July 2004 (Part 3)

SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Immortal Li

A painting of Immortal Li, taken from a Chinese book, “Stories of the Eight Immortals”

Question 1

In his book “The Magus of Java”, a Greek engineer named Kosta Danaos:details his experiences with Sifu John Chang, the grandmaster of a gongfu/neikung lineage. Telepathy, telekinesis, communication with the dead, and remote viewing are all discussed.

To my knowledge, Danaos has not yet been able to stage public, carefully observed demonstrations of Sifu Chang's abilities, despite his agreement to do so. Is this merely a fraud, or the inevitable leak of ancient powers so carefully kept hidden for centuries? Is this embellishment for profit? If so, it certainly doesn't appear to be. Yet there are claims made that I simply cannot come to grips with.

— Paul, USA

Answer

I have not read “The Magus of Jave”, nor met Masters John Cheng and Kosta Danaos. Thus, I cannot verify whether what Master Kosta Danaos have claimed are true or not.

But I can say that telepathy, telekinesis, communication with the dead, and remote viewing are true. Due to difference in culture, most people in the West, understandably, may not believe in these abilities.

As Master Kosta Danaos is an engineer, it is unlikely he would risk his reputation or even his professional career if his claims are not true. Please remember that he does not have any obligation to prove these claims to you or anybody. It is already kind of him to reveal these secrets. If other people do not believe them, it is their business, not his.

If you want to find out about these arcane abilities, you should see him. You must bear in mind two important points. One, you must approach him respectfully. You must never approach him with the attitude of testing him. Two, even if you are extremely polite, he may not want to show you. You must respect that as his right.

Question 2

Reading “The Magus of Java” was a difficult experience for me. I am not a religious person, but this does not make me lack spirituality, nor does it make me a hopeless skeptic. However, Sifu Chang's “discussion” with “God” and the examination of various “sentient beings” both put my suspension of disbelief to the test.

Phenomena such as the manifestation of Kosta's si-gung in “spirit” form are equally incredulous. The Taoist concept of “Hsien”, immortal “men of the mountains”, seems to have been taken much too far. I always read this concept allegorically in Chuang-Tzu and the Tao Te Ching. I simply cannot come to terms with these claims after nineteen years of exposure to nothing but Western “science”.

Answer

Just because you and other people have not experienced or understood some phenomena does not mean that the phenomena cannot be true. There are many things you and most Western people have not experienced, or even heard of. And some of these things are not even mystical.

Take chi for example. Many Westerners have never heard of chi, and some Taiji masters do not believe in chi, although chi actually forms the core of Taijiquan. Another example is using kungfu patterns for combat — something that kungfu exponents did for centuries. But many kungfu students and some kungfu masters today do not believe that kungfu patterns can be used for combat. This is ridiculous but true!

Actually what we at Shaolin Wahnam practice and experience everyday is incredible to many people. We generate energy flow, we spar for hours in Shaolin Kungfu and Wahnam Taijiquan without feeling tired, we enjoy our work and play, and we feel peaceful and happy with ourselves and with others. Sometimes, we see our Original Face. In Western terms we are with God, or whatever term one may use for the Supreme Reality. Make no mistakes about these statements. We are not under any illusion, and we mean what we say.

If you just read over the above paragraph, you may not fully realize the incrediable things we do. But if you compare them with what most people today do and experience, you may be surprised at the contrast. Most people have energy blockage (instead of energy flow), become tired and panting easily (instead of not feeling tired), dread their work and have no time to play (instead of enjoying them), are habitually stressful and depressed (instead of feeling peaceful and happy), and regard the mention of God or spirituality as queer (instead of being intuitively aware of cosmic reality).

Gods and immortals (hsien) are real — not allegorical. Some people may think I am crazy, but I have spoken with gods and immortals! They have helped me and have been very kind to me, for which I am forever grateful.

Question 3

Now, I must admit that I have seen qigong/Chinese medecine work wonders. A friend of my girlfriend's family was told by doctors she would NEVER walk again after an African parasite attacked her spinal column. She woke up one morning unable to move. Now, with the help of the brilliant Dr. Gwo (spelling unsure) and his acupuncture/acupressure, she is able to lift her legs and is regaining feeling.

Similarly, another acquaintance was suffering from severe pain attacks because of multiple sclerosis, but is nowmonths without a SINGLE PAIN after undergoing one session of Chinese acupressure. In terms of affecting the natural world, you have been said to demonstrate parting of the clouds through chi projection over distances.

Answer

Teaching people to use qigong (chi kung) to overcome pain and illness is part of my daily work. I have helped literally hundreds of people — those who were told by conventional doctors that their pain and illness cannot be cured. My students, who have become instructors, also have similar incredible results.

There were people who came with clutches or on wheelchairs, then threw away their clutches and wheelchairs after just a few days of qigong training. There were people who had been on pain-killers and anti-depression pills for years, then threw away their pills. There were people who had been told they had to be on medication for life, or had only a few months to live, but they fully recovered after practicing qigong. Many would call such cases miraculous, but to us they were quite expected.

It is understandable that many people, especially in the West, may not believe these claims. Many may not even have heard of qigong. On the other hand, much of qigong practiced today has lost its essence and has degraded into gentle external exercise, which of course is very different from genuine qigong in effects although their external forms are similar. Hence, the public today general think of qigong as gentle exercise.

This is regrettable, and understandably many people do not believe so-called incurable diseases, like chronic pain, diabetes, asthma, cancer and depression, can be cured. Most people do not even have the opportunity to hear of this possibility, though I myself have helped many students overcome such so-called incurable diseases.

Some people asked me to prove that qigong worked before they wanted to learn from me. This was understandable if they had been disappointed and even cheated so many times by bogus or inferior qigong teachers. The irony is that they need my help, not I theirs. As my schedule is very tight, I don't have time for such people. If they want proof, which is actually plentiful, they can check with those whom I have helped. The onus is on them to find out for themselves, not on me to bring proof to their doorstep.

Chi Kung

Students enjoyed a chi flow during a Shaolin Wahnam chi kung class in London in 2003, while Sifu Wong looked on. Practicing chi kung is an excellent way to overcome pain.

Question 4

I am having a crisis of faith. I do not know what to believe in, nor who is telling the truth. I don't know whether to move faster and with greater dedication towards the internal arts. Will immense benefits only be possible if I make these oriental sciences my profession?

Answer

The Buddha advises that one should not accept any teaching based on blind faith but assess it basing on his or her understanding and experience. That is not to say one should not have faith.

But, as in the case of most Westerners, your problem is not related to faith but to intellectualization. If you wish to find out whether internal arts produce the results they are purported to give, don't just sit in your house to read about and argue over internal arts, but go out and practice a genuine internal art from a competent teacher. The art must be genuine and the teacher competent. Naturally if you practice a bogus art or from an incompetent teacher, you will not get the desired results. Yet many people don't do this. They just complain and talk.

In any endeavor, be it in ancient oriental sciences like spiritual cultivation or modern western arts like business administration, or even in your daily work, immense benefits are possible only if you have perseverance and dedication, whether you pursue your endeavor as a profession or a hobby.

Question 5

Are “hsien” a rare reality or something contrived to create book sales and capitalize on the current popularity of all things Asian? Do spirits really linger — and if so, do they remain more sentient if their yang chi is carefully cultivated and preserved during their physical lifetime?

Answer

“Hsien” or immortals are real, and I am speaking from personal experience. Of course, although there are countless of them in their own world of immortals, we ordinary mortals do not see them on the streets like we see cars, simply because immortals and we mortals exist in two different worlds. For us, meeting an immortal is a rare, golden opportunity, just as it is extremely rare for an immortal to see what is to us an ordinary car.

Some spirits linger, but most don't. They have their own business to do, and are generally not interested in the phenomenal world of humans.

I do not understand your question about yang chi and being sentient. There are great varieties of spirits. Spirits of dead persons generally have ying chi. These ying spirits wander in the lower worlds. If a person cultivates his chi as well as his karma during his physical life, his spirit will be yang. After physical death, he will be with yang spirits in higher worlds.

Question 6

I have an infection in the lymph node at my inner thigh. Qigong has helped me deal with these minor inconveniences — but what else can it do?

Answer

Qigong can do countless other things — some prosaic and others outlandish, some harmful and others beneficial

The most prosaic as well as the most important thing qigong can do is to ensure that you are alive. Amongst countless other tasks, the qi (chi) derived from qigong (chi kung) training digests the food you ate, clears out toxic waste and harmful microorganisms from your body, keeps you warm, enables you to walk and talk, and maintains the normal functioning of all your cells, tissues, organs and systems.

At the outlandish range of its possibilities, qigong may enable you to see your past, know the future, astral travel to a distant land, communicate with spirits and gods, and attain the highest spiritual development.

On the other hand, if you practice qigong incorrectly, it may aggravate your sickness, or make you nervous, fearful or aggressive. If you practice gentle exercise but think it is qigong, which is actually very common today, it will add to your confusion, and you may think that genuine qigong masters who share their secrets, are crazy or lying.

Sparring

Rama, a Wahnam Taijiquan instructor of Costa Rica, and Jorge, a Wahnam Taijiquan instructor of Spain, practiced free sparring at the Costa Rica Shaolin Wahnam Centre, while in the background Raffael (a Shaolin Wahnam chi kung instructor of Columbia) practiced combat application with an imaginary opponent and Piti (also a Shaolin Wahnam chi kung instructor of Columbia) enjoyed himself in Standing Meditation. Shaolin Wahnam practitioners can spar for a few hours without feeling tired because they employ appropriate breathing methods.

Question 7

I´ve been training Northern Shaolin Chuan for 5 years. But my teacher never told me about breathing. He told us to use the nose only and silently while performing a set in 13 seconds. From your page I think that there must be a special way of breathing. Should I put the air in the chest (contracting dantien) or in the dantien? What happens with the qi?

— Dr Sadi, Argentina

Answer

There are special ways of breathing while performing a set or other kungfu movements like force training or sparring. These special ways need to be learnt personally from a competent teacher, otherwise the risk of injury may be high. Unfortunately, these breathing methods are generally lost today.

But we in Shaolin Wahnam are very lucky to have these methods still. This is one main reason why our students can spar for a few hours yet do not feel tired.

Most teachers use natural breathing, which is actually one of the many ways of breathing in kungfu, and it is the most common way. This was what your teacher taught.

In natural breathing, there are two main approaches, called the scholars' approach and the warriors' approach. In the scholars' approach, one breathes in and out through the nose, and the mouth is gently close. Some Taiji practitioners use this approach.

In the warriors' approach, one breathes in through the nose and breathes out through the mouth. The mouth, therefore, is gently open. Most Shaolin practitioners and many Taijiquan practitioners use the warriors' approach. I would recommend that you also use this approach.

As you use the natural breathing method, you should not worry about whether you put the air in your chest or abdominal dan tian. Otherwise you may have harmful side-effects. Just breathe naturally, which means you do not even think about the breathing at all. This will be safe, even if at times you make some mistakes.

Breathing into the chest is used in Cosmos Breathing, which is different from ordinary chest breathing, whereas breathing into the abdomen is used in Abdominal Breathing. Both Cosmos Breathing and Abdominal Breathing can be used to generate a Small Universal or Big Universal Chi Flow. All these are advanced chi kung exercises, and should be attempted only under the supervision of a competent instructor.

Question 8

I am 1.77 cm tall and my weight is 96 kg. I use to run or go biking. My waist is 105 cm and chest and shoulders 120 cm. But I could not lower my weight. Should I try another martial art? (My teacher suggested sumo.)

Answer

Unlike in orthodox Western thinking, in chi kung philosophy losing excess weight is not the effect of vigorous exercise, but of your hormones working properly. In other words, you are still massive not because you have not exercised sufficiently but because your hormones have not converted the excess fat into energy.

The wonderful thing is that in chi kung you do not even need to know what hormones are involved. What you need to do is to generate an internal energy flow. When you have experienced sufficient energy flow to clear enough energy blockages for your energy flow to be harmonious, you will have the right hormones to digest the excess fat. This may sound like a fairy tale, but it is true.

It sounds incredible only when we try to impose Western concepts like hormones and fat on a different paradigm. It is like forcing the use of Spanish grammar like conjugation and tenses onto a language like Chinese which uses a different grammar and where conjugation and tenses are not relevant.

In the chi kung paradigm, hormones and fat are irrelevant. The basic principle is very simple, and can be summarized as “when energy flow is harmonious, yin-yang balance is restored.” Yin-yang balance has countless manifestations. In your case, and in Western terms, it means you have the right shape and weight for optimum life maintenance.

LINKS

Overview of the Questions-Answers Series

Selected Reading

Courses and Classes