Vajra Fist

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  1. I'm always fascinated by Asian spirit lore. Seems like the folk religion of Shinto in Japan is entirely built around propitiation of these spirits and elementals. Almost every wooded glade there has some sort of shrine to the local spirits. The wife's grandma lives on a place called Sado Island (incidentally the place where Nichiren was exiled to), and the spirit world presses upon our world so heavily there I always feel the air is dense with it. Going for a walk in the countryside feels like treading on eggshells. Very creepy. Its strange that in the west we normally associate the paranormal with spirits of the dead though, while in Asia paranormal activity is associated with minor deities and spirits.
  2. Could be the native shamanic traditions. Or maybe its not more haunted than anywhere else but there are just more tv shows about ghosts there for English speaking audiences. I live in probably the most haunted part of England (Kent) and it seems almost everyone you run into here has a story. My brother and his boy scout group saw a green shape racing toward them down a sidewalk next to a graveyard, and my sister's typewriter started typing by itself. Loads of crazy stories. Seems everywhere is pretty equally haunted.
  3. Swimming Dragon Taiyi

    Just a friendly heads up, Hans Menck of Freedom Martial Arts (a subscription-based online internal arts academy) has made free several hours of tutorials on Taiyi Swimming Dragon on his vimeo. Its an amazing and beautiful style: Here's a bit about the form (not to be confused with the bendy spinal qigong form of the same name): I'm currently doing my best to learn it now. It's pretty physically demanding but feels amazing. Might also sign up to the school when I'm done for form correction from the teacher. He also teaches cheng bagua (liu jingru), capoeira, muay boran, aikido and yang tai chi. Some of his proprietary freedom martial yoga is also up on vimeo (teacups and spinal flexibility type stuff).
  4. John Chang - Jesus

    This is shaping up to be a good thread. It's fascinating how many of us here started off with a Christian upbringing and eventually turned into spiritual seekers.
  5. John Chang - Jesus

    I fully believe in your experience of this, and the obvious spiritual insight and benefit you've received makes me happy for you. The bums is a diverse place though, and many of the members here have had equally profound experiences of grace on other paths. Realising and accepting that doesn't detract from your own experience. As John said, "in my father's house there are many mansions".

    Yes a few over the years but it's probably time to reacquaint myself. There's also a reputable shin temple near me in London that I might pop along to at some stage. You're spot on here, my apologies. This could be a few different things. I've had something similar before where I was trying to learn several types of qigong at once, later found out people call it energy sickness. Could be that, or just that the Christian practice is a kind of contrary energy to what you've been doing before. Normally if you start a completely new system you go through a period of adjustment where all the stuff from your previous practices is removed from your body. I've had this in the past where I've gone through a period of vomiting when starting a new qigong. Thankfully the teacher was able to explain it. It went away pretty fast.

    I was raised a Catholic. When I was younger I felt like someone was listening, but later not so much. Eric Isen said the Virgin Mary is one of the divine beings who is looking over me (he's from the oneness movement so he believes in something called a personal divine). But honestly I feel like the Christian tradition is a broken one. Rightly or wrongly, I've always thought you can tell a lot about a tradition by looking at its followers. Christianity displays this pretty clearly. It's also part of the reason I've been turned off by Nichiren, when you can see the behaviour of the SGI who share the same method. Of course Ive never practiced it so I am probably completely wrong about that.

    Very early days, but tranquility and a distinctive feeling of connection with a benevolent higher power. Something I didn't have with the other mantras despite many years of practice.

    Just wanted to say thanks for your advice. I've been practicing pure land exclusively for the past week and it definitely feels like a step up, and perhaps that is reason enough to doubt Eric on this. I tried 'Amituofu' for a couple of days before falling back into the familiar territory of the Japanese 'Namu Amida Bu'. Although I find the Chinese version easier to recall during my daily life, for some reason I worry about whether my mental or verbal pronunciation of the tonal Chinese is correct. Of course I imagine it shouldn't matter, but it still raises questions for me when there shouldn't be questions at all. I'm more confident about the Japanese, although it's a bit more clunky to recall throughout the day. How long did it take for you to reach the point where the nianfo constantly springs to mind throughout your day?

    There's an excellent book by John Blofield about Guan Yin, where he weighs this theory and the evidence for and against. I can't remember the reasons why off the top of my head but I remember being swayed by his argument that they were seperate deities. Another one for me to reread again.

    Thank you for your post, and also @Miroku too. I have the book by Dawa Drolma, and it is a fantastic read. It's been a few years so I'll give it another look. I've always suspected the requirements are somewhat higher for those who recite the Mani and Medicine Buddha mantras and seek rebirth in sukhavati. Maybe the difference between self and other power, when compared to the nembutsu. Could be just a false impression though. Both sutras also speak of gaining fortunate rebirth in samsara in the next lives as a result of practice, which is less desirable by far than entering the pure land. Do you practice the Mani too or other mantras Or is your practice exclusively the nianfo? How many recitations do you aim for a day?
  12. The Skeptic thread

    Empiricism is part of the scientific paradigm though. Being able to prove the existence of the dantian through the methods of science is no more valid than being unable to prove the existence of gravity through qi. Also, science and it's methods is an evolving paradigm. Scientists are increasingly coming to terms with the limitation of observation when it comes to quantum behaviour. To dismiss something as unscientific within our current frame puts a limit on the possibility that scientific theory will evolve to understand what has hitherto been unknowable. Put another way, instead of being a relic of the past, qigong could be future science.

    I've always wondered whether pure lands and buddhas manifest differently to people based on their cultural background. Whether sukhavati would appear to Westerners like Christian depictions of heaven? And the people appear more like Greco-Roman depictions of gods. I always find it strange how Avalokitesvara is depicted completely differently in China as compared to Tibet (of course some say that Guan Yin is effectively Tara, but I don't agree with that)

    Thanks! That's an excellent and clear explanation

    I don't. I'm sure that's probably the most correct way of practicing though. Do you practice in this way? I've always struggled with deity visualisations, it seems to require a certain stability of mind perhaps from a foundation of mindfulness meditation. Sometimes I see Medicine Buddha during the mantra practice buy it's only a vague outline, like a shape underwater beneath a disturbed surface.