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About Benji

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    Dao Bum
  1. Choosing Between Daoism and Buddhism

    What was taught to me about the difference between Daoism and Buddhism, and which I have more or less confirmed for myself through practices from both traditions, is that Buddhism primarily focuses on clearing the Mind whereas Daoism aims to strengthen the Shen. Granted this is a generalization, and the teacher was a Daoist himself, but it has fit my general experience. It makes sense when you look at it through this continuum: Spirit--->Mind-->Intention-->Qi---->Blood--->Body or Shen--->Xin--->Yi--->Qi--->Xue--->Shen (body) This represents the "trickle down" of spirit if you will. Like the sun shining down to earth. In an ideal person, spirit informs the mind, which informs the yi, which directs the qi, which directs the blood, and which moves the body. In an enlightened? person this step down process happens clearly and quickly; in an ordinary person there are layers of karma/blockages/ clouds in the way obscuring the sun. Take a typical Buddhist practice like Vipassana. You do not aim to create any particular sensations or states. Its all good, you are just letting go of your resistance to the experience you are having. This works on the attachments of your mind. It makes the clouds thinner between you and the sun of spirit. Enough practice and then qi and blood will flow better. Another way of classifying this practice is apaphatic, or something that empties you. In Daoist meditations I've done, you aim to strengthen the Shen, sometimes by visualizing Sun and Moon inside your body, simultaneously strengthening your qi. As your qi and shen get stronger it brings your blockages to the surface, forcing you to deal with them. Its like strengthening the sun, which then burns through the clouds.This is an kapaphatic practice, or one that fills you. I have found both practices useful at different times. For instance if I am really resisting something in myself, I find it more beneficial to practice some quiescent meditation without a "goal." If I were to practice filling myself at such times, it might even make my resistance/blockage worse. If I feel myself too empty/deflated I will do a kapaphatic practice to brighten my insides if you will. To me it is a balance between becoming full of energy and having the stillness and emptiness to let that energy flow. This is not the exclusive difference between Daoism/Buddhism, nor is it true in all cases/traditions, but it works for me
  2. Trapped Heat

    Hi bums, I was hoping for some advice with a sticky situation in my practice. I've seen a lot of posts on the forums about the dangers of retention, of which I'm well aware....but not much on what to do if things do get stuck. Actually, I have not practiced much sexual gong fu but I do believe I have the symptoms of stagnant sexual energy. Not from any sexual practice gone awry, but from unhealthy habits as a teenager (avoiding release) long before I started any qi gong or meditation. Now I've had a lot of time to work through the emotional issues that were at hand, but I still experience symptoms like frequent nighttime urination, genital tension, and mild ED (not enough for my partners to really notice, but I can tell there is a blockage). Its much better than it was a few years ago, but I'm really craving a good night sleep. Its been diagnosed as ''turbidity in the lower burner obstructing kidney yang'' by a couple of different acupuncturists. Currently just started a course of 'niu huang jie du pian' to help clear heat but its still early on. In my own qi gong practice, I've had a lot of difficulty generating enough power to open the blockage. The whole region from navel to pelvic floor responds very slowly, as if it were 'muddy' and only really wakes up after intensive breathing coupled with some breath retention. When I do feel the area wake up I feel a lot of trapped heat around the prostate and pelvic floor. No idea how to resolve it. I'm looking for any suggestions on how to make consistent progress. I have tried both celibacy and moderate sexual release without much result. Have also tried vegetarian and GF diet. Qi gong has helped the most but as I said I'm having a hard time generating enough inertia. Maybe just more practice? Any advice is much appreciated.
  3. Meat eating thread

    All you need to do to gain weight is eat more caloriers than you epend. Eat 4-5 meals a day like its your job. May feel kinda bloated at first but your digestion will catch up, especially if you are working out. Also don't go crazy at the gym, 1-3 good workouts a week and plenty of rest. You can continue to eat well and gain weight. Try more brown rice, sweet potato, avocado, nuts, seeds, eggs... good quality yogurt and maybe milk if your digestion can handle it (that is if you eat dairy).
  4. Middle DanTien: solar plexus/heart?

    I think it is important to distinguish between a Jiao and a Dan Tian. A Jiao, aka "pot" or "burner" is a term used to denote different sections of the body. This is related to the chinese medical concept of the San Jaio, or tripple burner. Some models of the tripple burner place the middle burner at the solar plexus and the upper burner at the heart, while others place the middle burner at heart and the upper burner in the head. From my expereince a more medical perspective sees the middle burner in the solar plexus, while a more spiritual perspective sees the middle burner at the heart. A Dan Tian is an "elixir field" where alchemical reactions occur. I am pretty sure the middle Dan Tian is in the heart. That is not to say the solar plexus is unimportant. When you are taking about spiritual advancement in the chinese sense you are talking about the conversion of Jing to Qi To Shen. Jing converts to Qi in the solar plexus and Qi becomes Shen at the heart. That as far as it goes from a medical perspective (which is just trying to make you a happy healthy human being). Spiritual pratitioners will continue to elevate the Shen further and further up the ladder to the upper Dan Tian and beyond. The solar plexus is a sticking point where Qi often gets stuck in its ascention. I have heard my teacher refer to this place as the Gao Huang or "cavern under the heart," and this it is an important area to clear. Part of our confusion is that chinese thought, unlike western thought, can see two seemingly opposing things as both being true.
  5. Thanks both of you. Patience and surrendering the doer is key!
  6. Hey there, I also recently started this practice and had a question or two if you don't mind I am not new to Qi Gong or meditation, but have never before brought such concentrated attention so systematically though my body. I am still working predominantly on my skull and face after about a week of practice but have had some great (though not yet totally stable) results including improvement of my vision and hearing. My question is this: After spending a lot of time around the level of the temples and eyes, I feel like I cannot dissolve the area further (can't seem to get to the gas stage) without moving downward. The tension in the temples and eyes feels obviously connected to the gates of the ears, jaw, and occiput. I suspect that the patterning may go down even further, perhaps all the way through the body. Is this the point of diminishing returns that Bruce speaks of? Should I keep on trucking in the head or explore further down and return to the skull on another sweep somewhere down the line? Asking because I have a tendency to rush it! Thanks, Ben
  7. Visited by translucent beings

    I too have had similar experiences. They happen most regularly when I wake in the middle of the night. At those times my ability to see Qi is heightened to the point that I can see spirits. I have seen many animals but sometimes people, faces, or other strange looking beings. Most of the time I feel they are harmless, but I would be wary of anything menacing looking- especially if it was latched on to me. Those could be entities feasting on your energy. You may want to look into Qi Gong healing with a Medical Qi Gong doctor or Daoist priest....someone who has the skills to detach and bind any harmful entities that may be curious about you. You can also learn to bind your house or the room you sleep in to keep unwanted entities out.
  8. Hey there, I'm new to Taoist practice, having been somewhat experienced in kriya yoga and hindu tantra. I have become more interested in Taoism as I have come to the realization that I must get grounded in the lower tan tien and heal the energetic and emotional stuckness that has clogged my lower centers. I have been working the first few postures of a Nei Kung sequence each morning after doing the 5 Tibetans. I find it great for my back and feeling physically rooted, but I find it quite difficult to work with the microcosmic orbit, specifically the front channel. My front channel seems to want to run in reverse, with a particular tightness around the solar plexus that makes me gag whenever it loosens. Does anyone have any tips on how to loosen the belly and get the channel to flow downwards? So far I have started to rest my awareness in the lower tan tien but I can be quite scattered with my focus sometimes, trying to do too much in the mere 10 minutes I am holding horse stance. Any tips would be much apprecaited. Ben
  9. Hey Hey

    Hi There, My name is Ben. I'm a Hatha Yoga teacher living in new york city and have recently become quite interested in Taoism. I have studied tantra for a few years under a master, but I have found the techniques insufficient when it comes to healing my energetic blocks. I have started working with the microcosmic orbit but have a lot of difficulty with the front channel, which seems to want to run in reverse. I have a particularly tight solar plexus, and when I connect with it, I retch and gag. I am also lacking a solid lower tan tien. But I AM motivated! I have been focusing on strengthening the pelvic floor and connecting more with my belly, but so far my efforts seem too scattered! I am looking for any advice as a novice to Taoist energy practices! Thanks, Ben