dwai

Central channel or Heart Field?

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10 minutes ago, Jeff said:

 

I would disagree.  From the Tao Te Ching...

 

THIRTEEN

Accept disgrace willingly. Accept misfortune as the human condition.

What do you mean by “Accept disgrace willingly”? Accept being unimportant.

Do not be concerned with loss or gain. This is called “accepting disgrace willingly.”

What do you mean by “Accept misfortune as the human condition”?

Misfortune comes from having a body. Without a body, how could there be misfortune?

Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things.

Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.

 

Or if you prefer a reference to the Heart...

 

EIGHT

The highest good is like water.

Water gives life to the ten thousand things and does not strive.

It flows in places people reject and so is like the Tao.

In dwelling, be close to the land. In meditation, go deep in the heart.

In dealing with others, be gentle and kind. In speech, be true.

In ruling, be just. In business, be competent. In action, watch the timing. No fight: No blame.

 

 

Thats a bit better - at least it raises discussion.

 

Now, apart from the fact that this particular translation uses the words ‘love’ and ‘heart’, how do you understand these verses to mean that love is the greatest power in the universe and that love is the fundamental nature of your being?

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In fairness if you look at the translations using the word love in the TTC 13 - the word love is clearly in reference to ones regard for their own person/personhood and extending that to others.

It is both a reference to the higher and lower nature’s - 

 

Love is a hot point - in teachings it can also be a big Selling point - and it is a favorite and can bring up considerable confusion and sexual intermingling. 

 

It is indeed easy to switch from head to heart - and those dedicated to head can have considerable resistance to heart and the concept of losing concept to feeling.

 

Heart is addictive as well as being freedom to feel and know on the deepest of levels - a touch broad yet intimate.

 

The centers are not places of refuge - though they are in the need for trance that will accommodate our proclivities. Heart is as much a trance refuge as the more noisy head - the heart strikes the most brutal drums and the finest violins.

 

The head walls off in icy positions yet is capable of geometric knowing beyond language and words.

 

The gut calms both of these as a mountain contains the heart and the heavens sit upon its head.

 

 

Edited by Spotless
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The word Love is a bit like the Bible - one can make it out to be almost anything by picking and choosing what one likes and dislikes in ones ever expanding or contracting definitions of it. 

It is a word that is reasonably resisted by many many sages for its lack of pointing to anything very clear. 

Yet at times it’s lack of clarity clarifies a certain non willfulness - 

as the song “Let it Be”

Edited by Spotless
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11 minutes ago, Spotless said:

The word Love is a bit like the Bible

 

Interesting that you mention the bible. 

 

I think a lot of the ‘divine love’ type concepts come from the Christian root. Then during the ‘new age’ appropriation period it all got mixed in with eastern traditions.

 

Regarding Verse 13. This passage has nothing to do with divine love. 

 

The translation I have doesn’t use the word love. 

 

“Only those who care for their subjects like they care for themselves are fit to govern the people.”

 

This passage is about Humility. Which is what most of the TTC is about.

 

Verse 8 that Jeff quoted comes closer to ‘divine heart’, but on closer inspection, using an in my opinion a more accurate translation that piece reads:

 

”Build your foundations of dwelling upon a still heart.”

 

Its an instruction. It’s about stilling your emotions. Not dwelling in divine love...

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1 hour ago, freeform said:

 

Thats a bit better - at least it raises discussion.

 

Now, apart from the fact that this particular translation uses the words ‘love’ and ‘heart’, how do you understand these verses to mean that love is the greatest power in the universe and that love is the fundamental nature of your being?

 

I was just disagreeing with your point about them not being factors and providing textual support for it.  I am not particularly trying to make some statement regarding "love" as being the fundamental nature of your being.  The concept of love would be more like a local body-mind mental translation of a broader primordial view. At a more primordial level, I would say the fundamental nature is more like why a flower grows in the sun.  Something more like "pure" desire and expansion.

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Love can be termed as the greatest motivator in my view, but not the greatest power or as fundamental nature.  Fundamental nature seems to 'just be'.

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1 minute ago, s1va said:

Love can be termed as the greatest motivator in my view, but not the greatest power or as fundamental nature.  Fundamental nature seems to 'just be'.

 

Agreed, but that "just being" has infinite potential... :) 

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18 minutes ago, freeform said:

Its an instruction. It’s about stilling your emotions. Not dwelling in divine love...

 

I was about to ask about that. 

 

This discussion started out with comparing/contrasting central channel and heart. It became clear that in practice there is a distinction. Then the discussion move in a different direction.

 

But I was not seeing reference to what the Guanzi refers to ... at least in Hinton's translation as the heart-mind. Just seems like a complete discussion of the heart would have to include this context ... which is what I understand your point to be.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, freeform said:

think a lot of the ‘divine love’ type concepts come from the Christian root. Then during the ‘new age’ appropriation period it all got mixed in with eastern traditions.

It would be hard consider that “Divine Love” concepts have their root in Christianity.

 

Your assessment of the New Age is a far right Christian tag assigned to it. It was actually disappropriation of inherited dogma and staid religious assumption.

 

The negative view of the New Age was sold hard by the dying religious dogmas - and it was an easy target with the barrage of whimsical intermixed with enormous grace and expansion.

 

But Christianity is an easy target as well - it is simply not as politically correct to denigrate it - displace assumption regarding its concoction and intoxicating transmutations and plagiarized basics.

 

 

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1 hour ago, freeform said:

 

Interesting that you mention the bible. 

 

I think a lot of the ‘divine love’ type concepts come from the Christian root. Then during the ‘new age’ appropriation period it all got mixed in with eastern traditions.

 

Regarding Verse 13. This passage has nothing to do with divine love. 

 

The translation I have doesn’t use the word love. 

 

“Only those who care for their subjects like they care for themselves are fit to govern the people.”

 

This passage is about Humility. Which is what most of the TTC is about.

 

Verse 8 that Jeff quoted comes closer to ‘divine heart’, but on closer inspection, using an in my opinion a more accurate translation that piece reads:

 

”Build your foundations of dwelling upon a still heart.”

 

Its an instruction. It’s about stilling your emotions. Not dwelling in divine love...

 

How do you interpret  only those who care for others as they care for themselves, as only meaning humility?  What does "care for others" mean to you?

 

Also, chapter 28 specifically states what is necessary for becoming a "stream of the universe"...

 

TWENTY-EIGHT

Know the strength of a man, But keep a woman’s care!

Be the stream of the universe! Being the stream of the universe,

Ever true and unswerving, Become as a little child once more.

...

 

What do you think a "woman's care" is?  It is a loving mom like caring for her children.  Other translations even state it as a woman's heart.  Knowing the "strength of a man" is only half of the equation if one is ever going to become "a little child once more" (golden child).

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2 hours ago, freeform said:

 

 

It seems to me that what you’d actually love to hear is agreement with you.

 

I'm afraid I disagree. 

That's fine. It is your prerogative. :)

2 hours ago, freeform said:

I’ve gone to some lengths to explained why and gave you clear examples I’ve come across.

 

The enlightened Daoist masters left classical texts. Nowhere does it say ‘love is the basic nature of our being’ or anything remotely like that. Or maybe you know of some that do?

That was not the point. Did you read any Daoist master say that love is not the basic nature of our being? I know of many Yogic and Vedantic masters who say exactly that. I know of many buddhist masters who say that too. :) 

2 hours ago, freeform said:

 

I think if you actually want a useful discussion, it’s now up to you to explain your position, give examples and reasons for your views which contradict both the book you’re quoting as well as the Daoist classics.

:D 

What part of my position did you find contradicting both the book as well as the Daoist classics? 

Did you find any Daoist classics explicitly say  "don't develop the heart field?" or "Love is bad"? 

Did you actually read the book I referenced in the OP?

 

2 hours ago, freeform said:

 

If you’d rather just create an echo-chamber for your views, then I’m happy to leave this thread and let you enjoy that.

its entirely up to you. Neither did I invite you, nor will I ask you to leave. 

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1 hour ago, Jeff said:

 

Agreed, but that "just being" has infinite potential... :) 

Don't we find that "just being" is also "simply love"?

Or is Love something that has to be contrived out of "just being"? 

:) 

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2 hours ago, Spotless said:

The word Love is a bit like the Bible - one can make it out to be almost anything by picking and choosing what one likes and dislikes in ones ever expanding or contracting definitions of it. 

It is a word that is reasonably resisted by many many sages for its lack of pointing to anything very clear. 

Yet at times it’s lack of clarity clarifies a certain non willfulness - 

as the song “Let it Be”

I like the quote attributed to Nisargadatta Maharaj --

 

"When I know I'm nothing, that is wisdom. When I know I'm everything, that is Love. Between these two, my life rotates"...

 

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2 minutes ago, dwai said:

Don't we find that "just being" is also "simply love"?

Or is Love something that has to be contrived out of "just being"? 

:) 

 

To me, Love is a tough word depending on your definition. If one is "just being" it is more like a pure and unattached radiating. The buddhist word of bodchitta is pretty good, but still at a mind level and dualistic. To use the word love, it would have to be infinitely universal with no favorites.  More like universal growth with the ultimate realization of unlimited potential. Also, more like a universal flow, than a stop and smell the roses kind of thing.  Just like the growth and blooming of a flower. :)  

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1 hour ago, Jeff said:

 

To me, Love is a tough word depending on your definition. If one is "just being" it is more like a pure and unattached radiating. The buddhist word of bodchitta is pretty good, but still at a mind level and dualistic. To use the word love, it would have to be infinitely universal with no favorites.  More like universal growth with the ultimate realization of unlimited potential. Also, more like a universal flow, than a stop and smell the roses kind of thing.  Just like the growth and blooming of a flower. :)  

That is exactly the kind of Love that I meant (and that my Master means). An unattached, radiating love :)

We have a meditation where we work on suffusing this love into the entire body and radiating it by just being. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Spotless said:

In fairness if you look at the translations using the word love in the TTC 13 - the word love is clearly in reference to ones regard for their own person/personhood and extending that to others.

It is both a reference to the higher and lower nature’s - 

 

Love is a hot point - in teachings it can also be a big Selling point - and it is a favorite and can bring up considerable confusion and sexual intermingling. 

The issue is really not with Love but with the misidentification of the conditions that surround it. The first time I fell in love (with a girl), there was essentially a change in the way I experienced the world. It wasn't just about or towards one person. It was all pervasive...a major heart opening. 

 

Being the logical person I was, I had assumed that it would only be limited to my interaction with my subject of interest, but it surprisingly spilt into everything in my life. Almost like I lost the ability to dislike or distrust anything or anyone. So even though at that point it wasn't clear to me what was happening, and I tried to keep that feeling focused on the inter-personal dynamic between myself and the girl, it changed me in a dramatic way. It took several years of living to undo (partially however) that which was done in a flash, as I saw the girl walking down the street!

 

Anything we experience, is only within us already. No external object can evoke anything in us. If we focus on the "positive" feelings, like love, joy, etc...these are also within us. If we consider negative feelings like "fear, hatred, etc", are they not just a result of masking of the natural feeling of love, joy, etc? How does this masking process work? With the help of the mind and mental constructs (like us vs them, good vs bad, etc etc). 

 

Quote

It is indeed easy to switch from head to heart - and those dedicated to head can have considerable resistance to heart and the concept of losing concept to feeling.

Very profound!

Quote

Heart is addictive as well as being freedom to feel and know on the deepest of levels - a touch broad yet intimate.

 

The centers are not places of refuge - though they are in the need for trance that will accommodate our proclivities. Heart is as much a trance refuge as the more noisy head - the heart strikes the most brutal drums and the finest violins.

 

The head walls off in icy positions yet is capable of geometric knowing beyond language and words.

 

The gut calms both of these as a mountain contains the heart and the heavens sit upon its head.

 

 

By Gut you mean the Lower Dan Tien or actually the gut? My teacher always tells us to balance out the energies by sinking to the lower dan tien. 

Edited by dwai
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3 hours ago, freeform said:

 

Interesting that you mention the bible. 

 

I think a lot of the ‘divine love’ type concepts come from the Christian root. Then during the ‘new age’ appropriation period it all got mixed in with eastern traditions.

That is abjectly incorrect. Many ancient Eastern traditions deal specifically with "divine love". Bhakti Yoga is a practice dedicated for that and is referenced in texts as old as the Bhagavad Gita. But maybe by "Eastern" you meant Chinese?

3 hours ago, freeform said:

Regarding Verse 13. This passage has nothing to do with divine love. 

 

The translation I have doesn’t use the word love. 

 

“Only those who care for their subjects like they care for themselves are fit to govern the people.”

 

This passage is about Humility. Which is what most of the TTC is about.

 

Verse 8 that Jeff quoted comes closer to ‘divine heart’, but on closer inspection, using an in my opinion a more accurate translation that piece reads:

 

”Build your foundations of dwelling upon a still heart.”

 

Its an instruction. It’s about stilling your emotions. Not dwelling in divine love...

 

What is the result of a still heart? Does stilling of the heart eliminate love, or does it clarify/purify it?

 

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I think it’s important to point out the area of disagreement here. I disagree with the idea that in Daoism love is considered the fundamental nature of being. It is not. The Dao is.

 

Of course Daoism talks of compassion and love. It’s one of the De, the virtues. But it’s not considered the fundamental underlying principle of the universe.

 

And does it really make sense to say that just because the classics don’t explicitly say “love is not the fundamental nature of being” - that means that it could be... Bit of a straw man argument. The classics also fail to mention that eugenics is a bad idea...

 

I’ve already pointed out that other systems certainly subscribe to this. But it is not a part of classical alchemical Daoism. It is certainly a view that’s often added to Daoist systems by modern practitioners. 

 

Have I read Damo’s book? Yes. I’ve trained with him too. He is one of the few modern teachers that is keeping authentic Daoist practice alive. Not watering it down and mixing in ideas from other systems.

 

Does this all mean that other systems are bad? Or incorrect? Of course not. But I believe that one needs to treat all these traditions with respect and humility. Not chop and change things to fit our ideas.

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1 hour ago, freeform said:

I think it’s important to point out the area of disagreement here. I disagree with the idea that in Daoism love is considered the fundamental nature of being. It is not. The Dao is.

I can grok that :) 

Quote

 

Of course Daoism talks of compassion and love. It’s one of the De, the virtues. But it’s not considered the fundamental underlying principle of the universe.

There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what De is. My teacher’s teacher suggests that De is essentially a reflection/copy of Dao within us, via which one gets back to Dao. It also helps to understanding "what nature of being" implies. It doesn't necessarily mean a "fundamental principle" so much as "a fundamental aspect of being" .  You have to understand that for a tradition that says the Dao can't be talked about, a lot is actually said about it.  

Quote

 

And does it really make sense to say that just because the classics don’t explicitly say “love is not the fundamental nature of being” - that means that it could be... Bit of a straw man argument. The classics also fail to mention that eugenics is a bad idea...

Eugenics and love  are not even close to be compared ;) 

Quote

 

I’ve already pointed out that other systems certainly subscribe to this. But it is not a part of classical alchemical Daoism. It is certainly a view that’s often added to Daoist systems by modern practitioners. 

Nothing wrong in syncretism. 

Quote

Have I read Damo’s book? Yes. I’ve trained with him too. He is one of the few modern teachers that is keeping authentic Daoist practice alive. Not watering it down and mixing in ideas from other systems.

Very cool. I find what he writes more or less in line with what I’ve learnt in temple style (Tai chi, Dao gong)

Quote

Does this all mean that other systems are bad? Or incorrect? Of course not. But I believe that one needs to treat all these traditions with respect and humility. Not chop and change things to fit our ideas.

No problem with that either. However, since Damo mentioned the heart field cultivation as a practice some Daoist schools do, I’m assuming he’s saying he prefers central  channel based work, and not really a critique of people  chopping and changing things.

 

I have practices that are both heart based  (distinct from) and central channel based. My OP was asking for people who have experience with Daoist Heart field cultivation to share their thoughts. 

 

Do you know about Daoist Heart channel cultivation practices? Have you done any? 

Edited by dwai

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8 hours ago, Jeff said:

 

Agreed, but that "just being" has infinite potential... :) 

 

If it has infinite access ? 

 

Otherwise, it is being in a mindset or astral sense with boundaries in the end... but such boundaries may not even been known or understood.

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8 hours ago, dwai said:

Nothing wrong in syncretism.

 

Well here’s the crux of the argument. I think it is wrong. I’ve explained why.

 

Why do you think that it’s perfectly fine to chop and change classical systems?

 

I think it shows a lack of respect and humility, personally. I know that Damo agrees. Some of my other teachers agree too. Maybe it’s a lack of trust (in the process)? Maybe it’s a case of not having access to teachings leading past this stage? Maybe us modern humans are just smarter than the old masters? Maybe it just feels so good that we’re willing to distort the teachings to make it so?

 

The De are the highest state of functioning in the self. These are the emotions transformed into a higher state of being. It’s one of the highest levels of self development. But it’s not the development of Dao. That is done by going past self development to spiritual development (developing the spirit - the yuan shen). In fact (sadly) spiritual development is independent from self development - which often results in spiritually-realised arseholes... (lots of power hungry, sex crazed gurus around)

 

You asked whether people have experience in heart field cultivation. I have some, mainly in the Buddhist tradition. My Buddhist teacher thinks it’s one of the best ways of reaching all the way to the 6th Jhana, because it feels so good. Though he stressed that to go further through the Jhanas it has to be dropped and brought to stillness.

 

I've also come across it in some form with one of my Daoist teachers. His system is very heavily transmission based, there’s very little in terms of explanation. But at one stage, during a long retreat at his home, we dropped away the outer layers of self and experienced this expansive, radiant sense of connection with everything. I think this might be what you’re talking about. He also emphasised that this is not the goal, but stillness is. Some students disregarded that and pursued it further (and I mentioned them previously). I understand now that as profound as it felt, it is still based in the self (albeit deeper self).

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9 hours ago, dawei said:

 

If it has infinite access ? 

 

Otherwise, it is being in a mindset or astral sense with boundaries in the end... but such boundaries may not even been known or understood.

 

Yes, but then it would not be truly “just being”. If it was constrained as you described, there is no infinite potential, it would be mentally bounded.

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Interesting debate.

 

I've read Damo's book and thought it very helpful and comprehensive (although there were one or two points where I disagreed with him - but not essentially on the basics.)

 

The section on the heart field does seem like a bit of an add on - and he makes the point that emphasis on the middle Dandien is not typical of earlier Nei Gong /Dan texts - but I'm not sure it is the strongest part of his book, or the best understood.  It may be that this emerged as influence from Buddhism.  But I don't buy the contamination theory which some people seem to uphold.  Daoist practice is not as far as I can see fixed at some point in time, there is no ur-text or original practice - it, like the Dao, is continually changing and adapting - and in fact if you call what teachers, masters take on board in their teaching 'contamination' then you are saying that your understanding is better than theirs.  That you as a westerner having read some translation of the TTC etc. know better than the masters of medieval China up today.  Which clearly not the case.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Apech said:

But I don't buy the contamination theory which some people seem to uphold.  Daoist practice is not as far as I can see fixed at some point in time, there is no ur-text or original practice - it, like the Dao, is continually changing and adapting - and in fact if you call what teachers, masters take on board in their teaching 'contamination' then you are saying that your understanding is better than theirs.

 

Ok - interesting!

 

So - is there a point where you draw a line?

 

I mean I’m pretty sure you’re not saying that every adaptation any teacher cares to make is legitimate because Daoist practice is not fixed...

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