Sudhamma

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  1. From my understanding of 'standing the post', zhan zhuang, there are a few 'schools' teaching it with differing emphasis. What I was taught required the person to bend the knees with the tip of the knee cap to be vertical with the toes. The chest is caved-in, meaning that breathing is by the abdomen/diaphram, the tongue is thrusted up with the tip touching the upper palate behind the front teeth, the back is naturally curved towards the front, and the head is slightly dipped to line up the two pressure points: bai wei on top of the head ("meeting of hundreds") and wei yin, ("meeting of yin energy") the point between the anal opening and the sexual organ. The sitting is without movements, it is still with the slowness and quietness of breathing. The adjustment of limbs and body is at the beginning of the exercise and not during the whole period. The butt is tucked in with the upper body fully relaxed. The person practising zhan zhuang is like a battery cell to tap energy from the heavens and earth. Upper body is relaxed, thus it is yin, soft, and the top of the head faces the sky which is considered as yang, a positive energy. And we have a positive and negative charge for the upper body. Earth is considered yin, but the standing requires the bending of the knees, thus the lower limbs is inflexible and unintentionally hard (has to be natural, not forced), a yang energy; giving it negative + positive charge. The zhan zhuang transforms the person to be like a battery taking energies from Heaven and Earth.
  2. Deleted for duplication of earlier post.
  3. "San" or "Shen" if written to denote 'spirit' in Chinese do not necessarily mean spirit, heaven, god in the literal sense. One of the many wuxia palance one could find in wixia novels is, "I've 'shen gong' to protect me (from harm, that is)". So, the descriptive "Shen (San) Gong" in Chinese martial arts or in Qigong in the context of the set of CMA/Qigong exercises should mean that the practitioner will reap the result of extraordinary power, invariably, qi-power. Having said that, on the other hand, in spiritual boxing or shen-da, the shen-gong is taken in its literal sense, that the power of the diety protects the practitioner (upon request, with mudras and stompings). Qigong, as you probably know comes in all forms: some standing, some sitting, and some lying in a prone position. Some traditional Daoist sitting exercises are called so-and-so Shen Gong but what is important is to find out why the set is called shen gong from the instructor.
  4. That's the problem with the Chinese dialects, the Chinese word for spiritual, god, is as Bruce said is 'Shen' as pronounced in Mandarin, but if it is in Cantonese, it is 'San'. If in Fujian, the word is pronounced as 'Sin'. The written character is identical though. 'Heaven' is Tien in Mandarin, Tin in Cantonese.
  5. Flying Phoenix Chi Kung is one of numerous systems of qigong. Major systems emphasize different "aspects", for instance, more physical movements at one extreme, to a more static posturing with mindful breathing on the other extreme. As with systems, so are students, some will benefit from more physical movements as their lifestyle is more inactive, while some are physically weak and less mobile will benefit from static forms of qigong. Though the word 'qigong' means, effort and commitment to cultivate inner energy or "breath", systems also differ with no emphasis on any systemized breathing method on one end of the spectrum to disciplined system of a particular method of breathing on the other end. Whether or not a qigong system is effective therefore depends on the quality and depth of instruction, the student's situation and the system that he chose. The religious aspect of qigong, especially in Taoist (Daoist) system is restricted to qi-cultivation and not to cause the student to attain immmortality or supernatural powers; better health mentally, and physically yes.
  6. The Metta Sutta was preached by the Buddha to provide spiritual protection by expanding the virtue of loving-kindness to pacify disturbing spirits. However whoever is chanting the sutta for this purpose must be a proper cultivator. There are instances in the suttas in which the Buddha exhibited his supernatural powers. I do not know what you asked of those Buddhist monks who could not satisfy your query. Perhaps by rephrasing your query you may obtain a satisfactory answer.
  7. The Metta Sutta was preached by the Buddha to provide spiritual protection by expanding the virtue of loving-kindness to pacify disturbing spirits. However whoever is chanting the sutta for this purpose must be a proper cultivator. I do not know what you asked of Buddhist monks who could not satisfy your query.
  8. My apology for warping that time gap. You are right. King Milinda was a descendent of a Greek general who stayed behind to administer the conquered land. Thank you.
  9. Who is the greatest 'Hinayana' of all times? No other then Buddha Shakyamuni. What then did this greatest Hinayana, the founder of Buddhism preach on 'Anatta' , Not-self, Non-ego, egolessness, impersonality? The following are extracts from The Buddhist Dictionary, Manual of Buddhist terms and doctrines by Ven. Nyanatiloka: Quote: From Visuddhi Magga XVI: "Mere sufferring exists, no sufferer is found; The deeds are, but no doer of the deeds is there; Nirvana is, but not the man that enters it; The path is, but no traveller on it is seen." In the Buddha's second sermon, The Anatta-Lakkhana Sutta, the Discourse on the Characteristic of Non-Self, after His Enlightenment to His first 5 disciples, who after hearing it attained to perfect holiness, arahatta. The Contemplation of Not-Self (anattanupassana) leads to Emptiness Liberation (sunnata-vimokkha). Herein the faculty of wisdom (pannindriya) is outstanding, and one who attains in that way the Path of Stream-entry, is called a Dhamma-devotee (dhammanusari; ariya puggala); at the next two stages of sainthood he becomes a Vision-attainer (ditthippatta) and at the highest stage, ie holiness, he is called 'Liberated by Wisdom" (panna-vimutta)". Unquote The Buddhist Belief is neither Nihilism nor Eternality-Belief. Nor the Buddha or any Theravadins should be labelled as 'Hinayana'. In this OP on Buddhist Qigong, this dhamma discussion is a digression and to be fair to other contributors and readers, I will not proceed further in this (dhamma) discussion. Can we get back to the main theme?
  10. It is interesting that the "Questions of King Milinda" is brought up. Ven Nagasena and King Milinda had agreed to a condition prior to this debate. The present day Afghanistan (or part of it) was governed by King Milinda, a Greek general who followed Alexander the Great in his Western conquest after the conquest of Persia. The condition of this debate was if King Milinda won, all Buddhist monks and nuns must leave the country and if Ven. Nagasena won, the king would allow the propagation of Buddhism. In this debate, the question of soul was debated (among other subjects) and of course, Buddhists would know that there is no-self, no-soul and no-Creator god within the Buddhist Dharma. And, the Greek king, believed in his Grecian religion which promoted the belief that there was a soul in each human being. Ven. Nagasena won the debate and the country and Buddhism flourished there. Huge Buddha statues were sculptored into the mountain side until the Taliban blew it up. Thus, it is not correct to state that "the Buddhist goal...isn't too far removed from the Daoist notion of immortality..". The spirit or soul is needed to be a immortal.There are other forms of Buddhism on the 'fringe' which absorbed other influences, like the 'esoteric' form in Cambodia which combined the influences of Christianity and Hinduism, the classic Tibetan Buddhism which combined Tantric Hinduism and Bon. All these influences confuse people who believe that these forms of Buddhism is what the Buddha taught. There is a 'Singlish' (Singapore-English) word which is recently accepted into the Oxford Dictionary, the word is 'kiasu', meaning the fear of loosing out. The acceptance of Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism and practised as one is the insurance premium the Chinese paid to ensure their salvation in the after-life. Christianity would not allow such assimilation and so, families could be torn apart, one of the many reasons for the Boxers Rebellion during the Qing Dynasty.
  11. In the Vinaya Rules, part of Tipikata, the Three Baskets, (the Rules) governing the conduct of Buddhist monks and nuns, any form of violence is abhorred, and martial arts with intent to maim or kill is likewise refrained. That's the Vinaya rules laid down by Buddha Shakyamuni. The object of Buddhism is not neidan cultivation to become immortals or gods but to seek the Ultimate Release from samsaric existence. Having said that, Buddhist form of martial arts and qigong exist only in China, not from its origin of birth. And, just like Communism, Buddhism in China takes on Chinese characteristics especially when Buddhist temples became haven for martial artists running away from their enemies and the Law. With the flourishing of martial arts in temples, it comes with it nei-gong practices. In the 1950s, the term nei-gong becomes qigong. Thus, besides helping the practitioner to train his/her mind to focus, Buddhist qigong has no other spiritual value.
  12. Chinese martial arts, aka Wushu collectively, is a treasured national heritage, Guoshu, National Art. Like TCM, it is a national heritage. The Chinese Government is right to protect the congeniality of Guoshu by disallowing any Chang San, Lee Si to make claims to scam the public or to instigate unrest between practitioners and trainers. The bout between Wei Lei, a taiji practitioner and Xu Xiao Dong, the MMA guy, happened because of claims of martial prowess by the former. it was to the detriment of Wei Lei to accept the challenge when he had no credible fight experience. Learning a martial arts form is not the same as using it in a real fight situation. Knowing how to apply the moves in the training room with a compliant non-resisting student is not comparable to knowing how to apply them in real situations. Besides having a fight experience, the fighter must be bold, he must have stamina and physical strength (put away those nei-jia/taiji talk), and then last of all, kungfu, the least important. This 'kungfu' is not how many sets or forms or styles that one learns, but the discipline, effort, time and commitment that the fighter puts into his training. As is said, "it is not the person who practised 10,000 kicks that i'm afraid of, it is the one who practised one kick 10,000 times I'm afraid of", that's what is meant by kungfu. Kungfu is useless if the fighter do not have the guts nor the stamina and strength to match the competition. In the Nanking leitai competition organised by Nanking Guoshu Central Academy in the late 1920s (1928?), the competition rules were based on tradition: no holds barred except for prohibited attacks to neck, eyes and groin. The Academy was sponsored by Kuomingtang, the government-of-the-day to select 'credible' martial artists to train the troops and the citizenry in the war against Japan. it was also from this leitai competition that 5 (winners of various categories) were selected to go south to Guangdong to teach the Northern styles. In the first day (or first two days), a number of fighters were killed and the traditional rules were hastily modified initiating the precursor of the 'sports' version, sanda which became popular half a century later. For a CMA style to be established in the traditional martial arts circle, the founder must prove the effectiveness of his art, like Bruce Lee of his Jeet Koon Do. There is no certification system, and no belt system to verify that the style is authentic or the founder or trainer is authentic in CMA, only a system of fight and win, and most CMA schools were established in this manner: example, Tong bei vs Shaolin, and Tong bei won. The Shaolin guy who lost went back to the temple for a couple of years (3 years?) and later sought to avenge his defeat. This time, he won and established his 7-Star Praying Mantis. Others won their authenticity through wars and battles, Hung-jia, and Choy Li Fut were two of the many, fighting as rebels/insurgents against the Qing Dynasty (and to reestablish the Ming Dynasty). Those prohibitions by the Chinese Government is reasonable and understandable. For Wei Lei to establish his Taiji school, he should fight his way up without having to stage any leitai. Do it the old way.
  13. The nearest Buddhist term to Immortality is 'Deathlessness', amata. Yet, any person born into the world from causal factors is conditioned to pass on in time; similarly with any dieties or gods, as their existence in time is conditional of their store of merits. Therefore, all sentient beings are subjected to samsaric existence. Time is a relative measurement of duration according to the spheres of existence, in other words, time on earth is much shorter than the time in heavens. Thus seriously, the Daoist definition or understanding of Immortality is irrelevant in Buddhism (Theravaden's, that is). Take the 'parable' of the waves for instance, the character of the first wave is not the same with the subsequent waves, if that is the case, where is the unchanging originality (of the first wave) that is required identity for eternal existence?
  14. The Southern Shaolin Temple has been rebuilt at Pu-Tien, Fujian for the past 10+ years. From what I know, the 'Grand Ancestor Fist' Tai Zhu Chuan is being taught there. Shaolin Neijin Yizi Ch'an gong originates from there. When Southern Shaolin 'schools' are mentioned, it is not restricted to the Temple, but what flourishes outside the Temple....Guangdong's five major schools, and Fujian's four majors, and other numerous minor schools. Similarly, with Northern Shaolin 'schools'... Ta Sheng M'en, Wei Tor Liu He M'en, Mizong M'en, etc. I've given 2 links below: 1 for Putien and the other Quanzhou Shaolin Temples. I do not know whether both are actually the same, but called differently or there are 2 temples as Putien and Quanzhou are different locations. There is no longer a mystery where this Southern Shaolin Temple(s) is/are. Link: https://www.google.com.sg/search?q=putien+shaolin+temple&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiV3_nTvZfXAhXJtY8KHTYYBOgQsAQINw&biw=1093&bih=530&dpr=1.25 https://www.google.com.sg/search?q=quanzhou+shaolin+temple&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjgldXP8JfXAhWBr48KHeFECDoQsAQIRQ&biw=1093
  15. The White Crane (Tibetan) system has an internal set, Needle in the Cotton, Mian ni zhen, very soft and 'sung'. For the past 30 odd years, we see the appearance of Liuhebafa, and Ch'an-m'en Taiji, both are internal sets, which are also very soft and 'sung' and is said to have originated from Shaolin Temple.