Astus wrote:Let's add that that kind of Rinzai Zen technique started with Hakuin and used to strengthen the body to avoid illness generated by extensive asceticism. It does not lead to realising the nature of mind, nor is it used in any other Zen school outside of Hakuin's followers. There are of course others who do different forms of yoga, qigong, etc., but again, not for liberation itself but as supportive methods to maintain health. As such, they are not much different from a healthy diet and proper clothing.
Hakuin, actually, states clearly that such methods lead to enlightenment.
There are a number of practices specific to the Rinzai school, of course (and manuals do exist for them, I have three of these within arm's reach as I write). But I have been made aware that Soto practitioners have their own things handed down as well. The various teaching lines transmit a great deal of things not shared publicly.
As to the use of martial arts which was mentioned I have no knowledge of Chinese traditions. But in our line, four forms from the Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage Ryu (a koryu school of swordsmanship) are taken as a practice. Utilizing a particular breathing method and an energetic usage which is visualized to accord with the seasons, their purpose is not exercise or health at all. It is "To cut off all habits you have acquired since the day you were born and return to your original nature." In other words, they are methods to dissolve jikke, remove obstructions and embody realization.
This reminds me that even the late Sheng-yen's "Eight-Form Moving Meditation", which looks to me like a type of qigong, is prescribed not only for health benefits but as a method for integrating Ch'an: "By practicing the Eight Forms, you will always be composed and at ease, and at every moment enjoy the bliss of meditation and the joy of the Dharma."
In any case, it seems safe at least to say that there are some non-tantric Mahayana traditions that cultivate using body methods. Or perhaps more accurately, that practice using mind-body-energy in unity (shin ki roku itchi), which is what we're really talking about.