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  1. Who or what is answering?

    Whatever the mystery that lies behind the Yijing it certainly is fascinating. Again not only answers I've received (including statistically improbable exact same answers to similar questions and ones which include exact words or phrases I contemplated in relation to my question) but also some shock-inducing synchronicities regarding my Yijing answers and later experiences in life. Perhaps I will have to read Richard Smith's "Fathoming the Cosmos and Ordering the World" in order to find some traditional interpretations as I've been meaning to read the work anyway. I did manage to find this passage from the book "The I Ching in Tokugawa Thought and Culture" when researching though: The Ashikaga School was a training center for I Ching diviners. Its curriculum put more emphasis on divination than philosophy. Using the I Ching and Chou-i ming-ch’i ching as its major textbooks, it taught fourteen kinds of divinational skills, from the most basic yarrowstalk oracle techniques to advanced methods such as fate calculation, astrology, and geomancy. Before using the I Ching for divination, scholars of the School read a prayer that invited both Chinese and Japanese deities to come to the School. Here is a standard prayer recited by the ninth rector, Kanshitsu Genkitsu (1548–1612), in 1596: In Japan, I—XXX who comes from X province, X prefecture, and X county, on X day of X month—want to use the oracles to solve my doubts. I am wholeheartedly inviting all deities in heaven and earth, Gods of Sun and Moon, Gods of the Five Stars, . . . the Child Holding the Yarrow Stalks, the Child Showing the Oracles, the God of the Six Lines, . . . all deities in Japan, Gods of the Four Directions, hundreds of guardian deities of the mountain, forest, river, and sea, Fu Hsi, King Wen, the Duke of Chou, Confucius, Cheng Hsüan, Wang Pi, Chu Hsi, and the spirit of past masters of the I Ching. I hope all of you can come to this place of ritual. This [paper] is the proof of urgency, please come at once, as requested. So it appears at least this particular school invoked all possible deities, immortals, sages, and powers when inquiring of the oracle perhaps suggesting they believed one or all of them would aid in the answer.
  2. Who or what is answering?

    Hey guys, anyone know of the traditional interpretation as to who or what power is behind the oracle? Was it ever seen as heaven (tian), the gods (shen), immortals (xian), or some other related entity? In sum, who or what gives the answers? I ask because I've received answers and had other experiences which convince me that the Yijing is most certainly "real" as it were so of course I am curious as to the power or entity, if any, behind it. I know some may respond with a more psychological interpretation as though ones own intuition reveals the answers and this may be partly true, but nonetheless remain interested in learning about any older conceptions regarding any identity to the oracle.
  3. So I think I've made a thread with a similar question on here before, but figured I'd ask again in a different way. Over the past year or more I've been trying to turn myself into a modern Viking...not necessarily in the context of a plunderer or raider so much as turning myself into a badass warrior insofar as possible. This includes nurturing a warrior mentality, training in boxing/fighting every day, lifting weights and growing in strength, and really just embracing that sort of Conan the Barbarian life despite its lack of utility in the modern world. My question is it possible to proceed along the Daoist path (or similar spiritual paths others might follow, such as yoga, etc.) simultaneously with the above lifestyle? Can the above lifestyle come into conflict with ones cultivation or practices such as qigong/neigong and especially the potential practice of neidan? Finally what do you think is the best way to integrate these two paths? For example, is it best to do neigong prior to or after exercise? Where does zhan zhuang fall? How about meditation? In short I feel a strong inner urge or call to follow the warrior path, and yet I also don't want it to get in the way of what I see as life's most important or highest goal, namely spiritual cultivation aimed toward liberation and/or transcendence? Please feel free to share whatever insights or recommendations you may have.
  4. The word "nature" has the connotation of being the natural world, the world of space-time, the manifest cosmos, which is indeed included in the notion of "Dao." This nature is the Dao's function or 用. The word "God" has too many Abrahamic connotations, namely a personal, transcendent, and willful Being as the supreme reality who consciously creates the world and has a plan for the world, i.e. divine providence. Only two of these qualities really apply to the Dao, namely possessing a transcendent aspect and being responsible for creation, except in the case of the Dao it isn't a willful "creation" so much as a spontaneous emanation. Neither are perfect but honestly God would probably be preferable if only because it maintains connotations of being transcendent, spiritual, divine, magical, supernatural, etc. whereas "nature" would too easily fall into the trap of modern materialism or scientific naturalism, and hence Daoism would be portrayed as simply being some kind of Chinese Rousseau rather than a path to the Dao or Ultimate Reality, namely to 的道成仙, or achieve the Dao and gain spiritual immortality/transcendence.
  5. So I have a couple of questions relating to Yi Gong/Kunlun and associated terms for the common practice between them all. Please feel free to answer any one of the following questions: 1. Anyone still doing this practice? Seems going back about 10 years ago or so it was quite popular on this forum. If so what can you say long term practice has done for you? 2. What is the central goal or object of this project? What is it supposed to do in terms of ones qi, qimai, spiritual growth, and its relation to general Daoist cultivation? 3. Is practicing this compatible with other practices such as general qigong/neigong? In particular, does it conflict with neidan or the goals of neidan? Can it be beneficial to someone who hasn't begun serious neidan as a sort of preparatory practice? Thanks in advance for any assistance.
  6. Daoist Chanting and Ritual

    Seems with a bit more searching I have largely found the answer to my question: http://en.daoinfo.org/wiki/Scriptures_for_Morning_and_Evening_Rites_of_the_Complete_Perfection_Tradition In any case, does anyone know anything more about the Daoist mantras or 神咒 and if there are restrictions on reciting them? To take a popular example, one mentioned in the link above, the 金光神咒 "Jinguang Shenzhou"/ Divine Incantation of Golden Light. Can laymen recite this or does one need a special transmission? Is it meant to be repeated like a Buddhist mantra? Anyone know of any good books in English regarding these lesser known areas of Daoism such as ritual, liturgy, chanting, mantras, etc.? Thanks again.
  7. Anyone what is the typical daily chanting done by modern Daoists, specifically Longmen/Quanzhen but really in general? Daily rituals if any? Even better anyone know of any links with the chants (Hanzi alone are fine but with pinyin along would be ideal)? I believe Stuart Alve Olson has a book which details some daily scriptures chanted or something but I suppose it'd be better to find them online as I imagine it is common knowledge, perhaps just less common in the English speaking world. Personally am generally interested but more specifically I would like to add a chanting regimen into my daily routine. Thanks in advance for any assistance.
  8. Buddhist Qigong

    Yes, no one denies that the 5 skandhas and all of phenomenal reality is "anatta" or without self. The question is whether there is a transcendental "Self" similar to the Hindu Atman. Admittedly a majority of Buddhists would say no, yet throughout Buddhist history there have been detractors to this view. Nibbāna as True Reality beyond the Debate by Potprecha Cholvijarn is a look at the debate in contemporary Thailand. That said in many Mahayana sources, particularly Tathagatagarbha literature but also in Mikkyo, etc. one of the four "gunaparamitas" or transcendental qualities of the Absolute element (Dharmakaya/Nirvana) is "Self". Here's a snippet from Susan Hookham's "The Buddha Within": The Four Transcendental Qualities. The Absolute Element is described as having four transcendental qualities (gunaparamita, yon tan pha rol tu phyin pa) when it fully emerges as the fruit of the path. "Transcendental" here is a translation of the Sanskrit word "paramita" meaning passed over to the other side; it is often translated as "perfection." The four transcendental qualities are, (1) transcendental purity (subha paramita, gtsang ba pha rol tu phyin pa), (2) transcendental self (atma paramita, bdag pha rol tu phyin pa), (3) transcendental bliss (sukha paramita, bde ba pha rol tu phyin pa), and (4) transcendental permanence (nitya paramita, rtag pa pha rol tu phyin pa.) Of course if you are more interested in a purely Theravada perspective, the previous article I linked and the book already mentioned are good ones, but other works explaining the differing perspective are those by George Grimm and Self & Non-Self in Early Buddhism by Perez-Remon. Well "eternalism" is the view of perpetual existence in time or as a particular individual, such as a Christian conception of "John Smith" living eternally in heaven. That said timelessness is another form (or rather the true form) of eternity and nirvana is often equated with timelessness and thus is eternal. Walpola Rahula from “Voice of Buddhism” magazine, Vol 20 No.1: Buddhism does not stop there. It goes a step further and says that there is a state which is beyond cause-effect and beyond space-time (akalika, Kalavimutta). That is the ultimate absolute “Truth” called Nirvana, which is outside the scope of physical science.
  9. Buddhist Qigong

    There is a controversy running throughout the history of Buddhism, from split of the earliest schools to the Dolpopa controversy in Tibet to the modern Dhammakaya movement in Thailand, on the topic of the Self in Buddhism and what the meaning of "anatta" is. So it's not as clear cut as some may believe or portray. What is clear is that all conditioned phenomena and the 5 skandhas are "anatta" as well as "anicca" and "dukkha", namely impermanent and suffering. That triad of qualities is the mark of conditioned phenomena. Conversely, nirvana is seen as unconditioned, permanent, and bliss, the cessation of all dukkha. If the qualities of "anicca" and "dukkha" are reversed in the Buddha/nirvana, why not the other quality, namely "anatta"? Here's what Nan Huaijin had to say on the topic: When the Hīnayāna speaks of no self, it is in reference to the manifest forms of presently existing life; the intent is to alert people to transcend this level, and attain Nirvāṇa. But when this flowed into the world of learning, especially when it was disseminated in the West, some people thought that the Buddhist idea of no self was nihilism and that it denied the soul, and they maintained that Buddhism is atheistic. This is really a joke. An interesting article discussing the topic from the other perspective: http://lirs.ru/lib/tmp/Against_No-Atman_Anatta,Miri,AP,2002.pdf My whole point is that nirvana was conceived as the cessation of becoming, namely samsaric existence dependent on time/change, and thus the attainment of timelessness. Similarly Daoist celestial immortality was conceived of as the attainment of timelessness, at least as an internal state. Hence in their conception of the ultimate goal they don't differ greatly in that essential quality of timelessness, though as I stated previously they do differ in the details, approach, philosophy, etc.
  10. Buddhist Qigong

    True enough that Buddhism's goal is release from samsaric existence, but samsaric existence is "becoming" and dependent on time for change. Daoist immortality and the goal of neidan is to enter a timeless state beyond (and also have power or control over) the changes or bianhua, as is the goal of other alchemical traditions, Hindu yogic traditions, etc. This transcendence of time was also a part of Buddhism. Here's a snippet from an article entitled "Nirvana, Time, and Narrative" by Steven Collins: Thus the Buddhist goal and ultimate ideal isn't too far removed from the Daoist notion of immortality in the essentials, though there is considerable differences in how this was imagined in the details and especially in their approach of this goal, with Buddhist tantra being the closest to Daoist methodologies as noted by Mudfoot. The identity of the Buddha and Daoist immortal was often stated in Daoist works after the Song Dynasty especially when the 三教合一 or "three teachings as a harmonious unity" was emphasized and coalesces in movements like the Wu-Liu school.
  11. Some questions

    A few related questions on two broad topics: 1.) What is Daoism's (especially authentic Quanzhen/Zhengyi, etc.) view on the gods? Who are the most important gods overall and what is their typical function? Are the gods made use of in praxis such as deities are worked with in Hinduism and Buddhism? Whats the relationship, if any, between gods and 仙 immortals/ 真人 "true men"? 2.) How does Daoism view the divinization of the body? It is known that Daoism views the body as a microcosm, as an alchemic crucible, as being of the substance of qi, etc. and that Daoists refine the body in its subtle and energetic forms as part of the path, the so called cultivation of 命 ming/life-destiny. So what is the final end of the body in Daoism? What exactly is the immortal body or 身外身 "body outside of the body" discussed in neidan literature?
  12. Fearful Experiences

    Thanks for the responses. On the one hand, I don't think of myself as being a highly advanced practitioner or initiate, and thus the idea that I could become enlightened at this point doesn't seem right. Yet the fear that spontaneously grips me is a bit how Lost in Translation described it....the ego clinging onto its existence in the face of seeming annihilation. The old mystical saying of "Die before you die" also seems apt. Though the experience isn't seemingly just the disappearance of the ego-self, but even the world...or the "world-ness" of the world as it were, the world as normally understood. The fear that comes on and subsequent attempt to reground myself in the mundane world and self as I know it seems a protective measure but one that goes against my actual intention of striving on the path. Perhaps as the user steve mentioned, part of the problem could stem from my current position of not being associated with any lineage, not having a guide, etc. essentially working on my own so far in other words.
  13. Fearful Experiences

    What is the cause and cure for the simultaneous search for Truth/enlightenment and experiences of fear of the same? To be more specific, I will describe what in my own case has happened multiple times over the years and just happened again yesterday: Essentially I will have a sudden insight when contemplating (even philosophically/thought based contemplation) the Absolute or timeless eternity or contingent nature of the body-personality. The experience is like that of my sense of normal self slipping away or disappearing or seeing it as illusion and feeling like I am standing at a precipice before an abyss, almost as though I were about to plunge into the infinite or at least have an experience of reality altogether unlike day to day experience. Now theoretically and according to the words of the sages, to be able to see through illusion and either witness, experience, or ideally unify with the Dao is supposed to be the highest good, true bliss, power, peace, etc. Yet when I begin to have experiences like those mentioned, instead I get a sense of primal fear or anxiety rushing onto me, to the point where I feel the need to either start looking away from the experience, consciously ignore the insight, or even talk myself back into mundane reality and my mundane identity/self. What's even stranger is what started me on this path was a similar experience in the past that I experienced as the greatest good/happiness/bliss/truth possible, and yet now this primal fear/anxiety attacks me. This fear is mostly spontaneous, which is why I use the word "primal", yet if I could rationalize it perhaps its that there is some fear that I will not be the same, that I won't be able to function in the world, or that I may learn something I'd rather not know about myself or reality, again despite the fact that I also theoretically know that the process is a positive one leading to the ultimate (the Dao, etc.) Why is this? How can I simultaneously be searching for Truth and yet whenever something like the above occurs feel primal fear or anxiety? How can I overcome this barrier?
  14. Chinese Bones

    The Indo-European Urheimat is still a matter of controversy and not set in stone. It may well be that the old Northern European plain hypothesis is correct, it may be that the Kurgan hypothesis is correct, Anatolia could be correct, etc. we don't know for certain. In the end the IE Urheimat has no bearing on the racial or ethnic makeup of the proto-Indo-Europeans and later Indo-Europeans as they spread across Eurasia. Similarly while in large the Indo-European expansion is correlated to R1 genetics, with (most) R1b roughly correlating to the centum branch and (most) R1a to the satem branch (but not absolutely), there may have also been different genetic markers involved in the wider expansion. Furthermore ones genetic marker doesn't say anything about ones race since a white Englishman with R1b-L21 DNA could marry a black African and his son in turn could marry another African and the predominately black/African grandson would have the same genetic marker despite that genetic marker being strongly associated with the insular British Celts. Thus in turn DNA will not inform absolutely about the racial or ethnic make up of the proto-Indo-Europeans. Furthermore the presence of non-Indo-European linguistic influence on Indo-European languages says nothing about ones ethnic or racial makeup. Thus much of the information posted dealing with these facets does nothing to disprove the notion that the Indo-Europeans or Aryans were originally of a Northern European racial type, which was my claim, which was accepted by most pre-Second World War scholars, which is still accepted by many today, and which the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of. Again, it seems the main source of controversy and argumentation against these claims are "Nazis said this and some neo-Nazis believe this. Nazis are evil, therefore their claim is wrong." What must be relied on to determine the answer to this question is archaeology, ancient history, and observing modern populations while using genetics and other elements in support. When doing so we discover (recapping some what I stated earlier): --Celts, Germanics, Slavs, Balts, Italics, Greeks, etc. are European today and various isolated groups in the East, such as Kalash, Pamiris, Nuristani, etc. also share this appearance in significant degree. Various Kurds, Iranians, Armenians, etc. also share this appearance. --Tocharian mummies and ancient Chinese description of the Yuezhi also have this appearance. Ancient descriptions of the Scythians, Sarmatians, Alans, etc. also depict these people as of a Northern European type easily confused with Celts, etc. --As noted people model their gods after themselves and the red-bearded thunderer god Thor/Indra/Taranis, etc. has clear proto-Indo-European roots --While DNA studies again have flaws, Yamna DNA is most strongly present in population groups with the more stereotypical Northern European appearance:
  15. The Warrior Way

    Here's another interesting thing to inquire upon: For anyone interested in the warrior way, some element of that mindset or spirit must be within them yet perhaps for some it may not have actualized to its fullest potential. What are some ways to further awaken and deepen the ideal warrior mentality and spirit in our own lives? How can we more closely imitate the kshatriyas, samurai, knights, Spartans, etc. of history and become more like them in mind and spirit?