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  1. 10 points
  2. 10 points
    I'd like to tell you a story and I hope you take it to heart... On February 25, 2019 I received a phone call that changed me, my life and my entire family. My sister committed suicide. It has been the most devastating loss in my 48 years on this planet. You see, from her journal I found that she felt insignificant, invisible, and helpless. She was very ill for many years and these feelings built a wall around the person we, her family and friends, thought she was. She told no one and sought no help. Even though you may not realize it I hear you screaming for help. I hear you saying you really do not want to die, that you just want what you believe will make you happy. Please try to find one thing each day to live for and to love even if it is just to see the moon one more night. I am begging you to live because you matter and you are worthy! You matter and are worthy in ways to others that you can not fathom right now! The devastation of suicide reaches far outside the circle of family and friends around you. It touches the lives of strangers, their children, their animals, their world is rocked too. Suicide is like an earthquake, only the aftershocks are felt for years not mere days. The pain is far reaching and the suffering is intense. I wrote this shortly after my sister took her life. This is a glimpse of what happens after suicide. Please talk to someone. I will listen and talk with you. I will do everything I can to keep you on this earth so that you can find some happiness and a will to live because people do love you. Please, please, please!
  3. 10 points
    @joeblast Since you would prefer discussion of martial ethics/virtue to be kept separate from discussion of martial technique, and since I think Starjumper has to accept closer scrutiny than just your average TDB blowhard since he's now selling his books and videos here, I am splitting the threads. I write the following to anybody who cares, although it addresses your post directly. (Anybody who wishes to troll this thread, go on ahead. But at least read this first so you can say something genuinely witty and germane. And Starjumper, if you wish to continue mocking me here, you're welcome to. Go hard. Consult a thesaurus even. Why not get it out of your system once and for all, and then try and remember that you're never too old to grow up.) Thanks for your thoughts. If I come across as one who was sheltered and therefore does not understand street violence, thank you for that too. I say that without guile or irony. I take your comment as a compliment, as it was not easy to go from being a person regularly consumed by anger and involved with violence of many kinds to a person who rarely feels the need to even think about harming other people or vandalizing my environment. My most important martial arts teachers would also be satisfied if I told them that it appears I do not carry an aura of violence, even online. They (two from the Shaolin tradition, one from Wudang, neither famous) were exceedingly clear that gentleness and calm were the the most important things we would ever learn, even though to be certain in the Shaolin school there was often bruising and bloodshed as we trained in a way that reflected a real need for self-defense in that time and place. My recollections of the violent side of the world that I passed through are very relevant to my opinion that Steve Gray. It is because of those experiences that I say that if he is going to be selling spiritual books and videos online (and hawking them here), then he needs to assume more responsibility for his words than XYZ random forum member does. One who sells teaching materials related to spiritual practice (even if he denies that's what his books and videos are about) must exercise real discernment and be cautious about publicly disseminating violent fantasies or bigotry, even when in jest or when acting out an outrageous online persona. Those who decide to be teachers, especially when they're selling the types of books young people like (Power! Jedis! Dragons! CIA! Kill you with merely a thought! Bruce Lee! Aliens! Wizards! Harry Potter!), need to know that silly young fools may actually end up taking them as role models. Their words may manifest in their students' and fans' actions. These are things that virtuous teachers keep at the very front of their minds--for the sake of their students, society, and their very own karma I will explain why I feel strongly about these things, but first I will apologize, because I know it is all too easy for discussion of a "dark past" to turn into a sort of dick measuring contest (that keyword is a T-ball pitch for you if you need it, SJ). Nevertheless, here it is: sheltered though I may seem, in fact from mob brawls to 10-against-2 beatdowns (on both sides of that ratio) to bottles smashed over heads (more times than I can count, with a goodly scar on my forehead for when I got to taste it myself) to baseball bats and table legs to stabbings and all the way up to gun play (on both sides for that, also, though by grace of the Spaghetti Monster no altercation I was personally involved with resulted in a bullet hitting a body; yet I've been within fifty feet of a drive-by as well as dumb kids shooting a dude to death because he stopped his car to confront them when they threw rocks at it... cold world indeed), to multiple close friends and acquaintances losing people to murder, to friends falling apart in the crack game, to stick up kid friends who turned into the psychopaths who cut people after getting the money, to friends locked up... I have seen a fair bit, and the list goes on. That's just the violent crime, making no mention of the other crimes as well as my habitually foul behavior towards women, gay men, people weaker or stupider than me, etc. All that said, I came from a comfortable enough household and was not as hard as I aspired to be. I learned I was definitely not hard when my propensity for violence increasingly put me in contact with people who were in much deeper than me. Participating in beating up and apparently stabbing a BPSN one year meant having to keep a gun in the apartment and lay low on paranoid mode for quite some time. Less than a year later, I put a rifle in my friend's hand and he licked a shot at a group of BDs who damn sure knew who we were, so I had to leave my home and nearly everything I owned and permanently camp out on my friends' sofa. Having all that go on while becoming a little too well-known to police and also expelled from college in large part because I was involved in a brawl turned stabbing there, well, it ended up being enough to convince me that I needed to get my shit together. But... Getting one's shit together when one is a young, selfish, antisocial retard who didn't have a good male role model in the home is exceedingly difficult. One of the biggest blessings in my life was that I had encountered and trained with both the Shaolin and the Wudang teachers before I went feral. I was able to remember that while training Shaolin martial arts I had been healthy and in high spirits, and also easily avoided conflict. In my twenties, when I finally realized the need I had for discipline and guidance in my life, I knew that these things existed, and I was able to go back to them. Far more important than the physical practices was the availability of responsible, mature, sane men to teach me how to stop being a fucking fool. That was many years ago. I have not needed to fight with anybody since then. The two times people tried to jump me since then, I just ran away, which was easy, as few goons are in better shape than I am, and also because there was simply no compelling reason not to run away. This last fact I was able to see clearly because my teachers were men who offered their students very clear teachings about what kind of behavior reflects integrity, and what kind does not. The two Shaolin teachers were both cops in an area where violence was a part of life. One teacher's teenage son had died because he was shot in the face at point blank down the street in a convenience store for answering a question about his gang affiliation by saying he had none. You can imagine that we were reminded about this story on a regular basis, especially if anybody in the school got into conflicts in the neighborhood. So, we trained and became strong and punched and kicked each other but we also were fed a steady stream of moral instructions from men who were mature, upright, strong, confident, dangerous, very familiar with violence, and yet never ever ever ever prone to sitting there making light of it, or bragging about it, joking about killing people, name-calling those they did not like, etc. I am sure they behaved the way they did in part because they were aware of how volatile and impressionable all the hormonal, teenaged and early-twenty-something minds around them were. To be unclear about what constitutes virtuous behavior is to fail as a martial arts teacher, regardless of how skilled one may be at teaching people to punch, kick, grapple, etc. My own life example proves that even if you do teach properly, kids will still fail to get the message. Yet, despite the fact that I strayed far from what my teachers had taught me when I was a teenager, my great good fortune was that they planted seeds that remained fertile until I finally began to examine my life in my twenties. Had they not done so, I do not know how I would have found the power to change the direction my life was plummeting along in. Perhaps I would have have failed to extract myself. I can only remain grateful that they upheld the martial culture as excellent role models and mentors who helped me cease harming myself and others. What they demonstrated was 武德, "martial virtue." The character 武 simply depicts stopping (止) and a bladed weapon (戈). Partially this refers to self defense, which helps you stop others from harming you. But when viewed as the basis of moving from simple martial arts training into a spiritual existence it reveals a deeper meaning of learning to stop yourself from harming self and other. This is not easy to do, and yet it is core of all Chinese martial arts that can legitimately claim to have their roots in the teachings of the sages. Those of you who view this place as The Dao Bums and not simply "the bums," please be aware that the Daodejing makes no bones about this issue. If you can't remember where, it is time to read the book again. This brings me back to Steve Gray, who claims to have inherited one of the greatest Chinese martial arts ever--one that indeed comes from the spirit realm and turns people into sages. In choosing to use this shared forum as a platform from which to hawk his book full of purported spiritual teachings, his neigong videos (including those expressly meant to activate shen), and to attract students to his brick-and-mortar school, he has chosen to move from the role of simple forum member into a more public role. I do not suggest that anybody needs to force him to speak and write in one way or another. But given Steve's transition to public figure, I think there is no reason to treat him differently from any other author, video maker, or "master" plying his/her trade on the internet. Given that he is selling teachings, there is plenty of reason to take a serious look at just what kind of teacher this is. That is why I hold his fantasy about killing the BJJ practitioner in a different light than I would if it were posted by a random TDbum. That violent fantasy and all the name-calling that goes on and on and on and on... what kind of person does it reflect? What kind of teacher does it reflect? What kind of energetic, spiritual, and martial development does it reflect? Is it just little jokes, or is this man perhaps deranged and dangerous? If he is not deranged, why does he feel the need to play the role of a somewhat crazy, bullying person when he is posting on the internet? There is another issue which also demands some scrutiny: Starjumper is spreading videos online of shen practices which he admits that he himself cannot safely practice. Today, regarding the videos he recently posted he wrote: It is well known that improper shen practices can and often enough do lead to mental illness and spiritual disturbances. That Starjumper is using the Dao Bums as a platform to advertise and distribute video instructions for practices that he, as their teacher (creator even?), does not fully understand is eyebrow-raising to say the least. My opinion is that simply tacking warnings onto the beginning of videos (or covering your book with the word "spiritual" and then denying it is about spirituality) is a lame cop out, and demonstrative of a man who lacks the sense of responsibility required of a person in the role he is trying to occupy. Anyway, I feel I have made my point. Food for thought for some, hopefully. Maybe some will think I'm overreacting. I was taught by people who took this sort of shit very seriously and took pains to explain why. My hard-won life experience lends me to think they were right in doing so, and thus I take my time to express these things as clearly as I possibly can. People should be very careful when choosing teachers. That is all.
  4. 8 points
    No one can answer this question for you. When we die, we will know, or not. We can rely on the explanations of others but what do they really know? You will come to that place completely alone and will be utterly surprised. The power of that little voice in our heads is astonishing. To be surrounded by such beauty, such infinite potential, and to only see it all as failure because of some set of twisted expectations is really something unfortunate and unique to humans, it seems. And it happens to so many of us! You are in very good company. Generally, it seems to happen mostly to those of us who are living in quite satisfactory conditions. Rather than end your life right away, what about beginning to question the judgement of the chatterbox in your head? That one is seeing a very limited and skewed view of yourself, your potential, and the world around you. That one is very confused and to follow its guidance is foolish. It is fundamental ignorance according to Buddhists. There is a place we can find and connect with that is infinitely more supportive, clear, and accessible. Good luck to you
  5. 8 points
    Or discuss, on the discussion forum. Well, all that writing, mon frere, was for reading. Agreed on both counts. Thank you for your thoughts. I agree that I have seen Steve show kindness here plenty of times. In all instances, it is laudable. I do take that into account, but regarding "having an off day," it is like this: So we have man who isn't in a great mood one day, so he gets on Facebook to gay bash and (possibly) try to start a real-life fight, or at least ruin somebody else's day by trolling him online. Off day #1. Then he comes here days later to brag about what he did that day. So this is off day #2? Then, when the questionable nature of his behavior is brought to his attention here, he responds with "fool fool moron moron jealous." Either we have now witnessed off day #3, or we are seeing a man who just acts like that. Honestly, I wouldn't have bothered him in the first place if he wasn't selling books with the word "spiritual" all over the back cover and selling videos of shen practices. I decided to offer my perspective for those early-stage seekers on this forum who might not have had the opportunity to meet the many teachers I have studied with around the world who would explain how Steve Gray's behavior raises serious red flags. To such newcomers I wish to point out that in it would probably be wise to think carefully about what is reflected in the above sort of behavior before putting stock in the author's book chapter about enlightenment or experimenting with neigong practices meant to affect the shen. I do not wish to "lynch" Steve Gray by ending his career. Invariably some people will think I'm being very hypocritical, but I will say that I wish him all the best. They key is I believe it is unlikely that "all the best" will come to a man who is making some of the mistakes he appears to be making. My opinion is rooted in the teachings on what the English speaking Daoist master Ni Huaching calls the "laws of universal energy response," from "感應." These teachings are related to Buddhist teachings on karma, but not 100% the same. As we are all more or less equals here, I offer my opinion to Starjumper that he may face consequences later on if the poor example he sets and the shengong he is sharing here causes problems. His protests like "but I never said I was a master" or "I didn't say I am teaching spirituality" may (sort of) work as a dodge on a message board, but will it be enough to dodge 感應? I wouldn't bet on it. But one is always free to learn the painful way if one wishes. I certainly chose that route many times, and all others are free to walk it. Anyway, Master Ni writes extensively about this stuff in his books, which can be found used on Amazon for low prices. Although they can be a bit disorganized and rarely offer specific practices, I think they are very worthwhile reading for those who wish to learn more about Daoism. Especially when it comes to learning about 德. Thank you for your opinions. You're right that there are excellent aspects to what he has shared with us here. I disagree, however, about not pointing out the things that we think people who have chosen to step into the role of teacher are doing which we feel could be damaging to students. You are right when you say "objecting to Starjumper won't stop other people from studying with him," which is why I did not write with the plan to try and stop other people from studying with him. I agree with you 100% when you say, "we just don't have that power and I'm not convinced it would be a good thing if we did." My goal is very simply to provide a counterpoint to his flamboyant, flippant, sophomoric attitude towards the responsibilities of spiritual teacher that he half wants, half doesn't want. I might be wrong, too! I can do no more than add my thoughts to the pot here and let others react as they please. Finally, more generally, while I appreciate the sentiment of "rather than pointing out the bad, I find it´s much more useful to champion the good," I do not think it is a sufficient strategy for dealing with the complexities of life. There's a whollllle lot of shit in human society that needs to be pointed at so that it can be discussed, understood, and transformed. For instance, I used to spout waaaaaaayyy more homophobic language than anything I've ever seen on this board, and was taught that that was normal (in fact, necessary) at such a young age that I didn't even question thinking and speaking this way by the time I was an adult. I did not even change my behavior even after I had gay friends; even after a friend trusted me enough that I was the first person he came out to. In fact, I probably told myself something along the lines of, "see, this proves I'm not homophobic, therefore what does it matter if I say these things when I'm having an off day?" I'm glad that eventually friends pulled my card and pointed very directly at this major flaw in my personality. Had they simply emphasized my positive traits and ignored that problem, where would the impetus to meditate upon that deep-rooted habit have come from?
  6. 7 points
    Found this nice guided set for Yi Jin Jing practice from Shaolin Europe. Any one has experience practicing this. I've not done this set before, but have done baduanjin. I must say I find the YiJinJing practice pretty energizing at a different (more physical level) than my Taiji practice (which is more qi and shen level nowadays).
  7. 7 points
    Not sure why “No anger” is “fake”. As long as you're not suppressing it. I think the more clear a person is, the more one is aware that anger is not really necessary in interacting with others. Usually it gets in the way (in a big way). I would even say an anger response is usually based on one’s own internal conflict of the situation.
  8. 7 points
    Sometimes we need to extricate ourselves from karmic loops, and a practical way to do that would be to clear the conscience. That can be considered Right Action where such action is in harmony with intent. Connections with teachers mainly depend on affinity and timing. If the affinity and timing are aligned, good teachers cannot avoid meeting difficult students. Likewise, good students meet flawed teachers due to their complex karmic connections. As observed, many times a faultless student can contribute and impact on a mediocre teacher's betterment. Affinity need not mean that everything must come up rosy. Affinity understood means arriving at the insight to know and accept that rose bushes must have thorns. Its the push and pull of opposites that creates the ideal ground for wholeness to manifest. Its what gives it meaning too, i think.
  9. 7 points
    ...the goal of taoism is not really agreed on throughout history, as taoist sects and people had their own interests and inclinations. There are many schools, many practices etc for fully understanding one's chi and how to use it. To understand taoism at it's core, it is best to consider what many "taoists" seek to do, or ways in which "to be"; as taoists typically see the universe as in flux, which means they do not endeavor toward any type of fixed "enlightenment", but of a greater understanding and awareness of living in harmony with the "tao", or the natural way of evolution and change.... Hence, the first passage from the Tao te Ching is: "The way that can be followed is not the eternal tao. The way that can be named is not the eternal name." Hindus and buddhists revere mental and soulful cultivation to the extent that they realize some great aspect of existence and herald that pinnacle of understanding as "enlightenment" which is then taught throughout communities and is exalted as being the "goal" so to speak for a great multitude of people... thus you have hindus with their "moksha" concept, and buddhists with their "no-self" concept. Taoism if viewed from this type of perspective may seem confusing. In some Taoist based books that I've read, the goals of taoists are multifaceted, some of them are: - to live long - to live happy - to live healthy - to live wise - to help others and not harm ( the way of heaven ) - to evolve one's state of being into a state unified with the tao ( Celestial immortal ) ... I think above all, the truest thing a "taoist" could say that they attempt to do is to live in harmony with their lives and the lives of those around them, so they can naturally flow with the great tao of existence itself.
  10. 7 points
    So I just got back home from work. My dog is laying on the back patio covered in dirt with a rabbit in his mouth. The rabbit's not bloody, just dirty. Now, my neighbor's kids raise these Blue Ribbon WINNER Rabbits. I instantly knew it was one of their rabbits. So I took the rabbit away from my dog, I rushed inside, washed all the dirt off it before my neighbors could come home. It was stiff but I heard some ANIMALS play dead when they are AFRAID, I couldn't remember which animals because I was NERVOUS. I took it and placed it back in one of the cages, then I ZOOMED back home. NOT 30 minutes later I hear my neighbors screaming. so I go out and ask them what's wrong? They tell me their rabbit died three days ago and they buried it but now it's back in the cage!!! (random fb joke)
  11. 7 points
    One of the first things that happened to me when I started to meditate was picking up peoples 'energy' - including thoughts, intentions and feelings. Not that I actually saw, or see anything particularly - but there is an awareness there - like a field awareness. If I can do this then I am sure the more advanced people/masters/teachers can do it easily. If this is seeing then it is - but the more 'astral' type seeing with auras and wotnot I'm not sure that is always helpful or necessary. (?) Basic shamatha - (shine) can produce siddhis.
  12. 7 points
    Hello Daobums, I'm new to posting on this forum but I've come across, and perused, this website for over 10 years or so. This forum seems unique in that there are a lot of highly informed minds all on a seemingly similar journey, and the conversations that take place here are fantastic! I've learned a ton, and found great repositories of inspiration and knowledge, so thank you all. I'm posting now to tell my story, and to ask the gathered minds for some assistance. Pardon the forthcoming wall of text About 10 years ago I had a profound spiritual awakening (or something else?) that profoundly altered my life in many different ways. I'm not even exactly sure what happened to this day, although I've spent many years researching to try to figure it out and have some ideas. The consequences of it still haunt, and mesmerize, me and I'm still searching for answers. So here's what happened, let me know what you think. I was sitting on my couch at home on Christmas night, after having left my families house for christmas festivities. I'll leave out most of the details, but I was at a very difficult in my life after a series of difficulties in about 2 years (mother dying of cancer, graduating from college, hired and fired from job across the country, moved back, broke up with longterm girlfriend, family strife after mothers death, money and economic problems etc). This particular holiday was very difficult for a variety of reasons. While on the the couch, I was going over the day in my mind, dealing with how difficult it was, (full disclosure I was drinking alcohol) when (****BAM****).........I see a bright explosive light in my field of vision, and felt like hot wonderful gold liquid was running through my body (particularly my back which had been in pain for weeks prior). I began to laugh, cry, and felt a sort of ecstasy that I had never experienced. My mind was swimming in bewilderment, as if a bunch of ideas clicked together simultaneously, like a floodgate had been opened in my mind. And I felt a presence in the room, a"being" i guess, although it had no form other than flickering bright light, and if felt like flowing unconditional love. I recall never looking directly at it, but more like it was in my periphery and I knew it was there. I felt an amazing rush of gratitude, almost like I felt that something this extraordinary couldn't happen to me and the fact that it did was too good to be true. This is how powerful this feeling and experience was at the time. I then went "black" and went to sleep immediately. Upon waking up, my first though was "I hope whatever has happened to me stays like this for the rest of my life". I felt like a completely new person when I woke up, invigorated, pulsating with energy and excitement. My mind felt, and still does, feel different in a variety of ways. And I had a very strong sense of being connected to the "divine" or "god" for lack of better words. Previous to this I had been a very hard agnostic, bordering on atheist. There were times when I was obnoxiously antispiritual/religious. I told my best friend the next day what I experienced and said "I think I was wrong about the no god thing". He knows me well, and that story and my behavior, freaked him out good because he believed that I believed what I was saying. There were many other changes after that day, some of which I will keep to myself since this is a public forum, that took a while to accept and made me think that I was going insane for periods of time. My mind moved more fluidly than it ever had. Sometimes I would find myself doing or saying just the "right" thing in situations. I felt more creative, I felt ecstatically alive, full of energy. I began to have extremely vivid dreams, some lucid, some precognitive. I had the feeling of meeting "beings" in dreams. I began to see a color behind my closed eyelids, that had not been there previous to this experience. And a Strong urge to research in the spiritual realm. I made it a mission to consume as much knowledge as I could on a topic I had dismissed as ridiculous previously. I also no longer feared death like I had before. To this day I just have a peace about what comes after. I began meditating daily, spurned most of my material things and had a strong urge to be of service. I became celibate (no ejaculation) for over 2 years at one point. The thing that stands out the most is the experience of synchronicity that became a common occurrence in my life. There would be days where it would be a long string of synchronicities and events lining up with my thoughts. It was jarring and it was so much at one point I thought I was either crazy, or had died and this is what limbo must be like. The other negatives of the experience were feelings of isolation and confusion. Delusions of grandeur, a feeling of being chosen, "special" etc. A strong increase in addictive behaviours (especially alcohol). Very high and low emotional peaks. Lowkey trouble with friends and family due to change in personality and interests. It was a lot to handle for the people around me to believe that I was now some spiritual guy who had seen a light and was having seemingly supernatural stuff happen from time to time. Some people thought I was a little nuts. Sometimes I thought I was nuts, but could not deny my experiences. I also had some experiences with "negative" spirits. In my research I studied occult knowledge of all kinds, from the bible to the baghvad gita to alchemy to plato to crowley to daoism and so on. I began to "manifest" people with this interest seemingly all of the time, to the point where it made me afraid of it. I would sit at a coffeeshop writing about esoteric ideas and synchronicities and a group of new age "wizards" would plop down next to me and begin talking about the occult and synchronicities. Things like that. There are lots of other little things like this, and some crazy stories but this is the general idea. It felt alot like what Dorothy must have felt in Oz. After a few years of this, and putting my life back together I reached cliff and have been falling ever since. I entered a toxic relationship, lost my job, went deep into debt, found a new job that was the most abusive toxic environment I had ever experienced. My addictive habits slowly took over until I went through two rehabs for alcohol, and I tested the loyalty of my friends and family with crazy erratic behavior. Lots of other difficulties that I won't get into. I've gotten through all of those things, and am now a fully functioning member of society. Since arriving at this point of stability that I haven't had in probably 12 years or so, I still find myself constantly reading, and researching trying to absolutely "know" what happened to me. I'm still confused and have a hard time reconciling the me that felt invincible and enamored with what it means to be a "good", peaceful person, with the absolute madman that I became after a while. A part of me wishes I had sought out some sort of teacher, but the only ones I came across in real life had a very christian bent, and wouldn't go near some of the things I was talking about other than saying it's the devil. I certainly made a lot of mistakes, and I sometimes think I let a beautiful experience create an egoic monster inside of me without realizing. It's all very confusing still. I can't talk about it with anyone because the people around me either don't want to listen, or just think I'm crazy. It has been very lonely to want to speak about, and understand this amazing thing that happened only to find people almost instinctively hostile towards it. So I find myself here :). Any ideas as to what happened? I have some ideas, but I don't want to sway any opinions but would be happy to discuss it with anyone. Also, where should I go from here in regards to this experience? In my guts I feel that it has some major meaning for me and what I'm supposed to do with my life, but 10 years later I find myself way behind my peers in most ways (except at esoteric trivia night). I realize it will be hard for anyone to give me a right answer, but I think I've just always wanted to tell people who might understand. So thanks for reading, any feedback would be great. Sincerely, Vismund
  13. 6 points
    Agreed. I have no idea what happens to someone after a death from suicide. Perhaps it is as terrible as some here have portrayed but I hope not. How cruel that someone should suffer so in this life only to suffer to an even greater degree in the next. My dad committed suicide and I always wonder why he didn´t go to New Zealand instead. He used to talk about going to New Zealand and raising sheep, and he could have done it too, why not. I hope he´s not burning in some terrible hell realm. That wouldn´t seem fair. We didn´t get along very well when I was a kid and I could tell lots of bad stories about him -- and yet he was also a good person. He was a person who did the best he knew how under difficult circumstances. My dad and others like him, people dealing with great emotional pain, deserve our compassion not our condemnation.
  14. 6 points
    If nothing else, it is heartening to see how much people care. The voice of depression says that nobody gives a damn; this thread demonstrates otherwise. So many wonderful people offering wisdom and support.
  15. 6 points
    I tend toward the depressive myself. The best way to see my life as anything but a downward trajectory is when I can shut off the mind and be fully present in the Moment. Start with where you're sitting. Is there anything out of place immediately around you? If so, straighten it up. Make it look nice. Then expand a bit. Does the carpet need vacuuming? How are the windows? For me, the trick is to do that anywhere, even if I'm somewhere else. Pick up a piece of trash off the ground. Just something, no matter how small, to do something for someone else, even if that someone is 'the world in general'. It gets us out of ourselves. This life is just a story we keep telling ourselves.
  16. 6 points
    killing oneself is pointless. maybe socrates can be excused for it, but that was capital punishment. I'll guarantee every one of us who has had someone even remotely close to them do this, we ALL wish with every fiber of our beings that they were still here with us. The problems are always temporary, but that solution sure isnt.
  17. 6 points
    Does the saying, "Those with nothing left to lose stand to gain the most" make any sense to you at this point? The fact of the matter is, none of us actually possess anything, but the thing is, we imagine we do, and it is this imaginative worldview that propels many people's actions. Driven by craving, humans experience strife, unsatisfactoriness, and ultimately, through misunderstanding fundamental yet simple principles, bind themselves in this vicious loop which appear to be overwhelmingly forlorn, as if caught in an invisible trap that they are unable to extricate themselves from. Have you ever wondered why, among all the classes of beings, only humans appear to possess the knack to imagine and weave personal tales of woe? Do you ever ask yourself if there's a purpose to this? Truth is, there is. It only appears aimless when we begin to project comparatively opposing scenes onto the mind-screen, and imagine that these contrasting scenes are somehow more worthy & objective, and therein begins the big lie. We do not need to detest suffering, nor cherish the emancipation of it. Hope & fear is at the heart of all human miseries. Just contemplate on the idea if the way out of misery is thru the abandonment of both, and what freedom means when one has learnt of the inherent deception that is at the heart of the force that ignites hope & fear. Suicide is messy, and quite selfish, to be honest. I pray you will find a spark from somewhere to alter this forlorn wish. Since you have nothing left to lose, why not Practice being kind in small ways, if not to fellow humans, at least to yourself, or to animals, insects even. There are always opportunities for this. Though we may be enduring deep suffering, it does not remove the seed of compassion in our hearts. The potential for watering this seed by simple acts of kindness is always present, and even if you manage just one small act of kindness a week, or even one a month, it is something noble and worthy, and at the point of that one singular action, you are equal to Chenrezig and all other enlightened beings in all the cosmos, across all time and space. I pray for peace in your every step.
  18. 6 points
    @alchemystical I saw your post some while back and it’s been knockin’round my head since and I’m here to make the voices stop!!! I guess what resonates with me is that - especially now - human beings are a mess (really from any angle, from where ever you’re standing), and surprisingly so. I’ve been kicking around the internal arts scene for some decades and you’d think I’d understand people enough so I wouldn’t be surprised over and over and over. And I’ve a few friends (from various orientations of serious internal looking) who are older than me and better students that I am, and *they*’re surprised. And I guess my question is, “why are we so surprised, over n’ over?”. What false presumptions about the human condition do we hold, that get knocked over time and time again by actual events? What understandings are we lacking? One presumption I’ve found in my own psychology that, “generally, people are good”. Whether true or not (and certainly it is flawed, naive and true), it doesn’t prompt much ongoing discernment as “functionality”. And god knows we’re all flawed and improving at our core levels in the areas we’re not-so-good-at: veeeerrry long term slow work. A friend of mine had a hard knocks interpretation of Buddha’s first noble truth, “life is suffering”, saying that there’s not a solution to it, that’s the fact of it, and to just be able to get through it. Books come to mind: P.D.Ouspensky’s “The Fourth Way” Any of the non-fiction books of essays by Wendell Berry. Someone here on the board, a long time back, mentioned that when they were in college deciding on a major and considering psychology vs sociology and checked out all the professors from each discipline and found that the sociologists were all depressed. Anyway, those are some rambling thoughts, relevance questionable. cheers, Trunk
  19. 6 points
    I did not see the direction this article ultimately took coming. I've been feeling burned out at work. I've been thinking a lot about how I'm going to keep this going for another 15-20 years before I can retire. So, one might think this is going to be your typical business/career advice article. It starts out telling a story about an unnamed (but real) celebrity/hero then moves on to Darwin, Bach, and some others. Then it takes a turn with an account about a visit to a guru in India, Sri Nochur Venkataraman, and lands on the topic of Vanaprastha (loosely translated as "retiring into the forest"). Then it goes on to discuss corpse meditation done in many Theravada Buddhist monasteries. Anyway, lots to think about. It's a fantastic read. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/07/work-peak-professional-decline/590650/
  20. 6 points
    I only read the first complete page in this topic and without any comment on Steve or specifically on either side of regard for him - the original post is excellent. It reminds me of the issue brought up in the movie The Karate Kid and the difference of a teaching style / approach vs another and the effect on the kids - while it was nice to read some of the posts that said that "we can each take what we will from our different teachers whether good or bad it does not really matter" - this falls flat in the face of what I have seen. Students are very heavily effected by the teachers in very subtle ways and rarely are immune to a great many of the effects teachings inculcate unknowingly in them. Teachings often create walls - cross or block thresholds of insight - regard or completely skip and disregard humility - blunt force past the most precious insights and may entirely blow away extreme subtleties from ones presence. Teachings may inculcate impossible perfect perfection - total regard for the little things and a belief in ones understanding of the cart far before the horse - or the other way around - teach the larger perspective and an assumed superiority with a "skip to the good stuff" and a bashing of the "mamby pamby blithering idiots" - These are both the rabbits way - a bit like the atheist and the fundamentalist - they are the same. The younger the student the easier to inculcate VERY poor habits - false pointings - detours and hidden trauma. EVERYONE thinks they are immune - and with one hand in your back pocket the blind lead the blind all day long. The original post was germane to the Dao Bums in the most basic and visceral level: Time and again we make assumptions based on our own identifications about those we know nothing what-so-ever about. We always assume we are not caught up in a group of Siddhis and mind loops that have mesmerized us. We "know" we are still in full practice and have not fallen asleep to "our accomplishments" - though we may long ago have succumbed to our favorite trances about our various identified "selves" and have gone quietly into the night of waking sleep. Swear words and coarseness is NOT a sign one is any more alive than meekness coming from another is evidence that they are a fool or an idiot - or a wimp.
  21. 6 points
    In the years observing and chatting with Steve, he's been very kind and helpful. Sure he can get a bit grumpy at times... he does live in the mountains. But I've also seen him take time out of his day to post videos of techniques he thinks would be helpful to newcomers asking. How many of us can say we've done that? Walker is well written and sounds convincing. But in Steve's defense, Walker is taking 1-2 posts and really judging a man's contributions and worth on them. Steve said himself he was having an off-day and didn't feel well. Did you not take that into account? It feels like an attempted lynching...and strikes me as over the top.
  22. 6 points
    I think the words we use are insufficient. "Bliss" is wrong for this context. Anyone who "remain(s) blissful" while the world "come(s) crashing down around them" is insane. Bliss is the wrong response for such an event. That said, I think there is a place for holding an unmoving center, as it were. An enlightened person absolutely could remain unmoved at that place in their being even as the world burns, but that is not the same as bliss. EDIT: Another reason why words matter: many people cultivate to a medium or high level, in the process making great progress. Then something catastrophic happens - the death of a spouse, a failed career, loss of health, etc. - and they feel horrible pain. It's very difficult to endure such suffering, and if you have trained yourself to expect "bliss" at all times then you will feel as if you have failed in your cultivation, thus adding further pain. But, if you realize that bliss is not the goal, but rather an unmoving center, then you can fall back upon your training, not despite the pain but because of it. And in this manner you can persevere where previously you would have faltered.
  23. 6 points
    Sometimes the untested feel they have something to prove. Thanks for sharing some of your life experience Walker. _/\_
  24. 6 points
    I received solid advice at some point that stuck. For a long full life, cultivate three hobbies you deeply resonate and connect with... One that promotes vitality and maintains health One to recharge your batteries with joy and connection to life One to make some money Sometimes they cross over and interfeed. And sometimes they fall away and are replaced... let them. Life skill is developed over a life time... allow this.
  25. 6 points
    As per the thread title, I know firsthand that Tantra (especially) loves to pry open, dredge out and challenge practitioners' beliefs and make a mockery of them often. Regarding the notion of self though, I think investigative insight will yield greater clarity when beliefs are replaced by experiential knowing (prajna). (ref. above comment by Cheshire Cat "....to believe in the self or not isn't that important after all." )
  26. 6 points
    The no self teaching isn't as much of a doctrine as an experiential pointing. A lot of people struggle with it --- I know I did for many years. It is very subtle--- so subtle in fact that the Buddha almost didn't teach at all. Also keep in mind that when we talk about the teachings, there is the conceptual and the non-conceptual. The conceptual points the way, but in the end the fruition is non-conceptual. Even conceptually, non-self is often misinterpreted as nihilism (i.e. if there is no self, who is typing this post?) or eternalism (no self applies to everything but not the True Self). It is a fine line to walk. That's ok, Buddhism is not for everyone. No self was something of a koan for me, driving me to different traditions: Theravada, Zen, and finally Tibetan Buddhism. I also have friends in many other traditions. All the people with experience who I trusted repeated the same thing about the lack of self. I didn't like it and I wanted there to be a self. Finally, I realized that I either trusted the teachers and the traditions or I didn't. Only then was I able to drop my preconceptions and see things a bit more clearly. Now, if the Buddha himself appeared and said he didn't teach no self, it wouldn't matter. The truth is plain. I doubt he would given the very, very numerous recorded no-self teachings captured in Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese, and Tibetan sources. Ironically, given the emptiness of all things, people are free to create the patterning that they want. I never said the position I am putting forth is universal, but I have found it to be overwhelmingly the majority position in all the schools I have encountered. Usually, the people who state that the Buddha taught a True Self tend to fall into two categories in my experience: Vedantins and crack-pots. For Vedantins, I sometimes find a tendency try to reduce all religions to one universal religion: Vedanta. The crack-pots are usually self-appointed, messianic, and quite self-centered. In an article I posted earlier, Vajranatha states that the position can be found in some strains of Chinese Buddhism, but such teachings are not reflected in the Indian sources. So I admit that it is possible that True Self may be taught in such schools, but as I stated it is very much a minority position. Sheng Yen was a very orthodox teacher. He did teach about a universal mind, but only as a stage of practice. I would be surprised that despite his many public proclamations, he would find a atman/Brahman in Buddhism. I did not study with him, so I am not privy to his oral teachings as your friend may. I am vaguely acquainted with some of his students and dharma heirs, and they have also denied an underlying true self in his teachings (and I certainly looked!). Given emptiness, anything is possible.
  27. 6 points
    I have found that most people who think that are coming at it from a Vedantic or a Western idealist perspective. In addition, many of the early translators (i.e. E.E. Evans Wentz) took a theosophical view in early translations of some of the Buddhist texts. However, according to people who specialize in this field (scholars and lamas), this is not at all the case. The Indian sources do not support this view. There may be some schools of Chinese chan who hold this view, but it is by no means widely accepted. I do not know any Buddhist teachers trained in a lineage, Zen or otherwise, who holds to a universal mind. This is not to say that they aren't out there, but if they are, I believe they would be in a minority. Here are some articles if people want to read about it. Of course, reading about Zen and Tantra is very limited in that the oral instructions are absent. https://www.vajranatha.com/articles/dzogchen-chinese-buddhism-and-the-universal-mind.html http://www.acmuller.net/yogacara/articles/intro.html
  28. 6 points
    yes more like being opened up to what is naturally occurring than anything spooky or weird
  29. 6 points
    This was my thought too. That it’s just part of an increased awareness or clarity, rather than a skill developed - though one can certainly focus on it. Hard to have a conversation with someone and not feel their energy. Most people probably just not aware that it’s happening.
  30. 6 points
    Here is an interesting quote from Norbu on Tantra from the book Dzogchen Teachings.
  31. 6 points
    Appointment scheduled for a bit later can reply now. From the very start there is a deep feeling of connection and familiarity with TWR it is like love for a family member and deep respect. When the invocations are sung I can hardly even get the words right but the feeling in my heart is one of soaring joy that often makes me cry with a releasing and rapturing type of effect. Truly tears of joy and the words so soothing and familiar from the first time I ever heard them like a long ago memory familiar and sacred with no knowledge they should be. Tapritsa , when it comes to this being I was drawn to him immediately just like TWR. To connect to him requires willingness and and openness to be helped. For me this was very easy like something natural that I forgot but was remembering but not clearly. So I simply become open to accepting aid and my heart opens and and my heart is connected to his. Divine vibration flows from this being and I resonate with his heart improving my own washing away so many lodged things. When AH is chanted the purification of the body I feel the connection as described above but coming into the head and my crown crackles and swirls with energy and my forehead fairly glows with vibration and here I feel the etheric double taking on the vibration of the elder and the tradition. The changes are felt happening things align and resonate better like an installment being tuned. When Om is changed the throat speachnis purified and I feel more inclined to soft words making them easier to chew when I have to eat them and a more compassionate caring attitude towards others. I find that even though I can be blunt I prefer gentle in my interactions with others in everyday life. When we chant HUNG the heart connection is reinforced as we purify the mind. There is a great feeling of love and sorrow and memories I do not even remember acquiring being released and quite allot o relief but this particular cleansing is very overwhelming for me and I often have to wait along time before practicing and grow into the changes or it gets overwhelming. Afterwards I feel much different and it is similar to the Paravastha state of Kriya where one is naturally abiding in the after effects. The after effects are a very calm contented state of stillness spaciousness and silence and it is good but all the while the momentum of change is taking place like a tire let go of on a hill keeps rolling faster.
  32. 6 points
    It’s just a discussion on guru and connecting/merging with divine beings with Apech and CT. Corrected that for you
  33. 6 points
    There are a number of features often found in paths that are considered Tantric. -Emphasis on initiation -Emphasis on the integration of the physical and worldly existence with the highest spiritual transcendence (rather than their opposition) -Lifting of taboos on sex, violence, and intoxication common to exoteric religions/spiritual paths -Deliberate use of sex, violence, and/or intoxication in spiritual practices -Practices involving manipulation of subtle body phenomena, and practices using the physical body used for spiritual aims (e.g. khecari mudra, mahabandha/vase breath, yoga asanas) -Microcosm-macrocosm principle: correspondence between the inner experience of the subtle body and the external universe Not every path that has identified as Tantric carries all of these features, and non-Tantric paths might have one or more of them. But typically the more of these are present in a tradition the more likely it is to self-identify as Tantric. So there is dualistic Shaiva tantra, non-dualistic Shaiva tantra, Vaishnava tantra, Mahayana Buddhist tantra. They all have their own internal reasons for making the shift to the Tantric mode of practice. For instance, in Buddhism, many think the later forms of Buddhist tantra were influenced by non-dual Shaiva tantra, but the earliest forms developed for reasons completely internal to Mahayana Buddhism. In Mahayana, a Buddha doesn't just have an enlightened mind, but an enlightened body (nirmanakaya), and sees samsara and nirvana as non-dual and all phenomena as primordially pure. So this is already proto-tantric. But in ordinary Mahayana, the only way to get to that point is innumerable lifetimes of renouncing the world and engaging in deep meditative absorption and good deeds. Whereas In the earliest fully tantric form of Buddhism (Yoga Tantra, technically), there came the idea that one can receive an initiation into the mandala of a deity that allows one to do this in a single lifetime. So here we have initiation, integration spiritual transcendence with worldly existence, slight lifting of the taboo on violence (there was a peaceful mandala and a wrathful mandala) and a macrocosm-microcosm principle, but no sexual, subtle body, or physical body practices. Naturally, there were groups who explored sexuality within this context and that led to the next phase of Buddhist tantra, involving consort practice. As freeform noted, non-Indic tradition that has the most similarity to Tantra is Daoism. As for the specific question about Guru Yoga being Tantra, since in Tibetan Buddhism initiation is given to make this connection, and the connection gives information on how to integrate the body and mundane existence on the spiritual path resulting in both an enlightened mind and enlightened body, it is definitely Tantra. Guru Yoga and Deity Yoga are considered the characteristic practices of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. Also, Dzogchen is a form of Tantra; it positions itself as the highest form of tantra. When it claims to be beyond tantra, it specifically means beyond lower forms of tantra. Does that theoretical explanation find congruence with your experience?
  34. 6 points
    I did not reach that conclusion from your words at all. I agree that is the subject and objective of the teaching. My point is that the very nature of scripture and our requisite approach to its form is a mental understanding. While the teaching may point to such a realization, beyond concept, the vehicle itself is inevitably bound up in concept. Words alone are unlikely to liberate a practitioner, they are simply touchstones or guideposts left by those who've gone before to help us gauge the progress of our experiential practice. And they do play an important role and have value. That is the point of the Beacon of Certainty. My point is that the conceptual mind is so pervasive and fundamental to our life experience that we as practitioners need to be extraordinarily vigilant and precise; yet effortlessly and playfully so in order to approach the non-conceptual in a meaningful way. I agree, the realization of emptiness is experiential and while that realization may be supported or even stimulated for some by scripture, I think it is more closely linked to a combination of conceptual formulation, experiential practice, karma, and blessings. I see it a bit differently. I feel that there are those who develop a very solid mental, I prefer the word conceptual, understanding of emptiness through the study of scripture. This mental understanding is legitimate in its own right but not equivalent to an experiential, non-conceptual realization of emptiness. For me that difference is not insidious, it's quite obvious. On the other hand, I would agree that there are many who don't see the difference. And pointing out such differences to them is generally unhelpful and frustrating to both parties. One must have a frame of reference to 'get it.' The question is not the problem, it's more like the questioner is the problem. Spontaneous release is different than "does not even arise" in my experience. Spontaneous release is when the mental activity arises, is seen for what it is, not interfered with, and incapable of disturbing the effortless restfulness of abiding in the nature of mind. Being unable to disturb, it simply arises, abides in awareness for as long as it needs, and then continues on its merry way to effortless dissolution. It's like a bubble rising from the sea floor to the surface and releasing into the sky. The oft used analogy among the Tibetans is that of snowflakes falling onto the surface of a lake or ocean. The snowflakes are unequivocally there but effortlessly dissolve without ever disturbing the surface of the water. The water takes no action to dissolve them. When resting in that level of meditation, you are correct, the question of release does not even arise. The question arises when the meditation is not at that level of stability and openness, which is more often the case for me in my practice. The analogy used for this level of practice is the sun melting frost. The frost is a bit more solid than flakes of snow, the sun (awareness) takes a modicum of time and energy (attention) to melt it, and yet the degree of energy expended is still relatively minor. There's a third analogy for a more coarse level of meditation but I can't recall it at the moment. The point is that it's not so much whether the liberation is perfectly effortless or somewhat more effortful but that the one questioning is there at all, that is the insidious part for me. For sure there is a level at which such questioning is positive and valuable. Then there comes a time when even such questioning must be released and is, in and of itself, the very obstacle. This is a more subtle level of resting. The one who realizes 'there are still subconscious aspects hanging around' is the more insidious and problematic obstacle than the "underlying issues" he is identifying. Once that one (the practitioner-identity) is able to fully rest, the issues themselves are of no real consequence and will self-liberate in good time and without interference. At least that's the approach we take in my tradition.
  35. 6 points
    The lower dantien is the heart of the root of the tree - from there upward the energies expand. The foundation from there is less confusing and progress is much faster. "focusing on developing"? this assumes you have an idea upon what you are focusing and developing - this is a fools parade into a labyrinth - but the word alone - heart - it is like a siren calling. What could possibly go wrong? The bedrock of the LDT is in the fire and quiet - the steady earth energies and the pure energies. One is not apt to lose oneself in false love and false compassion and concocted oneness. The rest will unfold as will happen - the proud doer will thrive in focusing and developing anywhere - simply breath into the root and happen from there. A strong root will be needed for the rest to fall away - for the rest to face falseness and idealistic child's play and indulgence in ones praise of ones good intentions. The lower dantien does not have this - it is simple and yet a thousand times more powerful in healing us and dissolving our habituations than heart and head combined - it is what allows heart and head so much leeway in monkey world and the constant beatings that they subject the bodies to. Own the LDT and the path is clear and you are ready for the winds and the tides. Man/Woman stand like mountains here.
  36. 5 points
    That's a tough question. But what Everything points out is really true. Taiji is really a qigong ... But not exclusively a qigong. After practicing taiji for a number of years, I took up a qigong practice and it greatly helped my taiji. And I suppose the reverse is true ... taiji can really benefit qigong. As a general recommendation, I would suggest taiji over qigong for a couple of reasons. First, taiji is not only about developing energy, which it does very well, but also about maintaining energy connection while moving. In addition, taiji also develops your ability to sense/receive energy, as well as direct energy. It involves developing intent. These things are true iff you can find a good traditional instructor. A side affect of a good taiji class can be a social one. Many taiji groups are little communities with a family like composition. They are usually a mixed group with practitioners of different levels of ability. Cooperation and support from the group can be a very happy and health encouraging thing. Of course, I am clearly speaking from a taiji bias. So, take it with a grain of salt. That said, you are probably more likely to find a taiji group than a qigong group. Either way, it is really important to have hands on instruction to guide and correct your gongfu.
  37. 5 points
    Was doing some tantric work with Kali today. About 30 minutes in, her form changed completely for me. I’ve been working with Kali for a couple years now, and generally perceive her (via the minds eye) one of two ways. This is now a third. A few thoughts on this. It felt like I had gone deeper than previously before with her, and she revealed a new (and more personal) image to me. I’ve found that with this new image, the connection is a lot stronger now. Just thought I’d share... I’ve found tantric practice to take on a life of its own. It may start one way, and morph and transform as we go along.
  38. 5 points
    So potent that you are willing to share this. Thank you. For me, there is and always has been only one cornerstone philosophical question. Continue life or not? That's it. All other lines of questioning are predicated on the answer to this one. I've been on the verge of suicide three times. Knife in hand, ready to go. In the third experience, I was leaning against the tree I had chosen to bleed out on, knife was pressed to neck, about to plunge. Amidst the fog, the pain and the voices of ruin and apathy, the following settled in mind so very distinctly, unforcefully and plainly, it cut through the fog. one constant of life is change. what is now can not remain. all is change. Therefore it continued... why this permanent solution for a temporary experience? The voice fell silent, i put the knife away and walked home. I have no words of warning about dire consequences for the deed itself, your life is your life and none can stay your hand if you so choose. However, the impact on those who remain... good god, that is a crushing weight to bear, an acid that does not cease burning. Ruinous. Calamity. So why a permanent choice for a temporary feeling? can always do it later. Why make that permanent decision just now. There's shift in the wind... Change is the real master of life and all find release to death eventually, you'll get to have that peace. I for one, being far from perfected self crave many things... among them, is to share more words, ideas and time with you. Connection is the meaning of my life. This above all others I cultivate am sustained and nourished by... And no matter how you play this, I will be a voice who, you can assure yourself will never blame you, despise you, nor judge you, should you choose to pass. But I will sing from my heart mournfully, how much I am with you, and how dear you shine for me through the momentary connection you offered me through your caring enough to share. I will never judge you, but I will deeply mourn you and in your passing, I will experience my own self as less. That voice led me to another insight eventually. My skin is not the barrier that separates me from all of life... it is the very bridge that connects me to all. Love and respect to you for sharing.
  39. 5 points
    Yes I think this is a good point. The 10 day retreats will turn you down if you have some potential health issues. I think 10 days straight for anyone who’s not a regular meditator is a lot to handle, regardless of health issues.
  40. 5 points
    So. Once upon a time I believed in no-self. The center of my teachings led me to a paper called Malignant-Self Love by Sam Vaknin. I may have found the paper on this website. Either way the idea that culminated in my head was a polished mirror shield that protects esoteric buddhism from the exoteric lay people and all those who can not understand symbolism. Polishing the mirror was still the heart. Not killing it. By still the emotions one can see clearly with increasing levels of perception of awareness. The emotions create turbulence and literally causing a semi-hallucinogenic trip. It is far too subtle to be called hallucinatory but could be related to some sort of micro-dose of a drug. Polishing the mirror was seeing emptiness as a mirror which is difficult to describe because it actually reveals an individuals true self. That is if you can find emptiness, then still it, and then actually gaze into your own heart and see yourself for what you really are. If you could do these things there is a good chance that your reflection is most likely a beautiful thing because these three tasks require a massive amount of effort towards virtue in the first place. I saw myself as anger. It was my true self. My literal face could be seen in emptiness as an exact 3-D reflection only red/orange. I had been my true self for years but emptiness is dangerous because it breaks down all mental conceptions even the self, the longer you spend in it. It is too sultry of an emotion but is also actually measurable as space. As you spend time in it the idea of no-self easily can be taken as the truth because all things fall apart inside of emptiness even your self. It is a dangerous thing because of how warm and peaceful and comforting emptiness is until the size of the emotion becomes bigger than a presence of about 10 yards. Holding ones self together inside of emptiness is damn near impossible. But stilled this thing is actually a mirror. Pride comes from mastering a task. 10,000 hours is not a game. This is the general time-piece given to mastering a task with full focus in most eastern philosophy. Balancing straight up I had mastered the skill of skiing. I was a pro. I lost my pride of balance a few months after the entrance to a master realm of skiing when I decided to be proud for the first time. I was proud of mastering one thing, 10,000 hours skiing was literally my whole life. Mastering in my opinion also includes doing the activity or professional skill in your head as well. Exact visualization, like dreaming doing the thing. I lost my pride when I did a drug with "friends" on the day of pride and I can not explain how far I fell. I would like to start a thread discussing advanced buddhist meditation and the movement samadhi. Basically having single pointed attention while moving. Whether from the center of gravity or using hand-eye coordination.
  41. 5 points
    This is a recording of an informal conversation with my master from last evening.
  42. 5 points
    The reason why fasting helps is less Prana and nerve energy is being used for digestion. Right now you are working with a more body type energy that comes from food, air, water not the raw source but that which has already been processed and modified for body life use. This is good. In time you will learn by working your way backwards to entertain the raw source. Later it becomes less about the body and more about real stillness, but that takes a while for most, you are on the right track.
  43. 5 points
    I don’t discuss this much since a few here have responded with derision in the past. While on retreat above Death Valley on the Panamint Range I experienced close to a dissolution of my physical body. It seemed to start while sky gazing in which the light had a profound effect. What exactly occurred is difficult to elaborate in which any advanced language would not be adequate. Sky gazing must be practiced in a very specific way which is taught in the Longde or space series of instructions.
  44. 5 points
    @Walker All of us size up other people based, at least to some extent, on our own personal histories. As a gay man, I don´t take kindly to people saying that a particular martial art is for gays, implying that men like myself couldn´t possibly be serious and skilled fighters, that we just want to roll around on the floor with each other half-naked. I´d heard enough of that kind of put down to last me a life time by the time I´d reached the 8th grade. In a similar way, I´ll bet that your background as someone who has lived around violence makes you sensitive to macho dudes who brag about how they could hurt other people. We object to this kind of talk even in jest. I agree with you that it´s harmful. And yet I don´t share your passion for objecting to Starjumper´s teaching. My sense is that he knows a lot and genuinely wants to impart his knowledge to others. I think that beneath the bravado he´s a peaceful, maybe even loving, person. Is he perfect? No. Would I prefer if he dropped the aggressive posing? Absolutely. But teachers are human beings and even good ones come with a whole bevy of flaws. The truth is that Starjumper is going to teach. Some students might benefit from his instruction, others may not. You and I will likely not be among his pupils. Perhaps that´s our loss, perhaps it isn´t. In general, I´m not a fan of threads whose purpose is to say that a particular teacher or teachings is bad. There are bad teachers out there, but it mostly doesn´t help to say so. People are going to study with the folks they feel a connection with. Some people are going to study with Starjumper, even though we´re bothered by some of his verbiage. Rather than pointing out the bad, I find it´s much more useful to champion the good. Objecting to Starjumper won´t stop other people from studying with him. We just don´t have that power and I´m not convinced it would be a good thing if we did. I suggest focusing on the positive. What spiritual practices have made a difference in your life? How did you learn about them? Your answers to these questions will likely inspire others; attempting to takedown Starjumper won´t.
  45. 5 points
    Wonderful article. In my own case, I find my fluid intelligence petering down as I approach the mid-40s. It is not unusual to look at others who have been my peers at earlier stages of life and speculate while comparing. I've given in to that on the rare occasion too in the past. The key really is spiritual practice and knowledge of the right kind. Not just "do x, y and z" methods to gain "A, B & C" qualities/siddhis/etc etc. A genuine inquiry into our true nature is required. Which will help separate the wheat (true nature) from the chaff (personality, labels, attributes, etc etc). It seems that transition across the various "ashrams" of life happen naturally if we have a genuine spiritual practice. It is easier to "let go".
  46. 5 points
    I´ll second this. I´ve learned a lot from teachers whose personal style I didn´t like much. One of my favorite practices came to me from of a flamboyant fellow with a way too high opinion of his own abilities. Still, what he taught was gold.
  47. 5 points
    Well if you die in utero then you got just a little bit of this life experiences and it is allot shorter than what those who achieve adulthood experience. Smiling I assure you it does not become mundane, and you still care because even as impossible as it is there is the wish for others to experience what you are as well instead of being stuck with the tiny amount they experience of life and often dully. There is a feeling of love for others. The overiding sentiment is I wish I could give this to you and you could know this as well. Just gotta experience it to comprehend it. You are correct. It sure is from any other perspective than that of bliss. When there is little to nothing one can do it might also be argued it is not only the only response left but the best one possible. Think of the Zen monk hanging from a tree root a cherry above a tiger below and to grab the cherry is to fall into the maw of th tiger which will happen anyway when the grip is lost, so he reaches up and exclaims how sweet it is. Now you are getting warmer. It does not take full enlightenment even a few shallow experiences that transforms you just enough is sufficient. Let see if I can reword it by starting with the mechanics of the situation. First you need to have a few Kensho moments ( these are insights into reality as it is or mini experiences of enlightenment that happen over time and can be pretty subtle or hugely rock your boat either way they build up over time) I seriously doubt the full enlightenment can happen all at once anyway. Then you need to do practices for a while until the crown opens and experience all that follows from that and it is quite allot. After that if you will simply inhale from the nostrils with a feeble easy breath that becomes ever more shallow on its own and follow it 3 to 4 inches into the skull and then go straight up into the crown you will find your seat of awareness moved into this area. All you do is practice this simple easy practice and allow yourself to become absorbed in the crown. Over time this will resolve into different states of conscious awareness and samadhi's of different depths. During the day you maintain this lightly without effort and soon it just does it on its own. The effect builds and you find yourself even as Lost in translation mentioned with his holding an un-moving center. What this feels like is you are more connected with the crown or fontanel than any other part of your body, your thoughts really slow down and become far and few between. There is calmness, there is a feel of being here but also elsewhere which becomes more and more real as time goes on and the profane world but a shadow of what is generating it.. Everything takes on a different luster and colors become more vibrant sounds more acute and so on. People become beautiful and you feel love which is sometimes overwhelmingly beautiful, the heart softens and you feel more profoundly. It also becomes difficult to be around very dense people. You also develop an aversion to talking or having to respond to people in a pre-accepted mode they expect from you due to their familiarity with accustomed response patterns. Things change quite a bit and if continued who knows how far and permanent things will become? I have not had the luxury of taking this all the way to the furthest degree as I have always had to work and interact with people and a former ex-wife who was as hide bound to the what you can touch see and feel of this and the profane material reality of earth as any have ever been. Perhaps when I am old and towards the end I will kick out all the stops. As it is right now I carry quite a bit of this with me as it never goes away completely and am still growing into it even though I do fluctuate. Once started the momentum keeps going. The holding ones center here is in the 7th Chakra and it often goes up into the 8th and beyond. After the 7th you are entering into the lower chakras of the astral body. In each chakra your awareness is altered, colored, influenced in such a way that expresses the dimension or lolka and the psyco emotional quality of said realm. In the crown there is stillness silence and spaciousness to borrow Bon terms, there are great waves of pleasurable energy that enter through the crown and cascade through the body with feelings of great pleasure / bliss. Where ever an obstruction or illness is in the body it interacts and when it does you feel vibration, which can become very strong and make the hairs stand up all over your body and it can be orgasmic in every cell. You also experience feelings of divine love during the life force working with the thing in need be it an obstruction or an illness and it is a love that expects nothing it just is an rises spontaneously. You can also experience hearing inner-sound from the vibration. The attitude is one of calm satisfaction and timelessness hours can slip past as if they were minutes and there is not a real concern nor care about much of anything you know things have to get done so you just do them in a very detached yet caring manner. The problem with this is you are adorning the high heavens and not your physical life. You are missing out on the very opportunities that challenges offer as you are emotionally altered and distant and your sentiments are not the normal. There is also a danger of being to present in the high heavens and becoming careless here and now and careless is followed by wreckless which can be followed by unneeded tragedy. Example during my peak work with this I came off a highway the off ramp was posted 25 miles per hour I was driving by feeling while in the high heavens it was not until I feel the cab of my truck lifting I realized something was off. I looked and I was doing 50 how the truck did not flip and roll I will never know. At that moment I did not care either other than I did not want the person behind me to get in a wreck as they were following too close in a sports car. Now all that being said everything in proportion eventually you learn to live with this and as time goes on it gets stronger. If you can do this all it takes is a little practice and even when you stop it does not. I do not practice this, it does however practice me.
  48. 5 points
    Not sure how helpful it will be, but there's a pdf article entitled Original Purity and the Arising of Delusion by Jamie Hubbard that explores in some detail the subject of gzhi (the impure mind) and kun gzhi (the impure mind's original essence). Its quite technical so may not be an easy read for some. Buddhatantra at some level relates to the unlocking of potential of the kun gzhi and allowing that particular resonance to perfume over both the seed aspect and maturation aspect of the alaya consciousness in order to effect transformation. It asserts that gzhi and kun gzhi are fundamentally not two separate "minds", but only appears so due to individual habitual tendencies.
  49. 5 points
    This is a large subject and should not be idly dismissed, it is neither vague nor is it simply a "new-age" idea. This book: Synchronicity the Bridge Between Mind and Matter by F. David Peat Which I read some time ago is a good introduction to the concepts, and their long history, though apparently the author also wrote a later sequel: Synchronicity: The marriage of matter and psyche Which I have not read, but according to the blurb: Would seem to be an expanded and updated version and may be a better read. The main thing is to avoid thinking "At times it feels as though I am alone" and realize that we are all, each and every one of us much more than we seem to be. ZYD
  50. 5 points
    If you visit a lake when the sun is shining - perhaps at dawn - and you look at its surface you see a dazzling field of light, if you look into its depth you see a cool dark stillness - if you jump into the lake what is it then? Are there three different lakes? No. Which lake is real - the pool of light, the depths or the skinny dip? Sorry you'll have to excuse me I was having a Zen moment. In any case three different people can argue about the nature of the lake forever - and all can be right.