Creation

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  1. Messenger feature driving me up the wall

    Just the kind of protip I was hoping for. Thanks.
  2. Messenger feature driving me up the wall

    The personal messaging function on this forum, though the interface is clearly based on facebook's personal messager interface in a browser. If you click the messenger icon in the top right and click compose new, or if you click "Go to Inbox" and then click compose new on the subsequent page, it brings up the same window that can be accidentally clicked out of, deleting your message. The drafts folder can be accessed after clicking go go inbox, and then clicking "Inbox" in the top left corner (under the banner) and selecting "Drafts", but as I said it is not clear how one would save a draft. EDIT: I should add I am using a browser, not a phone. I often forget that almost everyone is browsing on their phone.
  3. Good day all and sundry, I wondered if anyone might have suggestions for the following problem: When composing a new message, a window hovering over the tab you already had open appears, and if you accidentally click outside this window, the message you had been composing vanishes! I have deleted two messages that I had been composing for >20 minutes this way and am quite frustrated. There also does not appear to be a way to save a draft to prevent this, even though there is still a "Drafts" folder that you can access. Thanks.
  4. @freeform, Thank you for writing that out. If I may press further, in the initial stages were you practicing sitting or standing? You have mentioned before the challenge of learning to properly sung. Was this breathing method the primary way you worked on it, or were there others? _/\_
  5. Chinese historical scholars starting with Sima Qian were concerned with separating legend from fact, yes, though not necessarily with the degree of skepticism that modern Westerners use (case in point Lao Tzu), and scholars like Wang Bi worked with different recensions of texts like the Dao De Jing to produce authoritative versions, Buddhist scholars debated the authenticity of purported Sutras such as the Shurangama Sutra, etc. Medieval Indian culture did not have this tradition of critical historical scholarship; I was mainly responding to Dwai's claim that such critical inquires into tradition are exclusive to the West. However, these were scholars at the imperial court, so not every lineage in the mountains claiming to be the secret oral tradition of Da Mo was being critiqued in this way. I agree with what you said about lineage at any rate.
  6. Actually, the Chinese have a long native tradition of historiography, separating historical truth from legend, separating original strata of texts from later additions. Disparate Chinese lineages claiming to be the teachings of Lao Tzu, Huang Di, or Da Mo in unbroken lineage are sort of like how many disparate Indian Yogic traditions claim to be the original yoga of Patanjali: they certainly can't all be, because they are so different, but how would you know which one actually is? If it actually works, does it matter?
  7. Markern, Whoa, blast from the past. Hope you've been well brother. This is my 2 cents from learning and practicing some of the parts of Frantzis' system. While there is such a thing as the breath spontaneously stopping in meditation because energetic breathing has taken over, this is not the same as a beginning meditator finding that they have the tendency to hold the breath when they don't control the breath in any way. The latter is a manifestation of a break or block in the energy flow associated with the breath. Most of these happen at the transition between the inhale and exhale or vice versa, but not necessarily. So the process of smoothing gaps in the breath is the process of smoothing gaps in the energy flow. This is not done by pushing or willing the breath to not have pauses, but by releasing the blockage (dissolving in Frantzis' parlance, but the Chinese word is song/sung). What made it click for me realizing that for the flow of breath to be smooth (in the technical mathematical sense), at the top of the inhale the rate of inhalation has to slow down gradually to nothing, and then the exhale begins slowly at first and gradually speeds up, and vice versa going from exhale to inhale. Think of a sine curve if you like math. Keeping this process of transition totally smooth is actually very nontrivial, you will start to feel all these ways it is getting stuck. Now, all of Frantzis' practices work at 3 levels: making you more healthy, making you a better internal martial artist, and serving as a foundation for spiritual work, and what is trained in one practices is incorporated into all the others. For the health aspect, in nei gong and taiji practice the movements are circular, with a yin (downward or pulling in) and yang (upward or pushing out) phase. Energy is made to flow continuously through the movement without breaks, again without pushing or willing but by releasing the blockages, so that energy flows continuously through the channels during the form, and again, the transition from the yin portion to the yang portion is where the most tendency to get stuck is. Training this circularity of energy in movement can be linked with the breath or not; either way training circularity in breathing and in movement support each other, and create a smooth, unbroken flow of energy throughout the body. The spiritual development aspect is that just as it can feel peaceful and spiritual to space out in meditation, but you are not really present so it doesn't lead to real spiritual development, feeling very peaceful when the breath stops spontaneously is another type of not being present. (Embryo breathing is something very different than this.) The martial arts aspect is that people tend to hold their breath when they are facing something emotionally stressful, and this is a sign of not being present to what you are experiencing. Having trained a smooth flow of breath stand alone and then in your form trains you to stay present and fully conscious in a combat setting, which is an advantage even in external martial arts, but it essential to be fully present to use internal techniques rather than revert to brute force.
  8. Thoughts on Energy Arts / B.K. Frantzis

    I am in not position to judge what level he or his senior students are at, or how his material compares to indoor teachings of highly accomplished masters. That said, I appreciate the organization of his material - breaking nei gong down into component skills, and selecting the most efficient sets he found in China to train the different skills (all with a small number of movements). As well as his emphasis on feeling rather than visualization and never tensing or forcing. Seems safer and more thorough, as well as more effective, than the vast majority of qigong widely available to Westerners. I have personally got a lot out of his Dragon and Tiger and God's Playing in the Clouds sets.
  9. Tantra...

    One can find some justification of this in the doctrine of Buddha-nature, and it is often taught this way to Westerners who are uncomfortable with connecting to external deities. I personally think this is an incomplete picture of things. Certainly most Tibetans think there is actual connecting to deities.
  10. Tantra...

    There are rituals to invoke the blessing of deities (lower tantra) and rituals to become the deity (higher tantra), involving mantra, visualization, ritual items, etc. The specifics depend on the particular practice, but they typically share a common structure. Initiation is what allows something mind-based like visualization to actually connect to the deity.
  11. Tantra...

    There are a number of features often found in paths that are considered Tantric. -Emphasis on initiation -Emphasis on the integration of the physical and worldly existence with the highest spiritual transcendence (rather than their opposition) -Lifting of taboos on sex, violence, and intoxication common to exoteric religions/spiritual paths -Deliberate use of sex, violence, and/or intoxication in spiritual practices -Practices involving manipulation of subtle body phenomena, and practices using the physical body used for spiritual aims (e.g. khecari mudra, mahabandha/vase breath, yoga asanas) -Microcosm-macrocosm principle: correspondence between the inner experience of the subtle body and the external universe Not every path that has identified as Tantric carries all of these features, and non-Tantric paths might have one or more of them. But typically the more of these are present in a tradition the more likely it is to self-identify as Tantric. So there is dualistic Shaiva tantra, non-dualistic Shaiva tantra, Vaishnava tantra, Mahayana Buddhist tantra. They all have their own internal reasons for making the shift to the Tantric mode of practice. For instance, in Buddhism, many think the later forms of Buddhist tantra were influenced by non-dual Shaiva tantra, but the earliest forms developed for reasons completely internal to Mahayana Buddhism. In Mahayana, a Buddha doesn't just have an enlightened mind, but an enlightened body (nirmanakaya), and sees samsara and nirvana as non-dual and all phenomena as primordially pure. So this is already proto-tantric. But in ordinary Mahayana, the only way to get to that point is innumerable lifetimes of renouncing the world and engaging in deep meditative absorption and good deeds. Whereas In the earliest fully tantric form of Buddhism (Yoga Tantra, technically), there came the idea that one can receive an initiation into the mandala of a deity that allows one to do this in a single lifetime. So here we have initiation, integration spiritual transcendence with worldly existence, slight lifting of the taboo on violence (there was a peaceful mandala and a wrathful mandala) and a macrocosm-microcosm principle, but no sexual, subtle body, or physical body practices. Naturally, there were groups who explored sexuality within this context and that led to the next phase of Buddhist tantra, involving consort practice. As freeform noted, non-Indic tradition that has the most similarity to Tantra is Daoism. As for the specific question about Guru Yoga being Tantra, since in Tibetan Buddhism initiation is given to make this connection, and the connection gives information on how to integrate the body and mundane existence on the spiritual path resulting in both an enlightened mind and enlightened body, it is definitely Tantra. Guru Yoga and Deity Yoga are considered the characteristic practices of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. Also, Dzogchen is a form of Tantra; it positions itself as the highest form of tantra. When it claims to be beyond tantra, it specifically means beyond lower forms of tantra. Does that theoretical explanation find congruence with your experience?
  12. Can we convert aroused jing to unaroused jing?

    This is a marvelous sharing. Many of the individual points you have mentioned took me years of indulging nonsense to even have an inkling of. Now to work on living it, at long last.
  13. I would be curious to know if this is combined in you practice with generation stage/illusory body yoga for you, or is practiced strictly as a manipulation of the drops. I get the impression that different tantras do things differently, but I don't know any details.
  14. Standing Qigong pain issue

    Thanks for these, they are very appropriate for me at the moment. Also, hello, it's nice to see you around.
  15. Hi Mr. Pilgrim, I'm answering from book knowledge here but it struck me how your realization that there is no such thing as doing the dishes because it is dependent on innumerable causes and conditions is precisely what Buddhists call the "emptiness" of doing the dishes, and in fact, realizing the emptiness of all things is the primary goal of all Buddhist practices, including tummo. Most Tibetan schools of Buddhism actually teach that the animating principle underlying ordinary things is empty in the same way that ordinary things are.