Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

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Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby Individual » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:02 pm

See this video for an interesting example:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAAB0dbc3Es

There's also Li Hongzhi, founder of Falun Dafa, as another example.

What do you think of this?

Although the teachings of Qi and Prana are not found within the Buddhist texts, siddhis do seem to be acknowledged.

One example from the suttas (the below is repeated several times, in different suttas):

"If he wants, he wields manifold supranormal powers. Having been one he becomes many; having been many he becomes one. He appears. He vanishes. He goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains as if through space. He dives in and out of the earth as if it were water. He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land. Sitting crosslegged he flies through the air like a winged bird. With his hand he touches and strokes even the sun and moon, so mighty and powerful. He exercises influence with his body even as far as the Brahma worlds. He can witness this for himself whenever there is an opening.

"If he wants, he hears — by means of the divine ear-element, purified and surpassing the human — both kinds of sounds: divine and human, whether near or far. He can witness this for himself whenever there is an opening.

"If he wants, he knows the awareness of other beings, other individuals, having encompassed it with his own awareness. He discerns a mind with passion as a mind with passion, and a mind without passion as a mind without passion. He discerns a mind with aversion as a mind with aversion, and a mind without aversion as a mind without aversion. He discerns a mind with delusion as a mind with delusion, and a mind without delusion as a mind without delusion. He discerns a restricted mind as a restricted mind, and a scattered mind as a scattered mind. He discerns an enlarged mind as an enlarged mind, and an unenlarged mind as an unenlarged mind. He discerns an excelled mind [one that is not at the most excellent level] as an excelled mind, and an unexcelled mind as an unexcelled mind. He discerns a concentrated mind as a concentrated mind, and an unconcentrated mind as an unconcentrated mind. He discerns a released mind as a released mind, and an unreleased mind as an unreleased mind. He can witness this for himself whenever there is an opening.

"If he wants, he recollects his manifold past lives (lit: previous homes), i.e., one birth, two births, three births, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, one hundred, one thousand, one hundred thousand, many aeons of cosmic contraction, many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction and expansion, [recollecting], 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus he remembers his manifold past lives in their modes and details. He can witness this for himself whenever there is an opening.

"If he wants, he sees — by means of the divine eye, purified and surpassing the human — beings passing away and re-appearing, and he discerns how they are inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: 'These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech, and mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings — who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech, and mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.' Thus — by means of the divine eye, purified and surpassing the human — he sees beings passing away and re-appearing, and he discerns how they are inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate in accordance with their kamma. He can witness this for himself whenever there is an opening.

My mom claims to have once known a woman who practiced Reiki -- same story... she learned reiki from some reiki master who passed on the tradition... My mom was in pain (her shoulder, I think?) and the woman offered to help. The woman touched my mom, my mom said she felt a warm, tingly feeling, and the pain went away.

I'm a bit skeptical myself, until I have first-hand evidence, or reliable scientific proof. But I do think it is plausible based on the already observable miracle of concentration, when it comes to biofeedback (the observed capacity to control your heart-rate, control your sweating, induce a sense of death, create strange brainwave patterns, etc., all due to disciplined concentration). Just simply moving your arm mindfully is already a miraculous manipulation of matter & energy. Siddhis, as I see it, are an extension of this same faculty.
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Re: Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby Rui Sousa » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:44 pm

I believe that we can sense, and to a certain point control, flows of energy in our body. Also I believe this is not conductive to the end of kamma, and so the Buddha has not spent time explaining it.
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Re: Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:39 pm

this guy (chang) was ataoist and a western guy studied with him and wrote some books about it... i thought about getting them, as i used to do qigong. i never got and dragon ball powers though, but had one wierd experience, once.

aparently you can gain powers from the kasinas , i was told by one of my teachers about thai monks who can control fire and stuff, but everything i've heard about it requires mastery of the jhanas before you can get the powers associated with the kasina, so alas no special powers for me, i've still gotta use matches... but if you think about it is it self a kind of magic, well at least it would be to people 1000 years ago
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby Fede » Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:09 pm

Having been a Feng Shui consultant and a Shiatsu therapist, and now teaching Qi Gong, I can personally attest to having experienced the feelings of energy flowing within, and emanating from, my body. Most sensitively, through my hands.
I had one particular experience which convinced me, more than any other, that there is a tangible force, or energy prevalent and manifest.
However, I am resisting the temptation to assign it any specific label or function, and do not expect anyone to automatically give credence to my contribution here.
People may be as sceptical as they wish; this is their right, and I respect that.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

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Re: Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby nathan » Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:49 pm

The closest thing I can find in Theravada is:

viriya: 'energy', lit. 'virility', 'manliness' or 'heroism' (from vīra, man, hero; Lat. vir; cf. virtus), is one of the 5 spiritual faculties and powers (s. bala), one of the 7 factors of enlightenment (s. bojjhanga) and identical with right effort of the 8-fold Path (s. magga). For further explanations, s. padhāna.
http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/u_v/viriya.htm

Unlike in other traditions, this vital energy does not seem to be extensively explored in terms of it's more mundane functions and the focus is on its role as one of the:

bojjhanga: 'the 7 factors of enlightenment', are:

* mindfulness (sati-sambojjhanga; s. sati),
* investigation of the law (dhamma-vicaya-sambojjhanga),
* energy (viriya-sambojjhanga; s. viriya, padhāna),
* rapture (pīti-sambojjhanga, q.v.)
* tranquility (passaddhi-sambojjhanga, q.v.),
* concentration (samādhi-sambojjhanga, q.v.),
* equanimity (upekkhā).
http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/b_f/bojjhanga.htm
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:51 pm

Greetings Nathan,

I suppose body-consciousness could also be said to be of some possible relevance.

It's a bit of a stretch though.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby Rui Sousa » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:54 pm

I read a sutta once that spoke of "energy that repairs the body" or something like that, I wanted to quote it a couple of time, but couldn't find it... :(

On occasions I can clearly sense what I would describe as an energy flow in my body, specially around the spine, after which I feel very vivid and refreshed for a few minutes.

But if someone would tell me that if trained hard I could set papers on fire, which is something I accept as a possibility, I would probably say: "Why would I want to do that?"
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Re: Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby nathan » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:02 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Nathan,

I suppose body-consciousness could also be said to be of some possible relevance.

It's a bit of a stretch though.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Next door neighbors. I would say that kind of awareness is trained differently depending on the techniques. Noting sensation, noting intention, noting posture, etc., in vipassana is very passive. There is a slight shift in emphasis when training with four element practice that comes closer to...how we trained in tai chi and qi gong training. Closest to sitting or standing posture and practice with qi gong. Not the same though. I haven't trained using vajrayana or other techniques like that so I don't know how they would approach this. Probably similar to the qi gong approach or four element practices. Viriya is usually linked most often with the fire or wind element. There is an interplay between various kinds of energy in the body so there are many phenomena that can be investigated and manipulated. Since satipatthana is the most direct full course I think most of this kind of investigation falls into the four element category in Theravada. I note there are a lot of new techniques springing up all the time in these areas. I had very traditional training in the Yang lineage, very old school but still ahead of most of what is presented as innovative these days. Finding a very old school and seasoned teacher from an old lineage can be difficult so I don't think you can easily expose yourself to the highest quality instruction in this area and it is rife with mundane views that don't add to clear comprehension. I advice caution with all of it but it will definitely sensitize you in new ways that can be worked into more conventional forms of Theravada meditation quite easily.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby nathan » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:07 am

Rui Sousa wrote:But if someone would tell me that if trained hard I could set papers on fire, which is something I accept as a possibility, I would probably say: "Why would I want to do that?"
Because home heating can be expensive? My girlfriend back in the day called me her 'human heater'. haha Actually, this is considered "soft training" or inner training, unlike hard training which in this context involves predominantly the earth element.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:23 am

i think Rui Sousa's question as to why we'd want to do such things is a good one. :stirthepot:

i dont know if you had to train to get that warm inner heat nathan but i've always been a human heater... some people are just warmer than others i guess..

but really most of this magic really isnt so cool when compaired to modern technology, i could train for decades and practice everyday to be able to set some paper on fire? or i could buy a lighter and spend decades lighting papers on fire...

switch this to sending thoughts to other people, and i could use a telephone , levitation: airplane, the list goes on, magic just becomes a rather outdated form of technology that requires too much time and energy compaired with what we have easily available in the modern word.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby nathan » Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:18 am

jcsuperstar wrote:i think Rui Sousa's question as to why we'd want to do such things is a good one. :stirthepot:

i dont know if you had to train to get that warm inner heat nathan but i've always been a human heater... some people are just warmer than others i guess..

but really most of this magic really isnt so cool when compaired to modern technology, i could train for decades and practice everyday to be able to set some paper on fire? or i could buy a lighter and spend decades lighting papers on fire...

switch this to sending thoughts to other people, and i could use a telephone , levitation: airplane, the list goes on, magic just becomes a rather outdated form of technology that requires too much time and energy compaired with what we have easily available in the modern word.
There is a completely contrasting pov based on various forms of intimate familiarity with natural phenomena that is not magic or magical thinking at all. When a student is well trained in various techniques it is very real and functional use of the same energy that we all have, it is mindful awareness and manipulation and it accomplishes many things that most can only accomplish with material technology and it demonstrates the potential to do many of these things in far more wholesome and appropriate ways. Certainly in ways more suitable to the needs of noble beings. I don't wish to dispute your point of view, I am quite familiar with it as it is very conventional and commonly acceptable to view things this way.

I'm not suggesting there is anything to be known that proper training and self examination won't make plain to a healthy normal human being. Most people's perception is very limited by how they employ it. There are kinds of training of the mind and body in Theravada buddhism which receive the most attention and I think rightly so. I am not advocating any particular other old or new practices only suggesting where it fits into Theravada doctrine as far as I can determine. I think when I understand abhidhamma better I will have a clearer picture of all of this within the context of the whole path. There is no doubt in my mind however that there are many forms of uncommon or unconventional awareness and various capacities that human beings can cultivate. I take it as a given that in Theravada we consider the Arahatta state most desirable by whatever means and all other cultivations of either only preliminary, secondary or no importance.

I am naturally more cold like my mother who is also thin and similar to most other thin body types. Skilled use of the breath and the body's metabolism generates other types of heat or cold for a variety of reasons.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:38 am

my point was not to dismiss it (magic), which i think is the prevailing attitude to such things, but rather to show it as for the most part rather useless in modern society.

right now i've got a nice new toshiba laptop, i could use an abacus and snail mail, theyd get the same jobs done right? but wouldnt it be more logical to ditch old methods if those methods, while maybe providing similar results, are more time consuming and out dated?

now the only thing that may be of benifit is say the ability to heal, if that is in fact possible, but the ability to burn stuff with my hands or other trivial powers wouldnt be of much use, theyre certainly not gonna end suffering...
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby nathan » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:12 am

jcsuperstar wrote:my point was not to dismiss it (magic), which i think is the prevailing attitude to such things, but rather to show it as for the most part rather useless in modern society.

right now i've got a nice new toshiba laptop, i could use an abacus and snail mail, theyd get the same jobs done right? but wouldnt it be more logical to ditch old methods if those methods, while maybe providing similar results, are more time consuming and out dated?

now the only thing that may be of benifit is say the ability to heal, if that is in fact possible, but the ability to burn stuff with my hands or other trivial powers wouldnt be of much use, theyre certainly not gonna end suffering...
Useless to modern society. Not the same as useless at all. I don't mind people using devices to do things they can't otherwise. Why should someone who doesn't need a calculator be forced to use it? Because it makes people who are subject to the capacities of their devices feel uncomfortable? These are not techniques intended to replace devices. It seems this is stretching the analogy beyond it's limited usefulness and into an irrelevant context. The techniques may render devices unnecessary and they afford functional capacities which no devices can replace. I really don't want to argue in favor of any particular kind of study or practice. Those who have some experience and some insight into this kind of training can see the value in it those who have not had any insight into it usually do not.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby Rui Sousa » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:57 am

DN 22 Maha-satipatthanna Sutta:

[5] "Furthermore... just as a skilled butcher or his apprentice, having killed a cow, would sit at a crossroads cutting it up into pieces, the monk contemplates this very body — however it stands, however it is disposed — in terms of properties: 'In this body there is the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, & the wind property.'

"In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or focused externally... unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.


and from the MN 28 Maha-hatthipadopama Sutta:

The Fire Property

"And what is the fire property? The fire property may be either internal or external. What is the internal fire property? Whatever internal, belonging to oneself, is fire, fiery, & sustained: that by which [the body] is warmed, aged, & consumed with fever; and that by which what is eaten, drunk, chewed, & savored gets properly digested, or whatever else internal, within oneself, is fire, fiery, & sustained: This is called the internal fire property. Now both the internal fire property and the external fire property are simply fire property. And that should be seen as it actually is present with right discernment: 'This is not mine, this is not me, this is not my self.' When one sees it thus as it actually is present with right discernment, one becomes disenchanted with the fire property and makes the mind dispassionate toward the fire property."

(...)

The Wind Property

"And what is the wind property? The wind property may be either internal or external. What is the internal wind property? Whatever internal, belonging to oneself, is wind, windy, & sustained: up-going winds, down-going winds, winds in the stomach, winds in the intestines, winds that course through the body, in-&-out breathing, or whatever else internal, within oneself, is wind, windy, & sustained: This is called the internal wind property. Now both the internal wind property and the external wind property are simply wind property. And that should be seen as it actually is present with right discernment: 'This is not mine, this is not me, this is not my self.' When one sees it thus as it actually is present with right discernment, one becomes disenchanted with the wind property and makes the mind dispassionate toward the wind property."


In my interpretation these two suttas show that the properties of Rupa (matter) should be know in our Vipassana development, but they are Anatta, Anicca and Dhukka, and our minds should be dispassionate toward them. It is basically what the Buddha sad about the Jhanas, they are great and a part of the path, but one should be dispassionate about them.

If we could help someone ease its physical pain, by understanding in depth and manipulating the Rupa elements, that would be great, but wouldn't understanding the Dhamma in depth and then explain it to that person be even greater?
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Re: Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby nathan » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:11 am

Excellent post Rui Sousa and is part of why I do not practice healing arts of this kind on others. I maintain my own health well with these exercises and insights l but I do not attempt to develop unnatural or extraordinary abilities that do not arise more directly from the eightfold path. Clear awareness of anatta, anicca and dhukka is necessary and other kinds of awareness need to be informed by this awareness. This characteristic awareness is to be taken into the full investigation of the body and mind to engender a full disenchantment with all of it. All of it will need to be thoroughly known so there is also no point in overlooking anything, imagining things or presuming that something is not there to be known.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby Individual » Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:14 pm

Fede wrote:Having been a Feng Shui consultant and a Shiatsu therapist, and now teaching Qi Gong, I can personally attest to having experienced the feelings of energy flowing within, and emanating from, my body. Most sensitively, through my hands.
I had one particular experience which convinced me, more than any other, that there is a tangible force, or energy prevalent and manifest.
However, I am resisting the temptation to assign it any specific label or function, and do not expect anyone to automatically give credence to my contribution here.
People may be as sceptical as they wish; this is their right, and I respect that.

I don't think it's merely a coincidence that the places labeled as "energy centers" in systems of qi, prana, etc., also tend to be places where there is the greatest concentration of nerve cells, such as the hands and feet. You can probably find a strong correlation there.

With that said, thinking about this the other day, I suddenly remembered something strange I heard about years ago, that seems to be related: It was either the Guinness Book of Records or Ripley's Believe it or Not.

There was a man -- Russian or eastern European, I think -- who was capable of transferring electric current from one arm to the other (I wish I could remember his name or more details -- I'm just throwing it out there, so hopefully somebody else heard of this maybe and can find some info). Normally, when you're hit with electric current, it is absorbed throughout your whole body and exits through your feet, into the ground. So, if you attach a voltameter to a person's hand and run electric current into their other hand, the voltameter won't receive much, if any, electric current. This guy, though, was apparently capable of conducting the electricity from one hand to the other.

Doing searches for this man, I couldn't find it... But... I did find two other extraordinary cases.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1zBy7iGL-s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxbhDePzVP0

In the second video, there's a guy who seems to be capable of withstanding massive (usually fatal) currents of electricity, so much so that he can set paper on fire with his fingers, touches a light which also begins to burn the wood on the floor.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Qi\Prana & Siddhis.

Postby nathan » Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:55 pm

Individual wrote:
Fede wrote:Having been a Feng Shui consultant and a Shiatsu therapist, and now teaching Qi Gong, I can personally attest to having experienced the feelings of energy flowing within, and emanating from, my body. Most sensitively, through my hands.
I had one particular experience which convinced me, more than any other, that there is a tangible force, or energy prevalent and manifest.
However, I am resisting the temptation to assign it any specific label or function, and do not expect anyone to automatically give credence to my contribution here.
People may be as sceptical as they wish; this is their right, and I respect that.

I don't think it's merely a coincidence that the places labeled as "energy centers" in systems of qi, prana, etc., also tend to be places where there is the greatest concentration of nerve cells, such as the hands and feet. You can probably find a strong correlation there.
There are many kinds of correlations. That is the whole point from an insight pov. To think that this phenomena corresponds 1 to 1 to physical organs and systems is to fail to develop insight into the better part of it. Really, find a very good teacher who has the long time respect of very knowledgeable people or else forget it. The training needs to be supervised carefully over a significant period of time and it takes a long time to develop this kind of awareness, knowledge and understanding. There is an overwhelming predominance of poorly trained teachers of all kinds of techniques who profit from false representations of their skills. These are easy to spot forgeries if you have the benefit of a real education in this area.

On the other things. My teacher always took pains to discourage developing these kinds of spectacular but pointless capacities. One example he would speak of was of a man in mainland china who developed the capacity to force energy into his tissues in a particular way making for what is called an iron shirt effect. The man would lie down and an elephant would step on him or a truck would drive over him or whatever. Finally one day the truck rolled over him and, these conditions having ceased to arise due to long self abuse he was crushed to death. That was the end of that. If you understand that what you are doing is well within the eighfold path then you can confidently carry on practicing some of these techniques to beneficial ends. If you are trying to become a circus act then I have no useful advice for you.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}


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