ben kaf

Internal Alchemy - Where and How to start?

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Hi,

 

I am Ben. I'm in my early 30s and I have been practicing various spiritual paths (mostly kundalini yoga and vipassana) for more than a decade and I would like to switch to Taoism from now on.

I really like to learn and practice Nei dan or inner alchemy. I know it is not an easy path and I need a solid base for start. So how should I start? consider me a slow learner with a very basic knowledge of Taoism. What is the easiest and shortest path to internal alchemy? I mean I just want to learn and practice things which are absolutely necessary, because too much information confuse and dishearten me. So do I need to learn tai chi/chi kong? Which Masters or books do you recommend.. Mantak chia, Master Yang, Master wu dang chen,...?

Thanks for your help and I hope I learn a lot from you guys.
Kind Regards

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Hello, Ben kaf , and welcome.

 

Your membership is approved and we're happy you found your way to us. We look forward to accompanying you on some of the way that you still have to go.

 

Please take the time to read the post pinned at the top of this Welcome page and take a look at the forum Terms and Rules.   This covers all you need to know when getting started.

 

For the first week you will be restricted to ten posts per day but after that you can post as much as you like. Also, until you’ve posted fifteen times in the forums, you’ll be a “Junior Bum” with somewhat restricted access and will be allowed only two private messages per day.

 

Good luck in your pursuits and best wishes to you,

 

Fa Xin and the TDB team

 

Hi Ben,

 

Welcome... I don’t practice neidan but there’s a few here that do. I wish you well on your path. 

 

You are welcome to jump right in to the ongoing discussions, revive an older thread, start a new thread of your own, or start a discussion in the "Newcomer Corner" sub-forum to expand on your introduction or ask general questions to help you get started.

 

May you enjoy your time here.

 

Fa Xin

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3 hours ago, Fa Xin said:

Hello, Ben kaf , and welcome.

 

Your membership is approved and we're happy you found your way to us. We look forward to accompanying you on some of the way that you still have to go.

 

Please take the time to read the post pinned at the top of this Welcome page and take a look at the forum Terms and Rules.   This covers all you need to know when getting started.

 

For the first week you will be restricted to ten posts per day but after that you can post as much as you like. Also, until you’ve posted fifteen times in the forums, you’ll be a “Junior Bum” with somewhat restricted access and will be allowed only two private messages per day.

 

Good luck in your pursuits and best wishes to you,

 

Fa Xin and the TDB team

 

Hi Ben,

 

Welcome... I don’t practice neidan but there’s a few here that do. I wish you well on your path. 

 

You are welcome to jump right in to the ongoing discussions, revive an older thread, start a new thread of your own, or start a discussion in the "Newcomer Corner" sub-forum to expand on your introduction or ask general questions to help you get started.

 

May you enjoy your time here.

 

Fa Xin

Thanks for approving my post. I'll read the rules and start searching the forum and I hope I can contribute to the forum as well.

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6 minutes ago, rideforever said:

Hello, what were the results of your previous practices and what is attracting you to Taoism and IA?

 

I had various mystical experiences which lead me to the understanding that I'm not this body and limited self. Specially in Kundalini yoga I discovered an immense energy and different mode of consciousness but after a few years of practice, I would say I reached a plateau. So I start searching again and based on my own experience and what I heard about nei gong I realized this is very close to what I experienced/practiced and it can help me advance more in my path. Also, I have a strong intuition that Taoism is really suitable for me.

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I am not sure I can speak for Internal Alchemy, but : it seems IA is a long path requiring an ever deepening contact with forces inside and outside that one develops sensitivity and skill with, and using various techniques alchemises oneself.  It is a question of becoming an expert over years.   So, this is quite different from sudden enlightenment of some Indian paths.   It is also different from Shikantaza of Zen : just sitting and merging until you are enlightened.   IA appears to be a highly skilled and complex path.
So, if these ideas are correct, and you wish to proceed then you would need a very skilled and accurate teacher and work closely with him.
Personally I study with Michael Winn who aims to teach the alchemical aspect of the Healing Tao path, and he is highly skilled, but I cannot say at present what the results of the path can be.
Other paths require far less skill and more time served, for instance Zen
So, outside of those comments, for myself I choose to stand in wuji zhan zhuang, because it is rapid and direct.   But this is not an alchemical path.
Alternatively you might like to continue with your vipassana, and add in some taichi if you happen to like the movements.

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I don't know of any legitimate neidan school, although it may exist in China.

You should definitely check out all of the books from: http://goldenelixir.com/goldenelixir_press.html, and read and compare them all very carefully. Eva Wong's "Tao of Health, Longevity, and Immortality" is worth looking into. And really study the history of Daoism and internal alchemy (neidan).

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I would suggest you do a lot of background reading and looking around for a teacher - but don't tie yourself down to any system at first.

 

You could start with :

 

http://goldenelixir.com/press/tao_01_foundations.html

 

https://www.amazon.com/Comprehensive-Guide-Daoist-Nei-Gong/dp/1848194102/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543843271&sr=8-1&keywords=Damo+Mitchell

 

https://www.amazon.com/White-Moon-Mountain-Peak-Alchemical/dp/1848192568/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1543843271&sr=8-2&keywords=Damo+Mitchell

 

... also you could ask questions on here (as long as you are prepared to sort the many and often contradictory answers).

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On 12/3/2018 at 2:29 AM, rideforever said:

So, if these ideas are correct, and you wish to proceed then you would need a very skilled and accurate teacher and work closely with him.

 

Thanks for the answer. I know the best choice is always finding a teacher. But I live in Iran and because of all the sanctions and stuff it's near impossible to travel to America and I could find any teacher here. so maybe next best option is either online classes or books. I think I should start with some books and read more discussions here and see where the road take me.

Thank you all

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On 12/3/2018 at 3:17 AM, Aetherous said:

I don't know of any legitimate neidan school, although it may exist in China.

You should definitely check out all of the books from: http://goldenelixir.com/goldenelixir_press.html, and read and compare them all very carefully. Eva Wong's "Tao of Health, Longevity, and Immortality" is worth looking into. And really study the history of Daoism and internal alchemy (neidan).

 

Interestingly I had this book of Eva wong I borrowed it from Archive website so I guess I can start with it. The other list is fairly intimidating. Do I really need a huge amount of knowledge before I start the actual practice?

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22 hours ago, Apech said:

I would suggest you do a lot of background reading and looking around for a teacher - but don't tie yourself down to any system at first.

 

You could start with :

 

http://goldenelixir.com/press/tao_01_foundations.html

 

https://www.amazon.com/Comprehensive-Guide-Daoist-Nei-Gong/dp/1848194102/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543843271&sr=8-1&keywords=Damo+Mitchell

 

https://www.amazon.com/White-Moon-Mountain-Peak-Alchemical/dp/1848192568/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1543843271&sr=8-2&keywords=Damo+Mitchell

 

... also you could ask questions on here (as long as you are prepared to sort the many and often contradictory answers).

 

What are some authentic masters you would suggest? I know Mantak Chia, Master Yang (YMAA founder), wu dang chen (he has a website same as his name) and Damo mitchel. Also michale Winn.

 

I also have another question. is it ok to start with chi kong or it's better to start with tai chi. I practiced tai chi for a few months before but I did't have much success

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1 hour ago, ben kaf said:

 

What are some authentic masters you would suggest? I know Mantak Chia, Master Yang (YMAA founder), wu dang chen (he has a website same as his name) and Damo mitchel. Also michale Winn.

 

I also have another question. is it ok to start with chi kong or it's better to start with tai chi. I practiced tai chi for a few months before but I did't have much success

Hi Ben Kaf, my twopence here... I read some of Yu Darryl’s books on chi Kung cultivation (ekindle books on amazon). They are very practical and easy to follow. Plus very result oriented. 

 

A martial Ian arts and healing master once told me that some of the simplest practices for cultivating chi are the most potent. 

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On 12/3/2018 at 6:52 PM, Apech said:

I would suggest you do a lot of background reading and looking around for a teacher - but don't tie yourself down to any system at first.

 

Apech, this is a veritable jungle.... not the list you’ve given, but the whole plethora of eastern ‘cultivation’, ‘inner’, healing’ practices. Could loose endless lifetimes wandering around, getting nowhere. 

There are definitely as many paths as people. 

 

There has to be simple inbuilt way of knowing, realising your potential, enlightenment, empowerment... all of it.:blink:

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On 12/2/2018 at 2:51 AM, ben kaf said:

Hi,

 

I am Ben. I'm in my early 30s and I have been practicing various spiritual paths (mostly kundalini yoga and vipassana) for more than a decade and I would like to switch to Taoism from now on.

I really like to learn and practice Nei dan or inner alchemy. I know it is not an easy path and I need a solid base for start. So how should I start? 

Sorry Ben, I read your original post just now. You are looking at something specific... Nei Dan. So please strike off my earlier twopence...

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21 minutes ago, rkc said:

Apech, this is a veritable jungle.... not the list you’ve given, but the whole plethora of eastern ‘cultivation’, ‘inner’, healing’ practices. Could loose endless lifetimes wandering around, getting nowhere. 

There are definitely as many paths as people. 

 

There has to be simple inbuilt way of knowing, realising your potential, enlightenment, empowerment... all of it.:blink:

 

Sure its a jungle but you need to know what's out there.  Ok there are con-men and so on - but people are not stupid (generally) and can decide for themselves what they feel a connection to and otherwise.  So I think extensive reading (as well as practise) is a good idea.

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2 hours ago, ben kaf said:

 

What are some authentic masters you would suggest? I know Mantak Chia, Master Yang (YMAA founder), wu dang chen (he has a website same as his name) and Damo mitchel. Also michale Winn.

 

I also have another question. is it ok to start with chi kong or it's better to start with tai chi. I practiced tai chi for a few months before but I did't have much success

 

 

I've heard good reports of Damo Mitchell and master Yang - but I'm not in a position to recommend - I'm sure others will oblige.  

 

PS.  There's nothing wrong with experimenting for yourself and making your own way.

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2 minutes ago, Apech said:

 

Sure its a jungle but you need to know what's out there.  Ok there are con-men and so on - but people are not stupid (generally) and can decide for themselves what they feel a connection to and otherwise.  So I think extensive reading (as well as practise) is a good idea.

No other way Apech cat. I was just cribbing to no avail. 

Unless one is able to see the end consistently.m

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3 hours ago, ben kaf said:

Interestingly I had this book of Eva wong I borrowed it from Archive website so I guess I can start with it. The other list is fairly intimidating. Do I really need a huge amount of knowledge before I start the actual practice?

 

Neidan literature (like Eva Wong's book) is really challenging to understand with clarity, so comparing different writings is good. I think it requires continually studying and thinking about it for years before some real understanding comes. Just my view.

 

If a legitimate school of neidan existed, you wouldn't need to know a lot...you could just learn the beginning practices from them, and start. Because that school doesn't exist (as far as I'm aware), and there are many contradictory ideas out there claiming to be right, to start practicing based on one of those ideas just means you'd most likely be starting off on the wrong foot. But if you have knowledge, then you're able to discern the false paths, and you can avoid them or at least consider them in context.

 

For instance, qigong is a health exercise (or hopefully it is) and isn't neidan. Some teachers might claim that a qigong form is for internal alchemy...having read a number of neidan texts, you could know that it's not true. You still might enjoy the practice, but in terms of neidan, you won't be misled. In some cases you might want to avoid a practice, like Mantak Chia's sexual stuff.


I think if you want to just start practicing something, then there are definitely things you can learn...

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5 minutes ago, Aetherous said:

In some cases you might want to avoid a practice, like Mantak Chia's sexual stuff.

 Why's that? 'cause you know, I have a few books on this subject and I have heard sex is very potent in internal alchemy

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HI Ben,  Wudang Chen is a great place to start. He is also a linage holder for female alchemy as well. Many systems dropped female alchemy when it left the mountain and practiced at all men clubs.

 

 

My suggestion is to start with the physical disciplines. Neidan is only taught to those that have a destiny with the teachings. If you are interested in becoming a Taoist priest then you will have access.  Strong virtue and positive energy is necessary to even begin neidan.

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22 minutes ago, ben kaf said:

 Why's that? 'cause you know, I have a few books on this subject and I have heard sex is very potent in internal alchemy

 

Just from a empirical perspective this site is full of threads started by people who have tried this approach and screwed themselves up - so maybe it works but also it can go badly wrong.  So to be avoided until you know what you are doing.

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2 hours ago, ben kaf said:

 Why's that? 'cause you know, I have a few books on this subject and I have heard sex is very potent in internal alchemy

 

Most of those practices are false teachings...for instance, having sex or masturbating without orgasm, holding back for longer periods from climax, or trying to make the orgasm internal and having multiples. I don't think any of those types of methods have to do with alchemy. It might be true that having sex in a certain way, as opposed to masturbating, is a legitimate alchemical practice...but "in a certain way" is a key phrase there, and "might" is a key word.

 

What's spoken of as "potent" can just mean people are experiencing a mild form of qi deviation, and think that something powerful is happening because they can feel strange sensations. With further practice, they get stronger forms of qi deviation. However, they never attain anything worthwhile with those methods. Even if you experience the essence energy flowing up to the crown, or seeming to be transmuted up there...that's not attainment.

 

Take a look at the first two chapters in the 'look inside' preview on Amazon for Liu Yiming's "Cultivating the Tao" for a better perspective on what jing/essence is in neidan. A lot of people say that in alchemy we refine jing to qi to shen, and they say that laying the foundations in the first stage consists of replenishing jing so that it can be refined...but considering what Liu Yiming says in the book I recommended, is that also a false path? I don't know.

 

As Apech said, sometimes these sexual methods have also proven harmful, and many people come to this forum to get help.

My own personal opinion on this stuff (as someone who isn't a teacher): it's good to not repress one's sexuality, by trying to avoid sex. That causes all sorts of problems...better to accept yourself as you are, understanding that sexuality is a natural drive that isn't to be quashed. If you're too horny and you can't stand it anymore, do what you need to do, forgive yourself completely, and don't try to control your sexuality so forcefully. It's one of the strongest natural drives. If you notice abnormalities in any way, it might be the case that you're repressing a bit too much.

But it's good to distract oneself from lustful things. For instance, learn a new subject and spend hours each day working on it, or work on projects that take hours out of the day. When you're focused on those things that interest you, you're training your attention to not be focused on sexual stuff. The more time spent away from sexual things, the more easy it is to not become lustful.
Why not be lustful? Because I personally think that unaroused potential sexual energies are more useful in these types of practices, as well as for health. Basically, if you have lots of sex, your jing becomes depleted (postnatal taxes the prenatal)...but if you don't, then the jing is at normal levels. Some legitimate practices do use this kind of "energy", so a practitioner who ejaculates will experience a greater loss than a non-practitioner, who doesn't burn the candle at both ends.

When we simply see a sexual image, such as a pair of boobs or whatever else we're into, no matter how cultivated we are, there's a subtle reaction in us that gets the sexual process going...and I think that's a drain on the jing. It doesn't have to be ejaculation for jing to be depleted...it just has to be lust. Semen is not jing, but it's produced from jing. When the sexual process has begun, that's jing that has gone to start producing sexual fluids. It begins with thinking about or seeing something sexual.

So, my view is that pure celibacy is the way to have sexual energies which are useful for practices that utilize them. Not methods of masturbation while keeping semen inside the body or whatever else. I think aroused sexual energy isn't useful at all. And the celibacy has to be mental celibacy, so as to avoid the loss of jing through lust.

If you're watching a movie, and there's a sex scene, instead of avoiding...simply focus on something else for the time being. As opposed to watching the scene and the sexual images starting the process of lust.

It can also help to calm the mind through calm abiding meditation. When the mind is calm, that also helps sexual desire not to be stirred up. Changing diet to be less stimulating can also have this effect.

It might be the case that replenishing the postnatal jing helps to protect against the taxing of the prenatal jing. Postnatal jing is created from the blood, and it helps the blood to: not overuse the eyes by looking too much, not thinking too much, to go to bed at 10 pm each night and have a good night's rest, to eat nutritious foods and have good digestion, etc.

These are just my views on the subject of sex in spirituality, and aren't legitimate alchemy teachings.

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Hi ben.  Welcome to the Bums.

 

Two of my three teachers speak almost no english.  And my chinese is limited to phrases and words.  As there is not always a translator present, a fair amount of my training has taken place without explicit verbal instruction.  While I deeply appreciate this aspect to how my training has unfolded, I have found the words of Dr Yang Jwing-Ming and Damo Mitchell to be particularly resonant and beneficial.

 

I find their words to be based from deep experience and to be very clear and direct in their descriptions of processes, practices and energetics.  I recommend any works by either of them, but particularly from Dr Yang... Embryonic Breathing and The Root of Chinese Qi Gong and from Damo:  The Dragon Dao Yin Exercises stand out for me.

 

I also still routinely spend some long wonderful hours perusing old conversations here and highly recommend that as well.  Either entering a particular term or concept, or simply ambling along through a section.  There's no stigma here against reviving old conversations.

 

Cheers mate!

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Hi, Ben,

 

Get this book:

 

White Moon on the Mountain Peak: The Alchemical Firing Process of Nei Dan (Daoist Nei Gong) 1st Edition

https://www.amazon.com/White-Moon-Mountain-Peak-Alchemical/dp/1848192568/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1544041111&sr=1-1&keywords=white+moon+on+the+mountain+peak

 

Description

Explaining the process and energetics of Daoist internal alchemy, the author describes in detail the practice of Nei Dan, the alchemical firing practice of Daoism that has until very recently been a closely guarded secret.

Drawing together a huge amount of esoteric material on the hidden aspects of Daoist practice, he presents theory and practice coherently for western practitioners. He offers his own experiences of each stage of attainment, describing the tangible results that should appear, and provides guidance on the practicalities and potential pitfalls of alchemical training.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

With a few differences, Damo's method is very similar to the one I use. It's very safe, as long as you don't try to jump ahead.

This is the most concise and to the point book on the actual practice of neidan in the English language. Period.

Eva Wong, Thomas Cleary,  Fabrizio Pergadio, Isabelle Robinet, and Richard Bertschinger's books are to be gotten, read, and comprehended, this is true. But Damo's book is all about application and results. And he actually tells you where he's at in his practice and makes clear that the more advanced practices are speculation on his part, at this point. This type of honesty about his current level is truly a breath of fresh air and adds to his legitimacy in my eye. Ego inflation is a common side effect with these practices (along with sexual deviancy) and something to stay ever mindful of so that you avoid it.

Due to this book and his excellent website http://lotusneigong.com/  I'll be purchasing his other books. 

I've been doing neidan for 10 years now, internal arts in general for 20. Damo knows his stuff.

Welcome to the forum. :D

Cheers!

 

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