Asher Topaz

Why do Daoist refuse to accept that nei dan(alchemy) is just another path to achieving samadhi(emptiness). Same way zen, samatha(jhana), kundalini yoga, anapanasati or patanjali yoga. Is it becuz of the energetic manipulation and secrecy?

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@Vinh Ott

 

As for extending lifespan this is really a big topic. I have done a whole presentation on it in fact and doing research at the moment formulating a thesis that hormones play a critical role in maintaining the high-level functional ability and also have age-reversible effects on the epigenetic level. That said, there is a general consensus in the scientific community that aging comprises the system-wide decline of multiple systems in the body along with a decreased reproductive capability. Most research is targeted towards one of the 9 hallmarks of aging, a concept which was launched by López-Otín et al. in 2013 which describes changes that occur with age. These consist of genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and altered intracellular communication.

 

Mind you I am just extrapolating what we know from research and applying it to meditation and Daoist methodology to give an educated guess on how from a scientific angle meditation and Daoist disciplines could indeed help lead to longevity and extended lifespan. For instance, we already know from research that meditation (mindfulness meditation mind you, and not Daoist meditation) has a protective effect on telomeres (through an increase in telomerase activity and found longer telomeres in blood cells), so that is already two targets (epigenetics and telomere attrition). See more research on that here

 

Additionally, we know physical exercise including cardiorespiratory fitness and resistance exercise has positive effects on deregulated nutrient sensing and mitochondrial dysfunction. We know that many Daoist disciplines include physical exercise and also dietary changes as part and parcel of Yang Sheng Fa or 'Healthy Living Principles' and thus indirectly affect longevity targets that way (if followed, mind you). Most people that practice the Daoist arts also usually abstain from alcohol and cigarettes, the overuse of both which are highly correlated with poor health outcomes. 

 

I could extrapolate and imagine that as you move through the Sinew-Changing Classic, or the Yi Jin Jing, in the correct manner and the sinew channels have been built, the functional capacity then improves of the physical body including organ health which reflects in heightened energy levels and clarity of thinking. I would imagine one would see microvascular changes that allow for better blood flow which increases nutrient uptake and insulin sensitivity, known factors in overall health. Along with this, I could imagine increased vagus nerve activity as parasympathetic activity is increased as a result of 'Sinking Qi' and stabilization of attention and reduced mind-wandering (which deactivates the default mode network in the brain) along with concomitant increased concentration which activates the ACC (anterior cingulate cortex) facilitating heightened brain-function. 

 

If we move further and extrapolate on how the targets of 'stem cell exhaustion, cellular senescence, and altered intracellular communication' is affected, I would imagine the Bone Marrow Washing or Xi Sui Jing would be where these things are affected, directly impacting the Jing level through the Marrow, affecting stem cell production. I would also imagine that the XSJ could directly affect cellular senescence through a similar mechanism if it acts on the Jing, as people mention 'age-reversal' effects at that stage of the practice including but not limited to increased hormone production and thus increased strength, vitality, virility, and strength. 

 

Beyond this level, I am sure we move beyond the realm of molecular and cellular mechanistic science such as with the creation of the light body, turning the body into light, creating body doubles and appearing two places at once, moving through walls and so forth, and it is certainly above my paygrade to make an educated guess on how that would happen. 

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The jing is depleted, the chi is also decaying.

There comes a time when it is not possible to recover the levels of youth even when they are supplemented.
I suspect that the pineal gland functions as a kind of conductor with a built-in key for when to die.

Finding out can open a new dimension in neuroendocrine research.

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@anshino23Have you looked in to the anti-inflammatory reflex pathway and the glymphatic system? Daoist practices activate these a lot, through multiple physiological mechanisms. 

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Different systems start in different places, like kundalini focusing on the root chakra, zen on head consciousness, and non-dualism on changing mental attitude, while neidan starts with the lower dantian. Apart from anything else this starting point seems to direct the end result, IMO it’s a primary difference that makes all the difference in the world as to the ultimate value of what can be achieved. 
 

@anshino23, how the body responds to alchemy on a scientific level is a great subject to be exploring, I’ve come across a lot of personal evidence that chakras are related to the glands, and improving chakra/gland function seems likely to be a key area for cultivating longevity. 

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Both schools believe that the basic life energy  is hidden in emptiness everywhere , only that  Daoism calls it pre-heavenly  qi (  a trinity of jing ,qi  and shen )   , and  Buddhism calls it the Buddha Heart .  The gap between the human mind and the Buddha Heart  / pre-heavenly  is  just too huge for people to  cross,  so these two schools develop  respective ways to make it easier . In the case of Daoism , because the pre-heavenly qi  is already embodied  in our body ,  although in its deficient , split form ,  if people follow the jing=> qi=> shen way  to return and take control of the pre-heavenlt qi , they will be free  .  Which is also easier compared with the Buddhist way ( Zen's ) for the Daoist one gets some stepping stone, say qi at the abdomen area,  clear and easy to start .   Of course , in this process , people  have to  ignore the repeated interventions of a  karma- burden  spirit,  whom people always mistake  as their egos  yet are  always in control ,  and the power of the analytic minds ,  their combination is so powerful that it is extremely difficult to be got rid of .

Edited by exorcist_1699
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16 hours ago, Cleansox said:

@anshino23Have you looked in to the anti-inflammatory reflex pathway and the glymphatic system? Daoist practices activate these a lot, through multiple physiological mechanisms. 

 

I am not familiair with the "anti-inflammatory reflex pathway" in scientific nomenclature. Are you referring to the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway? If so no, it is not one of the main targets I look at in my own research. Most of the other targets above-mentioned, when improved, also reduce whole-body inflammatory signaling. Improving sleep by itself improves a multitude of cellular functions. As for the glymphatic system, it is not something I have studied in relation to the Daoist arts, though I am familiar with its relation to waste clearance during sleep and transport functions which both have relation to degenerative cognitive diseases. 

 

In which way have you found the activation of the above-mentioned pathways/systems through Daoist practices - and are you familiar with scientific research that supports the connection?

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17 minutes ago, anshino23 said:

 

I am not familiair with the "anti-inflammatory reflex pathway" in scientific nomenclature. Are you referring to the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway? 

Yes, and it goes by both names in articles, just to confuse things. 

17 minutes ago, anshino23 said:

In which way have you found the activation of the above-mentioned pathways/systems through Daoist practices - and are you familiar with scientific research that supports the connection?

Yes, I teach this subject at a medical university so I am familiar with the relevant references. 

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i was merely listing a few from the top of my head that i rememberered, some of the things that got me to notice the effect of daoist practice was my investigation into herbs i use in a longevity formula which seemed to have a lot of free radical catching effects aside from the general benefit of keeping low stress levels which is defnitly easier said than done , but i am barely scratching the bottom of this mostly a bit time constrained so this is a very helpful post, i am also pretty sure there are a lot of practices that hold a lot of anti aging properties but may lack funding or interest from the teacher flying phoenix and its reported effects of hair rejuvination or fingernail lengthening aswell as wrinkle removing and general increase in energization comes at the top of my mind i can definitly say the effects are real have seen them onmyself and my parents so on the first glance id give it credit(no one will probably pay for making a study of it to observe if its actualy the case or not) ,but i also believe there is a great difference in effect of a master of this art and a beginner( we'll probably never have enough of those to find out the effect between advanced and intermeditate)

Edited by Vinh Ott

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Just adding my 2 cents. This is information that I learned from my grandmaster during a meditation retreat. There are 8 levels of samadhi (jhana), 4 in the form realm and 4 in the formless realm. But before getting into the jhanas, there are 4 levels in the desire realm. Different meditation methods all lead to samadhi but gives different results depending on the approach. 

 

Nei Dan makes the body very strong and healthy. Wai Dan (as in the meditation… not ingesting any physical elixirs) is for attaining siddhi’s. Both daoist methods will lead to the 4th jhana at most. Chan meditation is for removing the root cause of suffering, negative emotions, and cultivates wisdom. Chan will lead to the 8th jhana. However, Chan is a very difficult and slow process compared to the 2 Daoist methods.

 

No matter the method, the minimum requirement to reach the 1st jhana is 6 hours of straight sitting per day (even in nei Dan, it takes minimum 6 hours to form the elixir). Certain physical and psychological changes will occur in each stage and that is the indicator of success. 

 

As for whether Chan meditation produces physical changes in the body, it does but not on the same level as Nei Dan. A Chan practitioner can still get sick whereas a Nei Dan practitioner who reached the immortal stage won’t. In terms of health and energy, the Doaist approach is superior. In terms of meditative states, Buddhism is superior.

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if this is not something that bothers you and you have the time to answer this ,what is your grandmasters opinion on the state of ceasation of perception and feelings or simplified the 9th jhana.i am a bit bothered if something only mentions the 8th afterall buddha learned the 5-8 jhana from hinduist teachers and after attaining them realized they do not lead to nibbana so forgive my concerns.

Edited by Vinh Ott
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