SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
DECEMBER 2011 PART 3
I know deep down that all the great religions all point towards the same goal, but as I progress deeper and deeper I find that I understand this only superficially or intellectually, or have just scratched the surface.
— Wei Joo, Malaysia
From our Shaolin Wahnam perspective, all the world's great religions lead to the same supreme goal, though the routes and methods may be different due to differences in history, geography, culture, language and other factors.
As I have described in some of my books, if one substitutes give-away terms like "God", "Buddha" and "Tao" with a neutral term like "Supreme Reality", he would be unable to tell one religious practice from another. Hence, we sincerely wish people of different religions success in their spiritual journey, not just because we are tolerant and open-minded, but because of this unfailing belief.
However, this is a minority belief. Many people believe that their religion is the best, which is a good thing. otherwise, they should practice one that they believe is the best, or at least the best available. But some people not only think other religions inferior, they insult and attack them.
Worse, followers of different sects of the same religion quarrel and kill one another. Indeed, the hatred between followers of different sects of the same religion hate each other more than followers of other religions.
I am now a Christian, yet at the same time I consider myself very much a Mahayana Buddhist. From the Mahayana Buddhist perspective, I know that there is really no problem with embracing Christianity, but from a Christian perspective, as follows the Bible and orthodox teachings, then there is a conflict where I must choose one or the other. Is this a concept that only exists in my own mind?
I do not know enough of Christianity to answer your question from the orthodox Christian perspective. I can only answer to the best of my personal experience and understanding.
From the Buddhist perspective of not only the Mahayana but also the Theraveda and Vajrayana tradition, there is absolutely no problem for a good Buddhist to totally embrace or sometimes practice the teachings of Christianity or other religions. According to the Buddha himself, the gist of being a Buddhist is to avoid evil, do good and cultivate the mind, or soul in Christian context. Therefore, from the Buddhist perspective, a good Christian or good follower of any religion is a good Buddhist, thought some Christians and followers of other religions may vehemently oppose this concept.
From my experience I also know some very pious Christians and followers of other religions practice Buddhist teachings. For example, they pray to Bodhisattva Guan Yin for help, without any inkling whatsoever that this may distract from the faith of their own religion. And of course Bodhisattva Guan Yin will help them irrespective of their religion.
Or is it that the Christian God actually is a Buddha or an Enlightened Being that is alright with the idea of following two religions at once, and we have the idea of Christianity, Buddhism and other religions because, as Buddhism says, there are 84,000 Dharma doors to reach enlightenment so we have different religions to suit different people's needs?
This is correct according to the Buddhist perspective. When an English-speaking person refers to "God", he refers to the omnipresent, eternal and infinite Supreme Reality. People using different language will use a different term for the same Supreme Reality. A French-speaking person would call the Supreme Reality "Deus", a Spanish-speaking "Dios", an Arab "Allah", a Buddhist "Buddha", a Taoist "Tao", and a Hindu "Brahman". But people using different perspectives may not see this fact the same way.
I find that following orthodox Christianity, there are something that I accept and something that I don't. This sometimes creates a conflict within me. What is the proper way to deal with this?
If you want to be an orthodox Christian, you have to accept the orthodox way, i.e. you accept only concepts and practices that orthodox Christian allows. If you want to accept or practice teachings outside orthodox Christianity, you have to be an open-minded Christian.
I am also grateful to deities from other religions as well. I must mention that I am particularly grateful to the Taoist deities Dua Dee Ya Pek, or Hei Bai Wu Chang in Mandarin Chinese, for pointing me in the right direction many years when I was still ignorant and not making full use of my life. This I believed happened before I met Sifu. I did not know who they were when they first appeared to me, but now I know who they are.
It is only right that one should be grateful to whoever deities or beings who have helped him.
Many Christians and followers of other religions accept them as dieties without any fear or feeling of being distracted from their religion. But some close-minded Christians and followers of other religions regard all dieties outside their own religion or sect as devils. God gives eveyone the freedom of choice. One can choose to be close-minded or open-minded.
Editorial Note : Wei Joo replied, "It is so rare to have a rich, vibrant and diverse Kung Fu family like ours, where we don't just tolerate each other's beliefs, we celebrate them with joy and compassion. I am honored to be a member of this family, and hope our family will continue to grow and prosper."
After completing your Intensive Chi Kung Course in October 2009 I felt myself very well. Having practiced for 4 months at home, I took medical tests and doctors found no metastases. I felt as if I were re-born. I am very grateful to you for this.
For the next 1 year I felt myself wonderful and enjoyed life fully. I forgot about my previous health problems and people with cancer often came to me for advice and help. I told them many stories about you and your healing method.
About 2-3 months ago I advised a person with late stage cancer. I think from that time my health problems started anew. I got weaker and weaker. In March 2011 tests showed that I have metastases in spinal bones and pelvis bones. Doctors prescribe chemotherapy and radiotherapy for me.
I am not taking those treatments and refuse to do them. I am still doing your exercises. When I do the exercises I do not feel pain. But later during the day pain comes back.
Dear Sifu, what shall I do? Please help me. I need your advice very much.
I am sorry that I have not stuck to your advice. Probably that was the reason of my sickness.
— Sabir, Kazakhstan
It is nice to hear from you despite your telling me that your pain has returned. It is wise of you not to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
I believe your pain and illness will be overcome if you practice chi kung following my advice. Just follow my advice; don't add anything or change anything.
I repeat my advice as follows.
Practice the chi kung you learned from me twice a day, not once a day. If you enjoy the practice, you may practice three times a day whenever you like, but not more than three times a day. This means normally you practice twice a day, but whenever you like you may practice one more session for that day.
You should practice in the morning, in the evening or at night, but not at noon or just after noon.
Each session takes about 15 minutes, not 30-40 minutes. However, sometimes when you check the time, you find that you have practiced for more than 30 minutes, or less than 5 minutes without your conscious knowing, it is alright. In other words, you aim at about 15 minutes per session, but if a particular session turns out to be longer or shorter than 15 minutes, it is alright.
For each session, practice "Lifting the Sky" about 15 times, or "Pushing Mountain" about 20 times, or "Carrying the Moon" about 15 times. You practice just any one of the three exercises. This will take about 5 to 8 minutes. Immediately after this, let go and enjoy a chi flow, which will last about 6 to 8 minutes.
Sometimes, for fun, you may perform two or three exercises together. These two or three exercises can be performed in any order. The time taken for performing the two or three exercise is also about 5 to 8 minutes. This means you would perform the exercises quite fast, but your fast movements must be smooth. Enjoy a chi flow for about 6 to 8 minutes after performing the exercises.
It is very important to remember that it is the chi flow, not the exercise itself, that overcomes you pain and illness, and gives you good health. In other words, if you just perform the exercise, but do not have any chi flow, you will not get wonderful results. But you need to perform the exercise to generate your chi flow.
Follow the three golden rules of practice, namely
- Do not worry.
- Do not intellectualize.
- Enjoy your practice.
"Do not worry" means do not worry; it does not mean you do not care. You perform the exercise as best as you comfortably can, but you do not worry, for example, whether your movements are perfect or whether you have made some mistakes.
Even if you have made some mistakes due to carelessness or forgetfulness, like you blow out your breathe instead of breathing out gently, or you drop your arms abruptly instead of letting them come down gracefully, just don't worry about it. Your subsequent chi flow will clear away any adverse effects your mistakes may have caused, without you knowing about it.
"Do not intellectualize" means do not intellectualize. It means you do not think of anything. It also means you do not use your mind to reason. For example, if you think what would happen as you did not perform an earlier movement perfectly, then you are intellectualizing. If you reason how your practice would overcome your pain and illness, then you are intellectualizing.
It is helpful to know that when you do not intellectualize, it does not mean you are incapable of intellectualizing. In other words, keeping your mind clear of all thoughts does not mean you are incapable of thinking. In fact, when you mind is clear, you will be able to think more efficiently when you choose to think. But during your chi kung practice, you choose not to think or intellectualize.
"Enjoy your practice" means enjoy your practice. If you tense your muscles, then you are tensing your muscles, not enjoying your practice. If you think of how chi kung can give your good health, then you are thinking, not enjoying your practice. In other words, you must be relaxed and not thinking of anything to enjoy your practice.
Have confidence. Your chi kung practice following my advice will give you good health, vitality and longevity.
I have followed your instructions for eight months but have seen no improvement in any of the health areas I wish to improve -- bad knees, allergies, myopia, frequent need to urinate, cold hands, depression, anxiety, anger, being negative, lack of focus, being spiritually lost.
What disturbs me the most is that not only do I still have my various health problems (which are chronic but not life-threatening) but some are worse, like my knees and anxiety for example. On the plus side, I rarely get ill.
Is it possible that chi kung simply does not suit some people and that I am one of these people?
— Robert, Sweden
I am sorry you have not achieved the results you have hoped for though you have put in much time and effort.
There are two possible reasons for your situation:
- You have not practiced chi kung the way you have been taught though you honestly think you have.
- Chi kung is not suitable for you, even if you have practiced correctly.
I would suggest the following action.
Attend a regular class conducted by a certified Shaolin Wahnam chi kung instructor. I understand that as there are no certified Shaolin Wahnam instructors in Sweden at present, this may not be easy, in which case you should carry out action 2 below.
Just practice "Lifting the Sky" or "Pushing Mountain" or "Carrying the Moon" once in the morning for about 15 minutes, and another time in the evening or at night also for about 15 minutes daily for three months, following the three golden rules of practice, namely "don't worry, don't intellectualize, and enjoy your practice". I think you worry and intellectualize too much, which is probably the main reason why you do not get good results. My answer to Question 2 of
December 2010 Part 1 will be helpful.
- If you still do not have good results after practicing twice daily for three months, without worrying, without intellectualizing, and enjoying your practice, then you may just forget about chi kung as it has not brought you benefit.
Sifu, you ask us not to think of anything during our practice. But towards the end of a chi kung session, I say a prayer and send a blessing to someone, is this thinking of anything?
— Ivan, USA
No, this is different.
First of all I would like to explain this concept of not thinking. Due to linguistic or cultural factors, some people may worry that they may become stupid if they do not think of anything. This is not true. In fact it is the reverse. If they have the ability of not thinking of anything, then when they think they will think better.
Not thinking of anything is different from not being able to think. Not thinking of anything is clearing the mind of all thoughts. When our mind is clear of all thoughts, we attain mental clarity. When we have mental clarity we can think much better when we choose to think. People whose mind is constantly full of myriad thoughts cannot think efficiently.
Our chi kung is excellent for developing mental clarity. Clearing our mind of all thoughts is a requirement for all our chi kung practice. So, when a student has practice our chi kung for 6 months, he has trained to have mental clarity for 6 months.
For convenience, mind can be classified into two dimensions: the rational mind and the intuitive mind. Please remember that this is only for convenience.
We use our rational mind to think, to intellectualize. On the other hand, our intuitive mind does a lot of important things which we normally are not conscious of, like regulating our breathing and clearing out harmful viruses. We also use our intuitive mind to perform high-level chi kung skills, like activating a cosmic shower which we did yesterday.
When people think of a lot of thoughts with their rational mind, they cannot focus. They have to clear their mind of thoughts so as to be focused and relaxed, to enter into a chi kung state of mind. Only then can they perform chi kung, otherwise they are just performing chi kung patterns as gentle physical exercise. As they progress they go deeper into the intuitive mind.
The intuitive mind is very powerful. We must always use it for good, never for evil. Saying a prayer or sending blessing is using the mind for good. The process needs thought, or thinking, but it is performed intuitively, which is different from rational thinking or intellectualization.
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