rideforever

The Complete System

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There is no such a thing as a "complete system."   
What happens to the great oak tree when it dies ?
In life it is a beautiful and giant being that has lived for hundreds of years, in its branches live countless creatures sheltered.
But when it dies how long will it last ?
It is eaten, eaten by those who need food, the small creature eat and eat and eat, branches leaves and roots.
Then nothing is left, it has provided great nourishment whilst alive and then again after death.
And then all that is left is silence.

So, how can there be a "complete system", how can such a thing exist, everything decays and dies after the death of the originator.
A being of light is rare, how many of his students know anything ?
Buddha/ Jesus they fought often with their students who were often idiots.
Lineage ?   You would be lucky to find the light reaching the  3rd generation.
After that, the great pretence.

Everyone must know own's place.   What right have you to demand the complete system ?
What have you contributed ?
What it is you expect, a 5 star limo to arrive and do it all for you ?
Listen to the life journey of the light-beings, their courage suffering arduous journeys.


What kind of student are you ?
Perhaps you are a small being that feeds from the decaying of the dead oak. 
That is fine if that is your place.   So feed then, feed well and learn what you can at this level.
Arrive at the centres of training, meditation, and so on .... and be the best you can be.
Be worthy of the next step.

But when you think too much of yourself, that is when your journey is ... not a journey at all, just a pretence.


How many questions will you ask ?
When are you ready to contribute something ?
Let alone working all hours of the night and day, developing skill, and sitting quietly and listening.


The small concrete steps.
One after another, patiently, persistently, ardently, diligently.

Time.

 

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Valid points definetly. Being up to par to recieve the core is one thing, in my experience a system becomes a vast body of knowledge in its incarnation, as in quite litterally in the flesh of a living person. What is transmitted to the next generation, if conditions and personal chemistry is ideal, is the nucleus of principles and illustrations on the methods used to extrapolate the use of them.

It is rare that those principles reach all in the next generation, but some recieve them more or less fully. The toughest thing to teach and learn are those methods, because of their intricacy, imhe.

 

Also a 100% complete transmission might not be a very good thing to strive for, i’ve heard more than once that the next lineage keeper often recieves about 70% and occasionally more because that is part of what keeps the system alive, it needs to be nurtured, embodied and experienced by its keeper. Smooth seas do not make good sailors or whatever the phrasing of that old adage might be. An inheritor will know that their knowledge isn’t complete and their continued study will reveal certain secrets down the road, secrets their master might not have realized even.

 

I think, at least when it comes to systems with a solid daoist root, that the operator and practice must influence eachother and that a master must trust their students judgement because it will all be out of their hands one day.

 

Those i’ve met who hold a lineage have all given me a similar impression: the system is them. You judge their devotion to the system by observing their students but the actuall system lives in their body and spirit. They’ve studied and know the humble realization that ”this is mine to give, i must give me to it and take it for my own to honor it properly”.

 

I try to remember this when i approach the idea that the arts are dead nowadays because the old stuff might have died with previous keepers. Maybe it was always like this, someone out there has inherited something and merged so completely with it that it is something utterly different and yet is the lineage because the core, the seeds of life in it were transmitted and allowed to grow.

Who knows? I’m waxing poetic on a sunday of hard work...

 

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Posted (edited)

The great thing about Taoism is that the basic concept isn't actually a concept but just the fundamental way that the world functions. And of course that doesn't die with any one master. Even if all lineages and holy texts of Taoism were destroyed then there would still be the fundamental way that the world functions (aka Tao). And no doubt there would again be people who thought it a wise idea to act and live in harmony with Tao, instead of  making a big show of their own (all too often only imaginary) capabilities in forcing the world to follow their will. And so Taoism would simply spring into live again.

 

Edited by wandelaar
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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, Rocky Lionmouth said:

Smooth seas do not make good sailors

 

That is very true.  And the best teachers provided rough seas for students, but such teachers had few students.   Rough seas, plus hope, and guidance, many things are necessary.  But perhaps at the end .... it's not for everyone and that is fine.
Bruce Lee his formless become-like-water, that was his way of having no way, meaning having-the-way-of-no-way, meaning learning how to grow into your own tree.   That is the most important learning.

One way of doing it is to follow a teacher closely tirelessly until you gain great competence, and then start dismantling the system and then following yourself closely.  Like a chrysalis constructed at great price, and later emerging from it.

But, for most people they talk but do not take the first step, lost in words.

The small concrete step.
And then another small concrete step.
And then another.
Slowly the spring water seeps into the bedrock and something germinates.

 

 

Actually such confusions of where one is creates a lot of unfortunate wastage.  There is much talking over each other, but not meeting each other where we are.   Trying to do too much.   A small connection that is Real is worth much more than a big effort with no connection.
In the end just a few small concrete examples learnt and fully received will transform.
Maybe just 2 or 3 individual small events in your life, or lessons but learnt down into the bone marrow.
These are responsible for the eventually flowering of a great tree.
Whereas much noise and talk and chattering, is like a great pile of twigs that will never catch light and eventually is washed into the drain.

Edited by rideforever
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Posted (edited)

There is great information in this thread, thanks all. Esoteric things reveled.

Spoiler

 

 

Edited by mrpasserby
completed a partially expressed thought
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The very word system to me seems like a confining view or limiting views based on the system itself.

 

In order to be complete it would have to be limitless and ever changing.  

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7 hours ago, Fa Xin said:

The very word system to me seems like a confining view or limiting views based on the system itself.

I like the old metaphor of a "system or teaching" as being like the training wheels on my bike when I was little.  Like most kids, was scared to just grab the bike and try to ride it with no idea what that meant, so put training wheels on until I got the knack of how the bike worked.  then my pop took the training wheels off, and said, "now you are on your own, you can do it".  scared,  wrecked a few time, but I learned how to ride with no training wheels on my own.  felt great to ride off on that old ranch road. 

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Different people need different things at different times in their lives.

I acknowledge and respect everyone's experience and opinion on systems and teachers.

I don't so much appreciate all the bitterness and name calling.

 

My own experience with systems has been extremely favorable, both in martial arts and meditation.

I've never encountered a system that did not encourage freedom of application and the student's personal responsibility to put in the time and energy to have direct, personal experience and use that towards independent growth.

Perhaps it's just been my good fortune to connect with the right systems and teachers.

 

I suspect that most of it is what we bring to the table ourselves.

The word system to me is not a bad word.

It connotes some degree of organization and consistency, something that removes a bit of the unnecessary trial and error.

Life is too short for each of us not to share in the successes and mistakes of others for guidance.

On the other hand, no question that we need to take personal responsibility and not be overly dependent or limited by teachers and systems. 

 

I've had profound experiences and seen remarkable improvements in my life and personal growth through my association with my martial arts and meditation teachers and lineages. I feel deep gratitude, devotion, and trust; and consider myself blessed to have had the good karma to come into contact with them. I don't know where my life would be otherwise, although I am certain it would not be as rich and satisfying as it is now.

 

Just thought it was worth a few minutes to give an opposing point of view for anyone practicing with or interested in connecting with established systems and teachers. You need to use caution and common sense but there is real value out there. 

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Thank you, @steve. I wanted to comment on this yesterday and have been thinking about a way to broach the topic since.

 

You've said it beautifully. :wub:

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Steve has a very nice and kind way of stating his case... 

 

I’m a bit harsh and cutting in my expression 😬 - and one reason I tried to stay away from posting on this thread...

 

I often think of people who’re seriously dedicated to these arts as kind of like Olympic athletes. Do any athletes get to that level with no coaches or trainers? What about the ‘naturally gifted’ ones?

 

Of course if it’s just an interest or a minor hobby, then it’s fine to ‘try things out’... just don’t expect to get that far, and don’t confuse what you’re doing with what the ‘olympic athletes’ are doing. It’s common sense really.

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1 hour ago, freeform said:

Of course if it’s just an interest or a minor hobby, then it’s fine to ‘try things out’... just don’t expect to get that far, and don’t confuse what you’re doing with what the ‘olympic athletes’ are doing. It’s common sense really.

I do agree that there is a time to find someone who can show you the basics or meditation, and can also be a sounding broad for the common problems that arise.  this saves time, and a lot of head ache's trying to figure it out for oneself.  While I never had a guru, I have gained much form folks who could help me when I got stuck. But from my experience,  my path does not include comparing myself with an Olympic spiritual athlete.   In martial arts,  there is always someone who can do things, move, react, focus better than me.  When young i trained every day, hours a day in MA.  today, i train with friends about 10 hours a month.  Just playing.  for me, meditation is like play.  like exploring the forest,  just for the hell of it, without trying to find anything, to become anything, to get better at anything, to improve myself,   never going to be a guru, or a holy person, or even Bruce Lee for that matter, or even an enlightened person, what ever that means.... just laying here in the mud .  :)

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On 1/6/2019 at 7:35 AM, rideforever said:

Actually such confusions of where one is creates a lot of unfortunate wastage.  There is much talking over each other, but not meeting each other where we are.   Trying to do too much.   A small connection that is Real is worth much more than a big effort with no connection.

I was many years in face to face forums among pears of the highest caliber, even someone raising from the ranks was handled with out direct words. A tradition of extreme indirect communication was always the norm.
Even though I myself struggle with posting direct information, I tend to find refreshing, a reasonable amount of 'direct talk were possible', 'pot stirring, shaking things up bit, etc...', as long as there are no threats of violence. :)

 

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6 hours ago, freeform said:

I often think of people who’re seriously dedicated to these arts as kind of like Olympic athletes.

may be they should not be like that

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47 minutes ago, Taoist Texts said:

may be they should not be like that

 

I don't think they are. I just think of them that way.

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14 hours ago, Taoist Texts said:

may be they should not be like that

 

Can you tell us much about the three ‘vehicles’ of Nei Dan?

 

Lower (earthly?) Vehicle - working with energy and the ‘substances’...

Middle (human?) Vehicle - working directly with consciousness...

Highest (heavenly) Vehicle - working with I’m not even sure what... :)

 

I believe these descriptions come from Liu Yi Ming - but maybe there’s older sources.

 

I find this interesting. They represent very different ‘systems’ of development - it may be a good topic for this post.

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4 hours ago, freeform said:

Can you tell us much about the three ‘vehicles’ of Nei Dan?

Yes there is a lot to say about that

Quote

For Li Daochun and other authors who refer to it, the form of practice outlined above is the only one that matches the principles of the Way of the Golden Elixir. In an essay found in his Zhonghe ji (2.11b-17a), Li thoroughly rejects sexual practices and Waidan, and assigns a low rank to physiological practices (including daoyin, breathing techniques, and diets) and methods of meditation and visualization. As for Neidan proper, he distinguishes three "vehicles" (sheng) that may be characterized as physiological, cosmological, and spiritual. Above them is a Supreme One Vehicle (zuishang yisheng), which he calls the "Wondrous Way of Supreme and Utmost Reality" and does not associate with any particular practice.

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The major figure associated with the Zhongzong ~* (Centrallineage) is Li Daochun *i!*,~ (ft. 1288-1290). Li Daochun and several important Daoists active in the Jiangsu and Jiangxi regions between the end of the 13th century and the early 14th century promoted the harmonization of the Northern, Southern and Buddhist schools of thought. During the 18th century, Daoist ritualists of the Wu-Liu ffi~tl school returned to Li's teachings, giving it this retrospective appellation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Taoist Texts said:

Yes there is a lot to say about that

 

Thank you.

 

Now I know a bit about the ‘lower vehicle’ - which is what most people think of as internal alchemy (using ‘substances’ that underlie states of consciousness).

 

I know a little less about the ‘middle vehicle’ - which is as far as I understand is working with consciousness directly - not with the substances... and is composed of Ziran (sitting forgetting) Xin Zhai (heart-mind fasting) and other meditative and absorption-based practices...

 

Now the ‘higher vehicle’ or the ‘supreme one vehicle’ I know nothing about... is this devotional or deity practice? Or working with the heavenly energies directly? Can you share anything regarding these?

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22 minutes ago, freeform said:

Can you share anything regarding these?

This idea that different methods correspond to different levels of achievement has a long history and is very boringly summed up here.

Quote

 

The origin of the Dao is based on a single principle and its methods are divided into three categories called primes: Heavenly prime, earthly prime and humanly prime. Each of these three primes is further divided into three levels also referred to as three achievements: The initial achievement, the intermediate achievement and the high achievement. Therefore there is nine different ranks in total that are applied by the various internal alchemy schools. Consequently the internal alchemy scriptures can also be categorized according to the three primes. The heavenly prime scriptures deal with the great elixir, the earthly prime scriptures with the spirit elixir, the humanly prime with the golden elixir. In conclusion, the initial achievement could be compared to the first grade in school, the intermediate achievement to the second grade, and the high achievement to the third and final grade. 

https://fractalmastery.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/internal-alchemy-shortcut-essentials/

 

 

This idea of different methods is a wrong one. There is only one true method leading to all achievements from the lowest to the highest. The rest are wrong methods.

 

Ma-dan on the true method:

 

 

 

 

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The teacher replied with a smile: the essence of Dao is to have no heart, the application of Dao is to forget words. Or, the soft weakness is its root, the pure calm is its foundation. 

 

If a person wants to implement it, he must regulate his food and drink, cut off thinking, sitting calmly regulate his breath, sleeping peacefully nourish his qi. If the heart would not rush then Xing will be stable, if the body is not belabored then the semen will be whole. If the spirit is not bothered then the cinnabar will incept.”

 

”Have no heart”...

 

If the heart would not rush then Xing will be stable”...

 

Interesting - considering the discussions about ‘love’ that we’re having on the other threads.

 

I’m assuming that ‘have no heart’ doesn’t mean be ruthless and heartless... it means bring your emotions to stillness. Including love.

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@ freeform

 

Your position on the non-fundamental character of universal love is logically impeccable, but you cannot win this discussion. Mystical experiences are often seen as objective observations of absolute reality, and not as the inner experiences of fallible human beings that they actually are. That's why critical analysis of those experiences is often brushed aside as irrelevant. And those who had the experience of universal love during a mystical experience will often continue to believe in it no matter what others might say about it.

 

In my opinion mystical experiences do point to something real, but what that is cannot be established on the basis of those experiences alone.

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2 hours ago, wandelaar said:

Mystical experiences are often seen as objective observations of absolute reality, and not as the inner experiences of fallible human beings that they actually are.

 

The issue is further exasperated  by having this newage hodgepodge of mental frameworks.

 

There are ways of discerning a somewhat ‘objective’ understanding of a mystical experience. There are specific mental and physiological signs that can help you work out what you’ve just experienced.

 

But when you mix the frameworks of half a dozen different systems, you end up just cherry picking the explanation that you like best.

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8 hours ago, Taoist Texts said:

As for Neidan proper, he distinguishes three "vehicles" (sheng) that may be characterized as physiological, cosmological, and spiritual. Above them is a Supreme One Vehicle (zuishang yisheng), which he calls the "Wondrous Way of Supreme and Utmost Reality" and does not associate with any particular practice.

Thanks, I have been trying to relate the terminology and principles of Neidan to my western way.:) 

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8 hours ago, freeform said:

 

The issue is further exasperated  by having this newage hodgepodge of mental frameworks.

 

There are ways of discerning a somewhat ‘objective’ understanding of a mystical experience. There are specific mental and physiological signs that can help you work out what you’ve just experienced.

 

But when you mix the frameworks of half a dozen different systems, you end up just cherry picking the explanation that you like best.

I can understand why this happens. 

 

As a beginner you are presented with a framework, but as you progress in your practice you get experiences that do not fit within the original frame. 

 

If you have continued your practice with a teacher that can expand the model, well than all is fine. 

 

But if you haven't, or s/he cannot, you have to invent the framework yourself. 

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