Are there secrets in qigong training and other internal skills? Yes and no. Altruistic love certainly seems to be under-emphasized in the market talk about qigong and its benefits. The bedrock of civilized culture is in the love for others, but somehow our day and age seems to promote it less and less in favor of erotic infatuation and other base desires. Where is the love? Even in the qigong market we in a similar fashion see abundant proposals of gaining vitality and health, but love is left in the side show. Yet love moistens and makes everything more enjoyable. In the context of internal cultivation, love opens the heart and frees the spirit to reach outside of limited self-concern.
You may have seen various self-help books and New Age themed commercial ventures that propose rational sounding niche solutions and even pitch credulous miracle cures to mankind's suffering crises like traumas and chronic health problems. Could it be that the real secret behind these rationalizations and the so-called placebo effect found in the Western medicine is that these make a valid connection of receiving care and attention, therefore unwittingly giving people a sense of unconditional love?
The most important thing a real traditional internal arts teacher can impart anyone is how to integrate altruistic love (or some working aspect of it) into one's daily life because strengthening unselfish love can only benefit in the long-term. Teaching calmness and emotional regulation are also important as they can be seen as specifically cultivated aspects of how love pacifies the mind's turbulence. On the solid foundation of inner peace and happiness, we then engage in the practice of qigong, internal kungfu, and higher meditation. This is why you should look into and listen well when teachers teach about altruistic love.
Teachings about love are often shaped up in casual talk outside of formal practice sessions, but some practices incorporate love directly. All Mahayana Buddhist training begins, consists of, and ends with the development of altruistic love (bodhicitta). Sleeping Qigong has at least two of its preliminary practices focused on cultivating childlike joy or opening the heart center on top of its virtuous instructions to do good daily, and Sifu John Dolic relentlessly talks in face-to-face meetings that love and forgiveness is all that we need and that we don't actually even need qigong for the benefits! Sifu Terry Dunn has publicly written that his Flying Phoenix Qigong doesn't work for people who have evil hearts and has also quoted Mencius in a number of occasions: "Do not seek in your vitality (your health/longevity practices) what you do not find in your heart." Therefore everyone should understand that gaining achievements in esoteric and advanced styles of qigong may very well depend on how deeply we accomplish in altruistic love.
Healing and keeping up health are the most sought after things in qigong practice. A lack of love can be an obstacle to this, which is a serious consideration people might not be aware. If the mind is contaminated by habitual judgments about oneself or others, often criticizing or accusing others, or easily angry or spiteful, then these indicate that real love is either being suppressed by a trauma or just neglected in the absence of living and credible examples of how wondeful and easy love truly is. In the terms of qigong culture, it's often remarked that negative emotions distort and injure vital energy, thus blocking inner progress or even ruining the already established welfare. True love will eschew harm and the intent to give any type of harm, so it's a powerful shield and antidote to getting sick also.
My wish is that everyone hoping for healing and welfare understands that love is the main ingredient that you should neither neglect nor overlook: A strong foundation in love requires a serious dedication into discovering about love and embodying it. Love gives meaning to life, but qigong and other internal practice can help life to have more vitality and power to work for good acts. Take love with you as you practice your qigong, kungfu, or meditation!
Read more about Emotions in Health Preservation and Internal Training here:
Emotions in Health Preservation and Internal Training The meaning and importance of emotional regulation in preserving good health and being a competent internal training practitioner. Maybe we should have more discussion around that topic? There are a few ways to formulate the seven emotions...
Thulsa Doom: "Look at the strength of your body, the desire in your heart. I gave you this!"
For those of gentle, childish, and uncultivated attitudes, please read the article as satire as not to hurt your precious egos.
We have discussed having qualified and unqualified teachers, but I think the titles such as good and bad are relative as far teachers go and more examination is warranted. Therefore we focus on learning and wisdom. These are realized through admission of personal responsibility and mistakes instead of cherishing victimhood. Most importantly, everybody survived their questionable teacher experiences and continues to enjoy a good life, so we have a lot to be thankful for.
It's easy to dismiss another person as bad when they severely displease us, but I think the case of abusive teachers isn't just that they have been entirely horrible to us. After all, the disappointment and the branding of another as bad, abusive, or predatory comes only after a prolonged interaction where our good will and hopes had been raised, met, and crushed many times. None of us probably thought some good moments as entirely bad, right? However, what gave rise to the good will and hope? This was because each and every person allowed the abusive teacher to cherish one's own ego and self-pleasing habits, and it gave rose to the thought that we were special darlings. From the very go, this was the very worst abuse that anybody can receive: flattery and creating expectations of forthcoming happy times. Why wouldn't any street wise person think of odd that another person flatter's him or tries to soothe him like a baby is comforted by cooing? Seeking transient self-cherishing comfort and giving positive regard to it can be a real peril, so this is a good thing to learn. Teachers who show this are true treasures.
We first did the real abuse to ourselves for cultivating a want of positive appraisal from others. The "bad" teacher only affirmed with our tacit approval that we were immature and putting ourselves at risk. The second abuse was our clinging thought that the bad moments and mistreatment are only temporary and happiness will triumph in the end. Clinging to hope is another egoistic way of trying to keep up the facade of self-cherishing. The teacher has been most kind to try show repeatedly that how stubbornly self-interested and clingy we are.
This is how the typical abuse happens, whether domestic or otherwise. I think this a very common mistake that everyone does in one way or another.
Onto more personal thoughts that might not be as universal:
What makes teacher's actions wrathful? Even friendly and considerate words and actions can be wrathful if they wound the ego, the self-cherishing though. I remember one occasion that a teacher of mine very politely refused my request for further explanations, and it later triggered a bout of proud anger. It crossed my thought only later that the teacher was most kind for displaying a wrathful action to make me feel so humiliated for so little. The purpose was expertly accomplished: I understood that everything a good teacher does is to dismantle the self-cherishing, childish, and egoistic thinking which actually are severe poisons that I have kept as cherished habits. From now on I must be especially thankful for the teacher for showing what a fool I was and crushing the self-centered thinking.
One time I met a teacher with whom I had discoursed online and who had given me a positive impression. On that very moment and on each time I met him, I felt some uncomfortable sensation in my stomach. I never brought it up or questioned myself. Later it turned out that the teacher had a very poor unwarranted view of me. This kind teacher therefore showed me to trust and rely on my gut instinct on making and keeping personal connections.
A teacher habitually showed disrespectful attitude aimed at other teachers and teachings. I accepted the behavior and the rationalizations because the person was my teacher, then I also rationalized to some people that this was a superior teaching that it was alright. Later on, I privately realized that the teacher was showing this side in order to inform everybody how ridiculous if not outright clownish narcissistic and self-cherishing attitudes actually are. I give my teacher the respect and accept the responsibility that I wasn't discerning well enough about pride and self-satisfaction in my own conduct which are all the true sources of embarrassment I could ever have.
The most precious thing that some teachers had for me was they talked about the Buddha Dharma. I had read and maybe even heard of the Buddha's words to examine everything like goldsmith examines gold, but I wasn't understanding. Therefore, I had many misconceptions that resulted in a lot of confusion and suffering. These people, even if they brought up made up and warped explanations of the holy words of Shakyamuni Buddha, inspired me to follow Dharma and become a better person thus. For this, I must be grateful for them for letting me find the preciousness of Dharma from authentic teachers and to sharpen my wit against deluded thinking.
I might add more later, but everybody is free to praise their awful teacher experiences and how they were very educational. No bashing of others allowed!
Caution Against Fragmented Teachings and Incomplete Training
All the proper spiritual traditions originating with realized masters have been given out as complete paths of their respective philosophies and aims, and the fruits of practice are validated through successive generations of disciples in the lineage. The human condition makes obstacles to this because people may instead want to experiment and self-initiate, and be crafty and clever by only picking out their favorite bits for comfort and self-indulgence. All these sidepaths result in corruption. Times of persecution and social upheavals are another variable that may lead to loss in transmission when there is no proper time to teach everything necessary and drill the necessary discipline to the lineage students. Those who muse themselves as serious practitioners should be especially wary of their own tendencies to shop for teachings and of trying to piece complete curricula by themselves. The right way is to connect with a lineage that after throughout examination inspires complete trust and then commit to the lineage's vision and guidance. If enthusiastic practitioners or would-be-teachers concoct new practices in hopes to cover as much ground as the classic attainments speak of, then who knows what is the result? Whether these motives are plainly fraudulent or not is one matter, but even in the case of good willing ignorance there is little guarantee that the resulting pathwork practices are entirely free of harmful contradictions that could obstruct vitality and the growth in wisdom.
People may look at the outward forms of practice as the primary engagement, but the actual inner training is much more subtle and demanding. Teachings that originate from world renouncing traditions impose constant groundwork by keeping regulated lifestyles, ethical vows, and sometimes even strictures for monastics. Keeping these disciplines has transformative power. Dropping or diluting these is the most usual sign of teachings losing their very essence and their capability to accomplish anything worthwhile. Then suppose that there exist hundreds of different step-by-step systems of teaching how to transform the energy-body using a unique logic as in, for example, how internal martial arts use energy in martial ways for many types of explosive power, fajin, in contrast to qigong healers developing a delicate energy projection skill, faqi. What guarantee could there be that such intricate systems can handle altering the procedure or mixing with other methods and still function without harmful side effects?
Both Daoist Longmenpai sect and Buddhist Shaolin sect are prime examples of sprawling Chinese internal arts traditions, and they suffered massive persecution during the Chinese Communist Party's purges and cultural revolution. It's difficult to ascertain how much was lost in terms of teachings, but the biggest loss was in the dedicated people who could carry on the authentic spirit and discpline, regardless of the teaching. Daoist schools typically divide into subsects that have varying approaches to shared philosophical teachings, and the variety in Daoist training reflects this variance in philosophy and explanations. The Longmenpai sect's decline has left behind a lot of fragments and some of them have been repurposed into modestly holistic health practices. The same could be said of family inherited variants of Shaolin Kungfu. So far so good, and what's the harm in promoting a little inner peace and health, or even martial skill? What I have witnessed is that these practices can easily become appropriated or are treated as if they were the complete deal, and the results are dire: Greedy promises that inspire spiritual training and pay lip service to better health and spiritual experiences, but results fall short of healing and may encourage borderline religious cult mentality for believing to hold onto something really special.
Of topical concern are those marketed practices that promise the attainment of late beginner stage Daoist internal alchemy accomplishments such as Microcosmic Orbit (MCO) and Lower Dantian activation (LDT). There is much theory and speak about how these could be attained in different grades and what are their respective consequences, but the central issue really is that people get into mystified speculation and overblown market speech instead of practicing under trustworthy teachers in good lineages where they would receive the correct information they need to have. So, taking teachings out of context and believing that everything on your own curriculum is readily interchangeable with other practice paths isn't wise, and in fact bodes ill. Many modern people fail to understand the need for complete lineage teachings and having commitment. As these concerns are very rarely explicitly stated and specifically stressed as far as the over-saturated market square noise goes, I don't believe many seekers would initially be aware of the hazards.
The purpose of the Public Square is to house discussion about specific teachers and teachings which aren't invited by us. The unregistered viewers are ironically left out and can't view any of it. This accords with the forum policy that we don't give free airtime to teachers and teachings that haven't been properly reviewed by us.
Please also see this other thread which exactly outlines how we are supposed to discuss qualified teachers and teachings:
How to Discuss Teachers and Teachings Properly First, let's consider some questions related to this topic. Please review these after you have read the article and examine if your perception or attitude has changed. Am I motivated to understand better? If not, then what makes me a student? Do I...
The seed content is selected and curated from The Scamgong Bulletin, so it's often going to appear as very critical in tone and occasionally poking fun at obviously deranged and strangely behaving individuals. This is justifiable because a healthy discussion culture must allow to point out what obviously isn't working and is guaranteed to make people lose their precious health and money. Furthermore, we will rigorously defend our policy to call out bad (read: unqualified) kungfu in public demonstrations even if it may make someone look bad. All things within limit and due respect, however.
We continue to accept feedback to improve the user experience and we hope that the new forum branch most of all serves as a friendly hub to discuss all teachers and their teachings.