Zen schools that involve qigong?

Zen schools that involve qigong?

Postby /johnny\ » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:37 am

I learned a lot of shaolin stuff that combines qigong and buddhism. are there any others?
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Re: Zen schools that involve qigong?

Postby Astus » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:41 am

I think you can find quite easily a Chinese monk who also knows qigong. But that doesn't mean Buddhism or specifically Zen/Chan is connected to it in doctrine or praxis. You can find Western Zen teachers who are also psychotherapists or engineers, but neither of those professions are Buddhist methods.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Zen schools that involve qigong?

Postby seeker242 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:36 pm

I have never heard of any zen school that formally involves qigong specifically. However, I'm sure many zen teacher and practitioners would consider it a very "zen like" activity and beneficial practice.
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Re: Zen schools that involve qigong?

Postby /johnny\ » Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:31 pm

Astus wrote:I think you can find quite easily a Chinese monk who also knows qigong. But that doesn't mean Buddhism or specifically Zen/Chan is connected to it in doctrine or praxis. You can find Western Zen teachers who are also psychotherapists or engineers, but neither of those professions are Buddhist methods.



well shaolin for one considers it's versions of qigong too be part of their buddhist practice. they consider even their martial arts as well too be "moving chan". they don't separate it into "these monks know qigong. these monks do not. we let the monks that happen too know it teach it too others who want too learn it and if no monks join who know it and no one wants too learn it, then it will not be taught unless those conditions change. we only teach qigong on the chance coincidence that a chan monk also happens too know qigong and feels like teaching it upon request." it is part of their school, they specifically teach it too students alongside chan. i never said it had too be connected in doctrine or praxis. but one could easily make a case that they do infer that it is part of the doctrine of chan, even if it's not literally stated.

so i imagine over the 1400 years or so of chan history, encompassing hundreds of different schools, the odds of them being the only school who feels this way is quite small.

i'm sure many schools practice qigong specifically as part of their buddhist practice. not necessarily "buddhist qigong" but it is integrated into their system, as opposed too one monk who happens too know qigong and is also a buddhist. each monk would be trained in chan and qigong as part of the training in the school.

whether the methods are claimed too be "buddhist" or not, i'm asking about chan or zen schools that teach qigong as part of their curriculum.

im not sure where this thing comes from that "taoist arts and chan are totally separate in every way and always have been." in my research there are a lot of blurry lines and grey areas. even if no chan school ever specifically said "such and such taoist art is buddhist" (even though this undoubtedly has happened, but i have never seen a reference too such) they certainly practiced and taught them and much of chan literature and attitude is clearly influenced by taoism. and much more than just a monk who happens too be an engineer and tells students how too build things if they ask. many schools clearly integrated taoist arts, or at the very least, taoist attitude and language, into their curriculum. many early chan buddhists were taoist converts, so how could this not be the case?
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Re: Zen schools that involve qigong?

Postby Meido » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:17 pm

I can think of examples of teaching lines that transmit and/or have integrated such practices. For example, the late Sheng-yen developed an eight-form "moving meditation" that uses movements found in qigong:

http://chancenter.org/cmc/chan-practice ... editation/

This method is not described, I think, using the language of qigong theory. But I have heard him discuss qi at retreats and offer methods for counteracting energetic problems.

In Japanese Rinzai Zen, practices working with energetics are foundational though I have never heard the word qigong (or its Japanese equivalent) used. The method of breathing used right from the beginning in zazen involves a trained use of the diaphragm and pelvic floor to retain energy in the navel center (tanden). This breathing is eventually extended to all one's activities, though in a more subtle manner. Hakuin's naikan no ho and nanso no ho exercises are also widely transmitted, in my experience with greater detail than is found openly recorded in his writings. One of the ways in which a student may be brought to initial recognition of the true nature is purely energetic....assuming, of course, that the ba ("field") and kiai (vibration, energy) manifesting as a result of the teacher's cultivation and realization are sufficient, and that the student's obstructions are not too great for that method to work.

There are many other examples. Our particular line's curriculum of energetic practices is these days referred to in English by the general term "internal training". If you're interested to read about it you can check out the link in my signature. Of the methods described there, tanden kokyuho, naikan no ho, nanso no ho, and some aspects of hara tanren including training of kiai/katsu, would be found in many Rinzai lines. The others described there (Hojo kata, etc.) would be things integrated within the past few generations, largely arising from the fact that prominent recent teachers of the line happened to also be practitioners of classical martial arts.

If you'd like some interesting glimpses into how energetic cultivation was understood and expressed during the Kamakura period when Chinese masters were transmitting to Japan, pick up Leggett's "The Warrior Koans: Early Zen in Japan". Hakuin's writings (Orategama, Yasen Kanna) may be found online, and in these he describes his practices in terms of 5-elements theory.

In any case, as you know there are often great variations in methods handed down across various Ch'an/Zen lines...so you never know what you might turn up if you visit places and ask the right questions. If I'm not mistaken "qigong" is also a relatively modern term. So it could be that these things exist under other names depending on where you go.

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Re: Zen schools that involve qigong?

Postby /johnny\ » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:21 pm

Meido wrote:I can think of examples of teaching lines that transmit and/or have integrated such practices. For example, the late Sheng-yen developed an eight-form "moving meditation" that uses movements found in qigong:

http://chancenter.org/cmc/chan-practice ... editation/

This method is not described, I think, using the language of qigong theory. But I have heard him discuss qi at retreats and offer methods for counteracting energetic problems.

In Japanese Rinzai Zen, practices working with energetics are foundational though I have never heard the word qigong (or its Japanese equivalent) used. The method of breathing used right from the beginning in zazen involves a trained use of the diaphragm and pelvic floor to retain energy in the navel center (tanden). This breathing is eventually extended to all one's activities, though in a more subtle manner. Hakuin's naikan no ho and nanso no ho exercises are also widely transmitted, in my experience with greater detail than is found openly recorded in his writings. One of the ways in which a student may be brought to initial recognition of the true nature is purely energetic....assuming, of course, that the ba ("field") and kiai (vibration, energy) manifesting as a result of the teacher's cultivation and realization are sufficient, and that the student's obstructions are not too great for that method to work.

There are many other examples. Our particular line's curriculum of energetic practices is these days referred to in English by the general term "internal training". If you're interested to read about it you can check out the link in my signature. Of the methods described there, tanden kokyuho, naikan no ho, nanso no ho, and some aspects of hara tanren including training of kiai/katsu, would be found in many Rinzai lines. The others described there (Hojo kata, etc.) would be things integrated within the past few generations, largely arising from the fact that prominent recent teachers of the line happened to also be practitioners of classical martial arts.

In any case, as you know there are often great variations in methods handed down across various lines...so you never know what you might turn up if you visit places and ask the right questions. And if I'm not mistaken "qigong" is also a relatively modern term. So it could be that these things exist under other names depending on where you go.

~ Meido


perfect example, sheng yen taught qigong, or something nearly identical. i have seen the instructional video on it.

oh yeah, and hakuin talks about using qigong too in "wild ivy". he calls it "ki" (equivalent of chinese "qi") and talks about drawing the mind into the lower body (equivalent of chinese dan tien). and i think many other rinzai zen schools integrated it into their practice as well.
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Re: Zen schools that involve qigong?

Postby Meido » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:31 pm

Just edited my last post to add a few text recommendations, if you're interested. You beat me to the punch.

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Re: Zen schools that involve qigong?

Postby /johnny\ » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:10 pm

Meido wrote:Just edited my last post to add a few text recommendations, if you're interested. You beat me to the punch.

~ Meido


thanks!
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Re: Zen schools that involve qigong?

Postby Meido » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:28 pm

You're very welcome, sir.

Rereading the thread with edits, I should mention that my post should not be read to affirm opinions regarding "Taoist" influence on Ch'an/Zen. That is another topic entirely (and we've both participated in a recent thread about it). I remain unconvinced by many such arguments.

In any case, in the Rinzai practices I described there is no attribution to non-Buddhist origins that I am aware of (other than Hakuin's literary creation of the hermit Hakuyu)...and I have not yet seen evidence that there should be.

Best,

~ Meido
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Re: Zen schools that involve qigong?

Postby Astus » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:33 pm

The majority of Zen teachings is written in Chinese language. Does that mean Zen involves Chinese? No, Zen is not connected to the language that is used as its medium, and the language itself does not become Zen just because it is used to convey Zen teachings.

As for the concept of "Zen school", it is not an easy one to define. Traditionally speaking, there are only two schools of Zen since the Song dynasty, and that is the Linji and the Caodong. However, they exist in theory only.

So, if we changed the question, asking if there are Buddhist monastic/lay communities in East Asia where they practise qigong/gongfu/etc., the answer can be easily yes. And regarding their specific views on Buddhist doctrine and praxis one can find a large variety, while at the same time they all do qigong or other forms of body training. In fact, we can just say that there are often some form of body training involved, since even in qigong there are different styles.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Zen schools that involve qigong?

Postby /johnny\ » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:03 pm

Astus wrote:The majority of Zen teachings is written in Chinese language. Does that mean Zen involves Chinese? No, Zen is not connected to the language that is used as its medium, and the language itself does not become Zen just because it is used to convey Zen teachings.

As for the concept of "Zen school", it is not an easy one to define. Traditionally speaking, there are only two schools of Zen since the Song dynasty, and that is the Linji and the Caodong. However, they exist in theory only.

So, if we changed the question, asking if there are Buddhist monastic/lay communities in East Asia where they practise qigong/gongfu/etc., the answer can be easily yes. And regarding their specific views on Buddhist doctrine and praxis one can find a large variety, while at the same time they all do qigong or other forms of body training. In fact, we can just say that there are often some form of body training involved, since even in qigong there are different styles.



that's basically what i asked. but it doesn't really matter. are there zen schools that "involve" qigong? that's all i wanted too know, and the answer is yes. i didn't ask or imply that there were schools that completely changed buddhism too be taoist in some way and involved qigong in this activity.

you are adamantly opposed too the idea that zen is taoist in any way. that's fine, i'm not saying that it is, nor was i in the op. all i'm saying is some zen schools practice qigong. i have no stake in the debate either way, i'm a theravada practitioner and i only study zen as a hobby and borrow a concept or two here and there.

there are books written about taoist influence on zen. are there many on refuting this idea? i'm not being sarcastic or anything, i'm legitimately curious.

perhaps this should move too a thread about specifically this. but i'm curious too know:

what would happen for you personally if the following happens next month:

scientists find bodhidharma's skeleton (preserved by some luck and natural forces or something such as being encased in amber somehow or whatever, we're pretending so who cares) and carbon dated it too find it definitely came from the right time period, and then found a little stone tablet with him that specifically says: "when i came too china, i integrated some taoist ideas into my teachings" and on the back of the tablet is a map.

they carbon date the stone and it's from the same period, and then they follow the map and find a cave where bodhidharma stored his writings in great detail, all of these carbon date perfectly as well and they talk about his history and teaching methods and how he involved taoist ideas in his teachings and these things are unanimously agreed upon by scientists, archaeologists and historians and there is corroborative evidence that it is definitely his writings. and this leads too discovering his family lineage in india and there they find records of who he was and his departure date for india and so on, thus totally confirming that bodhidharma did in fact come from india, establish chan, and that there are taoist elements in it put there by it's very founder.

obviously this little story is totally ridiculous, but if it were some how true, it would mean that there is taoism in zen. what would this mean for you?

side note:
i'm only asking because you came too this thread about zen schools that involve qigong and attempted too inform me that there are no zen schools that use qigong any more than simply chan monks that also know qigong. similar too a chan practitioner who is also an engineer. then you dodged my reply that there are schools that practice both (shaolin as a prime example) and turn it into a new thing about defining zen and the existence of the caodong and linji schools, instead of answering whether or not i could be right that somewhere in the last 1400 years there could have been zen schools that teach qigong as part of their curriculum. and then you went on further about how just because the chinese language is used in zen literature, does that make chinese zen? and so on. when that's nothing too do with this post really. so clearly you feel very strongly about it if you feel you need too inform people that zen is not taoist just because they mentioned zen practitioners and qigong together. so it's clearly very important too you and i'm trying too figure out why. and i'm talking with you about it just for fun and curiousity. again, i have no stake in either side of the debate, but i'm guessing i will not be able too talk about chan and taoism in the same post without hearing from you so i would like too know what's going on inside your head. i hope it's clear i have no ill intention or anger about the issue, just curiosity and interest from a side lines kind of perspective. :heart: :smile:
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Re: Zen schools that involve qigong?

Postby Meido » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:30 pm

/johnny\ wrote:obviously this little story is totally ridiculous, but if it were some how true, it would mean that there is taoism in zen. what would this mean for you?


A recent thread on this topic is very useful, I think. Take a look if you like: viewtopic.php?f=69&t=8355&start=0&hilit=taoism+zen

Huifeng's post in particular:
In general, the influence of the Lao-Zhuang* teachings on Buddhism in China was not that deep. It hit a few earlier Buddhist exegetes rather heavily, but it was largely shaken off in later generations.

However, the influence of Buddhism on Daojia* was much, much heavier. For example, even during the Tang when the ruling Li family supported Daojia as their personal and state religion, Buddhism was still more popular and more powerful. The Daojia group rather shamelessly copied Buddhist scriptures just changing key words and so forth, while the whole approach and structure remained the same. (eg. Laozi hua Hu jing "Classic of Laozi converting the Barbarians".)

For example, despite claiming the Daojia influence on Chan, one cannot find a single reference by an classic Chan teacher to common phrases from, say, the Laozi or Zhuangzi. References to Buddhist scriptures, however, abound everywhere.

The term "Shikantaza" is from Dogen's Soto Zen school in Japan. This derives from the Chan Caodong school, but Chan doesn't really use the phrase itself. Moreover, it is partly from the Japanese Tendai (Ch: Tiantai) school that influenced Dogen before he went Zen. The influence is obvious.

Daojia "qigong" is quite a later invention. Buddhism had forms of breath meditation right from it's earliest times in India (ie. anapana, etc.) These forms became standard in Chinese Buddhist meditation systems, including Tiantai and Chan in particular. So, the roots can be found elsewhere.

* I use the Chinese terms Lao-Zhuang and Daojia, rather than the confusing English neologism "Taoism" or "Daoism". Laozi and Zhuangzi were only adopted as the founders of Daojia at a rather later date, partly influenced by Buddhism having a clear founder. The term "Dao" is a pan-Chinese culture term, and not confined to any given philosophy or school of thought. But, in the Tang, the Daojia brought in Lao-Zhuang thought, trying to formalize and systematize things in the light of every increasing Buddhist presence and influence.


Since you asked what it would mean to us if your story were to come true: I personally find the whole question completely irrelevant since the experiential results of Ch'an/Zen practice methods are not lacking. So it doesn't particularly matter to me what may have influenced the streams of their transmission. There's no real Buddhist or Taoist agenda among practitioners...just an interest in what leads to liberation. This is not to denigrate those with a historical or other interest in the question, of course.

This is probably veering off into another topic, as you pointed out.

~ Meido
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Re: Zen schools that involve qigong?

Postby /johnny\ » Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:43 pm

Meido wrote:
/johnny\ wrote:obviously this little story is totally ridiculous, but if it were some how true, it would mean that there is taoism in zen. what would this mean for you?


A recent thread on this topic is very useful, I think. Take a look if you like: viewtopic.php?f=69&t=8355&start=0&hilit=taoism+zen

Huifeng's post in particular:
In general, the influence of the Lao-Zhuang* teachings on Buddhism in China was not that deep. It hit a few earlier Buddhist exegetes rather heavily, but it was largely shaken off in later generations.

However, the influence of Buddhism on Daojia* was much, much heavier. For example, even during the Tang when the ruling Li family supported Daojia as their personal and state religion, Buddhism was still more popular and more powerful. The Daojia group rather shamelessly copied Buddhist scriptures just changing key words and so forth, while the whole approach and structure remained the same. (eg. Laozi hua Hu jing "Classic of Laozi converting the Barbarians".)

For example, despite claiming the Daojia influence on Chan, one cannot find a single reference by an classic Chan teacher to common phrases from, say, the Laozi or Zhuangzi. References to Buddhist scriptures, however, abound everywhere.

The term "Shikantaza" is from Dogen's Soto Zen school in Japan. This derives from the Chan Caodong school, but Chan doesn't really use the phrase itself. Moreover, it is partly from the Japanese Tendai (Ch: Tiantai) school that influenced Dogen before he went Zen. The influence is obvious.

Daojia "qigong" is quite a later invention. Buddhism had forms of breath meditation right from it's earliest times in India (ie. anapana, etc.) These forms became standard in Chinese Buddhist meditation systems, including Tiantai and Chan in particular. So, the roots can be found elsewhere.

* I use the Chinese terms Lao-Zhuang and Daojia, rather than the confusing English neologism "Taoism" or "Daoism". Laozi and Zhuangzi were only adopted as the founders of Daojia at a rather later date, partly influenced by Buddhism having a clear founder. The term "Dao" is a pan-Chinese culture term, and not confined to any given philosophy or school of thought. But, in the Tang, the Daojia brought in Lao-Zhuang thought, trying to formalize and systematize things in the light of every increasing Buddhist presence and influence.


Since you asked what it would mean to us if your story were to come true: I personally find the whole question completely irrelevant since the experiential results of Ch'an/Zen practice methods are not lacking. So it doesn't particularly matter to me what may have influenced the streams of their transmission. There's no real Buddhist or Taoist agenda among practitioners...just an interest in what leads to liberation. This is not to denigrate those with a historical or other interest in the question, of course.

This is probably veering off into another topic, as you pointed out.

~ Meido



wouldn't matter too me either. any historical findings that change any aspect of buddhism would not bother me. i have had enough direct experience with the dharma that, regardless of how it got too me, i'm positive it works, 100%. if it turns out the buddha was a space alien and the dharma was all an experiment then sweet! what a cool coincidence that it works so well for us!

it really doesn't matter. many religious traditions rely on historical figures and their existence in order too have any validity. however buddhism works on a psychological level and is practical, with visible results. most of the techniques are agreed upon in the modern medical community too have positive effects. there is no more reason too stop practicing buddhism if you found out it's roots are not what you thought than there would be too stop taking antibiotics when you have an infection if you found out that the guy who invented them actually stole the idea from other doctors. the method works! that's all that's important, it's origins do not matter, as long as it works.
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Re: Zen schools that involve qigong?

Postby Astus » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:35 am

johnny,

All I'm talking about here is the relationship between Chinese forms of body training and Zen Buddhism. I define Zen as a set of doctrines and methods. Taoism and history, I've said nothing about those. Now, when comparing or matching Zen with something else, what I consider are the doctrines and methods taught within the Zen canon. As you have found nothing related to qigong in it, so I say the same that they are not related. We can also consider that actually there are people who practise both Zen and qigong. There is no contradiction.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Zen schools that involve qigong?

Postby /johnny\ » Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:40 pm

Astus wrote:johnny,

All I'm talking about here is the relationship between Chinese forms of body training and Zen Buddhism. I define Zen as a set of doctrines and methods. Taoism and history, I've said nothing about those. Now, when comparing or matching Zen with something else, what I consider are the doctrines and methods taught within the Zen canon. As you have found nothing related to qigong in it, so I say the same that they are not related. We can also consider that actually there are people who practise both Zen and qigong. There is no contradiction.


it's a fun hypothetical. please play along :D :heart:
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