March 20, 2011
First a word about the terrible tsunami and nuclear power plant disaster in Japan. Yes, as predicted so many people downloaded my free “Radiation Detox” ebook, that I wrote years ago in case something like this (or worse) would ever happen, that my server crashed and bandwidth was used up. Therefore I moved it to my meditation site server which has lots of available bandwidth capacity. In case you still want the information, you can now download it and see the whole story behind its creation at
Yes, you can pass around that link and post on Facebook, twitter it and so on. The server can handle it.
It is silly how many in the US are losing their heads over this problem and buying all sorts of emergency products when they are not at risk. The lack of common sense is astounding. I always say that it is had to teach the dharma to people who lack common sense in that if they get common sense things wrong, how can they understand higher spiritual matters. But alas, that is the fate of human beings.
This catastrophe is why I have to say once again that we need many more seed banks placed everywhere in the world. Yes, MULTIPLE SEED BANKS, one of my improtant issues.
The insufficient number of these is another MAJOR oversight by those who should be thinking of the future. If there is ever a major war it is seeds that the armies will want to grab and take home after all is over. After all, life has to return to normal and without agricultural capabilities you will be in trouble.
When the Russians entered Berlin at the end of WWII do you know what they went after with haste?
They went after the Gestapo files so that they could have the dirt on important people. That was a top priority. Invading armies always go after the secret police files first so they can find who was a collaborator, who did what, etc. and can then use that information in the future to blackmail important people (in the government and society) after all dust settles again.
You probably didn’t know that because you were not trained to think this way, and that’s why it escapes people that seeds would be ultra-important after a major nuclear disaster, such as war. The big prize would be non-contaminated, pristine non-GMO seeds, and so we need to sponsor many seed banks all over the world to protect from future catastrophes. Our politicians the world over like to think they are statesmen and spend mega-billions to keep each country at the military forefront (which definitely should be an objective) but hardly any of these individuals steps forward and demands that we spend $20-30 million on a few seed banks to preserve the future.
I don’t want people waking up to this after it’s too late, so once again I have to stand up and issue the warning yet again. I’m nobody, but I have to say it because maybe you’re a somebody who I can reach, so you need to think about these issues.
Do not leave our agricultural future of seed heritages in the hands of purely profit motivated firms like Monsanto because their actions will, as did the banks, end up leading to future agricultural disasters when the right perfect storm hits, and it will in time. Easy to see, easy to predict, easy to prevent but I doubt the statesmen will reign in what needs to be done.
In Buddhism there is something called “Right Livelihood,” or a virtuous work livelihood. A friend wrote me that he was making a presentation in Germany on right livelihood and needed a quote. I told him most people do not understand this. Soldiers fighting a war to protect their country, for instance, are practicing right livelihood even though most people hear “soldier” and think of the killing, and then think otherwise. Wrong, all countries need to be protected. A strong and capable military is not just necessary but an honorable calling.
Now consider case #2. A banker who starts initiating mortgage loans to the unqualified and starts selling those bad mortgage loans to others, justifying the lapse in high credit standards by saying to himself it will all wash out in the averages, is just cheating himself and not practicing right livelihood. You hear “banker” and immediately think “right livelihood,” but no – a man is defined by his actions, and the wrong motives and actions with foresight negate the label.
So similarly, decisions on the future of agriculture must be made on what is best for the people, and not what maximizes profits. It is now in the hands of people without foresight, and in the hands of “errant men of business” who have all sorts of excuses for their actions, but of whom 60 Minutes will have a field day and we will all suffer when a catastrophe strikes (such as the 5000 farmers in India who committed suicide due to the failure of their GMO seeds – this reminds me of the Nestle baby formula trajedy where thousands died because of unscrupulous marketing practices).
Yes, I know this sort of effort at agricultrual control is in league with national strategic hegemony plans, but they are playing it wrong. If this trend does not stop, the catastrophe from terminator seeds and the like will be bigger than the banking crisis. I kid you not. So, we need more seed banks and a rethink of who’s controlling our agricultural future and if the actions being allowed are in the best interests of the people. If not the results can be fatal for the public. But I digress.
Alright, enough of my “high on my horse” preaching … why the email? Because I wanted to send you another FREE gift. Someone sent me a 20+ year old video of Master Nan performing the 9-bottled wind on Youtube, so I’m sending you there so you can see the hand movements and body posture. I describe this practice in my books and articles, but you need a video to see it performed. This is the best overall pranayama technique I have ever found, and other pranayama experts tell me is the best they have tried, too.
Yes, I know the video is in Chinese language. Just ignore the Chinese language and WATCH for the posture and hand positions, and then go look up the descriptions which are too long for this email. The description of the practice is found in Twenty Five Doors and in many of our articles and publications. The video:
By the way, if you watch a lot of videos for work or fun, what I’m about to tell you will change your life. Go buy a copy of Enounce MYSpeed which can speed up video viewing viewing time by 3X and cut the amount of time you have to spend watching important lessons. This will transform your life. Absolutely. You can find it here.
Enjoy the Free Gifts, and remember that to succeed in cultivation you need to exercise your WISDOM. Spiritual cultivation is not about sitting in a cave somewhere meditating in solitude but also about stepping out and making efforts to do what is right for society, not what is profitable, and your efforts do matter
March 16, 2011
I often tell people to practice the 9-bottled wind pranayama practice for health reasons, and to help prepare for better meditative states. You can find the instructions in many of my books, such as 25 Doors to Meditation, as well as on the website.
Someone sent me this video of Master Nan performing the 9-bottled wind practice. It’s in Chinese and probably over 20+ years old by the looks of it. However, I know you’re smart enough to just ignore the language difference and pay attention to how he holds his hands, elbows, etc. during the video as he goes through the motions of the practice and shows you how to do it in terms of posture. That’s what people always want to know.
Master Nan demonstrating 9 Bottled Wind:
December 19, 2010
Hercules is Coming
Very soon the new book on Hercules is coming for the final chapters are being completed. I am sure this new book will rock the market because the contents include some of the firsts of their kind in print, especially about certain stages of Taoist cultivation, Tibetan Vajrayana, Biblical Jewish cultivation, Egyptian cultivation schools, the Indian Nath yoga tradition and so on which have never been disclosed. Secrets, BIG secrets until now …
Basically, here’s what you need to know about the path of spiritual cultivation that comes through in the book, which is a good synopsis of the path in general. You should already know this, but I have collapsed it down to simplicity, just as in the Hercules book.
All genuine religions, spiritual schools and traditions employ a variety of cultivation practices, or meditation methods, which are designed to help you achieve a quiet mind. This is the basic beginner’s spiritual path so a lot of spiritual practices help you do this. Because thoughts die down from practicing these techniques, this resulting mental quiet or silence is called peacefulness, cessation, calming, stopping, purity, emptiness, empty mind or any number of other pertinent synonyms. Your mind empties of loud, busy thoughts and so you experience peace.
When the mind quiets, proper spiritual practice is that you must remain aware (rather than try to suppress thoughts from arising) and that awareness practice is called witnessing, observing, contemplating, knowing, prajna, introspection, awareness and so on. As the mind quiets, you continue to watch the mental scenarios of the mind but without attaching to them. This is cessation-witnessing practice, also known as mindfulness, rememberance or “vipassana.” The two principles of cessation and witnessing are inherent in all spiritual practices. ALL spiritual practices. The important thing is that you learn how to let go of thoughts, called detachment, in order that wandering thoughts (the monkey mind) dies down so that the stage of cessation finally arrives. That’s why you practice meditation.
Because the gradual calming of your mind means you are letting go of thoughts (which is why they are able to die down in the first place), and because chi and consciousness (thoughts) are linked, as you let go of thought attachments you are also letting go of clinging to the chi in your body. Normally you’re pushing your chi around all the time, especially in your head, but with meditation you learn to let go of this consciousness-chi-body connection. You learn how to let it function without interference, which is what happens in a perfectly healthy body.
Chi and thoughts are linked; by letting go of thoughts you are not interfering with your chi flow anymore. Attaching to the chi of your body and physical energy sensations is something you are always subconsciously doing but you don’t realize it because you are so used to the habit. From countless lives you are used to this habit, so it takes time to break it. Once you learn how to truly let go and be free, with nothing pulling your chi this way or that way anymore because you have learned how to let go of thoughts, the real chi of the body will start to arise and its natural circulation will start to resume. Thus it is said, “From the stillness of yin (quiet), yang will arise.”
That yang chi is called kundalini, which is the real chi of the body as opposed to the wind chi that people are always playing with as they practice most spiritual techniques. When the yang chi of the body finally arises, it will open up your chi channels and chakras naturally. There is nothing you need to do to prompt this other than cultivate an empty, non-clinging mind. There is nothing you need to know other than how to be quiet and let go to experience the peace. Your outer physical body, due to the yang chi resultantly arising, will experience transformational phenomena as this happens called spiritual “gong-fu.”
Your inner subtle chi body will also transform and purify the more you let go of thoughts and let your mind quiet. Your chi will purify as well, and thus your emotions and habit energies. Your physical and energetic bodies will start purifying because you are finally letting go of clinging to your chi, and so it will revert to its natural circulation – the way it is supposed to flow in a perfectly healthy individual before thought attachments warp it this way or that. Thoughts are supposed to come up all the time – you aren’t supposed to suppress them – but you should not cling to them.
The transformation of your body that results from your ascending chi results in a purification of your physical nature, but because chi and consciousness are linked, your mind will reach a higher stage of purity (emptiness) as well. So a quiet empty mind leads to your chi arising, your chi arising leads to the purification of your chi, channels and chakras, that purification leads to a greater degree of mental purity or emptiness, and the two components body and mind reach ever increasing levels of purity until eventually from that purified foundation one can achieve samadhi.
All from just learning how to let go…
The forthcoming Little Book of Hercules explains all the chi and body phenomena that happen along the beginnings of this process … what we must call “beginner’s spiritual gong-fu” for attaining the Reward body, or sambhogakaya. You’ll find out that the ancient mystery schools of the west knew as many of these phenomena as the eastern schools, but while the evidence is right before your eyes you’ve probably missed it. This new book will reveal it.
Now because of samadhi, a wise person who has the right teachings (and thus view) can eventually detach from consciousness to realize the clear base of awareness that is always present with being or existence. But since that clear awareness is just a function of the original nature, recognizing that pristine empty awareness that knows is not full enlightenment yet. What gives birth to that awareness is the original nature or fundamental essence, God, Allah, Brahman, or whatever your wish to call the true self. No one really knows how to describe It, so it is also called the Unknown One. When one realizes that original fundamental ground nature or essence, one becomes enlightened, or realizes their true self. Hence the term “self-realization.”
In the universe we go for countless lives, countless eons searching for everything but our true self. When beings find their true self, they finally become spiritually free, liberated, saved. It all starts with spiritual cultivation. While religion will not lead you to this, spiritual practice will and the proper sort of spiritual practice, and stage of gong-fu you will resultantly pass though as you make progress on this hero’s journey will all be revealed in the Little Book of Hercules when it soon comes out.
As to our latest paperback release on Amazon.com, Spiritual Paths and Their Meditation Techniques, the price has risen in December as I said it would but you can still order it in time for Christmas: http://amzn.to/cuF1vE . A great book to teach you what you should be doing and where you should NOT BE WASTING YOU TIME in spiritual practice. This will save you years of effort and I wish I had the information when I get started. Like all our books, we speak directly with no nonsense and try to put in as much information as possible so that just one of our volumes is the equivalent of reading dozens of other books out there.
Many wrote to thank me about the information from John Thomas, the hedge fund trader and his synopsis of world trends. I already made money on his advise, and my friends as well, and it came from his email newsletter which is free. Enlightenment is not just about spiritual practice but worldy wisdom… understanding the world and how to skillfully deal with the world. Many enlightened masters were doctors, some were politicians, some businessmen, some martial artists, some cooks and many other occupations, too. They weren’t just all monks or nuns. If a king found a man of Tao in his kingdom he would try to employ him as a minister because they were easily competent in all things.
The universe is endless and you must start learning about all dharmas if they can help others and yourself. Start here: http://bit.ly/fxf4Ck Pass to friends. As I’ve been writing elsewhere, if America does not invent something new and big and does so fast, job declines will continue and there’s nothing all the rah-rah patriotism can do about it. As Wikileaks proves, and as I try to point out all the time, what the government says to the public is different from the reality of the way things really are. Without jobs, which we’ve offshored, we’re cooked compared to emerging markets competitors and lower standards of living are here to stay. To protect your income and retirement, watch these videos, learn this information (he’ll have several in series, such as a recent one on currencies so you know where to put your monies in your IRA via ETFs):
Speaking of diverse things, along these lines of the fact you should study many disciplines, we hope to release a new book on combining spiritual parenting with practical education, a book on small business marketing, multi-generational income and several other non-fiction titles next year. More when that happens …
And lastly, please take the time to avail yourself of a personalized Karma Calculator reading of the upcoming events for 2011, 2012, and 2013 in your life before the special December discount ends. It’s just $50 for several years and I often throw in more years beyond the special deal listed. But come January 1 the special is finally over as previously stated. This is a great Christmas gift for yourself or someone else (you just need the birth time, birth date and birth location) and will help you prepare for the years ahead. It’s dirt cheap compared to the $250 normally charged for just one year from a Vedic or Chinese astrologer. Someone wisely told me that if you want to mantra to change your fortune this will tell you what to mantra about.
November 15, 2010
Our new book is released – Spiritual Paths and their Meditation Technqiues. It is a rewrite, in paperback form, of the Insider’s Guide to the Best and Worst Spiritual Practices. The price goes up in December, so get your copy now:
October 31, 2010
A practitioner from overseas wrote:
Since 2003 I started cultivating and practice your teachings. I ordered and read all your books, listen to the topics you speak about and read all your emails. I practise every day for a minimum of an hour before going to bed.
The past two years I am intensifying my practice. During day time a practice the Zhunti mantra, I have done about 252,000. At night before I go to bed, I practice the Vairocana-Zhunti mantra and visualize the flame on all the 8 petals and like you said I also try to be creative. Then I say 3 times the Usnisa Vijaya mantra for myself, the hungry ghosts and for my family. I also practise the 9 bottle wind anapana. After that I practise the Skeleton meditation. That goes quite well and then after that I try to sit and meditate on emptiness by trying to let go of myself as a person or just observe like a third person observer.
Lately I have these feelings in my head. When I am just sitting at my desk at work or doing something else I regularly feel these energies in my head. I have not yet realise emptiness, because I will know when it happen. You will probably say it is just Wind and I know for myself this is the case, but lately I feel quite overwhelmed. I have these intense emotional feelings at my heart and cannot fall into sleep. Because I am 44 years old, I wonder if these feelings are just because my hormones are bugging me. I didn’t have much problems until now, or is this because something is starting to happen, because of the practise? I have seen a Chinese docter and she tried to help me, but I still feel the same. Talking to my doctor doesn’t help because he will not understand.
I also have 2 little books to keep me on track with my cultivation and had read your book the White Fat Cow lately. I write down my Merits and Demerits for the day to try to get grips with my thoughts and behaviour.
If you have been reading our materials, you should be able to analyze this easily. Do not take this as a medical diagnosis or treatment, and if you are ever feeling ill please see a doctor. But if it is due to cultivation work, the following would be the normal analysis. Once again, you must first rule out medical things before proceeding to a cultivation analysis of the typical responses to spiritual practice. However, as my teacher told me many times, and as I found for myself, doctors do not understand this material even though the same patterns happen over and over again as the result for the same types of spiritual practice. Doctors never understand cultivation gong-fu,and frankly, for cultivation gong-fu there is nothing for anyone to do. In any case, the following is easy to write.
All these phenomena are normal signs of progress for someone who cultivates hard. It is EXACTLY what is supposed to happen. It has been written about many times in many schools. Many people pray all their lives to get this far, but no one does because they don’t cultivate hard enough or cultivate in the right way. Most people read books on spiritual topics and do nothing. Therefore they never get any progress. They just read more books. But if you do what’s said, which might seem a lot of effort but becomes natural or second nature after it becomes a habit, you make progress.
This person is experiencing Vajrayana / chi channel opening / body purification phenomena most people hope for but still do not get after 15-30 years of practice. Why they don’t attain it? No commitment to consistent discipline practice, they use the wrong methods and/or they practice incorrectly. Usually it is a combination of these factors and others that explains someone’s lack of cultivation progress.
That’s why I always teach people to do several different things simultaneously to cover all bases and not waste time. It’s more efficient and you make progress quicker. In short, this person’s chi is finally opening their channels from their spiritual work…But this is just the simple stuff. The central channel and front/back channels have not even opened yet. This is equivalent to energy rumblings, but in the right direction.
The skeleton practice + emptiness meditation + celibacy + mantra + visualization + time + patience = gong-fu. It’s a simple as that.
Spiritual progress means cultivation progress, and attaining that progress is a science. As the channels start clearing you will have more and more mental and emotional experiences. You will always finally feel the chi trying to open up the energy channels in the body after doing lots of cultivation work. You will usually feel the energy in the head, abdomen or running up the spine. However, because this person concentrated on the heart chakra, they are feeling the sensations there. As the chi rises to the head, you will feel sensations there. When chi rises to the head, you will also have trouble sleeping at first and will feel energy streams in the head. If they had concentrated on the du-mai they would have felt it in the back of the head. A different emphasis on a different set of channels will cause the energies to be felt there first.
This is actually what happens in Vajrayana, too, as well as in Taoism, Western Alchemy, Kabbalah Judaism, Esoteric Christianity, Hindusim, Jainism, Islam, Buddhism, yoga, Hinduism, Kashmir Shaivism, etc. If you work hard at spiritual practice then the channels start opening and you’ll feel it.
Christian monks who used to recite the Prayer of Jesus at the heart would have the exact same sensations at the heart, but they would get worried and interpret things incorrectly. Many would have palpitations because of the chi working to open up that region. The symptoms are less when you do full body cuiltivation work and open up other channels at the same time, which this practitioner did and what I always recommend. Sometimes the monks or nuns would even see a little flame in that region or have visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Why? Because the chi (kundalini) is opening up that region due to your concentration on it. If you concentrate on a region with visualization, the chi goes to that region because chi and consciousness are linked. Since this is a chakra location, it’s trying to open up the heart chakra region along the sushumna which send chi into the brain.
This is why the “Six Yogas of Naropa” tell people to concentrate on the chakras along the sushumna central channel. But if you don’t also do mantra and deity yoga (visualize yourself in the form of a deity, which is equivalent to full body skeleton meditation) and other practices, then nothing happens. You have to do a lot of necessary PREPARATORY work for anything to happen, which this person is obviously doing. That’s why they are lucky enough to experience progress. That work is also called the “intensified practices” to prepare you for seeing the Tao.
However, once again it is similar to what many people have experienced when the chi finally opens up the channels. Please read Chapter 4 in Measuring Meditation (which is sent on the first day you sign up for our newsletter) to see various typical reactions just like this.
To get the chi channels to start opening is difficult, not easy. Everyone thinks it’s easy but it only happens after lots of committed work, for those are the ones who deserve it. They really want it. Everyone else is after sex, money, power, status, fame and so on so how can they make progress like this? That is their first and foremost prioirty, so the extent of their practice is to visit the Church or mosque or temple on the weekend for an hour or so and participate in a ceremony and listen to some lecture. It’s impossible to make real spiritual progress unless they create a disciplined cultivation practice schedule.
When the chi starts surging upwards into the brain one sometimes cannot sleep. This person is NOT yet at the stage of chi trasnforming into shen causing sleeplessness, but simply chi clearing the channels in the cranium. When yang chi (kundalini) goes through an organ system then emotional stuff comes up which the Chinese have catalogued in their medical system. If it starts clearing the liver channels you tend to get angry or irritated, as an example. Every organ system produces different emotional responses as a predominant response when the channels inside them start to open.
As those channels clear lots of emotional stuff clears, too. It HAS to happen this way for ardent practitioners. When it opens all sorts of areas in the brain, then just as an electrical current in the brain will stimulate memories, memories and other material might come out as chi hits the region and the channels clear. The opening of chi channels causes all sorts of reactions.
So there is nothing in this report that is not typical. It’s just that, despite how many times we write about this, explain it, give case studies, historical examples, tell the science, when it finally happens no one believes it. No one believes they can achieve it. No one believes in the science in the first place. Everyone thinks their case is different.
If you cultivate sufficiently you will experience these things. If you don’t cultivate then they will not happen. The reason they have not happened to you is because your cultivation is insufficient, not because these things don’t exist or don’t happen.
This is all part of the science of human beings. When my book of Hercules and the tantric stages of cultivation like this is released, it will show that even the ancient Greeks and Egyptians knew of these things, not just the Indians and Chinese. Why? Because the gong-fu of spiritual progress is non-denominational.
This person is experiencing the typical reactions of REAL progress. If you practice in this way, you will awaken the kundalini (yang chi) and experience similar things too. Not necessarily the same pattern, but it will follow the typical symptomology or patterns that happen based on your practice.
Hats off to this practitioner. Good work so far and hopefully more to come! Don’t stop now for this is where it gets really interesting.
October 27, 2010
After a long wait one of our books, “The Insider’s Guide to The World’s Best and Worst Spiritual Paths and Practices,” is being released as a paperback on Amazon.com.
Totally rewritten, this book will be released in paperback as “Spiritual Paths and Their Meditation Techniques,” will be available next month. Because it’s so useful, here is a list of the 10 great cultivation methods of the world from the new book which summarizes many spiritual and meditation approaches. Your spiritual practice should fall within these Ten Great roads. I’ll send the rest of the methods out bit by bit over the next few days so that the material, just a small sample from the book, is easier to digest. I hope from reading this material you can understand the construction and purpose of many spiritual techniques. Here it starts:
As to the other spiritual schools of the world, Shakyamuni said that they commonly employed ten great roads of spiritual practice. By following one or more of these paths, you can progress towards self-realization. These paths include the following:
(1) Mindfulness of the Buddha (enlightened being) practice involves concentrating on an enlightened being such as Jesus, Buddha, Shiva, Krishna or any other virtuous enlightened saint, and then so identifying with the contemplation on a moment-by-moment basis that one enters into samadhi. “Mindfulness of the Buddha” is not a method to be identified with Buddhism, but simply the name of a mindfulness technique that uses one-pointed concentration on any enlightened being, whom we call “Buddhas” in recognition of their enlightenment. It is a method of developing long one-pointed concentration through mindfulness, akin to leading an ox home from the field by pulling it back on to a path through a tug on its nose every time it goes astray. It is a method of mentally imitating an enlightened being, and seeking what he or she achieved from mind-moment to mind-moment, until one finally achieves that ultimate attainment himself.
The bhakti yoga cultivation technique of India, as is Christian contemplation on Christ, is a form of Buddha mindfulness practice where through intense longing the mind melts in devotion and thoughts and attachment to the concept of an ego are surrendered. One pointed concentration on visualizing a deity, known as the exercise of imaginary cognition, is a popular accompaniment of Buddha mindfulness and a way in which many religious greats across traditions have traditionally achieved samadhi. If you reach a sufficient point of one-pointed concentration then your chi will begin to move, and dropping the visualization you can reach a state of contentment and no-thought. When the mind becomes free of all other thoughts except the meditated form, incessant thoughts become silent and the mind becomes pure with the object of meditation, thereby entering into samadhi after the object is discarded. Similarly, when one surrenders a sense of doership and turns everything over to the imagined enlightened being (including the idea of one’s individual will), this is also a form of Buddha mindfulness for entering into samadhi.
(2) Mindfulness of the Dharma (Teaching) practice involves cultivating samadhi through the road of logic and mental investigation. Studying the Consciousness-only school of Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta teachings of Hinduism or practicing jnana yoga are all ways to help you investigate the mind and consciousness. In Confucianism the idea of “tracing things back to their roots” can also be applied to studying consciousness so as to eventually detach from it to search for its source. When you constantly apply the principles of investigation to a constant introspection of your mind (vipassana) in order to help you let go, you are applying this cultivation method that will directly lead you to samadhi.
Success in dharma mindfulness practice involves applying an understanding of spiritual teachings dealing with consciousness to help you constantly detach from mental states that flow across consciousness, and thereby enter into samadhi that way. When you can fathom the true meaning of some spiritual teaching, and combine that understanding with periods of contemplation or mental watching so that you can let go, this is dharma practice, or dharma mindfulness. The Advaita Vedanta or Zen practice of constantly searching for the source of thoughts or the “I am” is also dharma mindfulness. If you were always watching your mind to purify your behavior and let go of unwholesome thoughts, as Confucians do, or making sure you broke no religious rules of discipline, as the strict Orthodox Jewish try to do, that would be the practice of virtue and discipline mindfulness. In this case, to be aware of dharma principles at every moment in time – such as to always recognize the impermanen ce of phenomena, painfulness of the world, non-existence of the ego, impurity of the physical body and the illusive nature of reality – will result in mentally letting go of attachments and constitutes dharma mindfulness.
Such constant practice on a continual moment-by-moment basis will lead to detachment, and the mental detachment of letting go of consciousness leads to samadhi and realization. Putting oneself in line with the Tao, once you know the principles of the true character of reality, is dharma mindfulness practice, and eventually leads to awakening. This is one reason why people are encouraged to study cultivation teachings, especially those from other schools that deal with matters that strike home. Applying them to daily life in order to become happy, let go of attachments, and experience mental freedom also constitutes mindfulness of dharma because you put dharma teachings into effect.
(3) Mindfulness of the Sangha practice means relying upon a living individual who has attained the Tao for cultivation guidance to reach some stage of spiritual attainment. Tibetan guru yoga is one such technique as is studying with an enlightened Hindu master. You don’t consider the guru as a body or person but as the original nature, or true Self, that can lead you to an experience of your own true self-nature. If you were to surrender yourself and imagine that you became one with the goddess Kali, for instance, that would instead be Buddha mindfulness. In sangha mindfulness you rely on the help and instructions of living human masters, or community of cultivators, to succeed in the spiritual quest for the Tao.
One component of sangha mindfulness is to model yourself on an enlightened teacher’s behavior by visualizing yourself becoming that person, or visualizing that you become united with that person during meditation in order to try to match their stage of attainment. The ancient Indian story of the man who learned archery by imagining that he was one with his teacher illustrates this technique. The intense imitation of a powerful enlightened role model, and trying to merge one’s mental state with the enlightened nature symbolized by that model, is the basis of the technique. Mindfulness of the sangha not only entails asking someone for help in achieving the Tao, but involves trying to match their stage of realization in hopes of achieving what they have achieved. It is often followed in tantric traditions that stress the necessity for a guru to help you see the Tao and not get caught up in the physical transformations of the human body.
Many, schools such as Zen and Vedanta, also stress the benefits of studying under an enlightened master because some teachers are able, at special opportunities, to instantaneously cut off your thoughts to help you recognize the inherent emptiness of your mind. The story of Hui-neng, The Sixth Patriarch of Zen, and his pursuer Hui Ming is one such example.
(4) The Mindfulness of Discipline and Virtue is a road of practice emphasized by the Confucian school, Vinaya school of Buddhism, the Taoist path of Humanity and Heaven, Orthodox Judaism, Jainism, and the early Greeks among others. This technique involves a constant introspection (watching, policing, or witnessing) of one’s mind and motivations so as to instantly cut off any mental faults when seen and thereby eventually attain a pure and clean empty mental state of samadhi. Outwardly the emphasis appears to be on following precepts of discipline, but inwardly the practice is on cultivating awareness of the mind. As soon as you see an error in thought or behavior from watching your mind, then like the sword of Manjushri that slices through mental obstructions, you cut it off instantly. You stop the behavior, drop the thought, empty the mind, or try to transform your negative thoughts into positive ones. The form of discipline is outward behavior but the nature of discipline i s that the mind is stopped, and thus there is no desire for evil doing.
This spiritual road can also be called the mindfulness of morality practice. The meditation practice of cessation and observation (normally known as “vipassana”) is also a form of morality mindfulness, and the Confucian practice of self-correction falls within this category as well. Christian monks who were always practicing introspection to watch their mind for breaches of discipline against religious codes of conduct can be said to also have been following this form of mindfulness practice. The stories of Liao Fan and Benjamin Franklin who changed their fortunes through this type of practice are perfect examples of this technique we should all study. As Benjamin Franklin exemplified, one must watch their mind and cultivate wisdom in their behavior to become effective in the world.
September 22, 2010
Many people ask me how to get started with the white skeleton visualization method. Well, it’s Halloween, so there’s a very simple method: buy some skeleton socks, also called “bone socks.” One of the hardest areas to cultivate in the body is the foot, and these socks have pictures of the bones in the feet that you can use to help with your skeleton visualization so that the chi channels will open to the feet.
Trust me, it will help to have these as a visualization aide. When you’re sitting there watching TV at home, you can just glance down at your socks and remember that you can do the skeleton visualziation at the same time. I wish I had this inexpensive thing when I started. And it’s practical, too.
You can now even buy skeleton shirts, gloves and stockings that will help you master this meditation technique that opens the chi channels through the body and helps raise your yang chi. It’s a lot easier to wear something with a skeleton on it to help you with your visualziation practice. And since it’s Halloween, you’ll have a perfect excuse for wearing them as it’s the seasonal mood. Not just that, it gives you a little bit extra character and something to talk about.
Anything inexpensive like this that can help you get started with cultivation or deepen your cultivation is a plus in my book. Here’s the amazon.com link:
P.S. In my new book coming out soon in paperback, “The Little Book of Hercules,” I go over time and again how important it is to open up the chi channels to the bottom of the feet and how this was emphasized in many cultures and myths, including in the Greek, Egyptian, Indian and Chinese cultures. The story of the crab pinching Hercules’ heel as he fought the 9-headed hydra, the winged sandals of Perseus, the baby Dictys whom Isis held by the heel in order to turn him immortal, the Tao school stories of flying immortals … many stories tell how hard it is to open up the chi channels into the feet, which will extend your longevity. Hence the skeleton or bone socks. Fun stuff too!
Here are some samples:
August 14, 2010
Someone asked me a funny question the other day, “What do Buddhas eat?”
Now this is a funny question because Buddhas are people just like you and me who have simply awakened, and as a result the question is basically, “What do enlightened people eat?”
The answer is: “Anything they want.”
Let’s go into this a little more deeply because I’m sure you were expecting the answer to involve veganism or vegetarianism. If you are a person devoted to spiritual cultivation, what you consume depends upon your needs and the circumstances and purposes. That’s the first thing to consider. Compassion is also a major factor in choosing what to eat, but if you’re adrift on the high seas and only fish are available to keep you alive, you must choose whether you willing to die in place of the fish. It all comes down to your wisdom and your circumstances.
In the first years of Buddhism, it’s surprising to know that the Buddhist monks weren’t perfectly vegetarian but ate whatever food was offered to them unless it was meat from an animal that was specifically killed for them. If that was the case, or if they were asked to select the animal to be slaughtered, they were forbidden to eat it. In Tibet today, many Tibetan monks are also not strictly vegetarian either but eat whatever is offered. In China, however, with a history of plentiful vegetarian food because of the monastic system, the rule of vegetarianism was enforced for all monks.
But consider this: the famous meditation adept Milarepa only attained his enlightenment after ending a near starvation diet by drinking some beer and eating some meat supplied by his friends. As he found out, if you don’t eat the right food to keep up your strength, it is hard to succeed at spiritual cultivation. Even Buddha was not able to succeed in attaining enlightenment until his health, damaged by severe asceticism, was restored to normal after eating some rice gruel or porridge. I also know of a great Zen master who ate only one small vegetarian meal a day at noon and also found that it did not supply him with enough energy for his cultivation efforts, and so he started eating meat again, although in limited portions, to restore his health and cultivation efforts. It comes down to what you need in conjunction with what you think is right and proper.
And this is one of the main factors to consider – that less meat is certainly better than more, but none may not be enough, especially if you are subsisting on the wrong type of carbohydrates in a vegetarian diet. Many monks in China eat too much tofu and soybeans and as a result, pancreatic cancer and diabetes is quite prevalent due to their diets. In America many vegetarians eat far too much sugar and wheat and destroy their health in the process, too. Meat protein may be warranted, but with today’s hormone laden food, even this decision is questionable.
Then again, it’s a rule in Buddhism that if you are sick and need to eat meat to recover, it is considered a breach of discipline to refuse that medicine though you may want to keep the purity of vegetarianism in play. Once again, it comes down to what’s necessary to help one stay healthy and thus able to succeed in their cultivation. In Orthodox Judaism, a similar rule holds that if you refuse non-kosher food that’s part of the medical prescription for getting well, it is also a breach of discipline to refuse it.
So what do you eat to stay healthy and succeed in spiritual cultivation? What is the best diet for you and for people in general? No one can say with authority, although many would like to– it’s dependent upon you and your genes, your efforts, your circumstances and how you feel with the diet you choose. Many people say they feel cleaner on a vegetarian diet, and that meat weighs them down and clouds their mind, and that they are healthier as vegetarians or vegans than as meat eaters. For such sensitive people, they’ve already determined what’s best for themselves.
Then again, one thing I can mention is that many naturopaths and nutritionists have told me that when strict vegetarians get sick, in many cases it’s almost impossible to cure them if they don’t start eating some animal protein again. The famous Edgar Cayce recommended fish, then poultry, then lamb and beef in this ascending order if one were to eat meat as a source of protein. Pork is universally recognized as one of the worst meats across all traditions. And as to what vegetables are good for people, you have to first rule out if you are allergic or have a sub-clinical sensitivity to it. Just because it’s a vegetable doesn’t mean it’s good for you!
Many people are sensitive to foods but don’t know it because their vitality is strong, but as they get older and their immune system declines those foods start producing symptoms that were previously masked by robustness. So what may seem like a vegetarian “safe food” may actually be doing harm to your body. If someone gets cancer, one of the first things to do is find those food offenders through a blood test and then strictly rule them out of the diet, vegetarian or not. With today’s GMO foods, this rule is more important than ever as many people are allergic to GMO crops.
The question as to whether you should eat meat or not is really up to you from considering your circumstances and the effect that it brings. It’s a matter of balance, necessity and compassion. So what do enlightened beings eat? Whatever they choose to eat because of their vows and circumstances.
August 13, 2010
I always recommend the Tibetan 9-bottled wind practice for cultivators. It involves holding your breath for as long as possible and is an assist to cultivation in the early stages of the path.
Well the world record holder’s method for holding their breath — shown here doing so for nearly 17 minutes under water in front of Oprah — explains his method of khumbhaka to Oprah and the audience.
Pay attention to the fact that at the end when he cannot hold any longer, he says he practices a type of emptiness meditation.
That’s the key — letting go of both mind and body. He looks extremely healthy and well balanced, just like a martial artist, because he has somewhat opened up his channels. Practicing emptiness meditation would in all likelihood change his appearance to an even lighter complexion over time.
Here are his steps though you can read more on the blog post.
1:30 deep breathing
1:15 purging (if you feel like you’re going to pass out, do it less intensely)
Hold breath for target 1:30, no more
Take 3 semi-purge breaths
1:30 deep breathing
Hold breath for target 2:30, no more
Take 3 semi-purge breaths
2:00 deep breathing
Hold breath for as long as possible
Take 3-10 hard semi-purge breaths until your recover
July 31, 2010
I often tell people they can approach cultivation through Confucianism, which depends on the practice of vipassana, or watching the mind. This is similar to the Socratic idea of know thyself through awareness, too. Telling people to cultivate awareness is often better than telling them to cultivate meditation because in meditation they always get caught in body feelings an thoughts and never catch the real meaning of the Tao as taught by Vedanta or Buddhism.
Our awareness is always caught by the feelings of the body, and emotions. That means it’s caught by what isn’t really you, it’s caught by an illusion because an illusion is something that always changes that we think is solid and real, like a mirage.
Neither the sensations nor emotions are things you can hold on to. The body isn’t you either, and is always changing. When science investigates it, it finds smaller and smaller details such as DNA replication, cells dividing, etc. showing that it’s always changing and never staying still. This cause leads to that result — it’s all held together through massive interdependence. It’s an illusion to think it’s a fixed form, and an illusion to think it’s the real you. It’s just a function that comes along.
In one sense we can say you are spirit, or shen, or awareness, which is a function of the original nature. The original nature, which we call “void” or “empty” to denote it is not something phenomenal, is why in Taoist cultivation we say shen transforms or returns to emptiness, which is its substrate or essence or source. Christians call it God instead. Awareness is just a function of this essence, so we are ultimately this essence and cultivation is to find this essence, not be captured by what awareness notices.
Yet when awareness is captured, we think we are something we are not. If you know all is illusion and don’t hold on to it, then you can relax and not be so tight. You enjoy good feelings because you think they’re true but they are all illusions that don’t stay. The same for bad feelings — they’re illusions. Whatever comes to you in the world because of past karma, you just react to it and respond as you should, and a new illusion will arise that isn’t the original nature, just something captured/seen by awareness.
How do you change your fortune? Your karma comes because of past thoughts and behavior that result in what’s produced. If you watch your thoughts to keep your bad habits from coming out, you can change your fortune. It’s as simple as that. That’s vipassana. If you let go of attachments, in time your chi will change and awareness will return to the source, and recognizing the source you can become liberated.
This is the Confucian method of cultivation. You cultivate “awareness” to change your behavior for the better, which perfects you as a human being. It changes your fortune for the future. By letting awareness function without clinging, you also cultivate the Tao.
What could be simpler?
July 20, 2010
Teenagers are always into some new fad. The new one seems to be i-dosing:
The I Dose website (http://www.i-dose.us/) offers several downloadable binaural beat music designed to alter your thoughts/mood. Some progams, like Holosync, use the technology to train people in meditation. In this case, however, the target is different.
I-Dose has offerings such as:
and so on…
Sorry folks. I’ve investigated all sorts of programs and modalities for most all the categories of recordings offering. Everything from self-hypnosis to astral projection audios to subliminal suggestions and more… probably about a dozen or so modalities including physical, electronical, vibrational and chemical means such as laser lights, electronic stimulators, radionic machines, homeopathics, herbs, etc.
Nothing works except cultivation. If you want to tune out the world, by all means spend your $9.99 for a download but I’d devote myself to meditation instead and solve a whole host of problems, including really balancing myself. None of this stuff will help you increase your intellgience, make a migraine headache go away, astral project, lose weight, turn off depression, … Great marketing names for the website, but that’s it.
These recordings just aiaren’t going to do it. You want to enter an altered state? You have to cultivate samadhi through meditation. You’ll encounter plenty of spiritual gong-fu and “altered states” of non-ordinary consciousness. Mantra recitation, or japa practice, is the single best way to do it if you want to use sound, and it usually takes months of effort to change your chi and consciousness that way.
But teenagers will be teenagers, and often want to rebel or do anything that is anti-establishment or status quo. Folks, just turn to meditation and truly get something out of it. Sages from countless religions have told you to recite mantras for the very things you want, and yet people always turn to this sort of nonsense, as well as crystals, magnets, channeling, shamans, seances, etc. They’re just useless fads. But it’s your dollar. Go enjoy.
LifeHacker suggest that if you’re looking for binaural beats or white noise, check out SBaGen or SimplyNoise.
June 10, 2010
Two years ago I made a series of audio CDs on a variety of meditation topics, which I made available through Kunaki.com. It’s a cool service — you make a recording, upload your mp3, select a cover, and then they produce it for you, mail it out and so forth. If you’re an expert on some topic and you want to try it, go ahead, as it takes the burdens away of burning CDs, customer fulfillment and so forth.
I produced several courses on CD this way, but Kunaki deletes the recordings if no one buys any in 180 days, which is a half year’s time. Over time several courses were deleted this way (sexual cultivation, feng shui, etc.) and people write me now and then asking if I sell them, but they missed their chance. They’re gone forever because Kunaki deleted them since no one purchased any.
Anyway, four days ago Kunaki sent me a message that in 11 days they’ll delete my last two recordings:
Once these recordings are gone they’re gone forever, so this might be your chance to get these babies before they disappear. How to Meditate 7 Different Ways is exactly that — instructions on how to meditate 7 (actually more) ways.
The 5 Stages of the Spiritual Path is all about the 5 big stages of the cultivation path. Without this knowledge, you’ll be lost regardless of whatever school you follow because you won’t know where you stand in the grand scheme of things.
So, rather than let them expire I figured I might as well give a curtain call. Just pop these CDs into your computer and play them! It’s on the most common questions I receive about these topics and what you need to know. If you want to learn how to meditate, these are killer.
June 7, 2010
J. Pierquet just wrote me that he created a free download site of sutra translations, and wanted to inform people about it. Nice site:
It contains the following translations already:
1. Dharmacakra Pravartana Sutra
2. Anapana Sutra (Ekottara Agama)
3. Diamond Sutra
4. Shorter Heart Sutra
5. Longer Heart Sutra
6. Amitabha Sutra
7. Cundi Dharani Sutra (Zhunti Dharani Sutra)
8. Classic of Purity and Stillness
In this video story, an Indian hermit is shown whom sources (and the local hospital) say has survived for countless years without food or drink. He doesn’t pass stool or urine either.
This is the stage of inedia. The school of Chinese Taoism describes it– you survive on only chi alone. Naturally, the Indian yoga school has it. It’s mentioned in Christianity as well for quite a few saints, including women saints. Basically it is a stage you reach in chi cultivation. It is not samadhi, not dhyana, not enlightenment or the Tao, yet a stage you can reach when you cultivate your chi to fullness.
Scientists always claim such things are impossible but they are documented in countless spiritual traditions, we have plenty of historical examples including this yogi here, and it goes to show that the cultivation path is non-denominational in terms of the gong-fu stages you can reach. My new book coming out on HERCULES will go into such things in detail.
The big thing is this: I don’t care what religion or spiritual school you’re in. If you cultivate you attain gong-fu, if you don’t meditate you don’t achieve gong-fu. This is a non-denominational stage of gong-fu from cultivating your chi (qi). Some people attain this and others don’t — it depends on your karma. In terms of principles, when jing is cultivated to fullness you don’t think of sex, when chi is cultivated to fullness you don’t think of eating (and you see light within your body), and when shen is cultivated to fullness you don’t sleep. This yogi’s cultivation is far past the stage of this saying, but I just wanted you to see that you cannot dismiss the results and teachings of other schools just because no one in
your tradition achieved these things. They do exist. There’s nothing mysterious or abnormal about them. It’s because you are HEALTHY due to your chi channels opening that you can attain this. Spiritual Gong-fu falls out of standard cultivation practices when you work hard at meditation.
Stay turned for the release of “The Little Book of Hercules” that will go through all the non-denominational stages of the spiritual path like this – linking Greek, Egyptian, Taoist, Indian, Buddhist, Christian and Tibetan traditions — starting from the arising of kundalini to opening of the central channel on through countless other spiritual phenomena.