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Thread: Traditional Meditation and Chi Kung

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    Traditional Meditation and Chi Kung

    Hello.

    Is traditional meditation a form of Chi Kung?

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    Andrea is offline Sifu Andrea Zilio - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland
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    It's an interesting question.

    To answer it, it would be good to define what is meant by the term of "meditation". And more specifically what it is you would call "traditional meditation"?
    As there are many forms of meditation as well as many forms of Chi Kung the answer might vary.

    However when I turn the question around "Can Chi Kung be a form of meditation?" then I would definately answer yes, when thinking of our Shaolin Cosmos Qigong.

    A common definition of meditation is "a set of exercises to attain a "heightened level of awareness". Entering a Chi Kung state of mind (also called "entering Zen", "entering Tao") and maintaining it during practice would certainly qualify Chi Kung as mediation under this definition. I would also say that Chi Kung generates "mindfulness" or "a one pointed mind" which is a goal for some forms of mediation. Thus in many instances Chi Kung can be considered a form of mediation as well as a great preparation for more advanced forms of mediation.

    Yet if I use another definition of "meditation" which is more commonly used in traditional Western practices then it means "to mediate on something" = "to contemplate sth" ="think about something deeply". Then our Chi Kung would not qualify as meditation. The same would be true for forms of "guided meditations" which uses imagery to achieve a certain state of mind.


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    Matt F. is offline Sifu Matt Fenton - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peacekeeper View Post
    Hello.

    Is traditional meditation a form of Chi Kung?
    Hello, Peacekeeper

    No, meditation is not chi kung. Though, as Sifu Andrea has pointed out, chi kung can be meditative.

    Chi kung is training of chi. Meditation is training of shen. Physical exercise is training of jing. Because jing, chi, and shen are all parts of a whole, training one does have effect on the others (may be a positive effect, or may be negative), but each training type has a specific focus. With chi kung, the training focus is on chi. Jing and shen will be affected, but those are secondary effects. Meditation is shen-focused training, with effect on chi and jing as secondary. Triple Cultivation is training all three at once, with equal focus on all three aspects at the same time.

    So, while there may be some cross-over of benefit/experience, meditation is not chi kung and chi kung is not meditation. They are different practices with different focuses.

    -Matt

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    Dear Sifu Andrea,

    Thanks for your response. By "traditional meditation" I mean, sitting meditation following your breath, which I think It's called vipassana. Yes, maybe the question was a bit ambiguous because there are plenty of ways to meditate.

    What I wanted to ask is: by doing vipassana meditation is there energy cultivation as well?

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    Hello Peacekeeper,

    Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art Of Living. This non-sectarian technique aims for the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation.

    Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.
    Observing the breath is a common technique in various traditions and, as I understand it, is one part of Vipassanā.

    Strictly speaking, I don't think there is a focus on energy cultivation in Vipassanā. But, cultivation at the mind level will inevitably have an effect on a person at the energy level. For example, a mental blockage can result in an energy blockage, which results in a physical health issue. If the mental blockage is cleared during meditation, the energy and physical blockages would also clear.

    This is what Sifu Matt was talking about when he explained the interconnection of the Three Treasures: Jing (Essence/Physical Energy), Chi (Vital Energy) and Shen (Mind).
    Love, and do what you will.

    - St. Augustine

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peacekeeper View Post
    What I wanted to ask is: by doing vipassana meditation is there energy cultivation as well?
    No.
    George / Юра
    Shaolin Wahnam England

    gate gate pāragate pārasaṁgate bodhi svāhā

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew R View Post
    Strictly speaking, I don't think there is a focus on energy cultivation in Vipassanā. But, cultivation at the mind level will inevitably have an effect on a person at the energy level. For example, a mental blockage can result in an energy blockage, which results in a physical health issue. If the mental blockage is cleared during meditation, the energy and physical blockages would also clear.
    In my experience, most people also trap a lot of energy by suppressing emotions. Any practice that releases those trapped emotions will release energy back into the system.

    I would also say that it does not focus on cultivating the energy and the results will be less.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex McLeod View Post
    In my experience, most people also trap a lot of energy by suppressing emotions. Any practice that releases those trapped emotions will release energy back into the system.
    While this may or may not be the case, I think it is important to make a distinction between arts that cultivate energy and those that have incidental benefits. After all, eating food certainly adds energy but I would not call eating "energy cultivation" (as much a I love food).

    In the case of trapped energy being released I would class that as clearing a blockage (rather than energy cultivation) and an incidental health benefit, as this is not the objective of the Vipassana practice.

    Meditation in particular is a subject that should be approached with caution. While it can be very beneficial it can also be very harmful if the practitioner is not ready for it, or if they practice wrongly, or excessively.
    Last edited by George; 1st January 2018 at 01:11 PM.
    George / Юра
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    gate gate pāragate pārasaṁgate bodhi svāhā

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    The abbot of the temple where I did my Vipassana retreat mentioned something about energy. He would talk about that when a practitioner is ready, he said. I don't know whether the mentioned has something to do with Vipassana or is maybe something completely different.

    As far as I understand focussing on the breath is not Vipassana, but called Anapana. Focussing on the breath trains a one-pointed mind, but does not generate insight. Observing creates insight. Because observing is tiring for the mind it needs to become strong. Anapana is a method to strengthen the mind. During Vipassana meditation when the mind gets tired it naturally switches to focussing on for example the breath and after some time back to observing.

    As Alex said releasing blockages results in a better energy flow. You may or may not release blockages as a result of the meditation. However this is not something you aim for in the practice. The goal is to get insight.

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