David W

Variances in energy bodies based on lineages

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38 minutes ago, David W said:

Thank you Master Logray. Can I ask you then why certain lineages base the attainment of perfection through encountering ‚Äėcosmic‚Äô entities within the internal grottos? Are these just abstractions or objectively external¬†consciousnesses? I have heard many a teacher relate that there are no spirits involved only to discover later on that they are very much part of the whole process. I would certainly be interested in learning more about a system that works to purely develop the innate human energies however.¬†Specifically, are you saying the pinnacle of development within Neidan is accomplished without the contact of¬†any beings from the Daoist pantheon?

 

Taoism comprises of 2 main pursuits, the Neidanist who strives to become Immortals and the Magical.   Neidan doesn't depend on spirits or astral itself.   May be some of them receive help from existing Immortals or passer-by celestials, but that is extremely rare and "not in the curriculum" and not a must in the development.   The Magical pursuits work with or fight with spirits on daily basis. 

 

Both of them do worship the same gods/deities.

 

 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, David W said:


I My theory is that these differences are present and fundamentally come down to different pantheons, and thus their inner energetic workings can be different as well. It’s one thing to say that all of the 10,000 things come back into unity eventually, but regardless I seriously doubt the afterlife is exactly the same for each practitioner and that the energy body they’ve developed is exactly the same.

 

 

May be the path dependence theory can help.  Whether the end point is the same or not, imagine a person pursuing a way for his whole life, in a certain manner, it certainly will create a lot of differences from other seekers, in terms of personal experience, and affect physical, mental and spiritual.  A person get rich by doing business and another by selling drugs, they both end up being rich, yet the 2 persons would be very much different.

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5 hours ago, Cleansox said:

Because "nei dan" is an umbrella term, in reality "anything goes". 

The Zhong-Lu tradition isn't the only one. 

Since some Nei Dan practitioners have had immortal teachers, do you consider them "beings from the Daoist panthenon"? 

 

And, which tradition would be considered the pinnacle? 

 

Except, by all means, mine.... ūüėĀ¬†


Cleansox, haha¬†I have no idea if it‚Äôs a pinnacle of tradition¬†or some unknown deep teaching. That‚Äôs why¬†I am asking these very pointed questions honestly...if you have a three part online subscription course please sign me up!¬†Jokes aside, I think I would have to say, yes, if those immortals are considered external individualized spiritual intelligences¬†then they would perform the same role as a god in any¬†hypothetical pantheon. That makes little difference imho, and I personally¬†have no problem interacting with whatever¬†if that‚Äôs the process. In fact, the case I‚Äôm making is that¬†I suspect¬†there are differences¬†between¬†various lineages. This becomes interesting when you consider¬†how these beings relate to different¬†stars. Since I feel¬†the stars provide¬†objectively different energies, if you work with an ‚Äėimmortal‚Äô or any spirit related to a given stellar¬†energetic quality, your internal body¬†will likely be impacted by¬†those qualities. I'm asking what the fundamental differences¬†are within the energy bodies of different lineages if the ‚Äėbeings‚Äô they¬†work with differ as well.

 

With that said it almost seems that the burden of proof should fall on those who say the energy body is the same, when so much of the practice and beliefs are different. 

Edited by David W

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11 minutes ago, Master Logray said:

A person get rich by doing business and another by selling drugs, they both end up being rich, yet the 2 persons would be very much different.

 

That's a great metaphor, because the two people will differ, at least by a little, and probably by a whole lot.

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4 hours ago, Ursus mellifera said:

 

It certainly makes sense to me. All theologies have prayers and rites, and they all vary from each other, if only slightly in some cases. The variations in those would create variations in the energies produced by them.


Fascinatingly, there are some people who think these are merely ‚Äėdeific masks‚Äô and that its simply our local and cultural programming that causes us to experience transcendent things through¬†abstract religious god forms. I do not think any of the ancients viewed the spirit realm this way. I think there are very demonstrable examples of individualized conscious beings involved with the spiritual development of humanity, and I want to understand how lineage differences in Daoism (maybe north vs south) reflect the different trajectories of the energy bodies¬†of practitioners.¬†

Edited by David W

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2 hours ago, David W said:


If you could suggest maybe a lineage or practice that specifically focuses on this issue of developing the inner body to best  navigate this transition, I would be exceedingly grateful!   

 

Astral Dynamics by Robert bruce 

The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche 

Dreamscape: Voyage in an Alternate Reality by Bruce A. Vance (start a dream journal) 

Trance-Portation by Diana Paxson 

Spirit Speak by ivo Dominquez 

 

 

 

Edited by RiverSnake

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On 3/26/2021 at 12:06 PM, Master Logray said:

 

May be the path dependence theory can help.  Whether the end point is the same or not, imagine a person pursuing a way for his whole life, in a certain manner, it certainly will create a lot of differences from other seekers, in terms of personal experience, and affect physical, mental and spiritual.  A person get rich by doing business and another by selling drugs, they both end up being rich, yet the 2 persons would be very much different.


Hi again ‚ÄĒ agreed.¬†These allegories I think are helpful as a general conceptual framework, but would be particularly interested in learning the details about how¬†the different energy bodies¬†specifically relate to different realms and deities of various Daoist lineages.¬†
 

Edited by David W

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I wrote something relevant to this discussion in a post on a previous topic and Nungali wrote an insightful commentary on it:

 

The term ‚Äėshen ming‚Äô has many associations in Daoism. The usage that most interests me is Shen Ming as bright spirits. These sun-like ‚Äėshining ones‚Äô, mentioned in the mythologies of many cultures, have what seems to we humans as infinite compassion and wisdom. They can be felt ‚Äėinside‚Äô but have an objective existence of their own and live in realms of subtler energies.¬†

 

Beginning with the Neiye, various Daoist writings suggests they will come to us if we cleanse our heart-minds. Perhaps this is true. I’d say it’s a mystery why they make themselves known to some people but not others. The Shen Ming choose, not us. They are definitely not at our beck and call. 

 

The Shen Ming do not want us to worship them, nor do they want dependence. They reveal glimpses of themselves only to show their existence. They may give us guidance when absolutely necessary but mostly leave us to find our own way. It’s like they’re there but always just out of reach. Hence, their presence feels like it’s always receding. 

 

What the Shen Ming want is for people who are on this path of shen ming realisation is for each of us to cultivate ourselves so that the seed of our own unique Shen Ming will find suitable nourishment to germinate and grow within us. That germinated seed is known as the Golden Embryo or Golden Elixir. Once grown to maturity our Shen Ming can leave the womb of our body and exist independently in the realm where other Shen Ming live. I suspect this happens at the time of bodily death for those rare few who succeed with such profound cultivation.

 

But our embryonic Shen Ming can only grow to maturity in so much as we are able to nourish it with the pure essence of the wisdom (xing) we‚Äôve gained through a thorough engagement with life. Without this hard-won wisdom essence ‚Äď a wisdom that‚Äôs been emptied of ego and desire; this profound compassion born of a lifetime‚Äôs struggle ‚Äď we would have nothing to offer the realm of the Shen Ming. Working with¬†qi¬†alone can never give us this but it can give us a solid basis (ming) from which to proceed in our engagement with life. ¬†

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My intuitive sense -- could be wrong -- is that human subtle anatomy has not changed significantly in centuries and is largely the same across cultures.  What might have changed is our capacity to consciously access it.  My feet are nearly identical anatomically to those of my caveman ancestors, but I, personally, cannot outrun a brontosaurus.  Your milage my vary.

Edited by liminal_luke
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11 hours ago, liminal_luke said:

My intuitive sense -- could be wrong -- is that human subtle anatomy has not changed significantly in centuries and is largely the same across cultures.  What might have changed is our capacity to consciously access it.  My feet are nearly identical anatomically to those of my caveman ancestors, but I, personally, cannot outrun a brontosaurus.  Your milage my vary.

It's not that the anatomy is different, it's that the development of that anatomy is different.  Think powerlifter vs gymnast vs skateboarder vs chess master vs couch potato.  They have the same physical structure, developed in different ways.  When you add in the higher bodies, you can get some very very different types of development. 

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12 hours ago, liminal_luke said:

My intuitive sense -- could be wrong -- is that human subtle anatomy has not changed significantly in centuries and is largely the same across cultures.  What might have changed is our capacity to consciously access it.  My feet are nearly identical anatomically to those of my caveman ancestors, but I, personally, cannot outrun a brontosaurus.  Your milage my vary.

A lot of ‚Äúaccess‚ÄĚ is predicated upon the kind of limitations that are imposed on us via conditioning. 200 years ago, if someone had visions of deities and conversed with them on a regular basis, they would be considered saints or at least spiritually advanced practitioners.

 

Today they might be locked up in an insane asylum. The limitations are socially and culturally imposed. The more pervasive the culture and cult of individualism and materialism, the stricter and more stifling the limitations (imho). 
 

Deities and immortal beings operate at the causal level ‚ÄĒ we might experience them at the astral or causal levels and the multitude of deities and such beings are essentially all made¬†of the same unbroken awareness. That Awareness¬†(Self) presents itself to the limited self in various forms to help it realize it‚Äôs true nature (awareness/Self).¬†

 

Edited by dwai
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Great thread! I guess the answer depends on just how nuanced are we able to get, when it comes to categorizing and describing the actual structures in question. In the most general level, it makes perfect sense that all energy bodies be the same, as much as one could say that all humans' physical bodies are the same. Even all mammals are the same to a certain extents, and so on. On the other hand, take any two people on the planet and you will be able to find at least some level of quantifiable differences in their makeup. Some differences are purely genetic / inherited diversity, but as noted above there are tons of variables that can develop in one direction or the other, depending on what practices we do and for how long. For example it's obvious that someone riding a bike to work every day is more likely to have powerful legs than someone who only takes the bus. Someone who eats a lot of vitamin E might benefit from a healthier skin condition. Furthermore, "everybody poops," but depending on what we eat, there can potentially be quite a range of colors and textures. Usually this is not a big deal, but is certainly of interest in some specialized fields of study and medicine. Likewise, every life creates a subtle body (or vice versa?) but the precise measurement thereof gets to be a bit tricky..

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The unborn sprit resides in us not built. The alchemy is to remember our true self and reconnect after having a body. We come from no thing and return to no thing, omni presence. There is no specific point or place to return to so called "after death". Without a physical body there is no reference point to location, inside or outside. The subtle spiritual body is formless with no shape, color or form.

 

Being alive we have never left or gone anywhere. 

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25 minutes ago, Wu Ming Jen said:

The unborn sprit resides in us not built. The alchemy is to remember our true self and reconnect after having a body. We come from no thing and return to no thing, omni presence. There is no specific point or place to return to so called "after death". Without a physical body there is no reference point to location, inside or outside. The subtle spiritual body is formless with no shape, color or form.

 

Being alive we have never left or gone anywhere. 

Can you explain what is spirit? I have a primitive notion that spirit is some kind of energy, but then what is energy?

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The one undivided energy, spirit, light, lots of names for the nameless that we are born with.

 

The acquired spirit after birth which is a fake identity and not the boss takes over power divides this one energy and mind becomes divided giving us a warped view of ultimate reality. The fake identity does not want to lose power.

 

Alchemy reverses this. proper order is  original sprit is the host, acquired spirit is the guest. Most forget and do not know they have an original spirit before they were born.

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I see the energy body as a system, made of subtle channels and dantians and chakras, much like the vascular system with its channels (and the organs that keep it functional). It is this subtle energy body system that needs clearing and development. Perhaps we have an underlying perfect spirit, but the subtle energy system that spirit might inhabit is not functional without specific efforts. Channels are blocked, and need to be cleared for qi to flow through them. Dantians need to be activated and developed. Consciousness needs to be brought to Chakras. Without energy work this entire system remains non-functional, no matter how perfect the presumptive Spirit may be. 
 

 

Edited by Bindi

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On 3/27/2021 at 10:10 AM, Creation said:

It's not that the anatomy is different, it's that the development of that anatomy is different.  Think powerlifter vs gymnast vs skateboarder vs chess master vs couch potato.  They have the same physical structure, developed in different ways.  When you add in the higher bodies, you can get some very very different types of development. 


I totally agree that what is intended here is that it is¬†the ‚Äúdevelopment‚ÄĚ plan¬†that has altered over the years. This¬†is only natural to take place with¬†the rising and falling of¬†cultural and religious¬†based dynasties.¬†My suggestion is that it isn‚Äôt that hard to believe that¬†the earliest daoist inner practice differs¬†from the common modern practice. As such, I‚Äôm asking critically, what specific changes could have potentially taken place and how does that relate to the development of various lineages.¬†

 

On 3/26/2021 at 10:30 PM, liminal_luke said:

My intuitive sense -- could be wrong -- is that human subtle anatomy has not changed significantly in centuries and is largely the same across cultures.  What might have changed is our capacity to consciously access it.  My feet are nearly identical anatomically to those of my caveman ancestors, but I, personally, cannot outrun a brontosaurus.  Your milage my vary.


Hi Liminal! I didn’t mean to suggest that the potential of the innate human subtle anatomy has fundamentally changed to the point of having a different idealistic blueprint from older times, only that modern practices could differ a little from the ancients, and thus potentially carry over that difference into the modern energy bodies being created. What exactly could have been altered over time, and how significant could it have been are other questions for me. At the moment I’m mostly interested with identifying how different lineages develop the energy body differently in today’s practices. 
 

On 3/27/2021 at 3:26 PM, Nintendao said:

Great thread! 


Lol, thanks!
 

15 hours ago, Wu Ming Jen said:

“The subtle spiritual body is formless with no shape, color or form.“


Hi,¬†actually I have found that to be a¬†really interesting concept. I‚Äôve read about a variety of middle eastern forms¬†of inner mysticism (sufis also have trainings like this) that focus on dismantling the thought forms within before beginning¬†to ‚Äėwork the ground¬†of the heart‚Äô and¬†developing the inner chambers or inner mansions. I wanted to ask you, what specific layer of the energetic anatomy is the aspect of ourselves which is formless, nameless, and uncontainable in any shape?
 

Edited by David W
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25 minutes ago, Bindi said:

I see the energy body as a system, made of subtle channels and dantians and chakras, much like the lymph network or blood vessels are systems. It is this system that needs clearing and development. Perhaps we have an underlying perfect spirit, but the subtle energy system that spirit might inhabit is not satisfactory without specific efforts. Channels are blocked, and need to be cleared for qi to flow through them. Dantians need to be activated and developed. Consciousness needs to be brought to Chakras. Without energy work this entire system remains non-functional, no matter how perfect the presumptive Spirit may be. 


Hi, personally I was referring to what you would identify as spirit, then. There are a variety of practices I’ve heard about but for example I think we’re all familiar with the meditation process overviewed in the Secret of the Golden Flower. I specifically mean the energetic vehicle which is meant to carry your consciousness after death. Do you think that that has changed, even slightly, in the last couple thousand years? And if it has, what do you think has changed about modern practice?

Edited by David W

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57 minutes ago, David W said:


Hi, personally I was referring to what you would identify as spirit, then. There are a variety of practices I’ve heard about but for example I think we’re all familiar with the meditation process overviewed in the Secret of the Golden Flower. I specifically mean the energetic vehicle which is meant to carry your consciousness after death. Do you think that that has changed, even slightly, in the last couple thousand years? And if it has, what do you think has changed about modern practice?


I don‚Äôt think ‚ÄėSpirit‚Äô would have changed over the last couple of thousand years, I get the idea Spirit is changeless. Say Spirit holds the blueprint for how the subtle energy body should be developed, that blueprint is equally unchanged in the last couple of millennia. Then the¬†only thing that changes is how energy runs in our subtle bodies.¬†

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11 hours ago, Bindi said:


I don‚Äôt think ‚ÄėSpirit‚Äô would have changed over the last couple of thousand years, I get the idea Spirit is changeless. Say Spirit holds the blueprint for how the subtle energy body should be developed, that blueprint is equally unchanged in the last couple of millennia. Then the¬†only thing that changes is how energy runs in our subtle bodies.¬†


I think we are missing each other a bit¬†‚ÄĒ I would agree spirit is our transcendent divine self, probably even related to¬†our connection to the source. As I understand it, the¬†inner alchemical body, or the inner immortal child (golden fetus as an example) is lower on the hierarchical chain of being then the spirit. I would suggest however that while¬†the alchemist works in various realms simultaneously, he can become conscious of his spirit or even source consciousness, but¬†the main objective of much¬†of his developmental work is to develop a subtle energetic vessel¬†which is designed to host¬†the spirit in the next life. The modern era has a plentitude of different methods on how to develop this¬†inner energetic¬†vehicle or immortal child body. For example there are observable differences between the descriptions of the diamond, rainbow, or shining bodies of different schools. As such I am asking, and I think reasonably so,¬†what identifiable variances could there be in how the inner energetic body is developed across the different lineages?

Edited by David W
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5 hours ago, David W said:


I think we are missing each other a bit¬†‚ÄĒ I would agree spirit is our transcendent divine self, probably even related to¬†our connection to the source. As I understand it, the¬†inner alchemical body, or the inner immortal child (golden fetus as an example) is lower on the hierarchical chain of being then the spirit. I would suggest however that while¬†the alchemist works in various realms simultaneously, he can become conscious of his spirit or even source consciousness, but¬†the main objective of much¬†of his developmental work is to develop a subtle energetic vessel¬†which is designed to host¬†the spirit in the next life. The modern era has a plentitude of different methods on how to develop this¬†inner energetic¬†vehicle or immortal child body. For example there are observable differences between the descriptions of the diamond, rainbow, or shining bodies of different schools. As such I am asking, and I think reasonably so,¬†what identifiable variances could there be in how the inner energetic body is developed across the different lineages?


Having been a member here for a few years, I have seen a few different descriptions of subtle energy bodies. One member described it as feeling like the Michelin man, with magnetic rings rotating, another more recently described his energy body as feeling like wearing a sumo wrestling suit. Someone I know personally described his lower dantian as feeling like a gyroscope in his abdomen. 
 

On a more general level, yoga describes the two side channels of Ida and pingala and the central channel with more and more refined channels sitting within the central channel. Neidan concentrates on developing a channel up the back and down the front. I do wonder about this, I don’t know if there is any relation between these two perspectives. I personally experience the subtle energy body as being more like the yoga model. I do recall someone describing his MCO (up the back and down the front) as feeling like spinning his wheels, all empty channels but no qi filling them, he gave up on Daoist energy work and tried something entirely different. Another member here described the front part of the MCO as like water flowing down her front. The feeling of water would indicate qi flow IMO. 
 

Are these the sort of differences you’re interested in? 
 

 

 

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A lovely quote: 

 

"If you break the shell of your personality, you will simply be presence ‚Äď as life is, as the Divine is, just a Presence."¬†Sadhguru¬†

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2 hours ago, RiverSnake said:

A lovely quote: 

 

"If you break the shell of your personality, you will simply be presence ‚Äď as life is, as the Divine is, just a Presence."¬†Sadhguru¬†


Can you relate this to the subtle energy body, ie., how personality is worked with energetically, and what ‚Äėpresence‚Äô looks like energetically?¬†

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55 minutes ago, Bindi said:


Can you relate this to the subtle energy body, ie., how personality is worked with energetically, and what ‚Äėpresence‚Äô looks like energetically?¬†

 

Central Channel (Sushumna). 

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I am also of the impression that the subtle bodies are built differently across different traditions. 

 

As far as I know, it would take a graduate-level experiential understanding of all the traditions in question to be able to accurately discern the differences.  This is an ambitious project.  Best of luck!

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