Oneironaut

Does energy cultivation itself bring about or facilitate Buddhist enlightenment?

Recommended Posts

16 minutes ago, Oneironaut said:

No luck with feeling ki unless the slight warmth in the hara and slight magnetism in the hands are my imagination fooling me. 

image.png.500eddf200da828046f1d87c0ce17510.png

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Oneironaut said:

To be quite honest I've been more and more aligned with Taoist philosophy as of late as opposed to the seemingly nihilistic undertones prevalent in Theravadin Buddhism. 

 

After a few years deeply into Theravada I began to feel that it was nihilistic as well.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

Shamatha and vipassana as practiced by a certain school of Theravdins (who adhere to "hard jhanas") doesn't make sense outside of the monastic context. I started with Theravada, but it became clear that the most serious adherents were monks. However, the tradition of "hard jhanas" arises out of the Abhidhamma commentaries and is not based in the Suttas (supposedly the original sayings of the Buddha). Nevertheless, most of the Suttas regarding meditation of course are aimed at monks, so I think the position is not without basis. 

 

This makes perfect sense.

 

53 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

 

As a side note, there is some compelling evidence that all or nearly all of modern Theravada meditation techniques were redeveloped only in the 1800's when Westerners came asking, so who knows.

 

I have come upon this information as well. 

 

53 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

Every Buddhist lineage claims their own as the most original, best, direct from the Buddha, so I would take these claims with a grain of salt. 

 

I will most certainly internalize your advice here. Thank you.

 

53 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

 

There are other Buddhist approaches that are not grounded in renunciation. For example, there are also Tantric approaches in Buddhism in which one need not give up the world. In fact, some would argue that the Tantric forms were developed for householders specifically. This form of Buddhism you will find in Tibetan forms, but I would argue also in Chan and Zen forms. 

 

Renunciation is selfish, unhealthy and severely unbalanced in my personal opinion. The halfway point to asceticism. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Oneironaut said:

Renunciation is selfish, unhealthy and severely unbalanced in my personal opinion. The halfway point to asceticism. 

 

As in the middle way ūüėČ

  • Like 1

Share this post


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

 

It certainly does (that's why Daoists do that stuff)... However meditative practice is still necessary (and forms a major part of later level Daoist cultivation) - it's just working with qi makes actual 'meditation' accessible to householders.

 

1 hour ago, steve said:

Yes

In Tibetan dzogchen and tantra, energetic practices can facilitate enlightenment in the right practitioner, monastic or secular alike.

 

Maybe, depends on the practitioner.

Each tradition can enhance and inform the other if applied with skill and knowledge. They’re both paradigms that work with the energy body, the physical body, and the mind. Both take you towards your source.

 

 

 

 

What systems do you guys practice, have practiced or would recommend to people new to energy practice and consider themselves hopeless? I'm not a fan of qigong or hatha yoga (sleep and dream yoga are the exception) but I'm totally open to neidan. The more simple and integrated the system the better. 

 

So far I've found Jikiden Reiki to be extremely simple and unified/integrated at least on the surface. Very few, very easy techniques that interrelate. Unfortunately absolute beginners would have to rely on attunements and COVID-19 didn't agree with those plans so far. 

 

I honestly would have given up by now and the only evidence of ki I ever came upon was from this book. Standing in a dimly lit room (lights off in the room but turned on in the hallway) and door partially closed, I would stand behind the door and with two fingers spread from the door and from one another (each an inch apart at eye level) I would then begin to slowly spread my fingers. I would notice a subtle halo around my hands and my fingers and I can extend this "mist of soft light" to an extent until it dissolves. I don't have the level of control as the person in the cover of that book but this is very real. What in the world is that?

 

Edited by Oneironaut

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Oneironaut said:

 

 

 

What systems do you guys practice, have practiced or would recommend to people new to energy practice and consider themselves hopeless? I'm not a fan of qigong or hatha yoga (sleep and dream yoga are the exception) but I'm totally open to neidan. The more simple and integrated the system the better. 

 

So far I've found Jikiden Reiki to be extremely simple and unified/integrated at least on the surface. Very few, very easy techniques that interrelate. Unfortunately absolute beginners would have to rely on attunements and COVID-19 didn't agree with those plans so far. 

 

I honestly would have given up by now and the only evidence of ki I ever came upon was from this book. Standing in a dimly lit room (lights off in the room but turned on in the hallway) and door partially closed, I would stand behind the door and with two fingers spread from the door and from one another (each an inch apart at eye level) I would then begin to slowly spread my fingers. I would notice a subtle halo around my hands and my fingers and I can extend this "mist of soft light" to an extent until it dissolves. I don't have the level of control as the person in the cover of that book but this is very real. What in the world is that?

 

 

It's qi.

 

Another easy way to experience qi is to hang a strip of aluminum foil from a thread and spin it which way you want by projecting qi from your finger tips.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, dmattwads said:

 

It's qi.

 

Another easy way to experience qi is to hang a strip of aluminum foil from a thread and spin it which way you want by projecting qi from your finger tips.

 

I'll give that a good try. Does the direction of the spin come from your mind intent or from the rotation of your fingers?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Oneironaut said:

 

I'll give that a good try. Does the direction of the spin come from your mind intent or from the rotation of your fingers?

 

It's from the intent. You don't move your fingers other than to aim them at the foil. Then you visualize qi projecting from your fingers to the end of the foil.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, dmattwads said:

 

It's from the intent. You don't move your fingers other than to aim them at the foil. Then you visualize qi projecting from your fingers to the end of the foil.

 

When the term "visualize" is used I've heard many different things. Some say visualizing just means using your mind intent. Would I be correct?

 

Do you have a visual demonstration from a picture or a video to make sure I will perform the experiment correctly?

Edited by Oneironaut

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Oneironaut said:

 

When the term "visualize" is used I've heard many different things. Some say visualizing just means using your mind intent. Would I be correct?

 

Do you have a visual demonstration from a picture or a video to make sure I will perform the experiment correctly?

 

Mind intent yes, but after doing it a while you can feel it too.

 

Sorry I currently don't have any visuals.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, dmattwads said:

 

Mind intent yes, but after doing it a while you can feel it too.

 

Sorry I currently don't have any visuals.

 

It's okay. What you initially suggested is very much appreciated.  Thank you. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


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

The more simple and integrated the system the better. 


What do you mean by simple and by integrated? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, freeform said:


What do you mean by simple and by integrated? 

 

The techniques and meditations being very few and simple. I feel that one can go deeper into a system this way as we only have so much time in a single day. If there’s so many different things to practice or if it’s unnecessarily complicated it would seem counterproductive. I don’t know if such a system exists but I’m ready to see what’s out there. 

Share this post


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

 

The techniques and meditations being very few and simple. I feel that one can go deeper into a system this way as we only have so much time in a single day. If there’s so many different things to practice or if it’s unnecessarily complicated it would seem counterproductive. I don’t know if such a system exists but I’m ready to see what’s out there. 

 

My advice then would be to do lower dan tien breathing.

 You would get the same breath meditation aspects that you were already doing but by focusing on the LDT build qi as well which is the foundation and basis for niedan which you expressed interest in.

Share this post


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

What systems do you guys practice, have practiced or would recommend to people new to energy practice and consider themselves hopeless? I'm not a fan of qigong or hatha yoga (sleep and dream yoga are the exception) but I'm totally open to neidan. The more simple and integrated the system the better. 

 

I practice Bön dzogchen.

Before that I spent about 12 years practicing in a Daoist system - Kunlun Xian Zong Pai (Kunlun Immortal School).

Different people respond to different methods so you really need to try things and see for yourself.

For me, the Bön methods are simpler and more direct. I would also say they are more integrated in the sense that they apply more directly and immediately to my day to day life as compared to my experience with Daoist methods. This is in part because my teacher simplified the practices to make them more accessible to a secular Western audience.

I do not say this as a general statement regarding Bön and Daoist systems, just sharing my personal experience.

Obviously it will depend on what systems we are comparing, how they are taught, and how we approach them as practitioners - YMMV.

 

Here is a link to a free introductory, self-paced course that introduces you to basic meditation and energetic methods in Bön.

It's a good way to get a taste for the system.

If you decide to try it and have any questions or need support, feel free to get in touch by PM.

https://ligminchalearning.com/starting-a-meditation-practice/

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


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

 

It's qi.

 

Another easy way to experience qi is to hang a strip of aluminum foil from a thread and spin it which way you want by projecting qi from your finger tips.

 

Baste your fingers in butter or olive oil and bake at gas mark 5 for 15 mins.  (sorry I'm sure this works but I just couldn't help thinking about cooking :) ).

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Oneironaut said:

 

This makes perfect sense.

 

 

I have come upon this information as well. 

 

 

I will most certainly internalize your advice here. Thank you.

 

 

Renunciation is selfish, unhealthy and severely unbalanced in my personal opinion. The halfway point to asceticism. 

 

"Renunciation is the foot of meditation it is said, loosing attachments to food and possessions , to the meditator who cuts attachment to this life, Grant your blessings that he be without attachment to honour and possession."

 

- Short prayer to Vajradhara

 

This is a Mahamudra prayer which is a direct path like Dzogchen.  Actually it's not saying you have to be a monk because there were/are many many great Karma Kagyu lay practitioners and masters - its saying that to meditate correctly you have to give up worldly aims like wealth and so on.

 

Buddhists take refuge in the Sangha which on one level is the community of ordained monks - so they are venerated but it is absolutely not necessary to become a monk, in fact tantra was specifically developed for non-monks - although they came to practice it over time.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Oneironaut said:

 

The techniques and meditations being very few and simple. I feel that one can go deeper into a system this way as we only have so much time in a single day. If there’s so many different things to practice or if it’s unnecessarily complicated it would seem counterproductive. I don’t know if such a system exists but I’m ready to see what’s out there. 

I appreciate your desire to make the most out of the limited time you have available.  I'm more or less a neophyte and will defer to the more experienced practitioners who are already posting - but here's my perspective:

 

The ideal is that you find a wonderful teacher with an effective method for you and immediately integrate it into your life.¬† Some people seem to manage this without too much trouble and if they don't jump around, I've seen folks progress really quickly.¬† Others like me tend to zigzag ūüėÖ

 

What I did was I saw wonderful qualities to several teachers and since I couldn't choose between them I split my time.  I can see you are already trying to avoid this, and that's great, but what I want to point out is that these different teachers had different 'qualities' to offer their students (this isn't to say you should study several systems concurrently - definitely not!).

 

The thing about doing a system with a consolidated/simplified set of exercises is that - barring regular modifications from the teacher or some other factor I haven't considered - you will eventually gain the 'fruit' of the exercise, after which it will become less time-efficient for you to practice (as there are other qualities needed to build as you progress).

 

I'm only pointing this out to state that it's possible to use a short period of time very efficiently while having a range of exercises.  The trick is to know when to practice what exercise, and a good system will make that part of the curriculum.

 

I spent 5 years on a system that had basically two techniques - one was a qigong set, and the other was resting the mind on the lower abdomen.  While I benefitted from each of those exercises individually, they eventually seemed to 'plateau' in their benefit for me.  That isn't to say I mastered them - not at all - just that in hindsight my time might have been better spent layering separate qualities to deepen the simple practice of quiet sitting.

(Edit: I'm under-selling the system because there was an transmission-based aspect meant to address this, but I think my point still stands) 

 

 

I can appreciate the desire for simplicity, as some folks tend to dabble so widely that they get nothing done.  My only intention is to point out the possible shortcomings of oversimplification.  

 

Either way, I wish you the best in your path towards enlightenment ūüôŹ

Edited by Wilhelm
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is that what it's saying?

 

If you look to the matrix of Tantra in ancient India, it rejected the notion of "pure" and "impure" aims that were common to more renunciate traditions. Many Tibetan monks, especially heads of monasteries, are extremely wealthy, and tend to their wealth as it often supports many. In addition, there are literal Tantric rituals aimed at accumulating wealth (also longevity, etc.), so...

 

1 hour ago, Apech said:

This is a Mahamudra prayer which is a direct path like Dzogchen.  Actually it's not saying you have to be a monk because there were/are many many great Karma Kagyu lay practitioners and masters - its saying that to meditate correctly you have to give up worldly aims like wealth and so on.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


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

The techniques and meditations being very few and simple.

 

Ah I see.

 

In that case I don't really know.

 

From my experience in authentic schools, with highly achieved teachers, 'enlightenment' as a goal, is by far the hardest human endeavour any individual could take on. Chess grandmasters, olympic triathletes, maths geniuses, virtuoso violinists... all these endeavours are simpler and more achievable than true enlightenment.

 

Of course the majority would disagree with me.

 

And in the spiritual 'marketplace' there are plenty of "do these 3 things and be enlightened in a week" type promises (or the even better "don't do anything because you're already enlightened" ones... (of course it takes a few $5000 workshops to unpack that for you))

 

But much as the 'get rich quick' schemes around - these things are (imo) simple scams - or just delusions.

 

Historically people would dedicate their entire lives to this stuff - going off into the mountains for like 30 years to focus on this pursuit... But nowadays people seem to achieve it in a weekend workshop... or with just 12 minutes a day using an app.

 

It'll be up to your discernment to work out whats true from what's false.

 

In reality, I think most people do better with some fun, social form of exercise, and maybe a simple breathing practice to develop calmness. That does far more for simple quality of life than the majority of spiritual practices. Add in an attitude of kindness and generosity, and you'll have the perfect recipe for a happy life.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

Is that what it's saying?

 

If you look to the matrix of Tantra in ancient India, it rejected the notion of "pure" and "impure" aims that were common to more renunciate traditions. Many Tibetan monks, especially heads of monasteries, are extremely wealthy, and tend to their wealth as it often supports many. In addition, there are literal Tantric rituals aimed at accumulating wealth (also longevity, etc.), so...

 

 

 

In Tibetan Buddhism you pray for what is called in Gampopa as 'leisure and endowment' - this means you have a life with limited demands in terms of day to day survival and enough money, food etc. that you can practice Dharma without too much distraction or interruption.  So the key is 'not being attached to' rather not having money for instance.  In fact Buddhists have a quite positive outlook towards those who become wealthy as they see it being due to positive karma.  But it remains true that to practice Dharma properly you have to give up worldly aims.

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Apech said:

 

Baste your fingers in butter or olive oil and bake at gas mark 5 for 15 mins.  (sorry I'm sure this works but I just couldn't help thinking about cooking :) ).

 

Then serve to guests for the perfect finger food ūüôā

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think this is a view shared in the Nyingma Dzogchen realm, as revealed by my teachers. Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche considers external renunciation as a Sutra level approach, and has written plainly:

 

Quote

The particular method of Dzogchen is called the Path of Self-Liberation, and to apply it nothing need be renounced, purified, or transformed. Whatever arises as one’s karmic vision is used as the path. The great master Pha Tampa Sangye [South Indian Yogin of the 11 century (ed.)] once said: It is not the circumstances which arise as one’s karmic vision that condition a person into the dualistic state; it is a person’s own attachment that enables what arises to condition him. If this attachment is to be cut through in the most rapid and effective way, the mind’s spontaneous capacity to self-liberate must be brought into play. 

Dzogchen, The Self Perfected State p.33. 

 

Cortland Dahl, a senior student of Mingyur Rinpoche, concurs:

 

Quote

In the Foundational Vehicle, for instance, renunciation involves leaving behind ‚Äúworldly‚ÄĚ activities and taking up the life of a celibate monk or nun, while in the Great Perfection, renunciation means to leave behind all dualistic perception and contrived spiritual effort.

 

The Nine Yanas, https://learning.tergar.org/2011/11/18/the-nine-yanas/

 

In addition, there are many root tantras and instructions given to Kings and Queens who were not in a position for external renunciation, which is one of the mythical reasons the Tantras were taught. 

 

Of course, many Nyingma lamas made their living in old Tibet performing worldly rituals, and often did/do so for themselves. A Step Away from Paradise is a good oral history on this front. Not to mention that Yuthok Nyingthig was developed for lay doctors not only to develop spiritual enlightenment, but to make them better physicians. 

 

1 hour ago, Apech said:

 

In Tibetan Buddhism you pray for what is called in Gampopa as 'leisure and endowment' - this means you have a life with limited demands in terms of day to day survival and enough money, food etc. that you can practice Dharma without too much distraction or interruption.  So the key is 'not being attached to' rather not having money for instance.  In fact Buddhists have a quite positive outlook towards those who become wealthy as they see it being due to positive karma.  But it remains true that to practice Dharma properly you have to give up worldly aims.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Oneironaut said:

Renunciation is selfish, unhealthy and severely unbalanced in my personal opinion. The halfway point to asceticism.

How is not clinging to things and concepts unhealthy and selfish? :) 

There are two kinds of renunciation --- One is the renunciation of the seeker, who has only one burning thirst -- for the realization of the truth. For such a person, all other things in the world are insignificant compared to "the Truth" (whatever that might be). So, they renounce the world and dedicate themselves to what is often a lifelong practice of their chosen spiritual path, aimed at the goal of realization (Self/Nirvana/Dao/God). 

The other kind of renunciation is that of the sage -- one who has already realized the Truth, and therefore sees that the world of names and forms doesn't have any hold/attraction anymore. 

 

Neither of these is unhealthy -- one helps us dedicate our lives to the quest, the other is a natural outcome of wisdom. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Oneironaut said:

The techniques and meditations being very few and simple. I feel that one can go deeper into a system this way as we only have so much time in a single day. If there’s so many different things to practice or if it’s unnecessarily complicated it would seem counterproductive. I don’t know if such a system exists but I’m ready to see what’s out there

Sit and observe your breath. Don't let your mind attach to any thoughts (in other words, renounce all thoughts - only observe your breath going in and out). It is simple enough to do -- but as far as how easy it is, that depends. 

 

Another way would be to simply sit/lie still and observe your thoughts -- without attaching. Let a thought come, and then go. And then another rises...observe and let it go. After a while, become aware of the gap between two consecutive thoughts. Stay with that gap. Simple. :)

Edited by dwai
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites