MEDITATION AND QIGONG
I practiced Buddhist meditation for over 20 years and found it helped me relax and become more accepting of of my circumstances and in tune with life. So it was no great surprise that I decided to incorporate the practice in my new novel, Blood on the Shrine*.
The book opens during a Buddhist retreat where a senior Tibetan monk is discovered to have died while meditating. I won't give the plot away but something happens while he is in a deep transcendental state. I understand, that when experienced meditators achieve this state the pulse slows, as does the breathing and the body all but shuts down. There is anecdotal evidence that suggests that:
If the person is able to remain in this state for more than three weeks - which rarely happens - his body gradually shrinks, and in the end all that remains from the person is his hair, nails, and clothes.
Usually in this case, people who live near the monk see a rainbow that glows in the sky for several days. This means that he has found a 'rainbow body'. This is the highest state close to the state of Buddha'.
In The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Soygal Rinpoche says:
A realised practitioner continues to abide by the recognition of the nature of mind at the moment of death, and awakens into the Ground Luminosity when it manifests. He or she may even remain in that state for a number of days. Some practitioners and masters die sitting upright in that state for a number of days. Some practitioners and masters die sitting upright in meditation posture. Besides their perfect poise, there will be other signs that show they are resting in the state of the Ground Luminosity:
There is still a certain color and glow in their face, the nose does not sink inward, the skin remains soft and flexible, the body does not become stiff, the eyes are said to keep a soft and compassionate glow, and there is still a warmth at the heart. Great care is taken that the master’s body is not touched, and silence is maintained until he or she has arisen from this state of meditation.
I tried Tai chi for a while but just couldn't get the hang of it. I found it too formalised and the moves, too complicated. Then I discovered Qigong - or chi kung - which literally means, 'Life Energy Cultivation'. Qigong practice typically involves moving meditation, coordinating slow flowing movement, deep rhythmic breathing, and calm meditative state of mind. It was much more my thing. Perhaps I'll incorporate it in future book.
*'BLOOD ON THE SHRINE' will be published very soon - watch this space.