SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
JANUARY 2012 PART 2

Maitreya Buddha

Maitreya Buddha - the Buddha who will bring laughter to the world. Picture reproduced from http://kokcisiong.blogspot.com/2010/10/buddha-maitreya-buddha-penyelamat.html

Question 1

What about the coming of Maitreya Buddha. When will the next Buddha come on this earth?

— Ahsun, UK

Answer

No one knows exactly when will the next Buddha, Maitreya Buddha, come to our world. The Buddha of our era, Sakyamuni Buddha (also known as Guatama Buddha), announced that the next Buddha would be Maitreya Buddha who would come at a time when the world reached a decadent period of spirituality, and the coming Buddha would bring an era of laughter. But Sakyamuni Buddha did not mention exactly when the next Buddha would come.

Question 2

I am taking part in the Ten-Tiger Tournament but my reason for taking part is not so much the sparring and to see how far I can get which is a big challenge by its self, but because I have an anxiety about performing in front of a crowd. It's the same if I was to do a public speech. The anxiety cripples me. You might recall at the graduation dinner I was a bag of nerves and could hardly speak. So this is an attempt to face the anxiety. Sifu, do you think this is a good move on my part considering I haven't been practicing long and don't have the benefit of weekly classes so have little opportunity to spar with any one?

— Brendan, Ireland


Editorial Note : Brendan's questions were received before the Ten-Tiger Tournament of 2011, but due to a long waiting list, they are released only now.

Brendans other questions can be found at January 2012 Part 1 .

Answer

Yes, it is an excellent move not only to take part in the Ten-Tiger Competition but to prepare well for it. Amongst many other benefits, you will overcome your anxiety problem.

You are qualified to enter the competition. As you will be sparring with Family members who genuinely care for you, you are spared the fear of being badly hit. This, of course, does not mean you could relax your defence. But it means that even if you fail to defend, the strikes would not be damaging.

Defence against Shoot

We would avoid hurting an opponent as best as possible, but if it is absoultely necessary we must not be afraid to do so, like in this smashing the head of an opponent as he shoots

Question 3

If you think I should spar in the Ten Tiger Tournament could you please give me some advice on how to prepare for it? Thank you, Sifu.

Answer

There are two aspects of your training for the competition. Firstly, you should develop your internal force. This is the aspect that many martial artists neglect. They wrongly think that what they need to win is fighting techniques. Actually in a fight, force is more important than techniques. You should spend at least 10 minutes a day on stance training. The Three-Circle Stance will be a good choice.

Secondly, practice your 12 Taijiquan combat sequences. If you are short of time, or if you haven't learnt all the 12 combat sequences, then practice the 4 combat sequences in Old Eagle Catches Snake. Many people may find it hard to believe, but if you practice these 4 sequences well, you can handle any attack, except if you are already being pinned on the ground. When an opponent attacks you in the competition or in a real fight, just respond as you have practiced, and continue the sequence even when he hesitates or has stopped.

To inspire you, I shall tell you a real story. Before he settles down on the Blue Mountain with his lovely wife, your sipak, Rama, was a wandering Taoist with little or no opportunities to practice sparring with live partners. He asked me for advice. I told him to practice his stance training and his Taijiquan forms, which incorporate combat sequences. The effectiveness of this training method was soon proven.

In Colombia he threw a Shaolin monk many feet away when the monk attacked him with a ferocious flying kick during a sparring match. In Ecuador he could have decisively struck the eyes and throat of a well-known master many times during sparring, but Rama didn't do it because many of the master's students were present. I knew this incident very well because I was also present.

Being pinned on the ground is unlikely to happen in our full-contact no-hold barred competition because the competitors know full well that if they try to do so, they would just hand their defeat to the opponents. Before an opponent can pin you on the ground, he has to take you down. While he attempts to do so, just tap him on the head and you will win the match.

In a real fight you could break his skull with a palm strike. If you do not have sufficient force yet, you could poke two fingers into his eyes or tear his throat or groin. But of course you are not going to do that even in a real fight, unless it is absolutely necessary, in which case you must. We are compassionate, but if we are forced into a situation where we have to kill or maim, we must have the courage to do so.

Such a situation almost occurred in our school a few years ago when a martial art teacher of another school publicly insulted us saying that our defence would be useless against his shoot. He openly challenged us to a match, which we accepted. Our defenders would have to smash their palms onto his head when he shot, like smashing bricks, which would maim or even kill him. If our defenders held back their strikes, he would take our defenders down and make a mockery of all we had done and said. Forced into such a situation, we would not hesitate to hurt. Fortunately he withdrew the challenge.

But usually conditions are not as drastic, and you need not break his head or tear his throat or groin. You may pull him to fall forward with his face on the ground or your elbow at the back of his neck. like what you learned at the "Taijiquan against Other Martial Arts" course. Even if he succeeds in pinning you down, you could flick him over like what you practiced at the course.

Question 4

You told me in February to practice Flicking Fingers of Sinew Metamorphosis every day to overcome fear and anxiety, and I have and will continue to unless you tell me otherwise. I have noticed since I've started the Shaolin Arts two years ago that the anxiety has lessoned or gone completely in certain areas of my life. So thank you, Sifu, so much.

Answer

Besides helping you to overcome fear and anxiety, Flicking Fingers has many other benefits. You may continue this exercise if you like, or you can change to other exercises.

Four Gates at Cross-Roads

"Four Gates at Cross-Roads" is the fundamental set at the southern Shaolin Temple

Question 5

Recently during my Tai Chi Chuan practice while practicing Lifting Water I was in a lovely peaceful state and the word "arrogant" came to mind. Is this something I need to work on, if so how, or do I just not worry about it?

Answer

Follow the three golden rules of practice, i.e. don't worry, don't intellectualize and enjoy your practice.

That situation may or may not be related to your practice of Lifting Water. Irrespective of whether there is or isn't any relationship, don't worry about it, which includes not working on it.

If it had any relationship, it might (or might not) be the chi flow from your practice clearing out some negative emotion of arrogance from you. If it had no relationship, it could (or could not) be you just happened to thank of that word at that moment. Whatever it is, forget about this incident and continue enjoying your practice.

Question 6

While in Chi flow on another day I started to do the Drunken Eight Immortals and I couldn't get over the great sense of freedom and gratitude that I felt. I still find it amazing that martial arts teach you life skills, gives you a feeling of freedom and gratitude that I can't even describe, which makes me feel the best I have ever felt in my entire life.

Monkey forms are starting to come back into my chi flows. It was these Monkey forms that sparked my interest in Kung Fu. I had no interest in the Kung Fu side of the arts until then. Now I can't get enough.

Answer

Enriching our lives as a result of practicing our kungfu is a hallmark of our school. It is also a hallmark of great kungfu like Shaolin and Taijiquan.

Unfortunately many Shaolin and Taijiquan practitioners today miss such beautiful benefits. They even miss basic benefits like using their arts for self-defence and for promoting health. One of the principal aims of our school is to restore such beautiful benefits.

You feel free because you have opened your heart, setting your spirit free. Someone whose heart is close would not feel free. You feel grateful because you are healthy and contented. Someone who is unhealthy and avaricious would not feel gratitude.

The Drunken Eight Immortals set and the Monkey set are specially efficacious in deriving freedom and gratitude. The sets manifest the characteristics of immortals, who are free and happy, and of monkeys, which are playful and cheeky.

Instructors of Shaolin Wahnam Ireland

Sifu Joan Browne, Chief Instructor of Shaolin Wahanm Ireland , and Grandmaster Wong with other instructors and assistant. Standing from left: Sifu Padraig Shanahan, assistant Instructor Maria Sullivan, Sifu Mark Hartnett, and Assistant Instructor Gregg Hartnett.

Question 7

Sifu, I don't know what it is I have done in my life to deserve to be your student. All I can say is I am very, very grateful to you and the effort you put into preserving these great arts.

Thank you Sifu for having Sije Joan teaching these great arts, for Sije is a great inspiration, kind and compassionate, and is always there when I need some advice and guidance. And Sije's students are great teachers in themselves. I have learned and am learning a lot from them.

Also thank you for Siheng Mark, from whom I got to learn Four Gates at Cross Roads. What a wonderful set. Thank you so much, Sifu, and to all the past masters.

Answer

Feeling grateful is a sure sign of good health and contentment. Congratulations for being able to express your gratitude so freely and sincerely.

All of us in Shaolin Wahnam must have done a lot of good deeds in our past to have the very good karma to learn these arts. I too feel very grateful, and honestly feel I am luckier than many kings. Our arts have given me good health, vitality, longevity and a lot of happiness, and it is wonderful that I can share these incredible benefits with so many people irrespective of race, culture and religion.

"Four Gates at Cross-Roads" was the fundamental set taught at the southern Shaolin Temple. I am glad that Mark has taught this wonderful set to you so that now this very important but little known set can be established in Ireland.

Mark told me that it was his kungfu training that helped him through his Ph.D in nuclear physics. Many people may wonder what has kungfu training to do with nuclear physics. Kungfu training develops mental clarity and a lot of energy.

Yes, Joan is a great inspiration for all of us. I didn't know until much later that she had to borrow money to come to Malaysia to attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course, and that if not for our chi kung she might be confined to a wheel-chair for life. I only knew she had a back pain, but did not know at that time it was so serious. I remember that when I first knew she borrowed money to attend my course, I said to myself that had I known it earlier, I would have asked her to attend my course with my compliments.

But I know she loves her people very much. When she became pain free the first time after being in pain daily for many years, she wrote to thank me, and said that it would be wonderful if our arts could also be available to people in Ireland who needed it. Soon she invited me to teach in Ireland, and since then I have returned to this beautiful Emerald Isle every year to share the wonderful benefits of our arts.

Joan and her Irish team have always treated me extremely well. I used to joke that only in Ireland, with the special care taken by Joan, I could get real milk; elsewhere I only got white-wash. And Irish bacons are excellent. I also love the song, "When Irish Eyes are Smiling", which reflects the spirit of the Irish people. Though I don't normally take alcohol, I enjoyed a full glass of Guinness Stout at the Guinness Distillery in Dublin, but the Irish coffee I had the first time I arrived was so strong that I had to perform the Small Universe to clear the intoxication effect.

I also know Joan is an excellent teacher and healer, having taught our arts to many students, some of whom have become instructors, and having helped many patients to recover from so-called incurable diseases.

Question 8

You have told us the relationship between emotions and internal organs. Besides the heart which relates to joy, the other emotions are negative. Are they counterparts of these negative emotions?

— Vicente, Spain

Answer

Yes, they are counterparts of both positive and negative emotions.

The heart is related to joy. When his heart is open, a person feels joyful. But if his heart is close, he will be unable to appreciate joy, even when joyful conditions are present. It is not the same as sadness. We may describe it as being indifference.

The lungs are related to sadness. When his lungs are blocked, a person is prone to sadness. He remains sad when the situation causing sadness has long past. If he clears the blockage, he flushes out the negative emotion of sadness. The counterpart is solemn. He may become sad if the situation is sorrowful, but only for a short time. The sad emotion will be flushed away quitckly.

The liver is related to anger. If his liver is blocked, a person is easily angry, and he harbours the anger for a long time. If his lungs are open, a furious situation may make him angry, but only for a short time. The counterpart is being calm.

The kidneys are related to fear. If his kidneys are blocked, be remain fearful even when the frightening situation has long past. But if his kidneys are open, frightening situations do not affect him much. If his kidney energy is strong, he becomes confident, the counterpart of being fearful.

The spleen or stomach is related to anxiety. If his stomach is blocked, he is anxious for no apparent reasons. If the blockage is cleared, apprehensive situations do not worry him. If his stomach energy is strong, he becomes reassuring, the counterpart of being anxious.

LINKS

Overview of the Questions-Answers Series

Selected Reading

Courses and Classes