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Damo Mitchell? tell me what you think

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Hey guys been awhile since I posted anything, happy new year by the way. So Damo Mitchell, I have to say that his video on building the bucket really put things into perspective along the lines of building a dantien,¬†and the such. BUT I want a bums opinion on this ūüėēūü§Ē using your intuition,¬† and gut feeling, how many of you think that he really has all this energy work, and power down pat. In other words do you guys think that he is a genuinely powerful cultivator like¬†John Chang. Not so much in being able to burn stuff, and levitate kind of power but just to be able to give a nice shock that would send a bear running for the hills ūüėÜ kind of strength :)

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Only his students should know i guess. In his book, comprehensive guide to daoist neikung, he did mention he has SEEN other sifus being able to do remarkable feats, but never make any claim himself though.

 

I'm curious to know as well.

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What I like about Damo, is that no matter what siddhis he has (and I get the strong impression he does have them) he will never use them to gain influence or win followers.

 

The public persona of him being a superficial British lad from Glastonbury who loves Vegas is imo a facade. But a useful one in that stops his students from turning him into a cult leader or guru, which is absolutely what he doesn't want to happen. 

 

I'm a student of his online school but I don't often think about what attainment he has. All I know is that he's a lot farther down the road than me, but at the same time is willing to explain very clearly and honestly how he got where he is.

 

That's a lot rarer a thing to find than someone who has siddhis. 

Edited by Vajra Fist
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9 hours ago, Vajra Fist said:

...All I know is that he's a lot farther down the road than me, but at the same time is willing to explain very clearly and honestly how he got where he is.

 

Boom.  This is exactly it.  A live teacher, you can understand and contact, beats a semi-legendary recluse. 

One can also look to advanced practitioners like Wang LiPing, amazing man, he's got good books available, but any training means long travel and many many thousands of dollars and perhaps some translation problems.    

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His writing is clear, and I see the video output as a very generous supplement. 

 

 

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I think Damo Mitchell is super legit, but before I say why, here's some of my background: I've been training Chinese Martial Arts for 16+ years, including a lineage that I teach in and also lots of cross training that also includes non-Chinese arts. I'm still a baby in the grand scheme of things, but an important distinction I'd want to make is that while training all this stuff, I've never truly trained Nei Gong (and wasn't even sure if it was legit), and this is where the real point of my evaluation comes into play: 

 

Despite doing various sorts of internal arts, jam jong, and other practices that I could prove to some extent martially, none of them made me feel what Lotus Nei Gong's program did within just one week in terms of my body. It truly was training another layer of my being that I wasn't sure existed until now. Mind you, I have a very close friend who trains in Mo Pai  that can light a cotton ball on fire, but what he was teaching me also sounded terrifying with things like ripping my dan tian due to having sex. No pun intended, but f*ck that. 

 

Damo Mitchell's online training really builds up a nei gong structure and practice (AFAIK) on things I've learned plus things I've never known, and I can feel it right away. In some ways, with me being a westerner, he explains things better to me than any ancient text can. His program is the reason I've become interested in Daoism and even joined this forum in the first place. 

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I have his books and his thoughts are congruent with most of what I’ve been taught. Some things he clearly doesn’t have any experience about, like when he compares other traditions with his views of enlightenment etc, and he should be more circumspect about what he says in that regard. 
 

But, imho, for beginner to intermediate level, he is excellent. 

Edited by dwai
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Damo's old first students from something like 2005 or so used to mention that when he started to teach he would demonstrate really weird things. Nobody mentions these things now, so it is hard to tell what he is really capable of. I can only say that he scaled back significantly on qi emission/transmission during his workshops (prior to Covid of course). I'd stand in wuji and suddenly feel how my body would start to melt, and only after 3-5 minutes to notice that he was walking around poking his qi-fingers in people's backs. Not recently though.

Edited by idquest
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I've noticed over the years here (way back when it was the Tao Bums) is that there is often a focus on unusual powers. But there are a number of ancillary questions one could ask:

 

1. Does X have unusual powers?

2. If X does, is X willing to teach others how to develop them?

3. If so, how much time and effort is required to develop them?

4. Have others followed this regime to the fruition?

5. Do I have the time and discipline to follow such a regime?

6. Is developing unusual powers worth the time and effort?

 

Actually, these might be worth considering in reverse order. :lol:

 

 

 

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56 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

 

 

6. Is developing unusual powers worth the time and effort?

 

That would depend on the power. 

Full Jedi? 

Or the ability to con money from people? 

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17 hours ago, idquest said:

Damo's old first students from something like 2005 or so used to mention that when he started to teach he would demonstrate really weird things. Nobody mentions these things now, so it is hard to tell what he is really capable of. I can only say that he scaled back significantly on qi emission/transmission during his workshops (prior to Covid of course). I'd stay in wuji and suddenly feel how my body would start to melt, and only after 3-5 minutes to notice that he was walking around poking his qi-fingers in people's backs. Not recently though.

Hi!

Why do you think he stopped doing that?

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5 hours ago, MIchael80 said:

Hi!

Why do you think he stopped doing that?

 

Using qi comes at a cost, even when people feel abundance of it. The sudden death of that Chinese master from apricot garden about 5 years ago came as crude awakening for everybody in the field and it forced people to reassess how and why they use qi externally. Sorry, don't remember his name, no disrespect.

 

Also, I didn't say DM stopped doing that, I said he scaled back.

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On 2/11/2021 at 8:52 PM, idquest said:

Damo's old first students from something like 2005 or so used to mention that when he started to teach he would demonstrate really weird things. Nobody mentions these things now, so it is hard to tell what he is really capable of. I can only say that he scaled back significantly on qi emission/transmission during his workshops (prior to Covid of course). I'd stand in wuji and suddenly feel how my body would start to melt, and only after 3-5 minutes to notice that he was walking around poking his qi-fingers in people's backs. Not recently though.

Yeah he doesn't use that method for assisting LDT activation any more, as far as I know.

 

When I met him the first time, he did a couple things I haven't seen since.  I think he keeps that business to his senior students now.

 

8 hours ago, MIchael80 said:

Hi!

Why do you think he stopped doing that?

From what I remember him saying, there's basically a safer way to get the lower field activation.  And about the 'odd skills', I think he said it was attracting the wrong crowd?

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On 2/13/2021 at 3:22 AM, Wilhelm said:

From what I remember him saying, there's basically a safer way to get the lower field activation. 

 

Safer for him or the recipient? Or both?

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He notes in his BATGAP interview (15-17:00) that Taoist alchemy is used to fuel and stabilize a state of being, specifically awakening. He then states that people may have a meditation experience (the example he uses is a unity experience), but lacking the underlying energetic support, this experience fades.

 

I found this interesting, because from a Buddhist POV, this is exactly the opposite approach. Meditation experiences are often referred to as "makyo" in Zen and "nyams" in Tibetan. Rather than attempt to stabilize or prolong them, they are to be let go of because, as with everything else, they are impermanent, not self, and dissatisfying. 

 

Edited by forestofemptiness
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23 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

He notes in his BATGAP interview (15-17:00) that Taoist alchemy is used to fuel and stabilize a state of being, specifically awakening. He then states that people may have a meditation experience (the example he uses is a unity experience), but lacking the underlying energetic support, this experience fades.

 

I found this interesting, because from a Buddhist POV, this is exactly the opposite approach. Meditation experiences are often referred to as "makyo" in Zen and "nyams" in Tibetan. Rather than attempt to stabilize or prolong them, they are to be let go of because, as with everything else, they are impermanent, not self, and dissatisfying. 

 

 

Agreed.

 

From a Buddhist point of view, "Experiences" are just that, impermanent manifestations, like anything else.

 

It is seeing into the "emptiness"/unity that is important. Once perceived, the "emptiness"/unity is ALWAYS visible. There is no energetic "fuel" that enables this, in fact (as you say) quite the opposite. It is immediately understood on Stream Entry that the idea that anything ever precipitated the understanding is quite impossible, and that all appearances, are ultimately not separate phenomena.

 

I'd be very surprised if enlightened Taoists wouldn't agree. Many teachings, like "techniques", cosmologies, and energy teachings are what you might think of as "relative" teachings, not "absolute" teachings - a common feature in many eastern spiritual philosophies.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_truths_doctrine

Edited by stirling

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22 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

He notes in his BATGAP interview (15-17:00) that Taoist alchemy is used to fuel and stabilize a state of being, specifically awakening. He then states that people may have a meditation experience (the example he uses is a unity experience), but lacking the underlying energetic support, this experience fades.

 

I found this interesting, because from a Buddhist POV, this is exactly the opposite approach. Meditation experiences are often referred to as "makyo" in Zen and "nyams" in Tibetan. Rather than attempt to stabilize or prolong them, they are to be let go of because, as with everything else, they are impermanent, not self, and dissatisfying. 

 

 

This business of "meditation experiences" in Buddhism is confusing.¬† Yes, we¬īre encouraged to let go of, rather than grasp, experiences.¬† At the same time, is it really true that it doesn¬īt matter what is experienced when we sit?¬† I¬īd say no -- it does matter.¬† If one experience is really as good as another than why sit at all?¬† There is *something* that Buddhist¬†meditators are trying to prolong and stabilize even if the method is, paradoxically, not to try too hard.¬† In fact, I¬īd say the point of letting go of experience is to stabilize experience.¬† Sadly for me, chasing after experiences is the best way to gaurantee they won¬īt be returning.

 

So, to me, there¬īs no conflict between Damo Mitchell¬īs wanting to sustain experiences and Buddhism.¬† I¬īd say he brings up a great question: does sustained awakening require energetic support?¬† I wonder, for instance, whether good health and vitality supports awakening or if it¬īs just as easy to become awakened in a weakened, sick state?¬† While it¬īs likely possible to point to plenty of unhealthy awakened people, in history and the present day, my intuition tells me that good health probably¬†helps.

Edited by liminal_luke
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21 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

I¬īd say he brings up a great question: does sustained awakening require energetic support?¬† I wonder, for instance, whether good health and vitality supports awakening or if it¬īs just as easy to become awakened in a weakened, sick state?¬† While it¬īs likely possible to point to plenty of unhealthy awakened people, in history and the present day, my intuition tells me that good health probably¬†helps.

I would suggest that if awakening is real, physical health¬†may¬†not be an important factor anymore ‚ÄĒ unless there is an impetus to teach, and hence a need to maintain the physical form for a specific period of time.¬†

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23 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

 

I found this interesting, because from a Buddhist POV, this is exactly the opposite approach. Meditation experiences are often referred to as "makyo" in Zen and "nyams" in Tibetan. Rather than attempt to stabilize or prolong them, they are to be let go of because, as with everything else, they are impermanent, not self, and dissatisfying. 

The path in Buddhism is sila, samadhi, prajna.  At the very least for sila and samadhi there is work to stabilize and prolong the arising of qualities and mind states beneficial to the path, this is indeed how the Buddha taught in the suttas.  As far as paths that primarily emphasize sudden prajna realization, for instance Dzogchen and Soto Zen, in Dzogchen the path after a glimpse of rigpa the path is precisely to "stabilize and prolong" it, and in Soto even after awakening sitting is engaged in as "practice-enlightenment".  

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9 minutes ago, dwai said:

I would suggest that if awakening is real, physical health¬†may¬†not be an important factor anymore ‚ÄĒ unless there is an impetus to teach, and hence a need to maintain the physical form for a specific period of time.¬†

 

Touche!¬† I suspect that suffering in general, and in particular ill health, motivates many to pursue (wrong word!) spiritual practice.¬† When it¬īs impossible to achieve something, transcend the need.

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Interesting points, LL. I'll share my thoughts. 

 

31 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

At the same time, is it really true that it doesn¬īt matter what is experienced when we sit?¬†

 

I think so. Tulku Urgyen Rinpoch said, "If you've had a good meditation, or a bad meditation, you haven't had a meditation." And his son, Mingyur Rinpoche says "The expectations that you bring to your meditation are often the greatest obstacles you will encounter."

 

33 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

If one experience is really as good as another than why sit at all? 

 

As Tilopa said to Naropa, "My son, appearance does not bind you, it's your grasping that binds you." So the problem is grasping, as set forth by the Buddha in the second Noble truth. I would offer that the practice is to overcome this habitual grasping that we have developed. 

 

Typically, the practices are twofold: with a shamatha component and a vipassana component. Shamatha takes many forms, but basically it is about tranquility or calming the mind. But it is the insight or vipassana component that generally has the ability to liberate. People who grasp at meditation experiences are usually said to be cultivating a rebirth as an animal (for cultivating dullness) or the god realms (for the higher states). However, to steal a phrase from Rob Burbea, it is the "seeing that frees," i.e. the insights as set forth in the practices. 

 

Now generally, as shamatha increases, vipassana becomes easier, and vipassana itself is calming to the mind. So these are actually quite dynamic, even in the Pali sources. However, I would proffer that the basic model is not about extending a cultivated experience, but rather removing something --- namely, ignorance and grasping. In addition, it is generally well taught that shamatha, as it depends on causes and conditions, cannot be made permanent. All conditioned phenomenon are impermanent. What is considered unconditioned in the Abhidharma is space and nirvana. But nirvana is not constructed, rather it arises when ignorance is removed.

 

It reminds me of TTC 48: "Pursue knowledge, daily gain. Pursue Tao, daily loss. Loss and more loss, until one reaches non-action." (Derek Lin trans.). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

 Tulku Urgyen Rinpoch said, "If you've had a good meditation, or a bad meditation, you haven't had a meditation." And his son, Mingyur Rinpoche says "The expectations that you bring to your meditation are often the greatest obstacles you will encounter."

 

 

As Tilopa said to Naropa, "My son, appearance does not bind you, it's your grasping that binds you." So the problem is grasping, as set forth by the Buddha in the second Noble truth. I would offer that the practice is to overcome this habitual grasping that we have developed. 

 

 

Yes, for sure.¬† I agree with all of that.¬† It¬īs incredibly difficult to talk about things like "wanting" in spiritual practice without falling into an impossible verbal pit.¬† The method is to cultivate an attitude of equanimity, to get to that choiceless place where grasping doesn¬īt happen.¬† From this perspective there are no good or bad meditations.¬† If we¬īre chasing after experiences -- even "good" ones -- we¬īre not meditating.¬†¬†

 

And yet...and yet...there is a reason some people meditate rather than sit around drinking coffee.¬† Formal meditation practice accomplishes something that coffee klatches do not, at least for beginners.¬† If there¬īs a point to meditation, there is¬†also a wanting behind it.¬† The statement "there¬īs such a thing as a good meditation" is both true and untrue.¬† For beginners, the truth or untruth of this statement is a large unwieldy thing.¬† For more seasoned practitioners, this truth or untruth becomes progressively more subtle and refined.¬† Eventually the polarity may appear to disappear altogether.¬† At that point there is no is no more wanting (that¬īs what we want).

Edited by liminal_luke
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20 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

If there¬īs a point to meditation, there is¬†also a wanting behind it.

 

Sure. One does not jump straight into Buddhahood. Formal practice is very important, especially for those of us who aren't fully realized. And exchanging worldly desires for dharmic desires is usually a part of the path, and of course reducing many desires to one (the desire for nirvana, or for Bodhisattvas, the desire to liberate all beings) can be quite skillful. Acting like we're fully realized can be a big, big problem. 

 

But we can also collect techniques, empowerments, mantras, spiritual experiences, etc. the same way we collect material things. In that sense, it may be just more samsara (i.e. replacing metal handcuffs with golden ones). 

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On 20.2.2021 at 6:01 PM, forestofemptiness said:

He notes in his BATGAP interview (15-17:00) that Taoist alchemy is used to fuel and stabilize a state of being, specifically awakening. He then states that people may have a meditation experience (the example he uses is a unity experience), but lacking the underlying energetic support, this experience fades.

2 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

But we can also collect techniques, empowerments, mantras, spiritual experiences, etc. the same way we collect material things. In that sense, it may be just more samsara (i.e. replacing metal handcuffs with golden ones). 

 

If that is your impression after hearing Damo's talk, then IMHO this is a complete misunderstanding. It is not about collecting experiences -- in fact, the daoist approach is very much a pragmatic bunch. They say "all these things (nyam/experiences/touches of qi, whatever you wish to call them) may happen, but they're useless, what we want is real transformation" - the real transformation here talked about leads to actual psychophysical changes that cannot be faked in any way or form. They are what allow you to sit down and then enter actual absorption - entering absorption you can then reach insight (vipassana).

 

But in most cases people cannot achieve authentic samatha. Authentic samatha is not just calmness. Authentic samatha leads to a profound change of the energetic system. This change can occur through retreat-like practice and direct overseeing of an authentic master; or alternatively, you can use neigong/qigong to prepare the body for the extremes of meditation. From what I can see most that think they have attained samatha or authentic jhana or samadhi are lightyears away from that. People can simply not generate enough concentration - and even if they can, they often get lost in various mental realms because there is not enough energy to guide their consciousness in the right direction for higher development. In other words, without bodily transformation, it is very difficult to reach these high levels of consciousness, next to impossible unless you happen to be a stream-enterer from a past life (which 99.9% of the populace is not). Padmasambhava could place his hand on a rock and leave an imprint. Others can disappear in a flash of light. The point is that the concomittant change in consciousness also changes physicality as the body is the gross manifestation of the subtle. As the subtle changes so does the body, vice-versa. 

 

Authentic jhanna the way it is described you must be able to enter and stay in samadhi for several days on end. Unwavering focus without any pushing or straining and with complete absorption. To be able to even begin to do that you must have a lot of energy, your energetic channels all need to be cleared. Your Shen needs to be radiant and your physical body must be strong and resilient enough to withstand such a thing. 

 

So you can use consciousness-only Buddhist methodology and have very slim chances of authentically freeing yourself from rebirth, or you can use a mixture of energy work on top of consciousness work, which increases your chances of stabilising the mind and body enough to develop further (either in the direction of "simply" awakening or in terms of enlightenment - which is different). 

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