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  1. Criteria for mastery

    This tells a great story of the modern dark sorcerer archetype. Thanks.
  2. Criteria for mastery

    One of the take-aways I have received from this thread is that while these criteria may not be able to identify a true master, It may provide a framework for filtering out the phonies.
  3. Yin Style Bagua and the Mother Palms

    Thanks, I emailed Andrew from ATS and he said pretty much the same thing; The 8 mother palms are the representative postures of the 8 animals, So the phoenix system is based off of one mother palm, and each of the other animals is based off of a different mother palm. Love and light.
  4. Criteria for mastery

    According to the Sutra, Hiu-Neng got the sudden realization of buddha nature, before ever entering a monestary. His stay at Hongren consisted of 8 months of doing odd jobs. He wasn't an actual monk to my reading. He recieved the teaching and the title after composing a poem: Only Shenxiu wrote a poem, anonymously on the wall in the middle of the night.[7] It stated:[8] 身是菩提樹, The body is a Bodhi tree, 心如明鏡臺。 The mind a standing mirror bright. 時時勤拂拭, At all times polish it diligently, 勿使惹塵埃。 And let no dust alight.[citation needed] After having read this poem aloud to him, Hui-neng asked an officer to write another gatha on the wall for him, next to Shenxiu's, which stated:[9] 菩提本無樹, Bodhi is originally without any tree; 明鏡亦非臺。 The bright mirror is also not a stand. 本來無一物, Originally there is not a single thing — 何處惹塵埃。 Where could any dust be attracted?[ From the wiki article . He did spend 9 years in relative isolation living among a tribe of hunters, while hiding in the woods. He probably carried out the gradual integration phase there. After 9 years he emerged and started teaching. HuiNeng is probably one of the primary sources of the sudden enlightenment emphasis of the Chan/Zen sect. My reading of Zen books seems to indicate that the gradual must follow the sudden or the student can not become a true master. There is also a recurring theme that true zen practice does not even begin until the moment of the sudden satori.
  5. Yin Style Bagua and the Mother Palms

    Interesting. So Possibly either there are forms in the phoenix style bagua which conform to the above patterns or the phoenix is a specialized system based on the fundamentals. I believe that the entire Phoenix Palm set is considered wind triagram. Maybe I will email the guy from the association. Thanks.
  6. Criteria for mastery

    This expands upon my first post where I describe type 1 and type 2 masters. Your basically pointing out the fluffy end of type 1 mastery. 3 seminars to Reiki mastery, 2 seminars to NLP Mastery, 500 hours to yoga mastery within the context of commonly accepted modern definitions of mastery within certain systems. Now Reiki (universal energy), Neurolinguistic Programming and Yoga are all arts that a person could spend a lifetime learning and mastering new aspects of. So what we need to do now is revise our running definitions of mastery to something like the following: 1. A master is a title conferred upon a person upon completing a course of study, with or without a degree of practical experience. 2. A master is a title conferred upon a person who has achieved a consummate degree of skill at a certain art (such as qigong, medicine, martial arts or whatever). 3. A master is a person who is a spiritual immortal, who acts as a guide to the higher realms and spiritual reality. Now these definitions have some degree of overlapping. For exampleIn the case of reiki (theoretically) the connection is opened to the higher self and the ensuing mingling of energies within the life of the individual constitutes new degree of spiritual connection and power. In NLP on the other hand cutting edge learning models are used to hypnotically install a set of learnings, beliefs, and attitudes which allow for mastery to develop within the context of NLP again theoretically transforming the individuals life in general. So a Type 1 master might converge upon the territory of a type 2 master, and in the case of certain folks might even converge upon the territory of a type 3 master. Zen, for example if we look in the old books, is conferred in a series of openings which make all of the leanings one has received about zen irrelevant. In many cases Zen monks upon achieving enlightenment have burned their collection of books, and lived as mindless wayfarers detached and carefree. Hui-Neng (6th patriarch) received penetration into the meaning of zen upon chance hearing the Diamond Sutra recited one day. He joined a monastery and shelled rice until the 5th patriarch took notice of him and transmitted the true teaching beyond the doctrine as well as the robe and bowl overnight. Thus in a series of two classes one lasting only a few minutes and the other lasting a few hours he became the 6th linear heir to Damos lineage. This is less training than a reiki master receives, and yet he is remembered as one of the most influential masters in zen history. His teachings constitute the only zen "sutra" as well. Now Hui-neng retreated into hiding after receiving the robe and the bowl for a period of 9 years. This was partially due to people trying to assassinate him and take the robe and bowl by force, and partially so that he could integrate his illumination. There is a common saying in zen "There is a sudden and a gradual." So Hui-neng actually falls into all three categories and simultaneously makes categories irrelevant.
  7. I must have some look alikes running around locally, because I have invariably been referred to as Yu, Hei, Hem, and Tat Gui. Maybe they are my long lost quintuplets.
  8. Criteria for mastery

    These are some interesting points. I have met a several people with extraordinary levels of skill in energy work, kung fu, and meditation. I can think of one person in particular that was considered a master by many people around him who primarily functioned in the areas of kung fu and energy work. My initial impression was that he was full of himself and relatively blind to reality. I gave the old guy a chance, because I thought maybe I do not have the criteria to judge him accurately. After getting to know him, I recognized that he was basically using traditional Chinese teacher to student relationships to sleep with young female students, practice sexual vampirism, extort money from his wealthy followers, and start his own cult. I also began to recognize that he lied extensively about his actual levels of skill and experience. Now in the context, I believe that a dao master probably would recognize that rules were only there to make you think carefully before breaking them. The qualities and frameworks that I described represent a number of what I would describe as archetypal tendencies, and not rules as such. I do not describe myself as a dao master so I am free from any rules or expectations of what a dao master should or should not do. I can say really stupid stuff for instance, or even laugh in the face of alleged wisdom and nobody will take offense because I am just a fool pretending to be a fool and not a fool pretending to be god incarnate. If I were pretending to be wise, I would have to practice diligently. In the places where my diligence was inadequate to live up to my self image I would have to substitute a facade of seriousness. Upon taking my wisdom seriously, I would naturally expect others to take my wisdom seriously. Eventually I would probably get so caught up in seriousness, that diligence would be all but forgotten. Since I know unequivocally that I am in fact a fool and not a wise person, I'm off the hook. I do not have to strive towards diligence and lofty wisdom, so I can laugh, play, and enjoy my life. If I become serious, I am just a fool pretending to be serious, so no one will take me seriously. Therefore seriousness is a dead end for one like me. Laughter is the Dao of fools so I can participate effortlessly in mirth and joy with no need for mentalities like practice, diligence, seriousness, or even wisdom. I agree with many of your criteria. Now interesting enough, I've met people with the stone face attitude who had good hearts and legitimate skills. However their seriousness seemed to lead to a level of duality in their teachings. On the other hand the aforementioned cult leader I encountered, cracked jokes and was generally charismatic. However He often bragged about the superiority of his teachings, and would have set off many of the red flags in your criteria. I also agree that I have never seen a finish line practitioner, but I suspect that if there is a a merging with the Tao, it probably involves continuous following of said Tao. It would be a bit contradictory to Merge with the way, then set up shop on the side of the road. If the way is eternal, then there probably is no finish line, just freedom to continue the journey. Ill check it out. Thanks for the input everyone
  9. Criteria for mastery

    Over the years I've seen quite a few people rise up as masters, grandmasters, gurus and the like. I have basically been presented with two views on this matter. 1. A master is a person with a certain degree of learning and skill, be it in martial arts, NLP, Academia, Chi Gong, etcetera. 2. A master is a person who is one with the Dao and is immortal. (See also living buddha, or saint) In many cases, particularly in the case of Asian martial and cultural arts, somebody achieved mastery by the first definition and then proceeds to believe, act and be accepted as a master by the second definition. I have spent many years of my life studying eastern philosophy, culture, and martial arts and have found an explanation for this that I tend to find acts as a functional guide to such matters. In Chinese history there was an ancient attitude that China is the sole civilized world and everything beyond its borders is barbarian wilderness. This attitude elevates Chinese culture to a divine status within the context of said definition. Because of this anyone who wished to have any influence and rank in ancient Chinese society must be well versed in the traditional rituals, arts and knowledges of their ancestors. These arts, by the very fact that they are Chinese are divine knowledge. Anyone who masters martial arts skills, caligraphy, or has masterful knowledge of the Chinese classics is essentially the divine in human format. This divinity is revealed in the form of artful documents, breaking bricks, healing the sick and governing according to precedent. This attitude is very Confucian. It is also an attitude that has many parallels with Socialism in the context of western academic and scientific communities, as well as fundamentalist Abrahamic religions. According to academic institutions, the only people qualified to guide a person into the framework of their own soul (Psychology) or to heal the sick (allopathic medicine) are people who have completed extensive socialization rituals in the framework of an academic context. The foundations of western scientific and social knowledge are based upon our civilization being the most civilized civilization ever to have existed in millions of years of human evolution. In fact, according to the Marxist ideal that has formed the bases of social sciences, civilization did not even begin until Mesopotamia, and after many failed attempts finally reached a pinnacle in the modern west. On the other hand, I have heard many followers of fundamentalist Abrahamic religions consider their own form of cultural knowledge to be the only valid viewpoint and that all others that disagree with them are incorrect. From this framework I have to question the validity of claims made by masters of Asian cultural and martial arts that their knowledge somehow qualifies them to spiritually guide others. I even question the validity of Qigong and yoga masters as to the validity of any claims to spirituality, as the modern incarnations of these arts are more oriented towards health, or martial arts, and less oriented towards spirituality. Even if someone were a master of a spiritual tradition, I would still question their validity as a living buddha, immortal wayfarer or saint. Tradition in my experience is not the same as reality. Many people who quest after spiritual knowledge in the context of a traditional framework often find that people may possess an authentic degree of magical or energetic skill while still being a pitiful excuse of a human being. Horror stories of encounters with life-force stealing vampires, dark sorcerers, cult leaders, and sex maniacs abound in modern and ancient literature surrounding this subject. In fiction, which is drawn directly from collective dream consciousness, and often reveals the archetypal nature of situations, sorcerers, wizards, witches, shamans, priests, and magicians are just as often evil as they are good. In the Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda, Don Juan (a Yaqui Shaman) defines the four enemies of a Man of Knowledge. 1. Fear 2. Clarity 3. Power 4. Old Age Clarity and Power are the domains associated with spiritual teachers and sorcerers. Don Juan makes the point that upon achieving clarity, the act of seeing clearly must be treated as almost a lie or it will just blind a person and they will fall into an egotistical path enhanced by their own clarity. Power the second enemy, must be recognized as an enemy as well or the power will just control the person and bolster their egos. An egotistical person who believes in absoluteness of their own vision, and the greatness of their own power, is unable to achieve oneness with the Dao/universe/God/Goddess, and is very likely to fall into the trap of becoming a dark sorcerer by their tendency to use their clarity and power for their own personal gain. When a person fundamentally believes that they are better than everyone else and had a legitimate level of skill in esoteric, energetic, magical or spiritual arts they inevitably become the archetypal dark sorcerer, cult leader, or televangelist. In order to achieve oneness with the divine and become an authentic Master of Dao a person must forget the small mind and merge with the true knowledge of the shining mind. Some simple criteria for identifying this are laid out in the Dao-De-Ching, the Wen-Tzu, and The Chuang-Tzu these probably include humbleness, knowing that they know nothing, simplicity,love, kindness, compassion, detachment, balance and mysterious power. On the other hand cult leaders, dark sorcerers and televangelists are much easier to identify. Their qualities commonly include a belief in their superiority, a belief in the superiority of their knowledge, tradition, or power, a belief in their unbending commitment to the greater good even in acts of selfishness or hatred, and a tendency to dis-empower the people around them who are perceived to have lesser degrees of knowledge or divinity. They are additionally easy to offend, loud, brag a lot, and like to set themselves up as the center of attention. They may in fact posses authentic power. What are some criteria you use to judge mastery?
  10. I don't deserve life

    The Abyss Blinks! Sounds like a good title for something. Chuang-tzu says that there are 9 types of abyss in his story about The master of the Pot, Leih-tzu, and the shaman. If it is truly an abyss that we are speaking of, it should be really easy to slip in if we possess enough clarity to position ourselves at the mouth and let go. A mouth chews and swallows some parts and spits other parts out again. Sometimes bones sometimes hawking radiation. One we get in, how easy would it be to get back out? I fully agree that if we follow a code, there should be a simple, intentional route to freedom within the context of the code.
  11. I don't deserve life

    Or maybe its been patiently watching us all along, biding its time, until the moment when someone notices.
  12. I don't deserve life

    I was listening to a series of Joseph Campbell lectures recently where he breached the topic of human sacrifice. Basically a large number of primitive societies practiced human sacrifice as part of their varied rituals. One particular ritual described by Campbell involved choosing the most attractive Girl and Boy during a coming of age ritual. These two had ritual sex then were both killed. The sacrifice was witnessed by the adults and the rest of the children-cum-adults participating in the coming-of-age ritual. While this seems cruel and insane to our modern civilized sensibilities, Campbell actually unpacked the meaning of this particular ritual in his lecture. The basic point was that all life grows, evolves and feeds on forms of life lower in the food chain. We crush insects beneath our feet as we walk, we kill billions of microorganisms when we bathe, and we kill and eat other life forms to survive (plants and animals). Our presence in this world is based on cruelty, yet we cling to life because our instincts demand it. When we chunk up we see that even though each link along the evolutionary chain lives in the wake of the death of others, a sort of meaning evolves. Life would not be possible without death. Meaning is possible only when the fullness of life and death can be embraced. The human sacrifice rituals served as a reminder to ancient societies of this fundamental truth, according to Campbell. "Killing is lamentable, but necessary." -Miyamoto Musashi. Maybe it is not about deserving life, but life is a gift that is given and taken freely by the universe. In this light our redemption is in the meaning that we give to life by the compassion, and love that we show to others.
  13. The Pythagoreans

    "It's meddling with the Cult. The occult has always been good enough for me, thank you very much." -The Hogfather By Terry Pratchett
  14. Hello, I have recently been watching some videos by the Association for Traditional Studies. I have been particularly interested in their 63 video collection of Yin style Phoenix Bagua. Yin Style Phoenix Bagua on Youtube The association has videos of the Yin style Lion, Bear, Dragon, and Phoenix systems as well as some Dao Yin. I have read that it is best to start learning Bagua with the 8 mother palms. When I reviewed the content of the phoenix system, they seemed to cover 64 palm patterns in sequence. What would be the appropriate starting point for this system? Are there 8 mother palms in the yin style phoenix system and if so how do i sort them out? Thank you for your help.
  15. Thanks for the advice and leads everyone. After Doing some research into it Im really digging Poke Runyon and Bardons stuff. Runyon integrates hypnosis, tantra, hermetic kaballah, goetia, bardon, agrippa, cultural anthropology and neopagan elements. Hes also got the motherload of free audio in his hermetic hour podcast. He seems reasonably well informed about Crowly and golden dawn and hes a 33rd degree Freemason. You can stream some of his movies for free on amazon prime. Ive spent some time reading some plato as well. I will likely continue to follow up on this vein of philosophy. Im going to gradually check out the materials recommended by everyone here. Im liking Rawn Clarks stuff as well but Im trying to read Bardon first. Thanks everyone