寒月 Hanyue

达摩先天功 Damo/Bodhidharma's Xian Tian Gong

Recommended Posts

Thanks this is interesting, is there a book which discusses this information ?

 

Hi Jetsun,

 

To my knowledge and understanding, Yang Jwing Ming's book: Qigong Meditation-Embryonic Breathing is all about it.

 

Best

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks this is interesting, is there a book which discusses this information ?

 

The only one I am aware of is 'Shengong 神功' by Wang Lianyi published in 1991. Parts of the chapter dealing with Wang Jiwu's health exercises were translated and reproduced in Xingyi Neigong by Miller and Cartmell. But the xiantiangong is only mentioned in disparate parts as that is not the focus of their book. I have Wang's Shengong 神功 book but have not had the time to translate them.

 

Best,

Edited by snowmonki
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To my knowledge and understanding, Yang Jwing Ming's book: Qigong Meditation-Embryonic Breathing is all about it.

 

Best

 

I'm afraid I disagree.

 

I have Yang Jwing-Ming's book too. It does discuss many of the same terms and processes, but the method is different in my opinion.

 

There are two main schools of thought concerning cultivation, these appear in Yogic, Buddhist, Daoist veins and elsewhere. They are usually viewed as the active school and the passive school, or the way of accumulation and the way of letting go. Yuwei and wuwei if you will.

 

The methodology layed out by Yang Jwing-Ming is from the active school of accumulation, it is a process that YOU DO step by step.

 

The xiantiangong is a methodology by which through cultivation the PROCESS DOES YOU, it happens naturally and spontaneously. There are no step 1, then step 2.

 

The process described is similar, because it is the same Daoist process of the gathering of qi and circulation of it as the channels open. There is nothing unique about that.

 

In fact I feel that what is explain above pretty much is the method, it is simple and effective. The one author even says the method is not complex. But we often want to make things more complex, WE want to MAKE things happen.

 

Best,

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm afraid I disagree.

 

I have Yang Jwing-Ming's book too. It does discuss many of the same terms and processes, but the method is different in my opinion.

 

There are two main schools of thought concerning cultivation, these appear in Yogic, Buddhist, Daoist veins and elsewhere. They are usually viewed as the active school and the passive school, or the way of accumulation and the way of letting go. Yuwei and wuwei if you will.

 

The methodology layed out by Yang Jwing-Ming is from the active school of accumulation, it is a process that YOU DO step by step.

 

The xiantiangong is a methodology by which through cultivation the PROCESS DOES YOU, it happens naturally and spontaneously. There are no step 1, then step 2.

 

The process described is similar, because it is the same Daoist process of the gathering of qi and circulation of it as the channels open. There is nothing unique about that.

 

In fact I feel that what is explain above pretty much is the method, it is simple and effective. The one author even says the method is not complex. But we often want to make things more complex, WE want to MAKE things happen.

 

Best,

 

I have no problem with your disagreement. It is interesting and I can see what you are pointing at.

 

But, to me, the distinction between an accumulation school and a non accumulation one is a little artificial. In the text you quote, one can see that focus on dan tian, intention is used in the cultivation process. So it is not completely yin, it is not as yin as, let's say, a dzogchen-like self-releasing method of meditation can be in which one is advised to completely relax in the luminosity of pure awareness (who remerbers anyway that before reaching Dzogchen a strong samatha-vipasyana practice must be accomplished?)

 

Yang Jwing Ming book can appear more yang but he tells in several parts of the book that EB is not like other Nei Dan methods in which the mind is actively, and determinedly leading the Qi ( I am thinking of Mantak Chia's methods for eg). In the method he describes, he says that people can fall asleep during the practice, it is not a problem. I can't think of any accumulation practice that would allow that.

 

I am not trying to convince you beacause you seem strongly rooted into the Water tradition, but I am just suggesting that whereas one could see a contradiction between the method you describe and Healing Tao practices (sorry, it is the only eg I have of Daoist Fire practices), I am not sure there is such contradiction between Yang Jwing Ming's EB and Xiantiangong. I can see differences but not to the point of seeing them as pertaining to radically different fields of practices.

 

Since you seem to have an authorized position on qigong/neigong subjects in TTB, I am willingly retiring from this discussion so that your point can have all the audience it deserves but being strongly attached to this kind of opposition between accumulation schools and non accumulation schools can be a little unfair in the end because there may be more shades in practices than there are labels to name them.

 

 

Best,

Edited by bubbles
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no problem with your disagreement....

 

Since you seem to have an authorized position on qigong/neigong subjects in TTB, I am willingly retiring from this discussion so that your point can have all the audience it deserves but being strongly attached to this kind of opposition between accumulation schools and non accumulation schools can be a little unfair in the end because there may be more shades in practices than there are labels to name them.

 

I'm glad you don't, as I have no problem with your view either. Please do not take my posting that I disagree as me saying you should not post your views. They are most welcome, as is any following discussion regarding that difference. I am simply posting that I do not see what you do, this is a forum and I'd like to hear more from you. Otherwise I'd simply post it all on my website and leave it at that.

 

We all have different backgrounds, different training experiences, and so see different things. This is what a forum is for sharing and discussing. So my apologies if my post came across like a put down, I wrote in haste while sorting out breakfast.

 

As for authorised position haha :lol: I don't know about that :blush: I post my view when and or if I think it will help someone or others may find it interesting. I read many things by others that I find of interest or helpful but I know little about that area and so only lurk.

 

As for being strongly attached, well if I am I have my reasons. Everyone has a 'model' they use to view and understand cultivation. I do use a yin-yang model, which I'll address more below.

 

But, to me, the distinction between an accumulation school and a non accumulation one is a little artificial.

 

Well I hate to say it Bubbles but you are simply wrong. I don't think you understand at all and I think its about time you went and stared at another wall for 9 years.... ;) Sorry, couldn't resist. I'm joking.

 

All distinctions in all models are false and artificial. I completely agree. What we use to learn is not the thing we are trying to learn. Yet we often need ways of looking.

 

There are MANY models people have used to view cultivation practices, I don't view any of them as wrong, but I do feel that our personality will draw us to the ones that make the most sense AT THAT TIME for us. This will depend on your lineages/traditions, background, culture, and experiences during practice.

 

I am not trying to convince you beacause you seem strongly rooted into the Water tradition,

 

I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything either, I present a view. I don't expect anyone to just up and accept it, though I do hope that if it makes some kind of sense to people reading that they know others view things in a similar way that they do, and it may provide a way for people to explore that view further from the sources mentioned. This is how I learn from others on this board. I also learn by reading people with views I don't get, and that sometimes helps me to better understand why I feel the way I do and not the way they do.

 

I spent years confused because my gut felt differently to what I was being presented with. I eventually realised that there are lesser known traditions that have a view and speak of things in a way that makes sense to me. That realisation came from others I met on the net, and what they said about their experiences. So I try to give a little back.

 

Ah, the Water method. You brought it up not me :D hehe.

 

Bruce says the Chinese view Daoism as Water and Fire, or yin and yang. I have not been able to confirm as to exactly what he is referring to. I mean in regards as to which sects or schools, though he does say there are other 'water' schools other than his teachers. Writing on Daoism often uses a polarity model but not one that fits with Bruce's.

 

Yes I do use a yin-yang model, this is based on the Shakti tradition, The Japanese tradition of Gyo, as well as a yin-yang view in Daoism that is not wholly the same as the 'water method' vs 'fire method' alluded to by Bruce. The "yin"-"yang" model is one that occurs again and again in different cultural cultivation schools, and yes I have come to see things this way. But it is not the only way I see things, it is a model I employ.

 

but I am just suggesting that whereas one could see a contradiction between the method you describe and Healing Tao practices (sorry, it is the only eg I have of Daoist Fire practices), I am not sure there is such contradiction between Yang Jwing Ming's EB and Xiantiangong. I can see differences but not to the point of seeing them as pertaining to radically different fields of practices.

 

Yang Jwing Ming book can appear more yang but he tells in several parts of the book that EB is not like other Nei Dan methods in which the mind is actively, and determinedly leading the Qi ( I am thinking of Mantak Chia's methods for eg). In the method he describes, he says that people can fall asleep during the practice, it is not a problem. I can't think of any accumulation practice that would allow that.

 

In the text you quote, one can see that focus on dan tian, intention is used in the cultivation process. So it is not completely yin, it is not as yin as, let's say, a dzogchen-like self-releasing method of meditation can be in which one is advised to completely relax in the luminosity of pure awareness (who remerbers anyway that before reaching Dzogchen a strong samatha-vipasyana practice must be accomplished?)

 

One of the main differences is in the way intent is used certainly. But I think I may have confused the issue. In my understanding the distinction bewteen the one approach and the other is not about whether intent is used. It is more about the use of intent in 'yunqi' moving qi.

 

Yes a very 'yin' way would be something like Dzogchen or vipassana. and in the theory of yin and yang everything is relative you are right. So a method that places the intent on the dantian is more yang than one that just sits in broad awareness. It is just that this is not what I was referring to, so my apologies for not writing clearly.

 

The main distinction I make is between wuwei and yuwei, basically whether the process simply happens by itself. Where the gathering, storing, and circulation of qi happens and unfolds naturally as a result of correct cultivation. Or, whether you practice stages and direct each stage with intention to gather, store, and circulate qi.

 

This comes through when people write stages in the practice, you do A followed by B, followed by C etc. And whenever I have read Yang Jwing-Ming that is the view I have seen in his writing. When reading the words of Master Wang Jiwu or his son Wang Lianyi however I see the view that everything happens naturally on its own as long as you cultivate using the 'correct method'.

 

If you want the irony here, Bruce actually falls more into the 'yang' side of my model as the processes he's divised to teach Westerners utilises stages and not a 'natural' unfolding.

 

Having practiced both schools of 'accumulation' and 'non-accumulation' I have found very real differences in the perspective and the way things are done. Thats my view from my experience, nothign more. To me it is like basketbell and football, they are both ball games but very different. Now, baseball and softball, and rounders the lines start getting blurry, they are different but yet very similar.

 

Please, though this is my view. It has been influenced by my teachers, my practice and my research, but I am responsible for it. I am NOT trying to say it is THE only way to see things.

 

I also want to explain that it is a yin-yang model, meaning it has a flexibility and relativity to it, although it is easiest to discuss the two polar extremes, I do not discount or ignore all the blends and mixes that occur.

 

I would love to hear more of your thoughts regarding the xiantiangong please do not bow out of the thread.

 

Kindest regards,

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad you don't, as I have no problem with your view either. Please do not take my posting that I disagree as me saying you should not post your views. They are most welcome, as is any following discussion regarding that difference. I am simply posting that I do not see what you do, this is a forum and I'd like to hear more from you. Otherwise I'd simply post it all on my website and leave it at that.

 

We all have different backgrounds, different training experiences, and so see different things. This is what a forum is for sharing and discussing. So my apologies if my post came across like a put down, I wrote in haste while sorting out breakfast.

 

You don't need to apologize. I enjoy your posts the way they are. :)

 

As for authorised position haha :lol: I don't know about that :blush:

 

This is what I feel, and I am sure I am not the only one to recognize in you the voice of a real practitioner.

 

 

 

Well I hate to say it Bubbles but you are simply wrong. I don't think you understand at all and I think its about time you went and stared at another wall for 9 years.... ;) Sorry, couldn't resist. I'm joking.

 

:lol:

 

 

Ah, the Water method. You brought it up not me :D hehe.

 

 

Not exactly, it is in your signature! :P

 

 

 

The main distinction I make is between wuwei and yuwei, basically whether the process simply happens by itself. Where the gathering, storing, and circulation of qi happens and unfolds naturally as a result of correct cultivation. Or, whether you practice stages and direct each stage with intention to gather, store, and circulate qi.

 

This comes through when people write stages in the practice, you do A followed by B, followed by C etc. And whenever I have read Yang Jwing-Ming that is the view I have seen in his writing. When reading the words of Master Wang Jiwu or his son Wang Lianyi however I see the view that everything happens naturally on its own as long as you cultivate using the 'correct method'.

 

 

Oh, I can see that. In this regard xiantiangong is what I have been taught as being zuowang by two different Daoist teachers. And I can't help recognizing this as having the flavor of the zazen (Soto tradition) of my early years in which you just keep the posture, focus on the hara and the breathing and let everything unfold naturally without clinging to anything.

 

If you want the irony here, Bruce actually falls more into the 'yang' side of my model as the processes he's divised to teach Westerners utilises stages and not a 'natural' unfolding.

 

I can see that also and that's part of the reason why I had some hard time seeing so radical differences between the practices he offers and some others I have heard of.

 

Having practiced both schools of 'accumulation' and 'non-accumulation' I have found very real differences in the perspective and the way things are done.

 

I am just bowing to that. I value practical experience more than anything on that matter. So if you say you experienced a difference, it must be real. I can't question that.

 

Please, though this is my view. It has been influenced by my teachers, my practice and my research, but I am responsible for it. I am NOT trying to say it is THE only way to see things.

 

This is the way I understood it. I also felt, with reason, that you were talking with a background that I have not. And I am fine with that. :)

I won't troll this valuable thread. :lol:

 

So, enough of my bubbling!

 

Thanks for your friendly spirit

Kindest regards

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your kind words and contributions to the thread,

 

Oh, I can see that. In this regard xiantiangong is what I have been taught as being zuowang by two different Daoist teachers. And I can't help recognizing this as having the flavor of the zazen (Soto tradition) of my early years in which you just keep the posture, focus on the hara and the breathing and let everything unfold naturally without clinging to anything.

 

Before you do 'bow out', can you say more about this?

 

I am very interested in versions of zuowang. There seems to be quite some differences of opinion about it. So the zuowang you were taught, were the two the same, similar or different to each other?

 

Do you see the zuowang you were taught as the same as the damo xiantiangong described by Master Wang? And that as similar to the Soto zazen you've practiced?

 

Please, bubble away B)

 

All the best,

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your kind words and contributions to the thread,

 

 

 

Before you do 'bow out', can you say more about this?

 

I am very interested in versions of zuowang. There seems to be quite some differences of opinion about it. So the zuowang you were taught, were the two the same, similar or different to each other?

 

Do you see the zuowang you were taught as the same as the damo xiantiangong described by Master Wang? And that as similar to the Soto zazen you've practiced?

 

Please, bubble away B)

 

All the best,

 

 

 

The first version of zuowang I was taught was very similar to xiantiangong described by Master Wang. I had to focus on lower dantian, by an inner gazing and by an inner "hearing" until mental activity calm down and lose its facination power and eventually dissolve. The LDT would become warm, would offer some feeling of density and compactness. In this regard, I see it more as youwei because there is still some intention of control or accomplishing something (for eg filling up the dantian, etc), hence the superficial differences I saw with YJM's Embryonic breathing. The latter has more focusing techniques but I would more see them as developments or refinings of tyhe simple technique mentioned in Master Wang's book.

 

The second version was more radical in the sense that I should not focus on anything but sitting and uniting with the breath until everything dissolves.I was told this would be forgetting, even the breath which is just used as a uniting tool before dissolving. At some point,an experience of merging with the breath and posture would open a dimension in which everything could be dissolved in a forgetful awareness without any distinction between subject and object.This one be more like the wuwei you were talking about.

 

 

This second version is more like my former Soto Zen practice in which any goal is eliminated from the beginning because zazen is said to be the ultimate practice and this practice is already realization. The motto was "Shinkantaza": just sitting. There are still slight differences between this version of zuowang and the version of zazen I practiced because in zazen, there is an stronger emphasis on the impeccability of the physical posture, but there was no intention whatsoever to control anything, nor to wait for any kind of feeling or experience.

 

Hope it clears up a bit the origin of my post

Be well,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for putting this together snowmonki. I find these martial traditions which incorporate daoist cultivation into their training immensely interesting. It seems to me like this part is mostly forgotten today.

I read an interview with Ma Chuan Xu (Baguazhang) and Feng Zhi Qiang (Xinyi Hunyuan Taiji) that both said similiar things. Practicing with the correct method and a competent teacher and you will progress through these stages naturally without intensive mind work. bOth also place the utmost importance on the lower Dan Tian and never really move away from that focus or so it seems.

 

Best

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fantastic post Snowmonki! Very interesting reading. So, much of it was translated from Chinese sources?

 

Don

 

Hi Don, hope you are well. Sorry missed this. I have Wang Lianyi's Shengong book and some articles written by a student of his. The extracts are from them, but the Shengong book is over 300! pages long. I have not had time to dive into translating it, such things are a hobby of mine and so low priority. It's just something I do when I have time. I relied on Cartmell's existing translation for much of the post. Editing it or re-translating parts and leaving the Chinese esoteric terminology in place as many on this board are already familiar with it.

 

Best,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I relied on Cartmell's existing translation for much of the post.

 

Thanks Snowmonki, hope you are doing well too. :) Now I'm gonna have to go back and re-read Cartmell. It's been a while, and my perspective has drastically changed since I first read it. Really appreciate you posting this stuff!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting OP text.Looks like Xian Tian Gong is actualy Nei Dan practice.If not how Qi Gong or Nei Gong can work with Yuan Qi?

 

Is there some books on English or text about this method and Master Wang?

 

 

Ormus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites