freeform

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Everything posted by freeform

  1. Good, growth, positivity, love, happiness...

    I think it’s a good question. I’ve been pondering it myself for several years now. There are several ways of ‘doing good’. One is simply doing good because it’s the easiest default... society is set up so that we generally tend to be good - otherwise we will be shunned from society. So you do good because to do bad would be harder, more risky, would look bad to people etc. This is doing good for benefit to oneself. Or doing good from a place of weakness. Then there’s the type of doing good where you take responsibility for something in the world. This is the type of ‘doing good’ that is hard, much more arduous and subtle... it’s fraught with pitfalls. There is a real level of responsibility - to keep yourself on track. Because good can be elusive... and bad very often enters and subverts the process as soon as you’re not attentive. This is doing good from a place of strength. Then there’s the undoing of ones ‘self’ and operating from a bigger Self... this is when the preference for good or bad is gone. This is the action of a ‘Sage’. Where one taps a motiveless, uncontrived source of action. So you just act effortlessly from this deep well of wisdom - and that sets into motion a cascade of cause and effect ripples that are ultimately profoundly ‘good’ - but might look bad at first - like wacking someone with a stick (seemingly bad) but it results in a transcendent state for the one being wacked (profoundly good). Unfortunately most of us won’t ever get close to being these perfected sages... so that leaves us with the other two... And also - the controversial bit. Doing good has nothing to do with spiritual growth. In fact - if your main aim in life is spiritual growth, you’ll need to let go of ‘doing good’ at some point. You’ll need to let go of any preference whatsoever in fact. But for most of us - I say do good from a place of strength. But keep a sense of humour about it. Treat it lightly. Have some humility. Be vigilant and don’t let it build new layers of identity for yourself. Don’t do it because you want to be good. Do it just coz that’s what you do. Knowing full well the futility involved (and this is where humour helps)... Do it coz you can. Because it’s something you choose to do. What you do matters.
  2. Buddhist Practices vs Taoist Practices

    Yup - it's a sad state of affairs. And several of the ones I'm talking about are monks and are looked up to as meditation masters.
  3. Buddhist Practices vs Taoist Practices

    Despite it being an extremely popular topic, the authentic Daoist teachings on sex and sexuality represent about 2.5% of the tradition. The main difference between Buddhist and Daoist practice as I see it - Daoism is more practical. The approach is to prepare the body and mind through working firstly on the physical, then energetic, then consciousness levels. It’s basically a way of making your body-mind extremely efficient, strong, resilient, naturally calm and centred, and full of energy before starting any meditative practice. When you begin meditative training, a lot of what you need to happen, just happens automatically with no effort. Your mind is automatically relatively still and quiet. You have enough energy to sit in perfect posture and concentrate fully for hours on end. You generally progress much faster as all the initial layers of crap are already cleared out. Saying all this, I’ve trained with several Buddhist teachers that approach their training in a similar way. However these are quite rare and unusual. I’ve also met dozens of meditators with many decades of experience - but when you check their meditation all you ‘hear’ is the sedated ‘noise’ of a mind that’s dull and mired in some pleasant trance state. The pitfalls of Daoist practice are many too, of course. Particularly if the base desires are not transformed - then you get people who stray off the spiritual path and blindly feed their base desires (hence all the sex stuff).
  4. Meditation sickness and related deviations

    This is very common with schools that have masters who’ve reached the intermediate levels of practice and stopped developing - they ofte exhibit some of the byproducts of this level of practice (general qi projection abilities - which seems almost magical to the uninitiated). Its basically a case of developing Ming but not Xing. It actually creates a glass ceiling in their training and often, with all that extra energy their ‘darker’ aspects start to take over. One often sees these brash dominant characters. Sexual obsessions. Obsession with status, wealth and power etc. But saying this, there are cases where a teacher might seem harsh, critical, demanding but it’s all in the interest of the students. But there is definitely a different “feel” to these sorts of schools. The ‘virtuous’ characteristics often present in paradoxical ways - eg what seems like obvious foolishness to an ‘untrained eye’, is actually the epitome of wisdom. But again there’s a certain feeling of opening and expanding possibilities (best I can describe it) with ‘traditional’ schools rooted in authentic spiritual teachings.
  5. The Complete System

    “Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.”
  6. The Complete System

    I think there’s a delicate balance to be struck. I’ve often experienced students leaving teachers and lineages at a certain stage. But it’s often hard to judge whether you’ve hit the limits of the system or your own limits. Personally I’ve been very fortunate to find teachers that I trust 100%. I know it’s quite rare, but if you find a teacher with impeccable character and skills - then it’s imperative that you trust them fully, because they’ll lead you past your own limitations. The reality is that the teachings in classical lineages are passed down in a very particular way. And it’s a way that’s not so popular in the modern age. It requires some trust and humility - and with so many charlatans around that’s a hard thing to do. It’s like falling in love after you’ve been hurt too many times Development in the arts tends to happen in jumps in skill and ability rather than growing linearly and steadily. And quite often just before the next ‘jump’ in skill level there’s a period of difficulty, doubt and often boredom. But if you have an authentic teacher in an authentic lineage, I think it’s best to trust in the process despite your personal feelings.
  7. Qigong deviation, how can I solve?

    Careful with attributing symptoms with general clearing. You're right that Qi Gong is often very uncomfortable during practice... but the discomfort, pain or any symptoms should generally end when your practice ends. In between practice you should generally feel really good (although there’s usually an emotional grumpy stage that comes on in the first couple of years). I'm no TCM expert. But from a Qi Gong perspective it sounds like your Qi is rising under pressure (causing all these yang heat issues). I would generally try to dissuade beginners from ZZ. There are certain changes that need to be made in the body and mind before ZZ is safe and productive. In particular one really needs to learn how to open and sink into the kwa, Song (release), Ting (listen inside) and Sink the Qi. You generally do this in Wuji standing posture (which is different in different lineages). Once you can sink Qi and your ‘qigong body’ starts to take shape, then you can add in extra pressure with ZZ.
  8. You write very well already! You’re learning where not to write! Gives one room to take a breath. Then more of what you say actually makes it through to us.
  9. 😄🙈 that’s not what I’m saying at all! And yes the solid block of text stuff is pretty impenetrable. I can see you're into stream of consciousness type writing - which is fine. But do remember that the best poetry is as much about the spaces - what is not said - as it is about the words that are.
  10. The virtues, the De, are said to be the fragmented aspects of Yuan Shen. The Shen - the spirit of the heart is responsible for a range of emotions from joy to love to excitement. Through cultivation these emotions and feelings are transformed into a Virtue (De) - a virtuous ‘state’ (rather than emotion). The De of the Shen is Contentment The Hun - emotion: anger - virtuous state: Patience The Yi - emotion: worry - virtuous state: Compassion The Po - emotion: sadness - virtuous state: Bravery / strength of conviction The Zhi - emotion: fear - virtuous state: Wisdom When the Dao (Yuan Shen) is lost, De arises, when De is lost, decency is required, when decency is lost, then justice is required. An awakened person (not enlightened) should emenate each of these virtues. And each of these De will have an objectively verifiable, physiological signs of its manifestation. At least in the Daoist lineages I’ve trained in. This last part is almost always left out of most schools because it often humbles both the students and the teachers. Particularly in schools where the virtues are cultivated by using your imagination. I also find it interesting that compassion is not the virtue of the Shen, but of the Yi...
  11. The Complete System

    Spot on. The most deplorable thing (IMO) is when you invent your own framework and after some time start to teach it as a true art!! That is how these jewels in human achievement are ground down into dust and disappear in the wind.
  12. Primordial in the Daoist context is the state before creation. Before heaven, early heaven, the congenital realm. This is the domain of your ‘original spirit’ Yuan Shen. Before physicality, before ‘reality’. When a spiritual aspirant can fully immerse herself into Yuan Shen and function from there, they are said to have attained the Daoist enlightenment - Shen Ming. One who’s achieved this is known as a Zhen Ren - a true person. A Zhen Ren is omnipresent and all knowing. They are said to demonstrate a range of ‘siddhi’, basically magical powers. Some of these siddhi are used as a way to confirm the Zhen Ren attainment. Basically a Divine living being in human form. What you and Dwai seem to be saying is that Yuan Shen is actually Divine Love. How do you know? Well either you’re enlightened, or it’s from some other source. In the case of Dwai, his source is formed of a large number of traditions - all ground up and homogenised into a lovely paste. Although - Dwai has hinted several times that his understanding actually comes from experience - so he might well be enlightened! Or maybe he’s had some other mystical experiences and liked them so much that now he’s shaping his homogenised paste into a form that reflects that. He’d certainly not be the first one! At least his preference is for Divine Love and not sex as with so many of the others.
  13. The Complete System

    The issue is further exasperated by having this newage hodgepodge of mental frameworks. There are ways of discerning a somewhat ‘objective’ understanding of a mystical experience. There are specific mental and physiological signs that can help you work out what you’ve just experienced. But when you mix the frameworks of half a dozen different systems, you end up just cherry picking the explanation that you like best.
  14. This fake ‘amusement’ - it’s a sign of contempt. It’s your armour. Just like the laughing icon you leave when people disagree with you directly. You endear yourself to no one with that attitude.
  15. The Complete System

    “The teacher replied with a smile: the essence of Dao is to have no heart, the application of Dao is to forget words. Or, the soft weakness is its root, the pure calm is its foundation. If a person wants to implement it, he must regulate his food and drink, cut off thinking, sitting calmly regulate his breath, sleeping peacefully nourish his qi. If the heart would not rush then Xing will be stable, if the body is not belabored then the semen will be whole. If the spirit is not bothered then the cinnabar will incept.” ”Have no heart”... “If the heart would not rush then Xing will be stable”... Interesting - considering the discussions about ‘love’ that we’re having on the other threads. I’m assuming that ‘have no heart’ doesn’t mean be ruthless and heartless... it means bring your emotions to stillness. Including love.
  16. The Complete System

    Thank you. Now I know a bit about the ‘lower vehicle’ - which is what most people think of as internal alchemy (using ‘substances’ that underlie states of consciousness). I know a little less about the ‘middle vehicle’ - which is as far as I understand is working with consciousness directly - not with the substances... and is composed of Ziran (sitting forgetting) Xin Zhai (heart-mind fasting) and other meditative and absorption-based practices... Now the ‘higher vehicle’ or the ‘supreme one vehicle’ I know nothing about... is this devotional or deity practice? Or working with the heavenly energies directly? Can you share anything regarding these?
  17. This verse is about the nature of self and the value of humility... not about loving your own body And even if you replace ‘care’ with ‘love’ in my version, the meaning is clearly the same and it’s not about Divine Love or anything like that.
  18. Try as I might, I couldn’t find the full verse 13 as translated by the guy you quoted in your article. But here’s the bit you had: The reason why we have trouble is that we have a body. When we have no body, what trouble do we have? Therefore: he who loves the whole world as if it were his own body Can be trusted with the whole world.
  19. I honestly don’t think they are. Yes if you squint a little, blurring all the distinctions, then yeah they’re similar. But I have found that terms in spiritual traditions are very subtly specific, very exact and very much context dependent. This is not by accident or through stupidity or short sightedness. As a very basic example - some people equate the different Dan Tien to the chakras. Yes if you squint and blur, it looks similar - but actually they’re describing completely different things! It’s a fundamental critical error. My intention was not to hurt you in any way. I’m calling your approach of making a cat’s dinner out of spiritual traditions disrespectful and lacking humility. I have no doubt that I regularly behave disrespectfully and without humility - it’s pretty normal. I have absolutely nothing against you as a person - in fact you seem nice and I imagine we’d get on very well. But I would still strongly disagree with your approach. I’m not averse to casual conversations about the similarity and differences of systems and lineages - it’s interesting. But mixing it all up and then using this hodgepodge of ideas to reach some level of understanding is a big mistake. Teaching this way, I believe is deplorable. Sorry. It's not the word love that I have issue with. Its the extremely Buddhist approach that the translator took... and in the process made the verse meaningless. One version I prefer: 13 Loathing Shame To favour or to blame are both afflictions that will lead to anxiety; to highly regard something and to feel distress are both aspects of our self. What does it mean to say that both favour and blame are afflictions that will lead to anxiety? It means that no matter whether a person gains or loses these two, the feel distraught. This is the meaning of both favour and blame being afflictions. What does it mean to say that to highly regard something and to feel distress are both aspects of the self? We only suffer with these things because of our sense of self; if there is no self, how can we suffer so? Therefore it is understood that only those who value themselves as being below the realm of Heaven are fit to rule the world. Only those who care for their subjects like they care for themselves are fit to govern the people.
  20. Would this count as a ‘devotional’ path?
  21. I personally think the intensity of the reactions is unfounded. I don’t think you’re being any more or less egoic than anyone else. I think the main issue is that love as you describe it seems contrived. That flares up these vehement reactions. My biggest issue (apart from that awful DDJ translation!!) is puting the wisdom of a large number of very different ancient traditions through the meatgrinder. Not only do I find this incredibly disrespectful and showing a clear lack of humility, but it also creates issues for your own clarity and discernment. When you pick through the resulting ‘minced meat’ of all these traditions, you can pull out any piece of bone or entrail, stick em together - and voila - you just confirmed your personal view. Your ideas are not challenged by the sharp edge of truth (according to one line of knowledge). And your own understanding, although it seem vast to you (because afterall you so cleverly managed to form all these ‘commonalities’ from the mince) is actually formed of your very limited personal biases.
  22. What are qi channels/meridians made out of?

    Completely agree.
  23. What are qi channels/meridians made out of?

    There’s also an interesting perspective that I’ve heard from high level Daoist healers. That medicine is a form of self cultivation. That by treating a person and adjusting the path of their Ming, the healer creates internal transformation in herself. I don’t understand the mechanisms around this, but it’s what I’ve been told.
  24. Zhuangzi influence. Just because I strongly defend a position I believe to be true doesn’t mean that I think of love ‘as a four letter word’ as Dwai put it. I think kindness (the ‘action’ aspect of love) should be a given! This isn’t something to be cultivated for some spiritual aim. This is just basic human decency. It’s quite obviously there already as a basic instinct and should be nurtured as a matter of course! I think it’s the natural state of someone when they aren’t burdened, tired or confused. But according to my teachers and my experience of mine and other aspirant’s paths it is not the primordial state. Thinking that it is and focusing on it past a certain point causes issues. Sometimes major, life threatening issues. That’s the reason I’m making my point and defending it. The qualities that should be cultivated at all times (and aren’t necessarily easy or ‘natural’ for most people) are these: Humour - Zhuangzi Humility - Laozi and not taking things too seriously...