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Found 11 results

  1. Where to Start? Auckland, NZ

    Hello all, I am Adrian, 48, (male) Auckland NZ. I've had a long association and interest in Daoist texts and philosophy after my aunt left the Dao te Ching in my house when I was a kid and I found it had a very strong feeling of familiarity and complete 'rightness' for me. I bumped into the Mo Pai thing with the Magus of Java text a few years ago about Jonny Chang, got interested, contacted Jim (now passed) and practiced it for about a year. I think I may have done myself some harm doing this without close supervision - but I stopped because I felt I was doing it from the wrong motivations anyway. In any case then I read a few of Shifu Lin's short works on Mo Pai and Sexual Alchemy. All this makes sense to me but I think I need to find a legit teacher to at least have some more conversations with as I'm not sure I'm ready or have time for hard core Mo Pai life commitment! Also I have a sense of uncertainty about Shifu Lin as some older threads on this site bear out. So does anyone have any advice for me about where to start a conversation with an experienced Daoist practitioner, not necessarily Mo Pai or even Nei Kung, ideally anyone NZ/Auckland based but with reasonable english!! I'm not much of a fan of just doing mysterious unexplained practices AKA "jacket on, jacket off"! Cheers, Adrian
  2. What are internal practices suitable for self-study? It's an interesting question with two complementary answers. There is the perspective of complete formal practice that allows the practitioner to advance from complete naivety to mastery within its self-contained systemic framework. The other view is that of wisdom and insight into what the this thing "self" that we consider as defining, or confining, us really is. This wisdom aspect is the vitally important element which enables the formal routines to provide benefit and success. Wisdom The general benefit of wisdom deals with karma, both positive and negative, which is our desiring and rejecting habitual view of relating ourselves to our experiences. This is practical observation and not intellectual deduction merely. When a baby is born all pretty much all she does is to shit, cry, and smile. The baby doesn't have any functioning conception of self-worth for herself or for others. This doesn't prevent her from experiencing life and reality naturally like a human baby does. Only later in the childhood would she learn that people assign worthiness to their experiences and infectiously project these out of their persons. A labeled world of good and bad phenomena is traded around like collectible card games, and the only way out of this is to realize that it is a game that can be suspended or quit. The path of wisdom is returning to that earlier puerile innocence that didn't see the world through permanent divisive categories or absolute judgements: we call this nonduality. It asks for genuine inquiry, curiosity, and taking into account the context of experiences. The world and its people reveal themselves as they are: sometimes sweet, sometimes annoying, often helpful, and rarely committed to wisdom. None of these observations are anything but transitory insights into human condition, which makes no impact to our innate worth how we are free to evaluate and judge our worthiness or just leave it as undefined like it naturally is. It's about opening up instead of closing in. Please do not see what I described as any sort of nihilism or radical equalization of all experiences. Defaulting views to nothingness or indifference are marks of not having much understanding nor insight. The high point of wisdom is to train and live through a natural relaxed and flexible view that easily defaults to undefined. The real you is spontaneous and true to your own innate goodness underneath those impulsive habits that cloud it. There are many ways to approach purifying karma, but all have the same fundamental flavors of becoming fully aware of your own suffering and that this limited view is not the entire picture or permanent at all. Yogis can train their familiarity with the open awareness all living beings have in common or they can offer their selfless service to the world in the face of abuse and scorn, up to the point of martyrdom. Make no mistake: The real challenge of wisdom is in facing all your fears and disdain. All the things you would rather avoid and not confront are the very same poisons that when taken in correct doses with good skill become antidotes and medicine that sets you free from these compulsions. Suddenly you feel liberated: much lighter and healthier. What a bliss, what a silly way it was to trap yourself in such a meaningless bubble! In the Western world we have relatively little active culture into the study and preservation of universal wisdom. This problem can be solved through studying some living wisdom tradition and looking into the process of inquiring into one's limited conceptions of self. For this purpose I have looked into some good and short videos that give insight into how people's perceptions of stress and themselves can give rise to real life changing skills and realizations. The core wisdom here is that if you want to change yourself and your sense of self, then you should first have a healthy and strong sense of self. Assorted Videos about Self-Compassion and Emotional Welfare Getting a Clue about Wisdom and Virtue (De) For a good introduction to a wisdom tradition that can take you all the way to complete enlightenment I recommend Shanrendao. It's inspired by the Confucian tradition where the central teachings is that the person should seek to perfect his role and function in the society and within his family, gracefully and gratefully accept all "polishing" others may unkindly serve him, and still remain true to himself and not suppress his emotions and desires. The formula is simple, but difficult to master because people might be unable to express their emotions in a true or meaningful ways. More about this later. I personally have a strong liking towards Confucian view of De because it is all-encompassing and emphasizes that cultivation truly isn't about this or that formal technique, but becoming wise and genuine person with a crystal clear conscience. This lesson is especially important in our age. With Confucian healing and wisdom in mind, I highly recommend the books Let the Radiant Yang Shine Forth: Lectures on Virtue by Liu Yousheng and Twelve Characters: A Transmission of Wang Fengyi's Teachings. Below is a diagram that shows Wang Fengyi's Shanrendao tradition's insights into the classic Five Elemental Processes and how they connect to different human frameworks. These can also be useful in diagnosis which is clearly presented in the clinical healing cases of Liu Yousheng's magnificent book. There currently is another English translation of Wang Fengyi's teachings available: Discourse on Transforming Inner Nature. Both this and the Twelve Characters book are among the clearest expositions of spiritual cultivation that I have found anywhere. Wang Fengyi masterfully illuminates the similarities and differences in Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism. Teachings about Open Awareness, Meditation and Nondual Wisdom C T's excellent topic is a treasure trove of both Buddhist and universal wisdom: Click here to see what Steve suggested on this thread. Click here to see what dwai suggested on this thread. Formal Practices The problem with formal self-study is two-fold: it typically hinders cultivating the peace of heart and body correctly. Without confessing these as the primary way there is no true cultivation or satisfaction happening, but the genesis of agitation. Emotions Must Be Addressed First Your heart is the window to your entire being. If you have a lot of wild emotions that are easily stirred, then it's guaranteed that your mind will not know peace, but always search for channels for that restlessness. The most critical foundation for internal training and safe energetics is that the emotions must be healed through what could be called a process of acceptance, balance, and integration. If emotions flare, then the body's vital energies are diverted into excessive tantrums that weaken the whole bodymind complex. This weakens and counteracts any healing that is supposed to happen naturally, and strong emotions are a contraindication for energetic practice because they may cause deviations. Therefore it's an incontestable premise that calmness of heart is the way to vitality and energy, but it must happen naturally through wisdom and not by forcing. Suppressing emotions is unhealthy. It shuns the wisdom and awareness of experiences as they are, so it sets the stage for growing psychological and ethical issues if not addressed early enough. These are deviations from proper practice which, if perpetuated, will almost certainly lead to unwholesome trance states. Bliss and pleasure seeking are often convenient masks for not wanting to deal with uncomfortable emotions or traumas. There is nothing wrong in either as such, but forceful desires and "positive attitude" will not genuinely calm the heart. Please this topic I wrote about psychic trance states that flawed practice and emergence of psychic shadows can cause: For instant karmic cleansing and emotional balancing, the most rudimentary things you could do relate to your emotions. You could offer sincere and deeply heartfelt personal apologies for every tantrum you have projected onto others; you could try acting out difficult emotions, maybe in a social setting like improvisation theater hobby; and you could do exercises like Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) that are designed to unwind traumatic emotions that the human body might suppress and keep inside (see the works of David Bercelli and Peter Levine). Please consult your health care provider before trying the following exercise on your own and decide together whether it suits you. A Simple TRE Flavored Practice Please note that this exercise is not supposed to be Spontaneous Qigong or any other type of energetic exercise. It's just supposed get emotions out and help you relax. Another thing to consider that if you have a lot of stress and tension within your muscles and fascia, this probably is a sign that you have kept emotions inside in a very corporeal sense. In this case very spiritual practices can be unsuitable because they might provoke excess irritation, unstable mind, and general disconnect and floating attitude towards mundane activities. TRE is one way to help improve the situation because it removes tension, but so also is the traditional Chinese standing exercise Zhan Zhuang (ZZ). You would have to be mindful that not all ZZ teachings and standing poses are equal, and that those starting with energy body activation may be unsuitable for beginners with bad health. Static standing exercises like Zhan Zhuang in internal martial arts offer simplicity and stability, but finding the correct beneficial physical alignment on your own can be very difficult, and especially so if starting when in ill health and a tense body. If your Zhan Zhuang doesn't make your cry or challenge your comfort zone while standing extended periods, then you probably should look into finding better instructions because getting that deep seated tension off your body really requires facing discomfort. It's a painful process for a while, but when done carefully and correctly, you will be much relieved. Getting into Energetics There are following main factors that make the formal internal practice good for self-study: 1. Safety (It's difficult to fumble with the practice. Mostly safe even for pregnant women and the fetus.) 2. Effectiveness (Brings good and clear results every time.) 3. Ease (Allows good practice from beginner level to complete mastery.) 4. Completeness (Not a sprawling system, but a clear sense of defined practices and progression with them.) All of these together lead to the summit that the practice is really self-correcting and can be well traveled without any teacher's supervision, continual corrections, or amending with advanced instructions. It's an evergreen fare on this forum that people come looking for practices as a means to satisfy some fixed personal desire. Often this fixity is then channeled as meeting some whimsical aim and urge to take forceful control that deviates from the laid back wisdom of true contemplative and peaceful heart. Therefore there's a lot of room for creating errors. Not only are many people dissatisfied with simple and efficient exercises, but they want also to modify what they have previously seen or create their own brand new fad methods in order to evoke a sense of external mastery. Some are more modest and publicly only claim high mastery in kungfu or meditation without making alterations to established standards. All these are signs of self-initiation, which is in contrast to an open minded and respectful self-study. Yes, it's entirely possible to train energy in a multitude of different ways, but not all of them are beneficial in the long term or fostering fair character development. Safety is another factor that can't be neglected especially when learning on your own. Please see the following topic I wrote about Qi deviations: There are simple moving exercises in many Qigong styles, but even in these people may err while learning on their own or forget to foster adequate physical relaxation. Also, this forum has witnessed many occasions where a disgruntled practitioner lashes out against his teacher because the physical movement apparently invites overtly critical examination and experimentation. Therefore I have a bias against recommending very physical practices for people wishing to study on their own. Visualization practices are an endless mire because they don't easily offer the mind to really relax and diffuse the baseline agitation nor shed the desire to imagine new ways to cut the practice short. How could it then result in correct outcomes? The most difficult part really is that no instruction is foolproof for teaching how to not stir the heart, but gracefully accept even difficult emotions and thoughts that may surface and witness them with laid back awareness. If this obstacle is overcome, then the self-study has a chance to bear fruit. Some practices are more forgiving with them such that Flying Phoenix doesn't require mental stillness for effectiveness and Fragrant Qigong encourages an idle mind so strongly that it's okay to watch TV while practicing. I really am recommending you to think how you would like to practice, what are your lifestyle restrictions, and what you are after. There are upsides and downsides to every practice. Some styles don't mix well with others and some require adhering to specific precautions unless you wish to get sick. Video instructions only rarely feature complete exercises without withholding the internal development and lineage skills as closed secrets. These that I have found and presented below have in-built safety mechanisms that also reinforce good results, unless deliberately acted against that design. However, the characteristic feature always is simplicity and effectiveness. These written instruction often are the best of complete arts that were detailed in popular booklets during the China's booming Qigong craze. These are simple enough instruction that they could be printed out and distributed. You will have to seek my suggested formal practices from authoritative sources. I have linked the best I could find. Video Instructions Flying Phoenix - Features breath sequencing that quickly activates spinal energy, which makes its static standing exercises uncharacteristically very safe and powerful for self-learning. It also features moving and sitting meditations. Fragnant Qigong (Xiang Gong) - Very simple movements and powerful effects, but the practice has a lot of prohibitions. There apparently are flawed public demonstrations circulating in the Internet, so it must be learned from an authentic source. Wu Wei Qigong by George Xu - Supposedly activates an esoteric wheel in the belly to cultivate energy throughtout the day, which is similar to Falun Gong's Qigong but without its limitations. Written Instructions Relaxation Qigong (Fang Song Gong) - Relaxation as a way to deep meditation, therefore dismisses forms and takes it the easy way. For advanced practitioners it provides a cool way to do meta-acupuncture for oneself. Longevity Self-Massage (Bedside Baduajin) - A quick and simple set of external massages, but supplements with an internal aspect that is a great way to get into Buddhist flavored Anapanasati meditation. Final Words Did you enjoy it? I sincerely hope so! I will keep updating this Internal Arts primer article if I receive convincing arguments why some certain viewpoints or practices should be included. Please bear in mind that I am keeping the bar very high and I will not include anything without careful examination. Examples of what will not qualify for self-study: Taiji Qigong Shibashi, all spontaneous Qigong styles without any exception. If you don't understand why, then read my article again and contemplate what might be missing. My thanks go to @C T, @dwai, @steve, and @freeform for their helpful suggestions and inspiration they have kindly provided.
  3. Hello everybody. I'm a neurosurgeon from Italy running a spine surgery program in Milan. I am one of the teacher of the italian most important acupuncture school: so-wen (sorry for not being able to link their internet site). I'm about to start a project on a group of seminar concerning the study of oriental medicine physiology and I found great help in some of your posts while working on my power points. So thank you everybody and hope to start exchanging experiences on everything.
  4. Looking for Neidan

    Hello All, I am new to this community, and I have been browsing the content with great interest today. I live in the Southwestern US, and I am hoping to find a teacher in neidan. I hold this intent and project it into this digital space. Thank you in advance for any thoughts.
  5. Questions for Wang Li Ping?

    I am going on a meditation retreat with Wang Li Ping on April 8 through April 18, 2016. http://longmen.eu/registration-longmen-2016/ Here is a Wikipedia article about him: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Liping_(Taoist) What questions would you ask a skilled meditater? What questions do you have for Wang Li Ping?
  6. Hi guys ive seen many sources and authors refered about Microcosmic Orbit. Iam trying to find which are most respected self-learning materials about MCO. Can you post where did you learned MCO from ? I know many here learned MCO from a teacher - oral transmission which is of course the ideal way. But if you would recommend a self-study source to learn MCO what would it be ? Iam interested in self-study so books, video, web articles are prefered. Please be specific about the title. Author and title of the book or dvd, etc. I know aboout Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming - Qigong Meditation but for me this book is too encyclopedic/academic (430 pages) and he also keeps mentioning in this book you should read his previous book before you start (Embryonic Breathing - another 400 pages) - i dont want to read 800 pages to start practice Also Mantak Chia is mentioned a lot but he already has like 60 books and 50 DVDs - if you learned from Mantak Chia which title would you recommend most from his catalogue about Microcosmic Orbit Also Jerry Alan Johnson is mentioned, but i dont know his work at all, i dont know which of his books describe MCO. Could you guys post if you self-learned MCO... where did you learn MCO from ? What titles would you recommend ? Please dont post "i heard this and this should be good"... iam trying to gather tried and tested sources that really worked for people in the field, so i prefer recommendations that really worked FOR YOU... THANKS A LOT
  7. I'll have to give this some thought, but thought it'd be a worthwhile open question. What seminars made the biggest impression on you? Why and what practices did they teach. Thanks.
  8. In my opinion the best Taoist teacher on this planet right now is Mantak Chia. I say this because the majority of his work is published online for anyone interested to read and practice for free. He has various youtube video's that are also for free and he explains the phenomena that we experience as objectively as he can. I really don't think you can go wrong with this guy. I plan on saving up the funds to go to his retreat in Thailand which is fairly cheap compared to many other teachers. Here are some links if you want to check out the best Taoist teacher on this planet and rid yourself of delusion. http://mantakchia.com/ http://www.youtube.com/user/utcoffice/videos?view=0 If anyone else knows of someone similar to Mantak Chia who exemplifies the qualities we should expect from an enlightened Grandmaster then please post it, or post your experiences with Mantak Chia. (No offence intended to the great teachers on these boards, I know there are a couple but I won't say names)
  9. Dear bums, I feel that there aren't many places to post this, and feel that this place has the most people viewing it as opposed to my thread in the lobby. If any mod can move this to the appropriate place then please do so! I am looking for a teacher in Shanghai, since I will be staying here for at least 2 more years. My Chinese isn't really proficient enough to actively ask and search for a teacher by myself just yet. I have been searching in English and asking friends and acquaintances with not many results. Are there any teachers that you guys would recommend that are staying in Shanghai? Thanks!
  10. Intro to Teachers

    Hi I am interested in any information regarding who are the premiere Buddhist/Taoist masters in or around the LA area. I am curious as to who is revered, considered the best, and who is real, no fakers. I am looking for a potential teacher, I appreciate any information provided. Thank You.
  11. Sacred Writings of Different Past Cultures Tao Te Ching- Tao Te Ching - Translated by J. Legge Bhagavad-gita- Sacred Books of the East Vol. 8: The Bhagavad-Gt Index Dead Sea Scrolls- Dead Sea Scrolls - Qumran Library http://www.bibliotec...ea.htm#contents Sepher Yezirah- Sepher Yezirah Index Early Christian writings, Apocrypha, Gnostic Gospels- Early Christian Writings: New Testament, Apocrypha, Gnostics, Church Fathers Holy Bible- KJV Bible -- Browse Holy Quran- The Koran -- Browse Zend Avesta- http://www.sacred-te...ndex.htm#avesta Tipitaka info- Buddhist Studies: Texts of Buddhist Scriptures Scriptures of Mahayana buddism- Mahayana Buddhist Sutras In English Tibetan Book of the Dead- http://www.summum.us...fication/tbotd/ The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali- http://acaryadeva-ne...The Yoga Sutras Nostradamus Centuries- Nostradamus Index The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran- http://www.katsandogz.com/gibran.html Timaeus and Critias by Plato- TIMAEUS CRITIAS The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall- http://www.sacred-te...o/sta/index.htm Egyptian Book of the Dead- The Egyptian Book of the Dead Index The Pyramid Texts- http://www.sacred-te...y/pyt/index.htm The Emerald Tablets of Thoth- The Emerald Tablets of Thoth Those are a few I could think of, feel free to add to the list. What I see is an underlying common message, what it is all about in the end is spiritual cultivation and enlightenment.