April 7, 2005 at 11:32 pm #4100
First thank you for not removing that post so many other people may benefit from it. I also thank you for your time giving such a detailed response to it.
I’ve made a new thread here instead of responding to that post, so if you want, you can easily delete it without any harm to other threads.
I would like to make this post as much productive as possible , so I will comment on the spiritual matters omitting any personal stuff.
< << I absolutely agree with most of what is said in the sutra cited <<< above, about relying on one's experience, that is the essence <<< of Taoist spiritual science. <<< Of course I take exception with the judgmental conclusion near <<< the end that this attribute is unique to Buddhism . Its a very <<< clever mental sophistry - elevating the teaching by pretending <<< to give to people a freedom that they always had: <<< "See for yourselves whether there is any other religious teacher <<< in the world who has given this highest freedom to his disciples <<< and audiences!" <<< I say, why even pretend to give what cannot truly be taken away? <<< Maybe folks back then were still into the master-chela type mental <<< slavery, but most people on the path of Tao are not. So no big <<< revelation here. --------- It's true- it is not unique to Buddhism. From my personal experience, Buddhist masters would never give any kind of freedom. Simply saying, there is no "giving" nor "taking" of anything. It's very common for them to end their Dharma talks with a sentence like: "But everything I just told you is mental BS. Go and verify it all for yourself." The same goes for Shakyamuni Buddha when he was explaining the expedient methods to Enlightenment in "Diamond Sutra": "Don't believe me, but test everything I say..." --------- <<< But I am a bit confused. Why does Bill Bodri rely so heavily on <<< saying repeatedly, "Well, Nan is the most enlightened teacher <<< around, and if he says it, it must be true. And that is all you <<< need to know about that issue. That is why you don't need to do <<< qigong or yoga, or anything besides Emptiness Meditation." <<< Is that telling people to rely on their own experience? --------- Master Nan teaches what he believes through his own experience is the correct method to cultivate the Tao. He omits any practices that he thinks are redundant or useless. Besides empty mind meditation, he also teaches Ch'an training, Zhunti mantra, 9 Bottle Breathing and advocates Hungry Ghost Feeding. (Asclepius- you can find some answers to your questions on "meritorious deeds" here: Hungry Ghost Feeding
One of Nan’s favorite comments is something close to this: “Drop everything. Drop even the “drop it”. Don’t listen to anything I’m saying. Let it all go.” He doesn’t teach people to rely on their own experiences- he teaches them how to VERIFY what all the sacred scriptures say through their personal experiences.
<<< My comments, all based on MY EXPERIENCE, but that have so apparently <<< enraged Max were in response to false conclusions that Nan and Bodri <<< published in their book How to Measure Spiritual Realization. <<< Its no use to hide behind some sutra if you really believe differently <<< and publish that. Actions speak louder than words. The obvious fact is <<< that Nan and Bodri's book doesn't follow their own teaching of this <<< sutra, but is instead filled with hidden judgments about what people <<< WILL experience, extrapolated out way beyond their personal experience. --------- Like I said before, Master Nan teaches techniques he knows through experiential understanding are able to help a human being cultivate the Tao. Those techniques are based on success from numerous other Masters before him who have done the same, from the Buddhist tradition and other traditions as well. All he provides is the information, and then he tells you: Now go and verify it for yourself. As many students had questions about what can happen to the body while the transformation of jing, chi and shen takes place, Nan produced a reference based on his and other people experiences and scriptures. These are not judgments but careful observations. --------- <<< If Bodri had just said, look, I tried doing qigong, and had these <<< problems, and found myself trapped in stupor of chi, or didn't know <<< how to refine it into the pre-natal or primordial level so I felt <<< stuck, or whatever, that is fine. That is sharing. But instead he, <<< using Nan as authority, makes claims of omniscience, that qigong <<< and taoist alchemy are dangerous for everyone, that the progress <<< of good health or their kind of realization of immortality is illusory <<< for everyone because it doesn't meet up with their dharmic definition <<< of Emptiness Only. --------- Again, from all the conversations I've had with Bill, he never ever doubted qigong or alchemy can help a person to become healthier and happier human being. If you can point me to a concrete reference on being otherwise, I would surely like to see it. Empty mind meditation, as a starting practice, can accomplish the same goal. --------- <<< This is really a confession that Nan tried to go that route and failed, <<< and Bodri is just mouthing what his teacher tells him - NOT based on <<< EXPERIENCE at all. And I posted the 3500 scientific studies showing the <<< real health benefits of qigong, the doubling of lifespan, about which <<< Max and Plato shut up completely. --------- I believe in my last conversation with Craig yesterday he asked me the same question, and I will give you the same response as I did to him. I got great benefits from HT practices. I never questioned their usefulness when it comes to health and longevity. As for Master Nan and Bill Bodri, I don't have any information about their experiences with alchemy and qigong, so I can't comment on this. I don't know. --------- <<< Isn't that EXPERIENCE? Doesn't the sutra tell you to honor people's <<< right to their own EXPERIENCE? Are they honoring other's right to <<< EXPERIENCE? No. They are judging it, and ludicrously telling them <<< that the benefits are not real. Because until you believe in Empty <<< Mind, even your experience of good health and chronic illness going <<< away with qigong is illusory. --------- Yes, I agree, the sutra tells us to honor people's rights to their own experiences. Bill and Master Nan are not beating anyone or putting them in chains and torturing them so they accept what they say is true. They share the information. If people don't like what they hear, they can always go somewhere else... and they do. Judging happens every instance. This post is full of judgments. And even if I believe in both Empty Mind and qigong, I will get old and die. The question is, how using tools like Empty Mind or Alchemy helps me to overcome that? Should I bother with my body so much and invest so much time and energy to cultivate it if it eventually dies anyway? --------- <<< The ironies grow even more heavy. Nan borrows heavily from the <<< Taoists, saying the orbit will happen naturally, and all the pathways <<< of the eight channels will open. And listen to Plato exclaiming how his <<< Yang chi is arising within the cauldron - another statement that the <<< pathways mapped out by Taoist alchemists over the millennia will open <<< naturally. That's fine as far as it goes- the Taoists are all in favor <<< of natural unfoldment, the alchemists just figured out ways to speed <<< the process up. Neither I, nor they are not "inventing" anything new, <<< just imitating Nature, the Great Alchemist. --------- If the Taoists are all in favor of natural unfoldment, why do they try to speed the process up? Would it be correct to say, if you want a natural unfoldment of your alchemical processes within the body, you don't try to force things to happen or imitate anything? --------- <<< "Sitting in Stillness", the hallmark of zen practice, is considered by <<< Taoist alchemists to be a preliminary method, of clearing the post <<< natal mind before engaging in deeper levels with the lifeforce. <<< You can read this in the exegesis of the most famous text on this <<< practice by Livia Kohn, in one of her early books called Seven Steps <<< to the Tao. (Now out of print I believe). She analyses the entire <<< main famous text about the practice of "Sitting in Oblivion", and <<< it says clearly that it is preliminary to higher neidan practice. --------- I agree- the Empty mind meditation is a preliminary practice to move on to the states beyond Emptiness and Fullness, and even beyond those. Thank you for giving all this information. --------- <<< The simple reality, as I have explained previously, is that if you do <<< absolutely nothing your life will unfold at the pace of all post natal <<< life. Qigong and Alchemical methods accelerate the process - but need <<< to be done in proper sequence, or you will be held back by the life <<< force until you are ready. --------- I agree with that. Buddhist path, on the other hand, as taught by Master Nan, teaches the specific meditation practices that support and transform life force, but unlike Alchemy, the transformations within the body will happen on their own, so you don't need to know the sequence nor the timing. --------- <<< But there is another point that Nan is sliding past: the Buddha didn't <<< teach the orbit or the eight extraordinary vessels or about yang chi <<< arising in the cauldron or all the other Taoist benefits he is claiming <<< to Empty Mind Only. <<< Tantric sciences and the notion of chakras within the body didn't <<< arrive or re-emerge from the collective memory in India until a <<< thousand years after Buddha lived - in the 5th to 7th centuries AD. <<< I know, because I have sat at conferences with the best tantric <<< scholars in the country. We need the scholars to keep the inflated <<< claims of metaphysicians honest. The truth is, no one knows what <<< Buddha said, as everything was written down a hundred years later.... <<< so no use getting lathered up and posting porn because someone has <<< disagreed with the probable MISAPPLICATION of the writings of one of <<< his disciples. --------- These comments about what Buddha taught or didn't are just speculations so I will not address them. If you read all the sutras, especially Diamond Sutra, you will not find the reference to any cultivation methods involving what you mentioned. --------- <<< (By the same count, there are arrays of Daoist scholars in the west <<< who know far more about Taoist texts and history than Nan, who clearly <<< has demonstrated his knowledge of Taoism is superficial, and that is <<< reflected by his reputation in China. But guru-yoga types have <<< difficulty allowing for the possible experience that their teacher is <<< fallible. --------- As with many known teachers, there are opponents as well as supporters. You just can't please them all. And why try? --------- <<< So Nan is playing a double game - trying to claim the benefits of Taoist <<< practice, but pretending he is a pure original Pali Budhist which <<< didn't have chakras or inner body channels. And at the same time that <<< he knows more about Tao than the modern Taoists from whom he briefly <<< learned Tao. <<< I have no doubt that "Sitting in Emptiness" is a fine Taoist inspired <<< meditation that will accelerate natural energetic processes. It is a <<< way of dissolving the influence or fixed patterns of the shen. You <<< empty them out, so they can't play their old monkey mind patterns out. <<< It s a very useful TECHNIQUE. --------- Yes, emptiness meditation is a very good technique to accelerate natural energetic processes. --------- <<< The Inner Smile is a heart centered version of that dissolving process. <<< If you listen to my CD on it, after you move through all biological <<< systems and the five vital organ spirits, the blood, bones, and skin, <<< you dissolve the sense of their physicality and shift into non-physical <<< space. And rest there, smiling to the next level of subtle self - your <<< energy body - that sits in that apparently "empty" space. --------- The Inner Smile is an amazing meditation and will do a lot of wonderful things for anyone practicing it. It is very close to the empty mind practice and will turn into an EM practice if you practice it long enough. --------- <<< And eventually, with proper training, you will move beyond the vehicle <<< of the Energy body into the spirit body. And the spirit body functions <<< on inner sound frequencies, something I haven't seen mentioned by Nan. <<< Which makes me VERY suspicioius of his onmiscience about all spiritual <<< practice. --------- He talks about it using different language describing higher stages of cultivation. Also, some information about those stages is not shared freely with the public because it is simply pointless- no one can relate to it. --------- <<< There are many reasons I prefer the inner smile instead of "sitting in <<< emptiness" as the preliminary practice. I believe it was evolved by <<< later Taoist alchemists over simple emptying, because of its many <<< wonderful qualities: <<< 1. It keeps the meditator more heart-centered. <<< This becomes increasingly important as the adept progresses to realize <<< their role as mediator between Heaven and Earth. --------- Buddhist view is you don't need to attach yourself with any role or a though form- even as high as this, because of a danger of falling into spiritual stagnation or torpor. --------- <<< 2. It actively embraces all the disfunctional shen and one's pain and <<< suffering before dissolving it back into neutral. That's a bit more <<< loving than telling the pain that you aren't real, you are empty, go <<< away. For that reason, I feel its more integrative long term. But if <<< emptying is the only thing that works, no opposition from me. --------- In empty mind meditation, we are not telling pain (or anything else) that it's not real, for it will be just giving more energy to the problem. The correct way to do this is just to observe without any action on your part. Just like watching the clouds, nothing to do. You do it with pain, thoughts or visions- anything. Eventually, without enough energy to support them, they melt away. --------- <<< 3. Most Westerners will consciously or unconsicously always be in <<< resistance to the very notion of emptiness. This is the language <<< problem I described elsewhere. I feel that the Inner Smile does it <<< better by focusing on unconditional openness to the original chi, <<< or to the inner nature of body, self and others. Neutral chi field <<< allows for more accurate and truthful intention than continouous empty <<< chi field. --------- I agree that most westerners have trouble with an idea of emptiness or any serious Internal Alchemy cultivation for that matter. Most of us came into Taoist Alchemy under the notion of Sexual mastery- being able to satisfy your partner and yourself on a completely different level. Those two meditations are of two different natures that can transform into one another in a blink of an eye. I would view Inner Smile meditation as a sort of one pointed concentration dealing with the heart energy. One of the best one pointed concentration methods I've seen. --------- <<< 4. Emptiness taken as a metaphysic, instead of a method, can lead to <<< psychological feelings of depression in westerners. I have seen this in <<< my clients. --------- Yes, absolutely true. It is just a method that will be discarded when it served its purpose. --------- <<< 5. Sitting in Emptiness was evolved by meditators living in ancient <<< times, i.e. much closer to Nature and natural cycles. So when you <<< emptied yourself, Nature would fill the vacuum, and things opened up <<< quickly inside your body. <<< But modern people live in cities filled with craziness and false fields <<< of chi and negative thought forms. So there is a danger of that <<< negativity rushing in as you empty yourself. That may be one benefit of <<< Zendo focus on group meditation, and setting a strong protective field <<< in which to let go. Tao alchemy offers sophisticated ways to create <<< that protected field energetically. One is by fusing everyithing back <<< to the center. --------- Very good comment. The surroundings are very important when meditating, and that doesnt just apply to Buddhist practices. Eventually, if you practice long enough, the place will be well protected from foreign energies, even in NYC. --------- <<< I became acutely aware of this problem of environment affecting <<< meditation when a western vipassana meditator came to me. He had spent <<< 9 years in a Thai monastery having wonderful meditations simply letting <<< go and watching within. He moved back to Boston, and doing the same <<< practice, began having severe crippling headaches. He came to me for <<< advice. I told him he was merely witnessing what was present within the <<< chi field of a modern city. I suggested he use intention and begin <<< flowing his awareness and breath in the orbit. It immediately balanced <<< him out and solved the problem. <<< Sure, you could say he didin't know how to empty himself of the city's <<< bad chi, that he was a poor victim of Semblance Dharma, because he <<< didn't know Nan's superior method that works for everyone. That is <<< quibbling abouit methodology. Whatever works best in short run is often <<< needed, and if the pattern, like the orbit, also will serve in the long <<< run even better. If someone wants continuous emptiness from the life <<< force and can get it, that's fine too. Its not what I want, or most <<< people want. --------- I can't speculate about the man because I haven't met him. Your last comment about "If someone wants continuous emptiness from the life force and can get it, that's fine too" puzzles me. Are you saying it is your understanding that if one practices Emptiness meditation, he empties himself out of the life force literally? Please be so kind to explain this. --------- <<< 5. For those who have trouble , i.e. deeply disturbed shen, I suggest <<< they drop all techniques until the danger of false yang chi subsides or <<< becomes manageable. This is where sitting in stilness practice is best. <<< But sitting in stillness and doing alchemical practices are not <<< mutually exclusive. It is all a question of timing, as with everything <<< in alchemy. --------- To me, it's more a question of merit and wisdom, all rolled into destiny. But your view is good too. --------- <<< 6. If Max or Plato or Nan or Bodri disagrees with what I have to say, <<< I am not going to send you degrading porn pics or attack your site like <<< a group of Zen Nazis or KKK Buddhists. Or disturb posters and imitate <<< others falsely. <<< If you are really upset, and need to harass some one as your method of <<< emptying out sick chi, Just call me and rant, or send me an email. If <<< its halfway intelligible, I will reply. I hate this as much as you do. Metta.April 8, 2005 at 12:00 am #4101
HAIL RONNIETSU!!!!!April 8, 2005 at 5:43 am #4103
Hey Ron. You are quite a character, but honestly: I do not think this did Max post any good…April 8, 2005 at 5:45 am #4105
I’ve been watching this debate from a distance, and I just want to humbly add a question to both Mr. Winn and Max/Plato/RJ/others:
Isn’t this a bit of a shallow debate? I remember reading a book of an English diplomat, J Blofeld living in pre-communist China(Book:Secret and Sublime; Taoist Mysteries and Magic), who after a decade of dedicated Buddhist practice, wanted to take a tour of the Taoist holy sites and monasteries there to learn more about Taoism.
After many encounters with numerous teachers, adepts and lineages there, he finally met an unknown sage who was a former monk at the White Cloud Monastery in Beijing. He admitted before meeting him that he had not yet encountered any Taoists who showed the kind of realization that his Buddhist teachers had. But sitting with this man, he understood that he finally found a man who had found the Way. He was full of questions and asked him if he had any way of explaining the difference in methods and techniques between the Buddhist and Taoist paths. The man just snuffed and said something like: ” Methods, techniques! So you are interested in these nitty-gritty details! What’s the use? You have already excellent teachers.I am dissapointed in you. In the end, what really matters is understanding that your mind is the Universe. What use do you have then for methods?
So basically, what is the debate all about? That there is a time for doing and then a time for non-doing?
hApril 8, 2005 at 5:47 am #4107
Pofff…………..April 8, 2005 at 6:57 am #4109
Thanks for the thoughtful post and reminder of Blofeld, who I also read and respect.
This is raising the core question of method as doing, vs. surrendering to universal mind as non-doing. They are not in opposition.
My opinion is that spiritual method is useful, if not necessary, in almost every human case to achieve wu wei.Wu wei does not mean no effort. It means no coercive effort.
The main reason we need spiritual science is the cycle of material science we are in, where the global religion is worship of Technology. So the only bridge between scientific technology and religion that will succed during this cycle is spiritual science.
Otherwise, the gap between irrational religious belief vs. rational scientific method will not be bridged.
Of cousre the Chinese Taoist adept is right- there is only one mind, we are functional expressions of it.
But that one Mind is/has a “macrocosmic” will, and that will is also present in the microcosmic will of each human. So each human has the CHOICE of whether to align with the universal will – OR NOT.
Heaven and Earth remain always in alignment with Tao, but Humanity is not necessarily in alignment because of this free will. Or more accurately, humanity as a whole is in alignment, but individual humans are not always.
Using spiritual method accelerates the return to harmony and balance.
Without spiritual method, the long cycles of the life force will inevitably return things to balance and harmony. But meanwhile, humans are suffering, and heaven and earth also suffer because of it. So they gracefully give spiritual methods to humans to grow up more quickly.
Without spiritual method, we are in a cycle where there is a serious danger of negative spiral due to false reliance on external technology – which can be easiliy manipulated by dark forces. Atomic weapons are main case in point – the abuse of external alchemy and the metal/gold element (uranium and plutonium variants, in this case).
michaelApril 8, 2005 at 8:11 am #4111
I am not sure if you are Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde, you flip so quickly between the devoutly religious, deeply intelligent contemplative and the naughty boy with dirty pictures.
At any rate, this aspect of you is most welcome to post here. Dr. Jekyll is on probation and banned from the site until some deeper resolution within the two sides occurs…..you say you”hate it”, but apparently Dr. Jekyll does love it or he wouldn’t keep popping out and demanding expression.
I agree with most of what you’ve posted, beautifully expressed with exquisite equanimity. Evidence your meditation is working.
With the following exceptions:
< < 1. It keeps the meditator more heart-centered. <<< This becomes increasingly important as the adept progresses to realize <<< their role as mediator between Heaven and Earth. --------- >Buddhist view is you don’t need to attach yourself with any role or a thought form- even as high as this, because of a danger of falling into spiritual stagnation or torpor.
This raises the questioin of individual will, which in my opinion is the core difference between the Buddhist and Taoist alchemical view. Immortality is the extension of individual will into multiple dimensions and timezones. There is little dange of stagnation when you are on the cutting edge between the forces of Form and Formless. Immortality is the point (or series of points, depending on one’s attainment) of maximum leverage, the point from which an individual can most easily change the whole.
The whole/collective NEEDS the feedback of the individual – it does not evolve without it. Immortality just means the feedback is consciously and directly delivered to a greater aspect of the whole, rather than unconsciously, as is the case with most humans focused on a very narrow band of reality.
The buddhist notion of “getting off the wheel of incarnation” by focusing on the most absolute levels of emptiness possible – as proof of their non-attachment to any aspect of the physical plane or any human role/will – is an illusory achievement.
Why? Because you cannot “get off” the Whole. So “getting off the wheel of incarnation” and landing in absolute emptiness is essentially a rejection of the action of the Whole, which initiated and continues to regulate the process of incarnation. RE-incarnation is the illusion as seen from the human viewpoint; from the Whole’s viewpoint, it is simply continuous, fresh creation that includes INcarnation of human soul patterns as a part of its creative process.
The most that the individual can do is shift their will/focus to other aspects of the Whole, of which earth and humanity are a tiny (yet still supremely significant aspect). So an ordinary human sees physical reality as 99% of their reality; an immortal might view it as 1% of their reality that they might choose to interface with as needed.
But you do not obliterate the process of incarnation by getting off the wheel. It is simply a vote against it, a statement that you believe humanity in physical form was a mistake that you intend to end as quickly as you can.
The buddhist view that annihilation of the individual will and indivudal existence is the highest good (or that it never existed in the first place) is going against the action of the Whole, which is to continuously birth and individuate itself into billions of life forms.
Yes, of course we can play semantics and say that those billions of forms are all ultimately part of the same Whole, and therefore not really individual, but that denies the reality of free will being given to them to have their own uniqiue experience.
In certain esoteric schools this is known as the principle of “Ring Pass Not”: once consciousness has been created within a certain form, it has the right to continue existing. You’ve passed from the core inner ring of the Primordial into the outer ring of manifestation. The Whole cannot take away the right of that individual to continue existing and re-birthing itself if so designed.
The most generous interpretation I can give to this Buddhist quest for absolute emptienss is that they are seeking to have an experience of return to and merging with the Source. That’s fine and normal, but doesn’t have to be accompanied by a denial of relationship to creation or humanity or to individual human will.
What I question most about this Buddhist process of seeking emptiness is whether it resolves the core issue of the split in the jing and loss of Original Substance -yuan jing- that occurred during separation into male and female bodies.
This missing aspect of the primordial needs to be recovered consciously by the human process of inicarnation. I don’t see how seeking emptiness recovers it, it appers to me to be avoiding it or denying that the problem even exists. So Buddhists may be showing up in the higher heavens empty-handed. In which case the Whole has no choice but to recycle them…..back into sexed bodies.
> Your last comment about “If someone wants continuous emptiness from the life force and can get it, that’s fine too” puzzles me. Are you saying it is your understanding that if one practices Emptiness meditation, he empties himself out of the life force literally? Please be so kind to explain this.
The life force will deliver to you whatever you request, if you are sincere; its sole function is to serve the need of creation. So it will deliver you the experience of emptiness if you deeply desire it. But that emptiness is just being created for you.
The Buddhist attempt to get around this by stopping thought or concept or desire is initially only working on the mental or emotioinal body. At a higher level of practice its an attempt to merge with the primordial level of Tao mind, which is pre-creation of yin-yang and five phase cycles. But attaining that will just throw you into the experience of Primordial Presence, which now includes the entire process of creatioin. So you always end back up where you started, in the present moment. Yes, you are witnessing your physical self from a different perspective. But there is still content, however “open” your inner space is.
The point is that there is no absolute or permanent state of emptiness to attain, you will always be in some Process. This is the viewpoint of the Taoist school, that its always and only process, there is no excaping that process of Change. If you can embrace a larger field of change and function from that level of expanded awareness, you are called immortal.
Love, chi, and Blessings to your journey of Integration,
michaelApril 8, 2005 at 9:48 am #4113
One of Master Nan’s favorite sayings is drop everything. Drop even the drop it.
This is typical Zen talk. Master Dogen’s teacher, who was 20th in line from Bodhidharma, said to Dogen upon his awakening “I see dropping has been dropped”.
And Dogen’s famous verse
To study the Buddha Way is to study the Self
To study the self is to forget the self
To forget the self
Is to be Enlightened by the 10,000 things
One’s body mind
And the self other
Body mind are dropped
And this dropping has no traceApril 8, 2005 at 9:55 am #4115
I forgot to reply to Max’s comment about he didn’t think that Billl Bodri was opposed to the health benefits of qigong. His website puts out a different story. I’ve responded to the relevant sections, but the Bodri text is complete and unexpuragated in any way:
Don’t Spin Your Chi, Imagine Microcosmic Circulations, or Play With Your Chakras
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.
(WINN: Any good Taoist teacher would agree with not forcing. But “not need to know any of that stuff” treats people like they were spiritual infants, that only Big Daddy Nan and nice Uncle Bill need to know about that stuff. Its like catholic priests telling people not to read the bible – “its too complicated for your puny mind and only the high priest can get it right”…..)
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.
(WINN: He should say, End of Body. Or say: being local – in a body – is a stupid and lowly state. His lack of the inner body space awareness that is generated during true qigong – is nil. Or even a simple awareness that the physical body is the temple holding sacred inner space – is totally absent. Which I’m guessing is the real reason he and Nan are anti-Taoist, though they won’t admit it. Taoists appreciate physical nature, which is the physical body of Tao. If you hold judgements against body and Nature, you are holding them against Tao as well.
“(4) it doesn’t lead to anything”. This is a good time for helpful Uncle Bill to read the 3500 scientific studies on the life-saving medical benefits of qigong.)
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.
(WINN: I’ve pointed out these energy practices did not exist in Buddha’s time. Perhaps at the time Buddha did not realize the earth, the solar system, and all the galaxies are rotating and spinning, or he might have had more respect for the fact that chi loves to spin and is strengthened by it).
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.
(WINN NOTE: BOTH CHUANG TZU AND LAO TZU CONTAIN NUMEROUS REFERENCES TO ESOTERIC METHODS. See Harold Roth’s book Original Tao, which shows conclusively Tao Te Ching was a meditation manual. See references such as “the sage breathes through his heels” (eight extra channel point to connect to earth chi) or “sage empties his mind and fills his belly” (allusion to cultivating lower dantian). There are dozens more. So another example of Nan and Bill doing false thinking for their followers, instead of urging them to investigate for themselves.)
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.
(WINN: This is really bad history, totally false, heavily biased buddhist-centric view. Plus he ignorantly lumps all harmonoius chi flow together in with bad evil wind chi. For accurate history, read Isabelle Robinet’s Taoism Growth of a Religion.).
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.
(WINN: more really bad history, with typical Buddhist diatribe to boot. Qigong texts precede any yogic texts in India by hundreds of years.)
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?
(WINN: I’ve already clarified these are preparatory practices).
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.
(WINN: really curious logic here: Zen has the highest teachers – yet no mention that Zen is historical offshoot of Taoism. And because Zen is so high, there are no good students today. Usually the opposite is said to be true: the measure of a good master is his student. Maybe all those enlightened teachers de-materialized into Emptiness before they could teach anyone else the Way? 🙂
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.
(WINN: Bill seems to be unaware of confucian style qigong in China,used to cultivate virtue. Bad understanding of chi, limiting it to one element. Even basic Hinduism, from which Buddha rebelled, knows there are fives types of prana that describe everything in existence. Also, I’ve mentioned before Nan and Bodri’s completely miss the boat on the difference between Indian five elements and Taoist five elements. Different origins and different applications and goal. It only one of many reasons his analysis of Tao schools are superficial and false.)
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.
———————————————-END OF BODRI
WINN: This is really a hoot. After decrying chi techniques as being the lowest of the low, Bill offers up a book on the most superficial application of sexual chi technique possible – for skin improvement! No mention of the effects of sexual practice on love, spiritual development, etc. – just its correct use for skin improvement, that the bad Taoists had it all wrong. If Bodri had any boat left to float, it surely sinks here. He missed the early bonanza in Taoist sexology books, but never too late to make a buck off a sincere follower…)
The only apology I have to make about posting Bodri’s dumb article is that other Zen schools may be offended by being associated with the retrograde ideas expressed above.
Please know that most other Zen practitioners I know do not share Bodri’s ideas. I am hiring this summer as a staff assistant at Dao Mountain a super serious zen meditator (spends half the year in zen silent retreats) who loves qigong and Healing Tao practices, and finds no conflict between them.
And I would like to add, that Bodri is not Nan, so not fair to merge the two,
despite their extensive co-authorship relation.
But if you want a nice Buddhist teacher with a more open mind, I suggest you study with Max, not Bodri. For starters, Max has more experience with qigong, and could speak intelligently on the relation between the sitting and moving practices. (As this is an unpaid plug, I hope I at least get a little merit for it…:)
MichaelApril 8, 2005 at 10:19 am #4117
I do have the Beautiful Skin meditation e-book and Bodri actually is making clever use of the “superficial” stuff to lead people to the important stuff.
He is not at all fixated on the “Beautiful Skin”-part!!!
He uses it to clarify the importance of meditation, saying that Beautiful skin is a result of proper meditation… he mentions external methods that help in the meditation process, those that can even help with ones skin…
Actually I do think that Bodris exploration of “not spinning the wheel” is not against qi gong in every instance… I feel he is going to the extreme in order for people not to stick to techniques for longer than necessary…
just a few thoughts
HarryApril 8, 2005 at 12:03 pm #4119
Might have some more to say later but wanted you to know it was appreciated.April 8, 2005 at 3:43 pm #4121
snortApril 8, 2005 at 4:15 pm #4123
On the same note, during the second world war (and then on into the communist revolutionary and McCarthy eras etc.) Carl Jung said that the only thing keeping civilization from fully collapsing into depravity then were the few people determinedly sticking to the path of individuation (organic spiritual unfoldment resulting from from tuning into and following the guidance of the life force; mind expansion where the centre of gravity of the experiencer expands beyond the everyday ego to include deeper layers of mind/reality), which, in his language, creates a synchronistic feild that encourages healthy, transformative events/changes in people.
I agree with this. The only resource the philosopher/sane spiritual seeker has in this world is magic, so we shouldn’t be afraid to learn many methods of both protection and propagation of a more healthy way.
SimonApril 8, 2005 at 7:57 pm #4125
From my understanding, the debate centered around Bill Bodri’s assertion, ala Plato, that Zen is the highest, cleanest most direct route to Enlightenment. That Taoist Internal Alchemy is a false path that “Plays around with the wind qi”. It is OK for health and so on but a big waste of time in regards to spiritual accomplishment(whatever that means to you..Bodri uses the Buddhist stages to define it)
One view says all of the stages of Taoist Alchemy happen naturally as a result of Emptiness Meditation. You save your sexual energy(jing) and cultivate mental openness and this naturally draws the jing up like a vacuum and you do it long enough(years) the 3 treasures do the transformations all on their own.
Winn, who has been posting from his shen based apporoach, has been saying that zen, though it has merit, is not really a complete path. You can do Zen and get to a stage of awareness but your not really integrating all of the aspects of yourself and when you die you will have to get recyled back because you havent resolved your jing, or really transformed the jing, or integrated everything ala Kan and Li practice.
It had the promise of being a really good debate and was still pretty good before Plato abondoned it and started dissing Winn like crazy. Winn, for his part, remained neutral and balanced and pretty much just watched the whole thing play out.
I thing the debate is far from over and has probably been going on since ancient times. The Australian teacher Brynn Orr explains that these are exact represantations of the different ideas of ancient Taoists in China. The ‘Southern School’ or school of energetics taught more along the lines of what Winn teaches and the Complete Reality school teaches more along the line of Bodri/Nan.
But I basically agree with you. I like and practice both taoist Alchemy and zen and don’t see the need to polarize the issue as others have.April 9, 2005 at 10:07 am #4127
“To snuff” is English slang for Kill actually, like a gangster type scenario… : )
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