Small Fur

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  1. Original Poster's Topic Question: "I've heard testicles atrophy in the last stages of internal alchemy practice. Why is that? Is that healthy?" Cultivation's Effect on the Testes When a person does not cultivate or their practice is incorrect (for instance, the jing is already considered 'still' in the sense that though the taiji of the kidneys manifest as dichotomous they are still foundationally considered a yin source, so if one 'stills' them in the sense you are speaking of then they are basically creating stagnation. What instead needs to happen is not wasting. By this I mean specifically conservation- not collecting, condensing or other methods which refer to different aspects of conservation but are not in and of themselves the actual practice of living conservation), atrophy (degeneration) of the testes may happen and this will in turn lead to feebleness across various other organ systems, most notably as deficiency symptoms of spleen qi and/or xue (blood), but the implications are not isolated solely to these patterns of disharmony and depend on many other interrelated factors (so please don't self-diagnosis or jump to conclusions). Conversely, the testicles returning to a more condensed size in a firm and full state (such as in youth) is a product not stemming from loss of substance but rather clarification and rejuvenation of *1 transforming one's existing substance. Health at this level comes through the following written below and is integral to the answer of the next question.. Additional Conversation Question: "What happens if someone achieves this before getting old? " Shen is the source of why forms are as they are When shen is perfected through stillness in wuji, the yin jing will transform in its substance from this perfected stillness and the yang jing will become pure in its active radiance; thus they return to the yuan state as part of vital essence. It is in this way that Earthly Immortality can be made possible. The source of how this happens doesn't really originate in jing or *2xue itself, per se, but from shen first and foremost. So the cultivation of Consciousness is essential for the resilience of jing. Therefore, those that focus exclusively or obsessively on jing do so because they are concerned with forms and are moved out of willful (willfulness is the nature of the zhi shen) desire to hoard from the essence of things; it is a very base and coarse (unrefined) motivation born from the unconsciousness of desperation and greed. These fears and the avarice for power are a life driven by the motivations of the root chakra, of which many people have the hardest time refining because it is the yin of the lower (subtle) body system. (Note: this quality of focus and desire in people is dangerous. This is why the Buddha taught about non-desire, the Immortals about sung and wei wu wei which together allows for the peace of non-striving, and both speak of the virtue of selfless and therefore, no greed- incuding for one's own life, other's possession or the materiality of forms (forms which are ultimately dreams of the maya). Conversely, it is the ability to resolve desire as we cultivate the form to return to the yuan (original). In time the celestial polarities (the ji 极) of our greater system will perceive the wuji (the Ultimateness or Limitless Pole) to transform and potentiate yuan jing and purified xue (blood) in concert with heavenly wisdom (the ji of the blue star). This in turn allows the aging process to be greatly slowed or to reverse- the differences between the two being: 1) the existing health conditions the cultivator bears at the time the light from stillness is made apparent and how long they can remain in such true Presence (note that 'age' in regards to physiological transmutation is very pertinent to the results of longevity, as people who cultivate too late in life are unlikely to become Earth Immortals in part because there is not enough pre- and post- natal substance to work with. I refer to this aspect in a pervious post about the energetic processes of refinement as 'it takes energy to make energy' which is why it is so important to take care of health and wellbeing as each moment, and in this case, doing so by not clinging to ideas of jing: this only lead to more waste). 2) the level of self-cultivated depth/spiritual maturity and insight the practitioner has about the nature of stillness (there are gradations of stillness/emptiness that can be perceived by the hun shen) 3) level of medical knowledge or training and guidance they receive by other medically trained practitioners- particularly, of course, other Earthly Immortals or Celestial Immortals (but it isn't necessarily exclusive to them only- always who we are depends on ourselves and our own ability for rightful perception and rightful knowing foundationally) Additional Conversation Question: "How is such an immortal to be detected?" We know because our own heart's and minds are clear with the heart-felt light of self-awareness The simple answer is that by being in touch with our own spirit, we are better able to witness the spirit of others; these immortal and other ascendant qualities are sensed through the clarity and development of an open heart on the part of the perceiver (as Lao Tzu said, 'how do they know such righteousness? they can feel it'). The deeper the clarity of the open heart by the perceiver, the greater their own purity in sacredness, and the more like recognizes like unconditionally while also acknowledging the manifestation of condition... conditions of form both gross and subtle which are part of the sacred knowledge. *1 There is similar misunderstanding about the role of menses and the beheading of the Red Dragon in women's cultivation. So care needs to taken to not conflate principals of reversal for signs that are actually of aging, illness and death. *2 Pertaining to women's cultivation
  2. Everything is perfect?

    The Immaterial Concept of Perfection The confounding issue has to do with the intellectual focus on parsing semantics when the True state cannot be intellectually derived and thus the focus is without a 'thing'- meaning, it is Empty. So intellectual argument is ultimately, in this case, a false argument, even if it seems logically true given contexts and dependencies. As "thusness" is without name, without object, without even experience in and of itself, there can be no true mental argument that is based on givens or variations regardless of whether one 'believes' it to be true or not true. Thus, belief here is also another unhelpful form of ideological approach. What then causes 'new age wishfulness' but an abundance of beliefs, hopes and dreams, obscuring clarity through ungrounded perceptions? Just because humans are prone to wishfulness and skepticism, trust and doubt, doesn't diminish what is of actual spiritual essence and ultimately beyond essence and the existential (yes! there is 'something' beyond the existential!). We have an entire universe of lost souls but the Tao remains... perfect- more on that later. So, what is inherently Essential and True does not need anyone's belief yet is benefited and gives benefit to all that sense it within themselves and care to move forth from that integrity of purity within in all moments. It is the case that the nature of the lost human is lost because that pure sense (the yuan- original light) has been cleaved and fragmented, squandered and compartmentalized; and thus people even feel the need to say such things as 'I believe in love', 'I believe in kindness' and cannot fully comprehend the grace and generosity that is the profound simplicity of love and kindness. This form of unawareness is directly proportional to the fact that many people are not entirely certain about whether they have a soul or a spirit- this essence of themselves that is the shen (spirit, light, awareness) that creates everything that they actually are! Thus in not knowing the spirit of self, they do not know the spirit of other, and in not sincerely caring enough for either, they cannot perceive the mother Tao. Not knowing (including not knowing if there is perfection) is a valuable part of being able to accept mystery, learning to work with the unknown, and ultimately understanding what is contained in Silence. This takes as much courage as it does humility. Live from what you sense to be the highest goodness within, and allow the mysteries to unveil themselves as they do, if they do- seeking to understand with grace whatever is presented- whether you like it or not, or want it or not; go deeper than your expectations and desires. Go deeper than believing and knowing, doubtfulness and skepticism. So then what is it this 'perfection' that we are examining? The reason it is confusing is because people's ideas of perfection are mundanely derived just as their disappointments about the lack thereof. The kind of spiritual perfection that is alluded to by the Perfected Ones is not of mundane conditioning even though it encompasses the mundane. To put simply, once you arrive at the enlightened understanding, you realize the enlightenment that passes through all things, you see the shen (spirit) in all things, and you experience the being(s) as the immortal Buddha. You understand the integral relationship of dualities as a unity of all things in which there is no longer, ultimately even oneness. This unity (the one) that is no longer dual (the two: yin and yang) is the conjoining of dharma and anti-dharma not as polarities of tension, but now as a perfection of harmony (the Taiji). This is the Consciousness of the shen dao (consciousness of the Tao itself from Wuji) by recognition of the one whose consciousness has reunited with the Original (yuan shen). In time when you come into full enlightenment, you will realize that in Emptiness there is no thing that can be named, as there is neither dharma nor anti-dharma and by this same token it is how dharma and anti-dharma also exist. This perfected consciousness in understanding is why we realize dharma itself is immaterial: because it is merely a concept. Yet an invaluable concept nonetheless, and one that we must embrace with our hearts, if our minds (shen as mind-spirit) are to be Liberated of all things- including this concept from within the maya.
  3. Love, Loving-Kindness, Bonds, Attachment

    [This reply was posted without having read the article link] In order to really understand the answer to this question, you must first understand the True Nature of love. Love is not an object, nor is it bound to forms. It has no dependencies, no entanglements and ultimately no inter-relationships: thus, it is not a state of attachment. This is how love is itself unconditional. Once you attach it to things or conditions- including yourself and others, you trivialize it and divest it from its essence. Yet even though this is so, to come into enlightened understanding of this, you must begin with the cultivation of a deep regard and care for all things (metta), until you can understand the Nothing in all the 'somethings'. This love which we can illuminate all things is not found in the conditions of empathy; instead it is a recognition in a very deep wisdom that results in profound compassion. Such a deep compassion comes from not only wisdom and knowledge of the transcendent, but also from insight born of great humility that begins firstly through a process of self-recognition and understanding. This self-realization when profound leads beyond the self, and when that entity of self is dissolved it is through that that you recognize the transcendent universal or the Original, and eventually also the Emptiness. These conditions and the actions born from them cannot be prematurely or naively contrived in yourself through mere willingness and arbitrary decision because they are not a process of ordinary mind, emotion or unconscious spirit. This is also why love itself cannot be ordinary, and when it is True and deep, it is extraordinary and transcendent, and thus from that state it is also selfless and compassionate. When you objectify love by projecting onto illusions (maya) and engross your emotions in empathy through a process of attachment you create entanglement within the stream of unconsciousness that is integral to the perpetuation (karma and thus also the commonplace place movement of the wu xing) of unconsciousness in people. It is not that you cannot have insight and recognition of other's pain and suffering- which is one aspect of empathy, but to take on their suffering or psyche as your own (which is a hallmark of empathy), is to subsume yourself in the unconsciousness resonance. To begin to dissolve these attachments while remaining in the integrity of what is inherent and rightful, what is essential and truly good, helps you develop a clear spirit that acts from and lives from the essence of rightfulness- untangling the wounds and confusions: the sufferings of karma. This then, is the foundation of enlightened place from which a true compassion is born, from which love can emanate and illuminate without the desire, the 'burn', the confusion of self and other, and the tumultum that you speak of. Similarly, love which feels weak or strong, more or less, is a love divested of Source- of Nirvana, and diminuates it to thing, which is why it becomes quantity. When you hold it essential, it bears quality and its depth of quality is in direct relation to your own cultivated depth of nature, mind and heart. How then can you become as love itself as the Buddha had? Like the Buddha or an Immortal Sage, all people must go through a process of laying a foundation. These foundations are discussed in different ways, using different language according to time, space, and context (these include the language and perspective of language that are a part of the orientation of a collective awareness of a time. Therefore, True teachings of any time should not be trivialized into intellectual debate but instead recognized, felt and lived in their essence*) of a true teacher; but if you can see it from the perspective of enlightenment (and not in the pettiness of an ordinary discriminating mind that gets mired in social politics of seemingly competing theories) then you understand that the Eight-Fold Path (Eight-Fold Path consists of eight practices: right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness) like the 5 Virtues in Taoism (Integration of the spirits in: benevolence, wisdom, propriety, righteousness, and integrity which are also essences of how we conduct and unify our energy) are essentially one in the same though seemingly diverse (in the maya) of their method: that is that we must foundationally use the energy of this life, this body and the conditions of our existence to become truly good people, people worthy of enlightenment ('worth' here is not so much about deservence and therefore also undeservence, but rather meant as the alignment of our own true integrity in true value). This essential worth is in all of us to manifest regardless of form and condition. And this in turn requires the cultivation of our lives in health of mind, body, spirit and relationships to all things, as well as (self) insight to develop the rightfulness in all action and eventually in all Being. So for all those- Taoist, Buddhist or none at all, if your care is to be in truth and resolve the conditions of suffering, then you must give care to all things and all processes from it's essence, not because of what it is or how it seems but simply because you yourself find the value in and feel the beauty of loving-kindness inherently in yourself, free of attachment and yet inherent as part of life in its illusions and also eventually, free of it's illusions. To love so truly and deeply we must move beyond the notion of loving things by purifying ourselves of things and our fixations upon them (ie. forms- political, social, indentifications, the intellectual concept, the personal- all constructs and projections- the xi shen which is acquired consciousness that creates imbalance, factions and existential falsity) even as we apply it to things (eg. this body, our health, living, relating) so that when you touch all things, even in their illusions of form (and your own), you can help dissolve it, resolve it, and bring it back to Emptiness. (*The more Conscious you are, the more you realize the Truthfulness in the enlightened teachings regardless of circumstantial presentation and not waste yourself on argument and but instead apply yourself with sincerity and diligence to living rightfully as best as you know how in each present moment. So, do not debate amongst yourself and argue against your teacher for intellectual-ego superiority, you can instead find the self-humility, deepest care and sincere receptivity to ask the questions to sages and also of your highest self- what it is that you need to do, be, learn and understand in order to live and be a more profoundly good human being. You have to care about truly understanding- experiencing it fully through sense and heart-mind, and not conflate this with the desire to know and obtain knowing of things which are the workings of a ordinarily high-mind and super-ordinary ego. This question and sincere understanding requires the deepest self-examination, and in this a fearlessness to be utterly truthful with yourself... a form of utter revelation in a transparency of self amongst the sacred, and is best done not only in self-contemplation when necessary, but also in silence and through learning progressively deeper forms of empty meditation.)
  4. To be clear and honest, I will just say that these (re: "Neidan, Dan Dao, Golden Elixir, Jade Pill, Neigong, Qigong - Which is right? Which is wrong?" ) are all different inter-related aspects of one's practical health, the personal path in cultivation, and the deepening of awareness along the spectrum towards a perfected Consciousness (here I use the term 'Perfected' as part of the Buddhist realization of enlightenment- which in the inner teachings includes the 'physical' in addition to the 'spiritual'); and that to realize each in their discrete value as part of a total formation to an entire path is of profound benefit. Therefore, it is best not to speak of them so casually as to be confounded lest the essence of their practical and immortal worth be lost to the one who misperceives and spreads that misperception to others. The rightfulness of any experience or condition (this includes our choices and pratices) lies in the origin of our character (de 德 - virtue) as Consciousness in wisdom, because it is through this that the power of destinies are made and reborn (either as karma, or as the golden embryo). Therefore, the more pure your nature and insight, then the greater the alignment of your own spirit as Dao, and as such the more clarity and goodness from which you will sense, perceive, do and be. Therefore, it is less to do with method or conditions even if our processes contain methods and are resultant in conditions. The state beyond debate, beyond question, and therefore beyond answer can be discovered by looking within. And although those who come to know this are indeed very rare, this does not mean that it is not readily available to be recognized within all of us free of time: it is always in this eternal transpiring moment known as Now. Enlightenment is in part the ability to recognize omnipresence from a place of total freedom. Therefore, this recognition does not depend on time, it does not depend upon opinions, and it is transcendent of all notions of authority- including of the personal and what many often imagine to be the ultimate things. This is because when you are the same the Emptiness from which all Source becomes, then 'you' are beyond all condition of naming and measure.* How then do we live if the true ultimate being is beyond opinion, beyond beliefs and values? It is to let go of notion, to release the noise and business that clouds the senses and instead to dwell in the sacred. The sacred is accessed through silence, hidden within emptiness, and made visible by light (shen). *Therefore, a true teacher does not teach you things, but shows you yourself and those who are afraid to look inward will instead always seek 'things' outward- things to do, things to try, things to adhere to, things to become- the lesser teaching and learning is always about the rules. This also means, a person who walks the true path is one who is ready to look within, with courage and diligence to transform themselves with great care and respect to the rules, but not because of the rules. This form of transmission and transformation is inspired by the Yuan (Original) and that is why within truthful people you find the manifestation of enlightened harmony as the natural beauty of wei wu wei (effortless action).
  5. "Breathing in, I am aware of my heart. Breathing out, I smile to my heart and know that my heart still functions normally. I feel grateful for my heart." -Thích Nhất Hạnh Dear Tao Bums, Students and Practitioners of Buddhism, Please take a moment in silent light and benevolence to offer grace and blessing to thây Thích Nhất Hạnh who passed away on January 22nd, 2022 at Từ Hiếu Temple in Huế, Vietnam. Thây Hạnh was the teacher of Thiền Buddhism- a Vietnamese form of Zen Buddhism, author of 130 books and founder of both Deer Park and Plum Village Monasteries. Among his many writings, were "The Miracle of Mindfulness", "Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames", and "Peace is Every Step". Record of his funeral procession in Vietnam, his final parting words of merit and wish for the compassionate community to continue the cultivation of bodhicitta can be seen here: His dedication, teachings and compassion have touched many lives. May we offer our gratitude and blessing not only in our hearts and through prayer, but also in action through our continued living dedication in heartfelt cultivation, practice and compassion. "The real power of the Buddha was that he had so much love. He saw people trapped in their notions of small separate self, feeling guilty or proud of that self, and he offered revolutionary teachings that resounded like a lion's roar, like a great rising tide, helping people to wake up and break free from the prison of ignorance" -Thích Nhất Hạnh May we all love, love deeply, and love truly.
  6. Following up a bit from my post above... This may seem a bit of a tangent, but to impress upon some points I made and also expound upon a certain amount of specific understanding regarding life, death and the immortal path- especially for those who are diligently traveling or have traveled a little further along in their personally journey... because time is not linear and maya is integral to existence, the persistence of life and death are concurrent while simultaneously real and illusory. One of the easiest ways to understand this is to see it as 'strands' of water melding in and out of each other. Interestingly, this is also the literal movement of fate as experienced by the Immortals and enlightened beings and it is possible to witness this directly in each moment of profound awareness. So these waves continuously become each other (note that this has many profound implications, so for those who have come into Consciousness, it is a worthwhile sensory contemplation to understand more fully, especially in meditation, prayer and through connection to the xian and in xing dao). In addition, death is a powerful form of transformation. Having lived a basic healthy (or even unhealthy) mortal life, one will still continue through the karmic wheel- so whether you continue as this or that, is in many ways neither here nor there, because they are just persisting reflections of the 'same' spirit in differentiated contexts perpetuating itself in its need for resolve through the stream. However, once the spirit comes back to its original source (yuan shen), the transformation of death will not lead back to the same karmic plane. Meaning, once you become enlightened and have continued sufficient cultivation as is rightful for your person (also meaning that at this point you do not necessarily pick the path or type of practice so much as you recognize and do what is needed for your specific soul/ being- so at this stage, you are not cultivating from any theory of teaching per se, goal or agenda: you are only following the mandate of heaven... this is very beautiful and harmonious experience) then with sufficient fulfillment yet incomplete, you will be free to go on to finish the Immortal Path somewhere other than in this form on this plane. That next phase, will be specifically about the Conscious total resolve (as opposed to the often confused meandering that most people experience as part of the mundane). This transcendent occurrence can of course happen in this life time here on Earth, but if you do not finish it here and have lived diligently and deeply enough in enlightened wisdom (and I am not speaking here of merely Awakening, or some certain momentary and profound recognitions- such as seeing heaven or angels, etc.,. but rather actual enlightenment at deeper levels) then you will have already attained a measure of immortality* sufficient for transcendent forms of cultivation beyond. *as I stated earlier in my post above, Immortality begins first in Consciousness of spirit (shen) and then comes from essence before qi and so eventually it filters into form with continued diligence. Thus, there are different levels of immortality and they coincide with enlightened depth that graduates into forms.
  7. When in peace you care deeply about life and death while also willing allowing for life and death, then you will be without concern in life and death. In this peaceful willingness and lack, faith and fate (ming) become an expression from True Consciousness (xing dao) moving through you. In an enlightened cultivation, it manifests in Immortality. In the most pure sense, there is no waste in having lived nor died at any point in time. Yet on an ordinary level, we can still make every effort to live as inherently, healthfully and consciously as possible. There is great virtue in one whose being is rightful and in such enlightened resonance, it will Consciously affect all forms of states and passages in existence- life and death being only one very small iteration of the mundane form you know now. (It should also be noted that many people believe they have come to some peace with the idea of death, but this is only intellectual when it is yet that they still have a whole host of other fears in life- fears of each other, fears of living, fears of connection, of suffering, etc,. Therefore, if you examine yourself deeply enough, you will realize, the essence of all fear is the same, and that death is just one of many possible projections but is no different than any other fear yet not overcome. Therefore, when all fear is truly overcome, the spirit will go through the first of many 'little deaths' and begin its process of liberation.) Part of the Immortal path is this ability to recognize and live harmoniously in these other iterations of energy through other dimensions and states in existence and also beyond existence, but this recognition and being cannot be done if we fear or live in attachment to an idea of self (including the idea that we are alive or dead, and the fear or ideas of what it is to suffer). This is why it is important not to be in fear nor attachment to form or else you will not understand the formless: in that lies the misunderstanding of form itself- as form originates from gradations and iterations of formlessness. Immortality is then, fundamentally a state of Consciousness as wisdom whose last most iteration is expressed in form, and form then, is in a sense, Immortality's most trite state even if it represents the whole of a completion. People only marvel at the thought because they think they know form and believe in its concrete apparitations, but they do not understand (nor often care for enough about*) what it is to have a heart and spirit so Truthful and pure as to become Immortal. So Immortality has much more to do with the quality of our shen and it is only through the embodiment of such enlightened sense that the form realizes itself as formless. At a profound level there is no life nor death, only transformation. And at a transcendent level, that transformation resolves in having never having lived nor died and is beyond even eternality, yet in that resolved transformation is the eternal- free of all form and time. *How often is that you see people asking with such great care - how is my heart? how is my spirit? am I truly a good human? what is the quality of my soul? compared to people fretting over their body, their vanity, their longevity and death? If people- yes, even 'Taoists' gave as much care, and put so much energy into their heart and spirit as they did their body, their form would radiate more deeply with that very light more vibrant than any food, herb or physical practice. And in that any food, herb or physical practice they did do would be that much more powerful and transformative because of its goodness in resonant clarity.
  8. You ask other humans who are on a spiritual journey themselves to answer the question to a statement given thousands of years ago, in a specific context, by someone who had fully liberated themselves. It's not necessary to demean the whole of a path or place because someone(s) along the way who have not yet reached the end point themselves, and so do not yet know the resulting answers, cannot answer you right now. Your own sense to (subconsciously) exalt one path or one group of people (in this case Buddhists) over another makes you bristle when they fall short of your expectations in being able to answer your question regarding what it is to, or why we might or might not exalt anything at all. It is ok if we all fall short sometimes in understanding; it is a process for everyone. Everyone is trying in their own way, and the effort in giving reverence is still at the end of the day a more noble use of efforts then to look upon others in condescension. You say you thought it was a 'given' that someone should know something that they try and live by each and every day. Yet how many day to day things have you ever done before one day waking up a decade later, or decades later, or even life times later to realize you had no idea what it was you were actually doing? We have all been through many lifetimes. We can all have peace and acceptance in our own unknowingness and the unknowingness of others. And there can also be peace and acceptance in knowing if you allow it- would you allow it? (or will all answers be chalked up to a cynical heart?) It is valuable to be able to ask your discerning questions from an open heart, especially since it is that you also care about this so much one as to have been vexed by the lack of clarity and seemingly poor reception. First, let me share a bit about my own experience with you. When I was younger and new to the yoga 'scene', I was very surprised how at the end of every practice everyone would stand around together, hands clasped bowing at one another and saying 'namaste'. I was quiet baffled by it and not sure what to think... or do! I didn't know what it meant. Years later, after having gone through a period of awakening, I began teaching and to my own surprise, found myself, hands clasped at the end of sessions and bowing to my students... spontaneously and naturally! Now even much, much further in my own path and in working with students, I continue to do this spontaneously, naturally... and now, also very deeply. Some times I see in my students eyes the sheepish act of following along and not knowing why, sometimes I see in their eyes contrivance and disingenuous return, sometimes I see resistance, or that they are just tolerating this very strange thing I do! Some refuse to do it at all, some look at a loss as to what what I might be doing, some just love it and do it without knowing much why or thinking twice! It's all wonderful. So... First, like any mudra, there is a connection between paths of energies (meridians), energy centers (ie.,. chakras, palms) and a polarity into the heavens and earth from our body (via bai hui and hui yin). When we hold a mudra, we create a connection and circuit into the deeper sources of energies of the universe. This particular mudra creates a circuit of insight between the eyes of the palms (PC8- Lao Gong) from the center of the heart and connects to the core of our bodies (chong mai), acting as an axis to root the heavens into this world in an expression of heart-centered reverence. In xi shen- the human conditioning of ideas, doing this can have all sorts of "meaning", maybe even from an 'unwitting cult of personalities'. But in a human that is pure and clear, whose heart is bright and free, it is easy to feel the reverence, joy and love for life in this gesture. It need not be more or less, it need not be a mind-based idea, nor a passion, nor a theatrical display of unrealized worship. As for worship itself. It is easy when speaking to a group of religious of devotees as Buddha had, to see that many people have lost sight of themselves and even care for a deeper understanding to something else which they do not fully understand or may misunderstand. This process of relinquishing self-awareness, self-understanding, and becoming impassioned by projections, can create delusion. In addition, worship is often part of religious ritual and this adherence to conformity and decorum can also lead people to become mindless. This is what the Buddha means to address. It is not that the veneration of deities, religions or rituals should have to cause this, but nonetheless, many people prefer this process to their own processes and unconsciously choose to allow themselves to become obscured even as they attempt to become aware. So when the Buddha tells us not to let anything- including spiritual processes, become an 'opiate of the masses' he is pointing to this, which is not the same as suggesting that we cannot love, extol or revere from the goodness of our hearts in the most simple of ways. This gesture or any form of love, devotion, reverence or worship are not "just a token"... unless we make it one. And it doesn't have to be an act of subversion, sublimation, ignorance, mindless exalting nor self-diminution ... unless we make it one. Just as making love has certain postures and connection that can exalt us to bliss and to heavenly insight, so can these same acts cause harm, violence and depravity when done without consciousness. Because they are powerful. The wish to give honor, to love, to have reverence, to commit to what we care about and to devote ourselves in those processes that are a part of worship, need not become an act of contrivance, falsity or gesture in mass delusion and they don't need to cause fear. The Buddha taught this mudra and held many other mudras during his meditations in enlightened devotion and commitment to our potential for Liberation. They are all beautiful forms of transmissions, from the universe, to our hands and in to our hearts, so that we may better express the loving-kindness, compassion and acceptance that is the light of essence within us all.
  9. Money

    When the chakra of the crown opens it connects to the heavenly dimensions of the universe, including to the Immortals and celestial energetic bodies of star systems. These are the stars that comprise the Big Dipper and are part of a reunification process with the original template of ourselves, or the soul. The connection to the celestial realms are then transmitted back into the humanly vessel and that energy is sent into a sacred dimension known as the Crystal Palace located behind the third eye, where there are then further refractions and distributions of the energy through our organ and meridian systems. Even though a measure of energy from the heavens is always moving through our field, this level of opening and connection does not happen until after the golden seed is formed and the fragrance of heavenly peach flowers have been snowing for some time during meditation. This might sound like a recognition of the third eye to you and there is relationship to it, but the third eye only allows us to see subtle phenomena, not necessarily to understand or work with it rightly. Because of this, people who have the third eye open are only able to access a certain strata of realms, the nature of which has a lot to do with the health of their subtle systems and karma, and is also why many more people who have psychic experience disassociate, become delusional, sick or are menaced by negative entities... one needs to cultivate the maturity of health, clarity and capacity more completely within themselves in order to really be of and receive benefit from these dimensions of existence. But in general when we are cultivating deeply and sincerely, the arising of any phenomena becomes part of a depth of understanding of self as an ontological process and is not a distraction. So when one is able to move from such place with humility and awareness, then presence leads to wisdom that actually allows for the most fulfilling of mystical knowledge. Thus, the Consciousness of Immortals is not revealed until one has cultivated enough depth in self-Consciousness and character (de- virtue) as to be given such access and connection to divinity or the xian (the immortals). This is partly why if you read through posts of mine I talk about the importance of spiritual connection to golden seed which comes through the cultivation of shen (Consciousness). Form allows us to facilitate non-forms, until it itself can be dissolved into non-form, hence we must cultivate the yuan (original) within ourselves. And although all of this is indeed very deep and mystical, it must begin here: right within our capacity to be in and resolve our own hearts with the way we live and breath everyday.
  10. Money

    One of the Three Clarities: The Embodiment of Lu Xing 祿星 Your question surmises that the spiritual nexus of well-being within a person's life has its basis in money; this is a common perspective around topics of power, because many expressions of life so often seem to coalesce in forms of power and this in turn can provoke both fear and desire in people. This perspective creates a multiplicity of contentions through material and conceptual dichotomies (and more) as you try to fit the infinity of spiritual manifestation into the mundane currency of a single form: money! (but you could replace this word for sex, politics or any other mundane condition where power tends to consolidate and wield itself). If instead, your mundane life springs from the living awareness of spiritual connection to the Source that births all manifestations, then what is necessary to you will appear as is necessary for who you are, at the right time, naturally and in abundance. What you talk about... safety, security, sanctity and health to live a full and deep life, rests more foundationally in prosperity (or foremost a deeper form of essential wealth)- the monetary economics of which are only one means, but for most in this variant of time and place, a very important and often vital one nonetheless. First, if you recognize and understand that the energy (qi- which actually has many forms) of prosperity has inifinite potential in flow, then this will begin to change your concept of how wellness manifests and this will allow you to be more receptive and grateful to its many guises as you discover the abundance of miracle through mundanity. Prosperity is actually one of the three clarities of The Three Taoist Immortals correlated with the celestial bodies and elixir fields of our system, and who are themselves together the embodiment of unified purity when they congregate in the inner heavens (of the universe and your system): Lu Xing- God of Prosperity (including all forms of wealth) Fu Xing- God of Good Fate (including all forms of fortune), Shou Xing-God of Longevity (including all forms of health), (A small aside. I notice in the West that The Three Wise Ones are either not talked about or are seen as caricatures of some kind, but in Southeast Asian cultures they are very much revered: many wines, foods and alters are set up in honor of them. When I was growing up, their names and their values were always mentioned; especially to give blessing on special occasions, to mark the potential greatness in new beginnings, and at Lunar New Year. One of the Chinese herbal shops I often visit has a shrine in honor of Shou Xing to give blessings of health to their patrons). These three deities have had numinous manifestations across life times, achieving immortality with a unique focus of teaching from Emptiness as it leads from formlessness to become form and back again. Clarity in any of these three areas helps with the luminosity of transformation within us. Prosperity is what occurs when the heavens in the (jade and purple) palace of the Three Treasures in our body are Consciously nurtured. Longevity is what happens when the roots of the Three Treasures are Consciously nurtured. And Good Fate/Happiness/Fortune is what happens when the Earth and the Heavens unite at the center (through the heart) of all that we are as ren (human). Notice that in unification they are interdependent, ultimately inter-changeable and together create the potential for the treasures of wellness in our life from our bodies and through our bodies. Remember that that which is Immortal is without desire, hence it is eternal and this applies to all formations of Treasure internal and external ( don't objectify money and 'things'- lest xi shen, xi shen [acquired consciousness, acquired consciousness]). So prosperity or the wealth of our lives are part of an energetic Consciousness that moves through the universe and into our subtle body systems. Abundance of the Treasures comes from our clarity of access to these energies and (wise) understandings from (the levels of) Emptiness within the universe. Hence, when we become afraid, jealous, resentful, greedy or desireful of these powers, it creates obscurity and distortion, leading to imbalances in health and lifestyle and ultimately, our spirit. So do not struggle with the idea of 'have and have not' and then harmfully fight about it with yourself or with others; this is not clear. Worry less about specific attainments (or loss/lack) of any kind and focus more on what really needs doing within yourself so that prosperity, fate and health can naturally manifest of their own accord from your virtue and as is necessary for your living spirit path. To make this easier to understand and to begin with, consider living each day of your life like this: Make the kinds of life choices that are true and gracious to each step of the process without fear of the potential outcome- the kind where you could honestly and humbly always say from within your heart from start to finish that it is, will be and was always worth it! This is true conscious commitment. If you can do this with metta (deep self and universal loving-kindness) each day of your life in all things, then sense right here and now how much more empowering, transformational and liberating life becomes! This is a good first step and first breath to be practiced so that it may become literally EVERY step and EVERY breath of your living! So the root of your cultivation in this life needs to be one of a deep honesty in integrity of what is essential, committing to fulfill what is necessary- not what is the idea of something spiritual nor something societal, nor because you think you are a ___put a self-affirmed label here___. One must be deep and humble in their commitment to do what needs doing, and this requires a commitment in fearlessness and with vulnerability (this is often part of a larger, more complex topic so I won't get into it here, but it does mean you need the courage to live with an open heart in the face of all things- without passion, blindness nor foolishness and with lots of Love* Learning to do so is part of the human cultivation that allows us to step Consciously through the Mysterious Passage and go through what are known as the Spiritual Deaths- because at the least, who can know such Mystery without clarity and truthfulness, who can confront Death graciously without fearlessness and humility?). Also, one cannot be selfish in this endeavor if one is to be holistic and whole. Before I close this post, a word of reminder: Prosperity like any other clarity realized in Consciousness, must arise from your De (virtue). So do not confuse the attainments of yourself or others made through strife to be those arising from wisdom- whether these appear to be 'attainments' in cultivation or material life. Rightful living, including the rightfulness of resource and abundance that is True prosperity manifests uniquely to each soul's path from wei wu wei (effortless action) ; do not try to justify or rationalize- to yourself or for others, the things which do not come from the virtue of benevolent light. *Love is understandably, another big topic for people, and I won't get into it here, but by this I do not necessarily mean human emotionality, nor sociopathic ideation from lack of emotions, nor the science of bio-chemistry or instinct or drive; but I do mean what is great and that which can be experienced as the bliss of enlightenment)
  11. Buddha and Shen

    Question: Would a Buddha have a "perfected" Shen? Answer: Yes, one who has attained Buddhahood has a "perfected" shen or has total Consciousness. The state of eternal void allows for unceasing peace manifesting from the pure clarity of emptiness. It is this state of wisdom and being that is essential to the total liberation of self and others. Question: How does it work if someone suddenly attains Enlightenment, how are the three treasures affected? Answer: There can be many stages, phases or progressions to enlightened being. But in general, once you come into enlightenment, a sacred connection is created between you and a purity that is transcendent of dimensions. From this connection a sacred substance is divined from which one can begin the process of healing the entire system (via the transmuted perfection of the Three Treasures) and this in turn potentiates the path for total liberation. At some point then (whether immediate through enlightenment- shen; or gradual through body energetics- jing and qi), the full depth of cultivation can only be attained through Consciousness. This is why most humans who cultivate do not obtain the great longevity (because they are fixated on form and do not realize the Consciousness necessary to exist fully) of Earthly Immortals, and why most Earthly Immortals do not progress to the Spiritual and Celestial levels (because they are focused on energetics but have not entirely realized inherent True Nature)- because of (the lack of) Consciousness (shen). In essence, the Lesser, Middle and Great Paths are really differentiated foundationaly only by the quality, perspective and depth of Consciousness from which the capacity for transmutations are actually created and fulfilled. Thus the Lesser Path (ie. those whose interests are in the health and the wellness of their own bodies, both general physical and energetic) is for those whose minds are concerned with mortality and form (and therefore still have much issue of desire, attachment and illusion to overcome); the Middle Path (ie. those whose interest are in longevity and therefore also the more subtle and distinct conditions of energy across manifestations of diverse forms) is for those whose sense is in spirit (and therefore still need to refine mental and emotional energies to clear their subtle systems); and the Great Path (ie. those whose innate sense rests in liberation) is for those whose spiritual essence is rooted in Emptiness (ie. those who are prepared and able to cleanse all karmic conditions to full absolution). Though attainment on the Lesser Path could lead to progressions of more advanced paths but certainly may not; the Great Path inherently fulfills all other paths, however it requires greater integrity, discipline, humility, and virtue beyond self-interest to fulfill. (Note then that self-interest remains a source of motivation in both the Lesser and Middle Paths, whereas in the Great Path one is able to traverse free of desire and self-interest and hence can see the Mysterious Gates and Passages and root in Nothingness.) The nature of cultivating or refining the (gross and subtle) system is cyclical: personally (ie. continuous life patterns), existentially (ie. the perpetuation and progressions of collective consciousness across time), spiritually (ie. reincarnation and existence across dimension), metaphysically (ie. formless states and energies), and systemically through the koshas (sheaths of the system) via zhong mai (the Central Channel where the transmutations of the Three Treasures are facilitated at each level of the triple burner in the dan tiens). Just as cultivating a clear and healthy body allows for more radiant Consciousness, a profound Consciousness can lead to the cultivation of a more radiant form. Each person needs to begin this process according to the level or place at which they are ready for and understand in themselves- for some this is with body or forms, for others this is with mind and emotions or the spirit. For most it is somewhere in between and involves clarifying in stillness and movement, the energies of the system through a diversity of areas in their life. And in general, all of the internal work is made easier by also maintaining the external- meaning a safe, steady, clean and healthy lifestyle; this is as true at early stages as it is at later stages and why most sages live in relative seclusion free of distraction and waste. When you wonder what the most imperative areas for you are to focus, it is generally the areas where you struggle the most (note that this may or may not be the area you are most interested in working on; and while it may not be the easiest or most immediate area you come to, it is still nonetheless, the most imperative). These could be practical things as minuscule or seemingly trite as addressing areas of tensions or stagnations in the body by regularly stretching and doing yoga, or even keeping a clean space and releasing long buried items by maintaining a consistently clean space and completely purging ‘skeletons’; to confronting and healing overwhelming things in your life such as fears, addictions, intimacy issues and chronic illness to the very best of your personal ability and in a fullest sense of self-responsibility. Take heart that in your greatest area of struggle also lie the potential to unlock your greatest strengths- this is something you learn when you both study and observe the existential ontology of constitutional predisposition, especially as they relate to your spiritual path. When self-observing that most critical aspect of challenge in yourself, do your best to see past it's form (be this a belief/concept, a strong emotion, a bodily illness, etc.,.) and relax (sung) into the insight and understanding of its root (and by root, I mean what is beyond the existential); doing so will help initiate a path through Awakening. [I want to note again here (as I have in previous other posts) that seeing the Unnameable is not the same as enlightenment. This is an area where I feel many people who have not cultivated their consciousness deeply enough misunderstand (and is a reason why there are stories of Taoists who witness the Unnameable and simply choose to walk away, or people will cultivate to high levels and then stop, stray or become delusional- the latter being stories of gurus who fall prey to desires, for instance). Enlightenment is- as I mentioned above, a sacred connection: not simply an understanding, the foundation of an awakening or series of awakenings, or necessarily even the product of profound realizations. Enlightenment is therefore, as much something which is bestowed as it is a process of becoming, and one needs to come into a very deep place within and without of essential and profound virtue and integrity in rightful being for this to occur. Though it may seem astonishing to some that certain individuals come into what appears as sudden or even gradual enlightenment through a variety of forms or unusual impasses, each individual who has and will, have within the depths of their heart and spirit a great measure of purity and capacity to be in integrity of the sacred even if it is not readily apparent or understood by others, because to most it will not be readily apparent since most are living in projection, illusion and from distraction. So if you are one of these people, keep looking inward and follow that inner light in profound faith without the doubt and fear of a lesser consciousness and even through conditions that may seem to appear as failure and hurt. Live from this unified faith in full presence- faith does NOT mean having belief, having wishful emotions, or living blindly and thus unconsciously.] Question: Does jing, chi, shen only apply to a human body? Do devas have jing, chi and shen? Or is it only when in a human body that these things can be cultivated and nourished? Answer: I will not get into the details of distinctions here, but each of the Three Treasures have pre- and post- natal conditions, and each of these are as different from and integral to each other as they are to vital essence(s)... this is a subtle distinction since in many writings the terms are used inter-changeably, especially in modern writings. Each of the Three Treasures can be cultivated into its individual yuan (original form), and then into vital essence (singular). Deities are made of the pure light of Yuan Shen from which they can generate or affect the vital essences within the universe, including in the human body. (Note: as your question included the mention of "nourishment", I want to point out that when we are cultivating for a very healthy life, the emphasis is on nourishment- ie. tonification, conservation, strengthening... these things are for the benefit of mortality; whereas when we are cultivating with enlightenment as the foundation in our hearts, the emphasis and core is on refinement- ie. purifying, releasing, simplifying... these qualities are related to the nature of immortality.)
  12. Was Lao Zi A Real Historic Human Being?

    In Honor of the Xian Lao Tzu Was Lao Tzu one or many? Was Lao Tzu a legend of myth or a mere mortal? Was Lao Tzu a noble man or a Blue Ox? (...Who rode who home?) These kinds of questions come about because people tend to think that the human is Real and that having been a human that most others could perceive, this acknowledgement then justifies and legitimizes the existence of a self: if we can see it, taste it, smell it, and even document it (!)... many, many times over; then we can justify it, and then it must be so. Thus, to an ordinary person what is human and of humanity is more "real" than an Immortal. It is easy for the mind to mis-perceive existence and to confound the ideas of self. From the perspective of one who has come to full enlightenment- that is one who is also an Immortal, the understanding of what comprises a 'self 'and thus, what makes something real has no bearing on its temporal forms. When you too are present in Yuan Shen, then you too will know the answer to this and thus also understand the confounded perspective of this question. You too will know what it means to all at once be and never have been. You will recognize what is to be Real and therefore, what is True: you will recognize the Immortal nature within Being. Many sources guide the spiritual progress of existence- real and unreal, here and not here, all at once singular and yet many. But those sources which are True, are the most Real, and in that knowledge and wisdom is the Immortal Being transcendent within experience and without justification. Therefore it is beneficial to live purely so as to become clear in Consciousness, and therefore not confuse the imagination of self from Original Being.
  13. Is life long celibacy even possible ???

    The question isn't whether others can and have, because in these thousands of years of practice and history, of course, though many could not and did not, many also have and many do. It can be done: healthy and easily. And it can also be done pre-maturely, forced and incompentently. True inner peace cannot arise from any form of desire- even if that desire is for peace itself. True peace does not become so without a deep understanding and wisdom of the essential; and that only begins to become so when we are unafraid to look deeply within ourselves and resolve ourselves in all the conditions of worldly truths without fear, aversion, desire or suffering. So, what matters isn't if it is possible out there in the world. What matters is if it is in you to do so: readily, naturally, and now. To answer that you must look inward, you must ask yourself honestly and you must know yourself truly in this moment. The fact that you ask suggests an internal conflict in need of more self-awareness to resolve and a desire in need of a more profound understanding so it can be adequately relinquished. Take the time to meditate and look inward. Be honest with yourself about not only your readiness and capacities, but also about your own true willingness and what is really in your heart to do. As many spiritual teachers who have gone well beyond awakenings will tell you, the spiritual path is not for the faint of heart. It takes a great maturity to journey through existence in the light of full awareness with steadiness, deep integrity and a humble heart. So do not be afraid of the answer. The answer matters less than the courage that allows for clear insight and the potential for rightful action that can come forth when one is deeply honest within themselves. This foundation in integrious clarity is one of a few simple, yet deeply necessary virtues for all forms of cultivation to bear fruit no matter your path, monastic order, lineage or non-affiliation. There are many paths to transcendence. No matter what guise that takes in the world, the only path will have ever only been within you and through you. And each step of that way is only made apparent and profound when you take the time in the barren honesty of silence and stillness to discover what is true from within to know whether or not you are truly ready to be without.
  14. Taoist Immortal vs Buddha

    Beyond Form and Formless in the Myriad of Dreams In the spiritual traditions, we sometimes speak of the formed and the formless. For many this is the idea of the things they can touch and the things they can’t touch, the things we can see and the things we can’t see- this may be the corporeal body vs. the aether of mind-emotion, for others they are the layers of human structure vs. energy (qi), while for some it may be this world vs. other (metaphysical) worlds, or the mundane condition vs. the existential condition. Whatever your (conscious and unconscious) choice of perspective, as your awareness becomes more subtle, what was once perceived as formless- through increased clarity and awareness, will become formed; and formlessness will take on new dimensions of nuance becoming even more fine… until at last we work on things which are very very fine, things that are very very pure- things which are a part of Nothing. This is the process of refinement to Consciousness- physiologically, psychologically and spiritually, and it happens many times over and over until one comes to completion. So, what you once considered as ‘this’ or ‘that’ will transmute as your experience and perception deepens in nuance and subtly, no matter where your point of reference in understanding began, no matter who you thought you were and what this is. Students, scholars and even some certain spiritual sages may argue with one another because their attachment to experience continues to be rooted in a fixed form- the idea of what is spiritual- be these concepts, rules or structures applied to thoughts, spirits, methods or processes. As this complexity of spiritual knowledge becomes clarified through experiential sense in Consciousness and resolves back in its origin of purity, we discover that the myriad of forms is actually rooted in an incredible simplicity- one that can begin to be directly recognized and understood through samadhi and the passage into non-being: It is not possible to understand the condition of form if we do not know the formless; and it is hard to know formlessness if we cannot recognize the nature of Emptiness. This evolution in Conscious being is an important aspect integral to what it is to experience spiritual transmutation. It is easy to think or imagine the process of transmutation of the Three Treasures in the tradition of Taoism to be different from the process of evolution of psycho-spiritual virtue in enlightened consciousness of the Buddhist tradition because few have fully recognized its essential source within themselves. These inseparable aspects of our ontological process are one and the same even if spoken of in different directions, pointing to seemingly different trajectories: they actually direct to one (non-)thing. It is from this origin that you can come to understand that all those myriads of ways were ever really just one way. It appears as many answers because you are made of the many and think of much, but the truth known by the Enlightened is much more simple, and it is pure. This is why the Buddha “points” and Lao Tzu says “nothing” without desire nor attachment to ‘this or that’, yet both answers arise from a single Consciousness residing in the Empty State. So the Enlightened teaching is actually just one teaching- and ultimately there is only one lesson. From experience and to use the Taoist perspective of terms, I would put this metaphysical spiritual process to Consciousness like this: “A thousand transmutations leads to a single essence whose truth lies in Emptiness” So as you say above, you hear Buddha’s words as a lot of ‘somethings’ and you hear Lao Tzu’s word as one mysterious ‘nothing’, but the reality is a single inspiration of unified light that has no words, for those who are enlightened share One True Consciousness. This is why these teachings are not the practice themselves, yet they are found in and through the practices- and this is also why the deeper key to any form is unlocked through Consciousness (ie. shen, Buddha-nature, the heart) within the formless and not willing formlessness through the formed by mentally and physically practicing entrenched ideas. And this is also why working on your nature and character are every bit if not more important than working on the body. The body becomes what is it in large part because of what you think it is and true transmutation lies beyond cognition to create, dissolve and resolve. This is why you must unlearn yourself to realize, and this is why practice and cultivation are so much more important than debating traditions, teachers and methods. When you approach the potential of a true teaching with fear and doubt, practicing half-heartedly, scattered and full of conflicting desire, then the truth of what that is, who you are and what you do easily becomes obscured. Instead, when your heart and actions are diligent, honest and move deeply in (self)awareness, it becomes easier to sense and know what is true (and therefore also what is untrue) about yourself, about life, and all that appears to be; from this perspective of such honest practice, living and cultivation are the same path to the same origin no matter what form it took. When you come to this in yourself then all the invaluable insights and precious teachings of the Enlightened will no longer be a method or a mystery but a revelation in transcendent experience beyond all manifestations, both ‘formed’ and ‘unformed’ and it will become you.
  15. Taoist Immortal vs Buddha

    Enlightenment is the surpassed threshold into transcendent awareness from which the consciousness begins a process of merging with Source itself. When you experience this, then the terminology used in different traditions dissolves because they never really were. The terms are simply a vessel for delivery, an anchor and a pointer; but its truth is not in its form. So if you want to understand the essential, cultivate yourself from this essential place within yourself: not from the idea of becoming this or that thing out there. Crossing this threshold enters one into the complete spectrum of Consciousness for dissolving impurities- this is experienced by all who have progressed in enlightened wisdom. Each may use their own descriptive term, or select different properties to arbitrarily define qualities of progression, or suggest different methods to practice, but it does not change the essence of the process. Whereas those prior to enlightened being (such as those who have awakened, or those who are leading healthy lives, or even those who are struggling) are trying to rectify and purify themselves from within mundane or more profound understanding, those who cross this threshold are purifying themselves from within the origin of a transcendent awareness. So the entire path, was always and is always one of purification so that what is pure and original may become us unobstructed through all fields of our manifestation. The differences between the enlightened and unenlightened lies in the origin of connection. Purification and consciousness are the two keys- the body is only one of many ephemeral substrates or fields whereby result may manifest and/or be redistributed through energy into material and then back again into energy. Therefore, working on these two keys are the most important and will determine the quality of progression in both method and process. And so to address finite terminology… The thing humans witness as Immortal and the thing humans witness as Buddha are ultimately the same manifestation of One Enlightened Consciousness. From the witness of Xing Dao (the consciousness of the Unnamed Ultimate) there are no longer forms; it is the essence of essence that purifies Being- and the degree to which this refined awareness exists in us depends on our level of completion across this threshold. This means, that Buddhahood and Immortality exist in the same phase of enlightened progression and completion. Here the origin of experience is the same even if some methods of practice through form appear as disparate pathways or processes. The reason for this is because at this phase there is only one Consciousness permeating Being and it is only the residuals of form and/or person in their cleaved multiplicity that appear to have facets which require resolve. Did you think Immortals became so without the wisdom of Buddhahood? Did you not realize that Buddhas are also Immortal? Enlightenment in its wholeness is a completely unified state encompassing and yet transcending all name, so do not let your mind distract you into ideas… But let me this point out: What practical, actual and applied value is this question to the one who has *not come* to this point of experience? What practical, actual and applied value is this question to the one who has *actually come* to this point of experience? The answer to both of these is the same: it is *nothing*. The reason for this may come from two completely different places, yet the origin of why is exactly the same. Therefore, people who sincerely want to cultivate, need not worry about the answer to this. The value of this path is inherent and has little to do with how the world defines it, nor even how you define ‘yourself’. It is not sophistication in intellectual discernment that makes one wise, but discernment of sense beyond sense: this means that the ‘proof’ is not necessarily (exclusively) in the body, nor is it (necessarily only) in the mind; and this is why it is important to continue meditation and cultivation until you can have deep awareness in silence and stillness (from within samadhi) in order to truly understand this. People who are concerned with names, stages, titles and verification processes will take the long path (of hardship) to each (supposedly) arriving stage while (potentially) undermining the very essence of purity within the path. People who struggle to progress along this path and use mind to move energies and orbits are moving through time while attempting to force the nature of phenomena. The more you move through time*, the longer you dwell in karma. Ultimately there is no time in the enlightened state- it is beyond immediacy and in us it is found through the most profound Presence. We are all capable of accessing this timelessness. Do not thwart your own progress by falling prey to the ego’s desire for achievement and go picking at Buddhas over Immortals, this light body or over that light body: care more for your own heart (the seat of wisdom and shen from which the light of Consciousness emerges through form), for goodness and for honesty (the Virtues necessary for Immortality and Buddhahood), for self-understanding (the deep self-reflection that becomes the turning of the light): then you will know light beyond all body while in this very body. You will best afford yourself every opportunity to taste the great fruit through the diligence of humble practice. Therefore, ‘for every one line you read, do ten practices’. This is all that truly matters. And a final note, for some of the people on this forum who say they are not concerned with enlightenment: The essence of why this forum is possible is because those who came to enlightenment shared their wisdoms of the path in all its many forms and methods, and because they continue to hold this light so that all other beings may flourish. That you are drawn to this, that you live at all- this makes you integral to the spiritual progression that is this existence, even in all its mundane guises of form. The light of Buddha is in all of our hearts, in all of our bodies, in all of this universe. You may not think you wish for nor have care to strive for this omnipresent recognition, but do allow yourself this opportunity for such true peace, for such pure love and for this liberation; for this wisdom and grace is beyond any form of thought, body or practice you will ever do- yet it may become all that you do if you open your heart and awareness towards it. In every Being is the Immortal Buddha and so may you know it as yourself. *Note that metaphysical travel to other dimensions may appear timeless or even be timeless but those places are not the form of non-eternality I am pointing to