May 2008 (Part 2)

SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Bodhisattva Gaun Yin

The Bodhisattva of Great Compassion, Guan Shi Yin Bodh Satt, at the Shaolin Wahnam Centre on the Blue Mountain in Costa Rica

Question 1

During chi flow, my arms become heavier and heavier, and towards the end become lighter. My arms feel like planks of wood when they are heavy, and during chi flow they usually swing like pendulums. My movements are a little bit less vigorous than before, but they still have a large range of motion.

— Navid, USA

Answer

This is an indication of your progress. Being “heavy” and “light” is a manifestation of yin-yang harmony. A good kungfu exponent, for example, can be “heavy” and “light” at the same time. His can be very powerful and fast, or reversely which may not be exactly the same, he can be very fast and yet very powerful.

Many martial artists without exposure to internal force woudl find this hard to comprehand. For most external martial artists, when they wish to be powerful, they become slower as they have to tense their muscles to generate power. When they move fast, they have to relax their muscles, which makes them less powerful.

Your heavy arms swinging like pendulums is quite common in our chi kung or kungfu classes. From here, our kungfu students learn to use this ability to perform their kungfu movements very fast yet very powerfully, and they are not tired even after a few hours. When we mention this ability, many people call us liars. They just could not believe that even we the masters, leaving aside our students, can attain this level.

Such an ability was the privilege of great masters in the past. What these critics believe is their business, but it is irresponsible of them under anonymous names to call us liars without checking their facts. It is therefore heartening to know that by following the instructions in my books faithfully you can have this experience.

Question 2

While practicing “Lifting the Sky” I fell off one time.

Answer

The falling off was due to chi pushing you, and you being relaxed. The push was so powerful that it pushed you off the ground. Although you fell, you were not hurt becuase you were protected by the flowing chi. At a much higher level, this develops into Golden Bell where you can take punches and kicks without sustaining injury.

Sometimes elderly people in our chi kung classes fell down suddenly in their chi flow. Not only they were not hurt, they even enjoyed the falling! Uninformed on-lookers would be worried. In ordinary conditions elderly persons falling could have broken their bones.

Hence, it is very important to practice chi kung in a safe place, like away from glasses, deep drains, and open winders and balconies of tall building. Falling down on the floor while in chi flow is quite safe. But falling onto glasses or deep drains, or through high windows and balconies are a different matter.

Question 3

Perhaps the most interesting part of my progress has to do with some random experiences I've had. I once saw a ladybug on the ceiling of my room, and instead of being annoyed like usual, I felt like the ladybug was my good friend. It was a strange feeling.

I have started to understand that my parents' advice to me is all for my benefit (even though I never really disobeyed them), and I hug them randomly but sincerely, which I think surprises them quite a bit! I went to bed one night and I just uttered out loud “I love you,” but there was not anyone's face pictured in my mind, nor someone's name.

Answer

I am very proud of you, even though I have not met you face to face. Showing your love to your parents is one of the best things any parents would like their children to do. It is also one of the best blessings anyone can cultivate.

While many other people may think you crazy, we in Shaolin Wahnam can understand your behavoiur very well.

Actually it should be the other way round. If someone does not love his parents, others should think something wrong has happened to him. But today society has become so sick and uncaring that if you show love to your parents, or other people, they think something is wrong with you! Similarly, if you are healthy and happy, they think something is wrong with you! They expect you, like most people today, to be sick and depressed!

What you experienced was natural, or Godly. To be happy and healthy, and to love all other creatures is natural. In other words, if all your systems, including your mind, are working the way they are created by Nature, or God, to work, you will be happy, healthy and loving.

Only when one or more of these systems are not working naturally, like when your blood system fails to overcome viruses, your natural enzymes fail to digest sugar, or your heart closes your spirit, you become sick or depressed. When you practice genuine chi kung, you set your energy flow to restore and enhance your natural systems. This was what Taoist masters meant when they said they returned to Nature.

Transmitting Chi

An old photograph showing Grandmaster Wong transmitting chi to Sifu Trever, causing him to enter a chi flow. Sifu Trever who teaches Taijiquan in Australia is one of the earliest students who attended an Intensive Chi Kung Clourse

Question 4

I've also been able to achieve grades in school that even I thought were extremely difficult, even though for the past three years I have always gotten the highest honors academically.

Answer

This is another wonderful benefit of practicing genuine chi kung. You open your heart, which is the Chinese term which includes what in the West would refer to as the emotional, the mental and the spiritual. This results in mental clarity.

Question 5

I have also thought about what you said, regarding myself becoming a Shaolin Kung Fu master. My ultimate goal is to become a Bodhisavatta, and to become a Shaolin Kung Fu master is, I think, an excellent way to get there. If in fact I find that I do not make a very good Shaolin Kung Fu master, then I will find another job and just focus on being a good person.

Answer

Again, many people may think you are crazy when you aspire to be a bodhisattva, but we in Shaolin Wahnam understand you very well and congratulate you on your choice and decision. To be a bodisattva, in this life or in future lives, is one of the most noble aspirations any being can have.

Yes, to be a genuine Shaolin Kungfu master is an excellent way to accomplish this very noble aspiration. Again we are in a very rare minority to have this thought and follow this course of action. Most Shaolin practitioners cannot comprehend any connection between becoming a Shaolin master and becoming a bodhisattva. This is because most Shaolin practitioners today have lost sight of the highest ideal in practicing Shaolin Kungfu.

One does not have to look far to see the validity of this highest Shaolin idea. He only has to look at Shaolin history and Shaolin philosophy.

Historically, when the great Bodhidharma taught the Shaolin monks the Eighteen Lohan Hands, which later developed into Shaolin Kungfu, his main aim was to help them become bodhisattvas, and then attainment Buddhahood. Philosophically, Shaolin Kungfu is for the cultivation of “jing”, “qi” and “shen”, the three compnents that make up any being, and which may be translated as the physical, energy and spirit. The highest spiritual accomplishment is to become bodhisattvas and then realize Buddhahood.

But the practice of Shaolin Kungfu has degraded so much that most Shaolin practitioners today perform external forms for demonstration, or use Kick-Boxing for sparring. They may not be ready or even interested to aspire to the highest spiritual attainment, but they cannot deny that that is the highest aim in Shaolin Kungfu. To deny it shows their ignorance or their implicit admission that theris is not genuine, traditional Shaolin Kungfu.

Question 6

I acknowledge that my ultimate goal may not be achieved in my current life. However, until I find that the profession of a Shaolin Kung Fu master does not suit my and my family's needs, I will strive to become one. The town I live in is small, and unfortunately there is not a single master, even of only kung fu form, who is acceptable.

Answer

There are many levels of Bodhisattvahood, but the fundamental factors are compassion and cosmic wisdom. If you are compassionate and have a clear understanding and experience of Cosmic Reality, you are a bodhisattva. But of course your level of bodhisattvahood is vastly far from that of an established bodhisattva, like the great Bodhisattva Guan Yin.

The bodhsattva path is of course not easy. It calls for great effort and sacrifice. But it is a most noble path. I am very happy that you have chosen it, even at your early age. We in Shaolin Wahnam will give you whatever help we can, as we travel along the same path.

It is no surprise that you do not find any masters in your town that is suitable for your need. Other masters are experts in their fields but may not be in the same path that we have chosen.

Wahnam Taijiquan

Sifu Robin of England and Sifu Jeffrey of Australia practicing Pushing Hands on the Blue Mountain

Question 7

What you described is more accurate, i.e. that a therapist should be able to channel chi for at least an hour. That feels about right to me. At present, I only see a maximum of 3 clients per day, just to be safe. With each client, I channel energy for anywhere from 10-20 minutes. And I think that I am getting better at controlling the energy.

— Sifu Anthony, USA

Answer

Channeling chi to heal patients is common amongst many chi kung therapists during the early part of their healing career, like I did. Gradually, if they are fortunately enough to learn other effective methods, they would use these other methods, like I do too. As I have explained in an earlier e-mail, they are countless methods, but they can be grouped into two main categories — using the healer's chi and using the patient's chi.

I have distilled these countless methods of both categories into a few very simple but effective methods, which you will learn at the Chi Kung Healing Course. Like many things in life, they are bafflingly simple but profoundly effective. These few simple methods have enabled me to help many people overcome so called incurabel diseases.If you feel drained after channeling chi to 3 or 4 persons, that is bad enough. Even if you don't feel drained, it doesn't mean you are not losing energy.

You don't feel the adverse effect because of your own strong chi. But if you do not drain the chi away, you would not only have more vitality but also have a bigger reserve for longevity.

Not only the patient-chi approach helps to conserve your energy, it is actually more effective in overcoming illness than the healer-chi approach. As a rough analogy, instead of constantly giving money to a poor person to help him overcome his economic problems, you help him to generate his own cash flow. Actually it is not just patient-chi approach, but universal-chi approach.

It is more effective in overcoming health problems because once you have helped your patient to start the process, you and your patient let Univeral Chi or God take over. It is you-wei, then wu-wei. Universal Intelligence finds the problems and overcomes them. In the healer-chi approach, overcoming the health problems is a funtion of the healer's intelligence and ability.

Question 8

I am looking for a master who really knows how to use Tai Chi for self-defence. Here are some of their websites. How can I know whether or not those masters know how to use Tai Chi for self defence?

— Ming, Malaysia

Answer

As far as I know, the Tai Chi masters and schools you mentioned do not normally teach Tai Chi Chuan for combat. Indeed very, very few schools in Malaysia or anywhere else in the world today, including in China, teach Tai Chi Chuan as an internal martial art. Most of them teach it as a form of recreation.

Some Tai Chi schools, especially in the West, teach combat application. But unfortunately they do not use Tai Chi Chuan skills or techniques for their combat application; they use other martial techniques like Boxing and Kick-Boxing.

There are a few ways to know whether a Tai Chi Chaun teacher (or a teacher of any kungfu style) can use Tai Chi Chuan (or any kungfu style) for combat. The most obvious, of course, is to see him engaged in combat, such as actual fighting or friendly sparring.

One should note, however, that the issue is not whether he will win, but whether he can use Tai Chi Chuan for combat. In other words, even when he wins but if he uses Kick-Boxing in his fight, then it does not show he can use Tai Chi Chuan for combat. On the other hand, even when he loses but if he uses Tai Chi Chuan in his fight, it shows he knows Tai Chi Chuan combat application.

An indirect way is to see whether his students can use Tai Chi Chuan for fighting. While it is true that it can be possible, though unlikely, that his students can use Tai Chi Chuan for combat but he cannot, it may be a better option, because it is you, the student, who want to be combat efficient in Tai Chi Chuan. Today it is not uncommon that while the teacher is a good fighter, his students do not know how to fight.

Asking a teacher to show you whether he can fight, is both impolite and risky. He may hurt you to teach you a lesson. But politely asking whether his students can demonstrate some combat applications may be permissible. Nevertheless, there are some hitches. Someone may give a good demonstration of combat application but still be unable to fight in a real situation. On the other hand, if a teacher refuses to show, it does not mean he can't. In my young days, when people asked me whether kungfu could be used for fighting, I usually asked them to attack me to find out — not necesarily in an unfriendly manner. Now I usually don't bother.

There are, happily, more civilized ways to find out, but you yourself need to be combat efficient in kungfu to do so. If you have been trained to use Tai Chi Chuan or any other styles of kungfu for combat, you would know whether another person can also do so by watching his performance of some Tai Chi Chuan or other kungfu patterns. It is like if you know how to play football or a musical instrument, you would know whether other persons can also play football or a musical instrument by watching how they handle a football or a musical instrument.

For example, it is obvious to the initiated, though it may not be clear to you, him and his students, that the Tai Chi teacher in the video you showed me, does not know how to use Tai Chi Chuan for self-defence. If a Karate or a Taekwondo black-belt were to attack him, he would be beaten badly.

Notice that in the Pushing Hands demonstration his stance is exposed throughout and his partner's hands are on his body, which means an opponent would easily kick his groin.or strike his chest in real combat. Had they been practicing combnt application, they would have learnt the hard way from direct experience that such weaknesses would cause them many hits.

Notice also the way the teacher pushes his students. His back foot is lifted, causing him to be uprooted, and he pushes like splashing water upward in a sea. The students are pushed back not by his force but by the students jumping back themselves.

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