Knowthing

What are the types of methods?

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1 minute ago, stirling said:

 

This doesn't sound much like my (admittedly) limited readings in the Daoist canon. Setting aside the "secret teachings" where are these principles best read about and explored?

 

2 hours ago, XianGong said:


Asking advice and guidance on the forum is not the best thing to go, i.e. better to find a qualified teacher in those arts that you think are suitable for you. The paths are many.

 

You were warned.

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25 minutes ago, stirling said:

 

This doesn't sound much like my (admittedly) limited readings in the Daoist canon. Setting aside the "secret teachings" where are these principles best read about and explored?

 

No idea.

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Hahahaha! Well... I appreciate honesty. Thank you.

 

So... there aren't any really knowledgeable "teachers" here that might be willing to share their experience? I guess I find that hard to believe.

 

For what it is worth, my experience is that "hidden teachings" are always in plain sight, just not understood because it is always thought that there is something complicated that must be done to understand them properly. Yes, I have had access to them in both the Dzogchen and Bon traditions. 

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2 hours ago, stirling said:

Hahahaha! Well... I appreciate honesty. Thank you.

 

So... there aren't any really knowledgeable "teachers" here that might be willing to share their experience? I guess I find that hard to believe.

 

For what it is worth, my experience is that "hidden teachings" are always in plain sight, just not understood because it is always thought that there is something complicated that must be done to understand them properly. Yes, I have had access to them in both the Dzogchen and Bon traditions. 

 

You expect to find books on a things nobody writes on paper and nobody shares publicly? :)

 

I have seen many esoteric books, but extremely few that have anything of value.

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23 minutes ago, XianGong said:

 

You expect to find books on a things nobody writes on paper and nobody shares publicly? :)

 

I have seen many esoteric books, but extremely few that have anything of value.

 

I expect to find general teachings on Daoism, and Daoists who truly understand them and are able to discuss them articulately, I guess. 

 

I will certainly agree with you about esoterica, in general. There is enough in the commonly available Dhaozang, Tao Te Chi, and Zhuangzi of any translation to enlighten anyone who truly gets it. There is nothing esoteric needed in the Buddhist canon either. 

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5 minutes ago, stirling said:

 

I expect to find general teachings on Daoism, and Daoists who truly understand them and are able to discuss them articulately, I guess. 

 

I will certainly agree with you about esoterica, in general. There is enough in the commonly available Dhaozang, Tao Te Chi, and Zhuangzi of any translation to enlighten anyone who truly gets it. There is nothing esoteric needed in the Buddhist canon either. 

 

It's said one can know when they are a master of a topic when they can explain it easily to a child in few words.

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22 hours ago, stirling said:

How would you define "enlightenment"

 

On 13/01/2021 at 12:14 AM, stirling said:

The "wisdom" gained by being enlightened to the nature of reality does not confer any power to a person, but rather illuminates the reality that the "self" is an illusion which has always lacked any real agency or power of its own.

 

From the Daoist perspective what you're describing sounds more like 'awakening' - or Wu.

 

You 'awaken' to - or realise your true nature (which is not the acquired self)

 

There's no great emphasis on awakening in Daoism. It's considered a phenomenon or an experience.

 

Shengren - or becoming a Sage on the other hand is highly prized. This is when your 'True Self' becomes the driver of all your actions. This is 'true virtue' - this is acting without acting... or true spontaneity. So in essence you've gone beyond recognising your True Nature - to making your True Nature the 'cause' for all action or non-action.

 

Shengren is considered the highest form of 'self-development' - though it's not considered the highest form of spiritual development...

 

Zhenren is the attainment closest to what we'd call enlightenment in the west. A Zhenren goes beyond Shengren into 'spiritual development' (as in actually developing your Original Spirit). They develop this Original Spirit through every layer of reality - including the physical, manifest reality... so in essence the very structure of the physical body is fully transformed into that of light.

 

Then there are the Xian - who have developed the spirit beyond that of Zhenren...

 

Normally a genuine Daoist teacher would laugh away this sort of conversation - and have you stand in a very uncomfortable position...

 

Because it's like discussing the intricacies of tax-efficient investment of your billions - when all you have is debt to your name. 'First clear your debt, then we'll talk more' - is the general attitude (simply because most people prefer talk rather than train).

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Spiritually sophisticated Bums tend to roll their eyes when they come across novice Bums seeking power, which is kind of ironic when you think about it: many of the eye rollers are very powerful people.  There´s nothing wrong with power in itself.  Power just means the ability to get things done and I´m all for capability and competence.  Why not?  The issue is motivation.  Some of the people who want to walk through walls feel unworthy and less than others deep inside.  Rather than take up esoteric alchemical practices, they might be better off going to therapy or writing in a journal.  In general, seeking power in order to feel superior, or to prop up an otherwise flagging sense of self-esteem -- not such a good idea.  But power can also be used in the service of kindness.  I like Movnat´s motto: Strong To Be Helpful.

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1 hour ago, freeform said:

From the Daoist perspective what you're describing sounds more like 'awakening' - or Wu.

 

You 'awaken' to - or realise your true nature (which is not the acquired self)

 

There's no great emphasis on awakening in Daoism. It's considered a phenomenon or an experience.

Thank you so much for this information.  Are there any clues in the word Wu?

 

If my memory is correct - Wu is 5 and relates to processes and phases.  Does this have anything to do with the Wu Xing, for example?  I seem to remember hearing that the Shengren fully embodies the De (and after rereading your post - it was probably you that I heard it from 😅)

Edited by Wilhelm

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I find the majority who look for power tend to shift their views eventually. Usually as a result of being humbled by the ‘bitterness’ of training.

 

The bitterness of authentic training is a great leveller... the haughty ‘already enlightened’ ones, the ‘book smart’ ones, the teacher’s pet types, the seeking power types, the love and equality types - it works for everyone.

 

Great way to develop humility.


(Or if it’s too painful to the identity they simply quit.)

 

The love, equality and compassion types tend to misunderstand ‘strength’... but so do the power seekers... once the meaning of true strength emerges, they both find its very different to what they thought it is.

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5 minutes ago, Wilhelm said:

Thank you so much for this information.  Are there any clues in the word Wu? (5 - process - phases - etc.)


Hmm - I’m not sure actually. I’m not a big linguist... I find there are like 10 words in Chinese - and they mean completely different things depending on context.

 

Awakening - Wu has never been explained to any great depth by my teachers.

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14 hours ago, freeform said:

I find the majority who look for power tend to shift their views eventually. Usually as a result of being humbled by the ‘bitterness’ of training.

 

The bitterness of authentic training is a great leveller... the haughty ‘already enlightened’ ones, the ‘book smart’ ones, the teacher’s pet types, the seeking power types, the love and equality types - it works for everyone.

 

Great way to develop humility.


(Or if it’s too painful to the identity they simply quit.)

 

The love, equality and compassion types tend to misunderstand ‘strength’... but so do the power seekers... once the meaning of true strength emerges, they both find its very different to what they thought it is.


Oh there’s also the ‘wounded’ type that wants to heal some perceived trauma in oneself. That was me :) 

 

Similar to power seekers - but a different flavour (more depressive - rather than aggressive).

 

The healing with these arts doesn’t really happen in the way that us wounded types would like it to happen... 

Edited by freeform
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Another question(that might not have much to do with my original one, but then again this entire talk has been shifting into other subjects as well):

 

Is it advisable to not work with/on more than one energy system/method/routine/etc?

Or is it ok to, for example, pick two that attracted you the most and do/use them?

I ask because I do not want to end up putting myself in danger or just wasting time by, say, using opposite systems.

 

4 hours ago, freeform said:

(...)

Shengren - or becoming a Sage on the other hand is highly prized. This is when your 'True Self' becomes the driver of all your actions. This is 'true virtue' - this is acting without acting... or true spontaneity. So in essence you've gone beyond recognising your True Nature - to making your True Nature the 'cause' for all action or non-action.

 

Shengren is considered the highest form of 'self-development' - though it's not considered the highest form of spiritual development...

 

Zhenren is the attainment closest to what we'd call enlightenment in the west. A Zhenren goes beyond Shengren into 'spiritual development' (as in actually developing your Original Spirit). They develop this Original Spirit through every layer of reality - including the physical, manifest reality... so in essence the very structure of the physical body is fully transformed into that of light.

 

Then there are the Xian - who have developed the spirit beyond that of Zhenren...

 

Normally a genuine Daoist teacher would laugh away this sort of conversation - and have you stand in a very uncomfortable position...

 

Because it's like discussing the intricacies of tax-efficient investment of your billions - when all you have is debt to your name. 'First clear your debt, then we'll talk more' - is the general attitude (simply because most people prefer talk rather than train).

Wow, as a beginner I found this very interesting to read.

 

I know there is still much to learn and alot to "walk", but I hope to one day be able to reach a level where I can, at least, understand better these kind of talks.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Wilhelm said:

Thank you so much for this information.  Are there any clues in the word Wu?

 

If my memory is correct - Wu is 5 and relates to processes and phases.  Does this have anything to do with the Wu Xing, for example?  I seem to remember hearing that the Shengren fully embodies the De (and after rereading your post - it was probably you that I heard it from 😅)

Chinese being a tonal language, wu can many things depending on tone. Five (eg wu xing), martial (eg wu jia), and not/non (eg wu wei) are the only ones I had heard in a cultivation context when freeform first mentioned this, so I looked into it and there is a meaning of wu that is something like aware/awareness. 

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6 hours ago, freeform said:

From the Daoist perspective what you're describing sounds more like 'awakening' - or Wu.

 

You 'awaken' to - or realise your true nature (which is not the acquired self)

 

There's no great emphasis on awakening in Daoism. It's considered a phenomenon or an experience.

 

Shengren - or becoming a Sage on the other hand is highly prized. This is when your 'True Self' becomes the driver of all your actions. This is 'true virtue' - this is acting without acting... or true spontaneity. So in essence you've gone beyond recognising your True Nature - to making your True Nature the 'cause' for all action or non-action.

 

Shengren is considered the highest form of 'self-development' - though it's not considered the highest form of spiritual development...

 

Zhenren is the attainment closest to what we'd call enlightenment in the west. A Zhenren goes beyond Shengren into 'spiritual development' (as in actually developing your Original Spirit). They develop this Original Spirit through every layer of reality - including the physical, manifest reality... so in essence the very structure of the physical body is fully transformed into that of light.

 

Then there are the Xian - who have developed the spirit beyond that of Zhenren...

 

Normally a genuine Daoist teacher would laugh away this sort of conversation - and have you stand in a very uncomfortable position...

 

Because it's like discussing the intricacies of tax-efficient investment of your billions - when all you have is debt to your name. 'First clear your debt, then we'll talk more' - is the general attitude (simply because most people prefer talk rather than train).

 

In Buddhism I would say this maps to:

 

Wu = Sotapanna (Stream Enterer)

A glimpse of the true, non-dual nature of mind/reality. This begins the winding down of the mental pattern of the "self"/other, time, and space dualities. Like pulling the plug of a fan, and watching the blades slowly come to a halt.

 

Shengren = Arhat

Finally dropping away and seeing through the illusion of "self". This is not to say that the patterns of selfhood are gone, just that the illusion has been permanently shattered.

 

Zhenren = Buddha

I agree that this is very similar to Buddhahood, except that a Buddha has no further karmic obscurations, and so sees the emptiness of all dualities or any imagined deeper reality of physicality, and this just continues.

 

Honestly, I am entirely sure that there ARE no real differences, only in how they are discussed, and generally would agree that it isn't productive for a student thoroughly entrenched in the dualities of self/other, space, time to think too much about, as it just seems like nonsense. I certainly wouldn't bring it up to my sangha, but I AM curious about how these things are represented in other traditions I am less versed in. 

 

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge. _/\_

Edited by stirling
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58 minutes ago, stirling said:

Shengren = Arhat

Finally dropping away and seeing through the illusion of "self". This is not to say that the patterns of selfhood are gone, just that the illusion has been permanently shattered.

 

I think that the suttas teach that an Arhat has no concept of self at all anymore. So I don't think there'd be patterns of selfhood.

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7 hours ago, dmattwads said:

I think that the suttas teach that an Arhat has no concept of self at all anymore. So I don't think there'd be patterns of selfhood.

 

I've mentioned this before, but the Mahayana understanding of an Arhat compared to a Bodhisattva on the 10 stages towards Buddhahood (through the bhumis) is that an Arhat has subtle clinging to the phenomenal realm of emptiness. With such a subtle attachment to the emptiness side of existence (see: heart sutra) they will return after eons of a "restful peace" ("extinction"/nirvana) to eradicate the subtle traces and are not freed from samsara fully. How it all plays out in reality and whether all these descriptions and stages described by the Mahayanists and Theravadans are just "expedient means" and not the full story... Who knows. :) 

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9 hours ago, stirling said:

In Buddhism I would say this maps to:

 

That sounds sensible - but it's always worth being loose with these things - it doesn't matter how things map really... and I'm sure experientially there are many different possibilities.

 

For Daoists the 'byproducts' of attainment are somewhat important to recognise. In the sense that any attainment will have very specific physical, physiological and rather 'woo woo' byproducts that indicate the true achievement of whatever stage.

 

For instance hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) think they've awoken the kundalini... (it exists in alchemical Daoism too) - but how many of them achieve the sort of things that are reported to happen as a byproduct of this? I assume not many - otherwise we'd have thousands of yogis levitating, teleporting and bi-locating.

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10 hours ago, Knowthing said:

Is it advisable to not work with/on more than one energy system/method/routine/etc?

Or is it ok to, for example, pick two that attracted you the most and do/use them?

I ask because I do not want to end up putting myself in danger or just wasting time by, say, using opposite systems.

 

 

It's a good question. Generally it's best to stick to one 'system'. But a system will have maaany different methods...

 

If you're building a house - there are many different skills and methods required... from pouring the foundation slab, to laying bricks, to roofing, plumbing, electrics... all these things are required to have a functioning house that stands the test of time.

 

But there are many different building 'systems'... in the tropics the 'foundation' wouldn't be concrete - it would be pillars driven into the ground and a light bamboo floor (with lots of holes for air circulation) placed on top...

 

But say you like the look of the foundations of the the tropical architecture, the roofing of the Mediterranean vernacular and the thick stone walls of old mountain buildings - well the house you build will fall apart rather quickly (and probably kill its occupants!)

 

But with buildings - since we've all seen hundreds of them, we tend to have a kind of 'common sense' about them... but cultivation systems are rare - and it may appear that we can develop a common sense from reading books and things - but the majority of the time, our intuition about these things is wrong.

 

So - best not try recreating a system logically - betterr to stick to a system with a clear process and a decent, trustworthy teacher that knows what they're doing :)

 

There's a recent topic about cultivation systems you can have a look at:

 

Edited by freeform
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21 minutes ago, freeform said:

For instance hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) think they've awoken the kundalini... (it exists in alchemical Daoism too) - but how many of them achieve the sort of things that are reported to happen as a byproduct of this? I assume not many - otherwise we'd have thousands of yogis levitating, teleporting and bi-locating.

 

Moving the goal-post is such a standard of the time we're currently inhabitating. The instant everything culture. Instant mastery. Instant rich. Instant pleasure. When people actually realize as their imaginary castles are broken down by facing the harsh reality of how much work it takes to achieve anything substantial, they'll be humbled, maybe even scared of what it means for them.

 

I'd personally rather have the truth than half-truth, I'd rather know what something actually takes to achieve than delude myself. But unfortunately many people seem quite content thinking "this is all there's to it". 

 

Oh well. It is what it is.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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@anshino23 - I think it's particularly prevalent in the spiritual arts.

 

Who doesn't want to end all suffering, feel bliss and love and contentment - no matter the circumstances...

 

And when they go to search for it, there are many willing to sell them a promise of having all this without effort.

 

The reality is that this isn't a normal sort of endeavour - it requires working on the 'ugly' parts of ourselves... it requires lots of time, lots of sacrifice and a lot of sweat and 'growing pain'.

 

I don't think this is for everyone... and I kinda wish that there was more emphasis on the reality of the matter. This would quickly sort out the ones who are really dedicated to this path from the ones that want to improve their quality of life.

 

Currently many of the (potentially) dedicated ones stumble into ridiculous instagram spirituality and immediately write it off... and the ones looking to improve their life are taken on a wild goose chase (of books, workshops, apps, gadgets etc) rather than being shown what would actually improve their life (which is almost always the basics - eating, sleeping, exercising, social connection and maybe breathing practice)

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@freeform

 

You're right of course, but what surprises me again and again is that even those very dedicated and even those with high titles like calling themselves Agami's, Arhat's or Upaka's just reach a point where they're like... Alright I spent the last twenty years (or 40+) of my life dedicated to near-full time practice. This is it! I've reached it. And all they have to show for it (which to be fair, compared to the "normal" (unhealthy!) human being is pretty incredible) are things like super mind-stability, sharpness of mind, overall calmness, reduced tendency for anxiety (depression a bit more gnarly and insidious in most cases) and general sense of joy/vibrance during practice. But many of these never experience a lick of the potential of Qi energy - many of them do not even believe it exists. I've especially noticed this tendency in Buddhist (especially Theravadan, and traditions that use Mahasi-noting), Ch'an/Zen groups and then the whole "non-denominational" non-dual group. 

 

When I then saw these types of practictioners and compared them to say people very dedicated to sports and health optimization, I didn't see much of a difference. In fact in some cases I saw that the sport practictioners were generally happier and healthier - even though they hadn't seen through "the nature of self" and "the illusory reality of all compounded things" that the aforementioned then keep talking about as if it's the be-it-end-all cognitive realization of the Path. 

 

Then of course we have those that do end up feeling energy and working with it and thinking they've reached the full stages of kundalini awakening that then go out and claim all sorts of things.

 

But I'm not even sure which group is worse - arguably, you could say the latter group is worse because they're mostly deluded, ungroudned and are usually very involved in guru-worship type sanghas, but at the same time you could say that the former group ends up making meditation seem pretty limited in its scope. 

 

Excuse my rambling, but I'm sure you get what I mean. :lol:

Edited by anshino23
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1 hour ago, anshino23 said:

I've especially noticed this tendency in Buddhist (especially Theravadan, and traditions that use Mahasi-noting), 

So I've been thinking about this example a lot lately.  It seems this particular method became very popular with a group of American Buddhist teachers, then blew up on the internet when one man put out a free ebook outlining a whole lot about the path.

 

This specific book had a section on moving the goalposts, why he moved the goalposts, and became super popular with me and everyone else on the internet who wanted DIY enlightenment (i.e. this good looking guy).

 

The problem is that it's quite evident that SOMETHING significant has happened to the people who worked through this method.  It might not be the traditional arahantship (or anything close to it), but from a cursory glance many of them have come to the same 'place' with the method.

 

Has anybody read enough of Mahasi Sayadaw's material to get his take on it?  I figure the OG wouldn't conflate a mid-level realization with arahantship.

 

To be honest I'm not sure how or if I plan to reconcile this, I've just been curious about it since I first read the book.

 

Edit: on a quick glance, he says here that the defilements are eliminated at Arahantship.  Of course, the book I'm referring to (which I'm trying to keep anonymous as those who are familiar with the method will know who I'm talking about, and I don't want to throw the author under the bus) says this is nonsense, but it does give a sense of the difference betweent the two supposed attainments

Edited by Wilhelm
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