Mod+ Spiritual Exercises and Techniques.

I tried to start a similar thread some months ago but was deleted for some reason. Anyone that wants to contribute is welcomed.

Zazen/Vipassana/Samatha Meditation: Although there are slight variations, the core of the practice consists in sitting cross-legged on the floor or cushion(if too painful purchase a zabuton and zafu and start with the Burmese posture, then move on to half lotus, you can also get a seiza bench), relax your muscles, breath deeply, then fix your attention on the sensation of moving air at the nostrils, alternatively you can focus on abdomen movements. whenever thoughts intrude, you recognize them with a simple label like "thinking" or "imagining" and return to your breath.

Mantra meditation: Same as above, but here you focus your attention on a mantra, chanting it in your mind or with your mouth, Famous Mantras are OM, Om Mani Padme Hum, the Gayatri Mantra, Amida butsu etc. Here the purpose is to get so involved in the mantra that you lose any sense of your surroundings.

Bhuh Bhuvah Svah
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yo nah Prachodayat

~ The Rig Veda (10:16:3)

This other mantra was used by a Buddhist priest and Japanese saint named Kukai which purportedly gave him supernormal memory, enabling him to learn in a span of only 3 months what would have necessitated 20 years and carry the esoteric buddhist doctrine from China to Japan. There it developed into Shingon Bhuddism.

Morning Star Mantra
This mantra is very important in Shingon Buddhism and comes from a text known in Japanese as Kokūzō bosatsu nō man shogan saishō shin darani gumonji hō (虛空藏菩薩能滿諸願最勝心陀羅尼求聞持法 : T 20 #1145). Repeated one million times according to the requisite rituals, in a certain time period, one gains the ability to remember and understand any text.

na mo ā kā śa ga rbha ya oṃ ā rya ka ma ri mau li svā hā

namo ākāśagarbhaya oṃ ārya kamari mauli svāhā

The Japanese pronunciation of this mantra is:

nōbō akyasha kyarabaya on ari kyamari bori sowaka

Deity and Mandala Meditation: This is a very advanced practice and I don't have much experience with it. There are books you can read if you want to get into this practice, but it is reserved only after many years of formal meditation.
Qi Gong: There are many variations of Qi Gong techniques so I'll start with the most basic. The exercises involve maintaining a specific standing position for 10 to twenty minutes, preferably focusing on your breath and eventual energy sensations that may come up(in my case they appeared in a month). You first start with Zhan Zhuang and then go to Sitting Like a Tree. After 3 to 6 months of these you are ready to advance to the more challenging techniques. You can alternate the standing postures with dynamic exercises like the Ba Duan Jin. Tai Chi Chuan can also be practiced, but it would require a teacher. Personally I had a lot of difficulty learning by myself.


ta.jpg zh.jpg

ba duan jin.jpg
Pranayama/Beathing Techniques: The ones I use are relatively simple since I am merely a novice. Benefits are quite immediate, including relaxation and a calm mind, quite helpful if you are prone to insomnia. You can also experience a mild high after an intense workout. Some have speculated this is caused by endogenous release of opioids. Aleister Crowley highly recommended the practice. I use a phone app called Prana Breath to do my exercises, you can get the Guru version for some 3 $ or so and download more breathing routines. I will detail below breahing techniques used in Indian Yoga, Daoism and Tibetan Buddhism

On a more funny note