SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
APRIL 2015 PART 2
Could Sigung kindly explain the story and connection between Guan Yin and Shaolin Wahnam? I have read many stories from different instructors and students over the years about personally connecting with this great Bodhisattva of Compassion.
As I progress with Small Universe training, I also find myself connecting closer to Guan Yin during standing meditation.
Could Sigung also share some personal experiences and advice with Guan Yin?
— Stephen, USA
Guan Yin Bodh Satt, the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion, is closely related to our school. She often comes to our courses all over the world to bestow blessings to us. On numerous occasions, not only me but many other course participants felt her presence distinctly.
One particular occasion was very memorable. I was teaching Cosmic Breathing or Sinew Metamorphosis (later called Merging with the Cosmos) at the Guan Yin Temple on the Blue Mountain in Costa Rica many years ago. More than 75% of the course participants had a spiritual awakening where they clearly felt their spirit beyond their physical body.
It was already incredible if only 2 or 3 participants had a spiritual awakening, but when more than 20 participants had a spiritual awakening it was just miraculous. After the course many cried out of joy and gratitude. A few participants embraced one another. I honestly believed that I was only a conduit during the course. It was Guan Yin Bodh Satt who conducted it, or at least during the part of the satori or spiritual awakening.
I am going to share a secret. It was a secret, but now I feel it is time to reveal it to our Shaolin Wahnam members. If some of our family members and others outside our school do not believe it, it is their choice and their right. No one needs to believe what I am going to say if he (or she) does not want to.
The secret was told to me by my sifu himself, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam. I am not sure whether my sifu told the secret to anyone else. My sifu was a reincarnation of Golden Boy, the personal attendant of Guan Yin Bodh Satt, the other personal attendant was Jade Girl. It suddenly made sense to me why Guan Yin Bodh Satt is so closely connect with our school.
I would also like to take this opportunity to categorically declare again that our school is non-religious, that any deserving student regardless of his (or her) religion can practice and benefit from our arts without any adverse effect on his religious beliefs. In fact our arts will strengthen his religious beliefs and make him a better follower of his own chosen religion, as is evident in many of our family members. Guan Yin Bodh Satt herself is non-religious. She will answer the prayers of sincere seekers irrespective of his religion.
My own introduction to Guan Yin Bodh Satt occured when I was just a little boy. My mother took me to the famous Guan Yin Temple at Pitt Street, Penang, Malaysia to pray. Even since then, Guan Yin Bodh Satt has guided and protected me, my family, our Shaolin Wahnam Family at all times, for which I am forever grateful.
The two pillars of Guan Yin Bodh Satt's teaching are wisdom and compassion. They are also the two pillars of the teaching in our school. We are wise enough to realize, both in theory and in practice, that the training in our arts is to enrich our daily life. This realization is of particular importance today when most chi kung practitioners do not get much benefit from their training because they, usually without their conscious knowing, practice gentle physical exercise instead of genuine chi kung, and most martial artists routinely hurt themselves and therefore their training is detrimental to their daily life.
We are compassionate in being generous to deserving students, and forgiving to those who may have wronged us. On the other hand, we are wise enough not to waste our time on those who do not want our help. Being forgiving to others also brings much benefit to ourselves as we do not let negative energy abide in us, though we did not crave for such benefit in the first place.
I have an emotional/mental problem and I am not sure how to deal with my situation. Your advice would be much appreciated.
When I was about sixteen years old (now I am 25) I experienced a panic attack while I was on a holiday trip with friends. At that time I didn't know what was going on with me and the symptoms of my panic attack were quite scary.
Since practicing chi kung I have enjoyed my life a lot. But my panic attacks keep returning from time to time. Sometimes they are gone for a year and then they return. Since two months ago I am dealing with panic attacks and emotions like fear, despair, nervousness, loneliness and sometimes depression.
Things are not as bad as they had been because I know better how to deal with the problem now, but I could never overcome my problem once and for all.
In my family my mother deals with fear and anxiety as well as my uncle and especially my grandmother, who suffered of intense fear for half of her life.
I am practicing Lifting the Sky, Separating Water and Nourishing Kidneys to overcome my problem.
— Marc, Austria
Yours is a karmic problem, caused by a frightening experience in a past life, or due to some genes in your DNA. But whatever the course, your problem can be overcome.
Practice the following everyday for at least 3 months. Early in the morning when you wake up, go to a window and look up at the sky. Pray to God, Guan Yin Bodh Satt or whoever deity you have great faith in, and ask Him or Her to give you strength to live the day He or She will be proud of.
Then practice any chi kung exercise for about 15 minutes. Lifting the Sky, Separating Water and Nourishing Kidneys are good choices. You can practice only one or more exercises. The important thing is chi flow. Bone Marrow Cleansing at the muscles level and at the organ level is also a good choice. Look towards the day with hope and confidence.
Everyday do a good deed, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to others.
At night before you go to sleep, thank God, Guan Yin Bodh Satt or your deity for His or Her help and guidance.
Can you please tell us the legend of Hui Ke and Bodhidharma regarding Bone Marrow Cleansing?
— Karen, Spain
When Bodhidharma was about to return home, i.e. to attain Enlightenment, he gathered his disciples together and asked them to describe their attainment.
A disciple said that Bodhidharma's teaching is beyond words. Bodhidharma said that the sdisciple attained his skin level.
A second disciple described Bodhidharm's teaching like the majestic heaven of Eastern Paradise. Bodhidharma said that this disciple attained his flesh level.
A third disciple said that his teaching enabled him to experience that the universe is void, and not real. Bodhidharma was pleased and said that this disciple attained his bone level.
Hui Ke, the most senior disciple of Bodhidharam, stepped out but said nothing. He just bowed. Bodhidharma was very happy, and said that Hui Ke attained his bone marrow level. The master gave his robe and bowl to Hui Ke and appointed him as the successor.
These four levels of attainment reflects the various developmental stages of Buddhist cultivation. At the first developmental stage, i.e. at the skin level, it is only intellectualization with no practical benefit. At the second stage, the flesh level, it is realization that self is unreal but dharma, the finest particles that make up the universe, is real. At the third stage, it is realization that both self and form are unreal, but verbalization was used in the description which would start the whole process of transformation that would lead to the phenomenal realm. At the highest stage, even verbalization is removed, leading to Enlightenment where both self and form are unreal.
It is worthy of note that Bodhidharma provided four levels of attainment, namely the skin level, the flesh level, the bone level and the bone marrow level. This classification of four levels describes four levels of spiritual attainment from the lowest to the highest, i.e. from intellectualization to Enlightenment.
Our classification into five levels is different, and is of a much lower level in spiritual cultivation. Bodhidharma's cultivation is to lead to Enlightenment, i.e. to transcend the phenomenal realm to enter the transcendental. We are not ready to transcend into the Cosmic Reality permanently, though we sometimes have a glimpse of it, called a spiritual awakening. We are still in our phenomenal realm, to enjoy a healthy, happy, long life.
Why do we classify our development in our phenomenal world into five levels instead of four, which Bodhidharma used to describe the development from the phenomenal to the transcendental? It is because chi flows at five levels as a practitioner progresses in his energy cultivation. Why do we call the art Bone Marrow Cleansing? It is to honour Bodhidharma who provided us with the inspiration for this type of training.
I came across in my study of Kung Fu, something I never saw before. It is a Dragon Style that uses a claw hand pattern. In the Dragon style with a Dragon Claw, what would that be used for?
I can see it could be used for thrusting down, up, and on the sides, but it never made sense from the Dragon methods I was taught. I was taught Dragon could redirect, flow around, subdue, and stop attacks. Mainly I was taught Dragon Palm. I was hoping you might be able to explain if Dragon Claw could be a Northern or Southern style and what it is used for?
— Danny, UK
Editorial Note: Danny's other questions can be fond at April 2015 Part 1 issue of the Question-Answer Series.
The dragon claw is used like what a claw does. Sometimes it may be used for holding an opponent.
Relatively, a dragon claw is used for tearing, a tiger-claw for gripping energy points, and an eagle claw for immobilizing an opponent while a decisive strike is being executed on him. This does not mean that one cannot use a dragon claw for gripping or immobilizing, or a tiger claw for tearing, and an eagle claw for gripping. But using the appropriate claw for the appropriate function is most cost effective.
If you grip an opponent by his head with your dragon claws, you may tear it from his body. If you grip your opponent's skin by his face, you may tear the skin away from his skull. If you grip your opponent's arm, you may tear it from his shoulder. All these are cruel techniques, and Dragon stylists would not use them unless it is absolutely necessary.
I also want to tell you my theory and my dojo's theory on why MMA does not use a lot of traditional arts, even though they use Muay Thai. It has a lot of traditional aspects to it and many techniques that one could spend a life time studying them. We theorize real martial arts that provide as you said some sort of spiritual cultivation and a higher standard of life as well as preserve life rather than to seek to take it.
The reason why MMA does not use traditional arts though their practitioners use Muay thai is straight-forward. Most of the traditional martial artists whom MMA practitioners meet cannot apply their arts for combat. They just talk about how combat effective their traditional arts are, but they cannot walk their talk. If they themselves have to spar, they will bounce about like Boxers and Kick-Boxers.
What seems like a warrior culture in MMA is very simple, and lacks what could be a glorious exchange of martial techniques and study. The most common thing I always find in martial artists is "I want to be good at fighting."
We may disagree with the philosophy of MMA practitioners, but we have to admire their honesty. They want to be good at fighting, and they train hard at it.
Traditional martial artists talk about how combat effective their arts could be. Not only they cannot apply their arts for simple defence, they do not even spend time practicing what they claim their arts could do. They insult their past masters of their lineage, though they never mean to and are probably not aware of it, by bouncing about like Boxers and using Boxing techniques.
I disagree with MMA philosophy, but I have more respect for MMA practitioners than for traditional martial artists. I agree with the philosophy of traditional martial arts, but I feel traditional practitioners have made a mockery of themselves.
But now it is a different aspect to what the word warrior means. In a strange way, through martial art with all the technical things I could conceive, I have found a new level of enlightenment.
Martial arts may be categorized into three classes.
Third class martial arts are meant for fighting, and are often injurious to health.
Second class martial arts are meant for fighting and contribute to good health.
First class martial arts are meant for fighting, contribute to good health, and contribute to spiritual development irrespective of religion.
Arts that cannot be used for fighting cannot be called martial arts, though their practitioners may call them so, and are usually unaware of it.
It has been nine years since I first started Kung Fu. My teacher was injured very badly, I am sorry to say. She was of the Hung Gar School. She taught me the Five Animal technical aspects. She didn't have time to explain all of the qi details. She was trained in many weapons, one of which was the terrifying Tiger Hook Swords. We think we have all this time, to learn, but we do not. Yet as one great man said, "Never make training a chore."
If your teacher is willing to seek chi kung healing from any of our certified Shaolin Wahnam chi kung healers, she has a good chance of complete recovery regardless of how badly she is injured.
Not many people, including masters who teach these arts, realize that Shaolin Kungfu was originally taught to attain Enlightenment, and Taijiquan was originally taught to attain immortality.
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