March 24, 2005 at 3:03 am #3636
I went ahead and bought Bryn Orr’s course. It’s funny how quickly information can come to you with the internet . I got home from work and emailed one teacher(who will henceforth remain unnamed) who gave me his opnion that Internal Alchemy has the same goal as zen. We know from the last few weeks Michael definetly does not agree with that and has elaborated on that extensively here.
So, then jsirit drops this Bryn Orr guy’s name and I go to his site and order his stuff and start reading some of his articles.
Lo and behold, in one of them he writes..
” There are a number of different approaches and beliefs regarding the practice of Taoist Alchemy, just as there are a number of different schools of Taoism, Maoshan, Complete Reality, Spiritual Treasures sect etc. Despite using common nomenclature and core concepts. Such as Fusion of fire and water(Kan and Li)Awakening the primordial treasure(yuan chi)and return to the source,the interpretation of these ideas vary considerably. For example, the work of Master Mantak Chia treats these concepts as techniques of gathering and transforming energy into various states using the physical body as an eenrgetic labratory. This approach is a typical example of Alchemy as practiced by the Southern School or “School of Energetics”. The Complete Reality School, however, view these central tenets of Alchemy as being merely stages of completion of our own mind, which in turn leads to an understanding od the true nature of reality.
To further complicate matters, some sects treat the core concepts as a series of techniques to be practiced in a presice order, while others view the core concepts as a process that naturally unfolds as the result of deep meditation. Regardless of the particular meditative technique used to achieve this state. See my book, Flying Without Wings, for more more specific information about the energetic techniques of the Southern School.
Orr’s language sounds very similar to Winn’s. Obviously, if his Alchemy originates from the same ‘Southern School’ as Chias that would make sense. He talks about Yuan Chi, which along with the 5 shen seems to be the big thing Winn teaches about. The Zen school, and perhaps the Complete Reality School, sounds just like Bodri/Nan’s view . Just do deep Empty Mind meditation and everything happens on it’s own.
anyway, thought that was relevant to the discussion, which is not wrapped up by any stretch of the imagination, and doesn’t need to be polarized or right or wrong. If the ancient Taoists had disputes about thiss tuff it makes sense that modern practitioners end up having the same debates thousands of years later.
I think this would be a good time for me to let go of any judgement about any of it and do the inner smile.March 24, 2005 at 3:04 am #3637
my bad! No Sage complex here!March 24, 2005 at 3:19 am #3639
It was oldh who mentioned Bryn Orr not jsrit.
Oldh..your not Harry pain, are you?March 24, 2005 at 5:36 am #3641
No. I am not Harry Pain, but in “pain”: were have these messages gone?March 24, 2005 at 5:37 am #3643
I just want to clarify my position about Bodri/Nan.
I am in no way opposed to Zen meditation or many of their teachings. I have the greatest respect for many Zen practitioners and totally respect their right to their beliefs and their path, or to the views that emphasize the intersection of Tao and Zen.
I am not claiming that Tao or taoist alchemy is better than any other path, just that it does something different and leads to a different experience and develops a different and useful set of skills.
I am opposed to Bodri/Nan’s Zen Missionary fundamentalist view that their Way is the best way, that all other Ways are either dangerous or a waste of time or are “semblance Dharma”.
I am very strongly opposed to their head-in-sand view that qigong (and yoga) is inherently dangerous and that developing higher in-the-body consciousness leads to false realization. My experience is that qigong is one of the most direct ways for many people to achieve whole body-mind-spiritual health and prevents and heals chronic disease, and can be used to accelerate meditative progress.
I diagree with any underlying metaphysic (Buddhist or HIndu or some Tao schools) that claims incarnation itself is CAUSED by evil behavior in a past life.
Evil – defined by me as excessively willed contraction of the Life Force – may complicate the existing process of incarnation and delay the resolution of suffering, but I don’t believe it causes it. I diagree with any metaphysic that promotes suffering as the primary reality of physical life.
I totally respect any Zen practitioner who wants to expound on their realization, their particiular set of disciplines, and promote it as a viable path. I believe every spiritual path has something useful to contribute to what I believe will ultimately be synthesized from all paths, what I call spiritual science. That science will not be controlled by any guru, master, or deity, but by the individual adept in her/his relationship to the life force.
And I also recognize that spiritual science has its limitations and cannot penetrate completely into the primordial dimension of experience, even though it can make it more accessible. In short, the Knower cannot Know the Unknown, by definition.
I agree that all paths arise from the Unknown, but to say that they are same because they arrive back at the Unknown is not semantically accurate. Once they arrive back at the Unknown or Great Mystery – debatable in itself as to what extent that is consciously possible – they are no longer on a path.
The discussion of paths involves the process or journey. The core debate here is whether there is any absolute unchanging state (more Buddhist/Hindu schools) other than the process of Change itself (more Tao schools).
Finally, please note that at the request of a poster I have deleted his own post and that unfortunately has caused several posts below it to disappear.
That is simply the limitation of the software here, not trying to suppress anyone’s views.
MichaelMarch 24, 2005 at 6:16 am #3645
Interesting you bring this up now I was just thinking the other day when you said that at your Fusion class in Asheville . Something about how stopping or contracting the life force was your best definition of evil. Is this dark side originate in Fear as Master Yoda says in star wars “Fear is the path to the darkside”. Or is it about not listening to the shen, not letting them be open and exresss their will.
It suprises me when even advanced meditators express this fear/hesitation/contraction .like why can’t we all jsut be opn and in the light?
I guess when you get to a certain level of awareness these things just seem obvious to you, huh?March 24, 2005 at 12:58 pm #3647
The life force is expanding and contracting all the time, this is True Yin and True Yang. When the contraction is forced or frozen by force of will, so it cannot return, that is evil.
Evil is real, and is the source of all fear. Being aware of evil and being afraid of it are two entirely different responses. Evil is self-limiting, its sphere of influence naturally contracts itself – if it expands too much it begins to behave in accordance with yin-yang cycles.
Fear feeds evil, neutrality offers it a space to expand into (become yang, get back into cycle).
Excess yang could be considered a precursor to evil, as it flips and becomes excess yin. If yin and yang keep cycling between extremes it is not evil, merely unstable and liable to produce suffering or disease. Evil requires intent/will to contract the life force in opposition to the natural phase of expansion.
In a criminal murder trial, its the difference between first degree murder at one extreme and manslaughter (accidental killing) at the other.
michaelMarch 24, 2005 at 3:54 pm #3649
I don’t know much about Orr. I read some of his free essays on his site and thought they were simplistic.
But I really like that quote you copied, and it is in accord with my own understanding of the various divisions.
What is his “course” all about?March 24, 2005 at 7:06 pm #3651
Taoist Internal AlchemyMarch 29, 2005 at 7:26 am #3653
can we expand this into world affairs? eg china? it’s in a state of expansion, or “opening up” as they call it. economic and diplomatic expansion causes adjustments to the fear mongers who were at their maximum contraction under Mao? i just ask because i’m immersed in the process right now and seem to be observing this going on. you, michael, spend a lot of time here too. it seems as though the expansion is getting out of control of the contractionists. by being neutral, that is by trading and exchanging with this large but withdrawn nation, has the neutral space been created fro its regime to now expand in and return to the cycle? change is inevitable.
we also saw this with the former soviet bloc. it just got too big and couldnt support itself. hitler too tried to expand germany and it lasted a very short time. does this imply an approach to tyranny adn aggressive nations in terms of diplomacy and inter’l relations?
the US has been expanding for a long time. s it now facing the inevitable contraction? as all world powers have?May 19, 2005 at 2:33 am #3655May 19, 2005 at 2:37 am #3657
Hi and thanks for the feedback. My articles are indeed simplistic as they serve as an introduction to Taoist practice that even the layman can benefit from. Taoist practice shouldn’t get too cerebral and complex or it loses much of it’s benefit.
“A mind ever free from its own process beholds the true miracle of Tao
A mind ever lost in its own process sees only the forms of the world”
Dao De Jing
Bryn OrrMay 19, 2005 at 2:47 am #3659
The info contained in Flying without Wings is a fair representation and overview of the Southern school of Alchemy that comes mainly from the Huang Ting Ching or ‘classic of the yellow court’. Saso translates this as ‘Golden Pavillion’, also part of the title of one of his books, which is a translation of the ‘huang ting ching’. I have always found that my knowledge was deepened by reading the Taoist cannon, so I say ‘return to the source’ and read the huang ting ching for a better understanding of southern alchemy.
BrynAugust 18, 2005 at 1:20 am #3661
I trained with Bryn orr on and off for about 2 years and I can assure you that the simplistic view you found him to have, is so that the information can be understood. But, rest assured, if you feel that you need complex explanations, he (in my opinion) has the best knowledge of martial applications/Qi gong/meridians/history etc out of anyone I know by a long shot. I think a great teacher can make a complex subject simple and be able to be understood by the person learning the material. For what it is worth, I would recommend any material written by Bryn Orr and if you get the opportunity, one on one tuition or any seminars that he is holding.
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