SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
MAY 2012 PART 2
Can't the Buddha Dharma be explained with the simple summary the Tathagata is said to have said?
— Gassho. India
The teachings of the Buddha and great masters are simple. If you do not understand the teachings, it is not because they are complicating, but because you lack the necessary knowledge, wisdom or experience.
For example, the Buddha says that life is suffering. This first noble truth is simple, but most people misunderstand it. At the most, they understand it only partially. They mistakenly think that there is no joy in living, that the Buddha's teaching is pessimistic.
The misunderstanding is not because the teaching is complicated, but because many people lack the knowledge that the Buddha is comparing suffering in samsara or the phenomenal world, with eternal bliss in nirvana or transcendental reality.
The Buddha teaches that the cause of suffering is craving. Again this teaching is simple, but many people misunderstand this second noble truth as one must not have any cravings in life.
They lack the wisdom to appreciate that one may have craving, like for food and love, and still leads a good, rewarding life in this phenomenal world. But if they wish to break off from the phenomenal world to attain transcendental reality, or nirvana, they must eliminate cravings because cravings lead to cause and effect, which in turn results in the phenomenal world.
Hence, to eliminate suffering, one must eliminate cravings. This third noble truth is simple, but many people may not understand it. For example, if they suffer from an illness, they may crave to be cured. This is perfectly right in the phenomenal world. They do not realize that in this third noble truth the Buddha teaches that to eliminate suffering in samsara, i.e. to transcend the phenomenal world to attain cosmic reality, one must eleminate craving because craving leads to karma which transforms the transcendental back to the phenomenal.
Their lack of understanding is not because the teaching is complicated but because they lack the necessary wisdom. Here the Buddha is referring not to the countless individual joys and sufferings in the phenomenal world; he is referring to the holistic suffering in samsara. When people are in the phenomenal world, they may have legitimate cravings, like cravings to be healthy and cravings for a happy family life.
An excellent way to eliminate cravings to attain nirvana is to practice the Eight-Fold Path of right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right contemplation. Some people misunderstand this to be the only way. They lack the experience as well as knowledge that there are countless expedients means, including those taught by other great teachers of other religions, to reach the same spiritual goal.
Zen practitioners for example, aim straight at the mind. When they attain no thought, they break off from samsara in an instance and attain nirvana, more commonly called Boddhi or Buddha Nature in Zen nomenclature.
Why is it that by practicing chi kung one can overcome different diseases, including heart problems and cancer?
— Javier, Spain
From the Chinese medical perspective, the medical system that has maintained the health and sanity of the largest population of the world for the longest period of known history, there is only one cause of all illness, and it is energy blockage.
When chi, or energy, is flowing smoothly, the person is healthy, described in Chinese medical terms as yin-yang harmony. Here, yin symbolizes all his bodily and mental functions, and yang symbolizes all factors that cause changes.
Yin-yang harmony means that all his bodily and mental functions adjust harmoniously to all changes. For example, if blood is not flowing properly to or from a person's heart, it is a factor that causes change, and is symbolized as yang. Without him knowing, his bodily and mental functions will adjust accordingly so that the blood will flow properly again. This adjustment is symbolized as yin.
If cells mutate in his body, this is a factor that causes change, and is symbolized as yang. Without him knowing, his bodily and mental functions will adjust accordingly so that the mutation is eliminated or contained. This is symbolized as yin. The same principles apply to all other changes which may cause diseases.
Such adjustment of his bodily and mental functions to harmonize with changes so that he remains healthy, or yin-yang harmony, is natural. It goes on without the person knowing or doing anything special.
However, if the energy that operates these bodily and mental functions is blocked from doing its natural work, then yin-yang disharmony or illness occurs. For example, if the energy that regulars the blood flow or contains cell-mutation is prevented from doing its natural work, then that person may have a heart problem or cancer.
The intermediate causes for the energy blockage may be many and varied, like stress, cholesterols, viruses, negative emotions and carcinogens. But regardless of what the intermediate causes may be, once the root cause of energy blockage is cleared, his bodily and mental processes can regain their natural functions of adjusting to changes to restore yin-yang harmony. He will then be healthy.
Practicing chi kung generates energy flow, which will in turn clear energy blockage, therefore overcoming diseases, including heart problems and cancer. When his energy is flowing smoothly, he is healthy.
You say that if one practices high-level chi kung like ours, he should overcome any illness. If he doesn't, it is because of certain factors. What are these factors?
In theory, any genuine chi kung will generate energy flow. But in practice, the energy flow generated by low-level chi kung, even when it is genuine, my not be strong enough to break through blockage. Thus, it is necessary to practice high-level chi kung like ours where the energy flow is vigorous.
However, if the illness is still not overcome, it is due to numerous factors as follows.
- The practitioner has not practiced correctly.
- He has not practiced sufficiently.
- He has not practiced regularly.
- His chi flow is working on other usually more serious problems which he may not be aware of.
- The disease-causing agents are still present, and minimizes or negates the good effect of the chi flow.
- His illness has gone beyond a threshold for recovery.
How do I know if a school is genuine or not?
— David, England
An excellent way is to see whether the students of the school get the result of the art they are practicing.
If it is a chi kung school, and you find most of the students healthy and full of vitality, then the school is genuine. If most of the students are weak and sickly, it is unlikely to be genuine.
If it is a meditation school, and most of the students are relaxed and mentally fresh, the school is genuine. Otherwise, it is unlikely to be genuine.
If it is an internal art school, and most of the students have internal force and are able to defend themselves using their art, the school is genuine. If the students have no experience of internal force at all, it is certain the school is not genuine.
If it is a kungfu school, and the students can use their kungfu forms in sparring, it is genuine. If the students bounce about and use kick-boxing, it is certain that the school is not genuine.
All my life I've been bullied. Kids have shown no mercy to me and therefore feel that I deserve to be punshished physically. All my life I've been in positions where I could use force but I didn't. It is because I didn't have fighting experience.
— Mustafa, Indonesia
The first thing you need to change is your perspective of other kids. You should not think of them bullying you, showing no mercy to you, or desiring to harm you. You should think of them as your friends. You would be surprised that by changing your own perspective, the other kids would also change their attitude towards you.
Secondly, you should learn some martial art, preferably genuine Shaolin Kungfu that can be used for fighting. Even when you think of the other kids as your friends, they may still bully you. If they do so, you should use your genuine Shaolin Kungfu or other martial art to subdue them. Do not hurt them but show them that you can defeat and control them. Then be friendly with them.
My peers walk without humility and all other kids fear them. They are fazed by the muscles and words of the bullies. I am one without fear of anything but I still have no fighting experience.
After learning genuine Shaolin Kungfu, you should be able to fight well. If you can't, then it is not genuine Shaolin Kungfu. Genuine Shaolin Kungfu is very rare today. You have to search hard to find a good Shaolin teacher who is willing to teach you. You also need to practice dedicatedly for some time before you become combat efficiency.
If you practice genuine Shaolin Kungfu you would have internal force. If you don't have internal force, then what you have learnt is not genuine Shaolin Kungfu. When you have internal force, people with big muscles will not be a problem for you. With your internal force and Shaolin techniques, you can defeat people who may be physically bigger and stronger than you. But you don't go out to look for them for fighting. Only when they attack you, do you use your Shaolin Kungfu to defeat them.
Yet, you should not be vain. You should remain humble, as well as friendly and peace-loving.
Shaolin or wushu is hands down the greatest martial art there is. But I understand the temple thing and I understand that it is so powerful that if those that choose evil got a hold of that power then my peers would have a reason to be afraid. But what of those like me who only want to protect themselves. But again I understand the secrecy, but it is because of that that those across the world cannot have access to the physical security.
Genuine Shaolin Kungfu is the greatest martial art. But it is very rare today. Genuine Shaolin Kungfu is different from modern wushu.
Those who are evil cannot progress far in genuine Shaolin Kungfu. In other words, the nature of Shaolin training is such that only the good-hearted can be very advanced. As an analogy, those who do not have much intelligence cannot progress far in scholarly studies. Only those with intelligence can be very advanced in scholarship.
Shaolin Kungfu is so advanced that even without knowing its secrets one can be combat efficient to defeat ordinary bullies. Of course, if he wants to be a Shaolin master, he needs to know its secrets. But to defeat ordinary bullies, one needs not be a master. It is sufficient if he knows some basic Shaolin combat application.
As an analogy, one needs not be very advanced in scholarship to be able to read and write. Even if he is not a scholar, but if he has learnt some reading and writing as a good student, he will be able to defeat illiterate persons in reading and writing.
Hence, even when Shaolin masters keep their secrets for their special disciples, other people without knowing these secrets can still learn enough of genuine Shaolin Kungfu for their physical security. But these people must make some effort to learn genuine Shaolin Kungfu.
Then I meet you through your website and I instantly understood that you agree with my ideal by simply putting Shaolin lessons on the internet. And for that I thank you. I would hope you to keep teaching us through the years.
Although I have a lot of material about Shaolin Kungfu on my website, if you wish to gain the wonderful benefits of genuine Shaolin Kungfu, you have to learn personally from me or any of our certified instructors. Please see our List of Certified Instructors. No matter how many techniques you have learnt from my website and how well you have understood them, you still cannot defend yourself from the bullies if you have not practiced under our supervision.
Yet, the best benefit you get from learning from us is not just fighting ability. More important, you will have good health, vitality, longevity, mental freshness and spiritual joys.
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- Shen-Fa or Body-Movement and other Important Principles of Genuine, Traditional Taijiquan