Qigong: Points, Thoughts, Opinions

Discussion in 'Chinese Internal Arts : Taijiquan (Tai Chi) and Qi' started by Encho, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. Encho

    Encho Green Belt

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    I remember a long time ago maybe 10 years ago someone asked what makes someone a Qigong teacher,
    what to look for in a Qigong teacher, what concepts should a teacher be teaching.

    I have always said the most important concept in Qigong,Waigong, Neigong, Neidan, Waidan, Daoyin, even
    in studying more esoteric arts such as 符籙, and other Daojiao 道教, San Bao三寶 will always be the most important concept. Understanding San Bao and having a solid foundation in the theory of it will allow you to build onto more advance practices.

    A teacher should know the Jingluo 经络 and Jingluo theory.
    A teacher should know Kan and Li 內丹术 and Yin 陰 and Yang 阳 this is especially important in learning Neidan.
    Tiao shen調神,Tiao Xin調心,Tiao xi調息 ,Tiao Jing 調精,Tiao Qi 調气,all these catagories deals into further catagories such as weiqi 衛气 zangfu 脏腑,Yi and Xin 意,心 a Qigong teacher should be able to discuss.

    In the more Alchemical levels a teacher should be able to explain the symbolism used, and be able to identify what a student is feeling if it is correct progress. Qigong Masters should also know the seasons and influence on a person as written in the classics, They should know how to predict auspicious days according to the Yi Jing.

    I write this for those trying to grasp deeper Qigong concepts and what makes a good teacher so a student has the right foundation.

    Some people are simply looking for a waigong form and some teachers that is all they know such as BaDuanJin八段锦。

    Just some thoughts on the subject.
     
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  2. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

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    To go into more details,
    Neigong means Internal skill/art, In Baguazhang circle walking, stake form, shaking are all representation of Neigong. The Waigong training focuses more on Mabu, stretching, holding bricks, using weights so training with a different emphasis. I believe both are needed to produce a competent fighter.


    Neigong is not "Taoist Wizards" or Taoist Wizardly" or "Warrior Taoist" Taoist is an English composite of a person who practices Daoism the English for Daojiao, Daoshi would be the correct term for a Taoist if using Chinese Pinyin, Fa shi was what the court magician or a folk magician and there still exist a line today.
    It is important to understand the difference between Neigong, Daoshi and other religious connections.

    Though in a religous setting they may use Neigong in the sense of internal skill, it is my opinion that differs from a martial application and culivation of the neijia martial arts.

    Qigong means energy skill it is a broad term and Nei gong is part of Qigong same as Wai gong is part of Qigong, any type of internal and external training the body is Qigong.

    Hopefully people will read this thread to understand more about the subject.
     
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  3. Starjumper7

    Starjumper7 Yellow Belt

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    This is a video describing what Neigong is, and I know it's correct because my teacher had a lot of the abilities described in it. He was an Earthly Immortal when he was older, and he beca,e a Celestial Immortal when he died.

    You can see clearly why it is never taught in books or on videos.

     
  4. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I do find it odd to use a video to promote your point, when you yourself recognize a charlatan in the video. We talked about this before: I mentioned the fellow pointing his finger at the woman’s belly, then the closeup of her belly with a mark on it, implying it was the result of the guy pointing his finger. You agreed that was fakery. Yet you still feel this video is quality? They used fakery because they didn’t have good examples, and yet you hold the video in high regard. Why couldn’t they find good examples? Do they not exist? That completely undermines your position.

    I don’t get it.
     
  5. Starjumper7

    Starjumper7 Yellow Belt

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    Well I explained this in that previous thread. The best thing to do is to just listen to what it says and do not watch the video. The advanced masters do not perform tricks for the public, they only show stuff to more advanced students who are showing good progress, and are 'ready' to see it.
     
  6. Starjumper7

    Starjumper7 Yellow Belt

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    This should explain the concept of not showing off:

    Taoist sage Chuang Tzu wrote about displaying yourself, translated by Thomas Merton:

    The Tower of the Spirit

    The spirit has an impregnable tower, which no danger can disturb, as long as the tower is guarded by the invisible protector, who acts unconsciously, and whose actions go astray when they become deliberate, reflexive and intentional.

    The unconscious and entire sincerity of the Tao, are disturbed by any effort at self-conscious demonstration. All such demonstrations are lies

    When one displays himself in this ambiguous way, the world outside storms in and imprisons him.

    Each new act is a new failure.

    If his acts are done in public, In broad daylight, he will be punished by men. If they are done in private and in secret, they will be punished by spirits.

    Let each one understand The meaning of sincerity, And guard against display!
     
  7. Starjumper7

    Starjumper7 Yellow Belt

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    This is another one, a fun read, but probably not true:

    From the ancient book “Journey to the West”. Translated by Thomas Cleary:

    On a day when spring was giving way to summer, and all the students had been sitting under some pine trees listening to lectures for a long time, they said, "Sun Wukong, in what life did you earn your present destiny? The other day our teacher whispered to you how to do the transformations to avoid the Three Disasters. Can you do them all yet?"


    "It's true, brothers," said Sun Wukong with a grin, "I can do them all. In the first place, it's because our master taught me; and in the second place, it's because I practiced them hard day and night."


    "This would be a good time for you to give us a demonstration." At this suggestion Sun Wukong braced his spirit to show off his skill.


    "What's it to be, brothers? Tell me what you'd like me to turn myself into."


    "Turn into a pine tree," they all said. Sun Wukong clenched his fist, said the magic words, shook himself, and changed into a pine tree.


    It was truly Green and misty throughout the four seasons,

    Raising its upright beauty to the clouds.

    Not in the least like a demon monkey,

    Every inch a tree that withstands frost and snow.


    When the students saw it they clapped their hands and chuckled aloud, saying, "Good old monkey, good old monkey." They did not realize that the row they were making had disturbed the Patriarch, who rushed out through the door, dragging his stick behind him.


    "Who's making a row out here?" he asked. The students hurriedly pulled themselves together, straightened their clothes and went over to him.


    Sun Wukong, who had now resumed his real appearance, said from the forest, "Master, we were holding a discussion here, and there were no outsiders making a din."


    "Yelling and shouting like that," the Patriarch angrily roared, "is no way for those cultivating their conduct to behave. If you are cultivating your conduct, the subtle vapours escape when you open your mouth, and when you wag your tongue, trouble starts. What was all the laughing and shouting about"


    "Just now Sun Wukong did a transformation for fun. We told him to turn himself into a pine tree, and he did. We all praised and applauded him, which was why we disturbed you with the noise, master. We beg you to forgive us."


    The Patriarch sent them all away except for Sun Wukong, to whom he said, "Come here. Is that a way to use your spirit? To change into a pine tree? Is this a skill you should be showing off in front of people? If you saw somebody else doing that, wouldn't you ask him to teach you? If other people see you doing it, they're bound to ask you to teach them, and if you want to keep out of trouble you'll have to do so; otherwise they may do you harm, and then your life will be in danger."


    Sun Wukong kowtowed and said, "Please forgive me, master."


    "I shan't punish you," the Patriarch replied, "but you'll have to go." Sun Wukong's eyes filled with tears.


    "Master, where am I to go?"


    "Go back to where you came from." Sun Wukong had a sudden awakening, and he said, "I came from the Water Curtain Cave on the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit in the country of Aolai in the Eastern Continent of Superior Body."


    "If you hurry back there," the Patriarch replied, "you will be able to preserve your life. If you stay here it will be absolutely impossible to do so." Sun Wukong accepted his punishment.


    "Yes, master," he said. "I've been away from home for twenty years and I do miss the old days and my children and grandchildren. But when I remember that I have not yet repaid your enormous generosity to me, I can't bring myself to go."


    "What sort of kindness would you be doing me if you stayed? I'll be happy enough if you keep me out of any disasters you cause."


    Seeing that there was nothing else for it, Sun Wukong bowed and took leave of him, saying good−bye to all the other students.


    "Now that you're going," the Patriarch said, "I'm sure that your life will not be a good one. Whatever disasters you cause and crimes you commit, I forbid you under any circumstances to call yourself my disciple. If you so much as hint at it I'll know at once, and I'll tear off your monkey skin, chop up your bones, and banish your soul to the Ninth Darkness. I won't let you out for ten thousand aeons."


    "I promise never to give away a single letter of your name," said Sun Wukong. "I'll just say that I taught myself."


    Sun Wukong took his leave and went away. Making the spell by clasping his fist he jumped head over heels, summoned a somersault cloud, and went back to the Eastern Continent. Within two hours he saw the Water Curtain Cave on the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit. The Handsome Monkey King was so pleased that he said to himself:


    "When I left here my mortal flesh and bones were heavy,

    But now I have the Way my body's light.

    No one in the world has real determination,

    To the firm will, the hidden becomes clear.


    When I last crossed the seas the waves got in my way,

    But now on my return the journey's easy.

    The parting words still echo in my ears;

    When will I see The Eastern Ocean again?"


    Sun Wukong put away his cloud and headed straight to the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit. As he followed the path there he heard the call of the cranes and the cries of the apes.


    *

    The crane calls echoed beyond the Milky Way,

    *

    and the ape cries were pathetically sad.

    *

    (2)



    2. from the book “Journey to the West” by Thomas Cleary

    https://chine.in/fichiers/jourwest.pdf Pages 29-31

    Online. http://www.blackmask.com

    Adapted from the WJF Jenner translation (Beijing, 1955) by Collinson Fair. Copyright 2005, Silk Pagoda.
     
  8. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    What the heck does Sun Wu Kong and a book of fiction have to do with proving anything?
     
  9. Encho

    Encho Green Belt

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    Having listen to the video, it is more of a history presentation outline with some general stuff, I don't think its bad actually.
    The thing about Zhuangzi is 1. He never claimed to be a Daoshi and did not practice a religion called Daoism so certaintly not by the english word a Daoist Sage 2. We do not even know if he existed 3. Because it is archaic Chinese what he may have actually meant may have been totally different.

    There are some scholars who think Zhuangzi was not being serious when speaking about Alchemy but more of a tongue in cheek reference, his book is witty and humorous so it may have been a possibility.

    To me, the English translation has no meaning, maybe for someone that doesn't know Chinese it does have a meaning but you are trusting that translator to be able to accurately decode it, There are some debates about more scholarly translators vs Priests and those training in the linerage on who translates the text and its meaning better.
    I remember one translator said a good translator will put the hanzi next to the translation, when translating at least in my opinion, nothing is 100% accurate so someone else reading the original texts and translatons may have different outcomes though similar. Arthur Waley for English translating of Chinese classics was one of the standards if not a pioneer that other translators often would cite when translating.

    The Monkey King is a fictional story.




     
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  10. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    So selectively ignore their message. Take part of it as fact without question, and disregard the rest as charlatanism.

    Things that make you go “hmmmm....”
     
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  11. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, translation is never an exact science, and any humor contained in it makes the problem more difficult, as humor rarely has a direct analog from one language/culture to another. Put some time in the way (so meanings, references, and sense of humor all change) and it's...well...a bit of alchemy.
     
  12. mograph

    mograph Master Black Belt

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    We should place very little weight on any translations of Chinese. It's all metaphor. At best, it's a beginning, certainly not a definitive end to discussion.
    • specific Taoist sages might not have ever existed. Their works might have been written by groups of people over time.
    • so many words are context-dependent, with multiple meanings.
    • without context or experience, even the Hanzi next to the translation is meaningless to an anglophone.
    • paradoxically, a book of fiction might be a good way of internalizing a concept. Metaphor!
    We westerners tend to want to learn the words and descriptions before we engage with the practice. I've seen that the practice/experience and the study of the words are best experienced in parallel: the ongoing direct (right-brain) experience gives the (left-brain symbolic) words context and meaning.

    Two recommended reads as background to my POV:
     
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  13. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Interesting, and agreed. Through in Traditional vs Simplified Chinese and the whole thing gets really confusing. There was a Chinese calligrapher/martial art sifu, that came to my wife's office to have her make sure he had translated something correctly from Traditional Chinese to English. Per Mrs Xue he was close in some areas, but way off in others. He was not good at reading traditional Chinese and there was one character, that looks very similar to the simplified character, that means something completely different in traditional. And if you do not know traditional you will make that mistake every time. Because of this he was pretty much missing the point in the entire translation. And he was from China, older than my wife, and a calligrapher. I wish I could remember what the character was, but they were rather similar. At least he knew the meanings of the metaphors.....at least the ones he could read correctly

    In a psychology class I took many moons ago in college, there was a discussion about Western Philosophy and Psychology verses Eastern.
    According to the class, there are 2 extremes on the planet, China being one extreme and the USA being the other. Everything in between is a mixture and the closer you get to China it gets more like China and the further you get from China it gets more like the USA.
     
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  14. mograph

    mograph Master Black Belt

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    Yeah, interesting on the Simplified/Traditional angle. Not straightforward.

    Yeah, it's like that: individualist vs. collectivist culture, and the US and Australia are the extremes. As the theory goes, the Middle East is more collective, with a bit of individualism. Europe might be a balance between the two. Canada is almost like the US, because of its British relationship.

    It's the individual vs. the community, where the latter is more context-aware, making the group more important than the individual. The "collective" could be your family, team, company, municipality, or state. The psychological implications of this cultural divide often manifest (and derive from!) an atomistic vs. holistic point of view: a focus on the parts vs. a focus on the whole.

    Of course, the idea of parts and whole is often context-dependent. Is my fist whole or a part? It's a whole in the context of my fingers, but a part in the context of my arm

    Good fun.
     
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  15. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Hedonism vs Confucianism :D

    Being more serious.... John Locke vs Kong Qiu (Confucius)
     
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  16. snake_monkey

    snake_monkey Orange Belt

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    Thanks for this, there is a lot of material here...I am running a fitness club where I package some basic standing QiGong as a low-impact fitness exercise. Attendees are catching on to the point that there is more to the system and asking questions. But I'm not at a level to answer all the questions yet. I will be doing my research and commenting here or starting a thread. Thanks again!

    edit: I also would like to perform my stances in the best way possible but don't have an instructor currently, so I may post something to get some feedback.
     

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