Buddhist Qi Gong

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Rakshasa
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Buddhist Qi Gong

Postby Rakshasa » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:03 am

It is believed that Bodhidharma came to the Shaolin monastery from South India, observed that the monks there had physically weak bodies after strenuous meditation practices with long hours of inactivity, and therefore devised Qi Gong like Bone-Marrow washing (Yi Jin Jing) and tendon changing classic to help them strengthen the bodies of these monks. Eventually, the number of Qi Gongs devised by monks increased and in today's times there are literally hundreds of Qi Gong practices - some martial and some spiritual - which are especially taught by lay men (especially martial arts masters).

1. How often is Qi Gong included into the curriculum of Buddhist monks in China, Japan and other East Asian companies?
2. Were these Qi Gongs created in China or they were imported from India?
3. Did the Buddhists actually borrowed Qi Gong methods from the Taoists? Or was it based on Tantra or simply meditational practices of non-Tantric Buddhists?

Ba Duanjin, Yijinjing, 18 Arhats, etc are some of the popular Buddhist Qi Gong methods available worldwide nowadays.

Does anyone practice Qi Gong in this forum? And if yes, how is the experience?

Apologies for too many questions in a single post. I am interested in the value of Qi Gong in spiritual cultivation and its historical origins, and the theories it is based on. To me it seems unlikely that Qi Gong is based on Tantric methods, because Qi Gong is usually non-ritualistic.

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Re: Buddhist Qi Gong

Postby Rakshasa » Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:32 am

Mods,

I guess it was posted in the wrong sub-forum among limited posters. Could this be shifted to Dharma-free-for-all?

Thanks.

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Re: Buddhist Qi Gong

Postby Huifeng » Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:47 am

Hi,

Rakshasa wrote:It is believed that Bodhidharma came to the Shaolin monastery from South India, observed that the monks there had physically weak bodies after strenuous meditation practices with long hours of inactivity, and therefore devised Qi Gong like Bone-Marrow washing (Yi Jin Jing) and tendon changing classic to help them strengthen the bodies of these monks. Eventually, the number of Qi Gongs devised by monks increased and in today's times there are literally hundreds of Qi Gong practices - some martial and some spiritual - which are especially taught by lay men (especially martial arts masters).


Yes, so it is believed.

A question at the start here would be what is meant by "qi gong", because it's kind of a modern (or at least new) word. I'm taking it in the broader sense of stuff like dao yin, tu nei, xing qi, bu qi, fu qi, lian dan etc. etc.
http://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-hant/%E6%B0%94%E5%8A%9F

But note: Once the broader meanings are used, where to draw the line at, say anapanasmrti, or cakra-nadi-bindu type tantra?

1. How often is Qi Gong included into the curriculum of Buddhist monks in China, Japan and other East Asian companies?


In China, well, what does one even mean by curriculum? At most Buddhist seminaries (foxue yuan), probably no such thing would be in the courses. Maybe in those few rare monasteries which traditionally have strong Shi Dao (Buddhist Daoist) connections, they may have (in theory, but have never heard of it).

2. Were these Qi Gongs created in China or they were imported from India?


In China, before China was China. These practices have been around for thousands of years.
eg. Chun Qiu 《呂氏春秋》「筋骨瑟縮不達,故作為舞以宣導之」

But, note on what you mean exactly by "qi gong" as above.

3. Did the Buddhists actually borrowed Qi Gong methods from the Taoists? Or was it based on Tantra or simply meditational practices of non-Tantric Buddhists?


As above. Though, again, what do you mean by "Taoist"? This term is something of a neologism in English, and it's usage doesn't correspond exactly to either Daojia / Daojiao or Lao Zhuang (actual categories that the Chinese use). And where you want to draw a line - if any - between Daojia and maybe traditional Chinese medicine.

Some scholars have questioned the reverse, actually, ie. that such prana methods in tantra originally come from China.

Ba Duanjin, Yijinjing, 18 Arhats, etc are some of the popular Buddhist Qi Gong methods available worldwide nowadays.


Yes. "nowadays".

Does anyone practice Qi Gong in this forum? And if yes, how is the experience?


Depends what you mean by "qi gong".

For me, personally, because I spend most of my time living in a Chinese language environment, and the very word "qi" in Chinese means something quite different to how the term is used in English (because in English it's only associated with so-called "Taoists" (sic) and "qi gong" stuff, in part), it is quite a tricky question.

If we just say "working with the breath", then I do that every day, a couple of times, at least. I don't call it "qi gong", though.

Apologies for too many questions in a single post. I am interested in the value of Qi Gong in spiritual cultivation and its historical origins, and the theories it is based on. To me it seems unlikely that Qi Gong is based on Tantric methods, because Qi Gong is usually non-ritualistic.


May want to clarify what you mean by "qi gong", and even just "qi", as well as "taoist" while we're at it.

~~ Huifeng

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Re: Buddhist Qi Gong

Postby Rakshasa » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:57 am

Hi Huineng,

Thank you for the reply.

By "Qi Gong", I was referring to the class of exercises under which Eight pieces of brocade, bone-marrow washing, tendon-changing, Falun Gong, Luohan 13 etc come under. I remember reading exactly what you clarified earlier, that Qi Gong is a relatively new term to describe such exercises, and Nei Gong/ Nei Dan etc were some of the other terms used originally (although I am still confused about the each of theses terms).

I guess Rinzai sect's internal practice that were taught by Hakuin would also come under this class of exercises?

My primary interests are in understanding how the Buddhists discovered such exercises from Buddhists Sutras because sutras do not explicitly teach about "Qi" and Chakras (only Tantras do). Perhaps after attaining some level of Jhana (Samadhi) monks can become aware of the various types of Qi and channels and their functions? What do you think?


I think when Tantrics criticize that Sutrayanists for their scholarly orientation and lack of practice, the Mahayana Buddhists can show them the Qi Gong which corresponds to the Tantra/Yoga of the Vajrayana practitioners?

Most of the Shaolin Kung Fu is based on such breath exercises combining aspects of both mind and body. And I think even Ven. Hsu Yun was able to lift huge boulder with just a single hand - which shows that he was also practicing some form of "Qi Gong" or martial arts?

"Gong" means skill and "Qi" means breath, so I think Qi Gong should translate as "breath skill" or "breath work". Correct me if I am wrong.

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Re: Buddhist Qi Gong

Postby Huifeng » Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:54 am

Rakshasa wrote:Hi Huineng,


It's Huifeng. :smile:

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Re: Buddhist Qi Gong

Postby Rakshasa » Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:02 pm

Huifeng wrote:
Rakshasa wrote:Hi Huineng,


It's Huifeng. :smile:


Sorry, I meant "Huifeng". It was a typo. I appreciate your input in this thread.

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Re: Buddhist Qi Gong

Postby lobster » Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:56 am

I was taught two very similar exercises one in Buddhist martial arts and the other in Taoist Tai chi class.
This was the tensho kata/form. In the Buddhist form it was described as deriving from an Indian warrior tradition and used by Bodhidharma (some scholars think may Bodhdharma may represent multiple Indian source teachers). The taoist version is completely soft. The Buddhist has elements of body isometrics and dynamic 3 level breathing that are described as 'body mudra' and require direct tuition. Traditionally the stance alone took 7 years to master.

Whatever the claims the techniques and benefits to concentration and health are present. I was quite surprised at being taught tensho in a Tai Chi class.

As for tantra in sutra . . . As a potential king, the Buddha is likely to have learned a kalari like art, did he use this to teach or illustrate? Possibly.

Hope that is of interest :popcorn:

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Re: Buddhist Qi Gong

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:07 am

As far as I know the claims of Bodhiharma authoring the Muscle Tendon Changing Classic, and The Marrow Bone Washing classic are thought to false these days.... I would have to actually grab a book and look it up, but if I recall someone a number of centuries later was thought to have authored them and basically forged his name!

This of course does absolutely nothing to stain the validity of the exercises themselves, but I think their connection to Bodhiharmna is considered very tenuous by most martial arts scholars.

I don't know how vetted his info is, but I would suggest Muscle Tendon Changing Classic, and The Marrow Bone Washing classic by Dr. Yang, Wing Ming from YMAA publications, as it has an entire section on the supposed differences between Buddhist and Taoist qigong. Dr. Wing Ming would be (obviously) something of a true believer in this stuff..and even he seemed iffy about the historical stuff with Bodhiharma/Daruma/Ta Mo.
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Re: Buddhist Qi Gong

Postby lobster » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:46 am

This of course does absolutely nothing to stain the validity of the exercises themselves, but I think their connection to Bodhiharmna is considered very tenuous by most martial arts scholars.


Makes sense.
The Mahayana and 'authentic' schools are made up from stories, oral traditions and so on. The cult of dharma celebrity . . . The effects are indeed the important value. :yinyang:

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Re: Buddhist Qi Gong

Postby Rakshasa » Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:15 pm

I think it is more likely that Bodhidharma did not transmit the Muscle tendon changing classic and bone marrow washing. But at the same time I think these were not imported - at least not in complete form - directly from non-Buddhist sources. Perhaps some later Buddhist monks created them for better physical health?

I do not practice these forms of Qi Gong but I have heard that practicing them diligently will also develop the mind along with body.

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Re: Buddhist Qi Gong

Postby Jyotish » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:06 am

This is actually from some other forum and relevant to this post. "How is chi used in Buddhist practice?"

Buddha ignored the fascination people had with all this and classified it as "the five elements" knowing that even the slightest attraction to these low physical phenomena would waste people's time and detract from the many more worthwhile goals. You don't have to know anything about chi in Buddhism because in Buddhism the method of true awareness is enough to dissolve all blockages and problems that might come up.

This is why so many uneducated Buddhist monks who didn't know anything about any of the other traditions still won the prize of Enlightenment! One of them was the patriarch of the Zen school, whom other jealous disciples tried to hunt down..

In those times, monks would be all too interested in those things, at the expense of understanding one's True Mind, which is beyond body and mind... If Buddha even mentioned the word chi, there would be a million and one distracting questions popping into people's head at those times--that would probably derail people's focus entirely... which is why Gautama supposedly returned as Padmasambhava and created the Tibetan school--much much later after the heart of Buddhism was established. (Tibetan school by the way is still aligned with Buddhism but has an integrated focus on the wisdom-energies.)

Nonetheless, chi is related to different karmic habits that we have and once these energies are dissolved the personality characteristic is also transformed--and vice versa.

Buddhism aims at a much higher target than physical perfection, beyond even physical immortality, and this is why it is possible in Buddhism to go beyond the body to transform the mind at its root, attaining things that are definitely Buddhist ("non-common supermundane achievements") and other things that are beyond form but common to all spiritual schools ("common supermundane achievements").

Buddhism aims at the highest possible level: transforming the 8th consciousness, the storehouse of karmas from our endless lives... becoming a radiant actualized Buddha helping all beings win Awakening, becoming free from cycles like birth-and-death and suffering. To Buddhism, these super-powers are nothing but wasting time developing tricks, totally distracted from our human and spiritual problem. That is, unless it is for skillful means (see the parable of the burning house).

With that Buddhist warning aside, to answer your first question, there are many different types of chi, based on various organs. This falls within the realm of TCM and there are many uses to knowing such things, especially in diagnosing one's body. I would love to have an intuitive TCM doctor analyze my sitting posture--lots of constructive advice can be gained from that!

So what is chi in related to Buddhist practice and meditation? How can we make use of such learnings to motivate our Buddhist practice?

The Taoists have mapped out a timeline for what the excellent cultivators and Buddhists go through:

jing > chi > shen > emptiness >> Tao

When one practices Buddhism 100% correctly (celibacy + samatha-powered vipassana), this process happens automatically all the way to "seeing the Tao"/bodhisattvahood.

Due to one's celibacy, one has stored up jing (semen) which after 3 months of jhana eventually starts to transform into chi. One will feel less hungry and can fast for a long time. One is qualified to do the things posted in the picture. Eventually after at least a year like this, one's chi will transform to shen. For several years this process will continue, one's sleep needs will drastically reduce. After even more refined letting go, one will be at the stage of "emptiness" free from dualities and one step away from turning around and "seeing the Tao"

Also, the Taoists have fancier, more interesting names than this - I'm just summarizing.

I recommend the dense book "How to Measure and Deepen Your Spiritual Realization" for a complete understanding of this subject of energetics and where your concern onenergetics absolutely must stop in order to progress and not subconsciously focus on lower things and hold yourself back from awakening the formless, nondual prajna wisdom.

Whether one is a monastic or a layman, in this day and age there is a lot of confusing bioenergetics fascination so it is important to clear up this matter for yourself because even if I say "just study Buddhism, and keep noting, all that fancy stuff is nothing they will lose it after they die"... you are still curious and vulnerable to false information--especially since you want to be able to do cool things like be free of sexual desire (when your jing is full), no longer need to ingest food (when chi is full), and no longer need to sleep (when shen is full)... at the best false information + fixation might lead to nonbeneficial/retarding practices and at the worst, a painful fiery death (I refer you to the Buddhist story of Hakuin).

2nd question: yes, it is a result of staying in that state. After achieving the 1st jhana on a mental level, one must reside in this state until the body completes transforming. After one's body and mind are in sync (this may take a few months if one achieved jhana/insight quickly), one's state will stabilize (and one can go to even higher states more easily)... and one can feel and train one's chi to do various tricks--beneficial and harmful. One can also ignore those lateral pathways and continue on the Buddhist journey.

Go here for more nondenominational info and definitions. Also read "Master Huai-Chin Nan - Internal Martial Arts Nei-Gong" to have all your chi-related questions answered, especially related to Buddhist practice. The dense book I mentioned earlier has excellent case studies as well on how chi manifested in different practitioners' lives."

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Re: Buddhist Qi Gong

Postby Ayu » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:57 am

Jyotish wrote:This is actually from some other forum and relevant to this post. "How is chi used in Buddhist practice?"...

Which forum did you copy it from? Who is the author? Can you provide a link?
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Re: Buddhist Qi Gong

Postby Jyotish » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:29 am


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Re: Buddhist Qi Gong

Postby thecowisflying » Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:54 pm

The Yi Jing Jing and various other Qi Gong manuals attributed to Bodhidharma or the Shaolin Monastery are mostly later developments and often times not even Buddhist. The first recorded version of a "Shaolin" Qi Gong book was the Yi Jin Jing that was written in 1624 by a Daoist by the name of 紫凝道人, Zi Ning Daoist.

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Re: Buddhist Qi Gong

Postby Jyotish » Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:49 pm

Perhaps another thread would have been appropriate for this but it looks like I am not yet lower to create new thread. Anyway here we go, I wanted the t thread title to be Health, Tcm and dharma.

TCM based in however little I understand it considers disease to be a result of qi blockage. And it seems like qi is directly connected to emotions in that one with unrestricted emotion does not have qi blockages Thus no health problem of any sort. Not sure how it addresses concerns of old age. When it comes to dharma we very well know many Buddhist masters get sick and I would assume and have faith that they don't have any form of emotional blockages. Even the Buddha himself had back pain. So from a Buddhist perspective then what is wrong with the tcm theory? The tcm looks quite neat too and I wanted to learn things like qigong but what is fundamentally different here in a Buddhist understanding then in terms of its effect on health.


Also another related question is can anyone help explain what is the role of karma in tcm? Does qi blockage has to happen for health problem. In that way somehow karma manifests as that and then manifests to grosser physical problem.

Since we well understand and acknowledge qi, from a dharma perspective are qi and emotions equivalent? Emotions are talked about as energy too and energy is said to be qi.

Sorry I hope this all looks like relevant questions and actually connected.


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