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Damo Mitchell? tell me what you think

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On 2/20/2021 at 6:01 PM, forestofemptiness said:

Shamatha takes many forms, but basically it is about tranquility or calming the mind.

 

The interesting thing is that you're kind of reading into this what you want. If you read someone like Alan B. Wallace's Fathoming the Mind - Inquiry and Insight into Dudjom's Lingpa's Vajra Essence or Attention Revolution, you'll find the following mentioned: 

 

“In order to derive the full benefits of vipaśyanā, the essential preparation is the practice of śamatha, with the goal of rendering the body and mind serviceable: relaxed, stable, and clear. On this basis, one is well prepared to venture into the profound discoveries and insights of vipaśyanā, which, unlike śamatha, invariably entails an element of inquiry.”

 

“Here is a brief synopsis of the stages of this practice as given in the Sharp Vajra of Conscious Awareness Tantra. Entry into taking the impure mind as the path is defined by the experience of distinguishing between the stillness of awareness and the movements of the mind. Ordinarily when a thought arises, we have the sense of thinking it, and our attention is diverted to the referent of the thought. Similarly, when a desire arises, there is a cognitive fusion of awareness and the desire, so awareness is drawn to the object of desire. In such cases, our very sense of identity merges with these mental processes, with our attention riveted on the object of the thought, desire, or emotion. In this practice, we do our best to sustain the stillness of our awareness, and from this perspective of stillness and clarity we illuminate ”

 

“Continuing in the practice, four types of mindfulness are experienced in sequence. First is single-pointed mindfulness, which occurs when you simultaneously experience the stillness of awareness and the movement of the mind. This is like watching images coming and going in a movie and hearing the soundtrack, while never reifying these appearances — that is, taking them to be inherently real things — or getting caught up in the drama.”

 

“As you grow more accustomed to letting your awareness rest in its own place — accompanied by a deepening sense of loose release and nongrasping, together with the clarity of awareness illuminating the space of the mind — you enter into an effortless flow of the simultaneous awareness of stillness and motion: this second stage is manifest mindfulness. Eruptions of memories, desires, and mental afflictions surge up periodically rather than continuously, and over time, your mind gradually settles in its natural state, like a blizzard in a snow globe that gradually dissipates and settles into transparency.”

 

“In the third stage of mindfulness, awareness of the body and the five senses withdraws into single-pointed awareness of the space of the mind, and you become oblivious to your body and environment. Prior to this stage, thoughts and other mental appearances become fewer and subtler, until finally they all dissolve and your ordinary mind and all its concomitant mental processes go dormant: this corresponds to the absence of mindfulness. Bear in mind that the terms translated as “mindfulness” in Pāli (sati), Sanskrit (smṛti), and Tibetan (dran pa) primarily connote recollection, or bearing in mind. Now you’re not recalling or holding anything in mind; your coarse mind has gone dormant, as if you’d fallen into deep, dreamless sleep. But at the same time, your awareness is luminously clear. The coarse mental factor of mindfulness that allowed you to reach this state has also gone dormant; hence it is called the absence of mindfulness. ”

 

“When you are in this transitional state, you are aware only of the sheer vacuity of the space of the mind: this is the substrate (Skt. ālaya). The consciousness of this vacuity is the substrate consciousness (Skt. ālayavijñāna). Here is a twenty-first-century analogy: When your computer downloads and installs a software upgrade, it becomes nonoperational for a short time before the new software is activated. Similarly, when your coarse mind dissolves into the substrate consciousness, the coarse mindfulness that brought you to this point has gone dormant, as if you had fainted — but you’re wide awake. This is a brief, transitional phase, and it’s important not to get stuck here, for if you do so for a prolonged period, your intelligence may atrophy like an unused muscle. This is like being lucid in a state of dreamless sleep, with your awareness absorbed in the sheer vacuity of the empty space of your mind. That space is full of potential, but for the time being, that potential remains dormant.”

 

“Finally, there arises the fourth type of mindfulness: self-illuminating mindfulness. This occurs when you invert your awareness upon itself and the substrate consciousness illuminates and knows itself. In the Pāli canon, the Buddha characterized this mind as brightly shining (Pāli pabhassara) and naturally pure (Pāli pakati-parisuddha). This subtle dimension of mental consciousness is experientially realized with the achievement of śamatha, corresponding to the threshold of the first dhyāna, or meditative stabilization. Resting in this state of consciousness you experience three distinctive qualities of awareness: it is blissful, luminous, and nonconceptual. Most important, this awareness is called serviceable; both your body and mind are infused with an unprecedented degree of pliancy, so they are fit for use as you wish.”

 

“The Buddha explains the profound shift that takes place upon achieving this first dhyāna:

Being thus detached from hedonic craving, detached from unwholesome states, one enters and remains in the first dhyāna, which is imbued with coarse investigation and subtle analysis, born of detachment, filled with delight and joy.

And with this delight and joy born of detachment, one so suffuses, drenches, fills, and irradiates one’s body that there is no spot in one’s entire body that is untouched by this delight and joy born of detachment.


A similar point is made in the Mahāyāna discourse known as the Saṃdhinirmocanasūtra:


Lord, when a Bodhisattva directs his attention inwards, with the mind focused upon the mind, as long as physical pliancy and mental pliancy are not achieved, what is that mental activity called? Maitreya, this is not śamatha. It is said to be associated with an aspiration that is a facsimile of śamatha.”

 

“Even when you emerge from meditation, this body-mind upgrade is yours to employ in your dealings with the world. It’s a radical psychophysiological shift; although not irreversible, it can likely be sustained for the rest of your life. The five obscurations of hedonic craving, malice, laxity and dullness, excitation and anxiety, and afflictive uncertainty are largely dormant. There is an unprecedented pliancy and suppleness of both body and mind during formal meditation sessions and between them.


Such refinement of the body’s energy system can be cultivated to some degree with controlled breathing and physical exercises such as prāṇāyāma, chi gung, and tai chi. The Buddha knew well the many ascetic disciplines of body and breath practiced in his time, but they are not taught in the Pāli canon; instead, he strongly emphasized the simple practice of mindfulness of breathing. This is a profound practice for settling the subtle body, the energetic body, in its natural state, and it is closely related to settling the mind in its natural state."

 

For a good idea of exactly what it takes to reach such refined states using the Buddhist methodology, the Attention Revolution is a great read. From his book on Stage 9 (before authentic shamatha): 

 

“With only the slightest exertion of effort, you proceed from the eighth attentional stage to the ninth, known as attentional balance. You are now able to maintain flawless samadhi, effortlessly and continuously for at least four hours. Due to the power of deep familiarization with this training, you can slip into meditative equipoise, free of even the subtlest traces of laxity and excitation, with no effort at all. This is not to say that your attention is irreversibly balanced. If for some reason you discontinue the practice, you will find that laxity and excitation erode your attentional equipoise. They have not been irreversibly eliminated. But if you maintain a contemplative lifestyle and keep your attention honed through regular practice, this wonderful degree of sanity can be yours for life.
 

To reach this point will almost certainly require many months, or even a few years, of continuous, full-time practice. You’ll never succeed if you work at this even very intensively for only brief intervals, taking many breaks in between. Likewise, the higher stages of shamatha practice will not be achieved by engaging in many brief retreats of weeks or a few months at a time. It requires long, continuous practice without interruption. There are no shortcuts.


Contemplatives who have achieved this ninth stage of attentional balance describe the quality of this experience simply as “perfection.” The mind has come to a yet deeper state of stillness and serenity, likened now to Mount Meru, the king of mountains. It would be understandable to conclude that you have now fully achieved shamatha. You are almost there.”

 

“Flawless shamatha is like an oil-lamp that is unmoved by the air. Wherever the awareness is placed, it is unwaveringly present; awareness is vividly clear, without being sullied by laxity, lethargy, or dimness; wherever the awareness is directed, it is steady and sharply pointed; and unmoved by adventitious thoughts, it is straight. Thus, a flawless meditative state arises in your mindstream; and until this happens, it is important that you settle the mind in its natural state. Without genuine shamatha arising in your mindstream, even if awareness is pointed out, it becomes nothing more than an object of intellectual understanding. So you are left simply giving lip-service to the view, and there is the danger that you may succumb to dogmatism. Thus, the root of all meditative states depends upon this, so do not be introduced to pristine awareness too soon, but practice until you have a fine experience of stability. ~ Padmasambhava”

 

Excerpt From: B. Alan Wallace. “The Attention Revolution”. Apple Books. 

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47 minutes ago, anshino23 said:

 

The interesting thing is that you're kind of reading into this what you want. If you read someone like Alan B. Wallace's Fathoming the Mind - Inquiry and Insight into Dudjom's Lingpa's Vajra Essence or Attention Revolution, you'll find the following mentioned: 

 

“In order to derive the full benefits of vipaśyanā, the essential preparation is the practice of śamatha, with the goal of rendering the body and mind serviceable: relaxed, stable, and clear. On this basis, one is well prepared to venture into the profound discoveries and insights of vipaśyanā, which, unlike śamatha, invariably entails an element of inquiry.”

 

“Here is a brief synopsis of the stages of this practice as given in the Sharp Vajra of Conscious Awareness Tantra. Entry into taking the impure mind as the path is defined by the experience of distinguishing between the stillness of awareness and the movements of the mind. Ordinarily when a thought arises, we have the sense of thinking it, and our attention is diverted to the referent of the thought. Similarly, when a desire arises, there is a cognitive fusion of awareness and the desire, so awareness is drawn to the object of desire. In such cases, our very sense of identity merges with these mental processes, with our attention riveted on the object of the thought, desire, or emotion. In this practice, we do our best to sustain the stillness of our awareness, and from this perspective of stillness and clarity we illuminate ”

 

“Continuing in the practice, four types of mindfulness are experienced in sequence. First is single-pointed mindfulness, which occurs when you simultaneously experience the stillness of awareness and the movement of the mind. This is like watching images coming and going in a movie and hearing the soundtrack, while never reifying these appearances — that is, taking them to be inherently real things — or getting caught up in the drama.”

 

“As you grow more accustomed to letting your awareness rest in its own place — accompanied by a deepening sense of loose release and nongrasping, together with the clarity of awareness illuminating the space of the mind — you enter into an effortless flow of the simultaneous awareness of stillness and motion: this second stage is manifest mindfulness. Eruptions of memories, desires, and mental afflictions surge up periodically rather than continuously, and over time, your mind gradually settles in its natural state, like a blizzard in a snow globe that gradually dissipates and settles into transparency.”

 

“In the third stage of mindfulness, awareness of the body and the five senses withdraws into single-pointed awareness of the space of the mind, and you become oblivious to your body and environment. Prior to this stage, thoughts and other mental appearances become fewer and subtler, until finally they all dissolve and your ordinary mind and all its concomitant mental processes go dormant: this corresponds to the absence of mindfulness. Bear in mind that the terms translated as “mindfulness” in Pāli (sati), Sanskrit (smṛti), and Tibetan (dran pa) primarily connote recollection, or bearing in mind. Now you’re not recalling or holding anything in mind; your coarse mind has gone dormant, as if you’d fallen into deep, dreamless sleep. But at the same time, your awareness is luminously clear. The coarse mental factor of mindfulness that allowed you to reach this state has also gone dormant; hence it is called the absence of mindfulness. ”

 

“When you are in this transitional state, you are aware only of the sheer vacuity of the space of the mind: this is the substrate (Skt. ālaya). The consciousness of this vacuity is the substrate consciousness (Skt. ālayavijñāna). Here is a twenty-first-century analogy: When your computer downloads and installs a software upgrade, it becomes nonoperational for a short time before the new software is activated. Similarly, when your coarse mind dissolves into the substrate consciousness, the coarse mindfulness that brought you to this point has gone dormant, as if you had fainted — but you’re wide awake. This is a brief, transitional phase, and it’s important not to get stuck here, for if you do so for a prolonged period, your intelligence may atrophy like an unused muscle. This is like being lucid in a state of dreamless sleep, with your awareness absorbed in the sheer vacuity of the empty space of your mind. That space is full of potential, but for the time being, that potential remains dormant.”

 

“Finally, there arises the fourth type of mindfulness: self-illuminating mindfulness. This occurs when you invert your awareness upon itself and the substrate consciousness illuminates and knows itself. In the Pāli canon, the Buddha characterized this mind as brightly shining (Pāli pabhassara) and naturally pure (Pāli pakati-parisuddha). This subtle dimension of mental consciousness is experientially realized with the achievement of śamatha, corresponding to the threshold of the first dhyāna, or meditative stabilization. Resting in this state of consciousness you experience three distinctive qualities of awareness: it is blissful, luminous, and nonconceptual. Most important, this awareness is called serviceable; both your body and mind are infused with an unprecedented degree of pliancy, so they are fit for use as you wish.”

 

“The Buddha explains the profound shift that takes place upon achieving this first dhyāna:

Being thus detached from hedonic craving, detached from unwholesome states, one enters and remains in the first dhyāna, which is imbued with coarse investigation and subtle analysis, born of detachment, filled with delight and joy.

And with this delight and joy born of detachment, one so suffuses, drenches, fills, and irradiates one’s body that there is no spot in one’s entire body that is untouched by this delight and joy born of detachment.


A similar point is made in the Mahāyāna discourse known as the Saṃdhinirmocanasūtra:


Lord, when a Bodhisattva directs his attention inwards, with the mind focused upon the mind, as long as physical pliancy and mental pliancy are not achieved, what is that mental activity called? Maitreya, this is not śamatha. It is said to be associated with an aspiration that is a facsimile of śamatha.”

 

“Even when you emerge from meditation, this body-mind upgrade is yours to employ in your dealings with the world. It’s a radical psychophysiological shift; although not irreversible, it can likely be sustained for the rest of your life. The five obscurations of hedonic craving, malice, laxity and dullness, excitation and anxiety, and afflictive uncertainty are largely dormant. There is an unprecedented pliancy and suppleness of both body and mind during formal meditation sessions and between them.


Such refinement of the body’s energy system can be cultivated to some degree with controlled breathing and physical exercises such as prāṇāyāma, chi gung, and tai chi. The Buddha knew well the many ascetic disciplines of body and breath practiced in his time, but they are not taught in the Pāli canon; instead, he strongly emphasized the simple practice of mindfulness of breathing. This is a profound practice for settling the subtle body, the energetic body, in its natural state, and it is closely related to settling the mind in its natural state."

 

For a good idea of exactly what it takes to reach such refined states using the Buddhist methodology, the Attention Revolution is a great read. From his book on Stage 9 (before authentic shamatha): 

 

“With only the slightest exertion of effort, you proceed from the eighth attentional stage to the ninth, known as attentional balance. You are now able to maintain flawless samadhi, effortlessly and continuously for at least four hours. Due to the power of deep familiarization with this training, you can slip into meditative equipoise, free of even the subtlest traces of laxity and excitation, with no effort at all. This is not to say that your attention is irreversibly balanced. If for some reason you discontinue the practice, you will find that laxity and excitation erode your attentional equipoise. They have not been irreversibly eliminated. But if you maintain a contemplative lifestyle and keep your attention honed through regular practice, this wonderful degree of sanity can be yours for life.
 

To reach this point will almost certainly require many months, or even a few years, of continuous, full-time practice. You’ll never succeed if you work at this even very intensively for only brief intervals, taking many breaks in between. Likewise, the higher stages of shamatha practice will not be achieved by engaging in many brief retreats of weeks or a few months at a time. It requires long, continuous practice without interruption. There are no shortcuts.


Contemplatives who have achieved this ninth stage of attentional balance describe the quality of this experience simply as “perfection.” The mind has come to a yet deeper state of stillness and serenity, likened now to Mount Meru, the king of mountains. It would be understandable to conclude that you have now fully achieved shamatha. You are almost there.”

 

“Flawless shamatha is like an oil-lamp that is unmoved by the air. Wherever the awareness is placed, it is unwaveringly present; awareness is vividly clear, without being sullied by laxity, lethargy, or dimness; wherever the awareness is directed, it is steady and sharply pointed; and unmoved by adventitious thoughts, it is straight. Thus, a flawless meditative state arises in your mindstream; and until this happens, it is important that you settle the mind in its natural state. Without genuine shamatha arising in your mindstream, even if awareness is pointed out, it becomes nothing more than an object of intellectual understanding. So you are left simply giving lip-service to the view, and there is the danger that you may succumb to dogmatism. Thus, the root of all meditative states depends upon this, so do not be introduced to pristine awareness too soon, but practice until you have a fine experience of stability. ~ Padmasambhava”

 

Excerpt From: B. Alan Wallace. “The Attention Revolution”. Apple Books. 

 

Hi Anshino,

 

Over the last couple of years I’ve often been tempted to join Damo’s courses and I was just wondering what your experiences of him were? Do you learn online from him or have you attended some of his courses in person. I’ve loved his books but I was curious as to what the actual ‘journey’ was like?

 

Cheers,

 

Miffymog

 

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58 minutes ago, anshino23 said:

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).

This focus on “physical” along with the “psychological” is what is suspect imho. When one is in true absorption, where is this “physical” entity?  The “physical” entity is only important to the point of not interfering with your awareness. Nothing more is necessary, and beyond that minimum viable condition of physical “wellness”, anymore is a distraction, imho. 

 

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55 minutes ago, anshino23 said:

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. 

 

What's your source for that statement, or any of your statements about jhana please? 

 

If you want to freshen up on jhanas from a tradiitonal POV, grounded in Abdhidharma, then you can read these articles. Even traditionally, the minimum is access concentration (upacarasamadhi). 

 

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/gunaratana/wheel351.html

 

http://www.ahandfulofleaves.org/documents/Samatha-yana and Vipassana-yana_Cousins_1984.pdf

 

The strength and intensity of jhana is up for considerable debate, a part of the so-called "jhana wars." 

 

http://www.leighb.com/jhanantp.htm

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhyāna_in_Buddhism#Contemporary_reassessment_-_the_"Jhana_wars"

 

Of course, all of that applies to Theravada, and we're not even scratching the surface of Mahayana. 

 

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7 minutes ago, dwai said:

This focus on “physical” along with the “psychological” is what is suspect imho. 

 

 

Ya gotta love the diversity of the forum.  To you, dwai, a big focus on the physical is suspect.  I´m just the opposite: I start to raise my eyebrows when people don´t focus on the physical.  Maybe different people have different needs, possibly depending where a person is along the spiritual journey.  Also, different cultures are differently focused -- a good thing imo.  I tend to think of the physical as a crystalization of the ethereal and believe it´s useful to work all up and down the spectrum.  Ultimately, perhaps there´s a discontinuity between subtle ethereal energetics and what you refer to as "absorbtion" but that´s a leap I´ve yet to take.

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26 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

What's your source for that statement, or any of your statements about jhana please? 

 

The book I quoted had a source. Maybe look at that? I guess Padmasambhava's words weren't good enough either? :) 

 

25 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

I don't get my Buddhism from books, sorry. 

 

Sad that's the only thing you got out of it, but to each their own. I personally just get a distinctly bad taste in my mouth when people downplay Dharma and give some sort of watered-down version of it that makes you think that enlightenment, shamatha, samadhi, jhana and awakening is something you do on a weekend retreat or it can be easily achieved. I can't even mention how many people on reddit and various buddhist forums think they've attained all four jhanas and eight samadhis.

 

Boy do we have lots of enlightened peeps around. 

 

Quote

I never cease to be amazed at the number of people who think they are spiritually enlightened. It is amazing the number of doctors and lawyers -- very intelligent people I’ve met -- who really believe that they’ve attained the Tao. I once even met a 30-year lawyer in Asia who looked at me and said: “You may not believe it, but I have attained every samadhi state that Shakyamuni Buddha has ever attained. I have experienced every one of those in this life.

Yeah right! Prove to me you even have one samadhi superpower.


All these people who think they’re enlightened commonly have something in common—absolutely no gong-fu at all and LOTS of ignorance that they can overlook the fact they have no gong-fu at all. They have no yin-shen, no yang-shen bodies. They don’t have any samadhi attainments. They haven’t reached the state where dreams are the same as awakeness; they don’t have any psychic abilities whatsoever.
 

Yada yada yada…. I could go on and on listing even the most minor of spiritual accomplishments and they have nothing that speaks of gong-fu whatsoever.


Now to be correct, these listings are not the proof or evidence of enlightenment, mind you, but there are so many documented stages of gong-fu before enlightenment in all sorts of schools, and they lack them ALL. They don’t have any demonstratable gong-fu and yet they all think that they’re enlightened and bypass any of these commonsense identifiable characteristics for ANY stage of accomplishment. And let me tell you, I’ve seen this happen with so many people….including very intelligent ones. Ignorance is THICK, and yet I see it over and over again so I just had to write something.

 

~ Bodri

 

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2 hours ago, Miffymog said:

Over the last couple of years I’ve often been tempted to join Damo’s courses and I was just wondering what your experiences of him were? Do you learn online from him or have you attended some of his courses in person. I’ve loved his books but I was curious as to what the actual ‘journey’ was like?

 

I haven't trained with Damo in person yet unfortunately due to the COVID situation which delayed everything, but I've trained with a highly attained teacher within the same underlying lineage in person (who has trained lots with Damo) which has been quite incredible. There's no substitute to face-to-face interaction. That said, the online program is really great - I can't believe how much Damo is sharing openly to be honest. Have you read his latest book - the Comprehensive Guide yet? It's truly excellent. 

 

It's really tough work though... Like, to get anywhere in these arts you have to dedicate at least a couple of hours a day up towards 4 hours of practice every day for proper progress (building the foundation which takes between 3-7 years of consistnet practice depending on effort and prior development). 

 

Hope this helps? If not, just let me know and I'll say happily elaborate more. :) 

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29 minutes ago, anshino23 said:

I personally just get a distinctly bad taste in my mouth when people downplay Dharma and give some sort of watered-down version of it that makes you think that enlightenment, shamatha, samadhi, jhana and awakening is something you do on a weekend retreat or it can be easily achieved. I can't even mention how many people on reddit and various buddhist forums think they've attained all four jhanas and eight samadhis.

 

I would invite stepping away from either/or thinking. Just because intense jhana is not the only way doesn't mean anything goes. Most intense samadhi/jhana (and I've not heard about this 'for days thing,' certainly is not one of the signs of jhana in the suttas--- I don't think even B. Alan Wallace goes that far) practices were given to celibate monks. But again, there is no agreement in the sources or lineages about how much and how intense. As stated, in Theravada, the minimum is access concentration, the fourth jhana. So to select one and say "only this is authentic" kind of misses the point. Other methods were developed and given to lay people, or working monks for example. 

 

But this doesn't mean the opposite is true, and anything goes. The "pragmatic dharma" is just as unsupportable as the "ascetic extreme," and I take issue with it as well. Ven Analayo wrote a striking critique on that as well. 

 

https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/analayo-meditation-maps-attainment-claims-and-the-adversities-of-mindfulness/17144

 

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2 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

I would invite stepping away from either/or thinking. Just because intense jhana is not the only way doesn't mean anything goes. Most intense samadhi/jhana (and I've not heard about this 'for days thing,' certainly is not one of the signs of jhana in the suttas--- I don't think even B. Alan Wallace goes that far) practices were given to celibate monks. But again, there is no agreement in the sources or lineages about how much and how intense. As stated, in Theravada, the minimum is access concentration, the fourth jhana. So to select one and say "only this is authentic" kind of misses the point. Other methods were developed and given to lay people, or working monks for example. 

 

That's all fine and dandy. But how do you trust a teacher who says they've entered all four dhyanas and eight samadhis (or just the four dhyanas) if they do not have the very fruits of the contemplative life as described by the Buddha? (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.02.0.than.html). You think they're metaphors or something? 

Insight Knowledge, The Mind-made Body, Supranormal Powers, Clairaudience, Mind Reading, Recollection of Past Lives, The Passing Away & Re-appearance of Beings and The Ending of Mental Fermentations

 

 

Quote

 

But this doesn't mean the opposite is true, and anything goes. The "pragmatic dharma" is just as unsupportable as the "ascetic extreme," and I take issue with it as well. Ven Analayo wrote a striking critique on that as well. 

 

 

It's not really about ascetic extremes. It's just a question about what can be realisticallly be attained. Would you rather move goalposts, or would you rather know the truth? Or do you think everything is just relative? :) I mean if I know what something requires, I'll at least be able to work toward it with the proper methods and not fool myself thinking I'm some great samadhi-jhana master and that I should now teach people and get paid to do so! Even if it'll take a thousand lifetimes, it's better than fooling oneself IMHO. 

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2 hours ago, liminal_luke said:

 

Ya gotta love the diversity of the forum.  To you, dwai, a big focus on the physical is suspect.  I´m just the opposite: I start to raise my eyebrows when people don´t focus on the physical.  Maybe different people have different needs, possibly depending where a person is along the spiritual journey.  Also, different cultures are differently focused -- a good thing imo.  I tend to think of the physical as a crystalization of the ethereal and believe it´s useful to work all up and down the spectrum.  Ultimately, perhaps there´s a discontinuity between subtle ethereal energetics and what you refer to as "absorbtion" but that´s a leap I´ve yet to take.

Yes, my friend...different strokes for different folks for sure :) 

I hope my statements don't suggest that I don't value physical development. I think physical development is important up to a point. But is not necessary beyond a certain point. I keep coming back to a brilliant post from @silent thunder where he quotes a section of a book by John Blofeld 

Spoiler
Tseng Lao-weng: 'Your going to such trouble to visit me is flattering. How may I best be of service to you?'
'You mean, why have I come, Venerable? I have been longing to meet you ever since I heard our mutual friend describe you as an illumined sage.'
Tseng Lao-weng sighed and answered resignedly: 'Why to people talk so? Such words are tedious. You will find no sages here, just this old fellow and four or five other very ordinary men who are students of the Way. It must be dissappointing for you.'
'Do not blame Yang Tao-shih, Venerable. He wished only to make me see for myself that Buddhists do not have a monopoly of wisdom.'
'And does seeing an old man distinguished by nothing more than an unusually bushy beard convince you that they do not?'
What could I say that would not sound like flattery, which he obviously disliked? "Venerable, it is just that, as most of my teachers are Buddhist, I am ignorant about what Taoists mean by such terms as wisdom and illumination, and about their methods of approaching the Tao.'
He laughed. 'How strange. Can there be two kinds of wisdom, two kinds of illumination, Taoist and Buddhist? Surely the experience of truth must be the same for all? As to approaching the Tao, be sure that demons and executioners, let alone Buddhists, are as close to it as can be. The one impossible thing is to get a finger's breadth away from it. Do you suppose that some people -- this old fellow, for example -- are nearer to it than others? Is a bird closer to the air than a tortoise or a cat? The Tao is closer to you than the nose on your face; it is ony because you can tweak your nose that you think otherwise. Asking about our approach to the Tao is like asking a deep-see fish how it approaches the water. It is just a matter of recognizing what has been inside, outside and all around from the first. Do you understand?'
'Yes I believe I do. Certainly my Buddhist teachers have taught me that there is no attaining liberation, but only attaining recognition of what has always been from the first.'
'Excellent, excellent! Your teachers, then, are true sages. You are a worthy disciple, so why brave the bitter cold to visit an ordinary old fellow? You would have learnt as much at your own fireside.' (His harping so much on his being just an ordinary fellow was not due to exaggerated modesty, being a play on the words of which his title, Lao-weng, was composed.)
'Venerable, please don't laugh at me! I accept your teaching that true sages have but the one goal. Still, here in China, there are Buddhists and there are also Taoists. Manifestly they differ; since the goal is one, the distinction must lie in their methods of approach.'
'So you are hungry not for wisdom but for knowledge! What a pity! Wisdom is almost as satisfying as good millet-gruel, whereas knowledge has less body to it than tepid water poured over old tea-leaves; but if that is the fare you have come for, I can give you as much as your mistreated belly will hold. What sort of old tea-leaves do Buddhists use, I wonder! We Taoists use all sorts. Some swallow medicine-balls as big as pigeon's eggs or drink tonics by the jugful, live upon unappetizing diets, take baths at intervals goverened by esoteric numbers, breathe in and out like asthmatic dragons, or jump about like Manchu bannermen hardening themselves for battle -- all this discomfort just for a few extra decades of life! And why? To gain more time to find what has never been lost!
And what of those pious recluses who rattle mattets against wooden-fish drums from dusk to dawn, groaning out liturgies like cholera-patients excreting watery dung? They are penitents longing to rid themselves of a burden they never had. These people do everything imaginable, including swallowing pills made from the vital fluids secreted by the opposide sex and lighting fires in their bellies to make the alchemic cauldrons boil -- everything, everything except -- sit still and look within. I shall have to talk of such follies for hours, if you really want a full list of Taoist methods. These method-users resemble mountain streams a thousand leagues from the sea. Ah, how they chatter and gurgle, bubble and boil, rush and eddy, plunging over precipices in spectacular fashion! How angrily they pound against the boulders and suck down their prey in treacherous whirl-pools! But, as the streams broaden, they grow quieter and more purposeful. They become rivers -- ah, how calm, how silent! How majestically they sweep towards their goal, giving no impression of swiftness and, as they near the ocean, seeming not to move at all! While noisy mountain streams are reminiscent of people chattering about the Tao and showing-off spectacular methods, rivers remind one of experienced men, taciturn, doing little, but doing it decisively; outwardly still, yet sweeping forward faster than you know. Your teachers have offered you wisdom; then why waste time acquiring knowledge? Methods! Approaches! Need the junk-master steering towards the sea, with the sails of his vessel billowing in the wind, bother his head about alternative modes of propulsion -- oars, paddles, punt-poles, tow-ropes, engines and all the rest? Any sort of vessel, unless it founders or pitches you overboard, is good enough to take you to the one and only sea. Now do you understand?'
Indeed I did, though not with a direct understanding firmly rooted in intuitive experience that matched his own; but I pretended to be at a loss, hoping his voice, never far from laughter, would go on and on and on; for, just as his mind when lost in the bliss of meditation had communicated a measure of its joy (on my arrival), so now it was emanating a warmth, a jollity that made me want to laugh, to sing, to dance, to shout aloud that everything is forever as it should be, provided we now and then remember to rub our eyes.
...
Tseng Lao-weng's talk of rivers flowing into the ocean had put me in mind of Sir Edwin Arnold's lovely expression of the mystery of Nirvana, 'the dew-drop slips into the shining sea', which I had long accepted as a poetical description of that moment when the seeming-individual, at last free from the shackles of the ego, merges with the Tao -- the Void. This I knew to be an intensely blissful experience, but it was Tseng Lao-weng who now revealed its shining splendour in terms that made my heart leap. Afterwords I wondered whether Sir Edwin Arnold himself had realized the full purport of his words. At a certain moment in our conversation when Tseng Lao-weng paused expectantly, I translated the beautiful line for him and was rewarded by a smile of pleasure and surprise. Eyes glowing, he replied:
'My countrymen are wrong to speak of the Western Ocean People as barbarians. Your poet's simile is penetrating -- exalted! And yet it does not capture the whole; for, when a lesser body of water enters a greater, though the two are henceforth inseperable, the smaller constitutes but a fragment of the whole. But consider the Tao, which transcends both finite and infinite. Since the Tao is All and nothing lies outside it, since its multiplicity and unity are identical, when a finite being sheds the illusion of separate existence, he is not lost in the Tao like a dew-drop merging with the sea; by casting off his imaginary limitations, he becomes immeasurable. No longer bound by the worldly categories, 'part' and 'whole', he discoveres that he is coextensive with the Tao. Plunge the finite into the infinite and, though only one remains, the finite, far from being diminished, takes on the stature of infinity. Mere logicians would find fault with this, but if you perceive the hidden meaning you will laugh at their childish cavils. Such perception will bring you face to face with the true secret cherished by all accomplished sages -- glorious, dazzling, vast, hardly conceivable! The mind of one who Returns to the Source thereby becomes the Source. Your own mind, for example, is destined to become the universe itself!'

 

Edited by dwai
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1 hour ago, dwai said:

Yes, my friend...different strokes for different folks for sure :) 

I hope my statements don't suggest that I don't value physical development. I think physical development is important up to a point. But is not necessary beyond a certain point. I keep coming back to a brilliant post from @silent thunder where he quotes a section of a book by John Blofeld 

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Tseng Lao-weng: 'Your going to such trouble to visit me is flattering. How may I best be of service to you?'
'You mean, why have I come, Venerable? I have been longing to meet you ever since I heard our mutual friend describe you as an illumined sage.'
Tseng Lao-weng sighed and answered resignedly: 'Why to people talk so? Such words are tedious. You will find no sages here, just this old fellow and four or five other very ordinary men who are students of the Way. It must be dissappointing for you.'
'Do not blame Yang Tao-shih, Venerable. He wished only to make me see for myself that Buddhists do not have a monopoly of wisdom.'
'And does seeing an old man distinguished by nothing more than an unusually bushy beard convince you that they do not?'
What could I say that would not sound like flattery, which he obviously disliked? "Venerable, it is just that, as most of my teachers are Buddhist, I am ignorant about what Taoists mean by such terms as wisdom and illumination, and about their methods of approaching the Tao.'
He laughed. 'How strange. Can there be two kinds of wisdom, two kinds of illumination, Taoist and Buddhist? Surely the experience of truth must be the same for all? As to approaching the Tao, be sure that demons and executioners, let alone Buddhists, are as close to it as can be. The one impossible thing is to get a finger's breadth away from it. Do you suppose that some people -- this old fellow, for example -- are nearer to it than others? Is a bird closer to the air than a tortoise or a cat? The Tao is closer to you than the nose on your face; it is ony because you can tweak your nose that you think otherwise. Asking about our approach to the Tao is like asking a deep-see fish how it approaches the water. It is just a matter of recognizing what has been inside, outside and all around from the first. Do you understand?'
'Yes I believe I do. Certainly my Buddhist teachers have taught me that there is no attaining liberation, but only attaining recognition of what has always been from the first.'
'Excellent, excellent! Your teachers, then, are true sages. You are a worthy disciple, so why brave the bitter cold to visit an ordinary old fellow? You would have learnt as much at your own fireside.' (His harping so much on his being just an ordinary fellow was not due to exaggerated modesty, being a play on the words of which his title, Lao-weng, was composed.)
'Venerable, please don't laugh at me! I accept your teaching that true sages have but the one goal. Still, here in China, there are Buddhists and there are also Taoists. Manifestly they differ; since the goal is one, the distinction must lie in their methods of approach.'
'So you are hungry not for wisdom but for knowledge! What a pity! Wisdom is almost as satisfying as good millet-gruel, whereas knowledge has less body to it than tepid water poured over old tea-leaves; but if that is the fare you have come for, I can give you as much as your mistreated belly will hold. What sort of old tea-leaves do Buddhists use, I wonder! We Taoists use all sorts. Some swallow medicine-balls as big as pigeon's eggs or drink tonics by the jugful, live upon unappetizing diets, take baths at intervals goverened by esoteric numbers, breathe in and out like asthmatic dragons, or jump about like Manchu bannermen hardening themselves for battle -- all this discomfort just for a few extra decades of life! And why? To gain more time to find what has never been lost!
And what of those pious recluses who rattle mattets against wooden-fish drums from dusk to dawn, groaning out liturgies like cholera-patients excreting watery dung? They are penitents longing to rid themselves of a burden they never had. These people do everything imaginable, including swallowing pills made from the vital fluids secreted by the opposide sex and lighting fires in their bellies to make the alchemic cauldrons boil -- everything, everything except -- sit still and look within. I shall have to talk of such follies for hours, if you really want a full list of Taoist methods. These method-users resemble mountain streams a thousand leagues from the sea. Ah, how they chatter and gurgle, bubble and boil, rush and eddy, plunging over precipices in spectacular fashion! How angrily they pound against the boulders and suck down their prey in treacherous whirl-pools! But, as the streams broaden, they grow quieter and more purposeful. They become rivers -- ah, how calm, how silent! How majestically they sweep towards their goal, giving no impression of swiftness and, as they near the ocean, seeming not to move at all! While noisy mountain streams are reminiscent of people chattering about the Tao and showing-off spectacular methods, rivers remind one of experienced men, taciturn, doing little, but doing it decisively; outwardly still, yet sweeping forward faster than you know. Your teachers have offered you wisdom; then why waste time acquiring knowledge? Methods! Approaches! Need the junk-master steering towards the sea, with the sails of his vessel billowing in the wind, bother his head about alternative modes of propulsion -- oars, paddles, punt-poles, tow-ropes, engines and all the rest? Any sort of vessel, unless it founders or pitches you overboard, is good enough to take you to the one and only sea. Now do you understand?'
Indeed I did, though not with a direct understanding firmly rooted in intuitive experience that matched his own; but I pretended to be at a loss, hoping his voice, never far from laughter, would go on and on and on; for, just as his mind when lost in the bliss of meditation had communicated a measure of its joy (on my arrival), so now it was emanating a warmth, a jollity that made me want to laugh, to sing, to dance, to shout aloud that everything is forever as it should be, provided we now and then remember to rub our eyes.
...
Tseng Lao-weng's talk of rivers flowing into the ocean had put me in mind of Sir Edwin Arnold's lovely expression of the mystery of Nirvana, 'the dew-drop slips into the shining sea', which I had long accepted as a poetical description of that moment when the seeming-individual, at last free from the shackles of the ego, merges with the Tao -- the Void. This I knew to be an intensely blissful experience, but it was Tseng Lao-weng who now revealed its shining splendour in terms that made my heart leap. Afterwords I wondered whether Sir Edwin Arnold himself had realized the full purport of his words. At a certain moment in our conversation when Tseng Lao-weng paused expectantly, I translated the beautiful line for him and was rewarded by a smile of pleasure and surprise. Eyes glowing, he replied:
'My countrymen are wrong to speak of the Western Ocean People as barbarians. Your poet's simile is penetrating -- exalted! And yet it does not capture the whole; for, when a lesser body of water enters a greater, though the two are henceforth inseperable, the smaller constitutes but a fragment of the whole. But consider the Tao, which transcends both finite and infinite. Since the Tao is All and nothing lies outside it, since its multiplicity and unity are identical, when a finite being sheds the illusion of separate existence, he is not lost in the Tao like a dew-drop merging with the sea; by casting off his imaginary limitations, he becomes immeasurable. No longer bound by the worldly categories, 'part' and 'whole', he discoveres that he is coextensive with the Tao. Plunge the finite into the infinite and, though only one remains, the finite, far from being diminished, takes on the stature of infinity. Mere logicians would find fault with this, but if you perceive the hidden meaning you will laugh at their childish cavils. Such perception will bring you face to face with the true secret cherished by all accomplished sages -- glorious, dazzling, vast, hardly conceivable! The mind of one who Returns to the Source thereby becomes the Source. Your own mind, for example, is destined to become the universe itself!'

 


But the neidanist, and Damo is one of these, doesn’t believe that he is trying to find what has never been lost as in your quote “all this discomfort just for a few extra decades of life! And why? To gain more time to find what has never been lost!” 

 

The neidanist is specifically trying to create an immortal body, which doesn’t exist until it is created, and which involves working with dantians and energies. 

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2 hours ago, anshino23 said:

But how do you trust a teacher who says they've entered all four dhyanas and eight samadhis (or just the four dhyanas) if they do not have the very fruits of the contemplative life as described by the Buddha?

 

The sutta says that these powers may be developed if "the monk directs and inclines it." In fact, the supreme siddhi is always enlightenment, as in this sutta. And the Buddha came down hard when asked to demonstrate siddhis to gain followers:

https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/DN/DN11.html

 

But consider this. A person is stuck in a literal nightmare. They are being attacked by demons, let's say. And somehow, a teacher appears to that person. Now which would be the better solution: teaching the person to fly and fight the demons, or teaching the person that it is just a dream? Once you get a handle on the dreamlike nature, the siddhis really don't seem that impressive. And the siddhis are karmic anyway. Not everyone develops the same ones or in the same way-- look at the Buddha's disciples and their various siddhis. In Tibetan Buddhism, it is sometimes said "if you gain the ability to fly, don't fly over a large body of water." 

 

If you are a layperson, with limited time, you like to have sex and mingle with the stressors of the world, then focusing on the supreme siddhi probably makes more sense than focusing on the mundane siddhis. And you can tell if the teaching is sound due to the diminishment of suffering. You can't really fake your way out of that one. 

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4 hours ago, anshino23 said:

It's really tough work though... Like, to get anywhere in these arts you have to dedicate at least a couple of hours a day up towards 4 hours of practice every day for proper progress

It would be a shame if somone was discouraged from looking into Damo's offerings because somone told them they would need to train at least 2 hours a day to make progress. As Damo said in the batgap interview, it depends on how far you are trying to go with it (like anything).

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1 hour ago, Bindi said:


But the neidanist, and Damo is one of these, doesn’t believe that he is trying to find what has never been lost as in your quote “all this discomfort just for a few extra decades of life! And why? To gain more time to find what has never been lost!” 

 

The neidanist is specifically trying to create an immortal body, which doesn’t exist until it is created, and which involves working with dantians and energies. 

 

There comes a time when the fortunate practitioner and their creation encounter something more pervasive and more certain than either. All construction and agent of construction are released in to the void of unbounded potential. Wu wei is the unimpeded flow of the unbounded. Immortality is the lifespan of the undifferentiated and unbounded and ultimately transcends all form and name.

This is the return. 

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6 hours ago, steve said:

 

There comes a time when the fortunate practitioner and their creation encounter something more pervasive and more certain than either. All construction and agent of construction are released in to the void of unbounded potential. Wu wei is the unimpeded flow of the unbounded. Immortality is the lifespan of the undifferentiated and unbounded and ultimately transcends all form and name.

This is the return. 


I have long held that there is a difference in the aspirations of neidanists and buddhists, as well as their potential achievements. You present a Buddhist perspective, but the neidan perspective is not simply equivalent. 

Something is constructed and produced and developed, what neidan calls the immortal foetus, but its endpoint is not the void of unbounded potential. From my own perspective, it’s endpoint is something that transcends the void, but it is not formless. 
 

IMO it is most likely that the Buddha just never found the way to get beyond the void and the undifferentiated and formless, because he never produced what can exist beyond the void, ie. the foetus that is produced first in the lower dantian, and then brought up to the higher dantians. If this immortal foetus is not even initially produced, and I would reckon for the Buddha and Buddhists it isn’t produced, then the unbounded void can be presumed to be the highest aim, and whole philosophies can be built around this concept. 
 

Edit: I find myself thinking of the form Jonathon Livingston seagull turns into after he perfects flying, the book was written by a Christian but perhaps not that far from the immortal body as envisioned by the neidanist. 

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Intriguing line of reasoning.

 

Where then, I wonder, does the Rainbow Body of Tibetan/Buddhist lines fit in with the Daoist Immortal Foetus?

Rough equivalent, or completely differing sphere of influence?

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8 hours ago, Bindi said:


I have long held that there is a difference in the aspirations of neidanists and buddhists, as well as their potential achievements. You present a Buddhist perspective, but the neidan perspective is not simply equivalent. 

Something is constructed and produced and developed, what neidan calls the immortal foetus, but its endpoint is not the void of unbounded potential. From my own perspective, it’s endpoint is something that transcends the void, but it is not formless. 
 

IMO it is most likely that the Buddha just never found the way to get beyond the void and the undifferentiated and formless, because he never produced what can exist beyond the void, ie. the foetus that is produced first in the lower dantian, and then brought up to the higher dantians. If this immortal foetus is not even initially produced, and I would reckon for the Buddha and Buddhists it isn’t produced, then the unbounded void can be presumed to be the highest aim, and whole philosophies can be built around this concept. 
 

Edit: I find myself thinking of the form Jonathon Livingston seagull turns into after he perfects flying, the book was written by a Christian but perhaps not that far from the immortal body as envisioned by the neidanist. 

 

Actually I didn't present a Buddhist perspective.

What I shared was my experience with neidan before I encountered Buddhism.

 

56 minutes ago, silent thunder said:

Intriguing line of reasoning.

 

Where then, I wonder, does the Rainbow Body of Tibetan/Buddhist lines fit in with the Daoist Immortal Foetus?

Rough equivalent, or completely differing sphere of influence?

 

The birth of the Immortal Foetus is the birth of Awakening.

The Rainbow Body is the result of full maturation of Awakening which transcends form and formless.

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8 hours ago, Bindi said:


I have long held that there is a difference in the aspirations of neidanists and buddhists, as well as their potential achievements. You present a Buddhist perspective, but the neidan perspective is not simply equivalent. 

Something is constructed and produced and developed, what neidan calls the immortal foetus, but its endpoint is not the void of unbounded potential. From my own perspective, it’s endpoint is something that transcends the void, but it is not formless. 
 

IMO it is most likely that the Buddha just never found the way to get beyond the void and the undifferentiated and formless, because he never produced what can exist beyond the void, ie. the foetus that is produced first in the lower dantian, and then brought up to the higher dantians. If this immortal foetus is not even initially produced, and I would reckon for the Buddha and Buddhists it isn’t produced, then the unbounded void can be presumed to be the highest aim, and whole philosophies can be built around this concept. 
 

Edit: I find myself thinking of the form Jonathon Livingston seagull turns into after he perfects flying, the book was written by a Christian but perhaps not that far from the immortal body as envisioned by the neidanist. 

 

Neidanists' endpoint is to become an immortal, which is not necessarily formless.   In modern terms (movie and TV), they are working on self-transformation to become a meta-human or mutant.   The fetus is only half way.  In the end, the immortal can vaporize and re-appear anytime.  It is more similar to the so-called rainbow body of Tibetan.   An Immortal needs 2 criteria - enlightenment + body transformation, together.  

 

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On 2/21/2021 at 10:21 PM, Bindi said:

Something is constructed and produced and developed, what neidan calls the immortal foetus, but its endpoint is not the void of unbounded potential. From my own perspective, it’s endpoint is something that transcends the void, but it is not formless. 

In Buddhism, a Buddha has three bodies, one is formless, the other two are not.  So I don't think it's actually so very different.  Very different process of getting there though.  

 

On 2/22/2021 at 5:58 AM, silent thunder said:

Where then, I wonder, does the Rainbow Body of Tibetan/Buddhist lines fit in with the Daoist Immortal Foetus?

Rough equivalent, or completely differing sphere of influence?

...(nvm)

 

On 2/22/2021 at 7:02 AM, steve said:

Actually I didn't present a Buddhist perspective

What I shared was my experience with neidan before I encountered Buddhism.

I appreciate the place from which you share, and your mode of expressing it. _/\_

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11 hours ago, Bindi said:

I have long held that there is a difference in the aspirations of neidanists and buddhists, as well as their potential achievements. You present a Buddhist perspective, but the neidan perspective is not simply equivalent. 

 

I've heard it both ways. Some teachers and texts discuss it as a building up, and others as an uncovering.

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On 2/21/2021 at 9:05 AM, dwai said:

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

 

I can say having practiced with and without body-type of practices that I prefer the with. Practice is easier if your qi is settled, your body isn't hurting, and you're not depressed. Also, the qi-stuff can smooth out some of the upheavals that meditation can bring. Also, working with qi can be a bit of a shortcut. I actually prefer the Taoist over the Buddhist approach as Taoist can be smoother and more circular than the (Tibetan) Buddhist. But that's just my opinion. 

 

But if realization needs fuel, then one would think when a master gets sick, ages, and dies, their realization would suffer, but this is certainly not the case IME. 

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3 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

 

I've heard it both ways. Some teachers and texts discuss it as a building up, and others as an uncovering.

 

Some discuss it as both, an initial construction and then a transcendance or release of the construct; though they generally focus on the constructive part until that stage is complete.

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2 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

 

I can say having practiced with and without body-type of practices that I prefer the with. Practice is easier if your qi is settled, your body isn't hurting, and you're not depressed. Also, the qi-stuff can smooth out some of the upheavals that meditation can bring. Also, working with qi can be a bit of a shortcut. I actually prefer the Taoist over the Buddhist approach as Taoist can be smoother and more circular than the (Tibetan) Buddhist. But that's just my opinion. 

I've not learnt the Buddhist approach per se. The Yogic approach is pretty well-rounded and comprehensive. Though in my own journey, retrospectively, I realized the reason why I gravitated towards a movement-based system like tai chi (and associated neigong) is that my mind wasn't ready for deep meditation in my twenties. The Qi-based/movement-based approach helped give the monkey mind something to focus on, and gradually meditation started happening. I think the key aspect of this approach is the indirect nature of making things happen. One could advertise this paradigm along the following lines --

 

Can't meditate/sit still? Have a hyperactive mind? Try some Tai Chi/Qigong instead of seated meditation. Tai chi will indirectly lead you to meditation. 

Can't focus on and move the energy inside the body? Try some Tai Chi/Qigong. The movement will indirectly induce the proper energy flow.

 

It takes us to the same place in terms of the clarity/focus of the mind as seated practice and was certainly easier for me. However, what I mean by "just enough physicality" is really to do with not obsessing over physical "objects" (even if they are inside the body). Or even, subtle objects (dantiens, chakras, etc etc) for that matter... That has to do with the recognition of our True Nature. How much effort is needed? It seems as though a lot of effort is required. But one realizes upon the recognition that it was never something that was distant, hard to access, etc. It has always been with us, shining as the light of awareness. No special work is needed to 'attain' it. All the effort was in the process of settling and stilling the mind, to part the veils that hides this pure awareness that is our True Nature.

There IS NO immortal being apart from Awareness itself -- nothing to be attained, nothing to lose. Vedantins would say, "prāptasya prāptī, nivrittasya nivrittī" (attain what was always yours, lose that which was never yours anyway". 

 

The way of the reduction applies to all those things that were never ours, to begin with. The way of "attainment" applies to that which was already and will always remain ours. 

Quote

 

But if realization needs fuel, then one would think when a master gets sick, ages, and dies, their realization would suffer, but this is certainly not the case IME. 

Realization is not predicated on any kind of fuel. It is the fuel behind all such fuels. 

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7 hours ago, steve said:

 

Actually I didn't present a Buddhist perspective.

What I shared was my experience with neidan before I encountered Buddhism.


 

 

Ok, I didn’t recognise it as neidan, it seemed more Buddhist sounding to me. 

 

7 hours ago, steve said:

 

 

The birth of the Immortal Foetus is the birth of Awakening.

 

An awakening in the lower dantian? That doesn’t make sense to me, I relate awakening to some sort of consciousness shift associated with the mind. 

 

7 hours ago, steve said:

The Rainbow Body is the result of full maturation of Awakening which transcends form and formless.

 

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