Striking Hands

Vispassana meditation as taught by the Buddha

Question 1

I did 2 Vipassana retreats of 15 days within 40 days. My aim was to overcome my mental blockages, because I realized that those are the reason I don't achieve certain things in life and that I still don't have a healthy spine.

— Frank, Austria


You have done very well in your Vipassana meditation, but it is obviously not for you. Your attainment is meant for monks who want to be enlightened. But you are not ready for enlightenment. You should practice something down to earth, like our arts.

Question 2

I know that this life is somehow just an illusion. I never wanted this to happen and nobody prepared me for it.


It is a matter of perspective, just like samsara is nirvana and nirvana is samsar is a matter of perspective. If you are enlightened, samsara is nirvana. If you are not enlightened, nirvana is samsara.

Similarly, if you are enlightened, life is an illusion. If you are not enlightened, life is real.

As you are not ready for enlightenment, your life is real, not an illusion. If you don't eat, you go hungry. If you can't avoid your opponent's attack in sparring, you will be hit.

Shaolin Chi Kung

Practicing chi kung is an excellent way to overcome illness

Question 3

I do not want to become enlightened now, but see myself making good progress. Everything in this monastery pushed me in this direction. That's why I left. I want to live a normal life, have a family, bring goodness to people and someday teach to help others live a healthier and happier life.


A monastery is for monks who want to be enlightened. If you are not ready for enlightenment yet, you should not be in the monastery.

Our school is for normal people who want to live a normal life well. To be healthy and happy, to have a family, to bring goodness to other people is normal, and this is what we give priority to in our training.

To be sick and unhappy, to shy from having a family, to bring harm to other people is not normal. This is what we forbade our students to do.

Question 4

Now I am scared that when I continue meditation even outside of retreats and practise my Kung Fu and Chi Kung, I will attain more insight. Still I am not completely healthy and not practising would pull me back in terms of health.


You need not be scared. Having insight is beneficial, but abusing insight is not. I would suggest that you practice standing meditation instead of sitting mediation. Practicing chi kung daily is an excellent way to regain good health.

Sinew Metamorphosis

Reverse Horse Spring Kick

Question 5

The teacher monk has said that if I do not want to get enlightened, I will not. The thing is that I have trained the mind to the stage where it knows automatically even the arising of desire, making it fading away very quickly.


The teacher monk is right. Once you have the thought of not getting enlightened, or have any thought, you will be pulled back to the phenomenal world.

The methods you underwent at the monastery are meant for those who want to be enlightened, not for people who want to live a normal life in the phenomenal world.

If you want to live a normal life well, diligently practice the arts taught in our school.

Question 6

What can/should I do? Stop sitting and walking meditation? Stop with Kung Fu and Chi Kung? I appreciate every advice you can give me.


You can and should do whatever for your wholesome needs.

Sitting and walking meditation as practiced in the monastery do not contribute to your wholesome needs at present, though they may contribute to the wholesome needs of monks who want to be enlightened. So, stop practicing them.

Chi kung and kingfu as practiced in our school contribute to your wholesome needs. So, continue practicing them.

Editorial Note: Franz' questions will be continued in the March 2017 Part 1 issue of the Question-Answer Series.

Taijiquan for combat

Although Taijiquan is excellent for health, it is basically for combat

Question 7

In the Shaolin 36 Leg Techniques, what is the difference between "Dragonfly Dots Water" and "Reverse Horse Spring Kick"?

— George, United Kingdom


In "Dragonfly Dots Water" the sole of the foot is used as a striking point, whereas in "Reverse Horse Spring Kick" the back of the heel is used. Relatively, "Dragonfly Dots Water" is gentle, whereas "Reverse Horse Spring Kick" is hard.

Both techniques are used mainly to strike an opponent's groin unexpectedly, with the exponent's back towards the opponent as if the exponent attempts to run away. Although there are fine shades of difference between the two techniques, they can be used interchangeably.

Question 8

When a person is sick, will he recover faster by teaching him Taijiquan instead of chi kung?

— Sifu Mariangela, Austria


It is faster to help a sick person recover by teaching him chi kung, and it must be the right type of chi kung. Actually Taijiquan is chi kung, but it is powerful chi kung.

For convenience and better understanding, we may classify chi kung into three categories:

  1. Health Chi Kung -- for overcoming illness, and attaining good health, vitality and longevity.
  2. Chi Kung for Peak Performance -- with focus on mental clarity and internal force, and includes chi king for scholars and chi kung for warriors.
  3. Chi Kung for Spiritual Fulfillment -- ranging from the basics of being peaceful and happy to the most advanced of expanding into the Cosmos.

Taijiquan belongs to chi kung of the second type, i.e. chi kung for peak performance. Peak performance includes effective combat as well as daily living. Hence, Taijiquan is too powerful for sick people to recover.

Examples of health chi kung are Five-Animal Play, 18 Jewels, and 18 Lohan Hands. It is a common misconception that to recover from illness, especially from so-called incurable diseases like cancer and heart problems, one must practice powerful chi kung. This is a big mistake.

For a sick person to practice powerful chi kung is like asking him to lift heavy weights or run a marathon. It will aggravate his illness or may even kill him.

A sick person should practice not only low-level chi kung, he should also practice the least powerful of the low-level chi kung. Five-Animal Play and 18 Jewels are excellent choices, and they should be practiced at the lowest level. It they are performed at high level generating too much internal force, they could be detrimental.

Another common misconception is that any chi kung that can overcome so-called incurable diseases is very high-level. One main reason for this misconception is that chi kung has been so ridiculously debased today that much of chi kung practiced today is merely gentle physical exercise that cannot overcome any illness.

Hence, any genuine chi kung which is actually low-level can be wrongly mistaken to be high-level, just as in a hypothetical situation where everyone were blind, a person who could see with only one eye would be considered advanced, when actually he had been compromised when compared with a normal person who can see with both eyes.

Why is chi kung that is specially meant to overcome illness be considered as the lowest level? This is because overcoming illness is the first of the steps in the progress to the highest goals in one's development. Chi kung can also be classified into the following five categories:

  1. Medical Chi Kung -- for overcoming pain and illness.
  2. Chi Kung for Health -- for attaining good health, vitality and longevity.
  3. Scholars' Chi Kung -- for promoting mental clarity.
  4. Warriors' Chi Kung -- for increasing internal force.
  5. Spiritual Chi Kung -- for attaining the highest spiritual achievement.

The progression described in the above five categories of chi kung is only logical. If a person is sick, he must overcome his illness before he can talk about having good health to do his work well. He should perform his job well, i.e. duty before aspiration, before he enjoys himself in scholarly or sporting pursuits. After having done his duty to himself, family and society, and have enjoyed his scholarly and sporting hobbies, should be dedicated himself to attain the highest spiritual fulfilment.

If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at stating your name, country and e-mail address.



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