November 27, 2005 at 1:41 am #8748
Anyone out there ever reviewed “William Bodri” at http://www.meditationexpert.com
material? If you read his articles online he basically bashes the deeper alchemy practices. Only reason I bring it up is my brother posed a good question to me is as a newbie to these arts how does one dispute or buy into the alchemy practices?
I personally have faith in the practices I have chosen but, for someone new reading below could confuse someone such as my brother. My question is what inacuracies on this piece based on anyones personal view point’s or expierence?
Take for instance the Microcosmic article segment he wrote:
Recently quite a few people have contacted me about various Tao school, qi-gong, yoga, Tibetan, even sexual methods for spinning the chi within the physical body. They read these old texts talking about the chi flows through the chi channels, particularly the microcosmic and macrocosmic circulations, and feel theyve discovered a great secret and the key to successful spiritual cultivation.
Folks, you dont need to know any of that stuff. Its all just a pollution if you try to FORCE those things into happening. If you cultivate correctly, theyll just happen naturally. Just save up your sexual energies and cultivate emptiness and the kundalini will naturally awaken and all these things will happen.
On the other hand, to focus on them breaks many rules of cultivation:
(1) youre playing with thoughts and sensations,
(2) youre bringing consciousness into the body rather than letting it remain non-local
(3) youre creating mental realms of delusion
(4) it doesnt lead to anything.
End of story.
Did Buddha ever tell you to rotate your chi, or play with sensations of chi and consciousness? He surveyed hundreds of cultivation and meditation methods, desperately wanted us to succeed quickly, and never once advised people to do these practices.
Did the Zen school ever mention these things and say they should be practiced? No.
What about Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu for the schools of Taoism? What about Socrates or Confucius and Mencius, all of whom became enlightened?
No, no, no, no and no again. This is not spiritual cultivation. These spiritual greats never mentioned these practices because they are deviations from the correct path.
First please recognize that such chi flows, and more, will happen naturally when you start cultivating correctly and correct cultivation means cultivating an empty mental state, not a state where you are amplifying or clinging to sensations. Thats just playing with the wind chi in the body (called fan chi in Chinese) and creating realms of delusion involved with the form and sensation skandhas.
All this trouble started because in the Sung dynasty in China, some Tao masters started writing autobiographical accounts of their progress and later students, thinking this is whats supposed to happen in cultivation, started trying to force these circulations into initiation. They basically took the Tibetan idea of the resultant vehicle, in taking the results of the path and trying to make them into a causal force for the path, and applied them to Taoism. But as Nan Huai-chin — recognized as an enlightened master of the Esoteric school — always says, the Tibetan tantric practices usually just lead to failure and certainly to more disasters than can be imagined. They destroy the culture of countries rather than elevate them.
The same logic applies to qi-gong practices, which are just Indian yoga pranayama (breathing practices) combined with concentrations on thoughts and sensations. They never lead anywhere. Yes, you produce some unusual results but who said that clinging to your chi was the spiritual path? Such practices never lead you to get the Tao or even the very first dhyana. Which qi-gong master has the first dhyana? No one! These practices were the most materialistic form of cultivation left over after the Cultural Revolution and the Chinese, with everything else destroyed and the desire to state they had something of their own, promote the heck out of basically nothing.
If you should engage in all sorts of practices where you use your mind to spin your chi, why didnt Lao Tzu or Chuang Tzu mention them? Chuang Tzu said that cultivation was forgetting about material things and the human body, viewing birth and death as a unified whole, making all things equal and dwelling in the formless. All the ideas of Taoism are based on quiet sitting instead of playing with ones chi and sensations. The ideas of Wei Po-Yang, the great Taoist unifier, involved cleansing the mind and retiring into secrecy (emptiness cultivation). Where is there a spinning of chi and chi channels in this?
Master Nan always states that anyone who cultivates a quiet mind will naturally feel the chi start to pulsate through their channels, and that these are physiological reactions that naturally occur in quiet psychological states. Theres nothing strange about them as they only verify the initial effects of quiet cultivation. It was only by the Ming dynasty that the original lofty methods of Taoist cultivation had fallen from their profound sublimity to mistakenly focus on the chi channels.
The Zen school recognizes that these things do indeed happen but since they occur without any special efforts and are the scenario of the path, they are ignored just as is every other type of phenomenon that arises. Thats why the Zen school produces more enlightened successes than any other spiritual school in existence. Its extremely high, which is why there are no qualified Zen students today.
Confucius and Mencius never bothered to talk about these chi-rotation practices either. The most Mencius said is that you should cultivate your chi to a state of fullness (sexual non-leakage once again).
Buddha never mentioned them because they are just the phenomena that happen when you harmonize the four elements of your body. Thats how Buddha explained it. You cultivate meditation, the chi channels (wind element) and the other elements transform and become harmonized. End of story because its such a low stage on the path.
Then we come to all the sexual practices people follow due to mistaken teachings by modern Taoist teachers who say you must swap, borrow, rotate, or spin the chi of the other person. In my new book, Meditation for Beautiful Skin, sex is one of the ways you can activate your chi to produce more beautiful skin so I have to go into these things along with proper sexual techniques. All I can say is that everything out there is based on misconceptions.
http://www.meditationexpert.comNovember 27, 2005 at 2:01 am #8749
For some reason people like to attack Bill’s work like he invented something new. He is paraphrasing the great works of Buddha, Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu. If you want to argue, go argue with them (and by ‘you’ I don’t mean you snowlion. This topic is not new on this forum).November 27, 2005 at 4:46 am #8751
In your opinion of course, Bill Bodri is correct. Correctness seems to be associated with personal opinion derived from experience, and because that is what you have experienced, you are completely entitled to your opinion.
In the end (and the present) it is the experience that counts, and your path will determine your experience, as will your destiny and incompletions, and your practice to resolve them, as it does for us all.
We all have our own opinions about our own experiences, and why or why not we feel the path we have chosen is valid.
I have benefited greatly from spinning qi and virtue qualities, so I would differ from Bodri’s proclamation.November 27, 2005 at 6:25 am #8753
Opening the orbit, feeling qi flow etc feels great. We are not kidding ourselves. We are not claiming that we will become enlightened just because our qi is flowing. But it certainlly leads to a corresponding clarity of body/mind awareness, thus creating the space/potential for sudden enlightenment of the zen type. Buddah himself had said that he cultivated for lives previously. Was it in vain? He was enlightened in the end…………although he did not advocate it to his disciples, it may have helped him.
Osho said that modern man is so full of crap that he needs to start with the body. Empty out the junk, a bit like shaking the tree in the taoist practice.
We are all at varing levels/stages of awareness, some people are clearer than others. Yet the possibility of sudden enlightenment as in the zen tradition remains open to all.
I had a few satories a couple of years ago, before I had ever done qigong, the oneness I experienced was unmistakable, blissful Funny, after that, the harder I tried to have it again, the more it eluded me.
So is effort necessary? Yes and no, honesty will tell you.
What I am trying to say is that I think that if we remain honest with ourselves, and hence the universe, the truth will be revealed to us.
………and has anyone noticed that when you do qigong without seriousness, with a sincere heart, openings happen?November 27, 2005 at 10:31 am #8755
I think personally that Bill Bodhi is suffering what alot of people do who find a great way to practice – they start to think it’s the ONLY great way. I think it’s funny he said “zen puts out more enlightened people” but also that “there are no qualified students today”!
One of my more enlightened acquaintances, Glenn Morris, says to me that if anyone tells you – “Come with me, I have THE way, ignore all those others, they will pollute you, take my teachings alone (and by the way where’s my check?)” etc. you should just RUN. I haven’t noticed anyone bashing the pure empty-mindedness practice on here, so why should he bash the energy practice on his site? It smacks to me of a certain insecurity.
There is no question in my mind that there is something to qigong, to working with energies and so on. There is also no question that alchemical practices have a history of their own, a long and noble one, and I think that possibly there is a difference in aim. People often talk as if there is one big aim sought by everyone, but I don’t think this is so.
It’s said that the Western Alchemist, Fulcanelli, actually became physically immortal through having made the philosopher’s stone (see “La Mystere des Cathedrales”). This is not the aim of a Zen meditator, but it is unquestionably a sacred and holy aim. Aims can be different, and people have to follow their noses and find what works for them. The days when you had to do just “do what the teacher says” are long over. No-one on here should have the slightest doubt or feeling of inferiority owing to doing what they want to do – “I’ll get the big thing in another life” or whatever – just do it and don’t listen.
I connect this whole discussion with the split that occurs often in spiritual discourse between those who believe the physical is worth something and those who believe it isn’t. I have to come down on the latter side.
Just my thortz!
best NNNovember 27, 2005 at 10:55 am #8757
PS, just checked out Bodhi’s site. He sure sells a good game! All this, “The secrets of being very rich, YOURS for just $20!” stuff! He’s obviously studied marketing at length if nothing else – NLP salesmen will be familiar with such techniques as “I feel safe putting you in this product’s hands to get started at meditation”, etc. He is trying to make you feel unsafe following someone else, it’s quite classic really, playing on insecurity etc. I mean come on! This is not a master! He is speaking as to a mark or a sap and not as to a student. Surely I can’t be the only person for whom this lights a red light? And then he goes off on miraculous easy results, surely another brakes-crammer?
Even if he were right, which I’m quite sure he isn’t, I personally don’t touch hucksters! You can’t tell whether you’re drawn to the teaching or the pitch… his main concern is to put you off others by means of your insecurity and fear about doing things wrong, that is his first message, THEN comes the teaching, which seems to lack, how shall I say?… dignity? I never met anyone well-cultivated who talked that way, trying to reinforce societal conforming pressures et al. He doesn’t exactly speak to the soul does he? All he really says is, “Forget everyone else, I’ve studied and I know the truth”. I personally can’t trust anyone like that.
It also is not correct that bodily or inner alchemy is a mere chimera, descended from true teachings that were corrupted through misunderstanding. Historically that case does not wash. The qigong teachings and those of western alchemy are linked and come from somewhere else altogether, and they have to do with observing, conversing with and being part of natural forces.
NNNovember 27, 2005 at 12:08 pm #8759
As Max pointed out, Bodri has been extensively discussed on this forum.
If you do a search on “Bodri”, you will find my views about Bodri’s website analyzed extensively in my April 8,2005 posting entitled,
“Bill Bodri’s views on qigong & yoga”November 27, 2005 at 1:03 pm #8761
Thanks for the info I opened this discussion more for my brother, so he could get some other views than big brother palava…I will search for that document for him..
snowlionNovember 27, 2005 at 2:41 pm #8763
He sure sells a good game! All this, “The secrets of being very rich, YOURS for just $20!”
If you knew how much money he was making from all his non-meditation related projects, you wouldn’t be making this kind of comment. People don’t attach too much value to $20 programs, but they would stop and think about buying the same for $2,000. Sadly, you judge Bill based on his marketing skills- without reading any of his material or meeting him. Bodri never tried to be a master- all he tried is to bring forth the information not available here.
Master Nan Huai-Chin is Bill Bodri’s teacher. You can do yourself a great favor by reading one of his books – try ‘Diamond Sutra Explained’.November 27, 2005 at 3:39 pm #8765
Heya Max –
>>Sadly, you judge Bill based on his marketing skills- without reading any of his material or meeting him< < Well I think that in fact Michael's post from way long ago, which I did search out, answers things very well. However, I am quite satisfied from looking at his site that there is nothing there for me. I did look further into things than you imply, but that beginning certainly put me off! As far as the selling is concerned, I think you misunderstood me. I'm not trying to start an argument, because I don't believe I would change anyone's mind. However, to add to what Michael said, and to answer the original question, and to reply further to the material I saw on Bodri's site, here are ten objections which, although I understand they might not be sufficient for everyone, are so for me: 1. I do not consider it to be the correct method of teaching to 1st of all scare the prospective student at the prospect of studying elsewhere. The most effective teachers I have found are those who recommend wide-ranging experiment by their pupils - from what I've seen on this site Michael is one of those. (Perhaps the coolest teaching technique is that employed by my acquaintance Paul Hughes-Barlow's Sufi teacher, Punditt, who simply says nothing about any spiritual matter whatever - he only talks about sports! He also does things like having Paul drink all day until he is vomitous, and then giving him one more glass of whiskey which strangely sobers him up! But this kind of teaching - shamanic "stalking" - can only take place one-to-one, more's the pity. Find out more about Paul on supertarot.co.uk.) Bottom line is, if there is a spirit of paucity and meanness and orthodoxy about, I personally am not interested. It's a question of tone of voice! When I began learning about spiritual stuff I thought maybe I was wrong about things like that but it's turned out to be the right thing to do for me, to follow one's heart. I mean, how could it be otherwise? 2. It is implied on Bodri's site that the "8 levels of consciousness" can only be experienced via zen meditation. This is incorrect. I refer you to "The New Hermetics" by Jason Augustus Newcomb - exactly the kind of newfangled stuff of which Bodri disapproves, rife with NLP and suchlike. Yet it contains the same 8 levels of consciousness. Furthermore Timothy Leary wrote of the same 8 levels and he was hardly a Buddhist either! I refer you to Leary's works. 3. If Buddhism's mind-emptiness is superior to Taoism's internal alchemy, how come, in the case of the Dragon Gate Taoists (as described in "Opening the Dragon Gate", trans. Thomas Cleary, which is a record of the modern-day training of a Taoist wizard), do we find the emphasis to be on the Taoist techniques, despite the fact that Buddhist techniques are also used? If the Buddhist techniques were superior they would have replaced the Taoist ones in such a long-lived and secret lineage. 4. As Michael says, Bodri's complete unawareness of the "inner temple" approach betrays an unfamiliarity with Taoist work, and only a superficial investigation of its techniques and teachings. The temple approach is found everywhere, and to abandon it one would have to abandon not only Taoism but also Hermetics, Plato and his solids (search for those on this board - interesting discussion), Egyptian sacred geometry and ritual, and so forth, as misguided and unnecessary. I'm not willing to do that! The supporting evidence of their profound importance, which is too widespread for me to give huge numbers of examples - it can be investigated as you like - is persuasive in my opinion, even leaving out of account my own experience. 5. A similar gross injustice is done on Bodri's site (by Nan, not Bodri alone) to kabbalistic teachings, which are caricatured as scholarly intellectualism. Although I am not a kabbalist myself, I am well aware that they are nothing of the kind. Please see for example the web page of Rawn Clark - this link: http://www.abardoncompanion.com/8T-Links.html will do. Again what happens when Nan speaks here is that he assumes, because this other tradition is not his, it must be wrong. The truth is far otherwise and furthermore, anyone who truly had checked the teachings out would realise this.
6. Samadhi is not the sole province of Buddhism. I refer you to the work of the Celtic Bard Taliesin, for example. The magician Jan Fries has replicated the state of Samadhi from the work of Taliesin alone – see his book “Seidways”. Furthermore he did so only with magical techniques and never meditated in his life. And he doesn’t seem to be aware of the term “samadhi” either.
7. Moreover, “samadhi” is an experience that at least two people I know have had, and neither considered it any kind of final objective. One disparaged it, calling it a “fugue state”, and said that she was left feeling she had wasted her time racing towards it and ignored her life in the physical world, to the overall detriment of her practice. It isn’t the be-all and end-all – there’s no such thing.
8. A misunderstanding is shown by Nan of the importance of transmutations between elements – which he says are impossible or illusory. Yet these, by means of distillation, are the processes by which Alchemy in the physical ssense – spagyric, homeopathy etc. – proceeds. Lest anyone think these pratices are ineffective, I refer you to the volume “memories of Franz Bardon”, written by this czech magician’s son and by his student. In here you will find examples of these techniques used to cure the otherwise incurable, such as Multiple Sclerosis. What you learn from Bodri will not include this information. Yet he says that he teaches everything of importance, and that no other system has anything to offer.
If elemental transmutation is possible in herbs, why not in humans?
9. As Michael says, the Buddhists often (not always I know, but here certainly) disparage the body. Why look for medical or health benefits from qigong or alchemy? Your life is an illusion in any case! All I can say about this is – it’s one approach. It’s not mine. I object to being told that because mine is different to his it is therefore wrong or achieves nothing – doubly so, since in my case it has actually achieved at least something.
10. One learns as much from teachERS as from their teachINGS – in the case of a good teacher, more. I trust no-one who tries to start an argument between the various traditions on earth, especially if they are simultaneously attempting to sell something, and also playing upon the insecurities of the ignorant as I say. Buddhism is no less arrogant than other religions at times, and is quite prepared to stamp out unorthodoxy, which shows a lack of generosity of spirit – which latter quality is in my opinion the first qualification for a spiritual teacher.
None of these objections is meant to put off someone who wants to work with Bodri’s stuff, but is meant to justify anyone who doesn’t, and to refute the allegations of uselessness he levels at traditions other than his own. None of the people I respect (for example, those in the above books, links and quotes) stoop to the kind of disparagement offered by Nan and Bodri on their site.
And that’s all I have to say.
best, NNNovember 27, 2005 at 4:03 pm #8767
> If you do a search on “Bodri”, you will find my views about Bodri’s website analyzed extensively in my April 8,2005 posting entitled, “Bill Bodri’s views on qigong & yoga” >
Here’s the link to that post #1412.
This is an important discussion; thought I’d make it easier for everyone to get to the referenced info.November 27, 2005 at 4:37 pm #8769
…from reading Bill Bodri’s book ‘Measuring meditation’ which describes in details how all the teachings- buddhist, taoist, pagan, etc merge into the same cultivation principles that produce results. If you don’t want to buy it, you can go to thetaobums.com and ask them to lend you the physical copy of the book.
There is a lot of misconceptions about what taoism is. To understand that, you need to read classic texts of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu. This is original taoism.
But old teaches and modern ones can only give you tools. What you do with them is another matter. One can give you the precious secret that would lead you straigh to the Tao, and yet you will discard it as garbage because the teaching was free and too simple. The difference between the one who sees the treasure nad the one being blind is wisdom. And that can only come from doing merit and not from spinning wind chi.November 27, 2005 at 6:42 pm #8771
I found advancedyogapractices.com to be helpful in this debate. The website believes that energy cultivation practice is like plowing the field and meditation is like planting the seed–they work best when done together.November 27, 2005 at 6:55 pm #8773
Thanks I received the info off a google search my brother has now been satisfied, this discussion seems like a can of worms.. my view is there is something for everyone out there the good, the bad and the ugly only through a combination of a good teacher and expierence will we find our special place in this chi universe. I have been satisfied at different times in my life with the simple to the more Advance practices, the most important thing is have a great practice and enjoy it!
Thanks for all the replies..
RIP “Bodri Discussion”November 27, 2005 at 7:01 pm #8775
I can save you some time, as I got hold of Nan-Bodri’s book and read it thoroughly, to see if I had missed something in fact. I am open to learning from everyone, even an anti-Taoist demagogue.
I can guarantee you from reading your eloquent post above that you would be even more put off by its arrogant claims to exclusive Truth, its distorted history of taoism, and its superficial glosses on alchemy.
Of course, if you are already a devotee of Nan, it is hard to be discriminating when you read the book, as the sense of overwhelming authority about the vast amount of information presented is bundled together seamlessly with his authoritarian judgements about reality and all other paths.
The book IS worthwhile as a summary of many of the schools of Buddhism, if that is what you seek, but outside of that, Nan’s claims to mastery fall rapidly off the cliff.
Like any inflated mental body that tries to expand too far, it stretches thin and explodes on itself. Nan would have been better off sitting in emptiness than trying to measure all other paths.
If you read the rest of the debate on this forum, you will note my question: if Nan’s work is so definitive and exhaustive, why doesn’t it even MENTION the use of inner sound current, which is at the core of higher inner alchemy work (and evidenced in many widely available taoist texts).
The reply from the devotee, blinded by his love of Nan:
Nan knows about this, but its too subtle to be talked about, and only taught to the secret initiates.
So much for writing an authoritative, honest book….
For those in the know, this is a TEACHABLE method, and I now begin on it with the Lesser Kan and Li.
As I said, NN, don’t both reading the book, it will only confirm your opinions.
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