Cosmic Reality

Cosmic Reality, photo taken from


What were the views of kungfu masters in the past on Cosmic Reality and how did they cultivate to attain it?

— Sifu Jose Antonio, Ecuador


Kungfu masters in the past normally did not talk about Cosmic Reality. Kungfu practitioners did not normally practice spiritual cultivation. They did not even practice kungfu for health, vitality and longevity the way we do in Shaolin Wahnam.

This may be a surprise to many of our Shaolin Wahnam students, because although we place much importance on combat efficiency, we place higher priority on good health, vitality, longevity, moral living and spiritual cultivation. The following explanation will make this clear.

In the past, kungfu practitioners practiced kungfu chiefly for combat, and their combat efficiency was very high compared to that of present day kungfu practitioners. Indeed, most people who practice kungfu today are unable to apply their kungfu for combat!

Hence, past kungfu practitioners, with the exception of very high-level masters, seldom talked about or practiced spiritual cultivation. The main method of the very high-level masters for spiritual cultivation was meditation. Traditionally, meditation was taught to kungfu practitioners only when they had attained very advanced levels. Moreover, meditation for spiritual development was normally the preoccupation of Buddhist monks and Taoist priests in monastic environment, not of kungfu masters in lay life.

Hence, we in Shaolin Wahnam are very special in this respect. Not only we understand and practice spiritual cultivation, we do so right at the beginning and without the necessity of becoming monks or priests.

The vocabulary used to describe spiritual attainment was quite different, though the essence was the same. Monks and priests, as well as high-level kungfu masters did not talk about Cosmic Reality, they talked about attaining Zen or attaining Tao. Unless they had actual experience of spiritual awakening or satori, their intellectual understanding of Zen or Tao, which we call Cosmic Reality, might not be as clear as our students' understanding. As often is the case, other people may accuse us for being arrogant or boastful, but I honestly believe this is true. I must emphasize that this is no slight on the past masters. Their intellectual understanding might be less than ours, but their practical attainment was more.

This is the same in kungfu as in spiritual cultivation. Past kungfu masters did not have as much intellectual knowledge as we in Shaolin Wahnam do today, but their practical attainment was higher. For example, past masters did not know as many methods of internal force training or how internal force was developed as we know, but they had more internal force than we have.

To return to the question, the answer is that the views of Cosmic Reality of past kungfu masters were very different form ours. They did not use the term "Cosmic Reality"; they called it "Zen" or "Tao". They did not have a clear intellectual understanding of Zen or Tao, or what we call Cosmic Reality, because Zen cultivation or Tao cultivation was normally not part of their training; these were the special training of Buddhist monks and Taoist priests.

Our understanding of both the meaning of Zen or Tao, as well as the training methods to attain them, is more than that of past kungfu masters. We know, for example, that Zen or Tao or Cosmic Reality is infinite, eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, all powerful, and undifferentiated, what Buddhist masters refer to as Emptiness, what Taoist masters refer to as the Great Void, what Westerners refer to as God the Holy Spirit, and what modern scientists refer to as the undifferentiated universal spread of energy. Past kungfu masters did not have such knowledge.

We also know, at least intellectually, many training methods to attain Cosmic Reality -- when we are ready and if we want to. We know that the approach is training of mind, also called spirit, soul or consciousness, which is poorly translated in Western terms as meditation. We also know that meditation or mind training can be practiced not just in a seated lotus position but in any posture, including standing and moving about. Past kungfu masters might not know this.

The above is taken from Question 1 August 2012 Part 1 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.


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