Recommended Posts


I was very grateful for this video, thanks goes to Damo Mitchell (video above). 

 

I think this would benefit a lot of people here and clear up lots of doubts and mistaken notions.

 

I really enjoyed it, I hope you guys do too :) 

  • Like 7
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I listened to this video yesterday. I found most of what he had to say interesting. However, there is something that I didn't like about it-- how he spatializes the mind @ 21:00 min. In this case, I don't agree that the mind has a location (i.e. it centers in the brain, and returns there when we have a thought). Rather, based on my (limited) experience over a long period of Buddhist meditation, location arises in the mind. It is more of a matter of habit where we typically center our attention. 

 

If you think about, it makes sense. If you look at a cup, the cup doesn't appear at the eye, where science says the light strikes. It appears like three or four feet in front of the eye. That's because it is not the eye that is projecting all of this, it is the mind. 

 

In this case, I think what he has done is built a habit of centering on the dan tian, and then relaxing into it. I imagine that many people when they are relaxed do not necessarily automatically sink into the dan tian unless they have already built a habit of it via qigong or some other exercise. If it were the case, I would expect many people would report dan tian-types of experience. 

 

On the other hand, people who intentionally place the mind in the dan tian do report many of the similar instances that he describes--- it happens a lot in Zen for example. Actually, what he says makes sense as to how Zen practitioners are able to generate quite a bit of internal power since they may spend quite a bit of time submerged at the dan tian, relaxed and concentrated. However, when I practiced Zen, this focus was let go at a certain point. Also, IIRC, when I practiced in Chicago, there was a lot of intentional dan tian placement. This is the only place I've practiced where people could do what I would call "spooky sh*t" that didn't make rational sense.  Dwai still practices there, so he probably has better knowledge. 

 

Of course, there are instances where the center kind of dissolves and the whole panorama of experience merges together. I think many of his points are well-taken, but I decided I would discharge my thoughts. 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

I listened to this video yesterday. I found most of what he had to say interesting. However, there is something that I didn't like about it-- how he spatializes the mind @ 21:00 min. In this case, I don't agree that the mind has a location (i.e. it centers in the brain, and returns there when we have a thought). Rather, based on my (limited) experience over a long period of Buddhist meditation, location arises in the mind. It is more of a matter of habit where we typically center our attention. 

...

On the other hand, people who intentionally place the mind in the dan tian do report many of the similar instances that he describes--- it happens a lot in Zen for example. Actually, what he says makes sense as to how Zen practitioners are able to generate quite a bit of internal power since they may spend quite a bit of time submerged at the dan tian, relaxed and concentrated. However, when I practiced Zen, this focus was let go at a certain point.

I also have reason to think location arises in consciousness.  Yet, on the level of conventional truth, the mind has something it's taking as object,  even if on some absolute level that object is actually arising in consciousness, right?  So, even with this realization, one could still follow his instructions to not intentionally direct the mind but be aware of what it's taking as object in the body, and relax completely, and see what happens.  If you do this, does it begin to sink like he says it will?  Does that have a different effect on your energy than deliberately placing your mind on dan tian?  For me the difference is subtle, but I can imagine that if I was doing practice really seriously and generating huge amounts of energy in body and mind, the difference would become more pronounced and important.  It would allow me to relax deeper and interfere with the qi less, which would then allow me to generate more qi, which would allow me to relax more, etc.

 

I suspect that people who get to a high level by deliberately placing the mind on dan tian at some point figured out to sink the mind without effort, maybe via transmission from their teacher, an indoor teaching, or natural intuitive talent.  Sort of like how some people start qigong using visualization, but if they have gotten to a high level at some point they will have had to drop that.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, I think you are misunderstanding what Damo says. He actually agrees with you in terms of the non-locality of the true higher mind (as I see it), but that for practical purposes of the neigong process and building a lower dantien, we want it to rest or rather sink under its own weight down into the lower dantien. That's part of the practice. I think it's important to remember he is talking about a process of development here - that's basically what the video is about. He is not talking about the higher stages of Shen or the later stages of alchemy which would are quite involved, and would certainly include that of seeing the true nature of mind. 

 

Here's a quote from Damo's book called A Comphrensive Guide to Daoist Neigong

"Much of the Nei Gong process that involves building, regulating and circulating Qi is not serving to nourish the Yuan Shen; in the same manner, those precepts and guidelines that you choose to follow are also not helping you to develop your Yuan Shen. This means that these kinds of practice are not really a spiritual practice; they may, however, be laying the foundations for progressing into this kind of art further down the line. This is why, to me, Nei Gong is a great foundation for meditative training, but it is the meditative training that is really going to do the ‘work’ with your spirit. As a consequence, we can lay out the development of our practice as shown in Figure 12.1. Here, we see a progression from working with the body, the energy system, the mind and then, finally, the spirit.

 

(The figure shows a picture of a pyramid with four divisions, on the bottom is Physical Body - Body 'conditioning', then Energy System - Internal Work, then Mind - 'Self' development, then finally Spirit - 'No Self' development at the top of the pyramid.)

 

This may seem like a very exact, black and white way of looking at the term. I apologise for this – yes, it is a very definite way of looking at it, but it is my view that the ‘spiritual’ community in the wider sense has often struggled to really know what they are doing! Too many woolly definitions and blurred lines between practices has meant that everything becomes a ‘spiritual practice’, when this may not actually be the case. The development of Yuan Shen will lead a person to the stage of Shen Ming. This is the Daoist equivalent to the term ‘enlightenment’. It is the stage of mergence with the Dao so that a person is ‘true’.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Creation That's a good point--- as practice instructions, it makes sense. But I think it comes at a cost. Perhaps it is a provisional teaching later abandoned, but I found that refining the mind was extremely difficult. Of course, that difficulty may be due in part to too much focus on xing and not enough on ming. Nevertheless, such reification of the mind can lead to issues--- or at least it did for me.

 

@anshino23

I appreciate Damo's knowledge--- I have listened to some of his talks and read some of his book. However, I see on this point I will have to respectfully disagree. Of course, I am coming from a Buddhist background, so naturally my propensity is toward Taoist teachings that are complementary with Buddhism. For example, Liu Yiming's commentary on Awakening to Reality (trans. Pregadio):

 

Quote

Golden Elixir is another name for one’s inchoate fundamental nature (xing). There is no other Golden Elixir outside one’s fundamental nature. Every human being has this Golden Elixir complete in oneself: it is entirely achieved in everyone. It is neither more in a sage, nor less in an ordinary person. It is the seed of the Immortals and the Buddhas, the root of the worthies and the sages.

 

Liu Yiming here is referencing the Platform Sutra of Hui Neng. This is important because of the difference between Hui Neng and his Shen Xiu in the famous "poem combat" --- Damo's view seems along Shen Xiu's line as opposed to Hui Neng. 

 

This ties Taoism into the mind-essence teachings of Chan. To paraphrase Mazu, "ordinary mind is the way." 

 

The Korean master Chinul puts it very clearly (trans. Buswell):

Quote


Now, this physical body is a construct of four physical conditions: earth, water, fire, and wind. Since this matter is passive and insentient, how can it see, hear, sense, and know? That which is able to see, hear, sense, and know is perforce your buddha-nature. For this reason, Linji [Yixuan 臨濟義玄] (d. 867) said, “The four great elements do not know how to expound dharma or listen to dharma. Empty space does not know how to expound dharma or listen to dharma. It is only that formless thing right before your eyes, clearly and brightly shining in isolation, that knows how to expound dharma or listen to dharma.” This “formless thing” is the dharma-seal of all the buddhas; it is your original mind.

 

 

From a Chan point of view, the fundamental nature is always here. It is not a "higher mind," it is the very essence of this mind right now. The trouble is that we fail to recognize it, or having recognized it, fail to sustain in (which in my mind, is where the Ming practices of Taoism come in. Chinul calls this sudden realization, gradual cultivation). And it must be so-- for otherwise, if the fundamental nature had to be cultivated or developed, it would be transitory and not fundamental. 

 

Of course, my knowledge is quite limited, both of the practices and of Damo's outlook generally. Again, I see much value in what he is teaching and am glad to accept the information he is offering. 

 

 

Appendix:

The famous poems (at least how I recall them):

Shen Xiu:

 

Our body is the Bodhi-tree
And our mind a mirror bright.
Carefully we clean them hour by hour
And let no dust alight.

 

Hui Neng:

There is no Bodhi-tree
Nor stand of a mirror bright.
Since everything is emptiness
Where can dust alight?

 

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm quite familiar with Huineng and the Platform Sutra, thank you for sharing. But I also think you're taking a bit of a one-sided view... even from a Buddhist point of view.  You're right that the fundamental nature is always here unchanging and ceaseless and it's just a question of waking up to that. But full body transformation is also needed. There's a great post on this by late Master Nan Huai Chin saying that realizing the dharmakaya is not enough - it gives great merit, for sure, but you need to cultivate all three bodies (dharmakaya, nirmanakaya and sambhogakaya) for full and complete enlightenment. :) 

 

I refer you to this post: 

 

Also that whole thread of discussion would maybe be very interesting for you and includes lots of talk about this stuff. :) 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, Xing and Ming is a tangential point, and one I am not taking issue with. I would not say that cultivating the Ming aspects are unimportant--- if I did, I certainly would not be spending all this time on Taoist practice! When I first starting getting into this stuff, some one remarked that if you have a mind issue, talk to a Buddhist. If you have a health/body issue, talk to a Taoist. Of course, both paths include both, but I have found that as presented in the modern West in my personal experience, Buddhism has lost a great deal of Ming knowledge, and what is still available is difficult to obtain. On the other hand, most available Taoism I have had contact with has lost a great deal of Xing knowledge and tends to revolve around martial arts/healing (Damo being a notable exception to this!).

 

After consulting the book, it is clear that Damo is a Ming to Xing person, and I am more of a Xing to Ming person.

 

However, the point I was taking issue with was a reification of the mind--- using object-language to refer to what is objectless. I guess I was wondering whether this is an intentional strategic choice, whether it is a lack of understanding, or whether I was missing something. It probably doesn't really matter to me since I am working Ming issues and he appears to know his Ming well. I don't mean to undermine him or insult him if he is your or anyone else's teacher-- again, I don't really have much exposure to his stuff. TBH, I was just hoping to start a discussion because it is how I learn, and I was a bit disappointed no one was discussing this video that I thought was pretty informative. I appreciate the chance to work out some thought on this.

 

2 hours ago, anshino23 said:

I'm quite familiar with Huineng and the Platform Sutra, thank you for sharing. But I also think you're taking a bit of a one-sided view... even from a Buddhist point of view.  You're right that the fundamental nature is always here unchanging and ceaseless and it's just a question of waking up to that. But full body transformation is also needed. There's a great post on this by late Master Nan Huai Chin saying that realizing the dharmakaya is not enough - it gives great merit, for sure, but you need to cultivate all three bodies (dharmakaya, nirmanakaya and sambhogakaya) for full and complete enlightenment. :) 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting, many valuable informations, some good reflections. I'm mostly in agreement with what he says but I'm not so sure about the container but maybe.

 

Few thoughts :

 

He says than the low dantian's presence is not something natural, it has to be created (and you need to build the container first) and the qi gongs hand moves towards the belly help beginners doing so but are not furthermore necessary once it's done.

Any body part sings its own melody once you take the time to listen, including the LDT.

 

The idea that the LDT exist per se and by extension cultivation is not something we do "naturally" makes sense. I have witnessed that even among sporty people most don't develop some subtle physical conscience and things like aerobics or body-building tend to reinforce that machine-body feeling by doing simple repeated unconscientised moves that become automated then (but it can happen with tai chi or qi gong too...).

 

In my experience qi goes where attention is. He advocates the idea that diffuse attention fuel the LDT better. Strangely it is more something I relate to meditation or taiji chuan than qi gong. When I meditate I naturally mind-move to my lower body, the remaining "effort" being to push the bai huei up.

 

When he says the body is stupid... no the body is not, maybe he's lazy but certainly not stupid. The body is slower than the mind and this inertia is a blessing ! Otherwise we would see human-torches or human-puddle any time.

 

Qi gong is more alchemycally productive than Taiji, possibly. Well, it focuses on only one thing at a time so effects/feelings are more obvious but not sure it's more effective. Taiji is about wholeness of the body embodying few energetic principles and doing so while moving. Anyway it's a good idea to back up Taiji with static Qi Gong and to have some dynamic Qi Gong to work with.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've heard a number of debates whether these things are "created," or "uncovered," but either way the practice would be the same. Interesting point about sporty people reinforcing the machine-body feeling--- I suppose from a Taoist point of view, we could say that your intention (and until we reach wu wei, we probably always have one) is going to impact your practice one way or another. 

 

2 hours ago, CloudHands said:

The idea that the LDT exist per se and by extension cultivation is not something we do "naturally" makes sense. I have witnessed that even among sporty people most don't develop some subtle physical conscience and things like aerobics or body-building tend to reinforce that machine-body feeling by doing simple repeated unconscientised moves that become automated then (but it can happen with tai chi or qi gong too...).

 

 

If I am following what he's saying, the yi would also shape the qi. I think this is why he is advocated the "relaxed" as opposed to "focused" approach. It may be that a focused intention would introduce contractions into the LDT that you don't want. 

 

Lately, I have been practicing sinking, so when I relax in standing, my awareness goes to my feet! :lol:

 

2 hours ago, CloudHands said:

In my experience qi goes where attention is. He advocates the idea that diffuse attention fuel the LDT better. Strangely it is more something I relate to meditation or taiji chuan than qi gong. When I meditate I naturally mind-move to my lower body, the remaining "effort" being to push the bai huei up.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, CloudHands said:

Qi gong is more alchemycally productive than Taiji, possibly. Well, it focuses on only one thing at a time so effects/feelings are more obvious but not sure it's more effective. Taiji is about wholeness of the body embodying few energetic principles and doing so while moving. Anyway it's a good idea to back up Taiji with static Qi Gong and to have some dynamic Qi Gong to work with.

 

 

Taiji is basically a combat art.  It has Qi Gong elements though.  While Qi Gong is direct and specialized, being more efficient and effective too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Quote

 

If I am following what he's saying, the yi would also shape the qi. I think this is why he is advocated the "relaxed" as opposed to "focused" approach. It may be that a focused intention would introduce contractions into the LDT that you don't want. 

 

 

Yes I heard that part. I think that focusing on something doesnt imply to force it but yes for many it is needed to (re)learn that. So in some way what he promotes is safer. Safer but maybe less effective (IMO).

 

 

4 hours ago, Master Logray said:

 

Taiji is basically a combat art.  It has Qi Gong elements though.  While Qi Gong is direct and specialized, being more efficient and effective too. 

 

Yes it is but not only and there is several kinds of taiji all having energetic aims but not all have the same training system. Yang Taiji has the slow even moves of qi gong and the moves are smoothed but actually it's power-taiji, you are supposed to be soft but incredibly firm when needed.

 

It's clearly not only about martial art :

- many prominent Taiji teachers started with/because of poor health

- I know some Yang tai chi teachers that are also healers even working with some famous hospital.

- the idea of both emptying the mind and sinking the qi to the LDT are among of 10 basic principles - but yes among many others things so it's harder and less effective in terms of direct feelings but long term speaking, not so sure.

 

Qi Gong is great too ! I'm sorry if I started something like a contest between the two, wasn't my purpose.

Back to Qi Gong ! back to Qi Gong ! ^^

Edited by CloudHands

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Damo also said something that pinched my attention I don't recall exactly but in substance he said.

 

OK i got it he said "nature is the lowest form of connection to the divine". Here is whole whole context :

 

 

I found that interesting and also true. Good environment helps but the divine is inside that's what mean for instance doing the microcosmic orbit.

 

Edit my spoiler code doesn't work... don't know why.

Edited by CloudHands
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

Lately, I have been practicing sinking, so when I relax in standing, my awareness goes to my feet! :lol:

This is great! Do you remember what Damo said about building the container?  He said if you haven't built the container, the mind will sink to the region of the lower abdomen rather than be pulled to a specific point.  It stands to reason that if you are clear enough, without that pull the mind will just keep sinking all the way down to the feet. 

 

freeform has mentioned that a primary difference between neigong and Taiji is Taiji emphasizes sinking all the way to the feet, while neigong emphasizes the process of building the dantian.

Edited by Creation
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Creation said:

This is great! Do you remember what Damo said about building the container?  He said if you haven't built the container, the mind will sink to the region of the lower abdomen rather than be pulled to a specific point.  It stands to reason that if you are clear enough, without that pull the mind will just keep sinking all the way down to the feet. 

 

freeform has mentioned that a primary difference between neigong and Taiji is Taiji emphasizes sinking all the way to the feet, while neigong emphasizes the process of building the dantian.

 

 

If I may, it's not specially to the feet but rather to the lower body. When we get tense qi rise to the shoulders, that's what you want to avoid primarily -and you want to be aware of your whole body- but when you get sung then qi sink to the dantian (that's its place).

 

 

2. Contain the chest, expand the back. – Han Xiong Ba Bei - 含胸拔背
When you depress the chest naturally qi will sink down to the Dan tian. If you expand the chest then qi will raise to the chest causing top heaviness and one will float. To expand the back is to allow the qi to adhere to the back. If one sinks the chest and you will be able to expand the back naturally.  Then one can project qi from the spine.
 
 
Ba means to pull up or out, to draw up by suction. Bei means to carry something on the back or shoulders. I have use the word expand in the text but the meaning behind these words is far more profound.
 
5286073_orig.png
 
Edited by CloudHands
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing is there is not only one way to do the form. Actually in one life nobody does the same form twice because there is so many things to do/feel and your intent can differ according your motivation.

 

You can practice the very same way Qi Gong is done, that's basically what the 10 principles describe it's the general framework and globally they describe one (qigongish) attitude.

But there are many options. If you are more martial art oriented maybe you'll observe particularly the two foot - hand chains. Maybe you want to observe the full and the empty, maybe today you feel tense so you'll practice with large moves, maybe you want to focus on the alternate compression/decompression phases or link the 2 hands (fluidity) or just cycle a few moves...

 

The options are infinite but they all nourish the form just like the other forms (weapons, partner, etc) nourish the big solo form (imho).

 

Yesterday I watched the damo's video on alchemical errors, that one is also interesting and fun. Actually he describes why I think too much theory kill practice imo, because you push you thoughts, wishes and expectations on instead of just careful observation while you practice with a framework.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the point is, if you only sink to the lower dantian, you won't open the legs. I appreciate the links: love the Tai Chi principles. 

 

8 hours ago, CloudHands said:

 

If I may, it's not specially to the feet but rather to the lower body. When we get tense qi rise to the shoulders, that's what you want to avoid primarily -and you want to be aware of your whole body- but when you get sung then qi sink to the dantian (that's its place).

 

Great! I will watch it today. 

 

7 hours ago, CloudHands said:

Yesterday I watched the damo's video on alchemical errors, that one is also interesting and fun. Actually he describes why I think too much theory kill practice imo, because you push you thoughts, wishes and expectations on instead of just careful observation while you practice with a framework.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, CloudHands said:

It's clearly not only about martial art :

- many prominent Taiji teachers started with/because of poor health

- I know some Yang tai chi teachers that are also healers even working with some famous hospital.

- the idea of both emptying the mind and sinking the qi to the LDT are among of 10 basic principles - but yes among many others things so it's harder and less effective in terms of direct feelings but long term speaking, not so sure.

 

Qi Gong is great too ! I'm sorry if I started something like a contest between the two, wasn't my purpose.

Back to Qi Gong ! back to Qi Gong ! ^^

 

What I am saying is using Taiji as Qi Gong, is workable, could have reasonable results, or even spectacular results in the extreme case.  The drawback is, Taiji is designed for combat.  Every move has offense and defense implications.  So when there are conflicts of aims, Taiji is not as direct, in short, it is not efficient.  e.g.  Cloud hands could be powerful in fighting and as a standalone Qi Gong style.  But not the case for many moves, like punching, kicking or even turning.   And Taiji is not left/right balanced.

 

Taiji is a Swiss army knife for me.  It can do so many things.  Yet if I have a specific problem, Qi Gong often has some direct remedies like strengthening a certain meridian.  Qi Qong is like eating with fork and spoon.  I don't use Swiss army knife to eat.   

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, forestofemptiness said:

 

I think the point is, if you only sink to the lower dantian, you won't open the legs.

 


That’s right.

 

Qigong opens legs in a different manner - and is altogether less efficient than Taiji at achieving that.

 

But conversely, when Qi sinks - in a Taiji body, it just sinks (and usually touches the feet before returning up as jin through the internal lines). In a Qigong body it will sink to the LDT...

 

Once you’re ‘full’ or ‘Peng’ in Taiji, then things are completely different.

 

But there’s a really important point regarding Ting - and that’s how one uses listening as a form of absorption into form... if you Ting your body, you’re infusing your mind into the object of the full body.

 

At first it’s at a surface level - literally at the surface of the skin where you’re able to feel easily.
 

Once you’ve done some qigong or Neigong (or Taiji) and your ‘internal body’ is awake and animated, your listening suffuses deeper into the tissues...

 

Over time - as your skill increases, your mind will suffuse into the totality if your body - even at the cellular level - and this is how all the major qualities (like ‘filling’ in Taiji or generating Qi in Neigong) is accomplished. 


 

9 hours ago, CloudHands said:

Han Xiong Ba Bei


I like that you went back to the classics - because that’s where all the important fundamentals are.
 

But with classical statements there’s always a lot of depth and nuance that needs to be unpacked (usually by a skilled teacher). Sink the chest - expand the back is not just an ‘action’ one takes - it’s a quality that develops over time.

 

There are many subtleties here and many ways to get this wrong. I’ve seen plenty of Taiji players with concaved chests and stiff, forced out backs - this is an error - they took it too literally and ‘did’ it as an ‘action’. This statement isn’t about an action or a shape in the body... You can be in any shape and still have the quality of Han Xiong Ba Bei.

 

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, CloudHands said:

Yes I heard that part. I think that focusing on something doesnt imply to force it but yes for many it is needed to (re)learn that. So in some way what he promotes is safer. Safer but maybe less effective (IMO).


There’s a subtle distinction that might not be coming across clearly from Damo.

 

Its not a ‘soft focus’ that he’s talking about - it’s something fundamentally different - a kind of meditative absorption that is qualitatively different from focus (whether strong or hard - narrow or diffused)... 

 

Really getting the full impact of what this means and does completely transformed my experience of the internal arts. Ting is a fundamentally important principle - and it’s a tricky one to develop.

 

If anything - Ting used in this way is far more effective and far more ‘dangerous’ than even forced focus. But it’s dangerous not because it might cause stagnation (like focused intention does) - but (assuming a couple of other principles are in place) - it can generate far more Qi than your system can handle.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice description of Ting. That makes perfect sense. 

 

Do they work at cross purposes? Or do they come together at some point? 

 

1 hour ago, freeform said:

But conversely, when Qi sinks - in a Taiji body, it just sinks (and usually touches the feet before returning up as jin through the internal lines). In a Qigong body it will sink to the LDT...

 

There's a similar debate in Buddhism, between "hard" (i.e. Visuddhimagga jhanas) and "soft" jhanas (i.e. Sutta jhanas). It actually goes beyond Theravada, because it also comes up in Mahamudra and Dzogchen. From my view of a Taoist perspective, the soft focus makes more sense since you're leaving room for wu wei and spontaneous arising. I like how Damo says you don't have to worry about feeling the right thing, it will automatically come up on its own. 

 

1 hour ago, freeform said:


There’s a subtle distinction that might not be coming across clearly from Damo.

 

Its not a ‘soft focus’ that he’s talking about - it’s something fundamentally different - a kind of meditative absorption that is qualitatively different from focus (whether strong or hard - narrow or diffused)... 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Master Logray said:

Taiji is a Swiss army knife for me.  It can do so many things.  Yet if I have a specific problem, Qi Gong often has some direct remedies like strengthening a certain meridian.  Qi Qong is like eating with fork and spoon.  I don't use Swiss army knife to eat.   

 

Maybe ! As I haven't been really sick for the last 6 years I don't know what you're talking about. But you're probably correct. I also use qi gong.  In winter I'm close to 50 taiji/50 static position (mostly seated qi gong or meditation). What I don't do much is dynamic qigong but I'm interested in it. I know many moves except almost all of them are part of the Yang curriculum (same system) and I find the forms more complete.

 

You should watch Damo's video about alchemical errors, that's very related so you may be be interested.

 

 

3 hours ago, freeform said:


There’s a subtle distinction that might not be coming across clearly from Damo.

 

Its not a ‘soft focus’ that he’s talking about - it’s something fundamentally different - a kind of meditative absorption that is qualitatively different from focus (whether strong or hard - narrow or diffused)... 

 

Really getting the full impact of what this means and does completely transformed my experience of the internal arts. Ting is a fundamentally important principle - and it’s a tricky one to develop.

 

If anything - Ting used in this way is far more effective and far more ‘dangerous’ than even forced focus. But it’s dangerous not because it might cause stagnation (like focused intention does) - but (assuming a couple of other principles are in place) - it can generate far more Qi than your system can handle.

 

I'm all ears, always something to learn ! But before anything I'd be pleased if tell me where these ideas come from if you may (linage, history, ...).

 

 

3 hours ago, freeform said:

I like that you went back to the classics - because that’s where all the important fundamentals are.
 

But with classical statements there’s always a lot of depth and nuance that needs to be unpacked (usually by a skilled teacher). Sink the chest - expand the back is not just an ‘action’ one takes - it’s a quality that develops over time.

 

There are many subtleties here and many ways to get this wrong. I’ve seen plenty of Taiji players with concaved chests and stiff, forced out backs - this is an error - they took it too literally and ‘did’ it as an ‘action’. This statement isn’t about an action or a shape in the body... You can be in any shape and still have the quality of Han Xiong Ba Bei.

 

 

 

I do think it's an action but very subtle maybe more like an intention.

 

And I completely agree with the idea there are qualities that one develop over time. I remember once I told my teacher "It's so much work to be aware of the bai huei AND to all the other things at the same time" and he said that's overtime it's more about a whole attitude that you get. Now I understand and I also understand that going back and forth between that global sensation and tiny details/changes/news makes me progress as much as keeping infused in these practices.

 

Interesting discussion guys :).

 

Edited by CloudHands
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I watched the video. I found his take on Tibetan Buddhism interesting (in a bad way). Around the 29:00 mark, he is talking about people who say visualization works in Tibetan Buddhism. His response (more or less, boldface mine):
 

Quote

You know why it works so well in Tibetan Buddhism? ... Because it keeps your mind happy. I've been involved in Buddhism as well. I had a lot of contact with Tibetan Buddhism for a long time, and I know some people who are very engaged in this tradition... Nobody at the high levels is achieving the high levels by imagining, picturing deities. I'm really sorry, they're not. That is like beginner level stuff that is used to entertain and formulate a concept within the mind because the deities may constitute an archetype of an aspect of consciousness or an idea or a layer of heaven or a virtue of whatever it is that is attached to that symbol because you are constantly imagining it all the time and you know what those associations are then your mind is focusing on mentally creating something that has that attachment to that kind of concept so does that concept arise in you? Yeah. Yeah. If I sit there imagining the deity of compassion in great detail, those qualities are going to arise in me. Is that a great practice? Yes... Is it actually meditation? No. No it's not. Its definitely not because it is not based on the concept of stilling the mind and allowing it to absorb into the object or developing the idea of an observer, so its not like the observer is being absorbed into the object or developing the idea of an observer so its not like the observer absorbs into the object as in some traditions or the object absorbs into the objects as in other traditions... It's still imagination based training or tantric work of something like that...They're there to generate concepts and qualities, they're not really there to take people to the higher levels of the practice.

 

To say that he is misinformed about something he claims knowledge of (had contract for a long period of time) is a bit of a red flag for me. As Wolfgang Pauli says, he's not even wrong--- because I don't think he honestly knows what he is talking about. It is a bit off-putting that he is so convinced of his point without showing any indication that he has learned anything about it. It sounds like he has heard about it (or had some cursory contact with it, but likely did not put in the time or effort to receive instruction in deity yoga). 

 

Deity yoga in Tibetan Buddhism is obviously a bit complicated, with general and special creation and completion stages depending on the specific vehicle. He is ignoring the fact that concentrating on deities and their environment develops shamatha, or concentration, and that building and dissolving detailed worlds can give one insight into the nature of all perceptions (i.e. vipassana). It also does contain stillness parts to it, so it is unclear where he is getting his information. But it strikes me as more than a bit arrogant to simply wave it all off as picturing deities. I'm sure others here can explain it better, I did not take to deity yoga personally. But I know this is a personal issue with me, and not a failure of the practice. Dalai Lama, who's own practice is centered around deity yoga, is a beginner? Um... ok... :rolleyes: 

 

20 hours ago, CloudHands said:

Yesterday I watched the damo's video on alchemical errors, that one is also interesting and fun. Actually he describes why I think too much theory kill practice imo, because you push you thoughts, wishes and expectations on instead of just careful observation while you practice with a framework.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
 
 
1
12 hours ago, freeform said:


That’s right.

 

Qigong opens legs in a different manner - and is altogether less efficient than Taiji at achieving that.

 

But conversely, when Qi sinks - in a Taiji body, it just sinks (and usually touches the feet before returning up as jin through the internal lines). In a Qigong body it will sink to the LDT...

 

Once you’re ‘full’ or ‘Peng’ in Taiji, then things are completely different.

Actually it goes beyond rising up through the internal lines as well. It comes back from the surface. The Qi goes down the legs, and returns back through the crown point, but not from "inside" the body at all. 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites