maanantai 12. heinäkuuta 2021

The End and The New Beginning

 

The End and The New Beginning



For all my life I've been a spiritual seeker and for all my adult life I've been a spiritual practitioner. I've meditated and done yogic practices about 30 000 hours and taught professionally since late 2008, for almost 13 years now. This project has been a priority and central focus of my life, always basically, and other things including relationships, financial security, other interests like hobbies and other career choices, and even my own family have come second to this. I knew I was making big sacrifices but I had to because I had no choice due to the constant existential pain that I was in. I was suffering of an illness of sorts. It was a struggle from day until night until day, over and over and over.



There is so much, a whole biography packed in the past 42 years. Those who know me closely, my students and close friends know how all this has been both a struggle and a journey of discovering practices and developing a method that has the power to actually smash the self-based confusion no matter how bad it gets. Oh gosh... Looking at it in retrospect, it was a hell of a struggle, loaded with relentless inner and outer obstacles and difficulties.



I feel the need to express how sorry I am for spreading my pain, frustration and anger on others, my students, ex-students, friends, ex-wives and girlfriends. I was in great pain and I could not prevent myself from spitting my poison on others. It was so hard to so many people that I've sworn to never to do what I've done again, in circumstances such as these. I could go on for the rest of the day just talking about the difficulties but that is not why I started writing this little update. Anyhow, I want to apologize.



So, all my life I've been a seeker and for the past 18 years I've been a full time teacher and practitioner. Then came a day when the whole project collapsed because the small self, in all of its expressions, ceased to be. Suffering, the sense of something being off, out of place or murky, stopped. It has been like this for 4 months to date, since my 42nd birthday. There is so much I have already written and talked about this over the years and of course there are the talks and commentaries from people of history so I'm not going to discuss this in depth here. I actually didn't even mean to write about this publically because I started to write about what I am going to say next but what I'm about to say next wouldn't make sense without saying this.


I've never sat in prison but perhaps I feel now like someone who after a long sentence is taking the first steps in freedom. It seems like a different, foreign and a whole new world, not in a woowoo kind of way but because the meaning of my life has entirely changed. I put my focus and energy into practice for such a long time and now when that is not necessary anymore, suddenly my attention and energy are no longer associated with the search. Therefore it's available for something else. With that comes a discovery of all these other things that life and the world has to offer, many of which I skipped or left without attention before. At 42 years and 4 months of age, it feels like my life has really just started. All the spiritual and existential stuff and meditation I don't need to worry, think or do at all anymore, and bloody hell, the absence of them is like a big empty canvas, suddenly waiting... simply available for something to be expessed.



I think I will continue to teach but I think that the way of it will change. I have established Pemako and taught tantric buddhism for many years but I think I won't teach (much) tantra anymore. I have trained and continue to train teachers who can continue teaching Pemako tantra.



Other than that,I don't know what I'll do... Suddenly my old love, martial arts, have come back into my life but I also feel like I might (finally) go to school and study something. Maybe I'll finally learn fine carpentry or study painting. Maybe I'll do something with animals. I don't know yet but all these options have been in the back of my mind for a long time. I'm just here, eyes and ears open, waiting for the most interesting fish to bite the hook.



I want to wish you all well, and I want to thank you for support and friendship over the years.


Kim, 12.7.2021




perjantai 9. heinäkuuta 2021

Insults from One's Teacher

 

Insults from One's Teacher


This is true but to be clear. Many teachers insult their students to point out their issues to them. I don't do this. If you do your practice, you can't avoid your bananas coming up. True, sometimes people don't realise that they have a dark night or that they are very angry but pointing this out to them is very different from insulting them to have the subconscious stuff come up. I am sure some teachers like this kind of "pointing out", by insulting them and it is good to ask why but I think that if one needs the practice, to solve one's existential problems, then you'll do the practice and persevere it, no matter how rough it gets. If the student is not ready, on the other hand, they'll quit and find some easier practice. That I would have to go into all this and start insulting my students on top of everything else, I don't think would be that helpful and would just be something extra for me, the teacher, to do. I have faith in the Four Noble Truths and our Pemako method.


Kim, 9.7.2021

sunnuntai 4. heinäkuuta 2021

Buddhanature in Inner Martial Arts

 

Buddhanature in Inner Martial Arts


Oskar: What are these qi gong exercises for? Any spesific yogic purpose I mean? (Comment to this video).


Kim: Hi Oskar⁠. I come from a tradition that combines dharma practice with martial and fine arts. But I realise it is very difficult for me to answer what would be the purpose of it. Well, there are common reasons, like learning to unify the body and to move with a unified body. This alone is a tremendously rewarding learning process and we can all understand what is the benefit of learning how to use and carry our bodies well aligned. You don't learn this from only doing sitting practices, nor you learn it from Western sports. From the purely physical perspective, Alexander technique is somewhat close to what is done in (specifically) Chinese "inner martial arts" but what is done inwardly in Chinese arts, that knowledge is entirely absent in modern sports and forms of exercise whatever they may be. The result of this can be seen how (fit) people carry their bodies, how people jog and so on. There is no inner structure, no inner composition or understanding how the body could be used in optimal fashion.

⁠Regarding the internal aspects of what I am doing on the video, I wriote this few days ago: http://openheartopenheart.blogspot.com/2021/07/doing-nothing-just-stand.html

⁠What you are seeing on the video is atiyoga from one perspective of mind, while simultaneously using dynamic concentration (active mental pushing while doing the pushing movement). Here from the point of view of mind, the basic state and the action of dynamic concentration (in the form of physical and mental pushing) are of same taste, and not two separate things.

⁠Typically active mental pushing, called yi in Chinese, pronounced ee in English (the yi in yiquan, lit. intent), in inner martial arts is practiced just like mindfulness is cultivated by mindfulness practitioners. Mindfulness is always momentary and then you get distracted. Thosewith excellent concentration abilities can remain mindful for as long as they want but this doesn't mean that the basic state would be there as a sort of bedrock. So, to me, merely cultivating active mental pushing (yi) in yiquan momentarily, just like the practice of mindfulness, is incomplete. This is the reason why I spent years in dharma practice stabilising the basic state. Now when it is stabilised, I feel ready and very motivated to give my inner state an external expression, here through this movement. And as you can see there are no “gaps”.

⁠To me, all forms of practice have always been about reality and it's expression and this is also of course how Terayama Sensei taught. But even long before that,when I started judo at 7, I wasn't interested about belt colours or competing. It's been a life long haul and now finally, with unshakable confidence, I can focus on inner martial arts and bodywork.

⁠I don't know what I can accomplish through this but because I took a vow of trying to bring zen arts to Westerners and people of the world, that is what I will do. 

 

- Kim, 4.7.2021 

torstai 1. heinäkuuta 2021

Doing nothing. Just stand.

 

Doing Nothing. Just Stand.


Kim: The most difficult thing in (chi gong, zhan zhuang or yiquan) practice is to remain perfectly and yet effortlessly aware. To apply intent (yi), whether gentle or explosive, is momentary. Yi is started, it is kept and it is let go. This is yi.


We can compare this to any kind of concentration exercise and as anyone who has ever tried to keep one's focus (yi) on a single task for anything longer than few seconds, the various thoughts, ideas, memories and impressions make the mind distracted. This is also the case in yiquan. Although not all yiquan methods use this, typically an yiquan practitioner uses certain mental visualisations to learn about (1) the necessary correct alignment of the body, where the body is unified and joints are open and (2) to study the mechanics of well aligned body by applying gentle or forceful visualisations. This whole methodology is based on the principle of concentrated focus and being mindful of both the visualisations as well as sensations in the body.


For a long time in my own yiquan as well as meditation practice, I was interested to find the kind of ”basic mind” that is always present, always clear and never distracted. For a long time when I tried to stand zhan zhuang or sit in meditation without doing anything, without yi, I would sooner or later get distracted by different mental fluctuations. Then as my practice kept progressing, I started having longer and longer periods when this undistractable basic mind was there. This in turn made it possible to really ”just stand, doing nothing”. Little by little, I could just stand, without using yi, without getting distracted.


To me personally as I have been a ”spiritual seeker” as well as a martial artists since I was a child, it has been a great relief to finally, after decades of searching, lots of practice, study and experimentation, to be able to ”just stand” without getting distracted. I have met and studied with a number of yiquan, chi gong and tai chi teachers but it is very difficult to find a person who would be able to discuss this (which is why I began this thread here now, in case others have this issue too). Anyhow.


My inner martial art practice has been on and off as I realised pretty early on that if I wanted to find and establish this ”basic mind” in my practice, I would need to focus on meditation first, and then only after that take it into martial arts.


I don't actually feel like a ”martial artist” anymore, not for a long time because I don't have any interest in fighting or match skills, not really even push hands.


Kim, 1.7.2021

tiistai 29. kesäkuuta 2021

Shakyamuni Buddha Claims To Have Attained Buddhahood

Shakyamuni Buddha Claims To Have Attained Buddhahood


According to Amitabha Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha makes a statement of having attained buddhahood.


Sakyamuni Buddha preaches in Amida Sutra, also known as Smaller Sukhavativyuha Sutra,


I have attained supreme perfect enlightenment, and for the sake of the people of this world, expounded this dharma (of Pure Land and Birth there through Nembutsu) which is difficult to believe for being beyond the common understanding of this world.”


Different translation of the same passage:


While being in this present world full of the five corruptions, I have accomplished this most difficult achievement and attained supreme perfect enlightenment. In addition, for the sake of the people of this world, I have explained this teaching (of Ultimate Bliss and Birth there through the nenbutsu), difficult to believe for being beyond the common understanding of this world. For that reason, all of the Buddhas praise me for this ‘most difficult achievement.”




torstai 24. kesäkuuta 2021

Avoiding Basic Mistakes in Dharma and Tantric Practice

 

Avoiding Basic Mistakes in Dharma and Tantric Practice


I feel fortunate to have have started with zen rather than tibetan buddhism because in zen you just start sitting practice from day one and you are recommended to do that a lot. You learn high work morals in terms of sitting and as far as I know, sitting meditation is considered a practice of advanced practitioners in tibetan buddhism. Beginners don't do silent sitting. That's what I've been told by a tb lama and if you look at ngondro, the preliminary practices widely practiced in tibetan buddhism, there is no silent sitting involved.


I am not at all saying that these preliminaries are ineffective, but I am saying that dharma practice, regardless of vehicle is about the mind and sitting meditation is the most direct way to begin to understand it. It is actually the easiest condition to understand anything because your physical body is kept still so the sensory input from the physical body and its movement is absent to allow a better look at the mind.


But even in sitting, we have two categories: active, which means doing some practice, like mantra or visualisation, and passive where you don't do these things. There are many people out there who do all these practices and the very moment they stop saying their mantra, they stand up and go do other things. This is a grave mistake where one skips the best part of tantric practice, that of enjoying the energies and blessings of the guru or the deity, and unifying with it, to reveal the basic state. It is a sign of ignorance about what and how tantra works, if you quit the practice session just after you utter the last syllable. If you don't sit after practices, you'll remain stuck with the external aspect of practice. Like I said, this problem is very common that actually reduces the whole tantric vehicle.


It is a common problem that tantric practitioners, whether they still work with preliminaries or have advanced to deity practice or dzogchen, have no idea about the energetic (inner) aspect of the practice, that is the heart and soul of the whole tantric vehicle. They also have no clue about the secret aspect which is nature of mind itself, also called mahamudra and dzogchen. The energy is there at all times but most have no clue about it and they are not told to sense and recognise it because even teachers have no clue, though they pretend otherwise. This is a pure fact across the board in the world of tantra and dzogchen today. What has the world come to when helpers have no clue how to help? Money, fame and popularity is the name of the game nowadays. You can play your games all you want but when death strikes you, you'll regret for having compromised your spiritual integrity and having spent your life in ignorant gossip. When your heart stops beating, it is all over and you're at the mercy of the karma that you didn't think was important to purify.


The consequence of having connections to excellent dharma teachings and lineages but not practicing and not having pure motivations is a direct gateway to taking rebirth where you have no dharma or teachers. Imagine the pain and suffering in a dark place where there is no light of your own soul... Imagine living a life or lives like that...


It is just incredible that people associated with dharma don't take the words of the masters seriously.


Kim, 24.6.2021


keskiviikko 23. kesäkuuta 2021

The Actual Experience of Freedom

 

The Actual Experience of Freedom



The typical human mind is characterized by self-centeredness. We have mental and emotional habits that all are magnetized by the sense of me-ness or I-ness. The more we put energy and belief into me-ness, the more contracted and unhappy we feel. Also, the more we give existence to this sense of I-ness, the less can we live according to what is considered universally good in humans. Egomaniacs can only think about the happiness of their own. This self-delusion creates very basic discontent in life, but there is nothing wrong in life as such. The discontent, the sense that there is something missing or wrong, is actually a good sign because it makes us ask questions. This is how we set our feet on the path of dharma.


Dharma is an ancient sanskrit word that I like to translate as ”teaching of reality”. The point of dharma, that is practiced through different yogas (not only physical), is to help us to recognise the reality of ourselves. Seeing the reality of ourselves comes through seeing through the self-centered fantasies and nightmares. The more we release the idea and belief of this small self or ”me”, the more we are able to see our lives, its events and happenings as they are, rather than how we'd like or expect them to be.

The theory of dharma is very simple and easy to understand but there is great depth in there because the human psyche is very complex. However, with functionable practices, it is actually very easy to set our feet on the path of dharma, or to begin seeing through the self-centered habits. From the very first shift in perspective, as the deep rooted idea of me-ness is released, we feel as if a tremendous burden gets lifted from our shoulders. And as you continue to have further awakenings or discoveries of reality, the freer, the better and the more natural you feel. So the main feature of the path of dharma is that throughoutyour practice, you experience shifts in your mind and with each shift you keep discovering your true nature or wakefulness, peace and kindness in more depth.


Then finally, as you keep having shifts – signs of successful practice – you come to a point in practice where all self-centered habits and patterns cease to be. You still think, talk, act, react, sleep, eat, drink, have sex and go to toilet but the sense of me-ness is completely absent. You cease to perceive yourself as a ”me” who has all these daily experiences that people normally have. In this way, your energy becomes full and has no holes. You still have thoughts like before but the sense of me-ness doesn't arise anymore so all you have, whether you have thoughts or not, is perfect existential freedom.


In traditional terms this is the attainment of the so called buddhahood but ”buddha” only means being awake. Being awake means seeing reality, like I just explained. It is not some mystical or heavenly state. Being awake means just that, being awake to reality. This has nothing to do with magical displays, religious miracles, levitating or such. We can all try to imagine how life would be without the sense of me-ness but the actual experience of freedom is vastly better than just dreaming about it. Obviously!


Thank you for reading and I wish you all the best in your path to discovering the reality,


Kim