ZEN AND KUNGFU
I'm writing in search of information on Zen. I've heard quite a lot of “information” about Zen just in passing conversation with people, but it's always unclear how accurate is that information. So, I thought it was time to ask the experts. I am seriously interested in regular practice of Zen, but don't know what I should be doing.
-- Richard, United Kingfom
The term “Zen” has a few related meanings, namely
- a grimpse of cosmic reality.
- cosmic reality.
Zen is also often used as a short form for Zen Buddhism, a major school of Mahayana Buddhism. You will find much information on Zen, including advice on how you can practise Zen easily and effectively, if you refer to my webpage What is Zen.
In truth, I've been searching for something to help bring my life into some kind of focus. Just a walk down the block, or a simple sunrise makes me ask all these crazy questions about life, my existence, my daily life, my outlook on life, and all kinds of other higher order questions to which I can't ever get the answers. I'm not looking for Zen to give me those answers, but the constant questioning leaves me all confused about just everything I do. The days, and life in general would just feel better if I had some focus.
Practising Zen not only give you focus, but may also give you the answers to all these questions. It will also give you mental freshness and clarity.
With Zen training, a walk down a block may make you be aware of every contact your feet make with the road; a simple sunrise may awaken in you the joy you had as a child playing in the open. If you are ready, a simple incident, such as the feeling of a grain of sand under your shoe or the reflect of the sunlight on a blade of grass, may suddenly give you a glimpse of the cosmos and reveal to you intuitively the answers to all the questions you have been asking.
Of course, here I am talking about real Zen training, not just sitting cross-legged but with thousands of thoughts troubling your mind, or listening to a Zen scholar telling you Zen koans which nobody understands.
I'm also interested in Kung Fu. I've begun to realize that I can't just be mentally at peace unless I'm physically at peace too. I mean, if I can focus well enough to do some of the amazing forms of Kung Fu, then simple obstacles in life would be trivial to tackle. Maybe you have books I should read?Answer
You are right. Good kungfu is not just a system of self-defence, but also a programme for cultivating physical and mental peace, including focus to perform better anything you may be doing. The greatest kungfu, like Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan, leads to the highest spiritual attainment. But you must practise real kungfu, not demonstrative gymnastics.
Read my books, “The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu” and “The Complete Book of Zen”. You can read readers' reviews on these books if you click on them on my home page.
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