A Very Special Zen Experience

Answers to Readers Questions


So many of the questions you respond to are similar. It appears to me that some people don't respect the privilege of being able to ask you questions. You have said that experience is the best way to learn, but it appears to me that many have no intentions of applying the answer, only satisfying their curiosity. My Western attitude can only see the time you're loosing responding to them. (as you may well do responding to this email). Why give valuable answers to such questions? I'm hoping your response to this question might help me see some value in this practice for my own life.

-- Andrew, Australia


Our training in Shaolin Wahnam has given use many benefits, one of which is the realization that different people have different needs and aspiration as well as different levels of attainment. This is particularly important when we teach our students.

Inexperienced instructors teach at their own level, which is often beyond the reach of their students. Experienced teachers teach at the students' level. Great teachers go one step further. They teach slightly above their students' level, but within their reach, while encouraging them to ask questions as well as creating opportunities for them to discover new things for themselves.

A student, of course, does not have the wide knowledge and experience of his teacher, and he often is unaware that his questions have been asked by other students many times before. The teacher, however, will still answer the questions each time they are asked, relating the answers to the particular student's needs and level of attainment. The same question, therefore, may call for different answers.

It is with the same philosophy that I answer questions in my question-answer series, and that our certified instructors answer questions in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum. Are we bored with repeated questions? No, we are not. We enjoy doing it. This is mainly due to our training which enables us to enjoy whatever we do. If you take a look at our Discussion Forum, you will find that “enjoy your practice” is a very common advice we give to our students.

We often answer the same questions from different angles and at different levels. It is our philosophy that if someone asks us sincerely and respectfully, we shall answer honestly and generously. We also learn from answering questions, such as it enables us to organize our thoughts and present them clearly and coherently.

Reproduced from August 2006 Part 1 in Selection of Question-Answer Series


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