Sakura in Full Bloom

Sakura in full bloom when Grandmaster Wong arrives

The writing below is reproduced from Scattered Sakura Petals in our Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.

Scattered Sakura Petals II - Satori and Solitude in Silent Standing

As a wind-borne petal twists in flight,
The angle it takes hides the whole from our sight.
While the fraction we see enchants the eyes,
It's in the part we don't that deep truth lies.

It is the second of Sifu's courses in Kawasaki: Massaging Internal Organs. The first chi kung session of this course has been very powerful, the chi flow launching me into movements that I haven't experienced hitherto. As Sifu speaks, most of the participants are rapt in their attention. Some, having taken in what their bodies need, are forgivably dozing. Sifu addresses us with his usual elan. Though it is my first time taking this specific course with Sifu, I have heard him elucidate the same principles before. This matters little, however, as the words echo in my body with levels of meaning I have not seen until now.

We move forward to the final session, in which Sifu tells us to choose any exercise we like, which we will perform entirely on our own, with no guidance, in order to ensure that we have developed the skill that he has been trying to transmit. Once we have finished practising, we are to take a seat. I choose Separating Water once more, since it was the pattern we performed in the fist session, and the one to which my body has most responded. I enjoy every breath, both during the pattern and during the relatively still chi flow that I experience afterward.

The time comes; I go to my dantian and stand and enjoy the silence. It seems lighter than the heavy, upward-directed silence I usually experience. Despite the lightness, however, it is also quieter than usual.

An impulse from my dantian says, "Time to complete your practice."

My self reacts, "Complete it? It's been so short."

"It's time."

I complete the practice. As I open my eyes during point massage, I notice to my great surprise (and to some small mortification), that I am the only one standing in the room. As I start the heavenly drum Sifu begins speaking -- I remind myself to smile and relax in the face of these awkward circumstances. I run my 30 steps in one place before returning to my seat, slightly embarrassed, but above and beyond that, awed. Sifu explains during the final question and answer session that this experience was cultivation at the spiritual level -- merging with the cosmos -- which we will focus on in the later courses.

That evening, over dinner, the explanation I receive from Sifu as to what occurred ...

(At this point, I must refer you all to the couplets prefacing this instalment, and ask your forgiveness.)

The Buddha taught that there is no abiding self. To me, this is a wonderful truth ... largely because I can't abide the selves of most other people.

Silent Standing

Pierre and Sifu Yumi in Silent Standing while two students are Carrying the Moon