updated 4/18/04

On 1/12/04 J. wrote: Hello Ramon and welcome to the JSG. As for your question regarding tongue placement, as revealed in Tibetan art, and how it was revealed in Hesse's book "Siddartha:" the canonical texts of the yogas typically recommend placing the tip of the tongue at the roof of the mouth for connecting with divine energy (Shakti). And numerous Tibetan text say pretty much the same thing, so my guess is the Tibetan art that shows the tongue protruding was probably trying to reveal this tongue to the roof of the mouth placement, but the art was a bit too primitive to reveal it. I would bet that Hesse, who wrote "Siddartha" when he was about 20, was probably not a yoga master, but somewhat romantically enamored of some of the yoga literature he encountered in his youth. Perhaps Hesse saw a Tibetan thangka, and not being a meditation master, thought it was best to have the tongue protruding from the mouth. Placing the tongue between the teeth can be somewhat unfortunate. From time to time I have kriyas that cause my mouth to clamp shut abruptly when I am very deep in meditation. I have on occasion had my tongue in the way, and thus bit my tongue while in deep meditation. Let us just say I have found biting one's tongue while in deep meditation is not conducive to a deep practice, thus keeping one's tongue well out of the way, say tucked safely at the roof of one's mouth, is wise.
Ho, J: Thank you for the tongue feedback! I'm not so advanced that I have to worry about kriyas, and I personally have evolved a variation of the Tibetan method of balancing the in-breath between the nose and around the edges of the tongue as I hold the tip between my teeth. This allows a certain isometric 'pull' on the diaphragm muscles as well, which seems to connect the energy currents from the hara area into the anahata heart center. The entering air creates a hiss that I can increase in volume by adding a smile. This adds the 'eee' of the goddess "Eee-seees," a variation of the great Aditi (Ah-dee-tee).
If all of this is too non-Buddhist for this list, let me know. Perhaps I'd be better off on your kundalini one, although I'm not into the serpent power per se. Just an average chap who likes to "feed the baby" his amrita bottle before settling down for a good mind-melt.
Actually my main practices include sungazing (there's a good sungazers' list that started recently, to my delight, at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sungazing/ and a blend of Mantak Chia's and, with the encouragement of the Bhairava Tantra, a uvula and soft palate exercise that seems to increase the prana flow. Even better, I pinch my nostrils and inhale against the pinch, so to speak, which brings a kind of contraction of both stomach and chest as well as massaging the pituitary. Very powerful, this one, so be careful! Five of these clears my nose very nicely.
Always Within Her Waterfall of Radiance,

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>January 17 2004
> JB wrote:
> Good to know you use shivassana regularly, I do as well. Just for fun, you
> might find it interesting to know that the historic Buddha only talked about 4
> basic postures for meditation, and lying down was one of them, but he laid on
> his side in what he called lion pose. While I prefer shivasana for deep
> relaxation, I have found if there is any post nasal drip, it isn't so good,
> whereas
> lying on the side allows the sinuses to drain and it keeps at least one sinus
> open even during sinus difficulties.
>
> Best regards,
>
> Jeff Brooks

Ramon wrote: Your post brings up an interesting topic for me because I do frequently suffer from clogged or semi-clogged nasal passages. Because of this, I've evolved a variation on the classic hatha yoga tongue mudras (I mentioned this on the jhanas list).

I hold the tip of my tongue lightly between my teeth and inhale with a slight hissing sound from the gap made around it (widened by smiling if necessary).

This puts a slight isometric pressure on the diaphragm that I also find stimulating to chi circulation. Also it keeps the back of the throat from drying out, a frequent occurrence in open-mouth breathing.

Nice thing is that I can do it anytime, like right now, for instance!

Thanks for all your selfless service to the 'wider sangha!'

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January 24, 2004

Dear Zenmar -- and presumably Mark:

Since writing to you both earlier, I found the Dark Zen Downloads page. Scanning through the book for the first time (to correct a few mis-formats), I am truly impressed with the scope of your understanding. I most sincerely bow to your comprehension and experience. Thank you again! And Mark for the outstanding website, although I must confess to you that I found nothing of value in Sister Shakya's discussion of 'The Sutta On The Antecedentness of Breath!' I found her writing style somewhat beating about the bush, although she seemed eager to appreciate the new translation, but that could just be my innate '= ignorance. However, "behold the mind in recollective antecedentness to it" ??? There's got to be some way to snuggle closer to the Buddha's original meaning!

On another topic:
I would like to submit a theory to you both that evolved from not only a comment in Hesse's "Siddartha" but also from viewing some thangkas in the Huntington archive of Buddhist Art online at the University of Ohio.
I tried this theory on the certain experts in Buddhist art in a query as follows:


>Dear Professor H:
>
> My apologies for inserting myself into your no doubt overly busy
>schedule, but I have a question that so far I have been unable to
>have anyone answer. This has to do with certain selected portraits
>of buddhas where I believe I notice that the tip of the tongue is
>protruding between the lips. This mouth position is also mentioned
>in Hesse's "Siddartha" where he writes:
>
>"Siddartha sat absorbed, his eyes staring as if directed at a distant goal,
>the tip of his tongue showing a little between his teeth."
>
>The first thangka that stirred my interest was the attached detail from
>"Akshobhya With Retinue," Zimmerman Family Collection, reproduced in
>"Buddha - Radiant Awakening," published by the Art Gallery of New South
>Wales and VisAsia, in conjunction with the exhibit that opened the in
>November, 2001. I offer a detail of the unretouched original, and
>then a second where I have emphasized thes line outlining the mouth and
>tongue.


>Just today in the online Ohio State collection I found two more
>that I believe also show the protruding tongue tip. It strikes me
>as odd that I have been unable to discover in any essays any mention
>of this particular 'mudra.' The Kechari Mudra, of course, requires the
>tongue be reversed in the mouth, but the above-mentioned position is
>obviously forward. I'm curious to know how much pressure the teeth place on
>the tongue and whether suction or a 'pulling back' action is being applied.
>
>Thank you in advance for any insights you might be able to offer.
>I would, of course, be happy to send you the other examples as well.
>
>Sincerely,

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The reply basically pooh-pooh'd my suggestion that a protruding tongue
is being displayed, but instead I was seeing a stylistic convention for
displaying "the transition between the external flesh of the lip as the
appropriatecolor . . . and the internal color of the mouth as red.
This is often observable in persons of color as is essentially a
qusai-naturalistic convention in this school of Tibetan painting."

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Back to my letter to Zenmar:

I think the professor is mistaken, and received a more interesting reply from my spiritual teacher David Spero, who thought I was onto one of the whispered teachings.
I thought I would ask for your opinion, and attach the examples that I sent. If this interests you, I could e-mail you other examples from their collection.
My main reason for all this noise is that when I awaken in the mornings, I find I can return consciously to the sleep bliss state by nursing on my uvula, to put it bluntly. One hundred good tugs and my heart center is going ape-shit-city. I remain obsessed by the idea that Mother Nature never intended Buddha nature to be so difficult to attain, and built in various easy and natural methods that any idiot such as myself to utilize. For this reason I began the O-BE-ATA Project last year (Oceanic Bliss Easily Available To All), with various exercises and props posted. Of course so far none of my friends (except perhaps the two craziest) have found any of my suggestions of any earthly use, so I continue along my way cross-country, snuffing the wildflowers and enjoying the view, trying to divest myself of the delusion that I have anything of any real value to contribute from my private perorations.
The uvula exercise is also the reason for the Hymn IV Her poem that I linked to my letter to Mark (which mentioned Hui Neng's horned rabbit allegorical remark which I believe also originated with the Buddha).
Again, many thanks for your very no-nonsense approach! You must strike terror in various Zen circles.
R

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1-26-04

A very smart German theologian once said:
The first generation is led by the Spirit or Ideal.
The second always has the good example
The third still will have the memory (of the good example)
But the fourth will be stuck with all the rules and regulations made before them.

A dear friend added:
The fifth consolidate position and institutionalize
The sixth blackmail the emperor into making him Pontifex Maximus.

I had quite a good evening meditation -- still with a tendency to 'scatter,' but with occasional depths and one very good insight: what's holding me back is the fact that I have restless eyes, and restless eyes lead to a restless mind. So I'm trying a combination of softening and widening them behind closed lids (this comes, oddly, from Iyengar) and using my raised cheeks (in a 'high smile') to hold them still. I'm applying a little effort at the beginning, holding the focus to a 'dot' on the eyelids and for good measure adding my new Dark Zen suggestion to turn the awareness to the place that is prior to the arising of the breath. That really worked very well!

I think I suffer from 'alert eyes' that are always on the look-out. I was told that by the woman who put me onto a couple of EEG units back a year or more ago at Post Trauma Treatment Associates, Walnut Creek. She said, 'You mind is sort of like a gopher popping out of its hole for a look-around and then going back. I wanted to try out the so-called ROSHI device, and hers was the closest one I could fine. It cost me $160, but was worth it -- by which I mean it did put me into an elevated state. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-= 1-30-04

"To travel far, you must feed your burro."
- Sancho Panza

Even if Sancho did not say it in Don Quixote I'm sure he thought it!

Recenty I wrote to someone on line:
"... we are all, to some extent or another, abused children. And I so much admire the way you are opening up and allowing the hurt and the past to drain out of you. The amazing thing to me is that it is where we have been the most deeply wounded that our deepest understandings ultimately arise.
. . .
"I think what I'm experiencing is that I must 'feed the donkey' in myself -- i.e. discover the comfort zone for the lower self that will allow Grace to descend into all of me. Does that make sense? We each must find the hungry areas in ourselves that require nourishing and allow them to 'safely graze' before we can melt into the Great Mother's arms.
Yes?"

In the Now where we all are one,