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 Post subject: Buddhist Qi Gong
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:03 am 
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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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 Post subject: Re: Buddhist Qi Gong
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:32 am 
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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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 Post subject: Re: Buddhist Qi Gong
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:47 am 
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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?

Quote:
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).

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

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


Yes. "nowadays".

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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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 Post subject: Re: Buddhist Qi Gong
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:57 am 
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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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 Post subject: Re: Buddhist Qi Gong
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:54 am 
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Rakshasa wrote:
Hi Huineng,


It's Huifeng. :smile:

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 Post subject: Re: Buddhist Qi Gong
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:02 pm 
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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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 Post subject: Re: Buddhist Qi Gong
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:56 am 
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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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 Post subject: Re: Buddhist Qi Gong
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:07 am 
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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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 Post subject: Re: Buddhist Qi Gong
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:46 am 
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Quote:
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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 Post subject: Re: Buddhist Qi Gong
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:15 pm 
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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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