Monday, December 17, 2012

Qigong vs Neigong

In chi-related discipline, different people use the same term meaning different things, different people use the different terms meaning the same thing, and worse yet, some people use terms without knowing exactly what they are talking about!  Qigong (氣功) and Neigong (内功) are among these terms that can cause potential confusion.  What is the reason?  The reason lies in the the fact that chi-related processes, like psychological processes, happen inside one's body or privy to one's internal perception.  Worse yet, people can lie on their feelings (love, chi, or others).  And some did.

One way of classification is yin vs. yang.  There is a yin way to practice chi kung and there is a yang way to practice chi king.  When a learned practitioner says he practices qigong (= chi kung), chances are that  he is mostly practicing the yin aspect, whereas when another says he practices neigong, chances are that he is mostly practicing yang aspect.  And assuming that he is a seasoned practitioner, he will practice both the yin and yang side of chi-kung.  My dear reader, if I have not yet frustrated your intellect, please read on....

The mother of chi-kung is embracing a tree zhan zhuang.  As I explained in other posts, in zhan zhuang, the most important requirement is to establish a yang position at a practitioner's extremity, meaning a pair of stretched hands.  To balance this yang position, the body itself should be relaxed and heavy (沉).  Chi will flow.  A good foundation in zhan zhuang can greatly help a practitioner to move further.

The next logical forward step in one's practice is do the yang aspect of chi-kung which for lack of a good term, I shall call it neigong (or neigung).  The principle is like this: With a pair of well connected stretched hands with a relaxed and heavy body, one shall use connected force to forcefully close one's fists, or close them into claws (like Tiger claws of tai-chi 24 styles neigung - the first movement form of the yang series).  This action will forcefully strengthen one's muscles and tendons.  Incidentally similar neigung principle is also used in advanced katas of some external martial arts.  Examples are Tei Xian Chuan of Hung Gar 洪家鉄綫拳  (iron wire fist), or SanChin 三戰 of karate. 

The Yin forward step is more difficult to comprehend for practitioners without previous exposure to Taoist or Buddhist meditation.  The gist of it is to (after establishing a good chi-connection using zhan zhuang) gradually and slowly diminish the stretched-state of one's hands.  In tai-chi lingo, it is a minus-way 減法 of doing tai chi.  Unfortunately, even nowadays, many tai-chi practitioners still didn't realize there exists this minus-way of doing tai-chi form. In the past, it was only reserved for a group of inner circle students.  The hands will be changed to a yin point whereas the chakras or other meditative points of choice will be changed into yang point.  This might sound confusing to a martial artist or muscles-practitioner, but for a Taoist or Buddhist meditation, this way is THE way of doing advanced meditation.  For mind-body health benefits, the yin forward step can facilitate chi to penetrate to the deepest organs as well as to totally shelter our body through chi-filling our skin.  On the latter chi-filled skin practice method, psychologically a practitioner can practice ego protection, and physically he can practice taki-shu-gyou 滝修行 or Tummo yoga. The sky is the limit.

 
Tummo yoga


7 comments:

  1. My dear Friend, you definetely do not know the matter. Try a good master! GrEetings.

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  2. My dear friend, what do you expect me to say, except "thank you for your comment". Cheers!

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  3. I wish there was a way of visually seeing or understanding chi flow in a better way.

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    1. Sincerity is so very important, it literally will uncover the matter you seek. These ancient practices were meant to be undertaken with a patient mind set. Over time patience built up sincerity and discipline it also built up genuine love, all of those attributes were the "visible" signs of the energy or life force in its refined state within and through the self experience. Unfortunately people in today's time think that the energy is something other than "self", it is not. You are the chi literally, this is why true masters would encourage their pupils to pay attention to their minds and hearts, to become more self aware, and in so doing the "chi" would be more so realized and felt as a literal flowing power. In other words the true nature of self became realized as the flow of life as a force that animates the "body-corpse". The body is a vessel that you occupy but what are "you"? You are life, one with God, Creator, Tao, or whatever name you give The "IT". The feeling that chi is flowing through channels within the body and beyond the body is really a play of the perception or the state of your awareness. The mind is also life and its all, the body is the condensed experience of the life, they are all one, but you have access to those various states consciously and so your perception shifts depending on how and where your attention manifests and relates. The reason, or a main reason that standing meditation or zen meditation was so readily recommended by the masters was because it more easily allowed the student to quiet the comparing and labeling, to silence the activities of the body and mind just enough so that the student could have a breakthrough realizing self AS life force, as chi, AS The Tao. Once that realization occurred the practice could be refined into "leading" or guiding that life force or chi, and really what is being led or guided? You the force of life as life and as chi or leading yourself, you become "that", as your training deepens you realize that where you rest or move your awareness builds up or makes your attention into a current of energy. In other words you learn to be still and to move and to be both, you realize you are the energy and the awareness that you are manipulating. The level beyond that is when you enjoy simply being and don't even seek the "doing" because the ego identity has unified with the all that life is, in other words you aren't seeking any confirmation or manifestations that testify your reality. You know that you are "that". God and you are one, you and all people and things simply One. Love is not an emotion but really the union of all that is. Stage by stage your character is refined into the light it really already is, you just finally wake up to that fact that you ARE light, energy, life or whatever you want to call the unfathomable! Keep going!!!

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  4. Whereas our visual sense can assist our olfactory sense, we stilll need our taste buds to be the final judge of a dish. But no worry, our taste buds can be trained, not (simply) by seeing (or thinking) more, but by tasting more.

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  5. The first comment came because your terminology is unique, they couldn't understand the connections. I've been practicing these arts for many years and just within the last year or so have I really appreciated that they were never meant to be explained. The words we are trying to use to convey the actual experience just do not do justice. Qigong vs neigung, inner vs outer, yin vs yang, heaven vs earth, all such comparisons unfortunately keep the gift that self discovery gives obscure. In other words they will have to discover it in order to realize it. "I Am That" is the universal standard that points to self discovery, self knowledge and Tao union or God union, universal consciousness or whatever label we give "it". When I personally stopped trying to describe or explain the experience That is when I had my most profound breakthroughs because I was the experience instead of its witness only. The observer and the observed finally become one consciously. The chi, life force, energy, all the channels etc... are more word ideas that still do not meet the actual encounter that the self must experience. I think from what I've read here that you have had experiences with energy that you cannot explain, and that my friend is a good sign. Some people will mock you because they can't help but compare your explanations to their own explanations and or expectations. However, a genuine student and "master" which are one and the same will realize that you have seen the light that has no definition, no description that can properly testify its majesty. I encourage you and any one reading this to continue in your self discovery, in your self awakening and in your eternal growing. Keep going, and congratulations, be the gift, be the light, be the kingdom's glory, be the life its force and its love. Simply Be.

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  6. Thanks for your kind words and explanations in much detail. Indeed it is all self-discovery, master as student, student as master...you name it...but you CAN'T name it, for goodness sake. Yet, the gist of the matter is not to explain (as an old Chinese saying goes one cannot explain the concept of ice to a worm whose short life does not last a single summer). The need for explanation arising from the need to teach, or better yet, as you said, to show those who are interested to learn the way or route to self discovery. As another old saying goes, look at (seek) the moon instead of arguing about the pointing finger (that's why I didn't argue with the first commenter, not that I didn't like to explain).

    The nature of approaching the WAY (if I may say so) can be first physical then psychological or vice versa. Taoist approach prefers first physical then psychological (spiritual). This, I believe, is the more effective route for most modern men ( i.e. safer and more effective) who are usually not too spiritually inclined to begin with.

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