June 2000 (Part 1)
SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Sometimes after doing chi kung in the evening I have unusual self manifested chi movements such as sitting in a half-lotus position, speaking or making sounds I do not understand (sounds like Sanskrit), horse-riding stance, stretching movements like Iron Fists described in your book although you did not teach me those movements.
— Dr Daniel, Belgium
Congratulations for such chi kung progress. You are moving to advanced levels. In your deeper levels of consciousness as the result of your chi kung practice, you are recalling arts that you knew in your past life or lives as a kungfu master or a Shaolin monk.
The Sanskrit sound is probably some form of chanting in the Shaolin Monastery. It is likely you are developing psychic powers which you can use to help others, such as in healing.
One of my students mumbled strange but dignified sounds which he did not know its meaning. One day during a visit his son-in-law, who was an Indian scholar, was surprised and told him he was speaking classical Sanskrit. Later my student developed much spiritual powers which he used to heal the sick and exorcize evil spirits.
Sometimes I smell something like flowers or herbs like in a temple.
You are, in your deeper levels of consciousness, re-living your times in the Shaolin Monastery or other temples.
Some people, who claim themselves scientific, may think such an idea is crazy. But all great religions known in the world today, including Christianity, accept the concept of past lives. There are many instances in the Bible which refer to past lives.
Indeed, if one is scientific he has to accept past lives. Evidence from past life experiences has been so convincing that accepting past lives as reality is often the best, and sometimes the only, explanation.
Why do I feel lousy one day and feel great the next day?
This is part of your developmental progress. You felt great when you experienced your past greatness in your past lives; when you returned to your present life you felt lousy by comparison.
Later you may experience what is known as “the doubt”, a period of time when you will question whether what the masters said were true, such as the so-called objective world is actually an illusion, our physical body is actually a body of energy, and we never die, we have countless lives.
If you persist in your training, you will pierce the doubt and directly experience, not just believe, that all the masters said is true. You will attain a spiritual awakening.
All these experiences make me confuse and worry because I do not know the origin and the purposes of all these happenings. Since I do not know the origin, I do more cleansing exercises and less power exercises. I hope you could give me some explanations on this subject.
This is part of “the doubt” mentioned earlier. You need not do more cleansing exercises; just carry on as usual.
The doubt occurs because we are so used to our set of everyday conditions that we think, usually unconsciously, that this is the only set of conditions. And we are so used to experiencing reality according to this set of everyday conditions that we think this is the only reality.
For example, when we wake up everyday we touch our bed and find our bed solid. When we open our eyes we see an empty space in front. We are so used to seeing reality under such conditions — such as the way our hand feels, and the way our eyes see — that we believe the reality we experience everyday is the only reality.
If we recall the science we learned in school, we know that our bed is composed of atoms, and atoms are composed of protons and electrons which are so far apart that atoms are actually more than 99% empty. This means that scientifically speaking our bed is 99% empty, although in our everyday conditions we experience it as solid.
Very few of us have actually seen atoms, but we do not doubt it when our scientists tell us beds are composed of atoms and atoms are more than 99% empty, because we trust our scientists. It is even easier when scientists tell us that the space in front is actually not empty but full of micro-organisms. Although very few of us have seen micro-organisms in the air, many of us have seen them through a microscope.
This give us an idea that the reality we experience everyday is only real according to our ordinary conditions. When we change some conditions, such as viewing our bed through an electronic microscope, or viewing the air through a biological microscope, the same reality becomes different. We have no doubt here because many other people share the same view.
When we are in the midst of a chi kung exercise or as a result of consistent chi kung training, our conditions change, and hence reality also changes accordingly. You can, for example, sense another person's energy, which you could not do before. When these changes are not far from what you and most people experience in everyday conditions, you have no difficulty accepting them. When these changes are far fetch, such as re-living your past lives or seeing into your internal organs, you become skeptical; you question whether they are your imagination.
But as you progress and discover that the different manifestations of reality experienced at different levels of consciousness, are also experienced by other people training the same or similar arts, you become more sure of yourself. And when you discover that great masters also teach the same things as recorded in their great works, your confidence grows and finally disperses your doubt. Eventually the big irony will dawn upon you that the great majority of ordinary people who say spiritualists are deluded, are themselves actually living in delusion.
With this background understanding, it would not be difficult for you to understand the origin and purpose of your experiences as the result of your chi kung or kungfu training. Actually the origin and purpose may be interpreted in different ways according to the different levels of developmental stages of the persons involved. For you, one interpretation is as follows, although this interpretation may be odd to many other people.
Actually there is no origin. It is the same reality, but this reality is experienced differently at different levels of developmental stages. To ordinary people, such happenings are strange, but those who understand may say they are going Home, or going back to their original source, or going back to God.
To ordinary people, God is personalized as a Fatherly Figure, always providing for us, the children, and always loving us. Sometimes ordinary people may read or heard of the expression, which is a great cosmic truth, that God is omnipotent and omnipresent. They believe in it although they do not fully understand the cosmic truth.
The more intellectual or more inquisitive may question. If God is the Fatherly Figure and separated from us ordinary mortals, then how can God be omnipresent? Surely God cannot be Satan! In other words, the space where mortals and Satan occupy, God is not. In the past those who raised such questions were sometimes killed by religious authorities who feared such beliefs might weaken the followers' faith. These authorities also forgot, or chose not to remember, that great saints like St Ignius, St Augustine and St Theresa made such expressions like they were in God and God was in them, and that in their religious ecstasy they could not separate between God and them.
Actually there is no contradiction to say that God is different from mortals and different from Satan, and at the same time to say that God is omnipresent. The apparent difference is due to viewing reality from different perspectives of developmental stages — just as the apparent contradiction in saying your bed is solid and your bed is empty is due to viewing reality from different sets of conditions. In Christian philosophy, the concept of Trinity explains such situations excellently. The problem, of course, is that not many people fully understand the concept of Trinity.
The purpose of the experiences is to let you have glimpses of the way Home, and let you decide whether you are ready for the journey. The way is still very long, but it is the most noble journey and the eventual arrival at the Kingdom of God is the greatest attainment any being can ever achieve. But there should be no hurry. If one is not ready, it is certainly better for him to delay the journey and prepare himself adequately first. It is also comforting to realize that while eternal bliss is found in God's Kingdom, our mortals' home is also full of joy.
Some people, because of their ignorance, may think that to go Home is to die. As I have mentioned earlier, we never die — we only change our physical body. Indeed, at a different level and speaking scientifically, we are changing our physical body all the time. Each time we breathe out, millions of dead cells are disposed off, and each time we breathe in, millions of new cells are born. Literally in every moment, millions of sub-atomic particles which form our body cells are flowing in both directions across the imaginary but familiar line which in our everyday reality we call our skin.
One of the first tasks in any spiritual journey is to disperse the “Great Doubt”. This is attained not through intellectual understanding, such as from reading the explanation here, but through direct personal experience. All spiritual cultivation, as well as all chi kung and kungfu training, are experiential; without direct experience even the teachings of great masters are merely hollow words.
Since practising chi kung, I am becoming very sensitive. I can feel bad chi from my patients meters away. On the other hand, I can also enjoy so many things like the smell of flowers, food, the singing of birds, the beauty of nature, etc.
This is the result of your chi kung progress. Your training has sharpened your senses, and you have become more psychic. This ability to feel bad chi from your patients will be very useful to you as a medical doctor. Later you may be able to identify which part of his body the bad chi come from, and hence help in your diagnosis.
Here are two methods you can use to prevent the bad chi contaminating you. One, use your mind power to deflect the bad chi away. If there are plants nearby, deflect the bad chi to them, and they can transform the bad chi to good chi. Two, visualize a shield around you that prevents bad chi from entering. The first method is better. Actually bad chi also emitted from your patients in the past, but you were not as perceptive then to sense it.
You will also be able to sense good chi. Professionally, you can tell whether your patients are recovering. Outside your profession, and more importantly, you can tell whether the people around you are good or evil. A person's energy field changes when his health, emotions or intentions change. When a person tries to cheat you, or have evil indention, you may be able to sense it.
Appreciating the fragrance of flowers, good food, the singing of birds and the beauty of nature is one of the many wonderful benefits of practising chi kung. Like many of my other students, you probably feel what a pity that many other people do not even realize they have missed such simple joys of life.
I have purchased your book "The Art of Chi Kung: Making the Most of Your Vital Energy". I have been practising Lifting the Sky for a month and soon will add other exercises. There are absolutely no chi kung masters in my area so all I know and practice is from your book. First I was wondering if all the exercises in the book are safe.
— Denis, USA
Many of the exercises in my book are safe, provided of course that you follow my instructions. For example, in most exercises I have made it very clear that the breathing must be gentle, but if someone ignores the instruction and breathes forcefully, he is likely to develop adverse side effects.
In some advanced exercises I have categorically warned that they must be attempted only under supervision of a chi kung master. If someone, without much chi kung experience, is foolish enough to perform these exercises on their own by reading the description from my book, it is likely he will have complications.
It often amazes me why so many people try to be smarter than the chi kung master in performing the very exercises the master describes. For example, when the instruction given is “breathe in gently through the nose”, some people visualize energy of various colours streaming into them! When the instruction is “stand in an upright, relaxed manner”, some people perform the exercise sitting cross-legged in a self-constructed pyramid!
Such people are likely to head towards serious trouble. They simply have no respect for an art that has taken many centuries to evolve, or the masters who have spent many years in its practice. They think that they can pick up an internal art, like they pick up a cooking recipe, by reading a book, improve it with their own creations, then teach it to others.
Second, when I practice and I am concentrated and calm I can feel my chi but only in my hands (palms). Is this alright or should I change something, like may be trying to focus on my whole body?
Being able to feel chi in your hands after one month of practice from reading a book, is good result. Many people feel nothing after practising for many years. The main reason, actually, is that they practice physical exercise although they think they practise chi kung.
Be modest and patient in your progress. Chi kung is a life-long activity, not something which one can master in three months and then teach others — a concept many people especially in the West seem to have. Take your time to savour its wonderful benefits.
Practise the exercise the way I explain in my book. If you just do that, the exercise is not only safe, it will also give you a lot of benefits. Trying to focus on your whole body — when this is not mentioned in the instructions — is an example of trying to be smarter than the master.
Third, I was told by doctors that my heart is a little weaker than it should be and they recommended that I shouldn't do any strenuous activities for about six month. Can chi kung help with this problem and if it can what should I be thinking about while doing chi kung exercises (heart itself, the meridian that leads to the heart, etc)?
The doctors are right from their perspective. They are highly trained professionals, and it is only sensible to follow their advice.
But chi kung masters operate from a different perspective. From the chi kung perspective, even if your heart is a lot weaker than it should be, if you learn chi kung personally from a master and practise what you have learnt correctly and diligently, you can strengthen your heart in about a year to an extent that it is stronger than most ordinary people's heart.
Personally I have helped many people with heart problems. Daniel, whose questions I answered before yours (see above), and who himself is a western-trained medical doctor, is a good example. He was supposed to go for his second heart operation, but he withdrew because his heart-specialist colleague told him that after the operation he could not play any games, and the only strenuous activity permitted for him for life was cycling — not over the countryside but in the physiotherapy ward of the hospital.
The remarkable fact is that after about six months of chi kung training, which he learned personally from me, he could play tennis better than what he did before. After about a year I taught him Shaolin Lohan Kungfu. His typical kungfu training with me is vigorous and non-stop for about two hours. Once I jokingly told him that should his heart-specialist see the way he practises kungfu, the heart-specialist would faint, and Daniel fully agreed. Now, after about another year, Daniel has developed such power that he can seriously injure an able-bodied adult with just one punch.
But you are not a chi kung master — you are not even a proper chi kung student. A proper chi kung student learns from a master, and knows what to train as well as what not to train. You are therefore in no position to invent or think out for yourself what and how to practise chi kung. If you were to think about your heart or your heart meridian while practising your self-taught chi kung, as you suggested, you would likely be heading for a serious heart problem.
I have been practising martial arts for a few years and I have come across techniques such as “Red Sand Palm” and “Knocking the Cow from over the Hill”, as well as an explosive energy strike called “fa-jing”.
— Theo, Cyprus
“Red Sand Palm” is an advanced Shaolin art whereby the exponent channelling internal energy through his palm could injure an opponent seriously. A tell-tale sign of an expert of this art is that his palms are red due to abundant chi and blood flow.
“Knocking a Bull Beyond a Hill” is an advanced art whereby the exponent can injure an opponent even when the latter is separated by another object, such as another person or a wall! Understandably many people would find this hard to believe, but such an advanced art is true.
“Fa-jing” literally means “explode out internal force”. The source of this internal force is usually at the dan dian, or abdominal energy field, and the internal force is usually exploded out through the palm. The expression “qi you dan dian fa, jing you zhang xin chu” (“hei yau tan tien fatt, keng yau cheong sum chut” in Cantonese) explains this process.
Obviously such techniques are only knowv by a few so it is very hard to find a teacher to teach them. If students were to practise their style for years and then come to visit you and you see that they are worthy to learn something like “fa jing”, would you consider teaching it to them?
The tenth Shaolin Law of my Shaolin Wahnam School states that a master should pass on the arts to deserving students. If students are worthy, I shall teach them the advanced arts. What criteria qualify them to be deserving and worthy? Mainly two — they must up-hold and practise the Ten Shaolin Laws and they must practise what they have learnt devotedly.
In fact many of my senior disciples have acquired advanced arts from me. You can read some examples from my book “The Art of Chi Kung”. The photograph at the start of this webpage shows Cheng Shang Shou employing the “Cosmos Palm” to “fa-jing” or, explode out internal force, to break the bottom brick of the two bricks placed one on top of the other, without breaking the top brick. This is a manifestation of the “Knocking a Bull Beyond a Hill” technique. That photograph was taken during a private training session in my house, and Cheng was testing his ability.
Also I heard from my sifu that his sifu showed them an advanced meditation technique but did not explain to them what it did or how they should do it, and they were not to try it. Unfortunately they can no longer learn this from their sifu. They said that sifu started to shake from the tip of his toes up to the top of his head very, very vigorously to such an extent that they thought he was going to die. What was this?
Meditation is a genric term for the training of mind. Many people may not realize it, but there can be as many ways to practise meditation as there are many ways to perform kungfu movements! There are also different purposes why people meditate, as well as different levels of attainment.
At the lowest level, people practise meditation for relaxation. At the highest level, adepts practise meditation to attain enlightenment or return to God's Kingdom. Advanced meditation, should be done under the supervision of a master.
The sifu you described shoke very vigorously from his toes up to his head because tremendous energy was released as the result of his meditation. This tremendous energy could be used for different purposes. For example, he might focus the energy at his palms to explode out internal force, accumulate at his dan tian for later use, or channel it up his spine to his head for psychic or spiritual development.
Interestingly, a similar phenomenon occured this morning and this evening. Doan came from the Neitherland to take an Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course from me. This is the first day of the course. I led Doan into a chi kung state of mind and then into Standing Meditation. After about five minutes, he started to shake.
The vigorous vibration started from his feet, moved up his legs, through his body to the top of his head. The shaking was so vigorous that Doan literally hopped about like a kangaroo for about 10 minutes. (An ordinary person would be tired hopping for a minute.) He fell onto his back, then came up on his feet to hop again. This was repeated a few times.
This evening, after practising zhang-zhuang with the basic Shaolin stances, Doan went into Standing Meditation. The vigorous shaking came, and Doan hopped and fell as in the morning, with the added action of him spontaneously hitting his thigh with his hands.
Doan trained wrongly in the past and had much energy blockage as well as internal injury sustained from his unmethodical sparring. Tremendous amount of energy was released during his mediation, and the energy thoroughly cleansed him and cured him of his internal injuries.
After the session Doan told me he felt wonderful and energized. “When you go home and tell your friends what happened, they won't beleive you,” I said to Doan. “Yes, they won't beleive me,” Doan agreeed. I continued, “Many people would have read in kungfu classics about energy surging inside, rising from the feet to the head, breaking through blockage and cleansing away toxic waste, and the surging energy could be so powerful that it could throw them off the ground. But they would not beleive it; they would think it was a myth. Now you experience this directly.”