Relaxing in taiji is the same as passadhi-sambojjhanga

In Taiji, the “relax” they talk about, the key to unleashing the sublime power of internal energy (the same energy experientially felt in the 4 jhanas), is exactly the same as the bodily and mental pacification that comprise passadhi-sambojjhanga (pacification awakening factor, #5 of 7sb).

Not relaxing is what keeps people from experiencing genuine taiji power, not relaxing, or not pacifying sufficiently the body and mind in one’s samadhi, is what prevents the 4 jhanas from happening.

ZMQ (Cheng Man Ching) was a famous disciple of Yang Cheng-Fu (who needs no introduction).

The Word “Relax" in Tai Chi Chuan by Professor Cheng Man Ching (鄭曼青).

"I have been practicing Tai-Chi Chuan for over fifty years. Only recently have I started to fully understand the word “relax”. I remember my Tai-Chi Chuan teacher Yang Cheng-Fu who did not like to talk much. He used to sit all day without saying a word if no one asked him questions. However, in our T’ai-chi class he would tell us to “relax” repeatedly. Sometimes it seemed like he would say the word hundreds of times during the practice so that the word could fill up my ears. Strangely enough he also said that if he did not tell me of this word that I would not be able to learn T’ai-chi in three life-times (meaning never). I doubted his words then. Now that I think back, I truly believe that if he did not keep reminding me of the word “relax”, I doubt if I could have learned T’ai-chi Chuan in six life-times.
What is the meaning of “relax” in T’ai-chi? Here is an example to help you understand the word. When we go visit a Buddhist temple we usually see a statue of Me-Lo Buddha. The one who has a big rounded stomach with a big smile on his face. He carries a large bag on his shoulder. On top of this statue we see a motto: “Sit with a bag. Walk with a bag. It would be such a relief to drop the bag.” What does all this mean? To me, a person himself or herself is a bag. Everything he or she owns is baggage, including one’s children, family, position and wealth. It is difficult to drop any of one’s baggage, especially the “self” bag.
T’ai-chi Chuan is difficult to learn. To relax in practicing T’ai-chi Chuan is the most difficult phase to go through. To relax a person’s mind is the most significant obstacle to overcome in practicing T’ai-Chi. It takes a great effort to train and exercise one’s mind to relax.


There’s a saying that on average it takes 10 years of taiji practice before one actually becomes a beginner (accumulates enough internal energy to the point where one can tangibly feel and work with said energy).

It’s a subtle art. But it’s actually ridiculously easy. Exactly in the same way, first jhana, and getting micro spurts of second jhana is actually incredibly easy. You just have to train yourself how to fully relax properly (physically and mentally). Just as with taiji, jhana is the same, in that it won’t match the sutta descriptions of jhana bliss at first, for most people, even when you’re doing the method correctly.

For most people, you’ll be stuck in a jhana constipation phase for a long time. What this phase feels like is body pain and discomfort. So even though you’re doing the relaxing (passadhi-bojjhanga) correctly, people will just associate correct meditation with physical pain and not want to continue. This is really the main difficulty with jhana attainment, is people don’t have the patience to wait for all the energy blockages to melt (it can take years). It’s like a hen sitting on an egg, it takes time.

Internal energy is the ability to produce heat, force, luminosity on demand. The energy blockages (felt as pain and constipation) melts from heat and force. A good second jhana literally feels like glaciers (cold, stiff regions) in your face, chest, have melted into torrential rivers of piti sukha juice flooding everywhere.

Ice melts into pitisukha juice, piti sukha juice is further refined into just sukha vapor (3rd jhana), and the sukha vapor is sublimated into luminosity and emptiness (4th jhana).

Jhana is actually ridiculously easy to do, it’s just that it won’t feel like a proper jhana at first, and people don’t have the belief and mental fortitude to persist in the practice. Usually when people start to believe is when they get a partial jhana experience, maybe on a 10 day retreat, one of the main energy channels partially melts, you still have body pain but you get some partial bliss, then you start to believe in the process.

If you nourish viriya, the internal vital energy experientially felt as heat and force, then this becomes your viriya-sambojjhanga. If you follow the worldly way (non celibacy), maybe when you’re young and healthy you can still get various stages of jhana occasionally, but you wonder why your results are inconsistent and unstable. And when you get older, you wonder why jhana doesn’t appear at all even though you’re still doing the technique correctly.

Celibacy, keeping 8 precepts well, noble silence is what nourishes your internal energy, making the heat, force strong enough to melt all energetic blockages. For the lay people who get a little taste of jhana, and believe in the process, but fail to progress, probably what kills them is lack of celibacy. When the heat, force, start to build up, the body and mind become virile, health becomes vigorous, and the way lay people respond to this is by trying to get laid or masturbating. When you do that, you lose heat and force. And you never make net progress because you always take one step forward and then one or two big steps backward. And then life ends, what a waste.

Jhana is ridculously easy to do, it just won’t feel like jhana unless you have the patience to work through the (usually painful) process of the energy blockages melting. The way people respond to pain is to start thinking (which kills the passadhi-bojjhanga) or stop samadhi practice altogether thinking it doesn’t work.

Lay people also kill their jhana potential by trying to get laid and/or masturbating. This kills your heat and force, the tools that melt the energetic blockages.

  1. relax, 2. celibacy, 3. noble silence
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Greetings Frankk,
Very interesting post! Of course, I don’t know you, but it comes across like views based on personal experience more so than theoretical speculation. In any case, I’d be interested in hearing your response to a question I have for you.

What, then, would you say about the sexual cultivation of energy? Obviously, very firmly entrenched in the same culture which gave birth to Taiji, what relation would you say it has to the cultivation of jhana? Honestly, I have my own thoughts; but, again, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to hear your views without any interference from my own.

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Besides just following AN 3.16, with alternating 4 postures as needed (instead of sitting all the time), you can really speed up the process of opening blocked energy channels with good exercises.

This is a big topic, so I’m not going to drop too much information and overwhelm you, but I have done meditation, yoga, taiji, qigong, for decades, and I have a lot of experience of what works and doesn’t work. If I’m recommending an excercise, among the millions of options out there, there’s a very good reason for it.

sun salutation:

I would advise those of you practicing brahmacariya, celibacy, in the pure EBT sense (no sex, no masturbation, not even one microsecond of lustful thought), don’t casually browse around on youtube randomly looking at exercise videos on the related videos sidebar. Your best bet is find a youtube video downloader, download the specifically curated videos I’ve recommended. Turn off wireless on your computer/phone most of the time, only turn on wireless when you go at safesites like suttacentral, do only what’s necessary, then turn wireless off, and turn your computer/phone off. Delete your facebook account, keep your phone in airplane mode as much as you can, get the slowest internet connection speed you can get away with. The faster your internet connection, the more you’ll be tempted to consume rich media. The slower and more sluggish your internet, the sooner you want to turn off your computer out of frustration.

This yoga video is really sublime. The guy is doing something that I thought I invented. Yoga tends to only hit orthogonal angles. You can open up your world by adding little twists turns to every yoga pose, and every subsection of several yoga sequence and pose, improvising and hitting angles of body tissue that the standard basic never addresses.

Before and after every sitting meditation, I exercise at least 5 minutes (some combo of yoga, taiji, qigong). In the sun salutation, the one part that I especially spend a lot of extra time on is the upward facing dog portion. In the video, the yogi turns left to right slowly, from the crocodile part before upward facing dog (backbend). I do that too, but I’m more flexible so my range of movement is way more turned than his is. I’m saying this not to brag, but to point out that you can really open the your hatha yoga practice by adding improvised twists and turns and undulations, circles and spirals into the framework. If you do 5 minutes before and after every sit, eventually you’re going to be really flexible.

opening eight extraordinary meridians

This is an excellent way of doing step 3 of 16 APS (anapana). My suggestion to improve this taoist exercise would be don’t force your breath to coordinate exactly with the sequence in the video. Never forget the prime directive of taiji, and passadhi-bojjhanga (pacification awakening factor) - relax (body and mind), every moment all the way, all the time. The main purpose of the sequence is to stop vitakka and vicara (thinking and evaluation), to develop sensitivity to the movement of 4 dhatu experientially, combined with 16 APS, all in a completely relaxed way. Once you’re well versed in that exercise, you can try coordinating inhales and exhales as they suggest, but it’s not important to do that. What melts blocked energy channels is relaxation and noble silence. The exact sequencing of inhale exhale is more of an aesthetic.

neck exercises, especially the turtle (around 6min mark)

When I was young, I had a desk job and got carpal tunnel syndrome. My hands were cold all the time, my wrists hurt, I went to the doctor. This was western medicine’s best strategy: They gave my a wrist brace to wear, and they had a name for the cold hands “renauad syndrome.” What a joke. They named the problem and gave me a extra pad for the mouse pad and a cast to keep my wrist immobile. If my problem was worse they’d probably prescribe painkillers. This was when I started to look seriously into yoga and qigong with earnest. When you’re in pain, you’re motivated.

The neck turns and neck circles are kind of obvious things to do, but the turtle qigong is really sublime, this is the exercise that I swore by, of all the qigong and yoga I ever learned. I didn’t just do it 9 reps in one set, once a day. I did it every hour. I did it every half an hour. And I fixed “renauds syndrome” without drugs, without wearing a stupid cast, by doing the opposite of what western “medicine” prescribed. Instead of immobilize my wrist, I made sure I moved it as much as possible, as well as my neck, my shoulders, my spine, every vertebrae in the spine. When I first try to do the neck exercise, I felt like a mannequin, my spine felt like it was just a single iron bar that could bend slightly. After a few months, my spine felt like two warm iron segments, after a year, 3 segments. After 10 years, I can feel every single vertebrae independently. It took over 10 years to get my hands really warm and comfortable. A big part of the problem was my mostly vegan diet. A meat eater, would probably fix the problem in less than a year doing the qigong I did to fix carpal tunnel and renauds sydrome.

bagua whirlwind palm

I came across this video, I never did this exercise before, but I know its good. Not just good, spectacular. It’s similar to some other exercises I do, but this one is like a superset, it combines stretching, circling, and spiraling motions.


I think the Buddhist analogy would be the difference between EBT understanding of brahmacariya, versus the Tibetan Vajrayana tantric consort “meditation” in which they either visualize or engage a real partner for tantric sex (both partners in seated posture with sex organs penetrating). They were both birthed in Buddhist culture, but not both lead to nirvana.

IMO, if you like tantra or taoist sexual practices, fine, but treat it as it is, a fun thing that worldly people who can’t give up sensual pleasures do. It’s not a spiritual path that will get you anywhere close to Nirvana.

On the energy cultivation aspect, there’s no free lunch in the universe. When there’s even a moment of lust in the mind, you can feel the fire element, force, vibration buzzing in your groin area. It’s a disastrous mistake to think you can redirect that energy back up the spine and retain all the energy, as long as you don’t ejaculate any sexual fluid. Sexual fluid is just one small part of the vital internal energy, and not the most important part. And even if you don’t ejaculate it in an obvious way, it’s dead energy to you at this point. It will get excreted from the body one way or the other. That’s just the physical part. The important energetic part, that’s lost forever. In the short term, like caffeine, it may have the illusion of an energy boost. But if you examine your long term results, it’s disastrous. People who do this will go insane, all kinds of psychological and physiological problems will happen.

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Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. I found it all very well put; and, surprisingly, quite in line with my experiences. I have many more years’ experience with Chinese culture and Chinese arts than I do with Buddhist practices, so, for me, I’m clearer when I conceptualize jhana cultivation in qi terms. So, I thank you for your discourse, as you are the first person I’ve come across discussing it this way–at the very least, so lucidly.


Internal energy is a universal experience. My description is just a testimonial confirming what previous masters of said and experienced. Anyone familiar with those two systems will notice the same connections. But by using the terms heat, force, and luminosity, which are tangible things meditators experience, instead of (ying yang qi jing shen), then people not so familiar with the Traditional chinese medicine terminology can see the connection. heat (tejo) and force (vayo) in EBT terminology, observed in anapansati, observing the properties of the physical body in jhana:
(earth would be what I’m calling “ice”.

MN 62: 4 elements contain physical body

atha kho āyasmā rāhulo
Then *** Ven. Rāhula,
(in the) late-afternoon-time,
paṭisallānā vuṭṭhito
(from his) seclusion (he) emerged,
yena bhagavā ten-upasaṅkami;
**** (to) the-Blessed-One (he) approached;
upasaṅkamitvā bhagavantaṃ
having-approached the-Blessed-One,
abhivādetvā ekam-antaṃ nisīdi.
(he) bowed-down, (at) one-side (he) sat.
ekam-antaṃ nisinno kho āyasmā rāhulo
(at) one side sitting *** Venerable Rāhula
bhagavantaṃ etad-avoca —
{said-this} (to) The-Blessed-One -
“kathaṃ bhāvitā nu kho, bhante,
"{Lord}, How (do I) develop ** ***, *****,
kathaṃ bahulīkatā
how (do I) pursue (it),
mahap-phalā hoti mahā-nisaṃsā”ti?
{to be} of-great-fruit ****, great-benefit?"

1. Earth-property

“yaṃ kiñci, rāhula,
Any thing, ******,
ajjhattaṃ paccattaṃ
internal, within oneself,
kakkhaḷaṃ kharigataṃ
(that's) hard, solid,
& sustained [by craving],
seyyathidaṃ —
such-as :
kesā lomā nakhā dantā taco
head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin,
maṃsaṃ nhāru aṭṭhi aṭṭhimiñjaṃ vakkaṃ
flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys,
hadayaṃ yakanaṃ kilomakaṃ pihakaṃ papphāsaṃ
heart, liver, membranes, spleen, lungs,
antaṃ antaguṇaṃ udariyaṃ karīsaṃ,
large intestines, small intestines, contents of the stomach, feces,
yaṃ vā pan-aññampi kiñci
(or) whatever ** any-other thing
ajjhattaṃ paccattaṃ
internal, within oneself,
kakkhaḷaṃ kharigataṃ
that's hard, solid,
upādinnaṃ —
(and) sustained:
ayaṃ vuccati, rāhula,
This (is) called, ******,
ajjhattikā pathavī-dhātu
(the) internal earth-property.

not-self exercise

yā ceva kho pana ajjhattikā pathavī-dhātu
Now both the internal earth property
yā ca bāhirā pathavī-dhātu,
& the external earth property
Pathavī-dhāturevesā. Taṃ
are simply earth property.
‘n’etaṃ mama,
'this (is) {not} mine,
this I am {not},
na meso attā’ti
this (is) {not} {my} self.’
evametaṃ yathā-bhūtaṃ
Thus as-(it)-actually-is,
sammap-paññāya daṭṭhabbaṃ.”
(with)-right-wisdom (one)-must-see-(it)."
evametaṃ yathā-bhūtaṃ
Thus as-(it)-actually-is,
sammap-paññāya disvā
(with) right-wisdom, (when one) has-seen (it).
pathavī-dhātuyā nibbindati,
(towards the) earth-property (one) becomes-disenchanted,
pathavī-dhātuyā cittaṃ virājeti”.
(regarding the) earth-property, (from the) mind it-fades-away.

2. Water-property

“katamā ca, rāhula, āpo-dhātu?
"What **, ******, (is the) water-property?
āpo-dhātu siyā ajjhattikā,
(the) water-property can-be internal,
siyā bāhirā.
(it) can-be external.
katamā ca, rāhula, ajjhattikā āpo-dhātu?
"What **, ******, (is the) internal water-property?
yaṃ ajjhattaṃ paccattaṃ
Anything internal, belonging-to-oneself,
āpo āpogataṃ upādinnaṃ,
that's water, watery, & sustained:
seyyathidaṃ —
pittaṃ semhaṃ pubbo lohitaṃ sedo medo
bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat,
assu vasā kheḷo siṅghāṇikā lasikā muttaṃ,
tears, oil, saliva, mucus, oil-of-the-joints, urine,
yaṃ vā panaññampi
or anything else
kiñci ajjhattaṃ paccattaṃ
that's internal, within-oneself,
āpo āpogataṃ upādinnaṃ —
that's water, watery, & sustained:
ayaṃ vuccati, rāhula, ajjhattikā āpo-dhātu.
This (is) called, ******, (the) internal water-property.

not-self exercise

yā ceva kho pana ajjhattikā āpo-dhātu
Now both the internal water-property
yā ca bāhirā āpo-dhātu
& the external water-property
Āpo-dhāturevesā. Taṃ
are simply water-property.
‘n’etaṃ mama,
'this (is) {not} mine,
this I am {not},
na meso attā’ti
this (is) {not} {my} self.’
evametaṃ yathā-bhūtaṃ
Thus as-(it)-actually-is,
sammap-paññāya daṭṭhabbaṃ.”
(with)-right-wisdom (one)-must-see-(it)."
evametaṃ yathā-bhūtaṃ
Thus as-(it)-actually-is,
sammappaññāya disvā
(with) right-wisdom, (when one) has-seen (it).
āpo-dhātuyā nibbindati,
(towards the) water-property (one) becomes-disenchanted,
āpo-dhātuyā cittaṃ virājeti.
(regarding the) water-property, (from the) mind it-fades-away.

3. Fire-property

“katamā ca, rāhula, tejo-dhātu?
"{and} what, ******, (is the) fire-property?
tejo-dhātu siyā ajjhattikā,
(The) fire-property may-be-either internal
siyā bāhirā.
or external.
katamā ca, rāhula, ajjhattikā tejo-dhātu?
What **, ****** (is the) internal fire-property?
yaṃ ajjhattaṃ paccattaṃ
Anything internal, belonging to oneself,
tejo tejogataṃ upādinnaṃ,
(that's) fire, fiery, & sustained:
seyyathidaṃ —
yena ca san-tappati
that ** (by which) [the body is] warmed,
yena ca jīrīyati
that ** (by which is) aged,
yena ca pariḍayhati
that ** (by which is) consumed with fever;
yena ca asita-pīta-khāyita-sāyitaṃ
that ** (by which is) eaten, drunk, chewed, & savored
sammā pariṇāmaṃ gacchati,
(and) {goes} (through) proper digestion;
yaṃ vā panaññampi kiñci ajjhattaṃ paccattaṃ
{or} any ** particular thing internal, within-oneself,
tejo tejogataṃ upādinnaṃ —
(that's) fire, fiery, & sustained:
ayaṃ vuccati, rāhula, ajjhattikā tejo-dhātu.
This is-called (The) internal fire-property.

not-self exercise

yā ceva kho pana ajjhattikā tejo-dhātu
Now both (The) internal fire-property
yā ca bāhirā tejo-dhātu
& (The) external fire-property
Tejo-dhāturevesā. Taṃ
are simply fire-property.
‘n’etaṃ mama,
'this (is) {not} mine,
this I am {not},
na meso attā’ti
this (is) {not} {my} self.’
evametaṃ yathā-bhūtaṃ
Thus as-(it)-actually-is,
sammap-paññāya daṭṭhabbaṃ.”
(with)-right-wisdom (one)-must-see-(it)."
evametaṃ yathā-bhūtaṃ
Thus as-(it)-actually-is,
sammappaññāya disvā
(with) right-wisdom, (when one) has-seen (it).
tejo-dhātuyā nibbindati,
(towards the) fire-property (one) becomes-disenchanted,
tejo-dhātuyā cittaṃ virājeti.
(regarding the) fire-property, (from the) mind it-fades-away.

4. Wind-property

“katamā ca, rāhula, vāyo-dhātu?
"{And} what, ******, (is the) wind-property?
vāyo-dhātu siyā ajjhattikā,
(the) wind-property may-be-either internal
siyā bāhirā.
or external.
katamā ca, rāhula, ajjhattikā vāyo-dhātu?
{And} what, ******, (is the) internal wind-property?
yaṃ ajjhattaṃ paccattaṃ
Anything internal, belonging to oneself,
vāyo vāyogataṃ upādinnaṃ,
that's wind, windy, & sustained:
seyyathidaṃ —
uddhaṅgamā vātā,
up-going winds,
adhogamā vātā,
down-going winds,
kucchisayā vātā,
stomach winds,
koṭṭhāsayā vātā,
intestinal winds,
aṅgam-aṅgā-(a)nusārino vātā,
{winds that} {course through}-parts-[and more]-parts [of the body],
assāso passāso,
in-breathing (and) out-breathing,
iti yaṃ vā panaññampi kiñci ajjhattaṃ paccattaṃ
or anything else internal, within oneself,
vāyo vāyogataṃ upādinnaṃ —
that's wind, windy, & sustained:
ayaṃ vuccati, rāhula, ajjhattikā vāyo-dhātu.
This is called (the) internal wind-property.

not-self exercise

yā ceva kho pana ajjhattikā vāyo-dhātu
Now both (the) internal wind-property
yā ca bāhirā vāyo-dhātu
& (the) external wind-property
Vāyo-dhāturevesā. Taṃ
are simply wind-property.
‘n’etaṃ mama,
'this (is) {not} mine,
this I am {not},
na meso attā’ti
this (is) {not} {my} self.’
evametaṃ yathā-bhūtaṃ
Thus as-(it)-actually-is,
sammap-paññāya daṭṭhabbaṃ.”
(with)-right-wisdom (one)-must-see-(it)."
evametaṃ yathā-bhūtaṃ
Thus as-(it)-actually-is,
sammappaññāya disvā
(with) right-wisdom, (when one) has-seen (it).
vāyo-dhātuyā nibbindati,
(towards the) wind-property (one) becomes-disenchanted,
vāyo-dhātuyā cittaṃ virājeti.
(regarding the) wind-property, (from the) mind it-fades-away.

5. Space-property

“katamā ca, rāhula, ākāsa-dhātu?
"{And} what, ******, (is the) space-property?
ākāsa-dhātu siyā ajjhattikā,
(the) space-property may-be-either internal
siyā bāhirā.
or external.
katamā ca, rāhula, ajjhattikā ākāsa-dhātu?
What **, ******, (is the) internal space-property?
yaṃ ajjhattaṃ paccattaṃ
Anything internal, belonging to oneself,
ākāsaṃ ākāsagataṃ upādinnaṃ,
(that's) space, spatial, & sustained:
seyyathidaṃ —
yena ca asita-pīta-khāyita-sāyitaṃ
[the space] whereby-what (is) eaten-drunk-consumed-(&)-tasted
(gets) swallowed,
yattha ca asita-pīta-khāyita-sāyitaṃ
[the space] whereby-what (is) eaten-drunk-consumed-(&)-tasted
yena ca asita-pīta-khāyita-sāyitaṃ
[the space] whereby-what (is) eaten-drunk-consumed-(&)-tasted
Adho-bhāgaṃ nikkhamati,
, (in the) lower-region (is) excreted,
yaṃ vā panaññampi kiñci
{or} any other thing
ajjhattaṃ paccattaṃ
internal, within oneself,
ākāsaṃ ākāsa-gataṃ,
that's space, spatial,
aghaṃ agha-gataṃ,
sky, sky-type,
vivaraṃ vivara-gataṃ,
an-opening, an-opening-type,
maṃsa-lohitehi upādinnaṃ —
flesh-blood, (&) sustained:
ayaṃ vuccati, rāhula, ajjhattikā ākāsa-dhātu.
This is-called, ******, (the) internal space-property.

IMO, and according to my experience, with the practice of taiji one develops more attachment to the body and health.

@frankk, do you believe the power of brahmacariya is related to sperm?

I’m not sure what you’re asking. Sperm in males as opposed to monthly menstruation in females where an egg is lost? Sperm as opposed to sexual fluid emitted in orgasm? Semen and sperm in relation to vasectomies? Whether brahmacariya makes one more fertile and able to produce children more easily?

Would you care to elaborate? What is it about your practice and experience that led you to have the opinion that taiji intrinsically has a quality that would lead to attachment of body and health, compared to any other practice, like yoga, eating health food, any kind of exercise (western, eastern, northern, external, internal…), or even attachment to any of the 4 jhanas?

Well, if the magic is in the retention of sperm — then vasectomied males would automatically benefit. If it’s in the semen instead — then what of females?

BTW, the ‘sun salutation’ (surya namaskara) was invented by Kṛṣṇamacarya in the early 20th century. (Unless of course you believe the story that he discovered it in the famed Yoga Korunta — which, as the story goes, was rather conveniently eaten by ants.)

Almost all of what passes as “yoga” these days is actually an amalgam of international gymnastics. Medieval haṭha yoga was much more concerned with the subtle body, there was no “flowing” gymnastic routines, āsana was merely a preparatory stage to prāṇāyāma (the real hallmark of haṭha).

Practitioners of Chinese arts don’t usually, in my experience, press for TOTAL celibacy; more often, I’ve found recommendations for acceptable frequency of ejaculation scheduled according one’s age. Also, those external factors in one’s life which are conducive to or prohibitive of increasing internal energy tend to fluctuate. Though, perhaps, one were not committed to permanent celibacy, we would expect, then, to see periods when a greater commitment to the practice (i.e., 8 precepts) was required in order to maintain a strong jhana practice; as opposed to other times when lesser commitment would suffice… (This is only speaking of the practice from the energetic point of view we’ve been discussing; obviously, there are other wholesome reasons why one might choose and maintain celibacy which have nothing at all to do with a purposeful cultivation of internal energy.) Can you speak to this from your own experience? Based on some of your other views, I think this would be a novel and possibility enlightening (sorry!) angle from which to approach the whole “jhana and the laity–possible or no? why or why not?” discussion–for me, at least; I can’ t speak for others.
(Obviously, if you’d been strictly practicing the 8 precepts all along, it would probably preclude you from being able to speak much on this.)
Also, lastly, it seems to me, and correct me if I’m wrong, that you’re doing quite a bit of vigorous physical training for one meal a day. How are you able to keep it up?

the magic is in noble silence ( a vitakka a vicara samadhi, no thinking ), brahmacariya in the purest sense (not even a moment of lustful thinking). Doing this 4 hours to 8 hours a day builds up heat and force, melting the energetic blockages, overcoming jhana constipation.

It’s possible to (sexually) orgasm without ejaculating in fluid (both male and female), but obviously one could not attain sexual orgasm without lustful thoughts.

There’s no study I’m aware of, but I’d bet the farm if you studied all the tantric and taoist yoga sexual practitioners (male and female) who can orgasm without ejaculating sexual fluid, doing this frequently thinking they are gaining energy, you’d find instead an alarming rate of psychological and physiological disorders, parkinsons, mental unstability, and even insanity (clincial, not just ordinary person insanity).

that’s an interesting topic for another day, but just briefly, I don’t do vigorous exercise that would have large energy requirements. I might do up to 4 hours of exercise daily, but energetically it’s equivalent to about 4 hours of easy walking with pitisukha, with maybe 15-30min of more elevated heart rate comparable to an old man swimming or jogging relaxed, slowly and easily to contract muscles that woudn’t otherwise from just walking meditation.