What are the steps before Buddhist breathing and Embryonic b

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What are the steps before Buddhist breathing and Embryonic b

Postby jfraser » Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:46 am

I just received Dr Yang's books, Tai Chi Theory and Martial Power, and Qigong, Embryonic Breathing. What are underlying foundations to what is discussed in these books. There is so much infromation, I am confused as to where to start. My goals or spiritual, martial and health.

[b]I am used to meditating seated on a chair, using Chan practices. And my feet are on the floor. I now understand this can be dangerous, especially doing Buddhist or Taoist Breating to build up the Chi in the lower real Dan Tien. So I am trying to decide to sit on a pillow on the floor, or continue in my chair, sitting up. Suggestions and Ideas, please?[/b]
Also, these Taoist perspectives and theories thatDr. Yang writes about do not seem to recognize, as I understand them, the deeper aspect of the Heart, like Buddhism (what Kwan Yin discovered and let go of all fear). [i][b]Xin[/i] (heart) in Taoism and qigong theory and practice, seems to mean the emotional distrubance created in the human heart. Is that right or wrong? Where is Unconditional Love in this qigong perspective?[/b] I have experienced It a few times, unbidden, and It is beyond words. And I do not see it as an negative emotional disturbance, although it is intense, and enfolding. What are your experiences with the above questions?

Thanks! :?: :? :)
James Fraser
Nantong and Shenyang. China
Last edited by jfraser on Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Tarandus » Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:54 am

Taoist meditation and prenatal breathing techniques are of course rooted philosophically, in works such as the Tao Te Ching and the Book Of Chuang Tzu. You rightly ask where Love figures in all of this. I hope a few quotations from the Tao Te Ching might help on this point:

'Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures...
Patient with both friends and enemies,
You accord with the way things are.
Compassionate towards yourself,
You reconcile all beings in the world.' (Poem 67)

'See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
Then you can care for all things.' (Poem 13)

'The Master views the parts with compassion,
Because he understands the whole.' (Poem 39)

'The Master can keep giving
Because there is no end to her wealth.
She acts without expectation,
Succeeds without taking credit,
And doesn't think that she is better
Than anyone else'. (Poem 77)

'The Master has no possessions.
The more he does for others,
The happier he is.
The more he gives to others,
The wealthier he is.' (Poem 81)

As far as breathing techniques are concerned, I haven't read Dr. Yang's books on that subject yet, but I would highly recommend a book by Da Liu called 'Tai Chi Chuan and Meditation'. This book thoroughly and clearly explains the Taoist physiology underlying prenatal breathing and gives detailed instructions for its practice and for Chi circulation and development using meditation. He also of course relates these systems to Taoist philosophy. Personally, I have found the best position for me to practice this type of breathing and meditation is actually lying down. If you are unable to obtain Da Liu's book, or would rather not, I can certainly try to supply further assistance on these points if you would like it. Kind regards, T.
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Postby rpwdg » Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:18 am

Tarandus,

Please let me have details of the translation of the Lao Tzu you have quoted.
Your quotes are more pleasing than those in my copy which was translated by D. C. Lau.

Regards,

rp
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Where is the Heart in Dr. Yang's theories od Qigong?

Postby jfraser » Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:01 pm

I suggest you get a copy of Embryonic Breathing by Dr. Yang. It is highly technical and packed with information in a highly organized manner. Love in my way of talking about it ,is not mentioned and I believe it is viewed as an afflictiion or attachement to the physical world, thus causing distrubances in the mind.
James :o
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Postby Tarandus » Tue Jan 09, 2007 2:08 pm

rp: the translation I used is the one by Stephen Mitchell (published by Kyle Cathie). I would also recommend the Richard Wilhelm translation published by Penguin Arkana. Of course, Richard Wilhelm was a great German scholar of Chinese philosophy, so the Penguin is I believe actually a translation of Wilhelm's German translation of the Chinese. The Wilhelm translation is rather stilted, but I believe very literal, and a useful adjunct in my view to the more concise and poetic translation by Stephen Mitchell. Also the Wilhelm has a scholarly introduction, commentary and notes on the text. Kind regards, T.
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Postby Tarandus » Tue Jan 09, 2007 2:11 pm

James, thanks for the tip. I will certainly be investing in the book as soon as possible. Kind regards, T.
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Postby jfraser » Wed Jan 10, 2007 11:02 am

T.

[b]Please fill me in on Da Lu's method and theories, or as least a summery.
Does he include the deeper levels of openning the Heart?

James. 8) [/b]
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Postby Tarandus » Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:56 pm

James: I will try and do my best to assist with a summary of what Da Liu has to say on embryonic breathing. I think the best way to do this would simply be to quote from his book 'T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Meditation'. In Chapter 4 ('The Tao Of Breathing), Da Liu says:
'The concepts of prenatal and postnatal breathing occur in Taoist writings and are also represented in diagrams ... The underlying idea is as follows. Before birth, the embryo does not need to inhale and exhale, for the breath is circulated through its body from the mother. The oxygen-rich blood comes to it through the umbilical cord and enters its abdomen at the navel. Thus prenatal breathing is done through the abdomen. After birth, of course, this method of breathing is no longer available as the umbilical cord is severed. Thereafter, a person must rely on breathing through the lungs, which is called postnatal breathing. Most people only breathe with the throat and lungs, so the prenatal breath hides in the abdomen, never joining the postnatal breath again. This capability plays a role in the practice of meditation, however, and so meditation and T'ai Chi Chuan may be said to bring about a union of prenatal and postnatal breathing. That is, during inhalation, as the medidator is drawing the postnatal breath down into the lungs and down to the navel, the prenatal breath rises up from the lower abdomen, where it joins together with the postnatal breath. During exhalation, as the postnatal breath rises up out of the lungs, the postnatal breath sinks down again to the lower abdominal region ...'
In his instructions for 'Navel and Tan-T'ien Breathing', Da Liu says
'This technique can be practised in the sitting, standing, walking or sleeping posture. It can be done anywhere and as often as you wish. Inhale, using your mind to draw in oxygen and fetal breathing to the navel. Then use your mind to carry the chi down to the tan-t'ien. Hold it there for one minute or more. Then exhale. When you feel that your whole body is relaxed, inhale. Use your mind to bring the chi through the tan-t'ien (the lower abdomen to the back, then up to the top of the head and down to the mouth. (As saliva accumulates in your mouth, swallow it and send it to the abdomen). Then exhale again and continue to practice. After practicing this exercise for a short time, your whole body will feel relaxed and warm. You will also be able to hear the sound of gargling in your abdomen.'

Personally, I find the lying down position the best for this, lying on my right side with the right leg outstretched and the left foot placed just behind the calf of the right leg. The right hand is under the right cheek, and the left arm is extended down the left side and the wrist and hand are draped over the left hip. Once this breathing became natural enough that I didn't have to think about it, I was in a position to apply it in Form practice. It is very purifying.

As far as the chapter on T'ai Chi movements is concerned, Da Liu's postures are fairly similar to Cheng Man Ching's. I have to say, personally, I don't like the Cheng Man Ching form, though of course that is a matter of taste and I wouldn't want to be controversial on that subject. But of course, the postures are there as an indication only.

I hope this helps. I have tried to select the most relevant passages. To give a further idea of what is in this incredible book, I think I can do no better than give a list of the chapters, which are as follows:

1. The History of Meditation and Exercise in China.
2. T'ai Chi Tu: Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate.
3. Fundamentals of Chinese Physiology.
4. The Tao of Breathing (Ch'i).
5. The Waxing and Waning of Ch'ien and K'un.
6 Standing Meditation.
7. Sitting Meditation.
8. The Five Concentration Points.
9. Breathing Meditation for Health.
10. T'ai Chi Ch'uan Movements for Meditation.
11. Daily Life: Sitting, Standing, Walking, Sleeping.
12. Sexual Energy: Production, Retention, Transformation, and Circulation.
13. Prevention and Cure of Sickness.
14. Questions and Answers.

I would just like to refer briefly to the chapter on Sexual Energy. For men, Da Liu is very much of the Taoist school that semen retention should be practised. However, it is worth noting that there is another school of Taoist thought, which, as I understand it, suggests that in a loving sexual union between a couple, there is a Yin/Yang union in which semen discharge is an irrelevance and the act can produce a greater spiritual proximity to God/The Tao (whichever is your preference). It is also worth noting that Western medical research carried out in Australia has proved pretty conclusively that among men, masturbation as often as five time a week assists in reducing the likelihood of prostate cancer, probably because ejaculation clears the prostate of the relevant carcinogens. Oddly enough, the research also concluded that this didn't happen in sex with a partner.

As for your final question, without trying in any way to sound facetious, I have tried to say all I can on the subject with appropriate quotations from the Tao Te Ching, and I am afraid I can offer nothing further on that - but please accept that as a limitation on my part. Kind regards, T.
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Response to T.

Postby jfraser » Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:32 am

T.

Sorry for the delay in responding to you.
You have been most kind and generous sharing you knowledge, experience, and time. Thank you very much.

I was recently taught reverse breathing doing a difficult Yang Tai Chi Xiao Jia (small frame) Tai Chi walking pattern kneeling almost all the way down, then up, with the arms and hands spiraling down the qi down into the earth while the body kneels, and then the arms and hands doing [i]pung jin[/i] as the body stands up. This is all done stepping in the "S" pattern of the Yin/Yang symbol.

And I was taught just to do the arm and hand movement in the beginning in a static position, with the reverse breathing, and my body moving up and down with the breath. This is for me to get used to this reverse breathing, to where it feels more natural to me, then add it to the above walking, and other Tai Chi movements. I am so used to "normal" abdominal breathing when practicing Tai Chi or other martial arts, and this reverse breathing in moving scrambles my brain, somewhat.

When my teacher does any movements, including the above walking, and his Xiao Jia form, the qi flows from his pores, like nothing I have seen or felt before.

Doing this reverse breathing, in the above mentioned static position so far, seems to build up a lot of an energetic charge inside of me. At this point, I would not say it is particularly calming to me.

I will read over your posts on this subject again, and get back to you in the near future. There are so many ways or paths.

In your experience, and reading, does Da Liu give any warnings in his writings about his theory and practices about potential health (physical or mental) in the theory and practices he describes?

I forgot to to mention that I really appreciate your quotes from the Tao Te Jing regarding Love.

Best regards,
James :)
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Postby jfraser » Tue Feb 20, 2007 9:23 am

T.,

In reading your post, you quote Da Liu:

'This technique can be practised in the sitting, standing, walking or sleeping posture. It can be done anywhere and as often as you wish. Inhale, using your mind to draw in oxygen and fetal breathing to the navel. Then use your mind to carry the chi down to the tan-t'ien. [b]Hold it there for one minute or more. Then exhale.[/b] When you feel that your whole body is relaxed, inhale. Use your mind to bring the chi through the tan-t'ien (the lower abdomen to the back, then up to the top of the head and down to the mouth. (As saliva accumulates in your mouth, swallow it and send it to the abdomen). Then exhale again and continue to practice. After practicing this exercise for a short time, your whole body will feel relaxed and warm. You will also be able to hear... "

I am unclear regarding the part I put into bold type. By holding it for a minute or so, does that mean to hold your breath for a minute?
If this is true, this seems to create more tension and stress, not less.
I have to be careful with breath holding, as I have hypertension.
And this breathing is normal abdominal breathing, not reverse breathing or what Dr. Yang calls Embyonic Breathing, right?

Dr. Yang talks at length about building up the [i]qi[/i] in the "real lower " tan tien, before moving it in the small circulalion process, as described above. Building up the [i]qi[/i], and then circulationg it, in my understanding of Dr. Yang is a long term and sometimes tricky process.

Kind regards to you, also,
James :) :?:
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Postby Tarandus » Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:12 pm

James: just carry out the prenatal breathing instructions without this business of holding the breath for one minute. I think that Da Liu maybe wrote this in Chinese and something has been lost in translation, but I have never practised it this way. The breathing should be 'fine, slow, long and profound', that's all, and in time it will become more and more fine slow, long and profound without having to make any special effort. Otherwise, what Da Liu says is sound. The breathing here is such that the abdomen contracts while breathing in and expands while breathing out. It is easier to control the inbreath than the outbreath and this business of breathing out with an expanded abdomen is really a means of controlling the flow of the outbreath and making it very fine. It's difficult to explain this with analogies unless you have trained as a singer or played a woodwind or brass instrument, where the abdominal technique is, in fact, the same. Try lying down on the floor with a pile of heavy books on your stomach. Expand your abdomen and then allow it to deflate really slowly while keeping the books supported and under control. This might give you an idea of the process, hopefully. As far as the small circulation is concerned, my understanding, and what I have practised, is that the embryonic breathing is the first essential, and then you can move on to circulation of Chi in the small circulation ('The Lesser Heavenly Circulation') and then the the large circulation ('The Greater Heavenly Circulation'). However, various Masters disagree about the necessity of this type of conscious circulation if you are practising Tai Chi, as in Tai Chi the mind is on the spirit, not the Chi, and the Chi flows as a result of visualisation of the applications. However, embryonic breathing should be practised in the form, observing Yin/Yang principles of co-ordinated breathing in respect of empty/full, or defence/attack. Meditation and Chi Kung will move the Chi through the main meridians, the Highways of the body as it were, but Tai Chi will develop and circulate it through the all the lesser roads and lanes as well. Kind regards, T.
'Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions. Live the questions now. You will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.' Rainer Maria Rilke.
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Postby Tarandus » Wed Feb 21, 2007 5:32 pm

James: Da Liu doesn't give any specific warnings about danger to health in the practises he advocates, but he sounds a severe note of caution about Indian transcendental meditation which involves journeying to other planets, revisiting past lives etc., as according to him, various practitioners (presumably without proper supervised instruction) have ended up seriously mentally disturbed and have had to be admitted to asylums for treatment. You will probably feel a build up of gas or gargling in your abdomen when practising the Da Liu technique, but this is entirely normal, and a good sign. The Chinese Master I have been learning from in London also starts his classes with just arm movements from the principal repeated movements in the Yang Cheng Fu style, followed by just the stepping (fowards and backwards) and then combining the arms and legs. This warmup usually takes about 20 minutes. Kind regards, T.
'Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions. Live the questions now. You will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.' Rainer Maria Rilke.
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Flower or Fruit?

Postby shuaijan » Sat Mar 03, 2007 10:47 pm

Om mani padme hum!
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