Mud Dragon

Means to Cultivate the Body?

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I have joined this forum because I'm curious to learn about qigong and other forms/means that promote health and longevity. I need a physical practice that's simple enough to learn from a book or video. Something I can practice in my home. Something that will allow me to cultivate the body, and subtle energy system. Something which can be done in 90 minutes or less.

I suppose my ultimate aims would be immortality and enlightenment. For now I will settle for less bodily discomfort, any physical means to cultivate physical, emotional and mental balance along with greater energy. That is, I have heard, and realized that for greater emotional and mental balance, I need to cultivate physical balance. The mental side of the equation has been addressed. The emotions are partially addressed. The body need attention.

I'm not terribly attached to the outcomes, since I've realized a certain degree of immortality. I am not enlightened per se. But I have seen enough to not be very concerned with the eventual death of the body. Been through the occult power-seeking rigmarole when I was a youngster. Blocked up my throat that way, doing western esoteric stuff. Went pretty looney. Spent more than 6 years sorting it out. Very clear minded now. But I need to cultivate greater emotional balance, and develop the physical body. 

To become wiser and maintain some degree of health as I age, will make me very happy.

I have a had a bad accident several years ago (circa 2009) in which my right clavicle was crushed, and my spine damaged. They money I received as compensation is all used up. I don't have good access to a skilled doctor, because of where I live. I'm also on the very low end of the income spectrum. So I don't have money to spend traveling to a teacher, or for expensive materials.

I haven't really investigated Taoism. I have spent a multiple year measure of time investigating and learning Buddhist practices. Prior to that I was involved in what might be considered western esoteric thought and practices, along with investigating yoga and tantrism.

What brought me here (mostly) was my investigation of Falun Gong. See a few months back I was looking for some way to help alleviate some of the problems I've had with my spine and internal energy system that new age yoga teachers haven't been able to help with. Instead they were like "you were injured because the universe is trying to tell you to practice yoga, sign up for classes, we also do meditation workshops!" Which I find absurd, since I was practicing yoga prior to having a serious accident and injury. I must've gotten really red in the face, because they shut right up, and I politely left... I digress.

I have to say, I firmly believe accidents happen. Perhaps it is a matter of providence. Presently, I haven't the beyond-temporal vision to see all the causes and conditions. We'll see what we see.

But back to why I'm here:

Having tried the five exercises of falun gong, I said "wow this stuff is doing something profound, I can really feel something happening." So I started to read the literature. I read The Falun Gong book, I listened to the 9 lectures a whole bunch of times. I ordered the Zhuan Falun book. (What a waste of money.)

Much to my chagrin, I found Mr. Li Hongzhi says a whole bunch of things which don't fit with Buddhist doctrine. I hesitate to investigate how Taoist his ideas are. He makes a bunch of baseless statements which I could neither verify nor ascribe credulity to. But at the same time, I did get a falun implanted before he mentioned it being a thing, and when he mentioned falun, mine was really energized. He has some powers, or is linked into a power system of some kind. It's exact nature I can't discern. But he's no Buddhist, as he doesn't seem to know what nibbana is or what it means to be an arahant. He does seem to think he's an enlightened being of some variety or another. But at one point or another he claims an arahant can regress to become an ordinary being, unintentionally! He says in more than one place that infinite planes are limited.... and so on. I still find some of what he has to say interesting. But I have decided to not study his writings or listen to the lectures anymore. I might read the Falun Gong instructions a few more times, to check my understanding, or compare it with other systems.

I'm attached to sutras, tantrism, and practice mantra recitation. So giving that up to practice his looney religion simply won't happen. He says you can't accomplish anything by doing his exercises and practicing anything else. Apparently it's too delicate for the separate Taos and Buddhas to sort out. He says the various Buddhas, Taos and Buddhas are all separate from each other! He even tries to say that the 84,000 dharma-doors are 'unique cultivation ways' that have to be practiced in exclusion to eachother. This is absurd, since mathematics and geometry are two of the dharma doors. Much of what he says contradicts my direct experience and what I've heard from Buddhists with lineage. So I regard him as a cult leader. 

I do like how Falun Gong is given away freely. That really appeals to the Buddhist values I have bought into. I also like it's simplicity. It's quite effective at energizing the body. I like to drink and curse and smoke though. Plus the whole "give up cultivating Buddhism and follow only Dafa or fail at both" ultimatum. I can give up drinking and smoking. Curse words and Buddhism are a part of this personality that will probably stay.

I'd like to continue to practice the Falun Gong movements. But I'm concerned with the fact of the leader being not what he says he is, and teaching things which are false. Like the whole "taking medicine forces the disease karma substance deeper into your body" bullshit. (Buddhas of the past vowed to cause medicinal plants to grow in various realms for the benefit of beings.) I mean, I could throw away the books, and just do the exercise. But the fact is that practicing the forms seems (to my mind) to imply being influenced on an emotional and mental level by the mental and astral gestalt of Falun Dafa. Not to mention the implant! I feel this might impede my progress, and moreover, limit my future possibilities. Mr. Li Hongzhi has committed the fifth heinous act, and as such will be subject to birth in a hell realm. So learning from him seems problematic at best.

I wonder if anyone can point me in the right direction...! I need a simple exercise regime that will gel with my hermetic Buddhist view and practice. I'd like to continue with Falun Gong movements. But the matter of it being tied to a group whose ideas I reject seems to pose a few problems to which I haven't a sure remedy (aside from emptiness.) I'm not a perfected Kabbalist, not a high level Bodhisattva, and certainly not a Buddha. So my mind and emotions are subject to external influences. 

I'm very open to doing Daoist exercises, as I've done Hindu ones before. I'm more a hermit than a sectarian. The Buddhist exercise systems I'm aware of are relatively inaccessible to me, and seem at least as complicated as their Hindu counterparts. I'm looking for simplicity with efficacy.

Advice on choosing a suitable system for cultivating the body and internal energy system is most welcome!
 

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There is a thread in the daoist discussion section named potent systems, it is as weird as anything you might find on a forum and it mentions several methods.

 

Aside from that, you might find out that everybody has got their favourite system.

 

Starting on the DVD/book trail is always problematic, since there are so many basic things that might be missed or misunderstood.

 

It seems that even a seriously messed up qigong can have great health benefits, you can find experienced teachers writing about that.

 

But if your purpose is to align spiritually, you might want to follow personal instruction.

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Thanks Mudfoot, I will read through that thread.

I'm concerned with establishing daily physical practice for the body as a habit. 

Given my situation, the book/video route is the most feasible at present, I would say. Subtleties being lost is something I've considered. But since my options are limited, I'm willing to take the risk. 

I had an internal energy disorder before, from practicing meditation incorrectly. Sorted it out (mostly) with breathing meditation, meditation on emptiness, meditation on deities and gentle movement. I'm not sure if there is some residual issue with the internal energy; or if what I'm experiencing is merely a result of the accidental injury. Hard to be totally certain, it usually appears as chronic tension in the throat. It may just be from the alignment of the spine, putting pressure on the nerves, combined with chronic muscle tensions. This is part of why I would like to have personal instruction, or a skilled healer around.

Lately, since massaging a few acupoints in the hand, wrist and below the knee, I felt some changes in my internal energy. Then doing the falun gong, a similar feeling change. Both situations, massaging the points, and practicing the falun gong, the tension in the throat has been in flux. Also I feel some changes in my digestion, and in some of the channels that run down the front of the body. Hard to characterize, as it is new to me. Feels kinda hot, and a mix of dry and wet.

When I was having the internal energy disorder, I would get very strong electrical sensations in my whole body, combined with involuntary movements, muscular tensions, sudden pains, burning sensations, itching, and the ant-crawling sensations. I was used to the ant-crawling sensations from practicing hypnotic techniques. But the other stuff had me scared. It's sorted out now.

I think my digestion has been a bit upset by eating at irregular hours, and eating too many chilies. Gotta find a new equilibrium with the eating habits.

Meditation on the breath, and treasured deities coming from and dissolving into light/emptiness was probably the most helpful for dissolving the energy problems.

As for spiritual alignment, I'm not too concerned at present. I've got some guidance. The approach which has been fruitful so far has been to be broadminded, and as balanced as possible with respect to the elements and planes. That is, in terms of view, and conduct. For the moment that approach is sufficient. If I find myself in a position to have a person instruct me, I will have to consider it. I considered monasticism but realize I'm not interested in being celibate my whole life.

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Here¬īs my suggestion...

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tEAaq293Wk

 

This is the first section of Sheng Zhen Healing Qigong. ¬†There are three sections all together, and if you like it you could buy the dvd and just practice along with it once a day. ¬†A seated qigong form that¬īs specifically focused on cultivating the health of the physical body, can be done in less than 90 minutes, and doesn¬īt require personal instruction to get started. ¬†Highly recommended.

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A healing Chi gung style might be up your alley.  There's a style Stillness Movement (SM) that has a teacher here- Ya Mu.  Tends to be a seminar and a video or two kind of thing.  Good stuff.  Sitting, movement, healing techniques..  We've got a couple of threads on it.

info: http://www.qigongamerica.com/

Edited by thelerner
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Your correct that sometimes a "group mind" can come along with a practice and Falun definitely has some dark shadows. No matter how enlightened an individual is, they can still have issues that there not dealing with and fall like an anvil from there Ivory tower. If you can develop a balanced and healthy friendship with a teacher, then thats great, if not it can be helpful to just take the technique and go.

 

Here's a list of systems:

 

1. Stillness Movement

2. Spring Forest Qigong

3. Yigong by Jenny Lamb

4. Flying Phoenix Qigong

 

Call it an intuition....but for some reason i think you'd like Flying Phoenix Qigong. Cheers.   :)   

Edited by OldChi
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I would personally go for Dragon and Tiger Qigong, presented in two books by Bruce Frantzis. You can buy them anywere, start with the first book, in fact don't buy the two right away. Buy the second when you feel stable and proficient in the system. It is a system that started out Daoist but has many buddhist influences. I guess some people on this forum dislike Bruce but I have to say if you not are going to find a teacher I think he has the most precise and clear instructions to be understood by an ordinary person just by training from a book. It is very detailed.

 

Feel free to message me if you have any questions!

Edited by joti
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I'll throw a suggestion for Tai Chi in. Free reference material is abundant, you get good movements and balance challenge.

Should you like it you can step it up by asking a practicioner help you correct your form a little or even join a club if circumstances permit. Sounds like you have the meditative part down already, Tai Chi gets you moving and the classic forms (short ones too) contain a healthy dose of qi gong movements. Their deeper meaning and codifications will require a teacher, but just learning the basic pattern of a form is easily done if you keep your wits about you, relax and stick with the reference material.

 

Happy hunting!

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Thank you everyone for your responses. ^_^ I'm going to have a look at these suggestions over the next few weeks, and see what I most resonate with.

No mention of Kunlun?

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No mention of Kunlun?

 

Actually the system of Yigong by Jenny Lamb that OldChi mentioned is the original version of Kunlun.  So there ya go...Kunlun.

Edited by liminal_luke
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You've got some good recommendations here. I'd investigate each of them. (I'm partial to Stillness-Movement, personally, but each person finds what resonates...)

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Can anyone comment as to whether one can practice both yigong and flying phoenix chigong? It seems they do rather different things. I'm totally not familiar with the differing kinds of arts being talked about here, their dynamics and relation to each other. 

This thread seems to indicate that one could practice yigong and flying phoenix qigong on the same day. I'm thinking  flying pheonix in the morning and the yigong in the evening could be doable, if time permits. I dunno what my level of dedication will be like. I suppose it depends on how quickly I'm able to learn the forms. Simplicty makes yigong seem appealing. 

If I have to choose one of the two, I'm not sure which would be best presently. Might have to throw the dice on this one. Either way, I think I will have to buy one of Sifu Terry or Sifu Jenny's first instructional DVDs.

Reading a bit of the thread of Flying Phoenix I am pleased to learn that it has lineage which can be traced back to an influential master of past centuries. I'm really curious about how Yigong may have originated I understand it's Maoshan in origin and has a practie lineage that goes back over 1800 years. Doing the spontaneous adjustment qigong form (as it's described in Pillars of Bliss,) I'm stunned by the effect. I'm also stunned that Coyote get's mentioned before sister Jenny Wu! 

I'm curious about the actual history of red phoenix, seminar secrets golden flower alchymic-neigung meditations, 5 elements Maoshan i-jong. Where's all that originate? What's it do? Red phoenix is not the same as red sun? Is

it? It seems to me there is hype selling the Pineal gland activating koonloon lineage secret protected art.

While feeling averse to 'spiritual business,' I'd like to know what this alleged lineage of practice's history is. The apprentice and facilitator lot seem like a bunch of jimmy rustlers, selling 'kunlun lineage' secrets, as taught in my unique and personal way with variations I made up for spiritual cash.

Root, branch, fruit....

 

In addition to all that, can anyone suggest a good book to digest that will help prime my mind for practicing these kind of arts? Right now I have Liao Fan's Four Lessons. I don't know anything about Chinese classics or culture. I'd like to avoid confusion, and speculative approaches to enlightenment, health and longevity.

[Edited for brevity]

Edited by Mud Dragon

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Mud Dragon,

 

Follow your heart. Or to put it better, follow your bliss. Do what gives you peace and joy. Don't worry about what you "should" do - do what you WANT to do. I'm not suggesting that you do anything morally wrong, but that you do as you please when it comes to what path you take and your spiritual practices.

 

A few things that have helped me are:

 

Excercise. There's no need to be extreme about it, just five or ten minutes a day can help. Jumping jacks, push ups, body squats and calf raises are great exercises. You don't need a gym or anything other than your body to do those exercises.

 

Get a lot of protein. It's not only good for you physically, but psychologically and emotionally.

 

Experiment with meditation techniques until you find one you feel great about, then stick with it. Be as regular as possible with your meditation regimen.

 

One final thing is (and the reason I'm sharing this with you is because you mentioned wanting to grow wiser as you get older), I recommend the book, "The Art of Living," by Epictetus. It's possibly the greatest work ever written about wisdom imo.

 

I hope this helps.

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Don't start with two different Qi Gong sets, pick one, practice that one. Don't put to much pressure on yourself to be 'good' from the start. Its like e everything in life, you are terrible at first and then you progress in correlation to effort (and some might say talent)

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I have been practicing "kunlun level one". It seems to be doing something. I'd describe part of it as tonifying the energy of the internal organs. My internal bodily awareness feels somewhat heightened. I'm more aware of my liver and kidneys. Since it is doing something tangible, I'll make a habit of practicing this posture.

Looking through Max's second book, I see there are the five elements standing postures. I will have to habituate those too.

Once all that is a habit I will either pick up Jenny Lamb's DVD on Yigong, or I will pick up Sifu terry Dunn's DVDs to see how the Flying Phoenix Qigong affects the body, emotions and mind. I guess it will depend on my inclination at that time.

If anything really interesting happens which i'm willing to share, I'll post here.

Years ago I had made a habit of practicing the generation stage of white skeleton, and mixed it with cultivating energy clusters in the various power points of the body. I was not very stable with the concentration and resting in emptiness stage of white skeleton at that time. So I would cultivate the energy clusters to help train concentration. I haven't practiced white skeleton for a long time. A few years I would guess.

One interesting experience I've had while practicing the "kunlun level 1" posture is the spontaneously arising visualization of white skeleton. Seeing and feeling my bones radiate white light, the whole skeleton feeling energized. I suppose more stuff like this will unfold gradually, as my awareness expands.

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I do think you should stick with one system for a while first, particularly if it's a holistic system like kunlun or flying phoenix. Even Sifu Terry mentioned on the forums it's fine to practice other qigong once you've established the first system. But you shouldn't learn two systems at once.

 

I practiced Falun Gong for over a decade to the exclusion of everything else. It's a deep system and I had some profound insights and experiences from practicing it. I followed the teachings and found there was a lot of truth there. But again, it's not for everyone.

 

For me, I got stuck at a certain level for a couple of years and I decided I wanted to grow and learn something else.

 

I've practiced a lot of qigong systems since. I've found flying phoenix to be among the best for gentle healing and balancing effects. The energy is wholesome, intelligent and perhaps even from a divine source.

 

At present I'm going through the wim hof method course, which is kind of like a powerful kundalini yoga technique. I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Not sure if it's a keeper yet though.

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