simply puzzled

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About simply puzzled

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  1. Thanks for the youtube video - the chanting was absolutely beautiful. I love to go to temples to Guan Yin, and there are always people (mostly women) chanting to her like that, often while holding incense in their hands. If you want to be extra authentic, you can give boxes of asparagus juice to your statue.
  2. A Month in China

    Thanks for the advice guys. I think I'll take the advice and just stay in Taiwan. I just thought it would be fun to check China off of my list of countries to see and spend some time learning the Tao. It's sad to see it's in such a bad state there. And yeah, exorcist, I'll keep working on my Mandarin. xD
  3. A Month in China

    I've been living in Taiwan for the past year, teaching English and working on my Taijiquan, and at the end of this teaching year, I'm going to (hopefully) be heading back to the states. If everything works out, I'm going to be blessed with about a month between when I need to leave and when I need to arrive, and I'd like to go to China for a month to study at a kung fu academy. I found a few on Wudang Mountain, just because I think it would be fun to say I've studied kung fu on Wudang Mountain, but I don't really have a good way to judge them via the internet. So, is anyone familiar with any good schools in China that teach Taiji, Qi Gong, and/or Kung Fu, and where would you go if you had a month?
  4. Are Qigong Forms BS?

    One of the things I have found interesting about studying shamanism around the world is that there are remarkable commonalities between them. There is one or more underworlds below us where most people go when they die, and there are one or more heavens above us where specially revered elders or gods or anthropomorphic being representing natural forces live. There is some sort of pole or tree connecting them, and it's the job of the shaman to move between them. But there are also important differences. Very important ones. And these are not the sort of theological disputes between Lutherans and Episcopalians on the nature of the priesthood. Shamans, quite literally, live and work in these realms and move between them every day. They are very, very real. So, in one sense, you could say that the number of heaven realms is completely arbitrary, because some shamans work in one and others have seven and other have more or fewer. And, in another sense, they really aren't arbitrary, because for each shaman, working in that world, it's exactly how many heavenly planes exist. If you were to ask a ceremonial magician to map out the body, he'd probably draw a figure with energy points corresponding to a Jewish mystical diagram called "The Tree of Life." This system isn't new. It was developed over thousands of years, and it doesn't align well with the chakras. And, having worked in that system, I can say that it functions very, very well. So, I get what the person you are responding to was saying: in one sense it's arbitrary because different systems seem to each work. In another sense though, simply deciding tomorrow that my energy center was in my left eye would probably yield poor results. Systems like Qigong and Ceremonial Magic seem to wear a groove in the Universe. Someone finds a path, and they get disciples to follow them, and that whole gang tramples through the universe, breaking down the plants and eroding the soil until pretty soon, it creates a groove that you can slip into and follow. And once you're in that groove, all sorts of things start to happen that are really real for the people there in that place. What you discover is no longer arbitrary. Just my two cents.
  5. The Way of the Warrior

    Peace? What have the warriors brought of us peace? Armies create a cycle of violence. There were factions waging war for centuries in Europe until they finally took sides in an epic conflict known as WWI. The victors took the spoils of war and forced Germany into a humiliating position until nationalism took hold and gave rise to WWII. The victors again squared off to take the spoils of war, and we ended up in the cold war. We funded insurgencies in Afghanistan against the Russians that gave us modern-day Al Qaeda. We sponsored the Iranian Shah, and then the Iraqis against the new Islamic Republic of Iran when the dictator we propped up failed, and the "oops" maybe we should have done that so lets invade Iraq. We know how that worked out. Of course, the violence seeps out like an infection that spreads. Now that we've invaded Iraq, there are people in Yemen angry so lets go bomb them. This provides Al Qaeda with great recruitment opportunities, and they have more popular support than ever. We're now seeing in the bombs on the UPS planes the fruits of our actions in Yemen. Of course, sometimes there are people powerful enough to break the cycles. If you had told someone a hundred years ago that India would be in the state that it is today, they would have laughed at you. They would have told you that India could never succeed the way it has without the colonial armies unifying it. And then along came Gandhi. He said there was a better way than bloody revolution to build a state, that it could be done peacefully. Today, India is not perfect, but it is a model for what can be accomplished without guns or bombs. If you want to join the military, it's your decision, but there is no peace to be had at the barrel of a gun. Our actions are killing civilians, radicalizing the Muslim world against us, and creating more cycles of violence that will repeat over and over and over.
  6. A Question For Experienced Qigong Practitioners

    This isn't Daoist, but in western magic we do something called "shielding". Basically, you're creating a barrier between you and other people so that they cannot steal your energy. We do this in addition to, not in place of, grounding and centering. There are a lot of methods; here is mine: Ground and center. Now, imagine a ball of energy in your center. Now imagine this ball slowly expanding. You are *not* imagining your center expanding, you are imagining a ball of energy *from* your center. Allow that ball to slowly expand until it surrounds you like a forcefield. Take a moment and know that this field will expand and contract around you as you. Swing out your arm, and the field stretches like latex. Then, take a moment and visualize this field acting as a gate. Positive, loving energy flows in and out, and negative, draining energy is repelled. Do this for a few moments at the end of your meditations until it builds it up in your mind and you'll only have to think about it occasionally. This won't repel someone with greater energy ability than you. I've had people do this weird thing where they find the vibration of my shield and then just flow through it. It also has to be up before someone starts draining you. Once you feel it, it's too late to throw up the shield, rather like trying to close the barn doors while the horses are leaving. But, if you keep it "up", it's good for blocking out the day to day draining of energy.
  7. Bruce Frantzis Bagua Mastery Program

    I'm sad that soon it will be too cold to practice my Taiji outdoors barefoot. There is nothing like feeling the ground beneath your feet as your practice.
  8. Dr. Yang's Shaolin White Crane QiGong

    I own his material on Chin Na too, and it's well worth the price. For others that aren't familiar, he uses a lot of White Crane Chin Na to reconstruct what we've lost in Taiji. Very good stuff.
  9. DVD Recommendations?

    I got my 5-pack in the mail today after working off of the Vol I from Netflix for a bit. It's really a great qigong.
  10. Eating and Running?

    I have a friend that used to be a nutritionist for Olympic marathon runners. While I know you're not running at that level, one of the things she said she gave them prior to runs were flax seeds. They have a lot of calories, a high percentage of fat (oil), and they are very light and easy to digest so they don't make you feel full when you're running. Maybe try a handful of flax seeds before you go out?
  11. Gold Dragon Body Photos

    I, for one, had a lot of fun learning to turn transparent. = )
  12. Gold Dragon Body Photos

    I would like to make a formal apology. I have devoted myself to the art of kunlun and now realize the truth of being able to make oneself transparent. As evidence, I have a photograph of myself as proof.
  13. Gold Dragon Body Photos

    I have a DSLR and tripod checked out from work for a project I was working on. I think I can recreate them. If I do, if I post photos that look the same as the ones posted here, will you admit that these are forgeries?
  14. Flying Phoenix Chi Kung

    Hey Terry, After reading this thread, I got Vol. I a little bit ago, and I've been performing the exercises. I really, really enjoy FP compared to some of the other forms of Qigong I've experimented with. I injured my neck in an auto accident years ago. Though my Taiji helps, FP brings that mixture of pain and release that you get from an incredibly good massage, and once I'm done, it feels 100% better. Tonight, I even made my roommate do the exercises with me since her lower back has been killing her for days, and afterwards, she was almost completely better. Thanks so much not only for the videos but for spending so much time on this thread. It is truly appreciated.
  15. Gold Dragon Body Photos

    I see what you mean. I still believe they were retouched to clean them up, add in a bit of an aura effect, etc, but moving at a high speed with a slow shutter makes more sense than the multiple shots combined with gradients. Thank you for the explanation.