Monthly Archives: December 2018

Wuwei – Book Entry

From shifu Michael’s third book coming out in January 2019

Shifu Michael RinaldiniJanuary 20, 2018
I recently purchased a used book from Amazon.com that I came across in a retreat center library. I thought I should have it in my own library since its main subject matter is on silence and solitude. It’s not a particularly spiritual book but it highlights that aspect of solitude which is appealing to the sensitive type of person who craves a simple life. The book is Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton. She varies her time between living in a simple cottage in New Hampshire and living in New York City. She passed away in 1995 in her 80’s. Even though she led a full life as a writer, her love of solitude was expressed throughout her life. From her journal writings, she says, “The value of solitude – one of its values – is, of course, that there is nothing to cushion against attacks from within, just as there is nothing to help balance at times of particular stress or depression” (Sarton 1973, 16). She also connects her love of solitude with her mental states which were sometimes marked by depression and even suicide. “Later on in the night I reached a quite different level of being. I was thinking about solitude, its supreme value. Here in Nelson I have been close to suicide more than once, and more than once have been close to a mystical experience of unity with the universe” (1973, 57). I have often said to others when they ask me about my own experiences in solitude, that the solitary experience reveals to the person who they really are. There is no one to play games (that is, psychological ego games) with, and you just have yourself to confront. You can be totally honest with yourself, or you can be self-deceptive. In either case, you’ll know which of these is your real self.

Zuowang 2

From shifu Michael’s third book coming out in January 2019

Shifu Michael RinaldiniAs a follow-up to my previous entry on the Three Vitalities, I have done some preliminary research and will shortly be posting my findings here in my journal. Pretty interesting stuff, you’ll appreciate the many benefits of these three simple qigong exercises. As for now, I have about 30 minutes before my Tuesday evening meditation class. I always start with a brief reading on zuowang meditation, some Daoist scripture, or something else related. Tonight I went back to my beginnings of learning about Zuowang meditation to Livia Kohn’s book, Sitting In Oblivion, The Heart of Daoist Meditation. In her introduction chapter to Zuowang, she makes a poignant point on her reason for translating, and hence titling her book, “oblivion” instead of the more common translation of Zuowang as “sitting and forgetting.” Professor Kohn translates “wang” as “oblivion” and “oblivious” rather than “forgetting” or “forgetful” because the meaning of to forget something is associated to an active state of mind as “one should remember” something. Professor Kohn says this way of describing the mind of the ancient Chinese Daoist practitioner is not in sync with those times. Instead, she looks at the Chinese character breakdown of “wang.” Part of the character contains “xin” for “mind-heart” and it is associated with “conscious and emotional reactions to reality.” The rest of the character refers to “wang” for “obliterate or perish.” If you put all of this together, you get a meaning that if you let go of all reactive states of mind you can then enter a state of calm, which is the entryway to the experience of the Dao. (Kohn 2010, 1) Okay, time to go meditate now with my students.

Zuowoang

From shifu Michael’s third book coming out in January 2019

I came across this brief Zen saying on Facebook a few minutes before my Tuesday night meditation class. I have nothing to add to it.

The Old Master gave a short dharma talk one day and said, “The conundrum of Ch’an (Zen) is that you realize that;

There is Nothing to Realize,
That there is No dharma to master,
That there is Nothing to the teachings,
That there is Nothing to attain, and
That present mind is Buddha mind.
Yet, it takes Kensho itself to come to and ‘understand’ these ‘realizations.’
Outside of Kensho it cannot be ‘understood.’”

Pu: Winter Food Therapy

From Shifu Michael’s third book, coming out in January 2019

February 5, 2017
Today is Super Bowl Sunday. My entry today will focus on food cures and their seasonal relationship. Last Thursday was Groundhog Day, which is the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. So before we get further away from the cold of winter, especially here in northern California, I should mention some basic winter food guidelines.

Primordial Wuji Qigong: from shifu Michael’s Qigong Certification Training Manual

One of my favorite qigong forms is Primordial Wuji Qigong.  The form I practice is technically mine in origins, but the philosophy behind it belongs to a long tradition of qigong cultivation.  I became interested in it during the early 2000’s.  At that time, I was studying the writings of a variety of qigong teachers:  Roger Jahnke, Jerry Alan Johnson, Michael Winn, Daniel Reid, Solala Towler, and Ken Cohen.  Several of them had written extensively or produced videos on the Primordial qigong.  They referred to it in a variety of names:  Hunyuan Gong, Primordial Qigong, Hundun Qigong, or “Taiji Hunyuan Nei Gong (Undifferentiated Primordial Inner Work).” I was mysteriously drawn to it, even though I did not have any direct experience of its form.  From the descriptions I read about it, I deduced that it consisted of a lot of circling and spiraling movements.  Roger Jahnke described it as a returning and moving in reverse to the natural pattern of things.  I started creating my own form, using some of my favorite rolling and spiraling qigong movements, and deepening my understanding of key principles of the Primordial philosophy.