dwai

Xing and Ming cultivation

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3 minutes ago, anshino23 said:

 

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 :) 

In my practice we do both, and in my experience they do different things. But that might not be the case in every tradition. 

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12 minutes ago, anshino23 said:

 

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

They come from the same source. :) 

Quote

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.

I'm suggesting that there is more mystery built into these than is necessary. The path to enlightenment is via the purification of the mind. And no one can, or should tell you that you can't become enlightened -- all you need to do is take sincere steps towards it. Whether we reach it in one lifetime or many is not up to us. The grace of God or Guru is sufficient to lift us out of complete darkness -- but we have to take the initial steps. 

Quote

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 :) 

That is simply not necessary (or compulsory). :) 

Edited by dwai

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8 hours 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? What can such people do? Are they just out of luck?

 

Freeform has already responded but my understanding is that Daoist Alchemy heals health issues. Daoism says enlightenment is in this lifetime.

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8 hours ago, KuroShiro said:

Freeform has already responded but my understanding is that Daoist Alchemy heals health issues. Daoism says enlightenment is in this lifetime.

 

Do you have any examples of people with significant chronic illnesses (such as hypothyroidism, type I diabetes, panhypopituitarism, etc.) curing them through daoist alchemical practice? 


My point is really that, at least according to what freeform has presented, alchemy is not readily available. It's an advanced stage of practice and doens't happen until after qigong-neigong has gone through to "lay the groundwork". At least that was my understanding. I didn't think that an ill person could go directly to alchemical practice and transform and heal their chronic ailments. Never seen it at least. 

Edited by anshino23

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9 minutes ago, anshino23 said:

alchemy is not readily available. It's an advanced stage of practice and doens't happen until after qigong-neigong has gone through to "lay the groundwork".


The basic idea is that your channels must be relatively free of pathogenic qualities, the ‘container’ for the Dantien must be built, and you must have at least some ‘extra’ Qi and a reasonably still mind.
 

(This is in relation to the start of the alchemical process.)

 

These prerequisites are certainly achievable. In a retreat setting - with full time 8hrs daily practice you could even get there in “100 days”... 

 

It’s probably very individual for each person... there are always some physical, mental, emotional and even karmic impediments. Type 1 diabetes might not be as bad as say a tendency to constantly zone out with your mind for example...

 

So whatever the situation - if you have a teacher that thinks it’s ok for you to do the training - then it’s worth giving it a try.

 

These are not ‘healing arts’ in themselves - they are spiritual arts with a byproduct of healing (because a healthy body and mind are more efficient vehicles for spiritual practice!) 

 

There are healing arts too... Like chinese medicine or Qi emission healing or herbs... The best healers work on the level of Ming (or the karmic level)... they will have ‘causal insight’ into an illness and know straight away if the illness is healable or ‘destiny’. But even if it’s healable - there is no guarantee that it’ll be healed. And conversely - sometimes the most unlikely conditions are indeed healable... 

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9 minutes ago, freeform said:


The basic idea is that your channels must be relatively free of pathogenic qualities, the ‘container’ for the Dantien must be built, and you must have at least some ‘extra’ Qi and a reasonably still mind.
 

(This is in relation to the start of the alchemical process.)

 

These prerequisites are certainly achievable. In a retreat setting - with full time 8hrs daily practice you could even get there in “100 days”... 

 

It’s probably very individual for each person... there are always some physical, mental, emotional and even karmic impediments. Type 1 diabetes might not be as bad as say a tendency to constantly zone out with your mind for example...

 

So whatever the situation - if you have a teacher that thinks it’s ok for you to do the training - then it’s worth giving it a try.

 

These are not ‘healing arts’ in themselves - they are spiritual arts with a byproduct of healing (because a healthy body and mind are more efficient vehicles for spiritual practice!) 

 

There are healing arts too... Like chinese medicine or Qi emission healing or herbs... The best healers work on the level of Ming (or the karmic level)... they will have ‘causal insight’ into an illness and know straight away if the illness is healable or ‘destiny’. But even if it’s healable - there is no guarantee that it’ll be healed. And conversely - sometimes the most unlikely conditions are indeed healable... 

 

I think that's a great post. It's my instinct to add something regarding the line I put in bold. I feel that while a basic medical definition of, say, type-1 diabetes is written in such a way as to make it possible for medical students and professionals to formulate diagnostics and methods to deal with an entire population of patients whose health is suffering in a similar way, such definitions don't and really can't take any "hidden" factors into account (i.e., the "causal" factors Freeform mentions in the final paragraph). Point being, if somebody with type-1 diabetes, hypothyroidism, or any other chronic, congenital condition really and truly encounters a teacher who will transmit the immortal method, then this person's ming, karma, fortune, and fate are already extremely special. If one who is ill has a truly qualified teacher who decides to transmit the methods, then, by all means, one would be wise to try to find the time, will, and energy to practice. One never knows what might occur--that's part of the reason there's so much truth to the last two sentences in Freeform's post.

 

Speaking of all of this reminds me of a Chinese saying, "命大." (ming da) Whenever a person survives a life-threatening illness or accident, it is common to hear people say to them, "嚯,你的命很大," or "whoa, you've got a huge ming," implying that this person's ming helped propel them through a perilous period, and implying that this person still has important things left to do on this earth, in this life, before dying. That is, of course, just a folk saying... But folk sayings often contain a lot of wisdom. 

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20 hours ago, dwai said:

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

 

Ming cultivation will exert powerful effects on the mind, certainly, because lack of clarity in the mind and the tendency of the mind to wander and be unfocused have an intimate relationship with qi. But I don't think what you're talking about here really captures the main emphases of discussions of ming gong. Those emphases involve what Freeform responded to this post with. 

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2 hours ago, Walker said:

But I don't think what you're talking about here really captures the main emphases of discussions of ming gong.

 

People that come to Daoism from a Xing perspective often see Ming as the 'support' for Xing...

 

18 hours ago, dwai said:

'Substance' is part of the illusion too.

 

This sort of thinking underpins that idea.

 

The Daoist response would be a swift wack to the head.

 

The premise being - that it may be "true" that form is an illusion - but that is not the case for you and your throbbing head.

 

At certain stages form (even physical form) does become "illusion" - in the sense that it becomes as malleable as a mental form... exemplified by handprints and footprints in granite stone and other 'siddhi' - like physically transforming into light and so on.

 

Most Xing - based cultivators are quick to denigrate these siddhi as examples of seeking powers instead of spiritual growth... But in fact, from the perspective of Xing-Ming cultivation - exactly the opposite is true. The siddhi are merely a demonstration of one's true depth of absorption into the underlying fundamentally spiritual reality.

 

The spectrum of consciousness is not limited to some haughty spiritual planes - the spectrum includes everything - including the gross physical reality.

 

Sometimes that wack to the head is not a teaching tool - but a test to see whether 'substance is also illusion' is actually true for you now.

Edited by freeform
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38 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

People that come to Daoism from a Xing perspective often see Ming as the 'support' for Xing...

 

 

This sort of thinking underpins that idea.

 

The Daoist response would be a swift wack to the head.

Talk  about missing the point. Yeah,. Whack on the head might hurt, but that doesn’t mean the primacy of consciousness over matter ceases to be. There still needs be a consciousness to both produce the ‘whack’ and ‘receive’ It. 

38 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

The premise being - that it may be "true" that form is an illusion - but that is not the case for you and your throbbing head.

depends on the perspective from whence ‘you’ operate. If you operate as a jumble of matter which manifests consciousness (mind), then yes. Usually after one realizes one’s true Nature, they don’t operate from that Old vantage point anymore. 

38 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

At certain stages form (even physical form) does become "illusion" - in the sense that it becomes as malleable as a mental form... exemplified by handprints and footprints in granite stone and other 'siddhi' - like physically transforming into light and so on.

yeah, but the reason is not what you think it is. Matter is subject to consciousness — that’s why it happens. It all comes down to consciousness/awareness and the unveiling of the mind. 

38 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

Most Xing - based cultivators are quick to denigrate these siddhi as examples of seeking powers instead of spiritual growth... But in fact, from the perspective of Xing-Ming cultivation - exactly the opposite is true. The siddhi are merely a demonstration of one's true depth of absorption into the underlying fundamentally spiritual reality.

it’s a two way street. Many don’t go beyond siddhis due to being stuck on the Siddhis. 

38 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

The spectrum of consciousness is not limited to some haughty spiritual planes - the spectrum includes everything - including the gross physical reality.

 

Sometimes that wack to the head is not a teaching tool - but a test to see whether 'substance is also illusion' is actually true for you now.

:D not haughty. It’s your mind that presumes the haughtiness, because you’re so caught up on your perspective. It is an observation - a statement of fact. 
 

There are yogis and sages in India today who can not only do what you’re saying, but also other feats powered by their siddhis. It has nothing to do with Self-realization. They all operate within the realm of Maya (veiling). 

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I know I'm in trouble when Dwai leaves a laughing emoji on my post!  :lol:

 

1 hour ago, dwai said:

Whack on the head might hurt, but that doesn’t mean the primacy of consciousness over matter ceases to be.

 

1 hour ago, dwai said:

If you operate as a jumble of matter which manifests consciousness (mind)

 

We keep going round in circles primarily because you don't seem to accept that I 100% agree with you on this.

 

You're not debating a materialist Dwai.

 

You keep pressing this point - that 'reality' fundamentally is 'consciousness' and materiality arises from that or is subject to that. I keep saying yes - I agree - this is clearly the case as stated quite clearly in Daoist philosophy and quite apparent experientially in meditation.

 

So let's try again.

 

Yes - I agree, Dwai :)

 

1 hour ago, dwai said:

depends on the perspective from whence ‘you’ operate.

 

Precisely.

 

1 hour ago, dwai said:

Usually after one realizes one’s true Nature, they don’t operate from that Old vantage point anymore. 

 

I'd make a slight edit before I agree... after one embodies one's True Nature...

 

And the test for having fully embodied your True Nature and no longer operating from the 'old vantage point' - is when your teacher swings at you with his stick, he 'hits' nothing but light.

 

Another way of saying this is: from the Daoist perspective (and from the esoteric Buddhist line I'm familiar with) materiality isn't a plane of existence apart from consciousness - it is consciousness. It is one part of the full spectrum of consciousness.

 

1 hour ago, dwai said:

Matter is subject to consciousness

 

Matter isn't just subject to consciousness - it IS consciousness. Consciousness doesn't just have 'primacy over materiality' - they are one and the same thing.

 

Physicality is like - say the blue wavelength within the full spectrum of pure light.

 

So 'full enlightenment' from that perspective is both spiritual and physical - because they are one and the same thing.

 

It can't not be physical - (unless it's not full enlightenment.)

 

So when one realises their True Self but remains physically unaltered - this simply means that what has been achieved is an awakening - but not a full transformation. Full transformation includes physicality and much more.

 

The confusing thing is that the 'mechanics' of achieving this are basically the same... Absorb - let go -> absorb - let go -> absorb - let go.

 

It's another thing that seems to confound Xing-only cultivators... despite what it might seem like, the way Daoist practice achieves all of this is through absorbing and letting go.

 

Not by adding - not by 'creating' - not by developing - not by building... even though these concepts are used as mental models for a utilitarian understanding of the process. The fundamental principles are Ting - absorption and Song - letting go (or release).

 

2 hours ago, dwai said:

There are yogis and sages in India today who can not only do what you’re saying, but also other feats powered by their siddhis. It has nothing to do with Self-realization.

 

There's 100X more 'self-realized' individuals who are right this moment manipulating, abusing and sexually exploiting their followers. This is one reason that knowing the different levels of awakening is crucial.

 

Many people have had awakenings - and full of genuinely benevolent intentions go ahead and become 'spiritual teachers'... But their transformation is far from complete (even though 'completeness' and a sense of having 'finally arrived' is a hallmark of their personal experience at these stages).

 

Completely blind to this (and usually having left their teacher) they slowly but surely succumb to their 'human animal' drives - usually with all sorts of complex machinations to obscure the truth and perpetuate willful ignorance... both in their followers and usually in themselves too.

 

That's what I mean by 'haughty spiritual states'. Haughty because the personal experiences are full of bliss, compassion and equanimity - but under the surface, there is much that is left to transform. And the behaviour that can result from this sort of awakened person (if they stop further spiritual growth) can be quite horrific - (partly because socially protective emotions like guilt and shame have been let go of... and partly because as there is 'more light' in the system, the untransformed aspects create a much darker, deeper shadow than before)

 

So to make this discussion a discussion and not a reactive back and forth - before you mark this post with that dreaded laughing emoji and then line by line try to discredit what I say with technicalities - why don't you feed back to me what I said in your own words. Just so I can see whether you understand what I'm trying to explain or not.

 

Only if you wish to discuss this further, of course! I personally think it's a helpful discussion for the people reading along!

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48 minutes ago, freeform said:

I know I'm in trouble when Dwai leaves a laughing emoji on my post!  :lol:

 

:D I only laugh because I found your "whack on the head" point amusing :D 

48 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

We keep going round in circles primarily because you don't seem to accept that I 100% agree with you on this.

 

You're not debating a materialist Dwai.

 

You keep pressing this point - that 'reality' fundamentally is 'consciousness' and materiality arises from that or is subject to that. I keep saying yes - I agree - this is clearly the case as stated quite clearly in Daoist philosophy and quite apparent experientially in meditation.

 

So let's try again.

 

Yes - I agree, Dwai :)

 

 

Precisely.

 

 

I'd make a slight edit before I agree... after one embodies one's True Nature...

I think there a very subtle perspective nuance that I'm not able to get across in words. True nature doesn't need embodiment. 

 

The subtlety of view is here -- The body-mind unit cannot embody true nature, anymore than a door can embody wood. Just as the door is through and through wood, the body-mind is through and through 'True Nature' (though I prefer to use the term Awareness). The 'realization' therefore is, simply a shift of perspective. And it is permanent. No special powers are needed or required -- just our everyday experiences are sufficient :) 

 

48 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

And the test for having fully embodied your True Nature and no longer operating from the 'old vantage point' - is when your teacher swings at you with his stick, he 'hits' nothing but light.

I'm saying there is no need to. Just realizing what we truly are, is sufficient. All other "activity" happens in the realm of duality/Maya. 

48 minutes ago, freeform said:

Another way of saying this is: from the Daoist perspective (and from the esoteric Buddhist line I'm familiar with) materiality isn't a plane of existence apart from consciousness - it is consciousness. It is one part of the full spectrum of consciousness.

 

 

Matter isn't just subject to consciousness - it IS consciousness. Consciousness doesn't just have 'primacy over materiality' - they are one and the same thing.

 

Physicality is like - say the blue wavelength within the full spectrum of pure light.

 

So 'full enlightenment' from that perspective is both spiritual and physical - because they are one and the same thing.

 

It can't not be physical - (unless it's not full enlightenment.)

:) I'm saying it doesn't need to be physical at all. It is simply a permanent shift in perspective. The wood doesn't need to do anything to the door for it to become wood. The door (bare with me this dumb example) isn't separate from wood. The door simply needs to recognize (if doors could realize things) that is wood through and through. Knowing this, the need to separate "Self" and "other" goes away. 

 

To bring in a bit of Vedantic thought in this discussion (as you know, I'm a mutt that way) -- 

 

Every phenomenon has five aspects. Name and form are the ones that the mind knows and body interacts with. The other three are Being, Illumination and Love. Each and every aspect of the phenomenal world only has name and form because of this Being (Existence), Illumination (Awareness) and Love (Bliss).  What does that mean?

 

Even though from a utilitarian perspective, Names and forms appear and disappear, and have function, their True Nature is Being, Awareness and Bliss/love. This is available to us every where, all the time. When true awakening occurs, this (B/A/L) is constantly recognized. Nothing more is needed to be proven or shown. Yes, maybe to shake a student out of spiritual slumber, sometimes teachers might invoke a "whack in the head" (show of power etc) -- but it depends on the student and the teacher. There are teachers who merely look at the student and awaken them (Ramana Maharshi being one such famous sage). 

48 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

So when one realises their True Self but remains physically unaltered - this simply means that what has been achieved is an awakening - but not a full transformation. Full transformation includes physicality and much more.

 

The confusing thing is that the 'mechanics' of achieving this are basically the same... Absorb - let go -> absorb - let go -> absorb - let go.

 

It's another thing that seems to confound Xing-only cultivators... despite what it might seem like, the way Daoist practice achieves all of this is through absorbing and letting go.

 

Not by adding - not by 'creating' - not by developing - not by building... even though these concepts are used as mental models for a utilitarian understanding of the process. The fundamental principles are Ting - absorption and Song - letting go (or release).

 

 

There's 100X more 'self-realized' individuals who are right this moment manipulating, abusing and sexually exploiting their followers. This is one reason that knowing the different levels of awakening is crucial.

Then they are not self-realized. What purpose does the Self have to manipulate anything or anyone? All is the Self. 

48 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

Many people have had awakenings - and full of genuinely benevolent intentions go ahead and become 'spiritual teachers'... But their transformation is far from complete (even though 'completeness' and a sense of having 'finally arrived' is a hallmark of their personal experience at these stages).

 

Completely blind to this (and usually having left their teacher) they slowly but surely succumb to their 'human animal' drives - usually with all sorts of complex machinations to obscure the truth and perpetuate willful ignorance... both in their followers and usually in themselves too.

 

That's what I mean by 'haughty spiritual states'. Haughty because the personal experiences are full of bliss, compassion and equanimity - but under the surface, there is much that is left to transform. And the behaviour that can result from this sort of awakened person (if they stop further spiritual growth) can be quite horrific - (partly because socially protective emotions like guilt and shame have been let go of... and partly because as there is 'more light' in the system, the untransformed aspects create a much darker, deeper shadow than before)

Sure...the letting go might happen in layers, all at once. We call it vāsana-kshaya or erosion of karmic patterns. To go into why these things happen (why after awakening one might succumb to these behaviors for a while) is dependent on whether these patterns erode suddenly or little by little. But one cannot really go back to their old ways entirely, if they've truly awakened.

 

But one cannot rest on their "laurels" either, so to speak. My master meditates 8-10 hours a day (and he's been at it for about 50 years now) even though he doesn't need to. He prays for the well being of people, animals who are suffering and so on.  When he's not doing that, he is serving his family, checking on his students, and so on. That is one way.

 

Another way is to simply serve one's family and loved ones, community selflessly -- at the soup kitchen,  temples, churches, etc.  That is another way.

 

The other is to simply retire to a hermitage. 

 

Some others, simply go back to their old lives -- live their lives and act as shining beacons of light simply by being themselves. 

 

48 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

So to make this discussion a discussion and not a reactive back and forth - before you mark this post with that dreaded laughing emoji and then line by line try to discredit what I say with technicalities - why don't you feed back to me what I said in your own words. Just so I can see whether you understand what I'm trying to explain or not.

I'm sorry you felt that way about the laughing emoji. If you and I were sitting across from each other, I'd still laugh, and so would you -- but not at each other. I explained the reason for my laughing reaction -- "whack in the head" :D 

48 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

Only if you wish to discuss this further, of course! I personally think it's a helpful discussion for the people reading along!

Of course. I'm loving it :) 

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39 minutes ago, dwai said:

I'm sorry you felt that way about the laughing emoji. If you and I were sitting across from each other, I'd still laugh, and so would you -- but not at each other. I explained the reason for my laughing reaction -- "whack in the head" :D 

 

Oh I meant it very much with tongue in cheek :)

 

41 minutes ago, dwai said:

True nature doesn't need embodiment. 

 

The subtlety of view is here -- The body-mind unit cannot embody true nature, anymore than a door can embody wood.

 

40 minutes ago, dwai said:

:) I'm saying it doesn't need to be physical at all. It is simply a permanent shift in perspective.


Yes - I think I understand your perspective. So body-mind unit would be considered dualistic in your scenario?

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14 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

Oh I meant it very much with tongue in cheek :)

 

 


Yes - I think I understand your perspective. So body-mind unit would be considered dualistic in your scenario?

Body-mind is name, form and function.
 

It is an appearance. Countless come and go, like waves in an ocean. True Nature/Awareness is the ‘substance’ which body-mind is made of. 
 

So consider body-mind as apart from True nature — duality. Consider body-mind not apart from True nature  — nonduality. And if this body-mind is True nature /Awareness, all

body-minds too are True nature/Awareness. Why? For those who don’t know yet, it is a mystery to be solved. Only way to know is to figure it out. 
 

 

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12 hours ago, freeform said:

 

People that come to Daoism from a Xing perspective often see Ming as the 'support' for Xing...

 

 

This sort of thinking underpins that idea.

 

The Daoist response would be a swift wack to the head.

 

The premise being - that it may be "true" that form is an illusion - but that is not the case for you and your throbbing head.

 

At certain stages form (even physical form) does become "illusion" - in the sense that it becomes as malleable as a mental form... exemplified by handprints and footprints in granite stone and other 'siddhi' - like physically transforming into light and so on.

 

There is a man who is recorded as doing this, St Seraphim of Sarov (1754 - 1833). His face lit up as bright light according to a witness, he could apparently read peoples minds and ‘knew what was in their hearts’ before they told him, and he is said to have been able to heal miraculously. It’s from another tradition (he was a hermit monk) but these are some of the signs I would look for in anyone who claims they have ‘arrived.’

 

12 hours ago, freeform said:

 

Most Xing - based cultivators are quick to denigrate these siddhi as examples of seeking powers instead of spiritual growth... But in fact, from the perspective of Xing-Ming cultivation - exactly the opposite is true. The siddhi are merely a demonstration of one's true depth of absorption into the underlying fundamentally spiritual reality.

 

The spectrum of consciousness is not limited to some haughty spiritual planes - the spectrum includes everything - including the gross physical reality.

 

Sometimes that wack to the head is not a teaching tool - but a test to see whether 'substance is also illusion' is actually true for you now.

 

 

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10 hours ago, freeform said:

I know I'm in trouble when Dwai leaves a laughing emoji on my post!  :lol:

 

 

 

We keep going round in circles primarily because you don't seem to accept that I 100% agree with you on this.

 

You're not debating a materialist Dwai.

 

You keep pressing this point - that 'reality' fundamentally is 'consciousness' and materiality arises from that or is subject to that. I keep saying yes - I agree - this is clearly the case as stated quite clearly in Daoist philosophy and quite apparent experientially in meditation.

 

So let's try again.

 

Yes - I agree, Dwai :)

 

 

Precisely.

 

 

I'd make a slight edit before I agree... after one embodies one's True Nature...

 

And the test for having fully embodied your True Nature and no longer operating from the 'old vantage point' - is when your teacher swings at you with his stick, he 'hits' nothing but light.

 

Another way of saying this is: from the Daoist perspective (and from the esoteric Buddhist line I'm familiar with) materiality isn't a plane of existence apart from consciousness - it is consciousness. It is one part of the full spectrum of consciousness.

 

 

Matter isn't just subject to consciousness - it IS consciousness. Consciousness doesn't just have 'primacy over materiality' - they are one and the same thing.

 

Physicality is like - say the blue wavelength within the full spectrum of pure light.

 

So 'full enlightenment' from that perspective is both spiritual and physical - because they are one and the same thing.

 

It can't not be physical - (unless it's not full enlightenment.)

 

So when one realises their True Self but remains physically unaltered - this simply means that what has been achieved is an awakening - but not a full transformation. Full transformation includes physicality and much more.

 

The confusing thing is that the 'mechanics' of achieving this are basically the same... Absorb - let go -> absorb - let go -> absorb - let go.

 

It's another thing that seems to confound Xing-only cultivators... despite what it might seem like, the way Daoist practice achieves all of this is through absorbing and letting go.

 

Not by adding - not by 'creating' - not by developing - not by building... even though these concepts are used as mental models for a utilitarian understanding of the process. The fundamental principles are Ting - absorption and Song - letting go (or release).

 

 

There's 100X more 'self-realized' individuals who are right this moment manipulating, abusing and sexually exploiting their followers. This is one reason that knowing the different levels of awakening is crucial.

 

Many people have had awakenings - and full of genuinely benevolent intentions go ahead and become 'spiritual teachers'... But their transformation is far from complete (even though 'completeness' and a sense of having 'finally arrived' is a hallmark of their personal experience at these stages).

 

Completely blind to this (and usually having left their teacher) they slowly but surely succumb to their 'human animal' drives - usually with all sorts of complex machinations to obscure the truth and perpetuate willful ignorance... both in their followers and usually in themselves too.

 

That's what I mean by 'haughty spiritual states'. Haughty because the personal experiences are full of bliss, compassion and equanimity - but under the surface, there is much that is left to transform. And the behaviour that can result from this sort of awakened person (if they stop further spiritual growth) can be quite horrific - (partly because socially protective emotions like guilt and shame have been let go of... and partly because as there is 'more light' in the system, the untransformed aspects create a much darker, deeper shadow than before)

 

So to make this discussion a discussion and not a reactive back and forth - before you mark this post with that dreaded laughing emoji and then line by line try to discredit what I say with technicalities - why don't you feed back to me what I said in your own words. Just so I can see whether you understand what I'm trying to explain or not.

 

Only if you wish to discuss this further, of course! I personally think it's a helpful discussion for the people reading along!

 

 

Very helpful and a fantastic post. What a gem. 

 

Thank you.

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12 hours ago, dwai said:

True nature doesn't need embodiment.

 

Many Daoists would disagree with this statement, and say an awakening to reality is little more than a taste of one's potential if it is not embodied.

 

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The subtlety of view is here -- The body-mind unit cannot embody true nature, anymore than a door can embody wood. Just as the door is through and through wood, the body-mind is through and through 'True Nature' (though I prefer to use the term Awareness). The 'realization' therefore is, simply a shift of perspective. And it is permanent. No special powers are needed or required -- just our everyday experiences are sufficient :)

 

It is taught that special powers are indeed not needed or required to have a taste of one's nature. But to use your wood-door analogy, a Daoist might say that a door realizing that it is entirely made of wood does not mean that it will turn back into a tree again, much less return to the state of a sapling, seed, or what it was before there was even any seed; much, much less will it be free to be any of these things in response to circumstances, or nothing at all.

 

You might say that the point of inner alchemy and its discussion of embodiment is to go from being the door that realizes that it is made of wood (albeit dry, dead, and heavily conditioned wood buried under a thick layer of paint and firmly affixed to its frame) to being Laozi's "uncarved block" or Zhuangzi's "useless tree" that wasn't even cut down, and beyond even that, to be transcend any and all concepts and analogies we might play with here, including the concept of transcendence itself. 

 

To Daoists with a predilection for these types of teachings and the practices that, perhaps, lead to the goals we're talking about, simply realizing what one is, while a great accomplishment, is like obtaining a key. It might take one through the next door, but much remains to be "not done" if one enters that door. 

 

As for whether or not the "shift in perspective," as you put it, is permanent, to be certain there are Daoist teachers who will state that it is not, unless you totally complete xing-ming cultivation. In some esoteric teachings, it is even said that successfully creating a yangshen and having one's yuanshen ascend with it upon death of the physical body is only a temporary release; eventually the yuanshen will have to return to earth or a place like it to continue to practice with a body, until the body is--(how to put it?)--resolved. As for realization without even the creation of yangshen, then this is said to lead to a sort of extremely-long-lasting enlightened ghost state.

 

It is taught in some schools that, for a practitioner who is practicing alchemy, even something like passing away in seated meditation and leaving a corpse that does not rot is not considered a particularly high achievement. The only sign of success for those who ascribe to these teachings is turning into non-existence when leaving the world, which is akin to the sort of achievement called "light body" or "rainbow body," such as was achieved in Vajrayana Buddhism by Padmasambhava and, it is recorded, masters of other traditions such as those in India and--rumor has it--Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

 

Returning to the question of "special powers," upon such a path these things are neither specifically sought nor specifically eschewed with. They are, to one who is cultivating xing and ming, things that occur naturally, because it is the nature of the Dao and the human body for these things to occur during cultivation, all the way up through and including the ultimate resolution of one's being. To be certain one could get "distracted" by them, and that is one reason ming teachings are kept secret. But the potential for this distraction cannot lead to an intentional eschewing of "special powers," as that would be like poking out your eyes, which naturally occur as a part of a healthy human body, because staring at pretty things can be distracting. 

 

(To be clear, though, there is a difference in Daoism between "special powers" which arise naturally, and those which are sought and specifically cultivated. There are much firmer warnings about the latter category, and even teachers who emphatically state that specific training for any type of special ability is already something other than cultivating Dao)

 

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:) I'm saying it doesn't need to be physical at all. It is simply a permanent shift in perspective. The wood doesn't need to do anything to the door for it to become wood. The door (bare with me this dumb example) isn't separate from wood. The door simply needs to recognize (if doors could realize things) that is wood through and through. Knowing this, the need to separate "Self" and "other" goes away.

 

Eventually, though, the door is removed from its frame, scrapped, perhaps turned into a coffee table and then wood chips and then dust and finally less than dust, its components scattered to the four winds. Its ming is gone, and paraphrasing what Freeform said above, ming is a bit like the platform for xing in Daoist alchemical teachings. Needing this platform, the yuanshen will have to return to continue cultivating. 

 

I understand that people might reject this as a false teaching, but this kind of thinking is common in many Daoist teachings, and probably worth at least entertaining for contemplation if one has enough affinity with Daoism to be participating in a discussion like this. 

 

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To bring in a bit of Vedantic thought in this discussion (as you know, I'm a mutt that way) -- 

 

Every phenomenon has five aspects. Name and form are the ones that the mind knows and body interacts with. The other three are Being, Illumination and Love. Each and every aspect of the phenomenal world only has name and form because of this Being (Existence), Illumination (Awareness) and Love (Bliss).

 

These are interesting teachings but to be honest I have not heard the handful of Daoists I have studied with teach about them or place emphasis on anything similar. 

 

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Even though from a utilitarian perspective, Names and forms appear and disappear, and have function, their True Nature is Being, Awareness and Bliss/love. This is available to us every where, all the time. When true awakening occurs, this (B/A/L) is constantly recognized. Nothing more is needed to be proven or shown.

 

A Daoist grand-teacher of mine (I have not personally met him, although he is still alive) has discussed this. He calls this the realization of the 法身/fashen or "Dharma body," a term that comes to Chinese from Buddhism. It is, to be certain, a marvelous accomplishment for any human to realize. But it is not synonymous with the creation of the yangshen or the total resolution of xing and ming. Therefore, it is not considered an ultimate or permanent state, for a Daoist. Another Daoist grand-teacher of mine (who I did meet, although he has been gone for several years) addressed this, stating that this is something fundamental that separates buddhas from immortals; thus what you discuss is indeed a permanent state, called buddhahood, but not the permanent state we could call xianhood or hsienhood or "immortality."

 

But this, to me, becomes too speculative and esoteric to warrant discussion. Again, we run the risk of being Saharan ants mapping Himalayan glaciers... Not only a waste of time in the present, but also could lead us to draw conclusions about what we think we're doing and where we think we should be going far, far too early.

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1 hour ago, Walker said:

A Daoist grand-teacher of mine (I have not personally met him, although he is still alive) has discussed this. He calls this the realization of the 法身/fashen or "Dharma body," a term that comes to Chinese from Buddhism. It is, to be certain, a marvelous accomplishment for any human to realize. But it is not synonymous with the creation of the yangshen or the total resolution of xing and ming. Therefore, it is not considered an ultimate or permanent state, for a Daoist. Another Daoist grand-teacher of mine (who I did meet, although he has been gone for several years) addressed this, stating that this is something fundamental that separates buddhas from immortals; thus what you discuss is indeed a permanent state, called buddhahood, but not the permanent state we could call xianhood or hsienhood or "immortality."

 

 

So in your understanding reaching Buddhahood does not entail immortality? In my understanding the awakening to the Dharmakaya is emphasized by the Buddhist teachings. Upon awakening, one can then transform the sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya vehicles. 

 

Here's some more Master Nan on the topic,

 

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In the Diamond Sutra there is a line which runs, "Subhuti, what do you think? Can the Tathagata be perceived by means of form or appearance?"
 

Buddha's student, Subhuti, then replies, "No World-Honored One, the Tathagata cannot be so perceived."
 

Now, everyone should note that in the sutra it was just telling us not to dwell on appearance or form, to practice charity without dwelling and that blessings would follow from this. The fortune or blessings one receives from the culmination of wisdom are infinite and immeasurable. Here it goes a step further in telling us the reality of seeing a Buddha.
 

This is very serious. Everyone who is a Buddhist wants to see a Buddha. So, Buddha asked Subhuti, calling him by name, "Subhuti, what do you think?" What's your idea, Subhuti, can people perceive the Buddha in a physical form?
 

In the sutras it says that the Buddha has thirty-two physical marks (laksanas, or physical marks of a cakravartin-"wheel king") which distinguish Him from ordinary mortals. These are described more fully in the eighty detailed physical characteristics.
 

For example, He has thousand-spoked wheel signs on His feet, long slender fingers and toes that are finely webbed, a long broad tongue and so forth. These signs all arose from many lives of cultivating merit.
 

If one makes offerings of flowers and incense to the Buddha, then in the next life, one will be more beautiful. If one offers clothes, in the next life he won't have to worry about going without and will have a healthy body. Also if one regularly offers medicine, one won't get sick in the next life. If in a previous life, a person refused to give medicine as charity, in this lifetime he will encounter many hardships and illnesses.
 

These results just follow the laws of karma.
 

How then did the Buddha gain these thirty- two marks and eighty characteristics?
 

They are the result of virtuous behavior.
 

These marks are those we could see when the Buddha was alive, in human form. Ananda, His cousin, had thirty of these marks as did the great translator, Kumarajiva. At this point, the Buddha was asking Subhuti if the Tathagata could be seen by means of these thirty-two marks. Subhuti answered, "No, World-Honored One, the Tathagata cannot be so perceived."
 

You might ask, if the Tathagata cannot be perceived by means of form or appearance, why then in the temples are there statues to which we prostrate?
 

Buddhism is just like all other religions in that it is against worshiping idols. Then, is it that we shouldn't prostrate to the images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas?
 

The answer is simple: because of the Buddha, you prostrate to yourself.
 

The Buddha's image causes respect to arise in you and you prostrate. The image is merely a representation of "I."
 

When you prostrate, you are not bowing down to the Buddha, rather you are bowing down to yourself, and therefore you are saved.

All religions boil down to the same essence: "I" don't save you. You save yourself due to your mind of true respect.

In actuality, it doesn't even have to be an image of the Buddha to which you prostrate. It could be some wood or clay, but if in your mind it is the Buddha and reverent respect arises, then you have succeeded. This is what is meant by, "because of the Buddha, you prostrate to yourself." It is not bowing down to "me." You bow down to yourself. What part of yourself? Your mind, your respect.

Not only should an idol not be taken for the Buddha but also, while He was on this earth, if you took His physical body to be the teacher, you were grasping onto form.

In the Surangama Sutra, it tells how Ananda made this mistake. The Buddha asked him why he had become a monk. Ananda answered that he saw how beautiful the Buddha looked and how He gave off gentle, golden-hued light. Ananda reckoned that this was not the result of ordinary karma. The Buddha then scolded him saying, Ananda, you are so foolish! You are not only attached to form but have become a monk due to attachment to physical beauty. This same attachment drew Ananda into a potentially dangerous situation with the woman Maugdalena. Thus, the Buddha said one cannot perceive the Tathagata by means of the physical form.
 

"Why is that? The form and appearance spoken of by the Tathagata is not true form and appearance." What is the reason? The true body beyond birth and death is not this physical body. The physical body experiences birth and death. Even if one lives to be a thousand years, in the end one must still die.

For instance, there was a famous monk called "Jewel-Fisted Zen Master" who lived a thousand years. He practiced for about five hundred years in India but hadn't yet awakened to Great Enlightenment. Knowing that Zen master Bodhidharma would bring Chan (Zen) Buddhism to China, he went ahead to wait for him. After seeing Bodhidharma, he had his Great Awakening and lived another five hundred years in China. As a result, many places have temples named after him.

There are many examples of people who live extraordinarily long lives. Buddha's number one student Mahakasyapa is an example of one still living on this earth. Long life is merely a physical appearance. It is not beyond birth and death. A thousand years is still but a thousand years.
 

That which is beyond birth and death is not the physical body, or the rupakaya. It is the dharmakaya, which has no appearance. This is why the Buddha again emphasized the point in the sutra, where it says: The Buddha told Subhuti, "Everything with form and appearance is merely illusion. If all form and appearance are seen as illusion, the Tathagata will be perceived."
 

The famous translator monk Kumarajiva, in translating this part of the Diamond Sutra, used very strong words, "The Buddha told Subhuti." In this section, pay particular attention to the words "everything with form and appearance." Whatever may transpire because of one's cultivation work would not happen without this effort. People talk about different meditative experiences, but when one is not meditating, these go away. Every visaya is but an appearance, and every appearance is but an illusion, not reality.
 

How then, does one perceive the real Buddha, the Tathagata? Only when one has perceived the dharmakaya has one come "face to face" with the real Buddha. If one perceives that all form is not form, this is not emptiness.
 

Most people explain this as achieving emptiness. This is foolishly adding another meaning to the words. The Buddha only said to perceive form as illusion.
 

What then is "not form"? Buddha gave no definitive explanation. Please be careful on this!
 

Most people who study the Diamond Sutra will give their own explanation of emptiness. Those are your own words and not the Buddha's. The Buddha simply said to perceive that form is not form is to perceive the Tathagata, the dharmakaya. The important point is that the Buddha said "illusion" and not "empty." What is this really saying? Simply, do not dwell.

Dharmakaya, Sambogakaya, Rupakaya - Substance, Appearance, Function

 

The most important lines in the fifth section of the Diamond Sutra are "Everything with form and appearance is merely illusion. If all form and appearance are seen as illusion, the Tathagata will be perceived."
 

In the middle of the Diamond Sutra, there is a gatha which reads, "One who looks for me in appearance; Or pursues me in sound, Follows paths leading astray, And cannot perceive the Tathagata." And at the end of the sutra, there is another gatha which reads,

All phenomena are like
A dream, an illusion, a bubble and a shadow
Like a dew drop and a flash of lightning
Thus you should view them.

For the last thousand years, Buddhist and literary scholars as well have argued over which gatha contains the main point of the Diamond Sutra. These lines in the fifth section can also be taken as a gatha. I hope that when you are studying on your own, you will also take this question into consideration.
 

The Buddha said that we should not perceive the Tathagata in form. Everyone who's studied some Buddhism knows that when one becomes a Buddha, one also achieves the three bodies, or kayas. These are the dharmakaya, the sambogakaya and the rupakaya. This is why in some temples you will see three of the same Buddha images on the same altar. They represent the three kayas.

This became very popular in China, and by the Tang Dynasty, the Taoist temples were also doing their own form of this. Taoists had the Three Clear Ones: the High Clear One, the Supreme Clear One and the Jade Clear One.
 

This situation is representative of the world of religion in general. Whether they be "Western" or "Eastern," religions do influence each other quite deeply.
 

We've all heard the terms for the three kayas. What do these mean?
 

The dharmakaya is clear and serene, the sambogakaya has billions of appearances, shapes and sizes and the rupakaya is complete and perfect. Let's put Buddhism to one side and look from a philosophical perspective. The dharmakaya is the basic substance, that which all the phenomena in the universe have in common. In modern-day terms, one could loosely use the term "energy wave."

The sambogakaya is the outward appearance as it goes through various transformations which can perform many different functions, these functions being the rupakaya. From a philosophical perspective, the three bodies are substance, appearance and function.

Everything in the universe has these three aspects. Take water, for example. It can be made into tea, ice-cubes, steam, and so forth, all with different appearance and functions, but no matter how it transforms, the basic substance is still water. We now have some idea of what the three kayas are, in theory at least.
 

In Buddhism, when we say a person has awakened to Supreme Enlightenment, achieved anuttara-samyaksambodhi, to what exactly has one awakened? It is exactly that basic substance of which all life in the universe is comprised, the dharmakaya. In the Heart Sutra, it is called, "neither beginning nor ending, pure nor impure, increasing nor decreasing." In the opening verses preceding the Diamond Sutra, it is referred to in the line, "How to achieve immortality, the indestructible vajrasattva?" The familiar line, "Not a thought arises, the entire body reveals itself" also refers to the dharmakaya. The dharmakaya has no appearance.
 

As to the perfect reward body, the rupakaya, this is the result of one's cultivation work and is very difficult to achieve. I mentioned before the thirty-two marks of a Buddha and the eighty detailed physical characteristics. The body of anyone who has succeeded in cultivation, attained the Tao, has undergone a complete physical transformation. This physical body is the reward body.
 

Why is it called the "reward body"? Actually, everyone's body is a "reward body." If throughout one's life one is very comfortable and fortunate, this is the reward of previous virtue. Others may experience a lot of pain and suffering and lead a very pitiful life. Their body is the result of non-virtuous actions in a previous life. Through cultivation work, we transform this karmic reward body.

 

In the Taoist school, they describe the process as getting rid of illness to lengthen one's life and achieving immortality. This is talking about transforming the reward body. Achieving the perfect reward body is gaining complete liberation, changing mortal bones into immortal bones and gaining every kind of super power.

 

This is extremely difficult to achieve. The perfect reward body is very difficult to cultivate. The Taoist cultivation, opening qi mai, as well as Esoteric cultivation, opening the three channels and seven chakras, both start from the reward body. Samatha and samapatti (stopping and introspection), the Pure Land practice of reciting the Buddha's name and vipassana meditation are all examples of practices which mainly cultivate the dharmakaya. When one cultivates to the point where he or she has at will another body outside of this physical body, this is the sambogakaya or transformation body functioning. This is a very basic overview of the three bodies.
 

The average person who practices Buddhist or Taoist cultivation works on the dharmakaya.
 

The Esoteric school emphasizes the achievement of the three bodies because only when one achieves the three kayas has one successfully completed the Path. This is also called completion in one lifetime. "In one lifetime," means in this one lifetime to settle the question of life and death, to succeed at achieving the three bodies. In theory, this can be done, but in actuality, it is of the utmost difficulty. One must achieve perfection of vinaya (discipline), samadhi and wisdom as well as completely transform this physical body of four elements born of one's parents. Only this can be called completion in one lifetime.


Lotus Born

In Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism, in addition to worshiping Shakyamuni Buddha, they also worship Padmasambhava. It is said that Padmasambhava is the reincarnation of Shakyamuni Buddha, born eight years after the Buddha's passing. The Buddha was born of the womb and there were many things he could not teach as the founder of the orthodox teachings. Therefore, to found the esoteric teachings, he returned born of a lotus transformation.

In southern India, there were a king and queen who were childless and in despair about their situation. While they were in the imperial gardens gazing at the lotuses one day, suddenly one lotus grew taller and larger. Out of the pod in the center burst forth a small boy of flesh and blood. Thus, he was called Padmasambhava, the Lotus Born.

As a prince, he was heir to the throne, but just as Gautama Shakyamuni did, he left the royal life at eighteen to follow the way of a monk. Unlike as in his last life however, he did not pass away into nirvana. Instead, he rode into the air on a white horse.

Earlier on in Tibet, every year there would be huge celebrations commemorating this. People would perform fire pujas throughout the country. They would burn all kinds of things as offerings-clothing, grains, valuables. Some women would even cut their hair and burn it as an offering. The fires would be kept burning for seven days and seven nights. People encircled the fire, continuously chanting Padmasambhava's mantra. Padmasambhava would always appear on his horse, circle the fire once and then disappear again. Padmasambhava always looks as he did as a young man with two small wisps of mustache. This is to show that he had achieved the perfect reward body.

In Taoism, this would be called immortality or "The sun and moon rest together; heaven and earth have the same longevity." Upon achievement of the perfect reward body, the sambogakaya is also naturally achieved. In order to be the role model for Esoteric Buddhism, he had to have had completion in one lifetime for the teaching to be perfect.

Now that we understand this, we can see that the Diamond Sutra concentrates on perceiving the dharmakaya.

What is perceiving the dharmakaya? It is enlightenment, seeing the Path.

The Diamond Sutra is of the prajna (transcendental wisdom) teachings which mainly focus on True Form Prajna. This is the substance of the beginningless source of all life. The rupakaya and sambogakaya are within the prajna visaya. This is why the Buddha said one cannot perceive the Tathagata through the physical form. The Tathagata is the origin of all life, the essential substance of all life. To have faith and reverence is no problem, but to become attached to a form is wrong. Not only in Buddhism is this wrong, but in any other religion as well.

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, anshino23 said:

So in your understanding reaching Buddhahood does not entail immortality?

 

I have encountered Daoist teachers who say that there are differences between 仙 and 佛. I have encountered more Daoist teachers who hold that they are the same. In the case of those who say that there are fundamental differences between 仙 and 佛, they emphasize that both are exalted, permanent conclusions to cultivation paths, beyond any and all concepts that mortals' theories could express. Personally, I profess no understanding of what buddhahood entails. I am only attempting to report on theoretical teachings I've been exposed to. Such teachings are at once indispensable as well as vacuous. They are important for practitioners to study, but no substitute for practice, much less its actual fruits. 

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3 hours ago, Walker said:
15 hours ago, dwai said:

True nature doesn't need embodiment.

 

Many Daoists would disagree with this statement, and say an awakening to reality is little more than a taste of one's potential if it is not embodied.

 

 

Yes. I think this is precisely where the views of our lines of cultivation divert, Dwai.

 

3 hours ago, Walker said:

It is taught in some schools that, for a practitioner who is practicing alchemy, even something like passing away in seated meditation and leaving a corpse that does not rot is not considered a particularly high achievement. The only sign of success for those who ascribe to these teachings is turning into non-existence when leaving the world, which is akin to the sort of achievement called "light body" or "rainbow body," such as was achieved in Vajrayana Buddhism by Padmasambhava and, it is recorded, masters of other traditions such as those in India and--rumor has it--Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

 

This is exactly what I've been taught... A non-rotting body upon death signifies development up to a certain point... Disappearing into a rainbow body upon death is still also considered 'incomplete' - in the sense that the '5 lights' have not been transformed yet - and one would have to reincarnate within about 30,000 years :lol: Disappearing in a flash of pure white light is a sign of 'finally arriving' - meaning there is no need to return... but one can come and go as one pleases.

 

3 hours ago, Walker said:

But this, to me, becomes too speculative and esoteric to warrant discussion. Again, we run the risk of being Saharan ants mapping Himalayan glaciers...

 

Yes

 

Except that, I think it's important to talk about the earlier stages of awakening - because they are very much accessible to many people. And it's worth knowing the 'dangers' of achieving these states and not having a teacher (or leaving a teacher)... And it's worth knowing (if one has an interest in these traditions) - that in Daoism at least, awakening is considered a 'start' on the spiritual path - a great blessing, but also the biggest pitfall/dead-end if you get stuck there.

 

This is a continuing theme from my teacher... as many students achieve this awakening - and with all the bliss, love, compassion, stillness and serene equanimity that comes with this stage - they tend to stop training, or leave and even start teaching. In fact, there is a move to delay awakening of this kind until the conditions for the next stage have also been developed - so that one moves as fast as possible through the blissful awakening onto the next stage.

 

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35 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

It's important to talk about the earlier stages of awakening 

/...... /

 

awakening is considered a 'start' on the spiritual path - 

Good point. 

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32 minutes ago, freeform said:

This is exactly what I've been taught... A non-rotting body upon death signifies development up to a certain point... Disappearing into a rainbow body upon death is still also considered 'incomplete' - in the sense that the '5 lights' have not been transformed yet - and one would have to reincarnate within about 30,000 years :lol: Disappearing in a flash of pure white light is a sign of 'finally arriving' - meaning there is no need to return... but one can come and go as one pleases.

 

Ah, interesting, I will have to ask one of my teachers about the difference between a rainbow and a flash! This may explain why he has said that although Padmasambhava went all the way, other later Tibetan masters who have achieved rainbow body are not fully free. I didn't understand that before. 

 

30,000 years is interesting for rainbow body. I've been told it's about 3,000 for simply creating a yangshen that leaves a corpse. These accomplishments are nothing to shake a stick at! But it doesn't take long in Daoism to see why this is a relatively tiny tradition when it comes to "world religions." Even mastering extremely basic Daoist teachings is tough. This stuff? Well, one step at a time... 

 

32 minutes ago, freeform said:

This is a continuing theme from my teacher... as many students achieve this awakening - and with all the bliss, love, compassion, stillness and serene equanimity that comes with this stage - they tend to stop training, or leave and even start teaching. In fact, there is a move to delay awakening of this kind until the conditions for the next stage have also been developed - so that one moves as fast as possible through the blissful awakening onto the next stage.

 

Such a nourishing morsel for thought, a rare delicacy in a world where so many who haven't even yet reached the pitfall stage you just described are already oh-so eager to begin their teaching and establish their schools. 

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13 minutes ago, Walker said:

These accomplishments are nothing to shake a stick at! But it doesn't take long in Daoism to see why this is a relatively tiny tradition when it comes to "world religions." Even mastering extremely basic Daoist teachings is tough. This stuff? Well, one step at a time... 

 

:lol: Exactly... One of my teachers always seems to begin re-examining the intricacies of shoulder alignment (rather painfully) after getting questions about ascension and the like :)

 

16 minutes ago, Walker said:

a rare delicacy in a world where so many who haven't even yet reached the pitfall stage you just described are already oh-so eager to begin their teaching and establish their schools. 

 

My personal opinion is that (in general) teachers who haven't reached the pitfall stage are in fact less dangerous than ones who have and think they've 'arrived'.

 

There's an increase in 'charisma', there is indeed some ability but the undercurrent of baseness remains hidden by bliss and contentment... and the potential for immoral action is increased because many of 'protective' emotions have been released and masked by bliss - I'm thinking of people like Osho... Once the 'moral barrier' is pierced all kinds of other immoral behaviour can arise - all in the name of spirituality of course. Why should petty human morality stand in the way of enlightenment! :rolleyes:

 

It's fine to be a teacher... but it's important to differentiate a 'spiritual' teacher from an 'internal arts' teacher for example... Don't over-shoot where you are. Your students will subtly elevate you past your actual accomplishment, and sometimes it's hard to resist. In a world where a certain design on a necklace can be considered spiritual, it's worth remembering just how reverently these things were treated in the past. There is a massive responsibility to being a spiritual teacher!

 

24 minutes ago, Walker said:

I've been told it's about 3,000 for simply creating a yangshen that leaves a corpse.

 

Yes - from what I remember - at this stage you can choose when and as whom you incarnate within a span of like 3000 years...

 

All the spiritual practices seem to be a preparation for death :)

 

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10 hours ago, Walker said:

 

Many Daoists would disagree with this statement, and say an awakening to reality is little more than a taste of one's potential if it is not embodied.

It is important to understand what embody means. How can ice embody water any more than it already does?

Can a wave embody the ocean to it's fullest potential. :) 

10 hours ago, Walker said:

 

It is taught that special powers are indeed not needed or required to have a taste of one's nature. But to use your wood-door analogy, a Daoist might say that a door realizing that it is entirely made of wood does not mean that it will turn back into a tree again, much less return to the state of a sapling, seed, or what it was before there was even any seed; much, much less will it be free to be any of these things in response to circumstances, or nothing at all.

Yeah the thing with analogies is that we can't stretch them beyond a certain point -- if we do, silliness ensues. The wood-door analogy served the purpose it was intended to serve. :) 

10 hours ago, Walker said:

 

As for whether or not the "shift in perspective," as you put it, is permanent, to be certain there are Daoist teachers who will state that it is not, unless you totally complete xing-ming cultivation. In some esoteric teachings, it is even said that successfully creating a yangshen and having one's yuanshen ascend with it upon death of the physical body is only a temporary release; eventually the yuanshen will have to return to earth or a place like it to continue to practice with a body, until the body is--(how to put it?)--resolved. As for realization without even the creation of yangshen, then this is said to lead to a sort of extremely-long-lasting enlightened ghost state.

The body will be resolved when its karma is completed. :) 

Liberation is not of the body-mind unit. Liberation is from the body-mind unit. That is enlightenment -- the body-mind unit doesn't become enlightened -- enlightenment is a realization of its True Nature. I bring back the dreaded Door which thought all this time that it was a door, apart from the wood. But then it realizes that it has always been wood. Only wood in a specific name, form and function.

 

Who seeks "immortality"? Ask yourself that question -- the answer will become evident. 

10 hours ago, Walker said:

 

It is taught in some schools that, for a practitioner who is practicing alchemy, even something like passing away in seated meditation and leaving a corpse that does not rot is not considered a particularly high achievement. The only sign of success for those who ascribe to these teachings is turning into non-existence when leaving the world, which is akin to the sort of achievement called "light body" or "rainbow body," such as was achieved in Vajrayana Buddhism by Padmasambhava and, it is recorded, masters of other traditions such as those in India and--rumor has it--Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

:D Where does this "rainbow body" go?

How does one know 'non-existence'?

These are not rhetorical questions...

10 hours ago, Walker said:

(To be clear, though, there is a difference in Daoism between "special powers" which arise naturally, and those which are sought and specifically cultivated. There are much firmer warnings about the latter category, and even teachers who emphatically state that specific training for any type of special ability is already something other than cultivating Dao)

Yes...the jivanamuktas (Liberated while in a physical body) naturally have special abilities. Not everyone has the same ones. Many of these manifest due to the predilections of the body-mind unit (karmic tendencies, etc). Here liberation means breaking the cycle of birth and death. Not by becoming a perpetual spirit being (which is a prison too). All such perpetual spirit beings have their own karma and have to still come back to what is called a karma bhumi to exhaust the karma to become fully liberated. So long as there remains an identification with a story (however exalted it might be), it is not true enlightenment or liberation. 

 

10 hours ago, Walker said:

I understand that people might reject this as a false teaching, but this kind of thinking is common in many Daoist teachings, and probably worth at least entertaining for contemplation if one has enough affinity with Daoism to be participating in a discussion like this. 

Lao Tzu's Daodejing is the highest level of Daoism there is.

10 hours ago, Walker said:

These are interesting teachings but to be honest I have not heard the handful of Daoists I have studied with teach about them or place emphasis on anything similar. 

It is not a daoist teaching -- it is from Vedanta. :) 

10 hours ago, Walker said:

 

 

A Daoist grand-teacher of mine (I have not personally met him, although he is still alive) has discussed this. He calls this the realization of the 法身/fashen or "Dharma body," a term that comes to Chinese from Buddhism. It is, to be certain, a marvelous accomplishment for any human to realize. But it is not synonymous with the creation of the yangshen or the total resolution of xing and ming. Therefore, it is not considered an ultimate or permanent state, for a Daoist. Another Daoist grand-teacher of mine (who I did meet, although he has been gone for several years) addressed this, stating that this is something fundamental that separates buddhas from immortals; thus what you discuss is indeed a permanent state, called buddhahood, but not the permanent state we could call xianhood or hsienhood or "immortality."

This xianhood is a prison of its own (I've noted this above). It is a golden prison for sure. And might provide a billion years of contentment. But what then?

10 hours ago, Walker said:

But this, to me, becomes too speculative and esoteric to warrant discussion. Again, we run the risk of being Saharan ants mapping Himalayan glaciers... Not only a waste of time in the present, but also could lead us to draw conclusions about what we think we're doing and where we think we should be going far, far too early.

Actually, it is useful for those who are ready. Not many are... :) 

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Just to add to this discussion, would be curious what people would think. Though not Daoist, there's a delineation of the Path to become a Buddha shared in the Yogācārabhūmi-Śāstras that shares the following division of the Path toward Buddhahood.

 

Check it out. :) 

 

Quote

(1) Merit Accumulation and Morality ~ Studying, Moral training, Establishing foundation of virtue, Charity/kindness, Discarding desires and passions, Replace negativity with positive thoughts and actions, "Stopping sin", yama and niyama, Ten Commandments, Five Precepts, Mastering discipline, Doing good for the sake of goodness and not out of fear, Love thy neighbor, Mental purity free from self-centered thoughts... (Accessing the spiritual wisdom of God, instead of being stuck in doctrine)

 

(2) Preparation ~ Prayoga, Experiences that transcend normal human experiences, approximates of awakening, intellectual understanding/approximates of awakening Have not awakened yet, fumbling in the dark. Doesn't matter what kind of 'advanced' meditation you do, if you haven't awakened you are in this Preparatory phase because you have no direct-experience. Purifying of mental states and physical structures (mind-body connection) which are inheritances that inhibit you from seeing your true nature or awakening. This phase includes every single kind of practice as long as you have not awakened... This includes ANY kind of samadhi or dhyana or states or kundalini or chakras as long as there is no Awakening. 

  • A • Warming up of Personality ~ Attainment of knowledge. Replacing good thoughts with bad thoughts. Changes in physical and energy body. Body fills with energy and becomes warm. Seeing lights that allow you to see through things and bodies. 
  • B • Experiential Peak ~ Clearer and clearer contemplation. Mental purity and quiet, stage of emptiness. Reached a realm of experience that you were targeting. Unstable skill at maintaining at this peak of experience. Opening of crown chakra. Reaching *first dhyana* (first-level of deep Buddhist meditative state). Always in samadhi. Automatic morals without need for restraint.
  • C • Stability ~ Recognition of suffering, cause of suffering, ending of suffering and path to end suffering. Getting into or out of experience at will. Firmness of skill of reaching into this experience at will. Instead of being afraid of the emptiness experiences, they overcome them and with time and patience, mastery comes.
  • D • Worldly Mastery ~ Most refined, elevated state of mind that is still unawakened. Mastery of experience, however, still without Awakening.

However, any kind of samadhi state is just preparation to gain wisdom... All of that, yes every single one of it, no matter how long it takes, is just to prepare for Awakening. Samadhi comes together with wisdom, so both must be cultivated together.

 

(3) Awakening ~ Understanding of the source of your mind and the universe, Taoism's shen into wu, Tantra's seeing the clear light. Suddenly seeing how the physical body and the world, while being form, are actually empty in nature. Purifying the noisy-chatter mind, where it reflects everything without being impure. THIS is the beginning of the spiritual path. Everything before is just preparatory. Enlightenment is not an experiential realm.

 

(4) True Cultivation ~ Dissolving away the spontaneously-arising habitual obstructions of the mind. There is still a need to cultivate the Reward and Transformation bodies. Discovering of both emptiness of self and emptiness of phenomena. 

 

(5) Complete Enlightenment ~ Identification with God-Consciousness, No more ego. Previously, people are like robots that are controlled by thoughts, emotions, etc, instead of being the ones that control them. The Buddha awoke to how samsara and nirvana are fundamentally the same - He returned to the One. 

 

-----

 

Ending with a quote from the Hindu sage Ramakrishna: 

 

"What shall we gain from these discussions (intellectualizing/scholarship/theorizing)? We have been born in this world in order to cultivate devotion to the Lotus Feet of God. He tells us the story of a man who entered an orchard to eat mangoes. But instead of eating the fruit, he took out pencil and paper and began to jot down the number of trees, branches, and leaves in the orchard. A servant saw him and asked: 'What are you doing? Why have you come here?' The man said: 'I have come here to eat mangoes. I am now counting the trees, branches, and leaves in the orchard.' Thereupon the servant replied: 'If you have come here to eat mangoes, then enjoy them. What will you gain by counting the trees, branches, and leaves?' Om!"

 

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2 hours ago, anshino23 said:

Just to add to this discussion, would be curious what people would think. Though not Daoist, there's a delineation of the Path to become a Buddha shared in the Yogācārabhūmi-Śāstras that shares the following division of the Path toward Buddhahood.

 

Check it out. :) 

 

 


 

Quote

(5) Complete Enlightenment ~ Identification with God-Consciousness, No more ego. Previously, people are like robots that are controlled by thoughts, emotions, etc, instead of being the ones that control them. The Buddha awoke to how samsara and nirvana are fundamentally the same - He returned to the One. 


 

Not from any particular view, just from my own, to me being controlled by thoughts, emotions, etc, is to be controlled by what freeform referred to earlier as ‘acquired personal nature’. I agree that this is the case, we are controlled by these things, but I don’t believe there is a need to control this acquired personal nature, or that this is the goal. For me our consciousness is mistakenly identified with acquired personal nature, and needs to somehow get past this and identify with ‘congenital virtuous nature’ which is the sapling or seed hidden within the nature of the door. 
 

In this sense, your equation “samsara and nirvana are fundamentally the same” is not true, as acquired personal nature and congenital virtuous nature are not fundamentally the same. 
 

@ freeform and @ walker, If this is far different from the daoist view I stand to be corrected 🙂
 

 

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