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  1. Some more advice needed on practice

    Hi all, thanks for the extraordinary conversation happening here. Just a small note that might be helpful to some: Being trained in physics, I had the same adverse reaction to the idea that the center of gravity moves between the solar plexus and lower abdomen with slight movement of the kwa. But at the same time I certainly didn't think that Damo was saying anything capriciously. The only conclusion is that he is not talking about the center of gravity in the technical sense used in physics, but some other kind of center. Consider that mass density, from which the center of gravity is calculated, is a scalar quantity, but what Damo is talking about is a kind of equilibrium or fulcrum of the elastic tissues of the body, and elasticity is actually a tensor quantity. So they wouldn't be the same kind of center at all.
  2. Women and Buddhahood

    Jan Nattier, a well respected Western scholar of early Mahayana, who is also a woman, opines that the primary reason that it was considered Buddhas must be male in early Buddhism is that a Buddha is not just someone who is awakened, but someone who "turns the wheel", part of which is founding and leading an order of monks, and in ancient Indian society it would have been quite inconceivable to think of a woman founding and leading a group that includes men. In a context where it is conceivable that a woman could found and lead a group that includes men, it would then become conceivable to have a female Buddha. And you see just this in Tantric Buddhism. As for the "well retracted male organ", this is an indication of complete victory over sexual desire - not only is the desire gone, but the very equipment itself is not even capable of the act. This kind of thing is still spoken of in some Chinese practices, dealing with completely transmuting the energy that becomes sexual energy (jing) into spiritual energy. And in circles where such things are practiced, it is understood that women can do the same thing, even though they don't have something that will retract when they are successful (though they will stop menstruating). Hope that helps.
  3. Is there an "easy path" in Daoism?

    Mindfulness of any high divinity gives some benefit (per the Buddha), however Amitabha Buddha is considered special and is so popular because the ratio of benefit to ease of access if very very high. That is, what kind of complicated ritual do you need to do, what kind of initiation do you need to have received, what kind of rules do you need to follow, to seriously receive the blessing of any particular deity, and just how much blessing can that deity give, and for what types of pursuits or goals? The more accessible and diffuse a practice is, the more chance it isn't very powerful, just because of how things work in the way the human realm connects to higher realms. But somehow, in exception to this, Amitabha Buddha's name has the power to actually connect you to a very high realm, even though it is very easy to chant and very diffused. Buddhists would say this is due to Amitabha Buddha's great merit and great vow to share that merit with all beings. This kind of direct connection wouldn't be there by chanting "Namo [insert deity here]". Though, as I said, mindfulness of a deity you feel a connection to is still meritorious.
  4. Qigong techniques for better, longer, deeper sleep?

    Actually, no. It is like being fully aware of my body and environment and yet being asleep, and just a few hours of this state is as restful as a whole night of sleep. These two things would seem contradictory, yet in this state they coexist. It has something to do with the lower dan tian and the Shen, but I don't know exactly how to facilitate it. When I explored lucid dreaming I found my sleep was not as restful.
  5. There is a slight bend forward and bottom stick-out if you don't engage your kua correctly, and almost no one can engage their kua correctly at first. Do you have good instruction on the kua? If you have the money, this course breaks all these things down in extreme detail:
  6. Qigong techniques for better, longer, deeper sleep?

    I have experienced the state of sleeping qigong spontaneously a few times and have always wanted to train to experience it more consitiently. It is unfortunate that the most authentic looking system that has been recommended here is prohibitively expensive.
  7. This happens if you sink without the hips and spine changing their position. To fix this, the hips have to fold ("sink into the kua" aka "sit on the bar stool"). At first the the spine will tilt forward slightly and the butt might stick out a bit to keep everything else (feet, knees, kua) correctly aligned. Then as you continue to refine things will straighten out without compromising the sinking - sink the sacrum and tailbone, raise the occiput/rear crown, press into the bubbling well point, keep the knee joint open and not collapsed in any direction. One thing that I didn't understand for a long time is that to sink properly things have to be raising properly. Otherwise, sinking becomes collapsing or simply lowering down. EDIT: Another thing that is easy to misunderstand is that the instruction that the pelvis is tucked is not an active thing, that is, you don't engage the hip flexors to pull the pelvis forward. As I said above, you get everything else lined up, and if the butt is sticking out, you put your mind in the sacrum and relax it downward. Then the pelvis tucks automatically.
  8. Oh, that's useful. Both the mingmen part and permission to be a couple inches away from the wall. I never would have considered doing such a high number as 100 the way I have been doing them (feet flush with the wall). As it happens I'm focusing on my legs in my qigong/neigong practice right now.
  9. Messenger feature driving me up the wall

    Just the kind of protip I was hoping for. Thanks.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. @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? _/\_
  13. 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.
  14. 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?
  15. 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.