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Qi Gong
Answer
9/23/14 4:31 PM
Hi all,

Just thought I'd make another post here, as my practice has shifted somewhat significantly.  Here's a rehash.. 

After attaining enlightenement, the complete end of duality in May 2013, I continued to meditate for several months until my thought stream was ended (September '13).  After this point meditation did not clearly further my progress, as there were no overt thoughts to work with.  It was clear to me then as it is now that the development of awareness is an endless progress, growing to greater and greater expanse as time moves on and one's experience increases. 

However, in the winter following my enlightenment and subsequent eradication of thoughts, I was greatly troubled.  I suffered a number of physical issues, and longed always for spiritual salvation.  I became very interested in lucid dreaming and astral projection; to some extent I longed to join the spirit world.  Having reached the top of Buddhist philosophy, I could see no where to go, and yet all the while I felt a great urge to escape.  I could see no clear path and was greatly troubled.

Anyways, in June of this year 2014, I read a book on Qi Gong: The Master Key by Robert Peng.  Robert Peng describes in this book his life's journey; meeting a Qi Gong master when Peng was a boy, he trained intensively for many years, becoming enlightened around the age of 15 in an 80 day no-food retreat in a dark chamber, and subsequently developing the ability to generate electricity like Qi from his fingers.  Oeng describes in his book the Qi Gong theory of personality, which is based on the relative strength and weakness of three energy centers in our body, the upper middle and lower dantiens, which regulate wisdom, love, and vitality respectively.  When these centers as balanced, a person is vital loving and wise, but when imbalanced, personality issues occur.  He describes how enlightenment, while a final and lasting state of oneness, is seperate from developing balanced energy centers.

To read this made me so happy!  Finally a teacher who described my situation and demonstrated a clear way to improve it!  Thus I began to practice Qi Gong, and am thus far extremely gratefull for what it has brought to my life. 

While the strict awareness meditation leading to attainment is important and valuble, it seems that Buddhist thought disregards the health of the body (vital energy), promoting the development of wisdom above all else.  I personally found, after intensively pursuing the attainment of wisdom that I had become majorly unbalanced, a large head, smaller heart, and smaller still vitality, like an upsidown pyramid.  A truly balanced individual is the opposite; much vitality, a good reserve of love, and a dose of wisdom.

Said another way, Vitality is the wisdom of I Am being strong in your own self, Wisdom is knowing that all is empty or one, and Love is a combination of these two energies that allows the individual to connect with the all.  If we go through life dominated by wisdom, instead of being strong in ourselves, of acting with compassion, our default is to see the emptiness of the situation, to see that it is void.  A healthy, energetically balanced individual acts first strong in themselves, secondly with love, and lastly with the knowledge that all is ultimately one.

Cheers!

..And what say?

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/23/14 5:26 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Hi all,

Just thought I'd make another post here, as my practice has shifted somewhat significantly.  Here's a rehash.. 

After attaining enlightenement, the complete end of duality in May 2013, I continued to meditate for several months until my thought stream was ended (September '13).  After this point meditation did not clearly further my progress, as there were no overt thoughts to work with.  It was clear to me then as it is now that the development of awareness is an endless progress, growing to greater and greater expanse as time moves on and one's experience increases. 

However, in the winter following my enlightenment and subsequent eradication of thoughts, I was greatly troubled.  I suffered a number of physical issues, and longed always for spiritual salvation.  I became very interested in lucid dreaming and astral projection; to some extent I longed to join the spirit world.  Having reached the top of Buddhist philosophy, I could see no where to go, and yet all the while I felt a great urge to escape.  I could see no clear path and was greatly troubled.

Anyways, in June of this year 2014, I read a book on Qi Gong: The Master Key by Robert Peng.  Robert Peng describes in this book his life's journey; meeting a Qi Gong master when Peng was a boy, he trained intensively for many years, becoming enlightened around the age of 15 in an 80 day no-food retreat in a dark chamber, and subsequently developing the ability to generate electricity like Qi from his fingers.  Oeng describes in his book the Qi Gong theory of personality, which is based on the relative strength and weakness of three energy centers in our body, the upper middle and lower dantiens, which regulate wisdom, love, and vitality respectively.  When these centers as balanced, a person is vital loving and wise, but when imbalanced, personality issues occur.  He describes how enlightenment, while a final and lasting state of oneness, is seperate from developing balanced energy centers.

To read this made me so happy!  Finally a teacher who described my situation and demonstrated a clear way to improve it!  Thus I began to practice Qi Gong, and am thus far extremely gratefull for what it has brought to my life. 

While the strict awareness meditation leading to attainment is important and valuble, it seems that Buddhist thought disregards the health of the body (vital energy), promoting the development of wisdom above all else.  I personally found, after intensively pursuing the attainment of wisdom that I had become majorly unbalanced, a large head, smaller heart, and smaller still vitality, like an upsidown pyramid.  A truly balanced individual is the opposite; much vitality, a good reserve of love, and a dose of wisdom.

Said another way, Vitality is the wisdom of I Am being strong in your own self, Wisdom is knowing that all is empty or one, and Love is a combination of these two energies that allows the individual to connect with the all.  If we go through life dominated by wisdom, instead of being strong in ourselves, of acting with compassion, our default is to see the emptiness of the situation, to see that it is void.  A healthy, energetically balanced individual acts first strong in themselves, secondly with love, and lastly with the knowledge that all is ultimately one.

Cheers!

..And what say?

Hi TDC,
I have trained with Sifu Zhao (www.tiandiqigong.com.au) who is Robert Pengs kung fu brother (trained under the same master) and there skills are defineatly real. I disagree that Buddhism disregards the health of the body you just need to investigate the different flavours of Buddhism. Chan incorporates qigong, look at its history the Shaolin temple, Damo and the birth of kung fu in China. Tibetan Buddhism which I thought you practiced as I recall you stated you progress thru the 4 visions of Thodgal incorporates qigong and body work from the start. Tantra, Anuyoga, Atiyoga, Dzogchen all incorporate forms of qigong. Ngondro preliminary practices are a form of qigong
Zhang zhuang is a interesting tool to add to the tool box as well as healing the body it helps increase your sensitivity to change, releasing tension and gaining an understanding into the 6 directional force that is part of our life. There is a little discussion on qigong, yoga and body work on DhO but it is a fantastic way of investigating stillness and our emotional body. Some practices work on the mind first then the body, the body first then the mind or both mind and body at the same time. Even Theravada incorporates qigong in its meditation walking and the Thais have some energy exercises. Its great to hear you are finding more areas to investigate and this is a great topic
Jeff

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/23/14 5:37 PM as a reply to T DC.
I continued to meditate for several months until my thought stream was ended (September '13).
By 'thought stream' do you mean the continuous awareness of thoughts? Clearly you still have thoughts. Are you aware of subconscious processing?

While the strict awareness meditation leading to attainment is important and valuble, it seems that Buddhist thought disregards the health of the body (vital energy), promoting the development of wisdom above all else.  I personally found, after intensively pursuing the attainment of wisdom that I had become majorly unbalanced, a large head, smaller heart, and smaller still vitality, like an upsidown pyramid.  A truly balanced individual is the opposite; much vitality, a good reserve of love, and a dose of wisdom
I strongly agree. Insight practice is powerful and transformative alone, but ignoring the concurrent physio-energetic processes seems a mistake to me. (It's like trying to do advanced physics with basic math skills, or trying to build a new floor on top of an old house.) By regularly relaxing one's body, breathing deeply, fully, and easily natural currents of pleasureable sensations will begin to flow through the body. If one yields to the pleasureable currents then the body will begin to naturally shed any blockages; it'll shake, jerk, yawn, cry, sob, scream, etc. Letting this process happen on its own, watching with meditative concentration but not interfering seems to significantly lessen DN symptoms and expedite process. There usually isn't a need to grind out the blockages in intensely agonizing noting sessions. Kenneth Folk pointed out in the Hurricane Ranch talks that Burmese/Mahasi vipassana communities have a tendency towards a Protestant guilt-like attitude towards pleasure. I sense this also. I suspect, like the Reichians, that this attitude stems from a repression of natural, spontaneous, sexuality.

I'm interested in trying Qi Gong or Taichi. Got any recommendations for resources?

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/23/14 6:31 PM as a reply to T DC.
Hello T DC,

You'd be interested to know that the Zen master Hakuin encountered a similar issue, he records in his biography "Wild Ivy", how his extreme exertions caused him Zen sickness, this was solved for him after practicing instructions from a Taoist master.




---



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Jeff also mentions that much of higher tantric practice within Vajrayana includes body work, I'm not familiar with Dzogchen but within the anuttara-yoga-tantras there is much body work, consider this free translation of a treatise by Tsongkhapa on the Six Yogas of Naropa:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/ettt/ettt13.htm

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/24/14 11:01 PM as a reply to T DC.
re T DC -- 9/23/14 4:31 PM

0) Being professionally involved in classical Chinese medicine (i.e. a "licensed acupucturist andherbalist"), and with a background in historical studies, I've also studied the history of the medicine and related practices. (To skip an introductory essay on the historical background of the term 'qigong' and go directly to discussion referencing prior messages in this thread, skip to section (2) below.)

1) 'Qigong' is a term invented in the 1930's Nationalist era (during a period of repression of classical Chinese medical practices, in the name of 'modernization'), meaning literally 'breath work', i.e. a rough equivalent of 'aerobics'. 'Qi' is air, breath, natural gas, vapor, etc. In the classical medicine it refers to the behavior, the physiological activity of living tissue and organisms, i.e. moving, warming, transforming (e.g. growth), defending, and holding things in place. In Western new-age terminology, it's often called (s/w problematically) 'energy' or'vital force'.

Qi embodies, actualizes the 'yang' principle, and just as 'yang' is inseparable from 'yin', the embodied 'yin' counterpart is called 'xue' or 'blood,' which refers to not only the red liquid, but also to the 'stuff', the material pole of physiology. Qi is living activity, xue is that which is acted upon or is the physical basis of that activity. Like yin-yang, qi-xue are mutually interdependent. Classically, "qi is the commander of blood, and blood is the mother of qi." Qi produces physiological activity, blood provides the raw materials (glucose, oxygen), plus the organic and musculo-skeletal system of stuff that manifests living activity (movement, transformation,…).

In the 1950's, the term 'qigong' was adopted by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party – the current dynasty) as a generic term for many types of exercise, under the umbrella of TCM ("Traditional Chinese Medicine"). "TCM" itself is a modern fabrication, actually a 'school' of thought among many others over a 2000 year history of the medicine, fashioned to make use of large resources of traditional practitioners, but on apath to the incorporation (the currently modish "integrative medicine" was invented by the Chinese) into a Western medical model. They use 'qigong' also as an umbrella term to include simple aerobic-like breath exercises, as well as traditional 'moving meditations', and even soft-form martial arts, like TaiJiQuan.Various practices involving posture and motion (s/t called 'moving meditation') were cultivated over the prior 2000-3000 years, but under other names. The most common is perhaps 'daoyin' (where 'dao' is a different word than that in 'Daoism,' and 'yin' is a different word than that in 'yinyang'). The earliest concrete documentation is an illustrated manuscript (actually a picture book) of medical exercises, titled 'daoyin, 'found in a tomb in 1972, where the tomb itself was sealed in 285 BCE.

Things like what T DC and others here refer to, particularly in connection with Daoist 'internal alchemy', were probably originally called daoyin – not to deny that everybody and their brother use the blanket term 'qigong today' –it's CCP orthodoxy, in large part to intended to strip the practices of their, in many cases, original connections with quasi-religious ideas and practices, which are a major no-no in the PRC. (Witness the persecution of the FaLunGong sect.)

2) T DC's description of methods from Robert Peng closely approximates the system of Daoist "InternalAlchemy" as I learned it from a Daoist master (Jeffrey Yuen) who specializes in the classical medicine. E.g. dealing with the three 'dan tiens' housed in the three major "boney cavities" ofthe body – the pelvic cavity, the thorax, and the cranium (skull). The proper progression of cultivation –the alchemy – involves careful practice (meditation and exercises) beginning in the lower dantien, working on the 'jing' based in thepelvis. When that's ripe (which may take months or years), spontaneously generating heat as in an alchemical oven ready to 'transmute' jing into something more refined. (In a daoyin form I learned from one Wu BaoLin, this is termed 'lian dan' – 'smelting the elixer'.) Then cultivation proceeds to the middle dantien in the chest, the seat of 'qi'. This is cultivated, heated, smelted (again, often many years), until it transmutes, before proceeding to the top, cranial dantien that houses the 'shui' (marrow, the grey stuff inside the head-bone, i.e. the brain). Often modern practitioners use the term 'shen' or 'spirit' for this dantien, but back in the early centuries of the first millennium, when internal alchemy was first being formulated, 'shui' was the original term in the texts (according to Jeffery; needless to say, other authors may differ on this, just like in Buddhism).

The interesting part (in the context of DhO) – cultivation of the top dantien (taking perhaps a lifetime, if at all attained) culminates in the blossoming, the 'opening of the third eye', whereby vision extends in all directions, near and far, in both time and space. Obviously a Daoist version of realization or awakening.

(Note: also obviously related to the 'opening of the Golden Flower', which we may recognize from thatfamous 18th-(or 19th-?) century Daoist-Buddhismesoteric practice guide ("The Secret of the Golden Flower, "as translated in the 1990's by Thomas Cleary,  improving upon the seriously flawed translation in the 1920's by Richard Wilhelm and C.G. Jung.)

T DC points to a common problem that afflicts people, especially Westerners, who undertake some paths without proper guidance: immature jumping to cultivation of the upper dantiens (before adequate grounding in the lower) results in serious, even dangerous imbalance. We may recognize this when people speak of 'kundalini'-type cultivations, unleashing fire up through the body to the top. Unless it's adequately grounded in the lower dantiens (in water and earth), this fire becomes destructive, i.e. even to the point of psychosis.

3) Ascribing such an unbalanced approach to Buddhist practice is problematic. Depends on who is reporting what practice. Again, a tendency in some Western approaches, in the jumping right into advanced insight realms (vipassana to panna), without thorough grounding in the soil ofethical behavior (sila, including care of the body), and clarification of the mind with concentration practice (samadhi).

4) A footnote: PaAuk Saydaw, theBurmese master especially known for mastery and teaching of Jhana practice, mentions (somewhere in the book "The Workings Of  Kamma") that the breath at the nostrils is the 'beginning' of the breath, in the chest (lungs) is the 'middle', and in the lower body ('kidney',in Chinese symbolism) is the 'end'. This is a play on a Buddhist saying (that he invokes regularly) that the Dhamma is good (fruitful, rewarding) at the beginning, through the middle stages, and especially at the end/goal. It also may be taken to symbolize that the anapanna meditation object at the nostrils corresponds to the mind (top dantien), and extends into, is properly rooted in, the middle and lower dantiens.

5) Jeff Grove (9/23/14 5:26 PM as a reply to T DC) correctly points out that disregarding the body's health is really not characteristic in the Buddha's teaching. (Not to say that some people's idea of "Buddhist thought" doesn't go in that direction.) Remember the Buddha's emphasis on a 'middleway' between acetisicm (punishing the body) and sensual indulgence. And also that one of the only four 'possessions' allowed to those'gone-forth' ('recluses', monastics) is medicine (in addition to food, clothing and shelter).

6) Jeff also mentions that "the Thais have some energy exercises." This is exmplified in the teaching of Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Than-Geof). Standard fare in his introductory meditation techniques "first get the body into position for meditation" -- getting the body into a state of comfort and ease, using the breath, e.g. in a version of 'body-scanning'. (Then, "get the mind into position into position", often using Brahmavihara practice establish goodwill, compassion, appreciation and equinimity as mental comfort and ease.)

Than-Geof s/t uses the word 'qi,' though perhaps as a general new-age usage. But, more significantly, he also uses images of dispelling, flushing out tensions, blockages in bodily feeling (sensed in the course of 'breathing though them'), eliminating them through the finger-tips (from the head and upper body), or the toe-tips (from the torso and lower body). This is distinctly a classical Chinese medical practice, and prominent in Daoist moving-meditation practices; the finger- and toe-tips are considered crucial foci of qi, the places where the channels meet and communciate. In the medicine, we often use heat or needling at the corners of the nails (where the skin is less thick from callousing) to strongly influence the qi and blood. (And in modern neuro-physiology, it is well know that the finger-/toe-tips have the densest concentration of nerve endings (along with the lips), and correspondingly the largest areas of influence in the mapping regions of the brain.)

Than-Geof also mentions that these practices stems from his teachers (Ajahn Fuang, going back to Ajahn Lee, and then to Ajahn Mun – a founder of that lineage of the Thai Forest Tradition). Thai, Vietnamese (and perhaps Cambodian, Burmese) peoples and cultures are known to have ancient roots from, or at least in common with, the Chinese.

Droll Dedekind
also accurately depicts practices along similar lines, and exessive top-heavy vs bottom/grounded pathological tendencies in some Western circles. I would, however, agree more with Than-Geof that active qualities of skillful practice are the primary remedies to obstacles, the more passive (just watch it until it subsides) techniques being more last resort. (In line with his general critique of "acceptance","bare/choiceless awareness" etc. – i.e. the Vipassana/Insight Movement party-line -- as a one-sided, if not distorted understanding of the Buddha's teachings.)

(Examples of Than-Geof's guided-meditation techniques along these lines are abundant in recorded dharma-talks and day-long workshops available at the DharmaSeed and AudioDharma websites. I can point out specific ones, if anyone's interested.)

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/25/14 2:01 AM as a reply to T DC.
Great topic! I appreciate all contributions. I don't have much to add except that today I'm going to my first qigong practice. 

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/25/14 6:17 AM as a reply to ftw.
What a wonderful topic and rich discussion!

In early spring this year, I began practicing chi gong (Chi Kung) as taught in the book "The way of energy". Bodily inbalances primarily felt as heavy tensions in neck, throat and shoulder areas was my main reason to begin these practices (In my history I have some years of seated meditation practice as well as hatha yoga). I was very surprised on the very beneficial results a mere 20 minutes standing practice had on not only these tensions but unconscious tensions in the dan tien, in the pelvic area as well as the chest. It also spilled over to effect my perceptive ability in many ways as well as the breath rythm which during this time has become subtler, subtler and subtler in my ordinary life as I work, talk, eat and sleep. I also notice great benefits on the stomach /digestion problems I've had for a long time. 

In short, cool stuff and I look forward to keep practicing, I now follow the routines described in the book, which is first ~30 min slow movements coordinated with the breath, then ~30 min standing still in several postures that at first are extremely challenging just to hold for a minute, but after a few weeks gets surprisingly easy to stay in. 

I would also appreciate if anyone knows a good teacher in the scandinavian area, as practicing only from the basis of a book does not seem like the most skillful of approaches in the long run.

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/25/14 12:12 PM as a reply to CJMacie.
Amazing post Chris – I can't thank you enough for this!
I don't want to hijack T DCs thread but I would love it if you could share any and all links/info concerning Than-Geoffs practices related to balancing the dantiens as well as anything else about the downsides of bare awareness/acceptance as it really hits home. After my head opening up in a kundalini event accidentally after a couple of 10-day Goenka retreats very heavy energy has been continuously pouring from my heart center and keeping my entire body packed to the brim with prickly painful sensations. The painful heavy energy stops at my throat making audible popping noises, as my entire head has remained clear all this time after the dramatic energetic events that took place over seven years ago, all due (I believe) to my pushing too hard in vipassana practice and various 'energetic experiments' I did that seemed to subsequently throw my whole system well out of balance.
Any info and recs you'd like to throw out would be very much appreciated
@T DC: your practice and your experiences of thought stream and emotional stream cessation claims fascinate me, and I can very much identify with being non-grounded and too spirit-oriented after some crazy mystical experiences that I endured over a period of years – when I began meditation just to feel happier and more at peace! I have already purchased and begun reading The Master Key by Robert Peng per your rec (thank you!) and I am very interested in keeping this discussion and exploration going. Any insights or recommendations you have about further reading and practice (I live in San Francisco California) would be so good
I also identify with your excitement of having finally discovered detailed techniques and teachings that clearly expound on a very common theme. I think these issues of energetic balances (and the lack thereof) directly tie into so many previous discussions on the DhO and elsewhere regarding Kundalini phenomenon, Dark Night problems, and even Actualist teachings (though the balanced approach of Taoist and Buddhist teachings on vitality, happiness, wisdom and love appeal and speak to me on a much more human and direct level)
I really think this thread and line of exploration has the potential to link together so many previously misunderstood and seemingly disparate phenomenon and experiences and at the same time help out loads of people
Best, Daniel

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/25/14 3:10 PM as a reply to Albin Hagberg Medin.
Albin Hagberg Medin:
...

I would also appreciate if anyone knows a good teacher in the scandinavian area, as practicing only from the basis of a book does not seem like the most skillful of approaches in the long run.


Tjabba Albin!
I just might know... Where in Sweden do you live?

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/25/14 4:58 PM as a reply to Albin Hagberg Medin.
Albin Hagberg Medin:
What a wonderful topic and rich discussion!

In early spring this year, I began practicing chi gong (Chi Kung) as taught in the book "The way of energy". Bodily inbalances primarily felt as heavy tensions in neck, throat and shoulder areas was my main reason to begin these practices (In my history I have some years of seated meditation practice as well as hatha yoga). I was very surprised on the very beneficial results a mere 20 minutes standing practice had on not only these tensions but unconscious tensions in the dan tien, in the pelvic area as well as the chest. It also spilled over to effect my perceptive ability in many ways as well as the breath rythm which during this time has become subtler, subtler and subtler in my ordinary life as I work, talk, eat and sleep. I also notice great benefits on the stomach /digestion problems I've had for a long time. 

In short, cool stuff and I look forward to keep practicing, I now follow the routines described in the book, which is first ~30 min slow movements coordinated with the breath, then ~30 min standing still in several postures that at first are extremely challenging just to hold for a minute, but after a few weeks gets surprisingly easy to stay in. 

I would also appreciate if anyone knows a good teacher in the scandinavian area, as practicing only from the basis of a book does not seem like the most skillful of approaches in the long run.


Hi,

Practicing Zhang zhuang has lead to many insights as well as healing the body. It is often left out of the Martial Arts that are taught today but this simple practice can radically change your art. Its like leaving the engine out of a car.

The way of Energy is a great resouce, For styles and teachers I hope the following may help

I recommend that you check out zhineng qigong
Also there is a very knowledgable teacher from NZ that is teaching his on variant of this style. I dont know what these teachers are like but its worth checking them out
Google Yuan Tze Swedish Teachers
The following teachers in Sweden have participated in the Yuan Tze teacher training.
City name Teacher name 8-Level  6-Level  Web site reference E-mail address
Stockholm Anders Henschen 1 1 Qigong in Upplands-bro  anders@yuangong.se
 Arne Nordgren 8 1 Qigong in Upplands-bro  arne.nordgren@telia.com
 Marita Gegerfelt Nordgren 2 1 Qigong in Upplands-bro  marita.gn@telia.com
 Måns Larsson 2 1  Qigong in Upplands-bro  santis.larsson@gmail.com
 Margareta Egeberg 1  Qigong in Upplands-bro  margaretaegeberg@hotmail.com
 Jörgen Egeberg 1  Qigong in Upplands-bro  egebergjorgen@yahoo.com
Helsingborg Arne Nordgren 8 1 Qigong in Helsingborg  contact birgitta.norlin@telia.com 

cheers
Jeff

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/25/14 7:03 PM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Hi,

Jeff - Indeed it does seem wrong to say Buddhism disregards lower dantien energy development.  In regards to Tibetan Buddhism, there are the postures asscotiated with Thodgal, and also to a greater extent there are the 6 yoga's of Naropa.  The practice of Tumo immediately comes to mind, from what I have read this involves visualising a growing ember in the lower abdomen in order to generate internal heat, which is clearly a qi gong-like practice.  The more I read about qi gong the more I understand what you have said, that qi gong is an intamately linked part of many Buddhist traditions.

However, perhaps my starting point was simply a feeling of the relative lack of this in the western Buddhist culture today, at least as far as I have been aware of it.  When I was focused on straight meditation, talk of cultivating the lower centers first would have seemed eroneous.  While I was dimly aware of that there were infact tibetan practices focused on meridians and such, this was vauge at best.  Greater recognition of the place meditation holds in terms of 'development' seems in order.  As many here have said, a greater awareness of working with bodily energies in a less mind dominated way is very beneficial.  Also that is very interesting your teacher is Robert Peng's old friend!

Chris J Macie - That was very interesting!  I suppose rather than disregard the health of the body I meant more that Buddhism doesn't seem to focus on it especially.  The overt emphasis in qi gong of 'healthy body and healthy mind' is somewhat refreshing after all my Buddhist practice, but again I am speaking from limited experience.

Daniel Leffer: I took a two-day course with Robert Peng this summer, and he said the 4 Golden Wheels practice from The Master Key is a good one for balancing the dantiens.  And no worries about a hijak, more from Chris on balancing the dantiens sounds awesome!

Droll - I do still have thoughts.  It is difficult to really explain the end of the thought stream, but basically in my expereince we have a current of thoughts which we don't consiously produce, we just react to.  Meditation and attainment works on the beliefs (or perception) we have regarding the solidity, or supremacy of these thoughts.  However, even once our beliefs about them are gone, they are still a tangible presence.  Once this stream was ended, it was as though there was quiet in my mind at last.

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/26/14 12:19 AM as a reply to T DC.
TDC, there's a ajahn on youtube practicing qigong, so i guess he as a buddhist finds some value in it. 

My first qigong practice was interesting thats all i'll say emoticon Looking forward to new ones. 

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/26/14 2:40 AM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Jeff Grove:
I recommend that you check out zhineng qigong

This is all very interesting. In your opinion, how possible would it be to try to practice something like this from resources like books and the internet? I suspect there are no teachers/classes in my area.

Simon 

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/26/14 2:41 AM as a reply to Pejn ..
Pejn .:
Albin Hagberg Medin:
...

I would also appreciate if anyone knows a good teacher in the scandinavian area, as practicing only from the basis of a book does not seem like the most skillful of approaches in the long run.


Tjabba Albin!
I just might know... Where in Sweden do you live?

There are a few swedes here. emoticon

Simon

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/26/14 4:53 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Hi,
... The practice of Tumo immediately comes to mind, from what I have read this involves visualising a growing ember in the lower abdomen in order to generate internal heat, which is clearly a qi gong-like practice.
"Tumo" = Du Mo = Du Mai = one of the 8 'extraordinary' or constitutional channels in classical Chinese medicine. 'Du' translated as 'Governer'; mo = mai = 'vessel' as in 'blood vessel'. So it's known as the Governor Vessel or Channel.

This channel originates in the lower dantien (s/t considered the uterus in women, the prostate in men), emerges under the tail bone and runs up in the spine, over the top of the head down the face and ends inside the upper lip. From the back base of the skull it has a branch also going through the brain. A 'point' on top, slightly posterior (at the meeting of the two parietal bones and the occiput) is named 'bai hui' ("hundred meetings", also numbered as Du-20) -- this is thought to be equivalent to the 7th chakra in intrepretations that map the chakras into the channel system (not orthodox TCM, but used in some related traditions).

It's also called the 'sea of yang'.

Various daoyin / qigong / daoist 'practice forms' do involve compressing qi/yang at the base of the channel (i.e. using kegel-like tightening of the perineum muscles at the base of the pelvis) and sending it up the channel through the spine and into the head. It's easy to actually feel this. This exercise is used, among other things, to improve prostate gland health. (See the 'male deer exercise' in almost any of the several books by Dr. Stephne Change, of San Francisco)  If over-done, it could resemble 'kundalini'-type exercises, and prossibly result in unbalanced energies.

A more balanced exercise, s/t known as the 'micro-cosmic orbit' (see books by Mantak Chia) involves circling 'energy' up the Du channel (the back) and then back down the front of the torso in the 'Ren' ("Conception", aka 'sea of yin') vessel/channel, which goes from under the tongue down the front to the bottom of the perineum and then inside to the dantien -- the origin of both these channels. I.e. circling energy up the back, down the front, etc. The link at the top is made by touching the roof of the mouth with the tongue to link the two channels (Du at under upper lip, Ren at under the tongue). One might recognize this gesture from many gigong / daoyin/ etc. forms, even some TaiJiQuan.

Justin Stone, in his book on different types of meditation, mentions that he went through a period of cultivating 'Tumo', and actually achieved it, which he describes. (Stone was an early student/master/writer on such things, and the inventor of 'Tai Chi Chih', an easy sort of TaiJiQuan especially suitable for old folks.)

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/26/14 5:59 AM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
Simon E:
Jeff Grove:
I recommend that you check out zhineng qigong

This is all very interesting. In your opinion, how possible would it be to try to practice something like this from resources like books and the internet? I suspect there are no teachers/classes in my area.

Simon 
Hi Simon,

Zhineng Qigong although relatively new is based on forms that have been handed down over the past 1000 years. So alot of the traditional elements have been preserved. Dr Ming Pang released the forms for free and prior to the curbing of qigong in China in the early 2000 it was very well repected with Hospitals and research based on the teachings and the forms.

There is alot of material out there on this school and I am happy to put together some videos and books to use. Like meditation it is something you can learn and with practice will discover the finer details in the forms. There are only a couple of forms to learn and the first two are enough to keep you going for years. The progress in the forms matches the progres of awareness from the outer to the inner. The system consist of three practice methods or forms, dynamic practice forms, static practice forms and dynamic - static practice forms. Each of them consist of 3 stages - External Hunyuan stage, Internal Hunyuan Stage and Central Hunyuan Stage.

Level one  is Lift Qi up and Pour Qi down which stresses the process of gathering, blending and transmuting external Hunyuan Qi
Level 2 is the Body and Mind form - the mutual blending and transmuting of the body with the mind  which is th Internal Stage of practice
Level 3 The Five in One Form - making the five internal organs into one unity, bleding and transmuting true Qi of the internal organs
Level four - Central Channel Hunyuan
Level 5 - Central  Line Hunyuan
Levl 6 Return to original Self nature

The Static form is 3 Centers Merge Standing form
The are also a couple of auxilary practices.

Ive learnt of few different forms from different teachers and this one is up there with results for effort put in. This practice compliments the meditation practices discussed here.The Theory and principles of Zhineng Qiging are also sound and worthwhile investigating

cheers
Jeff

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/26/14 6:34 AM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Jeff Grove:

Zhineng Qigong although relatively new is based on forms that have been handed down over the past 1000 years. So alot of the traditional elements have been preserved. Dr Ming Pang released the forms for free and prior to the curbing of qigong in China in the early 2000 it was very well repected with Hospitals and research based on the teachings and the forms.

There is alot of material out there on this school and I am happy to put together some videos and books to use. Like meditation it is something you can learn and with practice will discover the finer details in the forms. There are only a couple of forms to learn and the first two are enough to keep you going for years. The progress in the forms matches the progres of awareness from the outer to the inner. The system consist of three practice methods or forms, dynamic practice forms, static practice forms and dynamic - static practice forms. Each of them consist of 3 stages - External Hunyuan stage, Internal Hunyuan Stage and Central Hunyuan Stage.

Level one  is Lift Qi up and Pour Qi down which stresses the process of gathering, blending and transmuting external Hunyuan Qi
Level 2 is the Body and Mind form - the mutual blending and transmuting of the body with the mind  which is th Internal Stage of practice
Level 3 The Five in One Form - making the five internal organs into one unity, bleding and transmuting true Qi of the internal organs
Level four - Central Channel Hunyuan
Level 5 - Central  Line Hunyuan
Levl 6 Return to original Self nature

The Static form is 3 Centers Merge Standing form
The are also a couple of auxilary practices.

Ive learnt of few different forms from different teachers and this one is up there with results for effort put in. This practice compliments the meditation practices discussed here.The Theory and principles of Zhineng Qiging are also sound and worthwhile investigating

cheers
Jeff


Hi Jeff,

My knowledge regarding this type of body practices is basically zero, so most of what you wrote is way over my head.

There is alot of material out there on this school and I am happy to put together some videos and books to use.


If you could do that, that would be really great. Google is not being terribly helpful and some recommendations would be very helpful.

Thanks,
Simon

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/26/14 6:40 AM as a reply to CJMacie.
Chris J Macie:
T DC:
Hi,
... The practice of Tumo immediately comes to mind, from what I have read this involves visualising a growing ember in the lower abdomen in order to generate internal heat, which is clearly a qi gong-like practice.
"Tumo" = Du Mo = Du Mai = one of the 8 'extraordinary' or constitutional channels in classical Chinese medicine. 'Du' translated as 'Governer'; mo = mai = 'vessel' as in 'blood vessel'. So it's known as the Governor Vessel or Channel.

This channel originates in the lower dantien (s/t considered the uterus in women, the prostate in men), emerges under the tail bone and runs up in the spine, over the top of the head down the face and ends inside the upper lip. From the back base of the skull it has a branch also going through the brain. A 'point' on top, slightly posterior (at the meeting of the two parietal bones and the occiput) is named 'bai hui' ("hundred meetings", also numbered as Du-20) -- this is thought to be equivalent to the 7th chakra in intrepretations that map the chakras into the channel system (not orthodox TCM, but used in some related traditions).

It's also called the 'sea of yang'.

Various daoyin / qigong / daoist 'practice forms' do involve compressing qi/yang at the base of the channel (i.e. using kegel-like tightening of the perineum muscles at the base of the pelvis) and sending it up the channel through the spine and into the head. It's easy to actually feel this. This exercise is used, among other things, to improve prostate gland health. (See the 'male deer exercise' in almost any of the several books by Dr. Stephne Change, of San Francisco)  If over-done, it could resemble 'kundalini'-type exercises, and prossibly result in unbalanced energies.

A more balanced exercise, s/t known as the 'micro-cosmic orbit' (see books by Mantak Chia) involves circling 'energy' up the Du channel (the back) and then back down the front of the torso in the 'Ren' ("Conception", aka 'sea of yin') vessel/channel, which goes from under the tongue down the front to the bottom of the perineum and then inside to the dantien -- the origin of both these channels. I.e. circling energy up the back, down the front, etc. The link at the top is made by touching the roof of the mouth with the tongue to link the two channels (Du at under upper lip, Ren at under the tongue). One might recognize this gesture from many gigong / daoyin/ etc. forms, even some TaiJiQuan.

Justin Stone, in his book on different types of meditation, mentions that he went through a period of cultivating 'Tumo', and actually achieved it, which he describes. (Stone was an early student/master/writer on such things, and the inventor of 'Tai Chi Chih', an easy sort of TaiJiQuan especially suitable for old folks.)
Hi Chris,

I don't know if there is a relationship between the Tibetan term Gtummo or tummo (or chandali) and the Chinese term dumai but  I was told that gtummo means Fierce One in Tibetan. The Nyingma teachings I received did not use the DuMai or Governer Channel. It used the Central Nadi and the Sun and Moon Nadis just off to the side of the Central. ida, pingala and susumna nadi. The central nadi went from the point between the eyebrows (yingtang) to the lower tip of the sex organ. There were a number of precise pionts that you could pierce using vase breathing which is similar to kegel exercise but different. There are a few different traditions in Tibetan Budddhism and Shavism that teach tummo or similar practices so the practice is bound to vary

Im not fussed on Mantak Chia's teaching of the micro-cosmic orbit as it is missing alot of the information such as the foundation and what people think they are achieving with it is not the same as what is traditionally taught

cheers
Jeff

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/26/14 6:45 AM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
Simon E:
Jeff Grove:

Zhineng Qigong although relatively new is based on forms that have been handed down over the past 1000 years. So alot of the traditional elements have been preserved. Dr Ming Pang released the forms for free and prior to the curbing of qigong in China in the early 2000 it was very well repected with Hospitals and research based on the teachings and the forms.

There is alot of material out there on this school and I am happy to put together some videos and books to use. Like meditation it is something you can learn and with practice will discover the finer details in the forms. There are only a couple of forms to learn and the first two are enough to keep you going for years. The progress in the forms matches the progres of awareness from the outer to the inner. The system consist of three practice methods or forms, dynamic practice forms, static practice forms and dynamic - static practice forms. Each of them consist of 3 stages - External Hunyuan stage, Internal Hunyuan Stage and Central Hunyuan Stage.

Level one  is Lift Qi up and Pour Qi down which stresses the process of gathering, blending and transmuting external Hunyuan Qi
Level 2 is the Body and Mind form - the mutual blending and transmuting of the body with the mind  which is th Internal Stage of practice
Level 3 The Five in One Form - making the five internal organs into one unity, bleding and transmuting true Qi of the internal organs
Level four - Central Channel Hunyuan
Level 5 - Central  Line Hunyuan
Levl 6 Return to original Self nature

The Static form is 3 Centers Merge Standing form
The are also a couple of auxilary practices.

Ive learnt of few different forms from different teachers and this one is up there with results for effort put in. This practice compliments the meditation practices discussed here.The Theory and principles of Zhineng Qiging are also sound and worthwhile investigating

cheers
Jeff


Hi Jeff,

My knowledge regarding this type of body practices is basically zero, so most of what you wrote is way over my head.

There is alot of material out there on this school and I am happy to put together some videos and books to use.


If you could do that, that would be really great. Google is not being terribly helpful and some recommendations would be very helpful.

Thanks,
Simon


Happy to do this, give me a day or two to get it together and I will put in my drop box

cheers
Jeff

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/26/14 7:09 AM as a reply to T DC.
The best resource I've come across on the net is a series of videos - many, many hours worth - by this fella: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1YilBJY-rk . The "demystifying" approach should be of interest to this forum.

I'd also be interested in Jeff Grove's books and links for Zhineng Qigong.

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/29/14 7:09 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
re Daniel Leffler (9/25/14 12:12 PM as areply to Chris J Macie. )
"…share any and all links/info concerning [1] Than-Geoffs practices related to balancing the dantiens as well as anything else about the [2] downsides of bare awareness/acceptance as it really hits home.

As for the experience 7 years ago – if that's still persisting, it may relate to A&P or 'Dark Night' or other, which I can't address, and haven't heard about in Than-Geof talks. On the other hand, checking out various of Than-Geof's short talks on using breath (see below, series titled "Basics"), developing it as a refuge, might offer some tools to help stablize the whole-body experiences, and be useful overall with MCTB-type insight practices.

[1] An excellent intro is a meditation and dharma talk given last April at IMC (Redwood City, where he regularly shows up and gives a day-long talk around the end of April):
20140421-Thanissaro_Bhikkhu-IMC-guided_meditation_the_four_feeding_truths.mp3

(at http://www.audiodharma.org/teacher/16/)
1 hr 25 min total – ca. 30 guidedmeditation, 15 min silent meditation, 40 min talk

Guided meditation: begins with metta/goodwill; then the breath itself, getting it good
then, ca. 8.5 min to 31 min, using that breath throughout the body,
starting at lower dantien, up to soler plexus, throat, to center of head
then back of neck then down arms;
then back to neck and down spine, down legs;
(he doesn't use Chinese (dantien) or Hindu (chakra) terminology, but the progression corresponds to inner-to-outer, up yin/front side, then out and down yang/back side; i.e. as this is mental meditation, where mind-body are always co-present, here priority in the mind – it's not physical exercise / cultivation)
to about 26 min, = a complete cycle thru the body;  review, how to use the results…
31-42 silent meditation
42 review, ending meditation, more metta, spreading goodwill everywhere. reviewing to notice what worked well in the meditation, to cultivate it as a skill for next time…
at 45 bell ending meditation.
45 min- 40 min dharma talk, Buddha teachings about priorities, what one feeds on, clings to going through life, Buddha's path through, overcoming suffering.
at 1hr 13min some (interesting) Q/A

A good source of short talks by Than-Geof (from evening dharma talks at the Metta monastery near San Diego) Basics (also available as a CD)
https://archive.org/details/basics-thanissaro-bhikkhu
"Thirty five pithy (about 15 minutes each) talks on the fundamentals of Buddhist meditation by one of the great living masters of Buddhism." One can see from the list of titles there, many about aspects of breath

also 2013 August Than-Geof gave an on-line retreat at Tricycle website, dealing focally with breath.


[2] The discussion / debate on "bare awareness/acceptance" vs mindfulness as a more pro-active skill

(Analayo
, "Satipatthana: the Direct Path to Realization" (2003); in introductory chapters discussing terms, on 'sati', largely arguments and citations for 'bare awareness'; not on-line)

(Sujato, "A History of Mindfulness" (2008,2012) 2nd half of book – very long-winded and complex, scholarly – worth it if one has lots of time to read; can be found on-line)

A useful, relatively brief, perspective, comparing both sides of the debate in terms of the history of English translations of 'sati' and the associated the viewpoints:
Rupert Gethin "On Some Definitions of Mindfulness", 2011
at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14639947.2011.564843#.VCXRsefqKuU

Thanissaro Bhikkhu
"Right Mindfulness" 2012 – cites abundant Sutta evidence that sati has bascially active (as well as some passive) aspects; especially Chapter Four on 'bare attention'; my sense is he's replying to Analayo, among others.
at:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/rightmindfulness.pdf

(Analayo
, "Perspectives on Satipatthana" (2013) continuing the dialog (e.g. p.35 footnote 44, citing Gethin disagreeing with Than-Geof); not on-line.)

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/29/14 7:19 AM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
re Jeff Grove (9/26/14 6:40 AM as a reply to Chris J Macie.)

It could well be that 'tumo' comes from 'gtummo', i.e. no relation to Dumo/Dumai. Thanks for the feed back. Justine Stone used the term 'Dumo Heat', and in the context of Tibetan practices, but I read that decades ago, and the book is buried somewhere in my boxed library.

Tibetan medicine, as currently practiced, is largely based on Chinese medicine, though has some unique elements (e.g. 'gold fire needle' at BaiHui / 7th chakra), and may have uniquely Tibetan aspects that have been supplanted in modern practice.

A couple of smallish paperback books by Yeshi Dhonden (famous as one-time physician to the Dalai Lama) outline current Tibetan medical practice, i.e. a mostly Chinese system.

One passage though was especially interesting, and relates more directly to DhO issues. In discussing the training of the highest-grade of medical practitioner, (basically as both Lama and doctor), he outlines 3 skills:
1) knowledge/use of  Tibetan Buddhist rituals;
2) mastery of the medical knowledge/system, per se;
3) several decades of samadhi practice, to the point of attaining something like the 'divine eye' (I forget the exact term), whereby the doctor sees immediately to the root of the patient's issue(s), without SOAP protocol, taking pulses, etc, and knows exactly what to do. Actual treatment may involve rituals (religious or medical), but that's more to satisfy the patient (and their family) that 'medicine' is being done.

Dhonden came to San Diego back in the late 1980's, while I was in (acupuncture) medical school there. He held a couple of days of appointments / treatments at a nearby house, mostly for Tibetans in the area. A group of us hotshot acupuncture students scheduled appointments and saw him – more for curiosity than medical issues. He readily knew what we were up to, asked a few questions, studied the pulse a while (oddly, reading the ulnar artery pulse, several inches proximal to the wrist, whereas in his books he describes the Chinese style pulse reading – radial artery, index finger at the wrist crease and 3rd, 4th fingers immediately adjacent); gave us some marble-sized herbal pills; and told us to stop smoking so much dope!

The Lamas also held a weekend ritual at the acupuncture school, said to be an intiation into becoming a Medicine (Blue) Buddha. An elaborate altar set-up, with bowls of butter, flowers, and whatnot; hours of Tibetan chanting. I attended that, but didn't get much out of it. My current office colleague, an MD who studied acupuncture with Worsley and Mariam Lee, has a magnificent tapestry of the Medicine/Blue Buddha in his office, and says he uses embodiment of that image in his practice to good effect.

I also once took a Mantak Chia weekend course, learning some useful things, but not buying into the whole system.

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/29/14 7:30 AM as a reply to CJMacie.
A couple of further notes on the historical interplay of Buddhism and Chinese traditions, vis-à-vis "gigong" and meditative practices.

1) One of my first 'gigong' teachers, in San Diego was one (Sifu) Share K Lew, a Cantonese Taoist priest from pre-revolutionary China, then in his 70's, teaching various forms in the driveway by his house; also TuiNa and other medical techinques to the teachers in the school, which then became part of the curiculum.

Quite by chance, he was invited a couple of years ago (2010-2011) to teach a couple of weekends in the classroom at the clinic where I work, in Palo Alto. He was then about 100 y/o (died in 2012), assisted by his wife, who was about 40. The course ("Cloud Hands" – a frequently used term in gigong and TaiJiQuan forms) was a series of movements, standing, mostly involving the arms in very slow, overlapping circular motions, with intense concentrated attention to the hands (actually quite difficult to sustain). But after all that, the ending phase was to sit, lotus position, back erect, eyes directed, unfocused, at the floor a couple of feet out, concentrating attention to the tip of the nose and the breath; for 30 minutes or more. He also mentioned at one point, if you don't have lots of time to practice all this stuff, the most important part to do was the sitting meditation! (But 90% of the teaching time was in the moving forms – that's what interested the students more as 'qigong'.)

2) After Buddhism came to China early in the first millennium, it caught on big time, such that by the Tang Dynasty some emperor took it up and made it offical state religion. A contributing factor was that Buddhism resonates so perfectly with Taoist thought and practice. (The "great masters" in the history of Chinese medicine, Tang through Song eras, were mostly adepts at Taoism / Buddhism, often primarily so, with medicine as an avocation.) The Tang era was a great flourishing of arts, literature, and tolerance (e.g. many prominent women).

However, the old-line Confucian mandarins didn't like it at all, all that "foreign influence."Also, Buddhist monasteries were tax exempt, and the Chinese, being quite adept financially, caught onto 're-incorporating' their family/clan operations as monasteries, which started to bankrupt the government. So the mandarins took control, banned the Buddhists.

The succeeding Song Dynasty 'neo-cons'– neo-Confucians, not unsimilar in style to modern American 'neo-conservatives' – sought to eradicate the 'foreign influences' that were perceived as defiling pure Han culture. BUT they were careful to preserve, i.e. to appropriate a lot of useful and popular Buddhist thought and practice into a re-formulated Confucianism.

I was once reading (excerpts) from the Song era (ca. 1000 AD) neo-con commentaries on the fundamental '4 Books' by Confucius (KungZi is his real name), the first major rewrite since the commentaries on the '4 Books' of the Han era (ca 0 AD). Amazing was that descriptions of meditation there were exact carry-overs from Buddhist meditation, but now not "Buddhist," but rather "Confucian," and the purpose now less individual cultivation for liberation (also a strong vein in Daoism), but rather to condition the individual as a proper Confucian, to perfect one's wisdom and skills as a good family member, a good minister of the state, etc.

Buddhism, though somewhat 'underground', is still a major factor in Chinese culture. China has more "Buddhists" than any other country (by some reckoning, almost more than all other countries combined). And a large presence here in the USA – a much larger popluation than, say, the Vipassana Movement, but the Chinese don't proselytize or try to make a popular movement out of it.

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/29/14 8:19 AM as a reply to CJMacie.
Chris J Macie:
A couple of further notes on the historical interplay of Buddhism and Chinese traditions, vis-à-vis "gigong" and meditative practices.

1) One of my first 'gigong' teachers, in San Diego was one (Sifu) Share K Lew, a Cantonese Taoist priest from pre-revolutionary China, then in his 70's, teaching various forms in the driveway by his house; also TuiNa and other medical techinques to the teachers in the school, which then became part of the curiculum.

Quite by chance, he was invited a couple of years ago (2010-2011) to teach a couple of weekends in the classroom at the clinic where I work, in Palo Alto. He was then about 100 y/o (died in 2012), assisted by his wife, who was about 40. The course ("Cloud Hands" – a frequently used term in gigong and TaiJiQuan forms) was a series of movements, standing, mostly involving the arms in very slow, overlapping circular motions, with intense concentrated attention to the hands (actually quite difficult to sustain). But after all that, the ending phase was to sit, lotus position, back erect, eyes directed, unfocused, at the floor a couple of feet out, concentrating attention to the tip of the nose and the breath; for 30 minutes or more. He also mentioned at one point, if you don't have lots of time to practice all this stuff, the most important part to do was the sitting meditation! (But 90% of the teaching time was in the moving forms – that's what interested the students more as 'qigong'.)

2) After Buddhism came to China early in the first millennium, it caught on big time, such that by the Tang Dynasty some emperor took it up and made it offical state religion. A contributing factor was that Buddhism resonates so perfectly with Taoist thought and practice. (The "great masters" in the history of Chinese medicine, Tang through Song eras, were mostly adepts at Taoism / Buddhism, often primarily so, with medicine as an avocation.) The Tang era was a great flourishing of arts, literature, and tolerance (e.g. many prominent women).

However, the old-line Confucian mandarins didn't like it at all, all that "foreign influence."Also, Buddhist monasteries were tax exempt, and the Chinese, being quite adept financially, caught onto 're-incorporating' their family/clan operations as monasteries, which started to bankrupt the government. So the mandarins took control, banned the Buddhists.

The succeeding Song Dynasty 'neo-cons'– neo-Confucians, not unsimilar in style to modern American 'neo-conservatives' – sought to eradicate the 'foreign influences' that were perceived as defiling pure Han culture. BUT they were careful to preserve, i.e. to appropriate a lot of useful and popular Buddhist thought and practice into a re-formulated Confucianism.

I was once reading (excerpts) from the Song era (ca. 1000 AD) neo-con commentaries on the fundamental '4 Books' by Confucius (KungZi is his real name), the first major rewrite since the commentaries on the '4 Books' of the Han era (ca 0 AD). Amazing was that descriptions of meditation there were exact carry-overs from Buddhist meditation, but now not "Buddhist," but rather "Confucian," and the purpose now less individual cultivation for liberation (also a strong vein in Daoism), but rather to condition the individual as a proper Confucian, to perfect one's wisdom and skills as a good family member, a good minister of the state, etc.

Buddhism, though somewhat 'underground', is still a major factor in Chinese culture. China has more "Buddhists" than any other country (by some reckoning, almost more than all other countries combined). And a large presence here in the USA – a much larger popluation than, say, the Vipassana Movement, but the Chinese don't proselytize or try to make a popular movement out of it.


Hi Chris,

Thanks for the information, the big three Daoism, Buddhism and Confusism all influence each other's system as they were all embraced by the chinese
your very lucky to have had the oportunity to train with Sifu Lew, I have heard a bit about him and his system and he was known for his knowledge and skill.
Chinese, Tibetan and Indian Medical systems are very profound I have studied a little Chinese Herbalism and acuptuncture but would love to one day study Tibetan Medicine. Zhineng Qigong also has cloud hands as part of two of its forms.

Hi Simon

Sorry all for the delay in providing the zhineng qigong books and videos, I need to convert some of my kindles format to pdf's and videos to a format thats easier to use. Also training notes and a couple of videos from retreats I went on to learn the first and second dynamic  forms and the standing form. I missed the chance on the weekend (grandkids took up most of it) I probably wont have it done until next weekend now that I am back at work

cheers
Jeff

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/29/14 2:46 PM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Jeff Grove:
Sorry all for the delay in providing the zhineng qigong books and videos, I need to convert some of my kindles format to pdf's and videos to a format thats easier to use. Also training notes and a couple of videos from retreats I went on to learn the first and second dynamic  forms and the standing form. I missed the chance on the weekend (grandkids took up most of it) I probably wont have it done until next weekend now that I am back at work

cheers
Jeff

Hi Jeff,

No hurry at all on my account. We're having our third baby any day now so my free time will be very limited for a while.

Simon

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/29/14 4:38 PM as a reply to Albin Hagberg Medin.
Hi Albin,

I have studied Dao Yin, Nei Gong and Nei Dan in China for several years since the beginning of the 90's. My main teachers were Di Zhao Long (disciple of Shi Style Ba Gua master Yang Rong Ben), Sun Jian Yun (daughter of Sun Lu Tang, the founder of Sun Style Taiji), and Cao Zhen Yang (Daoist monk in White Cloud Temple). I teach in Blackeberg, Bromma. If you have the time and interest please come by and check us out! Weekly schedule can be found here (swedish): http://www.alipsa.se/schema.html

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/30/14 6:40 AM as a reply to ftw.
ftw:
TDC, there's a ajahn on youtube practicing qigong, so i guess he as a buddhist finds some value in it. 

My first qigong practice was interesting thats all i'll say emoticon Looking forward to new ones. 


I possibly wouldn't have even started to read this thread, were in not for attending a weekend retreat in london with Ajahn Sucitto, current Abbot of Chithurst monastery (he's an English monk in the Thai Forest Tradition). He spoke alot about relaxing the body and readying the body for sitting meditation and incorpating walking and standing meditation into the practice. Also, about methods to release energy blockages which do not mean just trying to sit through them.On the Sunday morning, after a short talk, we started with about 1/2 hour of basic Qi Gong practice. I know very little about Qi Gong/ Tai Chi  (side note, is there much difference between the two or is there plenty of overlap?).

Similarly, about 3 years ago, I attended a week long non-silent retreat (much focus was also given to group dialogue/sharing etc) by another monk from the same tradition (Amaranato, whom I notice has also contributed to this site in the past). He too, also led some Qi Gong sessions during the week. I don't think that Ajahn Chah was leading Qi Gong sessions in NE Thailand during his teaching life (I've never read or heard about this and I've stayed at Amaravati for several weeks/months in the past). I'm not even sure if all or even most of the monastics (I'm talking specifically about those in the West in the Thai Forest Tradition) are practicing Qi Gong as well as more formal Buddhist meditation practices, but quite clearly some of them are and are very open about it.

I've often thought, that these types of practices and this goes for yoga too, often naturally lead to sitting meditation. It's like when I do Yoga, and especially after some of the "controlled" breathing practices too, if often lends itself nicely to sitting practices afterwards.

~Piers

RE: Qi Gong
Answer
9/30/14 4:24 PM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
Very interesting -- two strands of Thai Forest Tradition practicing, teaching qigong-like stuff.

(Ajahn Cha lineage and Ajahn Thanissaro's)

I'm considering writing Than-Geof -- or has anyone else asked Sujato or other from that branch / lineage -- WHAT DO THE THAI'S CALL THAT SORT OF PRACTICE?

Did thera (elders, forerunners in the lineages) like Ajahn Lee, Ajahn Mun teach that? Have a name for it? A Pali term? (other than, too broadly, anapanasati or satipatthana).

As I pointed out, the term 'qigong' was invented ca. 1930 (in Nationalist China), and used in the current sense only since the late 1950's (in the PRC and then outwards).

Or have Than-Geof, Sujato -- Westerners of the hippy generation, basically -- cooked this up (formed a new tradition) on their own?