dwai

Xing and Ming cultivation

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9 minutes ago, EmeraldHead said:

since buddha nature is permanent and and this incarnation is not, it follows this incarnation is like a matrix or computer simulation inside the real world of the buddha nature. it is inside the buddha nature. so it does not come with it, because buddha nature is it's essence and cosmically it is it's source. as well as it's 'God' or sustainer.

Actually Buddha nature is everyone’s true nature. There is no “within and without”. It’s like how a door is through and through wood, and it is not apart from the wood. Or ice is nothing but water. There can never be ice apart from water. 

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This is the wisdom of the Daoist (and some other ‘tantric’ traditions) that use Ming cultivation to create Xing transformation.

Since I’m a simpleton, I say — 

 

Ming cultivation trains the mind to become ‘Clean’ and one-pointed (mind and Qi are related).

 

Once the mind becomes sufficiently purified and  focused, real work with consciousness can begin (Xing). This is called Self-inquiry in the Indic traditions. :) 

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1 hour ago, dwai said:

Ming cultivation trains the mind to become ‘Clean’ and one-pointed (mind and Qi are related).


That’s true 


But there is a lot more to it than that.
 

This is very important from the Daoist point of view.

 

Qi is not related just to the mind - but to everything
 

As Walker explained so nicely - the Yangshen has form. The form is developed through a specific interplay between Qi and Shen... The Qi gives form to the formless so that consciousness can absorb.

 

In alchemical thought everything - including the light of Yuan Shen have a substance... with internal alchemy this substance can be worked with... going from etherial to substantial and generating a density... then consciousness has a form and some density to absorb into... even though it’s just light.

 

Some schools put more emphasis on the skill of absorption - some put more emphasis on developing form out of the formless... Both are needed. That’s Xing-Ming.

 

Qi is both the fuel, the glue and a transformational agent. Qi makes an experience of awakening into a permanent place to reside and operate from...

 

And there are several transformational leaps beyond what we normally talk of as ‘awakening’ - which are only accessible once consciousness is fully absorbed and stable at this awakening stage.
 

This is way beyond reach for the majority of us - but the Daoist approach makes it somewhat accessible.

 

If you reach and stabilise the ‘awakened’ stage - many people consider this to be enlightenment. In the traditions I’ve been involved in, this is not full enlightenment. Although you may operate in a blissful, compassionate, still and equanimous state for the rest of your life, you’ll become an ‘astral being’ at the time of death and eventually be reborn.
 

It’s considered a trap along the way because it feels like you’ve ‘arrived’ - but actually you’ve just taken the first (rather massive) step in your spiritual journey and got entranced by the scenery. This is where most spiritual systems lead - and end.

 

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1 minute ago, freeform said:


That’s true 


But there is a lot more to it than that.
 

This is very important from the Daoist point of view.

 

Qi is not related just to the mind - but to everything
 

As Walker explained so nicely - the Yangshen has form. The form is developed through a specific interplay between Qi and Shen... The Qi gives form to the formless so that consciousness can absorb.

 

In alchemical thought everything - including the light of Yuan Shen have a substance... with internal alchemy this substance can be worked with... going from etherial to substantial and generating a density... then consciousness has a form and some density to absorb into... even though it’s just light.

 

Some schools put more emphasis on the skill of absorption - some put more emphasis on developing form out of the formless... Both are needed. That’s Xing-Ming.

 

Qi is both the fuel, the glue and a transformational agent. Qi makes an experience of awakening into a permanent place to reside and operate from...

 

And there are several transformational leaps beyond what we normally talk of as ‘awakening’ - which are only accessible once consciousness is fully absorbed and stable at this awakening stage.
 

This is way beyond reach for the majority of us - but the Daoist approach makes it somewhat accessible.

The mind and ego are addicted to complexity. More complex, the more the ego loves it. Challenges to overcome, victories to attain. :) 

1 minute ago, freeform said:

If you reach and stabilise the ‘awakened’ stage - many people consider this to be enlightenment. In the traditions I’ve been involved in, this is not full enlightenment. Although you may operate in a blissful, compassionate, still and equanimous state for the rest of your life, you’ll become an ‘astral being’ at the time of death and eventually be reborn.
 

It’s considered a trap along the way because it feels like you’ve ‘arrived’ - but actually you’ve just taken the first (rather massive) step in your spiritual journey and got entranced by the scenery. This is where most spiritual systems lead - and end.

 

The problem with this is an assumption that there is a "beyond". There is no "beyond". That is a confabulation of the ego-mind. :) 

The scenery is the phenomena that one gets attracted to. Powers and siddhis one develops -- nothing but parlor tricks in the grand scheme of things. 

 

Samsara is Nirvana. Nirvana is Samsara. 

Form is void. Void is form.

 

It is very apparent, but just reading words doesn't work -- seems like riddle. It is not. It literally is what is stated. Knowing this directly is all there is -- and it can only be realized by giving up, not acquiring more and more techniques, methods, powers etc. 

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11 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

And there are several transformational leaps beyond what we normally talk of as ‘awakening’ - which are only accessible once consciousness is fully absorbed and stable at this awakening stage.

 

Are you able to describe the stages beyond what is normally talked as, as awakening?

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40 minutes ago, dwai said:

The mind and ego are addicted to complexity. More complex, the more the ego loves it. Challenges to overcome, victories to attain. :)


Why not unveil it and just say ‘you’re addicted to complexity’ :)
 

I’d love to see you raise that point during classics study with my teacher 😄

 

I could say that you’re addicted to simplicity... but I don’t think that’s true. You just have a predilection to Vedic thought which attempts to point at truth.


As you attempt to do here:

 

40 minutes ago, dwai said:

The problem with this is an assumption that there is a "beyond". There is no "beyond". That is a confabulation of the ego-mind. :) 

 

This is nice. I quite like it - it’s certainly poetic and ‘true’ and simple.

 

This is not how Daoist alchemical knowledge is expressed - it imparts sophisticated procedural understanding. Which is indeed complicated. It believes the simplicity, truth and poetry can only be experienced - not talked about... by following the path you can experience that.
 

Different ways of approaching the same end.
 

40 minutes ago, dwai said:

Powers and siddhis one develops -- nothing but parlor tricks in the grand scheme of things


I’m not sure how this is of any relevance. It just highlights your misunderstanding of the Daoist path or some wilful act to demonise or denigrate something you don’t understand.

 

40 minutes ago, dwai said:

it can only be realized by giving up, not acquiring more and more techniques, methods, powers etc. 


Another misunderstanding... Daoist classics read very differently to Vedic ones because their approach is very different.
 

The mechanic in practice is indeed always letting go - that’s clear. But in Daoism linear, conceptual frameworks are very important. For Daoist cultivators 90% of time is spent on practice which is based around letting go into form. 10% is spent on structured study of the processes underpinning your practice. The nature of the forum means that only that 10% gets a look-in - meaning one’s view of practice is skewed.
 

In Vedic thought pointing to truth in poetic ways is more important. But scratch under the surface and talk to some real Yogis and the same complex alchemical formulas and procedural instructions are taught behind closed doors. 

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@freeform: Something I wondered the other day ... if Ming is required to get to Xing, does that mean that people that are born with defective health issues such as say, type I diabetes, panhypopituitarism, etc., cannot reach enlightenment in their lifetime? What can such people do? Are they just out of luck? And should just focus on doing good deeds in their current life and hope for a better rebirth with favorable circumstances, maybe do a lot of mantraing to select Buddhas and deities to make some favorable karmic conditions?


As always, interesting discussion. 

 

Thanks :) 

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5 hours ago, freeform said:

Jing to Qi = Ming

Qi to Shen = Xing 

 

Qi is the important mediator to make anything actually happen. Most people are able to have Shen experiences, but few are able to make transformational change happen. Ming is the key to this.

 

Practice at the level of Ming creates ‘enough’ Qi to be able to make a transformational jump.


Qi is created in a number of ways... from the basic level of increasing the efficiency of the body (with Qigong, Yang Sheng Fa etc) to creating emotional and mental equanimity with sitting practices like Xin Zhai and Zuowang... To actually creating Qi in the body with Neigong processes or developing Jing and transforming into Qi with Nei Dan. This is all at the level of Ming (although arguably the sitting practices can take you to the level of Xing too).

 

Thank you.

Can you share what is the role of Xuan Guan Yi Qiao (when/where it 'fits' in relation to the stages: foundation, Jing to Qi, Qi to Shen, Shen to Void) in the system you practice ?

 

 

2 hours ago, Walker said:

As I understand these terms, "congenital nature" probably refers to two words which are generally more or less synonymous in Daoist inner alchemy:

  • 本性/benxing (akin to "basic nature" or "fundamental nature")
  • 元神/yuanshen ("original spirit" or "primordial spirit")

The above two terms refer something that all people have, always. However, in the vast, vast majority of us they are obscured and effectively lost.

 

This is my understanding as well, Congenital Nature is Xing, Yuan Shen. The objective of Daoist Alchemy seems to be not only the transmutation of consciousness but also transmutation of matter, fusion of Xing and Ming.

What is funny is that they are essentially One but seem to be 'separated'.

 

 

2 hours ago, Walker said:

Yangshen (陽神), on the other hand, is a result of successful inner alchemy cultivation up to a certain stage. It is a high stage, far beyond what most cultivators will ever achieve, but it is not the final stage, as the creation of the yangshen is only a start of a new process, which may be different in different schools. This is not something I have any personal experience in. The only thing I wish to say here is that you cannot fool yourself as to whether or not you have reached this stage. The yangshen is not merely a projection of mind or qi. Though it can, it is said, alternate between form and formlessness, when it takes form, it truly has form. In addition, in order for it to leave the body, significant, can't-be-faked changes in the body's structure must take place first. (These points differentiate yangshen from yinshen, which does not have form and does not need the physical body to change in order to leave it; in inner alchemy it is not considered a high accomplishment--or even a good idea, generally speaking--to project the yinshen out of the body). 

 

3 hours ago, freeform said:

There are several 'levels' to the Yangshen spirit... It must be developed to reach each one of the higher 'realms' or 'alchemical bodies'. For example, the realm 'above' our physical human realm is the Astral Realm - this can be accessed with your Energy Body (in Alchemical terms). Your Energy Body is at this stage a Yangshen spirit - but there are still 5 realms above it... so it must be developed and transformed completely to move further up the line.

 

Is Yang Shen the Immortal Body of Light?

Do you know if Yang Shen is before or after fusion of Xing and Ming?

Thanks.

 

 

2 hours ago, Walker said:

Yangshen (陽神), on the other hand, is a result of successful inner alchemy cultivation up to a certain stage. It is a high stage, far beyond what most cultivators will ever achieve

3 hours ago, freeform said:

The reality is that almost none of us are even capable of reaching the highest levels (let alone able to put in the time, effort, no-effort or even have the conducive life-circumstances to realise our full capability).

 

Why do you feel the need to say this? You are placing obstacles on your path. :)

 

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6 hours ago, freeform said:


In very over-simplified terms:


Jing to Qi = Ming

Qi to Shen = Xing 

Risky business, over-simplifying. 

Mostly because someone can get the notion that working with Ming is as easy as doing some qigong. 

And while that is partially true, in my experience working with Ming also includes replenishing it. 

And when you can do that, you will probably move on with the five lights. 

6 hours ago, freeform said:

 

Qi is created in a number of ways... from the basic level of increasing the efficiency of the body (with Qigong, Yang Sheng Fa etc) 

Efficiency, good key term! 

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4 minutes ago, freeform said:


Why not unveil it and just say ‘you’re addicted to complexity’ :)
 

I’d love to see you raise that point during classics study with my teacher 😄

:D I'd love to meet your teacher. 

4 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

I could say that you’re addicted to simplicity... but I don’t think that’s true. You just have a predilection to Vedic thought which attempts to point at truth.


As you attempt to do here:

 

Vedic thought is not a predilection -- it is my heritage in this human form. All spiritual traditions point at the truth. It is our own limitation which makes us miss the proverbial moon (Truth) for the finger (method). 

4 minutes ago, freeform said:

This is nice. I quite like it - it’s certainly poetic and ‘true’ and simple.

 

This is not how Daoist alchemical knowledge is expressed - it imparts sophisticated procedural understanding. Which is indeed complicated. It believes the simplicity, truth and poetry can only be experienced - not talked about... by following the path you can experience that.

Before you've tasted ice-cream, reading about it won't help knowing. After you've tasted ice-cream, if you hear someone talking about it, it will make perfect sense. Typically the kind of knowledge that is shared in the vedic/indic context is for people who are qualified for the knowledge -- which implies having a certain purification of the mind. But there is a cross-over across traditions after a certain point -- and that point is when one is able to discern between phenomena and the subject. Ice-cream tasters will be able to relate to ice-cream discussions irrespective of which cultural context they come from. 

 

This really is not about me or you being right. It is about whether someone will gain something valuable from such discussions (given the egalitarian model of the internet). So, whatever I share, if someone can benefit from it -- happy for it. For those who can't understand it -- maybe it'll make sense in the future. 

4 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

Different ways of approaching the same end.

I agree. :) 

4 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

I’m not sure how this is of any relevance. It just highlights your misunderstanding of the Daoist path or some wilful act to demonise or denigrate something you don’t understand.

Not at all. I understand the Daoist path quite well. My commentary reflects more on my observation of "modern" daoists, more than Daoism itself. I think Daoism in the Lao Tzu vein, is a pure non-dual teaching -- very direct, very powerful (and most don't understand it because of their unpreparedness). 

4 minutes ago, freeform said:


Another misunderstanding... Daoist classics read very differently to Vedic ones because their approach is very different.

For me, the highest Daoist classic is the Daodejing. To even begin to understand it, one needs to work with Xing. 

4 minutes ago, freeform said:

The mechanic in practice is indeed always letting go - that’s clear. But in Daoism linear, conceptual frameworks are very important. For Daoist cultivators 90% of time is spent on practice which is based around letting go into form. 10% is spent on structured study of the processes underpinning your practice. The nature of the forum means that only that 10% gets a look-in - meaning one’s view of practice is skewed.
 

In Vedic thought pointing to truth in poetic ways is more important. But scratch under the surface and talk to some real Yogis and the same complex alchemical formulas and procedural instructions are taught behind closed doors. 

I don't think you know much about Vedic thought. :)  

It is not a poetic way to point to the truth - there is a direct transmission -- but like the daodejing, you need to have a certain level of clarity and purification of the mind to understand them. 

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1 hour ago, idiot_stimpy said:

Are you able to describe the stages beyond what is normally talked as, as awakening?

 

I'm sorry - it's not really appropriate here... and to be honest - of not much interest to me as it's far beyond where I'm focusing. Also, Daoist terminology gets a bit over the top here - Heavenly Realm of Jade Purity anyone?! :lol:

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23 minutes ago, KuroShiro said:

Can you share what is the role of Xuan Guan Yi Qiao (when/where it 'fits' in relation to the stages: foundation, Jing to Qi, Qi to Shen, Shen to Void) in the system you practice ?

 

Sorry too much for the conversation at hand. I'm happy to help with overall understanding and even the specifics at the foundational stage of practice - but not beyond. I have to follow certain rules I've agreed to :)

 

25 minutes ago, KuroShiro said:

The objective of Daoist Alchemy seems to be not only the transmutation of consciousness but also transmutation of matter, fusion of Xing and Ming.

What is funny is that they are essentially One but seem to be 'separated'.

 

Precisely. This is where the much denigrated 'Siddhi' come in - as in many cases they physically demonstrate this aspect of transformation. In other cases, they are side-paths and a waste of effort if spiritual growth is your main concern.

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27 minutes ago, Cleansox said:

Risky business, over-simplifying.

 

Completely agreed!

 

But let's hope no one is taking any of this as instruction - but as a discussion!

 

It was also in reply to Bindi - who's a cultivator :)

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54 minutes ago, anshino23 said:

@freeform: Something I wondered the other day ... if Ming is required to get to Xing, does that mean that people that are born with defective health issues such as say, type I diabetes, panhypopituitarism, etc., cannot reach enlightenment in their lifetime?

 

30 minutes ago, KuroShiro said:

Why do you feel the need to say this? You are placing obstacles on your path.

 

The unfortunate truth is that to get to the highest levels is a near impossibility... Everything has to be just right... the conditions of this life, your previous lives, your current life situation, your fortune in coming across authentic teachings, your personality and aptitude and the right effort.

 

Remember that the Buddha was born a prince... He was predicted to be either a great spiritual cultivator or an amazing leader that would bring peace and prosperity to the land for generations... it tells you something of what's necessary for reaching full enlightenment.

 

The point is not to strive for that - but to lead a very full life and dedicate it to spiritual pursuits in a way that suits your specific life. Your lifetime will run its course whether you cultivate or not - so might as well cultivate :)

 

Once a certain level of 'gong', ease and comfort is achieved,  life becomes deeply beautiful and a pleasure to live. So even way before getting anywhere near the levels we're talking about above is already an amazing achievement.

 

Having an unfortunate life is difficult... What to do in that case?

 

Well, I'm not sure.

 

To be honest I'm not particularly keen on mantras to get merit... I think just being kind and putting other's needs ahead of your own (without expecting anything in return) is always a good idea.

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37 minutes ago, dwai said:

For me, the highest Daoist classic is the Daodejing. To even begin to understand it, one needs to work with Xing.

 

Alchemical Daoism is a later development to DDJ.

 

Although it is based on a yet older work than the DDJ (the Yi Jing).

 

The DDJ represents the Xing path - it does not represent Xing-Ming as we're talking about here. I think that's why you have a preference for it - because it confirms your existing understanding.

 

It's certainly one of the most important Daoist classics - but by no means is it the entirety of the Daoist canon.

 

It is considered that the meditative training that the DDJ gives (and it's clearly a meditation manual - not a guide on how to rule the people :rolleyes:) leads one to self-awakening.

 

The alchemical path takes self-awakening as a start and leads beyond it... by incorporating the DDJ's Xing mechanics with Ming cultivation.

 

I understand that for many people this will be highly controversial - and I'm afraid I have no interest in discussing that any further.

 

50 minutes ago, dwai said:

:D I'd love to meet your teacher. 

 

One of them has already "met" you :)

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1 hour ago, anshino23 said:

if Ming is required to get to Xing, does that mean that people that are born with defective health issues such as say, type I diabetes, panhypopituitarism, etc., cannot reach enlightenment in their lifetime? What can such people do? Are they just out of luck?

 

I need to add more to this... it's a good question.

 

Everyone has the capacity to develop. Just because full enlightenment is out of reach for most doesn't mean we shouldn't pursue it. Genuine kindness, honesty and integrity are also out of reach to most of us - most of the time - but it doesn't mean that we don't try our best to live up to this.

 

If anyone has the misfortune of a congenital physical problem - but with the fortune to come across genuine teachings and the life circumstances to actually practice them in some way, they would be foolish not to pursue it to the best of their ability.

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4 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

Alchemical Daoism is a later development to DDJ.

 

Although it is based on a yet older work than the DDJ (the Yi Jing).

 

The DDJ represents the Xing path - it does not represent Xing-Ming as we're talking about here. I think that's why you have a preference for it - because it confirms your existing understanding.

It is an advanced text.
 

In older times, Ming cultivation was not such a big deal — people naturally had more internal power, because of their lifestyle. 
 

Even today, if you go to a ‘real’ rural area in Asia, the people there naturally have more internal power than their urban counterparts. 
 

The internal power degenerates and degrades when the mind is used more in a scattered manner. The more scattered the mind, the more Qi is lost. Urban (modern) people tend to have this problem more than rural (less modern). 
 

That’s why when you’re cultivating Ming, you quieten your mind, make it single pointed and enter emptiness (samādhi). 

 

4 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

It's certainly one of the most important Daoist classics - but by no means is it the entirety of the Daoist canon.

 

It is considered that the meditative training that the DDJ gives (and it's clearly a meditation manual - not a guide on how to rule the people :rolleyes:) leads one to self-awakening.

 

The alchemical path takes self-awakening as a start and leads beyond it... by incorporating the DDJ's Xing mechanics with Ming cultivation.

I think this is backward — but it’s your way, so if it sails your boat, more power to you :) 

4 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

I understand that for many people this will be highly controversial - and I'm afraid I have no interest in discussing that any further.

 

 

One of them has already "met" you :)

Ooh! Who is that? :) 
 

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8 minutes ago, dwai said:

In older times, Ming cultivation was not such a big deal — people naturally had more internal power, because of their lifestyle. 

 

I agree with you.

 

But it's important to understand that Ming is more than internal power. Power is one aspect of it... Consciousness without substance is transitory beyond certain formless realms.

 

Qi is the mediator between heaven and earth.

 

When you met your Daoist teacher you got a taste of Ming. I can't say more than "keep going!"

 

Edited by freeform

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After a couple of drinks I tend to feel more comfortable to chime in and contribute to these threads that are outside of my own experience, so here I am saying – wow – this is a truly brilliant thread.

 

Thank you ever so much to those who are contributing to it. It takes both time and energy, which is limited to us all, to do so. So I really appreciate those here who are giving them up for the benefit of us others so that we get to read these posts.

 

I like to take an experiential approach to life and so the only existence available is that which is immediately in front of us. For me this does rule out rebirth I’m afraid from both a pragmatic and moral point of view.

 

I am also unable to conceive of a spiritual existence outside of this reality. Once you lose your physical body, what do you interact with and how? Other spiritual bodies in realms outside of this earth … hmmm ok … but how does that existence relate to this one.

 

If it does or can relate to this earth, then what kind of interaction does it have with it?

 

If it does not, well I’m happy for this metaphysical existence to live separately in my imagination.

 

So from a philosophical point of view, I quickly condense to a Buddhist egoless point of view as the goal of the spiritual path.

 

But – this is a Daoist forum and I am most definitely learning huge amounts about the Daoist approach to spirituality and it is truly fascinating!!!

Edited by Miffymog
word phrasing
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4 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

I need to add more to this... it's a good question.

 

Everyone has the capacity to develop. Just because full enlightenment is out of reach for most doesn't mean we shouldn't pursue it. Genuine kindness, honesty and integrity are also out of reach to most of us - most of the time - but it doesn't mean that we don't try our best to live up to this.

 

If anyone has the misfortune of a congenital physical problem - but with the fortune to come across genuine teachings and the life circumstances to actually practice them in some way, they would be foolish not to pursue it to the best of their ability.

 

My point to that is perhaps more on the Ming side of things. If you're given a crap body through genetics and poor karma or just poor life circumstances that leads to poor health that leads to a requirement of lifelong substitution therapy (duly note that levothyroxine T4 thyroid drug is the most prescribed drug in the US) with drugs and other medical interventions -- perhaps focusing on mastering other aspects of life and then building merit is the best use of one's time. That being juxtaposed to spending 2-3 hours per day doing Qigong and Neigong stuff working on the physical level (Jing to Qi -- that may not work because of your physical issues) to transform aspects of your genetics that you were born with or arise from the environment you're situated in and unable to leave.  

 

If the chance of one making it is so insanely slim and it being next to impossible -- perhaps it is better to focus on loving-kindness, Pure Land cultivation and Xing aspects of cultivation such as shared in both Hinayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. If we go by the Hinayana Buddhist texts, it's clear that the Buddha says that one who cultivates loving-kindness (metta-bhavana) will enter the Brahma realms upon death along with 10 other great benefits listed below.

 

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1. "He sleeps in comfort. 2. He awakes in comfort. 3. He sees no evil dreams. 4. He is dear to human beings. 5. He is dear to non-human beings. 6. Devas (gods) protect him. 7. Fire, poison, and sword cannot touch him. 8. His mind can concentrate quickly. 9. His countenance is serene. 10. He dies without being confused in mind. 11. If he fails to attain arahantship (the highest sanctity) here and now, he will be reborn in the brahma-world.

 

Alternatively, if we use the Tibetan Vajrayana school or go by Mahayana thought one can use Amitabha's grace to enter the Pure Abodes upon death. Allegedly, those realms are inhabited by a Buddha who will teach you directly.  In the Pure Land it is described that there is no frustration, no sickness or pain, no problems of male and female. And when one is there, one is already a Bodhisattva and one will naturally enter into the unregressing Bodhisattva stages on the way to Buddhahood.  

 

The biggest issue as I learnt it is that to get there requires incredible mind-power in the first place as you have to move nearly 3 thousand great-thousand worlds away from the Earth. In Vajrayana or esoteric Buddhism, I believe this method is known as Phowa. And from what I hear, to get there, one must be able to open the crown chakra. 

 

... Big questions! Form vs. essence. :) 

To add to the confusion... there's also Master Nan who says stuff like this ... 

 

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The dharma of Breathing is the method of cultivating chi and channels, it is a dharma of birth and death. Any birth-and-death dharma are all phenomena and not the Dharmakaya. At this point I want to tell you all a very important principle. Does our thoughts or breathing first move? It is our thoughts that move first before the breathing moves. If a person’s thoughts does not move at all, the breathing will naturally stop. When the breathing stops, the original ability of the body will completely rejuvenate. Therefore, practicing qigong, the nine-section Buddha-wind and all kinds of breathing methods are very stupid, it cannot completely rejuvenate. When it is genuinely rejuvenating, the thoughts completely do not move, with no exhalation or inhalation.

 

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The Zen practitioners and Tibetan Buddhist practitioners of the Kagyu lineage (not the Gelug lineage of the Dalai Lama) do not depend on external aids. They can attain the transformation of the physiological body with sheer mind power. As you empty the mind, the meridian paths will transform accordingly. However, this is a very, very difficult practice to master. Mantra chanting and certain practices of the Tibetan Buddhism can be used as a start to clear the channels. They are but means to an end.

 

Clear as mud?  Haha. :) 

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22 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

I agree with you.

 

But it's important to understand that Ming is more than internal power. Power is one aspect of it... Consciousness without substance is transitory beyond certain formless realms.

'Substance' is part of the illusion too. :)

But nonetheless, I think we'll end up talking past each other beyond this point. I appreciate your perspective, and respect the background/context it comes from. 

 

This is after all, a meaningful discourse, and not a pointless one at that. 

22 minutes ago, freeform said:

Qi is the mediator between heaven and earth.

Heaven and Earth too are manifestations of that One Awareness. :) 

To some these might just be words...for those who've tasted from the well, it is something else. 

22 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

When you met your Daoist teacher you got a taste of Ming. I can't say more than "keep going!"

 

:) I am -- and grateful for it. It is way beyond Ming. But he doesn't discriminate between xing and ming. He transmits the knowledge directly. 

 

I should clarify here that I don't mean to put down Ming cultivation or methods per se. If I come across as dismissive, that is not my intent -- I've seen too many people struggle with methods, techniques, elaborate practices -- that is their journey and their karma. But it helps if someone calls it out from time to time -- "The truth is hiding in plain sight...right within your heart!" (even if they don't recognize/understand what is being said at that juncture). 

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29 minutes ago, anshino23 said:

If the chance of one making it is so insanely slim and it being next to impossible

 

'Making it' might be next to impossible - but there is a great payoff in making the earlier levels - payoffs both in this life and the next...

 

31 minutes ago, anshino23 said:

poor life circumstances that leads to poor health that leads to a requirement of lifelong substitution therapy

 

It's a tricky hypothetical - Ming works in mysterious ways... Sometimes Ming (as the unfoldment of your life path) can be transformed spontaneously through practice.

 

I simply don't have the insight - but teachers who are fully absorbed in their 'causal body' can tell what is good for a student and what isn't... they sometimes turn away very promising students and put great effort into seemingly ungifted students.

 

Incidentally - Buddhism has Ming methods too... this isn't the Buddhist practices that we (or even most monks) have access to.

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1 hour ago, anshino23 said:

 

My point to that is perhaps more on the Ming side of things. If you're given a crap body through genetics and poor karma or just poor life circumstances that leads to poor health that leads to a requirement of lifelong substitution therapy (duly note that levothyroxine T4 thyroid drug is the most prescribed drug in the US) with drugs and other medical interventions -- perhaps focusing on mastering other aspects of life and then building merit is the best use of one's time. That being juxtaposed to spending 2-3 hours per day doing Qigong and Neigong stuff working on the physical level (Jing to Qi -- that may not work because of your physical issues) to transform aspects of your genetics that you were born with or arise from the environment you're situated in and unable to leave.  

Though you directed the question to freeform, let me chime in :) 

 

Yes, Karma can result in issues with the physical body. It can even result in issues with the mind. But there are other ways to circumvent these problems. You don't HAVE TO DO Qigong/Neigong to purify your mind. There are other ways -- such as mantra meditation and such. 

 

In the Indic/Vedantic tradition there are three main issues in the realization of the Truth. They are as follows --

 

  1. Chitta vikśepa -- Scattering of the mind. For that you do meditation practice. Breath work. 
  2. Chitta Mala -- Impurities of the mind. Some come karmically, some come as a result of the food we eat, the environment we expose ourselves to. To resolve this -- do selfless service. 
  3. Chitta Avarana -- Veiling of the mind. This is the primary cause for someone to not recognize their True nature. In order to address these, first start working on 1 & 2. And then start learning from a Master (in-person is best, but other media can work as well -- video lectures, books, etc). As you learn, spend time in contemplation and eventually meditation. More the mind is purified, and ability to focus increases, the more the knowledge will start to "click". And it becomes a geometrically progressing system -- progress will accelerate as you spend time in it.

1 & 2 are always preparatory stages. But they needn't necessarily be sequential. There are overlaps with 3. 

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If the chance of one making it is so insanely slim and it being next to impossible -- perhaps it is better to focus on loving-kindness, Pure Land cultivation and Xing aspects of cultivation such as shared in both Hinayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. If we go by the Hinayana Buddhist texts, it's clear that the Buddha says that one who cultivates loving-kindness (metta-bhavana) will enter the Brahma realms upon death along with 10 other great benefits listed below.

 

 

Alternatively, if we use the Tibetan Vajrayana school or go by Mahayana thought one can use Amitabha's grace to enter the Pure Abodes upon death. Allegedly, those realms are inhabited by a Buddha who will teach you directly.  In the Pure Land it is described that there is no frustration, no sickness or pain, no problems of male and female. And when one is there, one is already a Bodhisattva and one will naturally enter into the unregressing Bodhisattva stages on the way to Buddhahood.  

 

The biggest issue as I learnt it is that to get there requires incredible mind-power in the first place as you have to move nearly 3 thousand great-thousand worlds away from the Earth. In Vajrayana or esoteric Buddhism, I believe this method is known as Phowa. And from what I hear, to get there, one must be able to open the crown chakra. 

 

... Big questions! Form vs. essence. :) 

To add to the confusion... there's also Master Nan who says stuff like this ... 

 

 

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Clear as mud?  Haha. :) 

Not at all -- it is an experiential fact. When you enter samadhi, the breath will stop on its own. The breath moves with the movement of the mind. It is not unnatural to go for extended periods of time without breathing. And no, you don't die.

 

When it first happened to me, I went several minutes without breathing, without mind. And then the mind kicked in, and panicked at how long it had been since I last took a breath. And then it reactivated along with the breath.

 

I put Qigong, pranayama etc under the methods of fixing problem #1 I've listed above. Whether they are needed or not, depends on the individual practitioner. There are no 'one-size-fits-all'. 

 

PS. One might wonder, "All that is about the mind. What about the body?"

The answer may be, "Fix the mind and the body won't bother you anymore." 

But it might also be, "Fix the body first, and the mind will become more manageable."

Mostly, it they are mutually complementary. Maintain healthy habits for both mind and body. Take the medication that is prescribed to make the body comfortable. Don't take so much that the mind gets clouded. Even if the mind is clouded due to medication, you can still reduce the impact of the mind by following steps 1 & 2. 

 

Last and most direct, and most powerful step (bonus #4) -- Pray sincerely for help to your deity of choice (provided it is not science). 

Edited by dwai
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Tricky tricky. I remember when I brought these things up to my Buddhist friend, he emphasized the following points... 

 

Do not fall into grasping at form. Performing practices and methods for health is one thing, and health is certainly a side-effect for those on the right path. However achieving anything else for the sake of it, is not the Buddha's Dharma - the true Dharma is found right here and now in the mundane life, infusing the spiritual into one's daily life, and the highest esoteric practice is in the expression of the Noble Eightfold Path. He re-emphasized to me that I'm not my body, I'm not my chi or its channels, neither am I my chakras, neither am I yuan chi or jing or shen. He advocated only one method and that was awakening through Conscious Light, the One Mind.

 

He said that this is the most direct path that will bring one through to illumination without hassle. Whether it is entry by sound, by light, by nose (breath) and so on - they are all Zen, Ch'an, Mahamudra - i.e. they are both methods of sudden and gradual awakening. Everything else he said is arbitrary. His teacher Master Nan also emphasised to all his students that focusing on the body too much lead to bad habits that would follow one for lifetimes focusing on form instead of focusing on wisdom. He said, like master Nan, that the Path is incredibly simple. Do not dwell. That's the highest method, at every given point, one does not dwell, not in form, not in dharmas. That, he said, is the highest Dharma. 

 

But perhaps, as a counterpoint to what is written above and as I think you allude to and have said before, we have no way of actually following that advice because our bodies (and thus our ming) impact us so heavily that we cannot realise Xing nor would working with Xing lead to true transformation. For me at least, it's not a clear cut thing at all, and it seems all traditions have quite different ways of approaching this form vs. essence or ming vs xing conundrum.

 

Thanks for the continued sharing, it's fascinating and a learning experience for sure. 

 

:) 

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25 minutes ago, dwai said:

Yes, Karma can result in issues with the physical body. It can even result in issues with the mind. But there are other ways to circumvent these problems. You don't HAVE TO DO Qigong/Neigong to purify your mind. There are other ways -- such as mantra meditation and such. 

 

In the Indic/Vedantic tradition there are three main issues in the realization of the Truth. They are as follows --

 

Wonderful, sounds similar to the Buddhist traditions as entailed in the Noble Eightfold Path or even in the Eight Limbs of Patanjali :) 

 

25 minutes ago, dwai said:

Not at all -- it is an experiential fact. When you enter samadhi, the breath will stop on its own. The breath moves with the movement of the mind. It is not unnatural to go for extended periods of time without breathing. And no, you don't die.

 

When it first happened to me, I went several minutes without breathing, without mind. And then the mind kicked in, and panicked at how long it had been since I last took a breath. And then it reactivated along with the breath.

 

I put Qigong, pranayama etc under the methods of fixing problem #1 I've listed above. Whether they are needed or not, depends on the individual practitioner. There are no 'one-size-fits-all'. 

 

That wasn't the point I was disputing or thinking was questionable. I've had breathless meditation many times, it's a wonderful still and powerful state. And no, one does not die. But whether just sitting down and doing breath meditation and entering breathless states leads to full development and rejuvenation without going through the a very specialised Ming process - that's the muddy water part. :) As I'm sure you've already read by freeform - the methods that are involved in the ming process are hidden and part of lineages - and freeform has emphasized on multiple ocassions that they're not natural at all, and you wouldn't guess them.

 

So if that's the case it seems that just entering breathless meditation states would not lead to the same type of development as would happen if you went the qigong-neigong-neidan route. But what do I know :) 

Edited by anshino23

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