Yueya

Some general comments relating to spiritual paths and Neidan in particular

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9 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

Yes - exactly.

 

In fact one of my earlier teachers used to talk about cultivation methods of other religions. He was particularly interested in Christianity and prayer. He explained that there have been several enlightenments in the Christian tradition within the last few generations. (For him enlightenment is considered excepptionally rare - so it was a surprise to hear that).

 

He tried to explain the mechanics behind cultivation through prayer (as alchemists like to do). As far as I understood, the idea with prayer is to create such a deep space of selflessness and humility - that it makes the centre of one's being like a kind of black hole. And at times (with some 'luck') this space will be filled in a flash 'by the grace of God' with prenatal Yang Qi. Extreme Yin giving birth to extreme Yang. This would have to be repeated over and over, effectively achieving the same thing at the various layers or 'bodies' - until one reaches the 'body' of God himself. Apparently the monks that achieve this show distinctly similar signs to that of Daoist Zhenren (such as radiating extremely bright light and various other confirmational siddhi).

 

He explained that this was only possible for monks or nuns in secluded monasteries because all stimuli have to be controlled... instead of creating causes mostly within the body and mind, they create the causes within their environment and way of life. It's also only possible for ones who are already 'stream enterers' from past lives.

often the one 'radiating' affects these waves - rather than the other way round.

 

I find this very interesting and surprising. Perhaps it was due to the low level of Christianity that I left, but after I left the church and began to study teachings from the east I tended to look down on western things like Christianity as being "quaint". So to hear there are systems within this religion that are advanced is quite a revelation. I wonder what the path is and how it works?

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If I had to bet, it is probably the Greek Orthodox monks at Mt. Athos. 

 

19 minutes ago, dmattwads said:

 

I find this very interesting and surprising. Perhaps it was due to the low level of Christianity that I left, but after I left the church and began to study teachings from the east I tended to look down on western things like Christianity as being "quaint". So to hear there are systems within this religion that are advanced is quite a revelation. I wonder what the path is and how it works?

 

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1 minute ago, forestofemptiness said:

If I had to bet, it is probably the Greek Orthodox monks at Mt. Athos. 

 

 

 

I remember watching the 60 Minutes documentary about Mt. Athos. At one point they showed this monk in ecstasy while doing the morning chanting.  

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37 minutes ago, dmattwads said:

 

I find this very interesting and surprising. Perhaps it was due to the low level of Christianity that I left, but after I left the church and began to study teachings from the east I tended to look down on western things like Christianity as being "quaint". So to hear there are systems within this religion that are advanced is quite a revelation. I wonder what the path is and how it works?

A user named Dominicus had some experience with this path, and some high level masters of it:

 

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8 hours ago, freeform said:

 

When I met my current teacher he explained (through the Yi Jing) how my previous training was exacerbating my natural tendency. I’m naturally an introvert - which creates a certain effect to my Qi... Although my Qi field was getting larger and thicker, it had the quality of ‘pulling inwards’... 

 

So my field would touch on everything around me and bring that quality inside for my heart-mind to deal with.

 

Turns out that’s the opposite of what my teacher wanted. He drew the hexagrams to denote transitioning to the quality I need to cultivate... a Qi field preferably not so large (though it can’t be helped at certain stages) - and a very slight ‘radiance’ a very slight outward pressure - just a tiny bit over what would be neutral or balanced... like a very dim lightbulb - almost unnoticeable.

 

There were no specific practices to this.

I resonate with this a great deal.  No specific practices you say?  Was there any intention in the direction of your field taking on this quality?  Damo teaches some auxiliary practices for the external energy field that I have neglected, which I would think develop this condensing with a slight outward pressure you mention.

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27 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

If I had to bet, it is probably the Greek Orthodox monks at Mt. Athos.

 

He did mention an Orthodox monastery - but not the country. So it may well be the case.

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5 minutes ago, Creation said:

I resonate with this a great deal.  No specific practices you say?  Was there any intention in the direction of your field taking on this quality?  Damo teaches some auxiliary practices for the external energy field that I have neglected, which I would think develop this condensing with a slight outward pressure you mention.

 

No - no intention, just similar practices to what you're doing.

 

It could be that my teacher added a transmission to assist the change - and it was actualised through my normal training.

 

As you progress and the tissues start to engage and fill - there's a certain pressure that builds from the inside outwards - it felt like one my body was like one of those fake sumo suits :)

 

Spoiler

fun017_inflatable_sumo_suit.jpg

 

I think that in itself creates that expansion and eventually radiance.

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40 minutes ago, dmattwads said:

Mt. Athos

 

wow.

 

It certainly looks rather beautiful :)

Edited by freeform

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15 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

He did mention an Orthodox monastery - but not the country. So it may well be the case.

I can't find it now, but Dominicus mentioned stories of monks' bodies disappearing fairly recently in the mountains of Eastern Europe, perhaps the Caucasus? I remember he said the other monks would say "The Lord took him."

Edited by Creation
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There have been mystical Christian traditions since it first began of course -- Jesus was the first mystic (though he wasn't a Christian).  Historically though they have been branded as heretics and persecuted by the Church. 

Though I'm not interested in Christian history, the stories of St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis of Assissi are quite famous. 

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46 minutes ago, dwai said:

There have been mystical Christian traditions since it first began of course -- Jesus was the first mystic (though he wasn't a Christian).  Historically though they have been branded as heretics and persecuted by the Church. 

Though I'm not interested in Christian history, the stories of St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis of Assissi are quite famous. 

If you have enough interest in Christian history to drop those names, perhaps you will have enough interest to know neither of them was persecuted by the Church.  

 

Another point to understand about Christian mysticism is that the Christian Church split into an Eastern and Western branch, initially for linguistic reasons, but they eventually grew far enough apart to not consider themselves the same Church anymore.  Among the major differences is that the Western branch decided to prioritize reason and philosophy, and the Eastern branch decided to prioritize inner mystical experience.  All the various denominations that are common in Western Europe and the Americas today are descended from the Western branch.  

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34 minutes ago, Creation said:

If you have enough interest in Christian history to drop those names, perhaps you will have enough interest to know neither of them was persecuted by the Church.  

Apparently, Teresa was afraid of being persecuted, so she kept her book "Life" secret. The Catholic church only accepted her work 6 years after her death. Not all of them need have been persecuted, but enough were for there to be genuine fear of it. But as I wrote earlier, I've not particularly been interested in Christianity -- what I know is from contact with some scholarly friends. 

Quote

 

Another point to understand about Christian mysticism is that the Christian Church split into an Eastern and Western branch, initially for linguistic reasons, but they eventually grew far enough apart to not consider themselves the same Church anymore.  Among the major differences is that the Western branch decided to prioritize reason and philosophy, and the Eastern branch decided to prioritize inner mystical experience.  All the various denominations that are common in Western Europe and the Americas today are descended from the Western branch.  

This I have heard, but it seems the Western branch is the more popular/dominant branch. Even in India, though there is supposed to have been St. Thomas/his followers from when he was alive, Catholicism is most popular (I studied in a catholic school as a kid ;)).

 

Edited by dwai
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Well, if you want to turn your stomach, check out the life of St. John of the Cross. Meister Eckhart was declared a heretic. Giordano Bruno and Joan of Arc were burned at the stake. One need not look far to find the persecution of mystics of the Church, which I think was Dwai's point, rather than listing specific mystics who were persecuted. 

 

30 minutes ago, Creation said:

If you have enough interest in Christian history to drop those names, perhaps you will have enough interest to know neither of them was persecuted by the Church.  

 

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2 hours ago, Creation said:

A user named Dominicus had some experience with this path, and some high level masters of it:

 

 

You'll never guess where this monk was from. :lol:

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5 minutes ago, dwai said:

Apparently, Teresa was afraid of being persecuted, so she kept her book "Life" secret. The Catholic church only accepted her work 6 years after her death. Not all of them need have been persecuted, but enough were for there to be genuine fear of it. But as I wrote earlier, I've not particularly been interested in Christianity -- what I know is from contact with some scholarly friends. 

This I have heard, but it seems the Western branch is the more popular/dominant branch. Even in India, though there is supposed to have been St. Thomas/his followers from when he was alive, Catholicism is most popular (I studied in a catholic school as a kid ;)).

 

 

Is there actually a Church though that considers St. Thomas to be its founder?

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4 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

 

You'll never guess where this monk was from. :lol:


Athos?

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7 minutes ago, dwai said:

Apparently, Teresa was afraid of being persecuted, so she kept her book "Life" secret. The Catholic church only accepted her work 6 years after her death. Not all of them need have been persecuted, but enough were for there to be genuine fear of it.

I see what you mean about the fear, I was being rather literal in saying the claim "she was persecuted" was not correct.  

 

A major part of Christian tradition has always been ideological conformity to official dogma, those who deviated were persecuted for sure.  My point was this didn't preclude genuine mysticism from being a part of Christian tradition.

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4 minutes ago, Michael Sternbach said:

 

Is there actually a Church though that considers St. Thomas to be its founder?

Thomas the disciple of Christ, not Thomas Aquinas.

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44 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

Well, if you want to turn your stomach, check out the life of St. John of the Cross. Meister Eckhart was declared a heretic. Giordano Bruno and Joan of Arc were burned at the stake. One need not look far to find the persecution of mystics of the Church, which I think was Dwai's point, rather than listing specific mystics who were persecuted. 

 

Sure, see my reply to dwai above.

Edited by Creation

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2 minutes ago, freeform said:


Athos?

 

Correct! 

 

1 minute ago, Creation said:

Sure, see my reply to dwai above.

 

The laugh face indicates a scandalous reveal is in order?

 

:lol: All roads lead to Mt Athos if you are talking high-level Christian cultivation, or so it seems.  I think they were able to preserve the traditional methods of realizing God--- much of which was likely lost in the West as you note given the emphasis on reason/philosophy.

 

I think there's a reason that most religions are still around. If there was no authentic spark, they would have died out. 

 

Although, in this day and age, I don't know if people are connecting with the actual divine, or use self-hypnosis to convince themselves that they are. I feel this even with Buddhist and Taoist forms, wondering if we are, on some level, merely brainwashing ourselves. I read a book recently by an anthropologist on modern evangelical Christians (When God Talks Back) who essentially analyzes their spiritual training as a form of mind training or self-hypnosis.  

 

However, the raw strength of spiritual experiences tends to undercut that. External criteria would be nice, but I have yet to experience anything that would convince a skeptic (even if very convincing to me). Of course, I haven't seen people materialize out of thin air, walk through walls, fly around, emit light and so on. 

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36 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

Well, if you want to turn your stomach, check out the life of St. John of the Cross. Meister Eckhart was declared a heretic. Giordano Bruno and Joan of Arc were burned at the stake. One need not look far to find the persecution of mystics of the Church, which I think was Dwai's point, rather than listing specific mystics who were persecuted. 

 

 

I was thinking of St. John of the cross, but francis of Assisi came to mind instead! 

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26 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

 

Correct! 

 

 

:lol: All roads lead to Mt Athos if you are talking high-level Christian cultivation, or so it seems.  I think they were able to preserve the traditional methods of realizing God--- much of which was likely lost in the West as you note given the emphasis on reason/philosophy.

 

I think there's a reason that most religions are still around. If there was no authentic spark, they would have died out. 

Indeed. The mystical traditions did that for Christianity, the Sufis for Islam. Judaism has a very rich and deep mystical tradition -- I find that mystical Judaism tends to stop at the level of Vishista-Advaita -- they claim full nonduality is impossible for human minds. I had quite a long discussion with a Rabbi from Israel whose order's job is mainly to investigate other traditions and find out details.

 

I exclude the Dharma traditions from this list, because there is no dichotomy between the mystical and ritualistic therein, within their native cultures (though it may seem that way to outsiders).

Quote

 

Although, in this day and age, I don't know if people are connecting with the actual divine, or use self-hypnosis to convince themselves that they are. I feel this even with Buddhist and Taoist forms, wondering if we are, on some level, merely brainwashing ourselves. I read a book recently by an anthropologist on modern evangelical Christians (When God Talks Back) who essentially analyzes their spiritual training as a form of mind training or self-hypnosis.  

I've had some interesting experiences wrt Christians -- one case being a born-again evangelical, an acquaintance -- whose only path of worship seems to be to convert people. When I asked her whether she has a practice, she replied "converting people is my practice!". Can't find even a trace of anything remotely spiritual in her -- quite the opposite.

 

Another was a couple (a friend from school and her husband) -- she is a doctor, he is a lawyer,  in the bay area, and both are devout Catholics. I could practically see that they live in Christ. They do charitable work, help the poor, no interest in proselytizing. How wonderful.  I think we'll find genuine spirituality lives on in those who follow what the sages have described -- "simple living, service, genuine devotion and love for all".

Quote

 

However, the raw strength of spiritual experiences tends to undercut that. External criteria would be nice, but I have yet to experience anything that would convince a skeptic (even if very convincing to me). Of course, I haven't seen people materialize out of thin air, walk through walls, fly around, emit light and so on. 

Haven't you yourself experienced something similar with Master Liao? :D (Do recount the story if you feel up to it -- might be quite apropos for this discussion). 

Edited by dwai
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47 minutes ago, Creation said:

Thomas the disciple of Christ, not Thomas Aquinas.

 

Sure, that's how I got Dwai... Thomas the Apostle whom the Gospel of Thomas is attributed to.

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