November 28, 2005 at 8:50 pm #8912
Hagar, thank you for such a beautiful response way below. I can see you are not wasting your time.
To tell you the truth, not many people are successful in cultivating stillness for two simple reasons- it’s a very boring practice and they don’t have enough merit and therefore not enough faith.
It is very simple but a very hard practice to go through. You have to strip yourself layer by layer, with all your karmic attachments being exposed, with all your inner needs and desires coming to the surface.
Most people think they became experts after being able to sit for 30 minutes still enough not to look at the clock.
Have you ever sit in stillness of such clarity you that you couldn’t even know if you were breathing and later realize that your ‘blink-of-an-eye’ meditation lasted 2 hours?
Have you ever experienced a pleasurable sensation starting with your feet and later spread to your whole body and became a full body ecstasy lasting long after you finished your meditation, but you haven’t even noticed it because the silence was all you were?
Have you ever listened to the sounds and they grew and materialized and you could feel them with your whole being, filling your every cell with memories of something you long forgot, to the point that even in total silence around you the sound of your heartbeat like a thunderbolt shattered the whole universe?
Have you closed your eyes and could see clearer?
Have you look within and every cell in your body filled with ecstasy, and you cried and talked to it because so dear it was to you, while embracing the impermanence?
Have you ever looked at a person and that person’s life flashed right before your eyes, with all its karmic influences and consequences attached, with all its future losses and gains, with all final fatality of human existence, and you just smiled and said ‘Hi’?
Have you ever gave a hungry ghost some food and saw your own image slaying your enemy in a battle is slowly fading away?
Have you realized that after a while all spiritual paths chosen will eventually lead up to the same thing- with enough time given?
If you have, have you realized that if you put all your experiences together, your single breath is still worth to you more?
And then, you go back to your cushion diligently every day because there is nothing more.November 28, 2005 at 10:09 pm #8913
I have had experiences like these.
And then what?
What about art, science?
We don’t have to give them up–how tragic if we felt we had to.
Mind expansion, and/or perfection of skills, is not the same as operative mode, or they interweave seamlessly, yet require their own form of cultivating intent.
Michael’s argument for ‘spiritual science’ is very persuasive, and he is in good company (e.g., Rudolf Steiner). Emptiness is form, form is emptiness–we cannot escape structure, could not experience formlessness without form, would not know we are going astray without that which causes us to go astray.
But I agree with the urgency of your insistence that to strip down to the bone with the non-doing meditation you are advocating is rarely taken far enough; the lion’s roar of buddhism is a call not to forget the genuine ground and the tenacity and clarity needed to reach it.
In western alchemy this could be equated with the ‘separatio’ or ‘separation’; part of an ever cycling process of dissolving and coagulating, distillation and refinement.
Buddhism has it’s equivalent of this in the refinement of ‘the paramitas’.
Entering emptiness (dissolving) to get the big picture, renewal of the essence, and then coelescing into the ‘post meditation’ phases of refining the perfections (the paramitas). Shamata-Vipassana.
SimonNovember 28, 2005 at 10:46 pm #8915
Well Max, That was very poetic and nicely put.
I have also experienced very deep states through my own practice, sometimes standing qigong/alchemy for 2 hours or more outside in a nice park 🙂 while connecting to internal planes and vibrations.
My big question to you, similar to what simon asked is what happens when you finish the meditation, is it a permanent state, or are you once again faced with the task of harmonizing your physical life?
How can you separate your physical life from your inner states?
Can you harmonize the inner and outer and experience both in each moment?
I believe that to have this to have this ability is a much longer path but a more permanent one.November 28, 2005 at 11:41 pm #8917
or is it just a head trip?November 29, 2005 at 1:22 am #8919
Yes …. most of these …..
and you have expressed it all in the most beautiful way. Like sunshine ….
Rainbows!November 29, 2005 at 1:35 am #8921
There is a misconception going on that followers practicing stillness avoid ‘reality’ and become the outcasts of society. I don’t know where this all is coming from, but the whole principle of following the Buddhist path is to help your brothers and sisters to live richer, happier lives. A lot of masters became famous poets and composers. You don not avoid life- you enjoy it on a much higher level, because there is no illusions or abstractions- just pure experience. You don’t ignore your body- you take good care of it and enjoy blissful states without being attached to them.
In fact, Master Nan takes a very active role in teaching/giving lectures on a variety of subjects in colleges and universities. He is fluent in ancient Buddhist and Taoist Chinese languages and translated countless texts on classical Taoism and Buddhism into modern Chinese that otherwise would never been brought to light. He does live a very active lifestyle and not somewhere alone away from people minding his own business.November 29, 2005 at 1:36 am #8923
)))))))))))))))))))))))))November 29, 2005 at 5:16 am #8925
Thank you for your words. Your dedication spring through the words you write so eloquently. Very inspiring.
I wish I could answer Yes! to more of the questions above.
For me, practice is war, interrupted by short moments of boredom. But sometimes when I get really bored, I realise I am not bored enough. Later I can be in so much pain that I think I am going to die, and then realize that I feel pain because I do not let myself die.
I agree with you that sitting is so difficult because it is simple. Simple is dangerous. Pure sitting also works with a component of yourself that is neglected in other areas of qigong/alchemy; The conceptual mind and the emotional mind. Something quite magical happens when you detatch from the content of mind and just watch whatever comes up; You realize how close to a dream most of what we call “reality” is. What remains is so real.
Chuang Tzu said something in the Inner Chapters relating to practice:
“Be springtime with everything”. I think that about sums it up, both on and off the mat.
hNovember 29, 2005 at 8:53 am #8927
All the best in enjoying your practice!
Likewise, many daoist alchemists became famous poets and composers; sun bu-er being one of them (a woman).
Could you clarify what an “ancient Buddhist and Daoist Language” is? Or do you mean texts/terms?
So if Nan is such an enlightened fellow, and not merely a scholar, why does he “measure” all other spiritual practices against his own, if he has not lived their path? (such as the seclusion school methods of daoist alchemy)November 29, 2005 at 12:44 pm #8929
Thanks for sharing your deep experiences, Max.
Its the purpose of this forum.
But to make it even more relevant to some issues recent re-raised on this forum, I think it would be useful to ask yourself the followoing questions:
1. Did my profound experience inspire me to judge my path/experience as the only Truth? Did it prove anything about any other path?
This is the objection being made to Bodri’s and Nan’s arrogant judgements expressed on their website and in the How to Measure Spiritual Achievement books. These writings literally shoot themselves in the foot, and drive away intelligent seekers who are not looking for a spiritual daddy to make all their judgements for them.
Moral: Sharing what you love about your path works, and inspires others to try it. Focus on what you want to create, the chi will support you.
2. After you have a meditative experience (or one of similar intensity) another 500 times, would it be useful to note all the factors that contributed to the experience? That is all that spiritual science does – how do I improve on my process?
3. Were the concepts of “Emptiness” and “life is an illusion” really the foundation of your experience? Or were they/are they superimposed on the experience?
I notice a lot of very embodied descriptions in your described experience – that others would NOT describe as the experience of emptiness or life as illusion, but merely as stages of subtle body epxeriences as you shift from the physical to the astral. Obviously, as one aspect of you became still, other aspects of you became ACTIVE.
Spiritual science would say that HOW (the PROCESS) you arrived in that state and mange it moment to moment is more important than your conceptual packaging of it. Is belief/faith in an absolute state of emptienss essential to your process?
4. I think you would be a great teacher, and attract a lot of students, if you broke out of the small Zen Missionary anti-qigong/yoga box that Nan and Bodri have built for themselves. That would have great merit, even though they might not like it.
You might have to break “social contracts” you’ve made with them about secrecy. But remember, any vows you’ve made are true for the moment only. If you can “empty” yourself of attachment to those vows of secrecy in the presnt moment, you might actually help a lot more folks find some kind of liberation.
Without all the unnecessary packaging and clumsy languages barriers.
Enjoy your journey,
The days of Secret Societies are numbered, if not already over.November 29, 2005 at 12:52 pm #8931
Can I just say –
>>These writings literally shoot themselves in the foot, and drive away intelligent seekers who are not looking for a spiritual daddy to make all their judgements for them.<< [Michael] - at the risk of propping up western religious dogma - AMEN! Best NNNovember 30, 2005 at 1:34 am #8933
Thank you for your comments.
It’s unfortunate that every time we start this type of conversation it always turns into Taoism vs. Buddhism topic.
As for your comment down below about Master Nan, I do not see it that way. Nor do I see the separation between taoism and buddhism. The wall we built eventually will be broken. All it takes time, persistence and dedication to carry through. And merrit. Be it alchemy or stillness.November 30, 2005 at 6:02 am #8935
I don’t think that you are building walls yourself, in your own practice.
But you do support some writings that build walls, in my opinion.
I really appreciate your willingness to be a catalyst for discussion on this forum. Someone has to stir the cauldron, to see what has settled down out of consciousness….and so it floats to the surface here on the forum. And hopefully gets cooked a bit more.
And I am sure that nan in person may soften his written separation that he makes between Buddhism and Taoism. But his writings about Taoist alchemy and qigong are biased and historically inaccurate, and a spade needs to be called a spade, lest people begin to accept it as some kind of fact rather than his personal judgements. It is particularly absurd his claim about internal alchemy being a confused offshoot of some private letters written during the Song Dynasty.
This is a great danger when you are a Teacher. He could have written about his personal experience with inner alchemy very differently, and said this is my experience, and why I prefer this method, etc. But he has some insecurity, revealed in his need to be the absoute truth. I consider it a kind of spiritual egotism, usually caused by a too-knowledgeable mental body growing rigid.
I know you are far beyond being a Nan clone, and obviously, if you like the primordial qigong form, you have disregarded his advice on qigong.
I am just suggesting you take the next step, and forge your own integration of practices that work for you, and share them. That is evolution. Going beyond your teachers. And change the language to reach modern minds.
michaelNovember 30, 2005 at 4:30 pm #8937
Alrighty then …….
Interesting … so that is what has been happening … just a little slow … interesting how alignment will not really let you go the “only one truth” way. Amazing. The collective knowledge energetic web. The process for this is already started, has been for how long? So much info.
I think I may be a little dense. Took awhile in the sinking in of it. Couldn’t figure out who I heard. Who I saw sometimes. Knew it and then threw it away. Ego I guess, only not the ego that westerners have a tendency to understand it as. The ego of control. Different concept but truth. Really don’t you just think it is so awesome that when one asks for guidance and one gets so angry sometimes and asks for guidance in something tangible – in writing. And then one finds in the next months books and forums and notes falling into ones hands that give you the information you asked for in writing. This rediscovery again of what one knew before but with more intensity. That is something so indescribable. Blows me away it does. So much healing flowing with it all.
Felt it when I grew the crystal and then ran I think or needed time to reprocess. Any chemical change seems to grant a restructuring of emotional, mental and spiritual alignment also. Lot of work that is.
Sorry about the disjointedness of this email. Need a little grounding I think.
I must say thanks to each and everyone of you on this forum. You have given me much to think about … always. Great teachers each and everyone of you are in every way.
Well, back to work.
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