SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
APRIL 2011 PART 2
I read your book "Sukhavati" and was just wondering. It says there that sinners can be reborn in Amitabha Buddha's Sukhavati. I didn't understand what you mean by sinners? So does this mean if a person who has done bad things in this life, he can still be reborn in the Western Paradise in the next life? It sounds too good to be true that a bad person can go to heaven!
— Ahsun, UK
Yes, it is true that due to the great compassion of Amitabha Buddha, even sinners can be reborn in Sukhawati, or the Western Paradise of Eternal Bliss, if they fulfill the conditions as laid down by the Buddha himself.
The three conditions are:
- They must believe in the Western Paradise.
- They must make a vow to be reborn there.
- They must carry out the appropriate practice to be reborn there.
There are a few ways to practice to be reborn in the Western Paradise. The most simple is to recite the name of Amithaba with a one-pointed mind. The Buddha did not specify how many times must one recite his name, but generally aspirants recite three times, nine times or many times. It is advised that aspirants recite many times.
A sinner is one who has committed some moral wrongs, like cheating, raping and killing. How serious must a wrong be to warrant calling the doer a sinner is quite subjective. For example, if one tells a white lie or kills a chicken for food, is he a sinner? Nevertheless, most people would agree that raping innocent women and killing innocent men are sins.
Some people may think that it is unfair sinners can still go to a paradise. A Buddhist master, Nagasena, once answered this question admirably. He said that if you threw a stone into a sea, it would sink. But if you placed a stone or even a huge iron case in a ship, the stone and the case will not sink. The Buddha's compassion is so great that it is like a gigantic ship ferrying aspirants, sinner and innocent people alike, across the sea of suffering to a land of bliss.
Of course a sinner must sincerely repent. This condition is not explicitly stated, but is understood by those who have cosmic wisdom to see it. If he does not repent, the guilt in his heart would make it impossible for him to have a one-pointed mind.
Why is it impossible to have a one-pointed mind if one still feels guilty? That is the natural way of things. To attain a one-pointed mind, the mind must first be cleared, then have only one thought, that of Amitabha Buddha or of the Western Paradise. If a sinner still feels guilty, the thought of guilt will prevent him from attaining a one-pointed mind. First of all he must clear his guilty thought, i.e. he must sincerely repent. Only then he can attain a one-pointed mind.
I noticed that I was waking up and getting up from bed more easily than before, and I was amazed that my overall posture greatly improved -- my shoulders and my chest naturally opened up. I was also feeling energetic.
— Bernardo, Mexico
This is excellent result from you chi kung practice. You will find life a joy.
I do the Small Universe everyday as you told me, and the Big Universe twice a week -- all of them in Wuji Stance. I start with 3 or 5 repetitions of Lifting the Sky, and the whole session takes about 20 minutes (30 if I'm doing the Big Universe).
Most of the times I know qi is flowing to my qihai, sometimes even to my huiyin. A few times I've felt qi doesn't flow past my stomach. Sometimes I don't feel anything.
Sometimes I have tingling sensations at the back of my head or at my baihui. Recently, during standing meditation I had a brief, very fresh sensation down my face to my chest. And just now, while practicing Long Breathing, I intuitively felt a small "moon" at my huiyin and a small "sun" at my baihui.
When I practise Golden Shower now, I can distinctly feel the golden energy entering me through my crown (something I could not feel one year ago!).
You have progressed well in your practice. The various signs you have reported to me confirm your progress. A clear example is your feeling of cosmic shower. Another two good examples are chi flowing to your bai-hui and chi flowing to your hui-ying.
Don't worry about the disappearing of feeling ants crawling on your skin. This ant crawling feeling is at the beginning stage. When you have passed this stage, you may not feel the sensation.
However, you worry too much about details. Remember the three golden rules of practice are don't worry, don't intellectualize and enjoy your practice.
Your unduly worrying could be the main reason why you did not have noticeable results during the Small Universe Course itself. Don't worry, for example, whether you have performed 20 repetitions or 25 repetitions, or whether your fingers or your palm are on your dan tian. Just perform as best as you can, and enjoy the practice.
At the beginning of my Small Universe training, I had two difficulties (or deviations). Sometimes I made the ellipse of the ren and du meridians too long (i.e. my attention went from my qihai down to the height of my knees, instead of to the huiyin).
And a few times the ellipse became a circle at my back (i.e. it was too round and outside my body); but now this only happens rarely, if any.
Also, at first Forceful Small Universe Breathing I felt too mechanical, but I'm starting to enjoy its internal aspects.
Rule 1 is "don't worry". But this does not mean "don't care". So, try to follow the instructions I gave as best as you can.
In the case of the Small Universe, let your chi gently sinks from your qihai to your huiyin, not to your knees. But if your chi actually sinks to your knees even when you think of it sinking to your huiyin, don't worry about it.
In the Big Universe, enjoy the practice, the internal as well as the external aspects. This is Rule 3. But if you feel your breathing is mechanical, even when you try to enjoy it, don't worry.
What will happen if your breathing is mechanical? Don't intellectualize while you are practicing. Just enjoy the practice. But for your curiosity, and after your practice session, I can give you an answer. You will not get as much benefit as you would had your breathing be natural, but you still get a lot of benefit despite this.
Suppose my practice is 3-3-30-3-3, where the focus is on Long Breathing. After finishing Gentle Small Universe Breathing I drop my hands to the sides, gently think of my dantian (qihai) and visualize and enjoy the Small Universal flow from there for a few moments.
Then I gently think of my baihui and visualize a golden sun there, enjoying the light it radiates to my whole body, while not thinking of anything. Then I gently think of my dantian (qihai) again, rub my palms together and finish off the practice as usual. Is this procedure correct? Am I adding any steps?
It is correct, and good. Don't worry, don"t intellectualize, just enjoy your practice.
Could you repeat the instructions for the Transcendental Big Universe, please? I seem to recall that you said something about the "blessing of God" and/or "Golden Shower", but I am not sure. What I do recall is: activate Small Universe, keep pressing and releasing dantian but without worrying about breathing, don't think of anything, drop hands to the sides, see dantian radiating and expanding, merge with the Cosmos... Am I adding or missing any "steps"?
Your training procedure for the Transcendental Big Universe is very good. Carry on.
"Blessing of God" and "Golden Shower" are benefits of Transcendental Big Universe, not its training procedure.
In other words, when carrying out the training procedure of Transcendental Big Universe, you don't have to think of blessing of God or golden shower. Basically you just press and release your dan tian without thinking of anything.
As a result of your training procedure, you may experience the blessings of God or golden shower, or you may not. You may have other experiences like feeling tremendous freedom or that you don't have a physical body. You may not have any special experience. Whatsoever, don't worry, don't intellectualize, just enjoy your practice.
For example, you don't worry why you do not experience the blessings of God. You also don't intellectualize why you don't experience the blessings of God. You just enjoy the practice, whatsoever the experience or lack of it.
However, if you wish to feel the blessings of God, golden shower or any beneficial experience, you may if you wish gently think of the blessings of God, golden shower or whatever experience you wish. The though must be gentle; it must never be forced. First it is just a gentle thought. Then you may have the actual experience. This is the magic process of thought leading to experience. But if the experience does not happen despite your gentle thought, it doesn't matter.
What is the difference between this and Dan Tian Breathing (besides having the Small Universe flow going on)?
Dan Tian Breathing is the technique, whereas Transcendental Big Universe is the benefit. Sometimes we may also refer to Transcendental Big Universe as the skill or as the result.
In other words, you employ the technique of Dan Tian Breathing. As a result of correct practice, you get the benefit of Transcendental Big Universe.
The technique of Dan Tian Breathing may, in different situations, bring different results. You may, for example, use Dan Tian Breathing to develop a lot of internal force. Or you may use Dan Tian Breathing just to relax.
On the other hand, you can attain the result or benefit of Transcendental Big Universe using other techiques. You may, for example, use Abdominal Breathing. Or you may use Sitting Meditation.
Let us take a more common, lower-level example. Lifting the Sky is a technique. Generating energy flow is a skill, result or benefit. If you want the benefit of generating energy flow, you may obtain it by using the technique of Lifting the Sky. You may also get similar benefit by using other techniques like Carrying the Moon or Grasping Sparrow's Tail.
On the other hand, Lifting the Sky can bring benefits other than generating energy flow. You may, for example, develop good posture by practicing Lifting the Sky. Or you may attain a one-pointed mind.
Knowing the difference between techniques and benefits is very important. Many people practice chi kung techniques for many years with little or no benefits because they do not realize this difference. They may, for example, practice Lifting the Sky or Dan Tain Breathing for years, but they do not enjoy the benefit of energy flow or Transcendental Big Universe. Despite many years of dedicated practice, they remain sick and weak, dull and depressed.
I seem to remember that at a regional Dan Tian Breathing Course on the Blue Mountain you taught that the "centre" of the palm should be over the dantian. From the DVD it looks as if your knuckles, and not the centre of your palm, are on the central line of your body. How should it be done? Is it important?
It is not very important whether the centre of your palms or your fingers are on your dan tian. Don't worry over unnecessary details.
Would it be alright to activate the Small Universe flow at the start of any qigong practice? Is it beneficial? Is it advisable?
Just follow the instructions of the exercise as best as you comfortably can, and again don't worry over unnecessary details.
With a few rare exceptions in some advanced exercises, activating the Small Universe is not part of the instructions. So you need not, and should not, add this to the exercise.
However, if your Small Universe activates by itself, which it often does once you have attained its break-through, let it be. It is usually beneficial.
- Getting the Best Bebefuts from your Training
- Experiencing Satori at the Blue Mountain
- Miscellaneous Techniques of Tiger-Crane Set
- Entering Tao
- Openning the Heart to Cosmic Energy