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Found 27 results

  1. My spiritual mentor is a venerable spiritual stalwart who was a direct disciple of two jivanamuktas in the Hindu tradition (one being the Shankaracharya of the Sringeri Math), a student of a Zen lineage holder (3rd generation dharma heir of Hsu Yun). He is a most spectacular individual, who somehow took it upon himself to guide me (as to why, is mystifying for me, but I'm not complaining ). Well, he asked me to read a book titled "Zen: The Dawn in the West", by Roshi Philip Kapleau. I've already done some studying of the buddhist sutras and found myself agreeing with everything the Buddha had said anyway. I'm halfway through the book and in it I found the most lucid, pragmatic and no-nonsense directions and advice about meditation and the spiritual approach, that I thought I'd recommend it here. At the same time, I found a beautiful illustration of the model of consciousness according to (Zen) buddhism, which piqued my interest. I have taken that model and added a correlation to the Vedantic model of consciousness (Being actually) which some might find of interest. In the above diagram, the left hand side is from the original book and the right hand side is my addition. It becomes infinitely clear that there is a wonderful overlap between the Buddhist model and the vedantic models. In the buddhist model, the first 6 levels of consciousness map very neatly into the vedantic (and actually samkhya) model of the five tanmatras (associated with the sense functions) and part of the mental apparatuses that identifies with the body (ego). The mind, intellect aspect of the antahkarana seem to correlate with the level 7 (termed manas in the buddhist model) while the chitta aspect (storehouse of impressions) seems to correlate with the 8th level or "relative Alaya consciousness". This also seems to correlate with the causal body (kārana sharira) which is said to contain the karmic seeds (samsakaras) from which spring forth actions and consequences in a cyclical manner. At level 9, is absolute Alaya consciousness, which he labels "Formless Self or True-Nature". This maps very nicely as Atman (Vedantic model). Somethings to ponder for sure. I hope this will lead to "peaceful" explorations of the areas of consensus, which has always been my primary interest.
  2. Hello, This is a summary of "How to" notes that I have compiled from various books/sources on meditation. Most specifically the "Natural State" or "Ordinary Mind" form the Tibetan Mahamudra practice. While it is based on the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism it is also identical to the Japanese Zen tradition of Soto where the state of Shikantaza is practiced. Shikantaza is also known as "Serene Reflection" or "Silent Illumination" from the Caodong (Chinese version of soto zen) School. Essentially Mahamudra and Shikantaza are paths of enlightenment in and of themselves. Enlightened states of non-attaining, and non-thought, uncontrived states of mind. Sometimes they are known as the culmination of Shamatha and Vispashyana, but from the Buddhist world they are their own entity and beast. As Tibetans refer to this state as the The true nature of the mind, original face, natural state, etc. These act as mindfulness guides that can be implemented in sitting, walking, or activity through out the day to help stabilize one in the natural state of Mahamudra or Shikantaza: Attention Revolution (Alan Wallace) Let your mind be like the sky The sky never reacts It doesn't stop anything from moving through it It doesn't hold onto anything that's present nor does it control anything Whatever thoughts or mental images arise, you simply observe them Without distraction and without grasping Without being either attracted or repulsed by them Just let them be Instead of letting thoughts go, you let them be Don't prefer one kind of thought to another Don't even prefer the absence of thoughts to the presence of thoughts They are not the problem Being distracted by and grasping onto thoughts is the problem Let the space of awareness remain as expansive as possible When thoughts arise, let them play out their course Regardless of their nature or duration It is crucial to observe the movement of thoughts without intervention Mahamudra Teaching (Garchen Rinpoche) Stay just with your thought as it rises, so as to not give it form, or side with the thought as good, bad, or any reference. When mindful of giving form to thought or mental happening, just let your mind relax. Don't investigate further (This is to not attach to it). We establish this view of "nothing to see, nothing to objectify, nothing to project. We imbue this view with certainty Don't get discouraged Simply do not follow after the thoughts Don't make any commentary on the thought, let it rise then dissolve As any thought arises, you just see it Any conceptual thought that arises has no any essence No essence at all There is nothing to follow Not rejecting the suffering, not attaching to the happiness Whatever comes let it come, just sustain the Mahamudra Clarifying the Natural State: Dakpo Tashi Namgyal Undistractedly maintain the natural state of your mind with a naturally aware presence, no matter how it is or what is perceived or felt. Continue the practice with unbound ease without pinpointing whatever is experienced Take care not to stray into intellectual analysis, thoughtless calm, savoring a meditative experience or hankering after the ensuing certainty. Do not entertain any ambitions about what should or should not be cultivated by meditating. Do not be happy when calm or unhappy when thoughts move; rather, relax your attention loosely. Do not inhibit one thing while promoting another. Leave your attention as it naturally is – relaxed and free. Zazen Instructions (Global Do not concentrate on any particular object or control your thought. When various thoughts arise in your mind, do not become caught up by them or struggle with them; Neither pursue nor try to escape from them. Just leave your thoughts alone, allowing them to come up and go away freely. The essential thing in doing zazen is to awaken from distraction and dullness and return to the right posture moment by moment. Rules for Meditation from Dogen (FUKANZAZENGI) Cut all ties, give up everything Think of neither good nor evil, consider neither right nor wrong Control mind function, will, consciousness, memory, perception and understanding You must not strive thus to become Buddha
  3. New member, hello to all !

    Hello from Germany / Europe, thank you for granting me access to this forum ! My main intention is learning and asking questions, plus being able to learn from other experienced practitioners. I am coming from the Yang Style Tai Chi form and started out with basic health improvement goals. Nowadays I focus more on topics such as Nei Kung, safe ways to open energy channels and in general similarities and differences in meditation practice ( Taoist / Chan / Zen / Shamatha practice ). I welcome all guidance and once again thank you and my best wishes to all here in the forum.
  4. Zen Practitioner

    Hello. My name is Andi. I have followed a few spiritual teachers, read books, and listened to lectures for years now. I knew many things. I had much knowledge. A couple months ago, my beliefs were totally annihilated after a crushing and disappointing religious experience. I found myself with no beliefs and no idea what was what. That was a beginning. Shortly after that, while listening to a lecture by Zen teacher Adyashanti, I had a striking realization. We are not humans experiencing consciousness; we are consciousness masquerading as humans. I was stunned with the force of this awakening. Since then everything has gone topsy turvy. I have no idea which way is up. I have no idea what I'm doing with my life. I almost don't even exist, it seems, and I have no more drive or motivation for most anything in my life. This is most distressing because I have always been a driven, strong, passionate person with many causes and nothing seems to matter. I've read and heard to be still, to let go, to rest in the unknowing, but the practice has not dropped from my head to my heart and I struggle and I am confused and afraid as parts of me fall away and literally just die off. I didn't realize that enlightenment meant giving up the "good" along with the "bad," and now it's too late. Most friends, my partner, my therapist, they have no idea what to do with me now. I'm feeling alone (which I know is utterly silly because there is no separation, and yet that fearful feeling remains). I'm here at Dao Bums looking for support, direction, a reference point, something that tells me which way is up and which way is down...and I'm most afraid that none of those things exist. Thank you all for this space.
  5. Zen Meditation

    Does anyone practice Zazen and in particular the style closely resembling Shikantaza ("nothing but precisely sitting")? This is a method of practice that lineages like the famous Soto Zen tradition of Kōdō Sawaki & Kōshō Uchiyama are famous for. Famous monasteries and training locations like Antai-ji, Gyobutsuji Zen Monastery, and Sanshin Zen Community all belong to this school. I would be interested to know how Daoists approach and view this practice in their own words. Then if some are interested I`d love to dialogue a bit about on it
  6. Thank you ....

    Hello Everyone ... and greetings from Chicago, IL. First and foremost let me say, "Thank You" to each and every person who has made this website available. Up to this point I've only had the opportunity to peruse the website, but I sincerely appreciate the the opportunity to participate and to continue as a life-long learner. I'm truly excited to begin the exploration, to learn, offer what I can, and to be part of such a wonderful community. Geoffrey
  7. Martial Arts as Meditation

    I started lurking on the Tao Bums about 10 years ago (Wow, time flies!) and this is something that would have been helpful to me at that time. Hope this will answer questions for those just starting out on this journey.
  8. Just scanned the Wikipedia article, reflected a bit and come to a conclusion myself. Interested in other opinions. No justification necessary but feel free to post reasoning if you want.
  9. If you want to know and "practice" original Dzogchen as it was meant to be presented, please purchase all of Chris's books as displayed on his Amazon page. These are all new first time translations of Dzogchen's most profound and earliest teachings. What you will read is quite shocking and revelatory as the Dzogchen view is brought into clear focus. It cuts to shreds any notion of a "gradual path" or need for practice and effort. Chris has captured the essence in his translations of what Dzogchen was intended to convey; immediate enlightenment and release! May all beings prosper!
  10. Hello from Scotland

    Hi, I just joined the forum in order to get contact information of a member, I read one of snowmonki's posts, and noted he was in the UK, and wanted to find out more about him/her. I'm a long time Zen student who taught Tai Chi up till about fifteen years ago, when various circumstances - mainly physical - conspired against continuing it. I am now quite old. I am also interested in Chan, and also in Taoism. But my main study is Zen. I've been at this so long, that I see it as part of my identity I guess. Some three years ago my Kundalini awakened on a Chan retreat, and I've been dealing with the aftermath of that since then. It is a very difficult subject to get any useful help on, and I eventually started on Mahamudra studies in order to get access to experience from that path. The Tibetans are very broad in their views and very helpful.But I've just recently got my Vajrasattva initiation, and the Six Yogas of Naropa part of the study is still some years away, so I am still in limbo. I found that my Zen teacher doesn't value this direction, which is disappointing, particularly as this Zen school, like most of them, think the world of Hakuin, who in fact rated its usefulness highly. However, there does appear to be a prejudice in some spiritual traditions against the physical/emotional/energetic aspects of K. I can understand that K awakening may causes issues for students and in groups, but if it is unsought, then the path should be broad enough to include them, if it is a valid way. I think. The problems can lead to benefits too perhaps, though it might take time. I've recently been reading Nan Huai Chin, and it is disappointing that his particular branch of teaching doesn't appear to have made it to the UK. He says, that while this energetic/physical path is a left hand path, a side door, "a side door is still a door. One cannot ignore or deny this completely." I realize their are more modern approaches, like KAP, and teachers like Chrism. But somehow they are not for me. Traditional Yoga - as it is practiced in this country - doesn't interest me either. I wish I could find a teacher like Huai Chin.
  11. I 'made' a kōan

    You can tell whether someone is fully enlightened by checking whether they exist. ( ) I usually post stuff like this on my Twitter, mixed with other varieties of thoughtful materials in the areas of commentary, humor, wordplay, messing with your mind etc.. I'm always happy about appreciative audience. It makes a crucial difference. I'm hurting so much. (I guess? I'm a bit confused. ... At least I think so.)
  12. Gui Zhen Society in Staten Island NY. Hi Every One! I'm Lin, been on the Dao Bums for ages now, and recently moved back to the U.S. from China. I re-established my cultivation school in Staten Island and am offering a number of cultivation methods I have been putting together over the last several years. One of them is called White Canopy Meditation, a.k.a. Jiu Wu Tan Gong (Nine Five Platform Cultivation). Its quite a lengthy description, so I wil leave a short one here and link you to my personal practice page for the full idea: White Canopy Description Also new to the martial arts world, as well as to the Qigong, meditation, etc world, my own expression of both spiritual cultivaton and martial art , Origin and Illusion (Zong Huan). Origin and Illusion: Zong Huan Peace and Blessings, Lin Ai Wei Gui Zhen Society, Pure Mind Center Pure Mind Center Blog
  13. Is faith an illusion of the mind? Or I'm being pessimist (or realistic), considering that zen budism stands for the direct experience of reality and, therefore, faith is a product of mind? And hope? Kind of "game" that universe plays with oneself? Destiny, karma? Who knows for sure?
  14. Has anybody heard about magnolia grove monestary? It is in batesville Mississippi. I would like to know more than whats on the internet, please. I very interested in it.
  15. Hello, I am looking at prospective retreats to go on when I finish this degree (as a little holiday, and maybe to clear a lot of gunk out of my system). There are so many free retreats to go on (which is great), but, I'm just wondering where to go, if anyone has any personal recommendations of schools, locations, organisations, teachers, etc? Generally I just want to go somewhere where I can do some kind of meditation (preferably some kind of mindfunless of breath, but, whatever works), for a long period of time. However, if there are any Taoist/Neidan/Neigong/Qigong retreats that involve meditation, I'd be interested in attending (not so much for Yoga, as, I already know a lot of the language, and I'd like to learn some Taoist terms/techniques, etc). I could perhaps just dedicate the time at home, tell others in the house that I will be silent for a week, turn off my computer/internet for a week, and draw up a timetable of meditation, practice, reading (got a lot of JAJ material to get through) and walks etc. I guess the advantage of a retreat is no distractions. Any thoughts welcome.
  16. Pain and Zen

    I am currently reading a book on Zen called "The Three Pillars of Zen". I read this part: I can't help but feel that the basic premise here, that overcoming the pain is some form of spiritual breakthrough, is false. I went to the dentist a while ago to get a bridge put in. When they were taking an imprint of my teeth by placing a dental appliance in my mouth filled with quick-drying-cement, something happened and I found myself in a horrible amount of pain. I think it may be related to the fact that I have one tooth with a rather large mercury amalgam filling in it that was reacting to the chemicals in the 'cement' that they had mixed. I was in a horrible amount of pain, similar to the effect when you touch a piece of metal, like a spoon or metal appliance directly on the filling. I had to hold the appliance in my mouth for two minutes! I was screaming and shocked. Such pain! I used all my willpower and endured the two minutes of intense pain. A little crowd of people whom were curious about what the screaming was all about soon gathered. Anyway, after that, having endured the torture and great pain, I felt like I was high. It was a great feeling. I was so elated that I didn't even consider the high-priced payment that followed. The effect lasted for about 1 hour. I felt like I was floating on clouds. My point is this: sure, great amounts of pain will eventually release endorphins in the brain and make you high. It has nothing to do with spirituality. I laughed when I read about the response from the Zen teacher to the student, especially when I remembered the effect the intense pain caused me from visiting the dentist's office. Reminds me of "runner's high" or "jogger's high". Granted, great pain can cause some interesting states of mind, but where except in Zen do you find the idea that overcoming pain or pushing it unti the brain releases joy-juice is something spiritual? Question: Once you overcome the pain from sitting extended amounts of time, does it ever come back in later sessions? If it does, then it isn't any form of accomplishment, is it?
  17. Is there a significance we cannot measure? Is there a meaning that does not fall victim to the thoughts that compose us? Can we identify without clinging? Can we identify without anything? Do not all currents of the mind eventually subjectify? Do not all currents of the mind eventually die? Do not all streams of belief, meaning, and significance through the passage of time become unbelievable, meaningless, and insignificant? What then remains? What then.
  18. The Natural Bliss of Being

    When I was last posting here, many of you were asking me when my book would be available to purchase. I have been busy with that project and it is now available at Amazon and on Kindle. I made an effort to present many of the pith instructions that I have received from mainly Dzogchen masters, Mahamudra masters and Zen masters, so that anyone could experience the "shift" into Enlightened Mind easily and in a relatively short time. The material is presented in generic language without the need to know anything about Buddhism nor the Tibetan teachings. To learn more about the book please visit my website: Please share your feedback or comments! Jackson
  19. Yo! So I fancied experimenting. I usually meditate in full lotus these days with my eyes shut in addition to my regular kung fu practice. However, after learning the techniques of Zazen, I couldn't help but resist trying out this new form. The practice is fairly similar to what I usually do...counting breaths to calm the mind but I usually then trail off onto what i need to focus on for that particular session. In Zazen, the counting is the sole focus and there is one major difference - the eyes are half open (as advised by many practitioners/teachers) and focussed at the floor roughly three feet in front. I found this extremely hard! All of a sudden, there are so many more distractions present that I am needing to avoid such as my eyelids flickering and going cross eyed. I guess this is the same as my kung fu forms, but at least in martial arts I'm moving so the temptation for the mind to wander is less. What are your experiences with half-open eyes? What are your opinions on Zazen? I would like to know more, and if you recommend half-open eyes as a good form of training concentration, mindfulness, and all round meditation
  20. Hey guys! Lately, I've been struggling about what my belief falls under. I have made a post in my introduction to this site that stated this question, and I will quote it below: I've been looking things up and it is pretty confusing. I also associate myself with atheist pages on facebook and they do say I can be a Buddhist Atheist but not a Taoist Atheist because apparently Taoists look up/worship deities? Also while I'm at it, I do have a question regarding homosexuality. What is the general view of homosexuality to Taoists? I will struggling following a belief that condemns love. I know Buddhism is rather alright with it albeit there is no firm statement about it. Thanks in advance!
  21. Master Nan Huai-Chin Dead at 94

    I wasn't even aware of this until today! Noted Master Nan Huai-Chin Reported Dead in China
  22. Hello From Germany

    Hello from Germany, I am not much of a forum writer but have enjoyed reading a lot of threads in this forum very much in the past so that I thought it might make sense to register one of these days. Thanks to all of you who create this relaxed yet often extremely well informed atmosphere here. My core practise is Soto Zen style Shikantaza, although I find it more than just intellectually stimulating to look deeper into the commonalities between Zen, Dzogchen and Mahamudra. Have a grea start to this new year. All the best, Winterson
  23. Being a rock

    There was a time, some years ago, when I had a need to have a conversation with a certain person. As a private conversation, it had to be undertaken in a place that was not where he lived, where he worked, or where he went when he was not working; it had to occur on the way that he would travel between these places. The reason for the conversation, the details of it, and the consequences to the person beyond it are of no consequence to this story, it is a story of an experience. Along a path that the person was known to take, beside the trail with it's rocks and bushes, overlooking a small forested area, I found a place to wait. I did not know when the person would come this way, only that he would, in time. I settled in beside a bush, and focused my mind upon stillness. In order to remain undisturbed, I set my mind to be like that of a rock: unmoving, undisturbable, unremarkable. As time went on, people walked by. Some looked in my general direction, but I noticed that they did not see ME, or the "I" that is me ... they only saw a rock sitting beside a bush. All of myself, my clothing, my body, my kit, my tools .. only percieved as a rock beside a bush. No great wonder to myself, for after the first few hours of sitting, the desire to move had all but gone, the presence of musculature and mode of motion had all but fled from the conciousness. The illusion of time had been so contracted, that a moment and an hour were nearly imperceptible. The sun traveled( oh, illusion!) in it's arc, and as twilight began to set in, a spider dropped from the bush to the top of the rock that was I. To the spider, I was a permenant feature, or at least unlikely to move, and so she began to go about her business, spinning a web. The concerns of the spider, where her thoughts were, were so simple; squeeze here, relax there, follow the pattern so ancient and ancestral to her nature. In the pattern and the following of it laid the key to continued survival; the web spun, the insects caught, the meal consumed ... one day, she would mate and lay her eggs, but not now. Observing the spider, I could have easily reached out and flicked her away. Squashing her fragile body between my fingers would have been no heroic feat - but I was a rock, imobile of my own nature, and so she finished her work. For a time we were as one, the spider and I. Both waiting, both waiting. A life, a destiny, a meeting; chance, but not by chance. Life taken and life preserved, life continuing. When I arose to complete my purpose, the tearing of the web seemed the greatest violence.