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  1. 2 points
    Good and evil are emotionally charged. We ‘love’ good and ‘hate’ evil... From a sort of societal or political perspective this sounds reasonable. But from a spiritual cultivation perspective this is problematic. When instead you approach it through a calm, equanimous mind you can start to see the underlying causal relationships in the full spectrum of what ‘greed’ really means. You can start to see the utility underlying greed... if you didn’t have this greed impulse you simply wouldn’t survive in a world of very limited resources... But in the context of spiritual cultivation, you can also see how it creates a division in self and means it’s impossible to get very far... and that as your internal power grows how this impulse can become inflamed and subvert your actions and cause harm to self and others... etc Things are always more complex and nuanced than our thinking, categorising mind likes to make...
  2. 2 points
    Alexey Raevsky is a contemporary Belarusian artist.
  3. 1 point
    “A villain acts, a hero reacts. Heroes are loved in some points of history until they are recast as villains, villains always believe that they are heroes in their own minds. So if I must be called a villain to challenge the power structures and status quo, then let me be evil.” - Marilyn Manson
  4. 1 point
    Is it so? I thought that when daoists write about Jindan, translated as the golden Elixir, it is still about the Ming and Xing practice.
  5. 1 point
    There are several lineages in different traditions that have very similar approaches to Daoist internal alchemy. This includes some Hindu traditions, some esoteric Buddhist lines within Chan, Thai, Burmese and Tibetan traditions as well as others. Rather than working directly within states of consciousness - they all work with the essence or ‘substances’ underlying these states of consciousness to produce transformation. This is the ‘tantric’ approach to spiritual cultivation. The mental models they all use to explain the process are very different and of course there are different aims, approaches and outcomes.
  6. 1 point
    To me racism has to include discrimination and unfortunately people hate for all kinds of reasons. All kinds of people are discriminated against all the time. Its unfortunate that the color of someones skin automatically includes certain preformed opinions that we term racist. The same is true on the reverse side though. Racism gets all the press but what about discrimination against over weight people, or poor people in general, or unattractive people, or uneducated people?
  7. 1 point
    I used to be a painter myself, but gave it up to pursue a deeper understanding of religion. I always thought id get back to it, but I havent. Back then I liked modern expressionism/abstract expressionism, but since then Ive grown to appreciate more classical art. My friend was in Europe at a museum and sent me a photo of a painting of the gods and the demons waging war with an older fatherly figure in the center holding the crucified Christ. I really like that one.
  8. 1 point
  9. 1 point
    I find this kind of reductionism amusing. And starry-eyed fan-people gobble this up with great gusto...and the outcome is anyone’s guess. For example, ‘Hinduism’ is not looking to ‘dissolve Dantien’ — while young damo might have meant something specific with it, on the face of it, it sounds childish. In fact there are Hindu yogic/tantric traditions which match the neidan stuff in great detail and then some.
  10. 1 point
    Evil has a definition. Evil is that which opposes or harms, and Good is that which aids or heals. You can say that "action is not Evil" but that is untrue from the use of the definition of the word. Actions are just actions, it is true, and yes, it is our perception of them which defines it- but that is true of all understanding. Actions have a result, and we choose to react to it as good or bad. Its intrinsic in the nature of our use of the words good and evil. You can turn the meaning of intelligence into conscious awareness if you like, but I am fine with the old definition that intelligence means understanding. I dont presume that people are unenlightened and acting ignorantly with their Will, though this might be true, the definition of Good and Evil does not falter- it is their interpretation that falters. It just means they are not acting intelligently. Nietzsche makes the point that Evil is not always bad, that it sometimes results in making people stronger, or more inventive. This might be true as well, but that does not mean it is not Evil.
  11. 1 point
    Again a complete dumbing down and oversimplification. Nei Dan requires both effort (setting of the conditions/causes) and no effort (the spontaneous arising of the effect/result). You won't get anywhere with no-effort - and you won't get far with only effort. Then there is the same thing on a sort of holographic micro-scale where even within effort there is no effort... as a very basic example, you bend the knees not by 'doing the action' of bending the knees but by letting go anything that keeps your knees straight... But this post isn't about the 'how'. This is 'the great work' - and obviously I'm going to hugely oversimplify things - and leave out a ton of processes and nuances. This is just to give an overview of alchemical practice from a traditional 'classical' perspective. This is how Nei Dan masters that have any real attainment do it. To understand Nei Dan, I personally found it important to understand the difference between alchemy and other approaches. Alchemy is an art of transformation. But people don't necessarily quite appreciate what transformation entails... or how literal it is... there's a world of difference between a caterpillar and a butterfly - they are fundamentally different (have a look at Silent Thunder's thread on the subject). That's the nature of transformation. Transformation is permanent. And it's a full transformation at every level of one's being - physical, energetic and spiritual. Many other approaches - or at least the approaches that are available to people are more to do with experience... for instance, one is to experience pure non-subject-object consciousness then try to experience it for longer and longer. This might work in a monastic setting... and might be quite helpful in many ways... but it's fundamentally different to how Nei Dan works. Alchemy works on the premise that everything - every physical 'thing' and every state of consciousness has an underlying energetic 'substance' to it. The alchemical method is gathering these substances and working with them in a specific way to achieve permanent transformation. It's a huge endeavour - just 'accessing' the primordial states of consciousness is beyond most people... let alone penetrating the state to touch on the substance behind it... and then having the capacity to bring this primordial substance back and condense it... It's not an easy task Jing, Qi and Shen are the first substances one works with... These are replenished, regulated, and refined to a high level. This is the work of 'laying the foundation'. This is the stage where one transforms the functioning of one's body and consciousness to a very high level... Yes - the various orbits will have opened... in fact all the channels will be fully open... Much of one's karmic seeds would have been 'burned away' through the foundational alchemical processes. One would have achieved and would be regularly swallowing the 'jade fluid' that floods the mouth from the upper dantien. This is the stage where health and vitality are developed and revitalised to the state of a child. Which doesn't mean acting goofy and childish... it's replenishing jing and qi to the extent that one's body becomes more like a child's... I always admire how my friend's 2yr old can sit completely relaxed, yet fully upright with perfect posture... how he can seem so delicate, yet demonstrate so much strength and resilience... How his body has this layer of puffiness which is the overabundance of qi filling all the spaces in the soft tissues of the body... How he's able to learn incredibly complex things with no effort etc... This is what is meant by returning to a child-like state. There's also specific training to develop correct mental qualities and levels of meditative absorption - like the various levels of samadhi and Jhanna in Buddhism. The various meditative practices (like Xin Zhai and Zuowang) would need to be at least close to mastery - so that one's heart-mind is completely still, and simply sitting and closing one's eyes you enter a samadhi state... even with eyes open one's mind should be largely quiet and still - no internal dialogue or unintended movement of mind. The difference between being asleep and awake is only very slight. This is all just preparation - setting up the conditions for the development of the alchemical agents. The Dan - the golden elixir pill is made of the condensed 'substances' of one's congenital, primordial nature... Often when people have an awakening, as their 'self' dissolves, they will see a very bright light... this is the light of the Yuan Shen... This experience in itself is quite transformational... Being able to stay in this light gives rise to various levels of direct insight... this is a similar state to the Jhanna absorption in Buddhist traditions... Some call this awakening... some call this enlightenment (it's not!). What the alchemist has to do is enter this state until they are able to touch on the underlying substance of it... It's like plucking the pure essence of this state from the primordial and then bring it back and compressing it into a pearl... This is one of the 'ingredients' of the elixir pill... At a birds-eye view, internal alchemy uses the underlying substances of Xing, Ming and the 'original breath' - which is that which gives 'life' to you before you're physically born. These substances are brought together and fused into the elixir pill... (then after the pill is formed one gestates it to form the golden embryo - but that's another story ) Each stage can be many years worth of full-time disciplined practice in retreat. Very few people have managed to achieve this process. And yet I keep seeing 'weekend alchemy retreats' where people simply imagine coloured balls
  12. 1 point
    I could have framed this thread differently, perhaps by suggesting a conversation about what kind of legislation we would like to see here in America that empowers people rather than corporate interests. It may not be a practical or manageable feat here; I believe that my political longings are sound and consistent with my spiritual convictions, but I suppose anyone could make the same claim. I'm intrigued by the book suggestion "Apocalypse Never." I'm a committed progressive, a democratic socialist, but I'm always on the lookout for scholars who reveal the logical weaknesses of forceful arguments, including my own. The world depends on it. I'm not so sure we can dismiss systemic racism. It may not reverberate equally throughout our culture but it can get mighty concentrated in some corners. In the thick of Los Angeles, I'm soaking in it. The dissenting views regarding global warming should be expected in a world that has long dismissed the fact of impermanence of all things, including earth, oil, consumer capitalism. I can't wait to read the book; I could use a healthy dose of legitimate optimism. From what I've gathered from reviews, it appears the author remains optimistic about humanity's ability to grow up and enthusiastically replace consumer capitalism with something ecologically tenable. That seems likelier than some green technology breakthrough. I have a 9-year-old daughter. I'm ready for solutions!
  13. 1 point
    I remember a story about a chemist. Late one night he had an enlightenment experience, where he felt the Oneness of the world and learned its deepest secret. In his ecstatic state he wrote it down before succumbing to bliss and sleep. He woke up the next morning and looked at the word he'd scribbled. It was Benzene.
  14. 1 point
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Puzzlers'_League---- This may be a better place for you. But, If you relax and just be, there is a lot of good stuff and people here. The thousands of past, new bums here, have run the gauntlet, from the extremely fantastical to the highly introverted. We tend to be very open and forgiving of human frailties and obnoxious strengths. Relax and be yourself here.
  15. 1 point
    Therein lies the secret of spiritual life imho. Keep the mind clean and settled and we can see the “truth” directly and without filters. Let the mind get polluted and it will filter the truth and present a distortion. Allow the mind to get scattered and it will not be able to pierce through the world of names and forms and see the true essence underlying all its experiences.
  16. 1 point
    That testing ground, 100%. I never even realised until I was in it. You never know what will change you until it has done so.
  17. 1 point
    I’m afraid my notes on this are inaccessible (coz of lockdown). I’m also an awful scholar and linguist and there are many bums that could suggest a better, more accurate translation. Me too Yes. War in the land suggests that ‘the people’ are in opposition to one another. Some people want to sit and absorb into the breath - others want to think about lunch - others prefer to reminisce about past embarrassments - others still are worried about money.
  18. 1 point
    Good question. Not sure I have the answer. But I have an answer - that might be an interesting way to consider the topic. A Shengren (Sage) will not act in an obvious stimulus-response causation loop. By stimulus response I mean the automatic mental movements and habits we have that are habitual and often unconscious. Someone cuts you off in traffic (stimulus) - we get angry (response). It happens automatically. It’s an automatic knee jerk reaction. It’s usually predictable. In a Sage the predictable stimulus-response patterns will not be present. You might say something incredibly offensive and the response you get is genuine curiosity (instead of anger). You might offer him great riches but his response might be laughter. You might be super humble and polite - but she responds in a coarse and vulgar way. the breaking down of the automaticity of stimulus-response is one clue of being in the presence of a Shengren... Although it might also suggest madness
  19. 1 point
    Thank you - that's nice of you to say. I'm here because many years ago I was inspired by what I read on the forum - and that's what put me on my path. I'm very grateful for that - and I'd like to help by paying it forward Yes. And although it's lost - just as in that 'broken telephone' (aka chinese whispers) game - there's always a hint of the original message - in the same way, Dao is in everything - even in the distortions. I prefer my (slightly vulgar) translation - as I think it gives a different perspective: True De is unconscious, that's why it's the highest De. Inferior De is contrived, and that's why it's without De. Inferior De creates distortions because it's a contrivance. True morality is leaving nothing undone Morality based on justice leaves plenty udone Morality based on order is left unanswered by the people - and so it's time to roll up ones sleeves. I find it almost impossible to discuss the DDJ because it's so multi-leveled. Although it appears to be talking about 'external things' like 'justice' and 'people' - but in reality, it's also talking about your inner experience. As a clue - 'people' is symbolic. 'Man' exists between 'Heaven' and 'Earth'... The 'people' are aspects of 'Man'... Microcosmically 'Man' between heaven and earth is Xin - your heart-mind in between your upper DT and Lower DT. So 'the people' are unconsolidated aspects of your heart-mind - thoughts, preferences, beliefs, biases. There is a lot of such nuance in DDJ - and the earlier chapters need to be understood in this way for this to be crystal clear.
  20. 1 point
    I believe “inherited distorted views” would reach beyond rituals (including ideas such as justice - which has certainly shifted through history and by location), and acknowledge some of these inherited views may serve “valid and useful function.” Heck, even what is/has been found to be rational has shifted... While I respect this conscious alignment, and could paint a correlation between this and guru yoga, yidam practices, and aspects of ngondro, I am going to try to remain more on topic considering this is the Daoist sub forum. From the same chapter: A truly good man is not aware of his goodness, And is therefore good. A foolish man tries to be good, And is therefore not good. A truly good man does nothing, Yet nothing is left undone. A foolish man is always doing, Yet much remains to be done What would be your (or your teachers) understanding of this, and how would it relate to what you have already shared? :understanding this, in part, may be answer to my above question: I guess at this point, I am looking to how (and curious why) Dao and de are/were lost, and you are looking more towards the consequence and response of and to this loss. BTW I often see you as such a radiant light.. I mean, you certainly don’t have to be here, this isn’t something which has to be done, and here you are - sharing and shining.
  21. 1 point
    I think this is relevant again: Distorted views passed down through generations is no.4 in the list... Rituals. These are superstitions and taboos - kept not because of a rational construct (like Justice) - but because 'that's just how it's always been'. "I recognise that this person is not from my cultural background so I will immediately distrust her and feel a sort of impulsive disgust - just as everyone else in my tribe." Contrived De - despite the negative sounding 'contrived' is a wonderful and rare thing. It's the act of consciously aligning our behaviour to an ideal. Like - I'm going to be kind and generous - even when that is the hard thing to do - even if our cultural taboos say you shouldn't be kind to those types of people - even if legaly I don't need to be kind to that person. It's not done to 'look kind' - it's done to be kind - because that's the responsibility you've taken upon yourself. In the West, this is epitomised by the idea of 'Chivalry'. Or in the East - 'Bushido' and the principle of Honour for the Samurai. Despite this sort of integrity being a rare and wonderful thing - it's still contrived virtue - and it still creates distortions and adds to the layers of Acquired Mind. It's very much imperfect. It's still in the realm of 'action' (Wei) - and therefore 'skill' (Gong) - someone could be very skillful in their virtue - someone else could be very unskillful in his attempt to uphold virtue (ie. 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'). True De - that's the 'natural' virtue within all of us (the essence of the guru or deity as you described), buried under the distortions of Acquired Mind. But it's almost extinct in the world. It's like a light that casts no shadows. It's very much like saintly behaviour - and it's qualitatively different to contrived virtue because it's not something that has to be done - it just is. And so it works on a different level of cause and effect - where for instance a slight smile from one with True De might set off a cascade of cause and effect that produces a far greater 'good' in the world than billions of dollars of charity could. Being in the presence of someone who has achieved full De is quite magical. We all know the concept of synchronicities - being in the presence of De sets off a constant stream of synchronicities for people. Where every little nuance - how the grass sways in the wind, the words or actions of this sage - everything, somehow cuts to the core and points to some deeper fundamental aspect of your true nature. When I say that 'Contrived De' is necessary, I'm talking about my (and my teachers') view on this. In actual fact it's not technically a necessary stepping stone on the way to achieving Dao - in fact you can completely bypass even True De and reach straight for Dao - it's a more direct, and in effect, 'easier' path (except that it's anything but easy!)
  22. 1 point
    David Hinton 2002 77 The Way of heaven is like a drawn bow pulling down the high and raising up the low: it takes away where there's abundance and restores where there's want. The Way of heaven takes away where there's abundance and restores where there's want, but the Way of humankind isn't like that: it takes away where there's want and gives where there's abundance. Only a master of the Way can give abundance to all beneath heaven. Such a sage acts without presumption and never dwells on success: great worth has no need to be seen. Dwight Goddard 1919 77 Tao of heaven resembles the stretching of a bow. The mighty it humbles, the lowly it exalts. They who have abundance it diminishes and gives to them who have need. That is Tao of heaven; it depletes those who abound, and completes those who lack. The human way is not so. Men take from those who lack to give to those who already abound. Where is the man who by his abundance can best serve the world? The wise man makes but claims not, he accomplishes merit, yet is not attached to it, neither does he display his excellence. Is it not so? Bradford Hatcher 2005 77 Heaven has its path Compare it to the drawing of a bow What is high comes to be lowered What is lowly comes to be raised What has abundance will be diminished What is incomplete will be added to Heaven’s way decreases where there is surplus And adds to what is insufficient Humanity’s path is normally not like this, Decreasing what is not enough in order to give to what is excessive Who can claim an abundance in order to offer to nature? Only those who keep the way This is why wise ones develop but do not expect Accomplish works but do not linger They have no ambition to show merit Wing-Tsit Chan 1963 77 Heaven's Way is indeed like the bending of a bow. When (the string) is high, bring it down. When it is low, raise it up. When it is excessive, reduce it. When it is insufficient, supplement it. The Way of Heaven reduces whatever is excessive and supplements whatever in insufficient. The way of man is different. It reduces the insufficient to offer to the excessive. Who is able to have excess to offer to the world? Only the man of Tao. Therefore the sage acts, but does not rely on his own ability. He accomplishes his task, but does not claim credit for it. He has no desire to display his excellence. Gu Zhengku 1993 77 Does not the Tao of heaven resemble the bending of a bow (aiming): Pressing down the high, Lifting up the low, Reducing the excessive, Compensating the deficient? So the Tao of heaven means to compensate the deficient by reducing the excess. The Tao of man is different: It gives to one who already has more than enough by taking from one who is in want. Who can offer what he has in excess to the people? Only the man of Tao. Thus the sage Benefits all things without claiming to be their benefactor; Succeeds without claiming credit; Because he does not want to show off his wisdom. Ch'u Ta-Kao 1904 77 Is not the Tao of heaven like the drawing of a bow? It brings down the part which is high; it raises the part which is low; it lessens the part which is redundant (convex); it fills up the part which is insufficient (concave). The Tao of heaven is to lessen the redundant and fill up the insufficient. The Tao of man, on the contrary, is to take from the insufficient and give to the redundant. Who can take from the redundant and give to the insufficient? Only he who has Tao can. Therefore the Sage does not horde. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself the more he gives to others, the more he gets himself. The Tao of heaven does one good but never does one harm; the Tao of the Sage acts but never contends. Flowing Hands 1987 77 The Dao of Heaven is like a bow, when the string is pulled back, the high is lowered and low is raised. The Dao of Heaven is to take from those who have far too much, and give to those who do not have enough. Man's way is different; he takes from those who do not have enough, and gives to those who already have far too much. The Sage seeks nothing for himself. He works without recognition. Yielding and giving without wanting anything in return. He is at one with the Dao, so this comes naturally. He does not dwell on things, he simply gets on with the job, and achieves his end.
  23. 1 point
    The Tao (way) of Heaven, Is it not like the bending of a bow? The top comes down and the bottom-end goes up, The extra (length) is shortened, the insufficient (width) is expanded. It is the Way of Heaven to take away from those that have too much And give to those that have not enough. Not so with man's way: He takes away from those that have not And gives it as tribute to those that have too much. Who can have enough and to spare to give to the entire world? Only the man of Tao. Therefore the Sage acts, but does not possess, Accomplishes but lays claim to no credit, Because he has no wish to seem superior. - Lin Yutang Lin's interpretation is slightly different, but also refers to Heaven. Governance implications aside, the first section is deserving of some consideration. In referring to Heaven, it might leave the impression that Heaven is operating independently from the rest of the world ... operating externally upon conditions of excess and deficiency. If emphasis is place upon the Way, then the question begs regarding the Way. Consider that the Way might be that of Change. Understanding the nature of Heaven as being the creative lends emphasis to the notion of Change. But still may not be a full understanding. When Change is active, what conditions are likely to change and in what manner. Recall the lesson of Chapter 40 ... again from Lin: Reversion is the action of Tao. Gentleness is the function of Tao. The things of this world come from Being, And Being (comes) from Non-being. So then, it might be said that within excess is the tendency toward giving up and be emptied and within deficiency the capacity to accept and be filled. In this way the action of Dao is inherent in all conditions. Heaven need take no action, it is already done.