Categories
Meditation Mindset Philosophy Taoism

The Five Fundamentals of the Mind

There are five basic fundamental concepts which will provide the insights or background needed to achieve higher levels in Martial Arts. These concepts will help you in your overall relaxation skills.

The importance of your ability to relax is connected to several other factors: First and foremost, when you are in a relaxed state, your breathing is not constricted, but full and natural. Secondly, your alertness is clear and refined, and finally, your reactions are quick and uninhibited.

In order to achieve this relaxed state, you must practice meditation. The usual method of meditation emphasizes the physical acts of monitoring your breathing, becoming aware of any stress or tension, etc.

The following five guidelines will help you control your state of mind, a precondition of one’s behaviour.

Respect Respect makes reference to how you treat others. You should always maintain a sense of mutual respect. You should not take on a position of superiority, whether or not it may appear justified. There is an infinite amount of experiences, and any single person cannot possibly have witnessed all of them in his or her lifetime. Therefore, your fellow man has experiences and ideas that you may never have encountered or contemplated before. This is why you can always learn from others.

In the area of the Martial Arts, your classmate/opponent possesses different ideas, levels of skill, etc., all of which are legitimate. There may exist better, faster, more effective techniques, but nevertheless, your opponent’s techniques are real and must be addressed. No two persons will attack or react in the same way (power, angle, or methods). If you are perceptive, you can learn from any variation/situation. When you take on a position of superiority you create an artificial barrier between yourself and others. This barrier will automatically create tension. Tension is the single most important hindrance you must avoid in order to achieve higher levels.

Care Be thoughtful and careful when acting. It is important that you analyze self and commit yourself to whatever actions you take. You should believe in your decision-making processes. If you do not believe (have faith) or do not understand, you will create a mental block, which will hinder your results. Once you understand how a process can help you, then your mind can accept it, giving it value and allowing you to concentrate. It will also allow you to expand, gaining greater insights of how other issues are related to one another.

Thought This is a simple process. Understanding that you are only capable of doing one thing at a time, you can only process (solve) one issue at a time, you should not try to do two things at once. This will only split your focus as you move from one problem to another, and cause anxiety and stress. Single-mindedness will allow you to face the opponent with unrestrained whole-body power.

Focus You must understand completely what you are trying to achieve, clearly defining the end results of what is to be gained. You must therefore strip away all the minor processes and methods in order to focus on the essence of the subject matter. By focusing, you will understand which processes and methods enable you to achieve the desired goal.

Harmony Your interaction with others should be based on self-respect and honour. You should not take a position of superiority, nor one of inferiority. In this harmonious (neutral) position, you will be at ease with others, allowing you to be relaxed, calm, and composed.

Reference: Wudang, Vol. 10, Nos. 2 and 3

Categories
Philosophy

Dao

Categories
Meditation Mindset Philosophy Zen

The Prestigious Man

There was a prestigious man in a community who seemingly had all material desires satisfied. He had a loving family, a large house and many servants. Not content with his good fortune, he chose to seek enlightenment.

He first refused responsibility for his estate, believing it would interfere with his spiritual pursuits. He then relinquished all material wealth and gave away even his dearest possessions. Finally, he decided that he must abandon his home. Leaving everything behind except for a small bag in which he carried a few necessities, he traveled through the country seeking teachers and wisdom.

For twenty years he carried his little bag as he walked through the countryside, studying and searching for enlightenment without success. One day he sat near a clear pond and thought how nice it would be to refresh himself in the water. He took off his clothes and laid his bag by the tree. As he laid his bag down he felt a sense of relief and immediately understood why he had searched for enlightenment for twenty years without success. He thought, “I gave up my estate, my personal wealth, my home, my family, yet, for twenty years I could not give up this bag.” At that moment he attained the enlightenment for which he searched.

Reference:
Tao of Meditation: Way to Enlightenment
by Jou, Tsung Hwa
ISBN 0804814651

Categories
Classic Philosophy principle qigong Taoism

The Inner Entreprise

Section 1: The essential qi

It is the essence of things that gives life to them. Below, it gives birth to the five grains;
above, it is the ranks of stars. Flowing between heaven and earth:
we call these ghosts and spirits. Stored within the breast:
we call these sages.
This qi is So bright! As though climbing to heaven. So dark! As though entering the abyss. So broad! As though permeating the sea. So compact! As though residing within oneself.
This qi
Cannot be detained through physical force, but may be brought to rest by force of virtue.
It may not be summoned by means of sound, but may be received through one’s thoughts.
To guard it alertly without fail, this is called perfect virtue.
When virtue is perfected wisdom emerges and all the things of the world are grasped.

Section 2: The nature of the heart

The form of the heart is Spontaneously full and replete, Spontaneously born and complete.
It loses this form through care and joy, pleasure and anger, desire and profit-seeking.
If are able to rid itself of care and joy, pleasure and anger, desire and profit-seeking, the heart returns to completion.
The natural feelings of the heart cleave to rest and calm;
Don’t trouble them, don’t derange them, and harmony will spontaneously be perfect.
So gleaming! As though just beside. So dim! As though ungraspable. So remote! As though exhausting the far limit.
Its basis is near at hand; daily we draw its force of virtue.

Section 3: The Dao

By means of the Dao forms are made full,
yet men are not able to cleave firmly to it.
Once gone it may not return, Once come it may not remain. So silent! None hears its sound. So compact! It resides in the heart. So dark! Invisible of form.
So overflowing! It is born along with me. Its form unseen,
Its sound unheard,
Yet its doings perfectly ordered. Such we call: the Dao.
The Dao has no fixed place; it dwells at peace in a good heart.
When the heart is tranquil and the qi aligned, the Dao may be made to stay.
The Dao is not distant, people gain it in being born.
The Dao never departs, people rely on it for awareness. How compact! As though it could be bound up. How remote! As though exhausting all nothingness.

The natural being of the Dao abhors thought and voice.
Refine the heart and calm thoughts, and the Dao may be grasped.
The Dao Is what the mouth cannot speak, Is what the eye cannot see, Is what the ear cannot hear.
It is the means to refine the heart and rectify the form.
Men die when they lose it. Men live when they gain it. Affairs fail when they lose it. Affairs succeed when they gain it.
The Dao has neither root not stalk, nor leaves, nor blossoms.
Yet the things of the world gain it and are born; the things of the world gain it and mature.
This is termed: the Dao.

Section 4: The sage

The pivot of heaven is uprightness. The pivot of earth is flatness. The pivot of man is quiescence.
Spring, autumn, winter, and summer are the season times of heaven.
Mountains ridges and river valleys are the limbs of earth.
Showing pleasure or anger, taking or giving, there are the schemes of man.
The sage adapts with the times but is not transformed, follows along with things but is not moved by them.
He is able to be balanced and tranquil and so he is settled.
With a settled heart within,
the eyes and ears are keen and clear,
the four limbs are strong and firm. He is fit to be the dwelling of the essence.
By essence is meant the essence of qi. When qi follows the Dao there is birth.
With birth there is awareness. From awareness comes knowing. With knowing the limit is reached.

Section 5: The One

If the form of the heart acquires excessive knowledge, life is lost.
Unifying with things and able to transform them– this is called spirit-like.
Unifying with affairs and able to adapt– this is called wisdom.
To transform without altering one’s qi, and adapt without altering one’s wisdom–
only a junzi who grips the One can do this. Gripping the One without fail,
he is able to be ruler to the world of things.
The junzi manipulates things; he is not manipulated by things. He grasps the principle of the One,
a regulated heart at his center, regulated words come forth from his mouth, he engages others in regulated affairs,
and thus the world is regulated. In one phrase he grasps it and the world submits;
in one phrase he sets it and the world obeys– this is called impartiality.

Section 6: The inner grasp

If the form is not balanced, the force of virtue will not come.
If the center is not tranquil, the heart will not be regulated.
When a balanced form controls the force of virtue then the ren of heaven and the righteousness of earth
will come spontaneously as a torrent. The polar limit of spirit-like brilliance shines in the understanding. The central rightness of the world of things is flawlessly preserved.
Not letting things disrupt the senses;
not letting the senses disrupt the heart– such is called inner grasping.

Section 7: Controlling the essence

There is a spirit that spontaneously resides within the person: it comes and goes, none can anticipate it.
Lose it and one is certain to become disrupted; grasp it and one is certain to become regulated.
Reverently sweep its abode and the essence will spontaneously come.
Ponder it with tranquil thinking, calm your recollections to regulate it.
Maintain a dignified appearance and a manner of awe, and the essence will spontaneously become stable.
Grasp it and never release it, and your ears and eyes will not go astray, your mind will have no other plans.
When a balanced heart lies at the center, the things of the world obtain their proper measures.

Section 8: The core of the heart

The Dao fills the world and spreads through everywhere that people dwell, yet the people cannot understand it.
Through the explanation of a single phrase one may penetrate to heaven, reach the limits of the earth,
and coil through all the nine regions. What is this explanation?
It lies in setting the heart at rest.
When our hearts are regulated, the senses are regulated as well. When our hearts are at rest, the senses are at rest as well. What regulates the senses is the heart;
what places the senses at rest is the heart.
By means of the heart, a heart is enclosed– within the heart there is yet another heart.
Within that heart’s core the sound of a thought is first to speak: after the sound of thought, it takes shape, taking shape, there is speech, with speech, there is action, with action, there is order.
Without order, there must be disruption, and with disruption, there is death.

Section 9: The flood-like essence

Where essence is stored there is spontaneous life: externally it blooms in contentment, internally it is stored as a wellspring.
Flood-like, it is harmonious and even, the fountainhead of the qi.
When the fountainhead never runs dry, the limbs are firm.
When the wellspring is never exhausted, the nine bodily orifices are penetrating.*
Thereupon one may exhaust heaven and earth and cover the four seas.
Within, there are no confused thoughts, without, there are no irregular disasters.
The heart complete within, the form is complete without:
*The nine orifices include mouth, eyes, nostrils, ears, anus, and urethra.
encountering neither disasters from Tian,
nor harm from man. This is called: the sage.

Section 10: Physical perfection

When a man is able to attain balanced tranquility, his skin is sleek, his flesh full, his eyes sharp, his ears keen, his muscles taut, his bones sturdy.
And so he is able to carry the great circle of heaven on his head and tread upon the great square of earth.
He finds his reflection in the great purity and sees by the great light.
Attentive and cautious, he never errs, and every day renews the force of his virtue.
Knowing everything in the world and exhausting the four poles of the earth, he attentively nurtures his plenitude:
this is called: grasping within. To be so and never to revert
is life without error.

Section 11: The nature of the Dao

The Dao is always abundant and dense, always broad and easy,
always hard and steady.
Guard the good and never release it, expel excess and let go of narrowness.
Once knowing the extremes, return to the force of the Dao.

Section 12: The charisma of the completed heart

When the heart completed lies within, it cannot be concealed. It may be known through the form and countenance,
seen through the skin and expression. When such a one encounters others with the qi of goodness,
he becomes closer to them than brothers. When such a one encounters others with the qi of hatred,
he is more dangerous then weapons of war.
The unspoken sound travels faster than a clap of thunder. The form of the heart’s qi
illuminates more brightly than the sun or moon,
and is more discerning than a father or mother. Rewards are insufficient to encourage goodness;
punishments are insufficient to discipline transgressions. But when the intent of the qi is in one’s grasp,
the world will submit. When the intent of the heart is fixed,
the world will obey.

Section 13: Concentration

Spirit-like, concentrate the qi, and the world of things is complete. Can you concentrate?
Can you become one? Can you know the outcomes of events without divining? Can you halt? Can you stop? Can you grasp in it yourself and not seek it in others?
Ponder it! Ponder it! Then ponder yet again! If you ponder and do not comprehend,
the spirits will make it comprehensible. Yet it is not by the power of the spirits:
it is the utmost of the essential qi.

Section 14: The limits of contemplation

When your four limbs are balanced and the qi of your blood tranquil, unify your thoughts and concentrate your mind.
Eyes and ears never astray, though distant, it will be as though near.
Contemplative thought gives birth to knowledge; careless laxity gives birth to cares; violent arrogance gives birth to resentments; cares and melancholy give birth to illness.
If you contemplate things and don’t let go, you will be harried within and haggard without.
If you don’t plan against this early on, your life will slip away from its abode.
When eating, it is best not to eat one’s fill. When contemplating, it is best not to carry it to the end. When there is regularity and equilibrium,
it will come of itself.

Section 15: Moderating emotions and desires

In the life of man, heaven produces his essence, earth produces his form.
These are combined and create a man.
With harmony there comes life, without harmony there is no life.
In discerning the dao of harmony, its essence is invisible,
its manifestations belong to no class.
When level balance controls the breast and sorted regularity lies within the heart,
long life is assured. If joy and anger lose their proper rule,
attend to this. Moderate the five desires,
eliminate the two evils– neither joyous nor angered–
and level balance will control your breast. The life of man must rely on level balance,
and these are lost through the heart’s joy and anger, cares and dismay.
To quell anger nothing is better than the Poetry. To dismiss cares, nothing is better than music. To moderate joy, nothing is better than li. To observe li, nothing is better than attentiveness.
To maintain attentiveness, nothing is better than tranquility.
Inwardly tranquil, outwardly attentive,
able to return to your nature: thus will your nature be well stabilized.

Section 16: The dao of eating

The dao of eating: gorging is harmful, the form will not be fine; fasts of abstinence make the bones brittle and the blood run dry.
The mean between gorging and abstinence is the harmonious perfection: the place where the essence dwells and wisdom is born.
If hunger or satiety lose their proper measures, attend to this.
If you have eaten too much, move about rapidly. If you are famished, make broader plans. If you are old, plan in advance.
If you have eaten too much and do not move about rapidly, your qi will not flow through your limbs.
If you are famished and do not make broader plans, your hunger will not be alleviated.
If you are old and do not plan in advance, then when you are in straits you will be quickly exhausted.

Section 17: The magnanimous qi

Enlarge your heart and be daring; make your qi magnanimous and broad.
With form at rest and unmoving, you will be able to guard your oneness and discard a myriad burdens.
On seeing profit, you will not be enticed. On seeing danger, you will not be frightened. With easy magnanimity you will be jen,
and alone, you will delight in your person. This is called cloud-like qi,
for thoughts float in it as clouds in heaven.

Section 18: Moderation

All human life must rest upon contentment. Through cares its guiding lines are lost. Through anger its source is lost. When there is care or sadness, joy or sorrow,
the Dao finds no place.
Loves and desires–quiet them! If you encounter disorder, put it right. Draw nothing near, push nothing away;
blessings will spontaneously come to stay. The Dao comes spontaneously,
you may rely upon it to shape your plans. If you are tranquil you will grasp it;
agitated, you will lose it.
The magical qi within the heart, now it comes, now departs.
It is so small that there can be nothing within it. It is so great that there can be nothing outside it. It is lost through the harm of agitation. If the heart can grip tranquility,
the Dao will spontaneously fix itself therein.
In he who grasps the Dao it steams through the lines of his face and seeps from his hair.
There is no failing within his breast. With the Dao of moderating desires,
the things of the world cannot harm him.

Reference:
GUANZI 管子 : THE INNER ENTERPRISE (Neiye 內業)
R. Eno, Indiana University, 2005
www.indiana.edu/~p374/Neiye.pdf

Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism (Translations from the Asian Classics) by Harold Roth
ISBN 0231115652

Categories
Classic Mindset Philosophy principle qigong Taoism

Guarding the One

Attainment of the Prime of the One
Is not a gift from Heaven.
Realization of Great Nonbeing
Is the state of highest immortality.

Light restrained, a hidden brilliance,
The body one with nature:
There is true peace, won but not pursued.
Script kept forever at rest.

In serenity and beauty: this is perfection!
Body and inner nature, hard and soft,
All is but cinnabar vapor, azure barrens.
One of the highest sages-

Only after a hundred years
The tomb is discovered empty.

Reference:
The Taoist Experience: An Anthology
by Liva Kohn
ISBN 0791415805

p. 215 Xuanzhu xinjing zhu (Mysterious Pearly Mirror of the Mind)

Categories
Classic Meditation Mindset Philosophy Taoism

The Classic of Purity

The venerable Master said:
The Supreme Tao is formless,yet it produces Heaven and Earth. The Supreme Tao has no desires, yet by Its power the Sun and the Moon revolve in their orbits. The supreme Tao is nameless,yet It ever supports all things. I do not know its namebut for title call it Tao

The venerable Master said:
Tao manifests both as the pure and the turbid, both as movement and stillness. Heaven is pure, earth is turbid. Heaven moves, earth is still. The masculine is pure, the feminine is turbid. The masculine is active, the feminine is passive. Manifesting from its radical essence,Tao flows forth even to the last of things,bringing forth heaven and eart hand all that is in between. The pure is the cause of the turbid, and movement of stillness.

The venerable Master said:
When man attains the power to transcend that which changes abiding in purity and stillness, heaven and earth are united in him. The soul of man loves purity, but his mind is often rebellious. The mind of man loves stillness but his desires draw him into activity. When a man is constantly able to govern his desires, his mind becomes spontaneously still. When the mind is unclouded, the soul is seen to be pure. Then with certainty the six desires will cease to be begotten, and the three poisons will be eliminated and dissolved. The reason men do not possess the ability to achieve this is because their minds are not clear and their desires are unrestrained. He who has the power to transcend his desires, looking within and contemplating mind, realizes that in his mind, mind is not; looking without and contemplating form, he realizes that in form, form is not; looking at things still more remote and contemplating matter, he realizes that in matter, matter is not.

The venerable Master said:
When he has clearly thought about these three he perceives only a void, but when he contemplates the void, he realizes that the void is also void and has become nothingness. The void having vanished into nothingness, he realizes that the nothingness of nothing is also nothing, and when the nethermost nothingness is reached, there is most truly to be found a deep and unchanging stilness. In this profound stillness how can desires be begotten? When desires are no longer begotten,then there is essential and unchanging stillness. Truth is essentially unchanging. All things in heaven and earth are in essence unchanging.

The venerable Master said:
The unfoldment of man’s consciousness, leads him to this unchanging truth. In unchanging stillness, unchanging purity and rest are found. He who attains purity and stillness enters into the immutable Tao. Having entered into the immutable Tao he is named possessor of Tao. Although he is named the possessor of Tao, he knows that he does not posses it. Only when he can transmute all living beings can he be truly named the possessor of Tao. He who is able to understand this can lead others to sacred Tao.

Reference:
The Classic of Purity by Ko Hsuan osholeela.com

Categories
Classic Meditation Mindset Philosophy principle

The Heat of Movement the coldness of stillness

by Liu I-Ming

Generally speaking, when people are active, this gives rise to heat; when people sit quietly, this gives rise to cold. When one is cold, if one moves about this will again produce heat. When one is hot, if one sits still this will again produce coldness. In other words, cold and heat do not depend on the weather but on the person.

What I realize as I observe this is the Tao of taking over the creativity of yin and yang. That which is strong is associated with yang, that which is yielding is associated with yin. If one is strong but not aggressive, humbly lowering oneself, then one will not be irritable but will be peaceful, and equanimous. If one is yielding but not weak, deliberate in action, then one will not be ineffective but will ascend to high illumination.

Able to be strong, able to yield, according with truth and according with the time, knowing when to advance and when to withdraw, able to be great and able to be small, able to stop and able to step down, able to be passive and able to be active, one can thereby take over Creation, turn around life and death, reverse the mechanism of energy, leave death and go to life. This is like activity producing heat and quiet sitting producing cold; human power can reverse nature.

Reference:
Awakening to the Tao
by Liu I-Ming translated by Thomas Cleary, Shambhala Publications Inc.,U.S., 2006.
ISBN: 159030344X

p. 20-21

Categories
Mindset Philosophy principle qigong

Mind Exercising of the Health Qigong

The Health Qigong is one kind of Qigong exercise combining the mind, Qi and body exercise rather than the single muscle exercise. Regulating the mind, breath and body, called as three regulations in the following, are three basic elements of practicing the Health Qigong. The key word for three regulations is to regulate and adjust the body and mind intentionally. Therefore the spiritual activity is needed to be done in three regulations with the active mental activity. Yi generally means the consciousness or thinking of which is the functional activity of the brain. Mind exercise is to concentrate the mind on some points or something, which is called Zhuyi in Chinese words. In fact we use the mind exercise in doing everything but it is different in the exercise of the Health Qigong.

Man often initiatively think about something apart from his own body with mind activity, which is exterior. It is just in contrary with the former that the practicer concentrates the mind on his own life activity, which is interior. The practicer should cut off the connection of the sensory organs with outer world and initiatively control himself with consciousness and gain the gnosis for the relation of the life and nature. The process is called the introspection. Interior mind application is basic characteristics for exercising the Health Qigong. Correct and appropriate understanding the criteria of mind application can overcome or surpass the routine skills taken the movements as the main ways of the exercise. The healthy effect of the Health Qigong is mainly embodied in the mind exercise. For this reason, the practicer should aim at exercising the mind and get oneself into the state of natural relaxation of which is inner active and outer quiet by ways of regulating the breath and body in order to obtain the target of strengthening the body and prolonging the life. Mind application should be set in the first position and kept in the whole course of the exercise. The contents and orders of mind activity can be different at the different stage of the exercise.

The stage of stressing on the body instead of the mind

The Health Qigong is one kind of Gong emphasizing both the body and mind. But it is hard for the beginners to understand and grasp the actions of the Health Qigong and impractical for them to lay stress on the mind activity. In this stage, the attention of the practicer should be paid to imitation and exercising the body movements rather than the mind regulation, which is not specially emphasized. However, it is required that the practicer should concentrate on the routine itself such as the change of the direction and line, how to move the hands and feet, the main points, how to connect the different parts, etc. The mind is concentrated on some point, line or part with relaxation of other parts to form one natural and relaxed moving body. The first task for the beginners is to learn and correctly and proficiently accomplish the routine. It is one kind of mind activity of low level as the mind is concentrated on the figure itself and aimed at learning and grasping the routines. Practice makes perfect. The routines can be correctly and proficiently grasped after the repeated exercise. Thereafter the practicer can start to concentrate on the mind itself and get into the next stage. It is one kind of the gradual comprehension for the practicer.

The stage of emphasizing both the body and mind

On one hand, the practicer should lay stress on the specifications and standard of the routine and deformation is unacceptable in this stage; on the other hand, the practicer should explore the inner essence and quintessence of the Health Qigong and regulate the mind in high level. The basic style of mind activity is inward vision and imagination such as inner vision of the Dantian, inner vision of the Qi and blood circulation, imagination of entrance of some mental state, etc. The practicer can harmoniously combine the inner mind with the body to make more proficient and standardized routines, further know the meaning of the movements and store the inner strength based on the transformation of motion and quietness, opening and closure, being imagined and factual, being hard and soft, yin and yang and twist etc. The routines can be done in the state of running like flowing water without interruption. The practicer can gradually attain the aim of running the Qi by heart and running the body by the Qi and eventually reach the stage of interior and exterior integrity, body and spirit containing for the Health Qigong.

The stage of emphasizing on the mind instead of the body

The practicer naturally gets into the stage of emphasizing on the mind instead of the body with the automation of the routines after the long-term exercise. Routines are already automatic for the practicer just like walking after the repeated exercise in the long run. The practicer has already comprehended the essence of the movements and coordinately combined the body, mind and outer world according to his own characteristics and understanding for the Gong and had his own gnosis. The routines won’t deviated from the basic principles even the practicer doesn’t pay attention to the movements themselves any longer in this stage. Therefore, the practicer lays stress on the exercise of the inner mind and concentrates on the genuine mind of which is self-consciousness under the condition of quiet consciousness. That it should be stressed is to pay attention to the moderate degree in the mind activity as the mind is like water and fire, water can carry and capsize the boat; the fire can warm the man or burn the fire-player to death. The practicer should abide by the rule of mind activity, which is not to intentionally or absent-mindedly seek for the mind activity. Intentional mind activity will deviate the body, being absentmindedness will be fruitless.

The stage of emphasizing on neither the mind nor the body

The Qi flowing is sloshing all the body instead of the feeling of the figure in the brain of the practicer when the exercise is done to the highest level. That is called the state of non-body. At that time, the brain naturally is entering the state of unconsciousness (non-mind) without any distracted thoughts. In fact, the state of non-mind and non-body is the stage of forgetting the body and obtaining the mind of which is the milieu of the Health Qigong that the vital Qi flows normally with tranquilized mind. It is said that consciousness is unconsciousness, which can produce the genuine consciousness in the narrations of the Quan (one kind of traditional boxing skills). That is to say, unconsciousness is not to stop mind activity but the true knowledge of the essence of the mind. The practicer needn’t adhere to the concrete actions in the stage of getting mind essence. It is also the stage of forgetting the body just as it is said by Lao Tzu( a renowned philosopher and the founder of the Taoism) that the great Tao is formless. The practicer can be thought as comprehending the essence of the Health Qigong only when he can reach the stage of free receiving and dispatching without body or mind restriction. The practicer can gradually feel the delicate alteration of the nature and bring about the essential change in the body and mind and concentrate on the state of reversion to the baby-like innocence, which can sublime the constitution, disposition, personality, and accomplishment to the state of elegance at last.

Above all, the Health Qigong can regulate all the unreasonable nervous state deviated from the physiological characteristics and bring into the potentiality constrained by the nervous state full play. Therefore, mind exercise should be strengthened in order to improve the effect of the Health Qigong.

(Writing/ normal university of inner Mongolia Zhang Cai Qin)

Reference: Mind Exercising of the Health Qigong Chinese Health Qigong Association

Categories
Philosophy qigong Taoism

Zhuang Zi’s eight kinds of methods for health cultivation

Zhuang Zi is one of the prominent philosophers in the era of battle nation. He has done much study about man’s spirit, integrity, nature-cultivation, heart-cultivation and advocated the nature-cultivation of unselfishness, few desires, quietness and transcendence.

Unselfishness. In the opinion of Zhuang Zi, selfishness is the origin of all evils and diseases. One is certain to worry about the gain and loss for everything and be in a state of restlessness if he is often self-centered and calculative and then overstrains of his body and exhaustion of his essence will ensue in a long run. In order to live for a long life one should be broad-minded, high-spirited, optimistic, free from fame and gain and unselfish.

Few desires. Neither abstinence from desires nor self-indulgence is helpful to nature-cultivation. Self-indulgence is certain to make one get into trouble or catch a disease. One won’t cheat or humiliate the other sex with little sexual passion. One won’t murder for money with little desire for substance. One won’t feign compliance, cut corners, play down the others and boost oneself with little desire for power. One who know his honour and disgrace and his place can be called the man with the nature of justice, honest and unselfishness who can be healthy and live at rest. In the present time, there is too much temptation all over the world. Most people are hunting for the happiness of substance and impatient, and someone is addicted in the desire for power, profit, sex, greed and hobbies. One will lose his temper and take it out on others when he is dissatisfied with what he had. Thereafter, those bad emotions such as worry, anxiety, depression, mourn, regret and anger will ensue and hurt his body.

Quietness. One can’t be affected by disaster nor attacked by exogenous pathogen with mental stability as well as indifference to fame or gain in the daily life and social intercourse. Quietness can restrain anger, rid of worry, settle down the mind and cultivate the health. Rather than thinking of nothing, quietness is one kind of mind state that should make one be far from the music and sex pleasure, out of win or loss, gain or loss, honour or disgrace, neither worry nor overstrain should exist. There is too much spirit-dispersing temptation including money, rank, fame and gain, beauty etc in the world. In this confused world, one should keep calm and out of power, fame and gain, money and scene of debauchery. Such mind state will make those bad emotions like nervousness, worry, anger, jealousy and hatred far from you and keep your mind calm. Quietness can make your mind at rest, Qi and blood circulation normal and then the modulation of your body will be normal and you will be healthy and live a long life.

Transcendence. There is a vivid metaphor in the book of Zhuang Zi, which the pheasant in waters can survive because of their optimism. They enjoy their lives, peck and drink something from time to time. It is not the same for the caged birds. It is certain that one will worry if he is imprisoned in the spirit shackles. That will be harmful to his health. Therefore, he advocates that one should be optimistic and open-minded, not be moved by grief and joy and enjoy his life. Zhuang Zi looks upon the life in an unprejudiced manner and let the nature take its course. He lives a hard life and from hand to mouth sometimes. He doesn’t care about all of that. His wife was dead and Hui Zi went to mourn for her. He started to sing instead of weeping. Hui Zi criticized him for his singing. He said calmly: at first, I am very sad about her death, and then I thought about carefully how man comes and goes in this world. I have the idea that man changes from the non-biotic substance. Figure takes shape and man has a life when Qi gathers. Man is dead when Qi scatters. Now my wife’s body is dead and will change into non-biotic substance. So I celebrate and say a farewell to my wife for her regression to the nature in the way of singing with beating the tub. What he said is not certain to be reasonable, but his transcendent and open-minded manner treating his life is worth advocating.

Reference:
Zhuang Zi’s eight kinds of methods for health cultivation Chinese Health Qigong Association

Links:
Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu) wikipedia.org

Categories
Martial Art Philosophy principle taiji

Fang Ning On Tai Chi Chuan Kung-Fu

Translated by Vincent Chu

 

It is common among martial artists to discuss their skills. The same is true of Tai Chi Chuan practitioners. We have seen a competition match where an older man defeated a younger man; we heard from our teachers and read from books how the Yang Family members’ kung-fu was so good that they defeated hard style practitioners without any difficulty. When a young man is defeated by an older man, we say that the young man’s kung-fu is not as good as an older man’s. You may wonder how to measure kung-fu skills in Tai Chi Chuan. The following is my understanding and interpretation of how to measure different levels of Tai Chi Chuan kung-fu with my sixty years of practical knowledge.

Tai Chi chuan kung-fu is divided into ten levels. The first three levels are called lower level or what some people call the level of “entering the door” for this is the beginning of a journey of Tai Chi Chuan training. If a student has achieved the third level, he is considered to have entered the door of training. Fourth to sixth levels are called the middle level or what some people call “enter the door and go into the room”. It is so-called because the student is no longer a beginner and all his instructions are taught in a closed space. Seventh level is the level for a Tai Chi Chuan practitioner to master. Eight to tenth levels are the higher levels and are commonly referred to as “reaching the peak and summit.” Eighth level means one has reached the peak but not the summit. Throughout the history of Tai Chi Chuan, the number of people who achieve this level is very few, so few that we can count them without fingers. People who have achieved this level must have spent decades of diligent practice. For now, anyone who has achieved eighth level will be very famous not just in China but throughout the world if he wanted to show his skill to the public.

The following is a more detailed discussion on the ten levels of Tai Chi Chuan kung-fu. We all know that Tai Chi Chuan is an internal martial art and it is based on the philosophy of yin-yang(that is soft interacting with hard). The whole process of Tai Chi Chuan training is to break down the stiff and rigid body into a soft and relaxed body and then assemble this soft and hard body into a hard and solid body like steel. The Classics say that one should first seek the familiar and then try to understand the jing (internal power). From beginning to understand the jing, with practice the practitioner develops enlightenment. With the term “familiar” the Classics refers to the concept of transforming the hard and rigid body into soft and relaxed body through push hands and the knowledge of these concepts is also called “entering the door” kung-fu. Therefore, it is taught orally. Of course, if one practices Tai Chi Chuan just for health, one does not need to practice push hands. However, if one practices Tai Chi Chuan as a martial art, one must practice push hands. Otherwise one is never considered to have entered the door. From push hands exercise, one slowly understands the jing. These are the first three levels of Tai Chi Chuan kung-fu.

From push hands exercise standpoint, the first three levels of kung-fu are the yielding or neutralizing of the opponent’s energy. The Classic of Tai Chi Chuan Circle says that the retreat circle is easer to do than the advance circle. The first three levels are also called the retreat circle. In level one, most of the movements are composed of stiff and rigid energy, very little of yielding energy. In the second level, yielding energy increases and rigid energy decreases in all movements. This is the result of understanding the concepts of push hands exercises and getting familiar with the opponent’s energy and movements. In the third level, all the movements are controlled mainly by the yielding energy and one begins to understand the jing. At this time, one does not just understand and know the jing but is able to maneuver in a circular motion to neutralize the coming energy.

The first three levels is for a student not familiar with the concept of circle to become very familiar with the concept of circle and can use this circle principle to adhere and follow the coming energy. When one understands how and when to use this circle to retreat, one is beginning to understand jing.

Fourth to sixth level kung-fu is working with the advance circle. Therefore, it is also called the advance circle training. When I speak of advance circle, it is not simply a response after retreat. It is in the process of retreating that your yielding energy adheres to the opponent’s energy at all times and under this condition you are forced to advance. For in this situation, your advance maneuver threatens and can cause your opponent to lose balance and get defeated. Your offensive maneuver can be a strike or just fa jing(release energy) and can send the opponent flying. At this time, the student begins to develop fa jing or one inch fa jing techniques. Therefore, if a practitioner does not possess these fa jing or one inch jing techniques, one is considered not to have achieved the fourth level and has not entered the door.

In this fourth to sixth level kung-fu, training involves collecting all the limber body parts and beginning to form firm body parts and from one inch fa jing into even smaller unit of fa jing techniques. Common people generally withdraw their arms one or two feet to reserve power and then punch forward. This is called one foot fa jing technique. At the fourth level, one does not need to withdraw the arms and hands. At this level, a simple fa jing technique cause the opponent to fly. This is the sign that he has entered the door and begins to go into the room. At this time the practitioner should feel the legs and feet are much stronger and are rooted. After one has achieved the fourth level and higher, one is at a very delicate time. The classic calls this as one day’s worth of practice and one day’s worth of skill. This is also the time when the practitioner has entered the door and has gone into the room. The classic also calls this the time of “no rest and keep practicing.” The classic says that in order to learn correctly, one must begin by oral transmission. When a student has achieved level four, he has completed the oral transmission period. Although the student does not practice push hands exercises this time, practice of the solo form can improve Tai Chi Chuan kung-fu. Of course, with a teacher’s guidance, the student’s progress is much greater.

When a student has achieved level six, he has entered the room and understands the knowledge. Now he is beginning to understand how to let oneself go and follow the opponent’s energy and apply energy any way he likes. From my sixty years of practical experience, level seven is the key level in which one is going from middle kung-fu into higher kung-fu transition. It is the level of using the mind to control all movements any way one likes. When a student completes this level, the student has also completed the advance circle. The next step is no circle. It is also for the student to practice one inch fa jing technique to small units of fa jing techniques. At this time, one should find that part of the body is soft and every part of the body is solid. Every part of the body can yield and every part can fa jing. Therefore, depending on which part of the body is in contact with the opponent, that part of the body will strike the opponent.

From push hands application standpoint, the first three level are outer circle yielding while fourth to fifth levels are inner circle yielding. The sixth level is yielding with the body. That means one leads the opponent’s energy close to the body and then maneuver the body for yielding. This technique is called “separation of the flesh.” Level seven is no circle strike. Besides the three ways of yielding as described above, one can lead the opponent’s energy to come close to the body and counter strike without yielding. This technique is called “point strike.” At this time, you cannot see the hands move because when the hands touch, it is a strike. When the hands stick, it is also a strike. In this point of contact, it is composed of strike and fa jing and it can be either soft or solid, it can be yield or fa jing. You can say that it is soft and you can say that is is solid.

Levels eight to ten are advanced Tai Chi Chuan kung-fu. Because I have not achieved this yet, I cannot define what it is. From what I heard from my teacher and sixty years of practical experience, anyone who has achieved this level can do wonderful things. This is what the classics commonly refer to when it says, “the opponent does not know me but I know the opponent.” The body is so sensitive and light that one cannot add one feather, fly and mosquito cannot land on the body. When an opponent punches the body, the opponent is already injured and is flying backward but you did not see my improvement. Any movement can cause the opponent injury and bleeding. Of course, in martial arts taining, There is no such thing as the end state. The more your practice, the better the skill. Skill is infinite. Tai Chi Chuan practitioners past and present have achieved skill that most people do not believe was humanly possible.

Reference:
Fang Ning On Tai Chi Chuan Kung-Fu

Categories
Breath Classic Energy Exercise Meditation Mindset Philosophy principle qigong Taoism

Three Immortals Cultivation of the Ling Bao Bi Fa

Ling Bao (灵宝) translates as “Spiritual Treasure.” The Ling Bao Bi Fa outlines the San Xian Gong, “Three Immortals Cultivation,” for completing the Ling Bao and thus becoming a Zhen Ren (真人) or Real Human Being. San Xian Gong consists of thee stages: Ren Xian Gong (人仙功) Human Immortal Cultivation, Di Xian Gong (地仙功) Earthly Immortal Cultivation, and Tian Xian Gong (天仙功) Heavenly Immortal Cultivation.

“There are twelve programs of training that should be practiced in sequence. They are the following: [1] introducing yin and yang to each other, [2] gathering and disseminating fire and water, [3] mating the dragon and the tiger, [4] heating and refining the medicines of the pill, [5] ejecting the golden sparks from behind the navel, [6] returning the jade elixir to the tan tiens, using the jade elixir to refine the body, [7] returning the golden elixir to the tan tiens, using the golden elixir to refine the body, [8] moving the refined vapor to the primordial regions, [9] internal observation and exchanging the mundane for the sacred, and [10] transcendence and emanating in different forms.”


–Eva Wong, Teachings of Immortals Chung and Lu

人仙功  Ren Xian Gong
Human Immortal Cultivation

Ren Xian Gong transforms Jing into Qi (炼精化气)

第一 匹配阴阳 Pipei Yin Yang
The First Step: Merging Yin and Yang

第二 聚散水火 Ju San Shui Huo
The Second Step: Gathering and Distributing Water and Fire

第三 交媾龙虎 Jiaogou Long Hu
The Third Step: Dragon and Tiger Mating

第四 烧炼丹药 Shao Lian Dan Yao
The Fourth Step: Forging the Elixir

地仙功  Di Xian Gong
Earthly Immortal Cultivation

Di Xian Gong transforms Qi into Shen (炼气化神)

第五 肘后飞金晶 Zhou Hou Fei Jin Pin
The Fifth Step: The Flight of Golden Sparks

第六 玉液还丹 Yu Ye Huan Dan
The Sixth Step: The Jade Liquid Elixer

第七 金液还丹 Jin Ye Huan Dan
The Seventh Step: The Golden Liquid Elixer

天仙功  Tian Xian Gong
Heavenly Immortal Cultivation

Tian Xian Gong transforms Shen to the void (炼神还虚)

第八 朝元炼气 Chao Yuan Lian Qi
The Eighth Step: Facing the Origin

第九 内观交换 Nei Guan Jiaohuan
The Ninth Step: Internal Illumination

第十 超脱分形 Chaotuo Fen Xing
The Tenth Step: Physical Transcendence

Reference:
灵宝毕法•三仙功 Ling Bao Bi Fa : San Xian Gong Three Immortals Cultivation of the Ling Bao Bi Fa thetaobums.com

Links:
Brief Introduction to Ling Bao Bi Fa longmenpai.blogspot.com

Categories
Breath Classic Energy Meditation Mindset Philosophy principle qigong Taoism

The Twelve Methods of Yin Xian Fa

The main purpose of Yin Xian Fa is to repair the body, regulate the mind, restore the original breath and ultimately reverse and replenish the slow expenditure of pre-natal through the aging process. 

还原法 Huan Yuan Fa 
Restoring Methods

Huan Yuan literal translates as “Returning to the Origin.” These are methods to quiet and collect the mind and regulate the body, breath, and mind. In alchemical terms, this stage could be likened to cleaning out your attic or basement in preparation to build the laboratory. The next stage, Bu Lou Fa, involves repairing the fixtures and finally Zhu Ji Fa will see through the completion of one’s internal laboratory.

第一法 收心静坐 Shouxin Jingzuo
The First Method: Sitting and Collecting the Mind

第二法 调身安体 Tiao Shen An Ti
The Second Method: Regulating the Body

第三法 无视返听 Wu Shi Wu Ting
The Third Method: See Nothing, Hear Nothing

第四法 收视返听 Shoushi Fan Ting
The Fourth Method: Watching and Listening

第五法 调整凡息 Tiaozheng Fan Xi
The Fifth Method: Regulating the Breath

第六法 调心安神 Tiao Xin An Shen
The Sixth Method: Regulating the Heart/Mind

第七法 调养真息 Tiaoyang Zhen Xi
The Seventh Method: Restoring the Original Breath

补漏法 Bu Lou Fa 
Tonifying Methods

Methods for mending leakage. At this stage the cultivator learns to seal the three lower Yin doors (三阴) and seven upper Yang windows (七窍). The Hun (魂) resides in the Liver without leaking out the eyes, Jing (精) resides in the Kidneys without leaking out the ears, Shen (神) resides in the heart without leaking out the mouth, Po (魄) resides in the Lungs without leaking out the nose, and Yi (意) resides in the Spleen without leaking out the pores.

第八法 修无漏身 Xiu Wu Lou Shen
The Eighth Method: Mending all Leakage

第九法 内视返听 Nei Guan Fan Ting
The Ninth Method: Internal Gazing

筑基法 Zhu Ji Fa 
Foundation Methods

The cessation of ego (识神) and birth of the real consciousness (真神). 

第十法 凝神寂照 Ning Shen Jizhao
The Tenth Method: Crystallizing the Spirit

第十一法 听息随息 Ting Xi Sui Xi
The Eleventh Method: Follow the Original Breath

第十二法 养心沐浴 Yang Xin Muyu
The Twelfth Method: Nourishing the Original Spirit

Reference:
引仙法共十二法 Yin Xian Fa Gong Shi’er Fa The Twelve Methods of Yin Xian Fa thetaobums.com

Categories
Classic Philosophy principle qigong

Balancing Yin and Yang

Within the image of Water comes forth fulfillment.

Within the image of Fire creation is completed.

Heaven and Earth are then in their proper positions,

Returning to the Source is then assured.

Reference:
The Sexual Teachings of the Jade Dragon: Taoist Methods for Male Sexual Revitalization
by Hsi Lai
ISBN 0892819634

Categories
Classic Martial Art Philosophy principle pushhands

The five essentials for victory

Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory: (1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. (2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. (3) He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. (4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. (5) He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.

Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

Reference:
Sun Tzu Chapter 3: Attach by Stratagem Translated by Lionel Giles

Categories
Classic Philosophy Taoism Zen

The ego is a monkey

The ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle: Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses, it swings from one desire to the next, one conflict to the next, one self-centered idea to the next. If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life. Let this monkey go. Let the senses go. Let desires go. Let conflicts go. Let ideas go. Let the fiction of life and death go. Just remain in the center, watching. And then forget that you are there.

Hua Hu Ching X