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Oneironaut

Do zen practices and neidan practices benefit one another?

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I finally decided to set my pride aside and drop the entire "Theravada vs All seemingly opposing schools of Buddhism" mentality (along with the meaningless labels) and came to the conclusion that other schools are also valid and can provide many great things along the journey to enlightenment. In fact I feel more at home with the Mahayana school as it provides me with a middle ground between Theravadin Buddhism, Zen Buddhism and Taoism without the strict restrictions set upon in the Theravadin tradition. 

 

My question now is can the Rinzai & Soto schools in zen work well synergistically with neidan practices?

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The end of zen practice is empty mind.that is the base for neidan practice. Even in tai chi you should have an empty mind,if you want to master the art.

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My post on this thread *might* be of use to you :)

 

thedaobums.com/topic/19524-ttc-study-chapter-52-of-the-tao-teh-ching/page-6

 

Ime, it is a part of the whole process

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Hi Oneironaut,

 

Regarding your closing question as to whether Rinzai or Soto schools can be used in conjunction with neidan practice I would say it depends.

 

It depends on what practices from those zen schools you are using and what neidan methods you want to mix in.

 

When I began meditating, it was the techniques of the zen school that I started with. Namely koan/gong-an meditation, that is a technique common to both the schools you mentioned. At the time I was using a basic stretching and warm up qigong set together with 8 pieces of brocade to regulate the body for meditation. The meditation technique and the qigong I was doing worked very well together without any clash that I could perceive.

 

A few years later I had the opportunity to go and train within a real neidan lineage and jumped at the chance. It was only once I started training proper neidan that I noticed that my former zen meditation techniques and the neidan that I was now practicing were not working well together. The act of continually calling the koan/meditation saying to mind can cause qi to flow up into the head which can be at loggerheads with the initial aims of neidan working with the xiatian/lower field.

 

If you are using the more universally compatible techniques from those zen schools such as 'activating the mind without dwelling' then I foresee no problems. That is basically my practice these days.

 

Hope this was useful to you.

Edited by bamboo
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I've long wondered about this myself. It seems Chan and Daoism have some relationship, though different scholars view the matter in different ways, i.e. Ray Grigg in his The Tao of Zen and Mu Soeng in his Trust in Mind: The Rebellion of Chinese Zen seem to argue for a strong Daoist influence on the formulation of Chan/Zen, the former going so far as to say Zen is essentially Daoism in disguise. Others seem to disagree and state that Chan stands on its own, especially at the core, and was merely influenced by Daosim via the geyi or concept matching that occurred when Buddhism first started entering China. 

 

In any case, from what I've read it appears Quanzhen and hence neidan must have some Chan influences, both for Wang Chongyang and Zhang Boduan.

 

What I wonder is what the relationship between neidan and mijiao or Tangmi or East Asian esoteric Buddhism, i.e. mantra practice, "proto-tantra", etc. would be and if the two would benefit or mutually support each other. For example, the Cundi sadhana has remained popular in Chinese esoteric Buddhism down the centuries. Could such a practice be used in conjunction with neidan? Would it assist at all or would it hinder?

 

This brings in the more broad question of to what degree each path, the Buddhist and the Daoist, can be traveled at the same time without confusion. The whole tradition of "unity of the three teachings" that many great masters endorsed makes it seem like this would be so, but are there any famous examples of masters who essentially practiced both?

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My question now is can the Rinzai & Soto schools in zen work well synergistically with neidan practices?

Liu Huayang, the monk who wrote the book on neidan seems not to think so

 

 

For the fourth question, he asked, "Could reading paradoxical phrases  (koan)  to seek to meditate be the true Tao?"

 

In reply, Liu said, "If it is a deviant school of Buddhism, we therefore say, 'When they read paradoxical phrases to seek to meditate, they vie to personally prevail.' If it is the true Tao of Buddhism, you must first practise dual cultivation with real effectiveness. Do not ask about paradoxical phrases."

 

(Liu Huayang. The Huimingjing. Trl. Nicholson)

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Koans are not paradoxical phrases, they are semantic devices to foster concentration and break through habit energies by interrupting the internal dialogue that maintains them. The viewpoint you put across is a common misconception. This was a technique used during the height of the chan school back in the Song Dynasty that gave birth to great dragons such as Huanglong Huinan - who was the master that enlightened Lu Dongbin. So lest you confuse others please don't perpetuate misconceptions.

Edited by bamboo

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. The viewpoint you put across is a common misconception. ...So lest you confuse others please don't perpetuate misconceptions.

I am not sure whom you are addressing here. Is that Lu Huayang or yours truly?;)

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We can all quote from books about things we have no first hand experience of. Many even in the chan school who followed other paths criticised this method.

 

The interesting thing for me is why people go out of there way to disparage others methods. As the saying goes, "When chickens are cold they go into the trees, when ducks are cold they go into the water."

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There is a long and complex history between Taoism and Zen. There are many stories about Zen master seeking out Taoists (Hakuin for example) and other stories about Taoists seeking out Buddhists (Lu Dongbin). Then there are schools that combine them, as you can see in the Secret of the Golden Flower. 

 

One thing is to understand that insight leads to physical and energetic changes, and physical and energetic changes lead to insight. 

 

There are several Buddhist teachers out there who actively teach some form of neidan (or qigong, depending on how you define it). On the other hand, some Taoists teachers say that you should keep the two apart. I think it is a matter of attitude. Some forms are compatible, and some are not. 

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The cruel  fact  that  I  hesitate  to tell  is that :

 

Out of 1000 intellectuals who practice Zen ,  likely 999 of them fall into the trap of pseudo -void , some kind of  unproductive mental status that they are unaware of  , not for a while, but for a whole life ; so whenever we  talk about Zen, we should be carefeful . 

 

From Taoist point of view, it is only after our having succeeded in mobilizing  qi,  should we taste the flavor of Zen .

 

Since most  Taoist /qigong  practitioners don't know how to apply  their minds to get high-quality qi, the introduction of Zen at that   stage  is always helpful  , even crucial,  for   Zen is always excellent in  ' analyzing'  ,  griping and making use of  our mindstream , intervals between the appearance of one idea and its disappearance,  or of  exploring different depths of  the  no-mind.. etc ,  all are important   to the refinery of  our  jing and qi  .  As a   Taoist saying tells us  :

 

¬† " ŤļęŚŅÉÁĄ°Áāļ, Á•ěśį£Ťá™ÁĄ∂śúČÁāļ"¬†

 

" It is only when our body and mind do nothing and  expect nothing , do  Shen and qi naturally  fulfill their  jobs for us "

 

 

In a word,  how to apply a mindless Mind  to our jing and qi is always the key  .
Edited by exorcist_1699

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The qigong master I just had stay at my house for 5 days - he first studied Zen meditation for 15 years in Minneapolis - that was the reason he moved to Minneapolis.

 

But he was telling me during his stay that yes the training is all about alchemy. haha.

 

So I did two blogposts on this recently.

 

I have to concur with Exorcist because I fell into this problem - the qigong masters say my mind is very powerful but I need to open up the heart energy as the main focus. Also the alchemy teacher Wang Liping says you need 6 hours of full lotus a day to restore Yuan Qi and Ch'an master nan, Huai-chin says what happened in Zen is it became too mental and so the full lotus, he says, demonstrates that the body channels are opened up.

 

http://innersoundqigong.blogspot.com/2015/06/solstice-b-day-yuan-qi-yuan-shen-heart.html

 

http://innersoundqigong.blogspot.com/2015/06/heart-sutra-healing-from-qigong-master.html

 

more details there.

 

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Jim said it was only when he was crawling around on the floor that he realized what really mattered in life, and the deep gratitude for the simple things. He says every day he transcends death. We talked a lot about things that he shared with me because he said I could understand him - from experience - and vice versa - but those are things I can't share. haha. Because I don't want him to be misunderstood.

 

But yeah Jim should have a new website up soon and so he can take paypal for international phone healing. He does a lot of international healing but it makes it difficult for people to pay.

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