thelerner

Cultivation Systems and books we'd recommend

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I'm hoping to get members to write up the systems and books they respect.  Name..what they like about them.. short personal experience.. kind of thing.  Preferably keeping it short.  

 

Others can give short critiques, but I'd rather not get bogged down into long arguments.  Accept that not everything works for everyone and let this thread be a resource for people looking for ideas to try.  

 

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My library on related topics is sizeable and growing, but my main practice follows Damo Mitchell "A Comprehensive Guide to Daoist Nei Gong" and "White Moon on the Mountain Top".  Also working through his very generous YouTube output.

Especially strong insight gained from

 

Scott Meredith,  "5 G Tai Chi"

 

Tom Bisio "Daoist Sleeping Meditation "

 

William Burt " Tai Chi ; Moving at the Speed of Truth"

Edited by Sketch
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Highly recommend Damo Mitchell's Internal Arts Academy, which has several offerings:

  • Develops students through the Nei Gong process from absolute beginner all the way to the beginning of Nei Dan (so far).  The books mentioned by Sketch provide some theoretical foundation for this course
  • Teaches Yang style Taiji including all the internal mechanics required to develop Nei Jin (which is also offered as a separate course)
  • Bagua taught with emphasis on Nei Gong aspects
  • 5+ supplementary courses covering topics like foundational qigong, a Bagua-inspired Dao Yin set, a method to experience your entire energy system, and a few others I'm forgetting 
  • A pretty large (50-100+ hour) library of lectures from past workshops or just a range of specific topics he recorded for this purpose 
  • Damos teaching style is consistent with his free offerings - comprehensive, nuanced, and with an undertone of humor throughout
  • Hes also very responsive on the group Facebook forum, and has a core group of senior students who also are very helpful 

 

I also want to reccomend Adam Mizner's two offerings from his Heaven Man Earth school: Discover Taiji and Discover Mind.

  • Discover Taiji is a five year program that takes a total beginner all the way through the Yang 37 and Yang 108 forms progressively, eventually adding partner drills and (I'm told) a sword form at the end
  • Discover Mind is Adams meditation offering - beginning again with the absolute basics of sitting still it's ten modules are designed to develop the student to the point of being able to 'Absorb into the essence of mind' which I believe (but haven't got there yet) includes detailed instructions on attaining Samadhi
  • Adams teaching style is VERY direct.  He says everything he needs to say and nothing more, and believes those who improve the quickest are the same ones who followed the instructions the closest.  Judging from some of the attainments of his closest students, it seems his instructions are very effective
  • Hes also very active on the group Facebook forum

 

Both systems require hard work, dedication, and the ability to listen and follow instructions closely, and the payoff from either will come quite quickly for someone with these qualities.

 

Edit: if that's too long I can cut it down, no problem

Edited by Wilhelm
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I'm here to also recommend Adam Mizner's program, Discover Taiji. I went to a workshop in person with some of his senior students a few years ago to see what they were talking about. They are highly skilled and they teach very clear, direct instructions. It is difficult work, with a strong emphasis on the standing posture practice and song gongs. I can honestly say that I had years of experience doing Zhan Zhuang before I started with Sifu Mizner's method, and I have progressed more in the months since applying his internal methods than I did in all the years of simply resting my mind in the lower Dan Tien.

 

When I started the online program, I was a bit disappointed that it unlocks weekly.  Whoops.  The first lesson, Opening the Body, has more depth than you would believe. Everyone wants to skip the foundations, but the foundational practices set the stage for any development. Soon, the lessons are coming so quick that you realize 'there's no way I can train all of this at once.'  It says it's a 5-year program but really there is a lifetime of information and practice here.  I highly recommend it, if you are willing to eat bitter.  All of my interactions with his students (I have taken some private lessons) have been full of clarity, light-heartedness, and clear explanation and demonstration of the skills.

 

10/10 would seriously recommend.

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For online Buddhist learning, I would recommend: https://learning.tergar.org

 

There are two programs: one called the Joy of Living that teaches concentration and insight meditation with a specific Vajrayana flavor, and the Path of Liberation that is a complete path of Mahamudra. The second requires in person pointing out and empowerment. Basically, you can start as a beginner and go fairly far along the process. It is designed specifically for busy lay persons such as ourselves. 

 

Edited by forestofemptiness

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For a healing qigong that has many layers to it, I will recommend Pan Gu Shengong: https://pangu.org. People have used this method to heal from all kinds of serious and life-threatening illness. Easy to learn and easy to practice. 

 

Personally, I practice 1-2 "rounds" a day (20-40 mins), sometimes longer if I feel like it and have time. It has made a positive contribution to my health and overall state of mind, optimism, etc. When I practice in the morning, I'm almost guaranteed to have a great day, with positive interactions abound, a sense of motivation and confidence, and can usually expect to sleep deeply at night (its quite good for sleep issues). At deeper levels, it represents a very compact self-cultivation path, with the exercises assisting you, but the main "practice" would be formless (as I've experienced it). It combines elegantly with other systems and beliefs, too. 

 

For physical self-cultivation, my favorite exercise, beyond walking, is: http://shovelglove.com/. Take it slow though!

 

 

 

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