking to me in Tagalog much like someone says "Ni Hao" or "Konnichi wa" to be cute to the respective cultural group speaking those languages--multiculturalism again overlooking an individual's key experiences and associating stereotypes of race, assuming more about my personality because of how I look. Is that racism? I don't think it's the kind of racism that's killing people, but a small part that glosses over complexity in each individual, and yet citizenship seems to trounce ethnicity. But do remember that the barbarians in Rome eventually became idolized and people began adopting the dress and the norms of the barbarian, to the point it was hard to see who was a citizen of Rome or a barbarian who wished to be Roman. Alas, again, I digress and must move forward. Even in my days in the Peace Corps, I found that not everyone who goes in will come out an open-minded global citizen as many may proudly declare upon repatriation. I met someone who became far more bigoted against black people and hated living away from America when he was in Tanzania. I meet other foreigners who take residence in Indonesia or Thailand and other places from their homes in the UK and New Zealand and the things that come out of their mouths don't sound like their eyes have been opened from living abroad. Then the young Millennials writing for Matador look like fools to believe they are not without prejudice themselves, for a keen reader will find each of them exoticizes each country and culture to avoid looking like the bigoted and ignorant Ugly American, and also likely to sell more print. I am reminded of a cultural competence test we were assigned at the beginning and end of Peace Corps service, one which I managed to gain notoriety for somehow bizarrely having balanced views compared to my fellow corps members. Some of the first year volunteers overcompensated and lost themselves too much into their culture to avoid being the Ugly American, others resisted and quit because they wanted to be the true red white and blue Yankee who refused to offer even the basic amount of respect to the host culture. The results warned people who yield too much lose their identity and develop resentment, whereas those who refuse to adapt end up isolated, and a balanced individual knows how to create boundaries that are healthy and respectful of the host culture without deciding to give up and surrender to the Borg or becoming a maverick who demands directions to McDonald's and a pack of Coors, and a ticket to Disneyland. These days, most people I meet when living abroad don't care if I sound like them (my accent is a bizarre mix of both sides of the Atlantic, and can codeswitch into a thick American or thin British one). I'm just another denizen and they aren't going to treat me any better anymore because to them, I'm just another guy who decided to move overseas because they see me as a loser who couldn't make it back home or that I'm another lost soul trying to find himself in another country, or whatever projection they make. Frankly, I can't give a black damn because I just like being overseas and America stopped being my country when Gen-X handed the torch of pop culture hegemony from the Baby Boomers to the Millennials (because we never held that torch, we were always the counter-culture rebels, but that's a story for another day). So multiculturalism for me is a nebulous concept (I apologize for using the narrative and examples more than the direct statement of intent) made worse by its politics. My experience with it has shown that it's not the great thing many declare it to be because the real world has shown that real individuals do not magically all become one hive mind as a result of exposure to different cultures, and merely looking different or living in other countries won't magically transform you into a balanced or awakened spiritual individual. If anything, I personally find that living abroad transforms you into more of who you really are when a mirror with a different frame is shown to you, and living in multicultural environments won't automatically mean that those encounters lead to anything significant changing--some people isolate themselves further even if their neighbors are all of a different ethnic group.
  47. 4 points
    Maybe not possible to lose the key in an absolute sense, but certainly possible to mislay it and not know where to look to find it. (And when talking about this level of practice, inside and outside are not two.) @Bindi, I fully understand what you mean by liberation, but it's not a term that Daoists use. I personally seek wholeness, and for me that's a path that both Daoist and Western alchemy have given me valuable insight into. For a detailed contemporary account of Daoist Neidan as a practice manual I'd recommend Damo Mitchell, White Moon on the Mountain Peak. Also, Kristofer Schipper, The Taoist Body is excellent for reasons you'll find if you read it. And yeah, the alchemists of old say that once we have a firm theoretical basis that resonates with us and cultivation has reached a certain point, then the books must be discarded or else they will contaminate our inner experience. It's ultimately an individual journey.
  48. 4 points
    Academics tend to use the term 'Philosophy' to describe Daoism, because they only read the writings of Daoist sages, but more importantly tend not practice anything to do with living, breathing, Daoism. The writings of Daoist sages were the result of their practices, not the other way round.
  49. 4 points
    You can also,make sasparilla or root beer with a kombucha culture. You can make really good beer really quickly with kombucha too. The yeast in KT make alcohol that is usually instantly,converted into acetic acid by the acetobacter bacteria. You can alter the balance to favor the yeast or bacteria in your brew several ways. Steeping your tea to long or using too much tea will favor the yeast because of the tannins. That will cause your brew to be very bubbly, and put holes in the scoby but won make an alcoholic beverage. Hops is a bacterial suppressant that's why they began using it to make beer in the pre sterile days 100's of years ago. Its discovery led to more constant and stable brews. So tomake a nice IPA use the same amount of sugar in the water, no tea at all but boil up some hops to add the sugar too. Filter That then add you starter with fresh hops. I did it in half Half gallon jars which I sealed off with press & seal that I secured on by screwing the band over the press and seal tightly. Press and seal actually allows gas to pass through it, so when pressure builds up in the jar it will cause the press and seal to form a dome, but will not pop because the co2 Will slowly escape allowing nothing else to enter. I made,my beer without any brewing equipment other than a jar and press and seal. I don't drink alcohol any more though, but it made a fantastic IPA.
  50. 4 points
    We've had discussions here about 'philosophical' vs 'religious' taoism... In my interview with Livia Kohn, it seems she pioneered a new understanding of mysticism as that was previously understood as requiring a transcendent god but that is not found in the East. She told me of all the criticism and push back she got but to her, she saw it very clearly: There is no separate philosophical vs religious paths that the ancients took, in that we would no more call Buddha, philosophical. She said they all did all of it for the most part, it is more that they differed in the social-political solutions of the day. BTW, some of us on the site hold the same position