Chakras & Dantians
By Elizabeth Reninger
What is the relationship between the chakras of Hindu yoga systems and the dantians of Taoist yoga systems? Chakras and dantians share a similar function. Both are spaces within the subtle body where energy (prana or qi) gathers. Taoist yogis – practitioners of qigong and inner alchemy – use the lower, middle and upper dantians to gather, refine and circulate qi (also spelled “chi”). Hindu and Buddhist yogis tend to use the seven chakra system to accomplish the same.
Does it matter which map we use to access the terrain of our subtle bodies? I tend to think not, but others might disagree. Many have speculated about ways in which the two systems relate to each other. In the neidan practice of the “Microcosmic Orbit”, we circulate energy/awareness in a way that traverses the dantians as well as the chakras. There are acupuncture points along this pathway that can be used Continue reading
Dantian (dan t’ian, dan tien or tan t’ien) is loosely translated as “elixir field”, “sea of qi”, or simply “energy center”. Dantians are important focal points for meditative and exercise techniques such as qigong, martial arts such as t’ai chi ch’uan, and in traditional Chinese medicine.
The first detailed description of the lower Dantian is in the Laozi zhongjing 老子中經 from the 3rd century CE, it refers to the Cinnabar field where Essence and Spirit are stored, it is related to regeneration and sexual energy, menstruation and semen.
Traditionally, a dantian is considered to be a center of qi or life force energy. The dantians are important points of reference in neidan, qigong, neigong, tao yin, Taoist sexual practices, Reiki and other self-cultivation practices of exercise, breathing, and meditation, as well as in martial arts and in traditional Chinese medicine. Continue reading
Early doctrines regarding the chakras
The idea of the subtle vital force (prana) and the channels along which it flows (nadis) appear in the earliest Upanishads (7th-8th century b.c.e.).
The heart was said to be the centre of the 72,000 nadis or subtle channels, and the place into which the senses are withdrawn during sleep. As with many ancient civilisations (e.g. Egypt, Homeric Greece), the heart was also considered the seat of waking consciousness.
But it was only in the later Upanishads – the earlier of which were composed somewhere between the 2nd century b.c.e. and the 2nd century c.e. – reference is first made to basic Tantric concepts such as chakras, mantras, and so on.
The Brahma-Upanishad mentions the four “places” occupied by the purusha (soul): the navel, heart, throat, and head. Following common tradition, each place is characterised by a particular state of consciousness: the navel (or the eye) waking consciousness, the heart dreamless sleep, the throat dreaming, and the head the “fourth” or transcendent state. Continue reading
The Tree of Life
“The Tree of Life is an important symbol in nearly every culture. With its branches reaching into the sky, and roots deep in the earth, it dwells in three worlds – a link between heaven, the earth, and the underworld, uniting above and below. It is both a feminine symbol, bearing sustenance, and a masculine, visibly phallic symbol – another union.”
Leaves and branches of the Tree Of Life
Inside the human body are millions and millions of tiny whirling vital life forces concentrated into centres called Chakras. Chakra means “wheel” in Sanskrit, as these energies spin at these points rotating clockwise at a certain frequency. Continue reading
The Dalai Lama’s Teachings of Tibetan Buddhism
On the Indestructible Drop within the Heart,
Consciousness as the Mind of Clear Light & the Empty Space Particles
The following notes draw from the Dalai Lama’s book Advice on Dying, and Living a Better Life (2002) his dialogues with Renee Weber and David Bohm in Dialogues with Scientists and Sages (1986) and The Universe in a Single Atom (2005).
In Buddhism, since the definition of “living” refers to sentient beings, consciousness is the primary characteristic of “life.” (2005, p. 106)
We will explore the Dalai Lama’s teaching as most pertain to the investigation of the heart doctrine, the nature of human consciousness as light and the concept of zero point origins.