Buddhist Mindfulness vs Taoist Flow

Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by DT Strain, Oct 31, 2005.

  1. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Hi DT

    The way to reconcile this apparant contradiction as I've come to understand it is to learn to be a human version of a duck. Consider the duck:

    Mindfulness is conscious witnessing from above the water of the active life of the "flow" beneath the water.

    Simone Weil uses the word purity in relation to mindfulness and defines purity as "the power to contemplate defilement." The above witnessing the below.

    It is easy to think that mindfulness negates the automatic flow but when we see that these processes are happening at the same time but on different levels of reality on a vertical scale of being, there is no contradiction.

    The duck's head is analogous to mindfulness and the feet paddeling like hell is the automatic "flow."
     
  2. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercur├Žn Buddhist

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    Hi, TK.
    My Sen-Sei talked about being mindful of your opponents transmitting their moves, but said that our body instinctively knows how to do this. (He said that too much theory will cause you to interfere with your ability to do it--the centepede syndrome.)
     
  3. TheKhan

    TheKhan All Natural

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    Hi SG,

    I`m wondering about a breathing technique that I just can`t figure out on my own with regards to martial arts. There`s no information that I can understand thats out there, besides I heard it was dangerous without supervision but I wanna know.

    I`ve heard rumors, and Karate is straight forward enough for me, but this J superhuman strength technique seems to be something like magic according to rumors I heard. This martial art is one of the cream of the crop of J martial arts, fyi. Its foundations I read are based on spiritual breathing practices.

    Why it relates to tao is it has systems of diagrams of 5 sides geometry and 8 sided geometry, similar to that of what I`ve seen with a Chinese imperial guard martial art. The J martial artists talk as if chi is normal like everyday life and I have no idea, wish I could understand, but I probably won`t be able to without instructions, like what happened with Salsa dancing..

    I actually don`t have to look at a person directly to know what they will do in confrontation, its all instincts when put on the spot, but according to the noted text, against a master apparently its important to look at their foreheads and feel their feet to prevent from being manipulated, thats a buddhist meditation technique right?? which I couldn`t do btw. (thinking about trying that in Salsa dancing soon, maybe I`ll get somewhere with the girls who are better dancers than me.. LOL).


    TK

    p.s. I had no idea that breathing and the heart are inter-related, although makes a lot of sense.
     
  4. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercur├Žn Buddhist

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    Google Book
     
  5. TheKhan

    TheKhan All Natural

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    Looks very interesting. Thanks.

    TK
     
  6. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    Physical exercise for Chinese monks was introduced in the 3rd century in the form of Shao Lin in an effort to improve and maintain the monks' health. They were not intended to be part of any kind of military arts. Shao Lin was developed by a Buddhist from India, master To Mo. That was in the 3rd century.

    Almost a thousand years later, Tai Chi appeared as kind of a Taoist version of physical exercise. It was developed by Chang San-Feng. Tai Chi was also for monks' health maintenance purposes - not specifically intended as part of martial arts. Some of its practitioners probably went that route, though.

    It appears that neither "Buddhist" Shao Lin nor "Taoist" Tai Chi exercises were directly relevant to meditation practice. As for Japanese Jujitsu and its derivative, Judo, apparently these were strictly aspects of Japanese military arts, and also not relevant to meditation practice.

    Interesting. Karate's orgins are obscure. But the buddhist monk to whom it has been attributed apparently developed the techniques principally as a form of defense, not as an adjunct to a spiritual practice.

    Not sure about how self defense techniques were related to spiritual breathing. Obviously people had been meditating hundreds of years without Shao Lin, Tai Chi, Jujitsu and Karate because these came about at a later date.
     
  7. TheKhan

    TheKhan All Natural

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    I found these things recently, I knew the general theme but found out the details lately.

    A bulk of the root styles in Japanese martial arts were said to be handed down by deities while martial artists were meditating at Shinto shrines. Two out of Three root styles are clearly noted to have been founded this way. And the Kashima Shin-ryu (Kashima god-style) martial art seems to be rooted on breathing practices and sprituality as the basics. The way they see their martial art doesn`t seem to be just a form of self-defense. They see their fighting system as just a part of a practice in their quest to find god.

    Reading the Google book link that SG posted on Taoist meditation, it is very well explained why and how these sorts of practices may have come to be, even prior to buddhism.

    fyi, Karate is a martial art that the origins can be identified with the Shaolin traditions, thus Buddhist traditions, that were transmitted to Japan through Okinawa and likely Korea(e.g. possibly ninja`s). If you see any martial art that looks like Karate, like Israel`s Krag Maga, the origins can be placed to when Daruma from India developed an excercise for his meditating monks.

    FYI, Jackie Chan believes that all martial arts originate from Greece, I have reasons to believe that many others believe the same.

    TK
     
  8. PandaMentionalBeing

    PandaMentionalBeing Essence

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    I wouldn't say there's a philosophy behind the balance of mindfulness and 'flow'. I think that's just a splitmind reading polaritys too intentfully. As you said, autopilot. It will handle you, handling yourself, handling it.=]

    Eckhart Tolle kind of has a blend of tao and buddhism in his books.
     
  9. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    The discussion of Mindfulness vs Flow is similar to an examination of those principal core facets of Buddhism and Taoism, Balance and Harmony, respectively.

    Balance vs Harmony is the like tight-rope walker vs the tight rope.
    The tight-rope walker is do-ing a balancing Act.
    The tight rope is.

    Much like the concepts involved in the poem posted about the centipede:

    "The Way to do is to be" (1)
    "Just do it" (2)

    Hint:
    The gaining of knowledge is required before one employs the forgetting of knowledge.

    Notes:
    1 - The Way of Life according to Lao Tzu - Whitter Bynner
    2 - Nike avert program.

    -DrumR
     
  10. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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  11. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    ... I replied, and then realised this post was from 2005...

    what is the point of doing this?

    but here's my reply anyhow...

    the reason for the mindfulness training is to get to a state where it is just flow...

    the idea is, the mind is cluttered, we notice very little, and we're emmeshed in our own tangle of theories and thoughts, and we play the same themes over and over again, within our minds... we're never really "just here", often "somewhere else"... devoting ourself to noticing all those things which we do not normally notice is supposed to a) help us to focus on whats really going on, and b) helps us to break our mental bad habits by disregarding the million small thoughts we have about nothing much...

    eventually you get to a stage where you're always "present", rather than "half-somewhere else"... then "mindfulness" becomes "flow"...

    at least, thats my take on it...
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009
  12. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    Thank you for the favor of a reply, Snoopy.

    But of course!:p That the "Grand and Most Ancient Order of the Plagiarists" have been around, operating continuously I might add, long before this Sidhartha fellow was born is thought to be common knowledge. ( He is still the considered as the major suspect in this whole Buddhist/ Zenist affair you know)

    I cannot be too sure if Mr. Sahn was indeed a member of Post #632 of the Order Plagiarist, but I shall check with my supervisors in the archives. {queries the box of rocks} Although this may take some time...:rolleyes:

    TNX

    As a side note (as in looking to the side bar) are you just being koi, or is there something fishy about your interior decorating since our last correspondence?
     
  13. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    Greetings Netti-Netti.
    I have been given to understand that the Tai Chi Temple Exercise Set is a combined martial art (weaponless defense) form _and_ series of meditative exercises. From those with which I have discussed this, who are themselves involved with the martial arts, Tai Chi is labeled as an internal (meditative) form.

    Just a passing rumor...
     
  14. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Are you referring to a change? If it's changed then my last one was just so last season. :p

    I'm pleased you're back, it's always good to have someone with a cup and saucer for their avatar. ;)

    s.
     
  15. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Tai Chi is definitely a martial art. Offensive and defensive. There are strikes, kicks, blocks, choke breaks, holds, throws....all in the meditative exercise. The slow exercise strengthens in ways fast movements can't and imbeds the move in muscle memory.

    Take a look at a grandmaster in pushing hands...

    YouTube - GRANDMASTER HUANG SHENG SHYAN push hands
     
  16. WuWeiWarrior

    WuWeiWarrior New Member

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    I think MINDFULNESS and FLOW are one and the same and not opposing forces at all.

    On the surface, mindfulness may seem like being aware of everything while flow is letting go of everything....but true mindfulness to me is an UNATTACHED AWARENESS. To be TOTALLY in the moment.

    Because only in the moment can we truly experience flow.

    When I am surfing, I am mindful of the wave and of my surroundings and of all my senses. But it is an unattached mindfulness. A letting go. If I became too obsessed with one thing, I'd probably wipe out.

    To me, flow and mindfulness are the same. But thats just how I look at it. :)

    Keep on flowin' :)
     
  17. The Undecided

    The Undecided New Member

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    In Buddhism there is an emphasis on the lack of self, as our focus on the self causes us to suffer, to act in a way to make others suffer, and prevents us from seeing the world as it actually is, empty. If we get the self out of the way then we can live in the moment and can flow along with it, because it only the present moment that exists. Normally we are focused either on what we think might happen in the future or what has already happened to us. This could be seen as going against the natural flow of the universe, especially if the self is nothing but an illusion.
     
  18. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Upaya will always keep us on our toes!

    ..."the Buddha is asked point-blank to take a position on the ontological question of whether or not there is a self, he refuses to answer."

    The Not-self Strategy

    In the shunyata of the here and now there is only an undivided whole, neither self nor non-self. It is our minds that create dualities through division. Perhaps while we have a view, we could view the self as a process?

    s.
     
  19. Qi1

    Qi1 New Member

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    Meditation can be done for just a few minutes at a time and can break the moment for a needed change. Mindfulness includes mediation, breathing, awareness of the environment.


    Flow is how the skier moves gracefully down the hill while hitting bumps and ice. It is awareness in a stimulating environment. It is Tai Chi movement in meditation and self defense.



    These two ideas complement each other beautifully. The cycle of mindfulness and flow, back and forth, ying and yang !! Keep practicing and you will see.
     
  20. Jenn

    Jenn New Member

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    This thread title caught my eye and it proved to be an interesting read. I tend to agree somewhat with WuWeiWarrior though. From my own practice, I see little different between "mindfulness" and "flow" ... nor do I view mindfulness as an action of the mind, although I suppose technically it is.

    I see mindfulness more as like looking at a beautiful sunset. True mindfulness brings with it the No-Mind -- that is, you are not caught up in all your inner thoughts and running dialogue about what you're participating in -- instead, you are just looking at the sunset, you and the sunset are in a sense, one ... not separated by thought or self-identification. Then you become conscious of the moment ... you think "Oh what a beautiful sunset!" which actually isn't being mindful at all.

    Mindfulness is like when our little mind dissolves into the Big Mind of the universe. There is no self-consciousness or even real THOUGHT of being "mindful" (or else you've stopped being mindful).

    This is why I see no real difference between mindfulness and flow. In being truly mindful, empty of mind and full of No-Mind, you naturally are at one, you are one with the Dao, part of the Way, the Flow and the separation between you and everything else is shown to be an illusion, a perception caused by our little minds.

    When you are truly mindful, truly full of each moment, in the flow, because of your heightened understanding (it is an understanding that does not require thought or mental process) and awareness, you are able to make far better decisions, and respond from a deeper, higher place than that which our little mind or surface mind usually produces.

    That is my basic, probably oversimplified understanding of mindfulness and the flow. ;)
     

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