Wang-Tang & Ziji: Developing Field of Power and Radiance

The one who possesses or manifests a “field of power” is also said to be “radiant.” Who among us would not want to be both powerful & dazzling to others, lighting up their surroundings & imparting a radiant feeling of confidence & pleasure?

When you read the old accounts of Shakyamuni Buddha, you often find him described as “radiant” & his effect on people was unquestionably powerful. He was sometimes called “the Lion of the Shakya Clan,” & listeners spoke of his “golden voice.” He was even said to be able to emit rays light from the palms of his hands or from the spot between his eyebrows. Wouldn’t you like this kind of power, this kind of radiance?

Most people in their everyday lives, however, don’t have a strong field of power (wang tang), & are too dull & uninspired, or too sad, or too distracted, or too pained by life’s many piled-up griefs, to dazzle (ziji) anybody. You ask them how they are doing & they give you a tight smile & a little laugh & say something like, “Hanging in there.” Their body-language expresses mere exhaustion, like the morose slumping of a puppet with dangling arms & legs put up on the shelf for the night. Don’t be like this! Develop your field of power & send out a blaze of light in all ten directions.

So! Here are some notes on developing your wang tang & your ziji. The approach is that of Hara-strengthening. Start by sitting cross-legged in a straight, upright posture with the crown of your head pointed to the sky. (Somewhere outdoors is best, if you can find a beautiful place like a beach or a forest clearing.) Become aware of the breath going in & out of your nostrils. Put your attention briefly on your eyelids. This should startle you into a state of keen awareness. Then let your in-breathing sink deep, all at one go, like a tile falling into a deep, dark well. Let the energy of your breathing settle about two inches below your navel, & about an inch inside, before breathing itself up & outward. Allow yourself to relax & to experience this effortless sensation of your breath going & out from that single point in the lower belly, expanding to all ends of the universe then contracting into the same infinitesimal point. If there is any problem in attaining his sort of relaxed & “empty” breath-breathing-itself state, try adjusting your posture in subtle way, especially by relaxing your chin, neck, & shoulders. (You can best relax your shoulders if they are quite tense by imagining that your arms are very heavy, made of iron perhaps.)

As your Hara breathing settles, opens, & clarifies itself, you will begin to experience your own vibrant “field of power” (wang tang). In Japanese Zen yoga, all real power comes from this single point in the Hara. From here, energy (Ki) rises & spreads to all other parts of the body. Once you are breathing from this single point (the Seika Tanden, it is called) you can forget it completely, until you are feeling weak, dispirited, sad or exhausted & you need to recover it again.

So now — what about Ziji? I suggest that, when you rise from Hara meditation feeling strengthened & refreshed, you take a glance at your eyes in a mirror. You will see Ziji. I promise you! As the ancient Zen teachers used to say, if this method of finding & expanding your “field of power” & radiating confidence does not work, you can come & take away my head.

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