March 2002 (Part 3)

SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Three-Circle Stance

Sifu Wong demonstrating the Three-Circle Stance

Question 1

I wanted to ask you a question about something in the Art of Chi Kung. In it you mention the Chinese believe in higher beings. I think there might be a similar belief in Tibet, though I think the Tibetans also believe some of these beings come into a human body. Some friends have said to me that a lama is a higher being. Have you heard of this?

— Michael, USA

Answer

When I mentioned “higher beings” in my book, “The Art of Chi Kung”, I was referring to astral beings who were at a higher stage of spiritual development than humans, such as gods, immortals, devas, brahmas and budhisattvas. Humans normally cannot see them although they are all around us because they vibrate at higher frequencies than what human eyes can perceive.

A lama is a spiritual teacher in Tibetan or Vajrayana Buddhism. Although he is at a high stage of spiritual development — higher than most ordinary people — he is still a human. As such I would not regard him as a higher being in the context I used the term in my book — just as I would not regard his counter-parts in other religions, like a Christian priest, a yoga guru or a Mahayana monk, as higher beings.

But words are used provisionally. When your friends said that a lama was a higher being, their reference point probably was not comparing the developmental stage between human beings and divine beings, but between different human beings. If we compare a lama or a priest with a layperson, the lama or the priest is a higher being.

On the other hand, exceptional laypersons can be very highly developed — higher than lamas and priests, and sometimes even higher than gods! These exceptional humans might be bodhidattvas or even buddhas, and they chose to reincarnate (i.e. their reincarnation was due to their own choice and not due to karma) in this human world to help humans.

The Buddha is a shinning example. Earlier he was a bodhisattva in Tushita Heaven, and about two and a half millennia ago he chose to reincarnate as Sidharta Guatama in our world to help suffering humanity. Christ is another shinning example. Earlier he was the prophet Elijah. Two millennia ago he reincarnated as Jesus to save the world.

Question 2

I have been afflicted with an auto-immune illness called transverse myelitis which left me with four weak limbs and muscle spasms. I am confined to a wheel-chair. I am currently on physio-therapy and I am practicing meditation on a daily basis. I am reading your book, “The Art of Chi Kung”, but I am not able to perform the exercises given. I have been reading your web-site. Since it is difficult for me to travel to your place, I will be very grateful if you could do distant-healing for me. I will be happy to pay for your service.

— Chan, Singapore

Answer

Transmitting chi to you is only an ad-hoc measure. By itself it is not sufficient to overcome your health problem.

You will be happy to know that I have helped a few people, who were previously confirmed to wheel chairs, to overcome their problem and be able to walk normally again. And I have helped even more people who had been told by specialists that they would be on wheel chairs in the near future, to be healthy again without the need of the wheel chairs.

Nevertheless, the patient must be able to stand up with some support at least for some time to practice the chi kung I have taught them. The experience of those patients who already were on wheel chairs, was generally as follows.

At first they could stand for only 2 or 3 minutes. Then they progressed to standing for about 5 minutes. After two or three months they could stand for about 15 minutes to complete the whole chi kung training session.

I would then teach them to walk a few steps with support. Then the support was taken away, and they walked without support for a few minutes. Gradually they lengthened the time of their standing and walking.

I would then ask them to destroy their wheel chairs, clutches or any aids. They should not keep them or give them to handicapped people. This was a crucial point in their recovery. They must destroy the wheel chairs, clutches or any other aids. They must made this symbolic as well as physical break, and have the confidence in themselves that they would never need wheel chairs, clutches or any aids again.

Without their wheel chairs, clutches, or other aids, initially it would be very difficultfor them. Much of the time they had to be sitting down. But they had to practice walking many, many times every day on their own without any help from anyone or any support from any tools.. They could be clumsy at first, but there would be no pain; their chi kung training would have cleared the pain away.

I am proud to say that everyone who followed my advice recovered and be able to walk normally within a year. But not everyone who learned chi kung from me followed my advice. Two or three did not believe in me and themselves. They fell back on their wheel chairs or clutches, and never recovered. That made me very sad because I was sure they could recover.

If I did not sincerely believe a patient had at least 80% chance of recovery, I would never have taken his case. It would be unethical and sinful to deny him, at least for a few months, the chance of seeking a better healer elsewhere who might help him recover.

On the other hand, some of the best moments in my life were spent helping people to walk normally again after they had been told by specialists they would be in wheel chairs for life. For example, a young woman was literally run over by a truck. Doctors said she was very lucky to survive but had to be in a wheel chair for life. I helped her to walk out of hospital, albeit with much difficulty, within a month of practicing chi kung learnt from me! It was unbelievable but true. She was back to normal in sic months.

Another young woman was due to undergo a surgical operation in a week's time, after which she had to be in a wheel chair for two years, and then on clutches for a year. When she came to my Personalized Chi Kung Course (meant only for her) she was in pain and could hardly stand. There was insufficient bone density in her legs to support her weight. After the first day the pain disappeared. At the completion of the course after three days, she walked home unaidded, gracefully and painfree. Again this is unbelievable but true.

Question 3

Having seen the details of the intensive chi kung course, what concerns me is that the course fee has increased from US$600 (1 or 2 years ago) to US$1000. Inflation rates have not increased that much, my friend. I think that US$1000 is a bit unreasonable and in my case, unaffordable. What has caused this big jump in your course fee and can I take this course at the old price - US$600?

— Ng, Malaysia

Answer

You are mistaken about the rise in fee of my Intensive Chi Kung Course. It has been US$1000 for many years. Despite inflation, the fee has not been raised. You may have been confused with the fee of some chi kung classes I used to teach in Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere. The quality and nature of my Intensive Chi Kung Course and these chi kung classes are vastly different.

Moreover, if you are not satisfied with the course, you do not have to pay the fee. All you need to say is that you are not satisfied, and there will be no questions asked.

It may be of interest for you to know that your chi kung teacher is not your peer but at least one level, usually many levels, above you. If you intend to treat your chi kung teacher as your friend (quoted from “Inflation rates have not increased that much, my friend”) you should not learn from him, because you simply lack the humble attitude to benefit from the heart-to-heart transmission of skills from master to student in an internal art like chi kung. So please don't waste your money and my time.

Three-Circle Stance

A Yi Jin Jing class in Spain in a state called “Flowing Breeze and Swaying Willows” after practicing the exercise “Flicking Fingers”

Question 4

I need your advice urgently. What can I do to improve my skills quickly so that I can control a person without hurting him? My father-in-law is threatening violence on my family, especially my wife. It is difficult to ignore him especially when he has a history of violence. I want to protect my family, especially my wife, but without hurting him because he is still my elder and my father-in-law.

— Wan, Singapore

Answer

There is no short-cut to skill. It is acquired through consistent practice.

Nevertheless, for your situation you may try the following. Get a tennis ball. Grip the ball with one hand, press and release 300 times. Then practice with the other hand. This forms one training session. Train at least 5 sessions a day.

When your father-in-law attacks anyone violently, grip one or both of his upper arm with your trained grip or grips. You may grip him from the front or from behind. It is better to grip from behind. Grip in such a way that your thumb and other fingers sink deep into his biceps. The pain will minimize his ability to do harm, at least for a time being, but it does not hurt him seriously. If it hurts badly, ask him to massage his biceps.

Question 5

I read about using energy from the cosmos channeled through you to heal others. The writer mentions that it is actually easier to heal others than to heal yourself. Basically it amounts to generating energy flow from the cosmos into you, then feeling love you visualize the energy flowing in a complete stream from the cosmos through you into the patient.

— Alex, USA

Answer

I disagree with the writer's view. Healing others not only calls for proper training but also heavy responsibility.

To suggest that an untrained person can heal others easily by merely visualizing energy flow from the cosmos through him to the patient, is both unethical and irresponsible. To do so after reading it from a book is not only being naive but also insulting to healers, including doctors, tacitly implying they were fools, having spent many years to be trained in what may be acquired from reading some information in less than five minutes.

For a trained person who can generate energy, which has to be learnt from a qualified teacher and not from mere reading, healing himself is easier than healing others. Basically, if he can generate an energy flow in his body and practices sufficiently (generally everyday for a few months), he can heal himself, irrespective of the name conventional doctors give to the illness according to its symptoms!

This may be unbelievable but true. This is exactly what has happened to many people who learned chi kung from me. Why is this so? Because in the chi kung paradigm there is only one illness called yin-yang disharmony, and it is caused by disharmonious energy flow. Once you restore harmonious energy flow, you restore yin-yang harmony.

To heal others by channeling energy, the healer has to know many things. He has to know the meridian system well. He has to diagnose the patient correctly so that he knows where the energy blockage is. He himself must be strong in energy, otherwise he may drain himself or receives back-flow of negative energy from his patient. He must channel the energy correctly, otherwise it may aggravate the illness.

There is a saying in Chinese culture that “a healer (including a doctor) has the heart of a parent”, i.e. he treats his patients with the same care and concern he treats his own children. Channeling energy to another person who is already suffering from pain or illness without knowing what the energy will do to him, but merely to satisfy one's ego of being able to heal, is unethical and irresponsible.

Question 6

I understand every skill should come when that skill can be done correctly. When could I learn a skill such as this?

Answer

Unless you wish to become a healer, which would require many years of training under a master, you should not learn a skill which you are unlikely to use competently. You should spend the time on more worthwhile things.

Don't be fooled by people who tell you that you can learn in a few days how to tap energy from the cosmos and channel it to people to heal any disease. If this were true, there would not be so many sick people.

Nevertheless, anyone with strong energy and a good heart can help to relieve pain. For example, if a child sustains a bruise, you can rotate your hand above his bruise. Your energy, if it is strong enough, may help to disperse his energy blockage at the bruise and clear away the pain. Or, when a child cries, you can gently pat him on his back. The energy from you palm may disperse the locked emotional energy at his heart or lungs, and bring him comfort.

Wahnam Taijiquan

Sifu Wong performing a pattern from Wahnam Taijiquan called "Immortal Waves Sleeves"

Question 7

Also, you mention the importance of mind in training. Mind is the highest level. At some point, should I start doing Standing Zen longer and longer. And even doing Sitting Zen?

Answer

Yes, as you become more advanced you can remain at Standing Zen longer and longer. Later you can practice Sitting Zen. You can attempt Sitting Zen on your own but you would get more benefits by learning from a master.

Question 8

Please understand I don't plan to do any of these things anytime soon. I am just wondering where I stand. I want to get the best out of everything I do. I would also like to some day learn to help others who may be ill.

Answer

It is good philosophy to want to get the best out of everything you do. Aiming for excellence is a mark differentiating the exceptional from the average.

Chi kung masters throughout the centuries have given good advice how to do this. And it is to practice your chi kung everyday and to enjoy your practice, without worrying about the result or even worrying whether you are practicing correctly.

You are in an excellent position to do so. Having attended my Intensive Chi Kung Course you have acquired some of the best chi kung skills and techniques. You also have reported some excellent results. Just keep up your daily practice.

When you are more advanced, you may consider to become a Shaolin Wahnam chi kung instructor. You will then help many people, not just to overcome illness but to live rewarding lives.

Question 9

Are the practices of Taijiquan compatible with the Yi Jin Jing, the tendon changing practices associated with Shaolin? I am studying with a teacher who says it's OK to practice both systems at the same time, but it seems to me that the isometric muscle tightening of the Yi Jin Jing would tend to counteract the high degree of “sung” (relaxed and supple structural alignment) required for the correct performance of true martial Taijiquan.

— Brad, USA

Answer

I would like to answer your question at different levels, which will also show the profundity of Taijiquan and Yi Jin Jing.

At the lowest level, Taiji and Yi Jin Jing are incompatible. This is the level where most of the Taiji and Yi Jin Jing practitioners are located. Here, Taiji forms are performed gently and gracefully, whereas Yi Jin Jing exercises are performed isometrically. As you have said, the isometric muscle tightening of Yi Jin Jing will be counter-productive to the “sung” or relaxed, supple structural alignment of Taiji.

At a higher level where Taijiquan is practiced as a martial art, and where Yi Jin Jing is practiced as internal force training (and not as isometric exercise), they are mutually compatible. The movements of Taijiquan are not just relaxed and supple, they are also powerful. On the other hand, Yi Jin Jing movements are not just powerful, they are also relaxed and supple! Indeed, if one is not relaxed and supple when practicing Yi Jin Jing, he is likely to hurt himself internally.

It is a common mis-conception to think of Yi Jin Jing as isometric exercise, which is physical exercise. In a recent Yi Jin Jing class in Spain, having developed internal force from practicing just one Yi Jin Jing exercise (Flicking Fingers) for just 12 times in a training session of about 15 minutes, a woman told the class that she felt she had enough power in her palms to fell an able-bodied male. Isometric exercise could not generate this type of power in 15 minutes; it was generated from a training of energy and mind.

Yet, although the two arts are compatible, a Taijiquan practitioner does not need to practice Yi Jin Jing. He can develop as much power as well as other benefits by practicing internal force training methods which are already found in Taijiquan, such as “Three-Circle Stance”, “Lifting Water” and “Cloud Hands”. His training time will be better spent in these methods because they also give him other benefits which are more conducive to Taijiquan.

Nevertheless, at the highest level it does not really matter whether a Taijiquan master practices Yi Jin Jing or other Taijiquan force training methods. The methods are just means, and at his level the master can use any means to achieve his purpose. Yet, choosing Yi Jin Jing would give him at edge over choosing the other Taijiquan methods. Why? Relatively speaking, the other methods are “soft”, whereas Yi Jin Jing is “hard”. This “hard” aspect will complement the “soft” aspect of Taijiquan.

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