Recommended Posts

In the Netflix show [season 1 episode 3, ~3:00 minutes in], "Marco Polo", the character One Hundred Eyes is a Daoist Monk in Mongolian Court around the turn of the first millennium AD.  The Character Marco Polo, or Latin, is a westerner being taught by One Hundred Eyes. In the show, One Hundred Eyes gives a lecture to Marco Polo; "Supreme skill from hard work" is attained through a variety of ways. "A great poet is said to have reached " true spirit ", the painter, the calligrapher they can be said to have " true spirit. "Even the cook, the one who sweeps steps, or a masterful servant... practice preparation endless repetition, until your mind is weary, until your bones ache, too wasted to breathe. That is the way, the only way, one acquires" true spirit. 

 

Exactly why I am confused with true spirit eludes me. Upon watching the short again, true spirit isn't mentioned. for the sake of this post, may we refer to this idea as true spirit? Maybe it is the taiqi book that I am reading. It describes how to refine qi (energy) to shen (spirit). 

 

Somehow I interpreted this idea as true spirit through exhaustion. When the body's reflexes fall, spirit may govern the being.

 

 

I have an eclectic sense of meditation drawn from various sources, however no direct teacher. I've found myself lately meditating more. Would it be wise of me to seek out a teacher, so that I'm practicing properly. 

 

One other note to make, just because I am not in direct communication with a teacher (or meeting with a teacher on a regular basis, as One Hundred Eyes met with Latin), I sense that a being is guiding me.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by whitesilk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never considered the concept of "true spirit" as at as I can recall.  "True nature", yes.  I even speak to it often.

 

It sounds like One Hundred Eyes is saying that we should practice something until it becomes similar to an instinct.  But I see nothing spiritual about this.

 

I learned my empty-minded meditation from Chuang Tzu.  No, we never met in real life.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I gotta say that , for me, the point is to be doing what one intends , and the intention is to be at pleasant rest mentally , not fighting with yourself . Not dragging yourself around all balky and recalcitrant. Not running from external difficulties not chasing glee. 

One can indeed be ones worst enemy . How much nicer is it all when we aren't upset,, whether conditions are peachy or not. 

If the  Hundred Eyes guy broke that cycle by being repetitive, power to him. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marblehead, I suffered a head injury as a youth. Because of this, I was aggressive. I played American football, till hanging up my cleats in college. The injuries I've sustained during 12 or so years of intense physical activity are my current meditation causes. Specifically, I have a slipped disk in my lower lumbar, a dislocated shoulder, pinched nerve in my neck, and ankle that was perpendicular to my shin. The silver lining is that it's easier to sit with loose joints. My meditation is difficult for myself; I am worried I might be causing further harm to my spine by meditation. I've been sitting and using a grounding technique to circulate my energy.

 

As far as a quiet mind goes, currently I smoke, and that suffices.

 

Stosh, I don't intend to take a harsh tone, yet Marblehead may perceive it as such. Plus, is it my tone, do I own it?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, whitesilk said:

Marblehead, I suffered a head injury as a youth. Because of this, I was aggressive. I played American football, till hanging up my cleats in college. The injuries I've sustained during 12 or so years of intense physical activity are my current meditation causes. Specifically, I have a slipped disk in my lower lumbar, a dislocated shoulder, pinched nerve in my neck, and ankle that was perpendicular to my shin. The silver lining is that it's easier to sit with loose joints. My meditation is difficult for myself; I am worried I might be causing further harm to my spine by meditation. I've been sitting and using a grounding technique to circulate my energy.

 

As far as a quiet mind goes, currently I smoke, and that suffices.

 

Stosh, I don't intend to take a harsh tone, yet Marblehead may perceive it as such. Plus, is it my tone, do I own it?

Sorry, I don't know what you're getting at.  I am responding to the idea that hundred eyes expressed,, that grinding yourself down with endless repetition is a path to acquire ones true spirit.  I don't read anywhere in daoist canon that one has to acquire their innate nature. Consider Wizard of OZ , they just weren't recognizing that they weren't as flawed as they thought. Its difficult enough though to hear the little voice of your true self , to captain your life in a way that you will be satisfied with, both as you go along , and when its over.  

Grinding oneself down out of a sense of ambition for some vague mirage is just as much a rat race as keeping up with the Joneses.  We each end up with crosses to bear , they abound. Some people are in a rut , and others in manic pursuit of their own tail. We have health issues, social stresses, and everyday confusions, boring yourself to death on top of that is shooting yourself in the foot,  IMO.  

On the other hand , it might be good to see that we can overcome adversity , that we can endure hardship or insults to our vanity etc. and take the world with , more than -a grain of salt.

I just don't see that the virtue lies in the suffering , but in the growth of perspective , the learning about what it means to be honest with yourself accepting of yourself , and taking sound spiritual care of yourself.

Learning to Do you , 

Right. 

PS , your tone is just fine and even if it wasn't , Mh is a thick skinned guy who isn't going to come apart all of a sudden.  Which reminds me of my cat .. we have bumped heads in various manners , ( her head is like a rock !,,,, a silky rock with innocent blue eyes ) but I ,and she, knows that none of it is meant to be hurtful. It's water under the bridge. Somewhere along the line she picked up the idea that an effective way to wake me up in the morning was to run across the bed with an emphatic leap from my stomach.  I wanted to put the kibosh on that maneuver and jumped out of bed startlingly a few times. She still does it occasionally but its not like its every day and I'm not upset over it. 

Edited by Stosh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Stosh said:

I am responding to the idea that hundred eyes expressed,, that grinding yourself down with endless repetition is a path to acquire ones true spirit.  I don't read anywhere in daoist canon that one has to acquire their innate nature. Consider Wizard of OZ , they just weren't recognizing that they weren't as flawed as they thought. 

 

"I fear not the man who has practiced 10000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10000 times."  Bruce Lee

 

I can't really speak to what was meant by the character, but I would interpret it as something like to continue practicing until it becomes natural & effortless. 

 

With cultivation methods over the years I have fallen victim to the bad practice of pursuing this meditation technique one day, performing that ritual another, all dictated by what I "want" to do. I have found that I only receive lasting results when I commit to a regimen & do it daily, especially when my desires are urging me to skip it. Our daily drippings fill a bigger bucket than our geysers of effort. 

 

In this context it's more of continuing up the mountain despite being weary of the journey or experiencing hardships along the way. "Grinding down" has a kind of negative connotation, maybe "distilling down" is better in that it implies successive purifications that happen gently & simplify the matter from it's gross form.

 

I might interpret "innate nature" or "true spirit" as Original Nature which appears throughout the Daodejing. 

Edited by 七星門

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, 七星門 said:

 

"I fear not the man who has practiced 10000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10000 times."  Bruce Lee

 

I can't really speak to what was meant by the character, but I would interpret it as something like to continue practicing until it becomes natural & effortless. 

 

With cultivation methods over the years I have fallen victim to the bad practice of pursuing this meditation technique one day, performing that ritual another, all dictated by what I "want" to do. I have found that I only receive lasting results when I commit to a regimen & do it daily, especially when my desires are urging me to skip it. Our daily drippings fill a bigger bucket than our geysers of effort. 

 

In this context it's more of continuing up the mountain despite being weary of the journey or experiencing hardships along the way. "Grinding down" has a kind of negative connotation, maybe "distilling down" is better in that it implies successive purifications that happen gently & simplify the matter from it's gross form.

 

I might interpret "innate nature" or "true spirit" as Original Nature which appears throughout the Daodejing. 

From the tenor of what you're saying , you got it all figured out , what would you need a teacher for ? Daoist in particular.

The parable about the baby being able to cry all day , well,  its not that the kid is committed to a lofty goal , right?.

Its just a baby , but the thing is that he is crying for a legit reason , as he sees it , and so no real effort is being made.

see the difference ? on the one hand you have the person who is pursuing his ambition with force , and the baby , without any effort at all pursue his legit need effortlessly.

I have seen this idea expressed before ,,, and you are certainly welcome to chase it down to its terminus,,, but its still an ambition to a vague magic goal of super-humanity.  Lets say you , oh , I don't know , do prostrations ,, all day long every day, whats the payout? You'd have spent all that chunk of your life at first groaning, and then neutral about it  but occupied , and finally you have to endorse this as the greatest thing of your life , because it would be too embarrassing to tell people that you wasted ten years of your life in that unpleasant pursuit.  Like the millions who have gone before you , down that road, they chopped wood before , and they will chop wood after,,, unless they make their own head explode , or crash and burn in failure, or hit a depression they can never crawl out of..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/26/2018 at 7:20 PM, whitesilk said:

In the Netflix show [season 1 episode 3, ~3:00 minutes in], "Marco Polo", the character One Hundred Eyes is a Daoist Monk in Mongolian Court around the turn of the first millennium AD.  The Character Marco Polo, or Latin, is a westerner being taught by One Hundred Eyes. In the show, One Hundred Eyes gives a lecture to Marco Polo; "Supreme skill from hard work" is attained through a variety of ways. "A great poet is said to have reached " true spirit ", the painter, the calligrapher they can be said to have " true spirit. "Even the cook, the one who sweeps steps, or a masterful servant... practice preparation endless repetition, until your mind is weary, until your bones ache, too wasted to breathe. That is the way, the only way, one acquires" true spirit. 

 

Exactly why I am confused with true spirit eludes me. Upon watching the short again, true spirit isn't mentioned. for the sake of this post, may we refer to this idea as true spirit? Maybe it is the taiqi book that I am reading. It describes how to refine qi (energy) to shen (spirit). 

 

Somehow I interpreted this idea as true spirit through exhaustion. When the body's reflexes fall, spirit may govern the being.

 

I have an eclectic sense of meditation drawn from various sources, however no direct teacher. I've found myself lately meditating more. Would it be wise of me to seek out a teacher, so that I'm practicing properly. 

 

One other note to make, just because I am not in direct communication with a teacher (or meeting with a teacher on a regular basis, as One Hundred Eyes met with Latin), I sense that a being is guiding me.

 

 

To me the concept being expressed in the TV show (actually a really good series in my view), is not really a Taoist view. I think it is more of a writers view of a spiritual approach. The doing something to “mental” exhaustion approach, is very similar to traditions that focus on endless mantra repetition. For a Taoist version of the statement, it would not be about mental exhaustion, but more about doing all of the activities and being perfectly in the moment. The mind has quieted, and you are not thinking about it, or worrying about it, you are just painting. True spirit is found residing in the Dao, not beating yourself into body aches and mental submission. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, 七星門 said:

With cultivation methods over the years I have fallen victim to the bad practice of pursuing this meditation technique one day, performing that ritual another, all dictated by what I "want" to do. I have found that I only receive lasting results when I commit to a regimen & do it daily, especially when my desires are urging me to skip it. Our daily drippings fill a bigger bucket than our geysers of effort. 

 

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." -Prov. 27:17. Please pardon my Christian leanings. Alone, as I've been, devotion to a discipline isn't simple, easy or focused. I had to put all my houseplants in one place to remember to water them. 

 

 

In nature, the sun casts light on a tree, the rain feeds it roots, and the tree grows. As a community, Daoist or Christian, how do we feed our roots? Do our roots feed us? What would represent the sun? Perhaps, my answer to these questions would be the roots are our ancestors, the new leaves of a tree, the youth. [I believe in eternal life, be it, again, Daoist or Christian]. So the youth [in terms of long periods of time; for example, I ordered the Huainanzi at a local bookstore. Driving away, I saw an middle aged man and his family staring directly at me; upon receiving the Huainanzi, the statue of Liu An on the book's cover beared a likeness to the man I had seen looking at me while leaving the bookstore.] are nourished by the roots, yet also must live in the light to feed the roots as well. 

 

I'm easily distracted, and have strayed from the topic of this thread. 

 

5 hours ago, Jeff said:

True spirit is found residing in the Dao, not beating yourself into body aches and mental submission. 

 

Exactly the way to find the way is?

 

I have Thomas Cleary's  Taoist Classics. Reading only is so nourishing. Experience is also, IMO, needed. Maybe I'm a bit off view proper, yet, I find writings of ancient peoples are channels to communicate with them. And please, also do not be confused by my saying that "our ancestors" feed us. I study many mathematical texts, from Euclid to Huygens to Modernity, and Norse Myth as well.

 

P.S. Thinking about it, plants were the first cannibals.

 

Edited by whitesilk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"From the tenor of what you're saying , you got it all figured out , what would you need a teacher for ? Daoist in particular." 

 

OK. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, whitesilk said:

 

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." -Prov. 27:17. Please pardon my Christian leanings. Alone, as I've been, devotion to a discipline isn't simple, easy or focused. I had to put all my houseplants in one place to remember to water them. 

 

 

In nature, the sun casts light on a tree, the rain feeds it roots, and the tree grows. As a community, Daoist or Christian, how do we feed our roots? Do our roots feed us? What would represent the sun? Perhaps, my answer to these questions would be the roots are our ancestors, the new leaves of a tree, the youth. [I believe in eternal life, be it, again, Daoist or Christian]. So the youth [in terms of long periods of time; for example, I ordered the Huainanzi at a local bookstore. Driving away, I saw an middle aged man and his family staring directly at me; upon receiving the Huainanzi, the statue of Liu An on the book's cover beared a likeness to the man I had seen looking at me while leaving the bookstore.] are nourished by the roots, yet also must live in the light to feed the roots as well. 

I'm easily distracted, and have strayed from the topic of this thread. 

 

 

Exactly the way to find the way is?

 

I have Thomas Cleary's  Taoist Classics. Reading only is so nourishing. Experience is also, IMO, needed. Maybe I'm a bit off view proper, yet, I find writings of ancient peoples are channels to communicate with them. And please, also do not be confused by my saying that "our ancestors" feed us. I study many mathematical texts, from Euclid to Huygens to Modernity, and Norse Myth as well.

 

P.S. Thinking about it, plants were the first cannibals.

 

 

The most efficient method is described in chapter six of the Tao Te Ching. But, all you need for your path is found in the Tao Te Ching. No other document needed. :) 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites