SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
MARCH 2019 PART 1
You say that chi flow can overcome any illness. Why is this so?
— Vera, Russia
According to traditional Chinese medical philosophy, all illness is caused by energy blockage. Those who are used to Western medical philosophy may not know this fact. Huang Ti Nei Ching, or the Inner Classic of Medicine, regarded as the most authoritative of Chinese medical texts, clearly says that if the energy in the meridians is flowing harmoniously, wherefore can illness occur?
A person is served by an intricate network of energy flow. Energy, or chi, flows to all parts of a person to work his body systems to keep him healthy. To be healthy is natural. In other words, no matter what disease agent enters our body, our body systems will naturally overcome it. Disease agents enter our body all the time, but all the time our body systems naturally clear them.
For example, viruses enter our body all the time, and all the time without our conscious awareness our natural systems clear them. Cells are mutating in our body all the time, and all the time our body systems naturally contain the mutation. Emotions are affecting us all the time, and all the time our body systems flush out negative emotions. Our body systems can function naturally because of energy flow. If the energy flow is blocked, the person may be sick.
For example, if viruses enter our body and our body systems do not clear them due to energy blockage, the person will have a viral attack. If cells mutate and the body system does not contain it, the person will have cancer. When emotions affect us and they are not flushed out, the person may be depressed, angry or anxious.
This aspect of clearing energy blockage works in all aspects of traditional Chinese medicine, not just in chi kung. When a herbalist prescribes certain herbal concoction for a patient to drink, the herbs in the concoction leads the energy flow to certain meridians in the patient's body to clear the energy blockage. When a acupuncturist inserts needles into a patient and stimulates the needles, the insertion and stimulation lead the patient's energy flow to clear the energy blockage.
Practicing chi kung generates an energy flow. When the energy flow clears energy blockage, the person will recover his health as a matter of course. But he must practice genuine chi kung, which is rare nowadays. If he uses chi kung techniques to practice gentle physical exercise, he will not be able to clear his energy blockage.
Sifu, I was wondering about what seems to be called "Sleeping Lohan" or "Sleeping Arhat". It is a pose I've seen over the years many times but I always wondered about it. Is it a chi kung pattern or a type of meditation or both?
Sometimes I have seen it performed with closed fists and sometimes with the fingers pointed into the ears. I wonder perhaps if it is an art like the Art of Lightness or the Art of Flexibility and what it might train. I couldn't find a picture when I googled it so I have attached a rough sketch. I hope my Chinese, "su a-lo-han", is correct.
— John, Ireland
"Sleeping Lohan", as you drew the picture, is not a chi kung pattern, not a type of meditation, not an art of lightness and not an art of flexibility, but is a kungfu pattern.
The downward elbow is used to pin down an opponent while lying on top of him, with the downward leg controlling the opponent's movement. The other hand may be held with a finger ready for "dim mark", or dotting a vital point on the opponent.
The Chinese character "su" would be better expressed as "shui". Although the full term is "a-lo-han", in Chinese it is usually mentioned as "lohan". Hence, the term should be "shui lohan".
Which art is more important, 18 Lohan Hands or 18 Jewels?
— Anton, Russia
The answer depends on whom the question is addressed to. For those who are already healthy, 18 Lohan Hands is more important. For those who have illness to overcome, 18 Jewels is more important. But irrespective of whether a person is healthy or ill, both 18 Lohan Hands and 18 Jewels are important.
Where one is more important than the other is relative. For people who are already healthy, 18 Lohan Hands is more important because the art maintains good health. In other words, by practicing 18 Lohan Hands he will not likely be sick. For those who are already sick and wish to recover, 18 Jewels is more important. 18 Jewels is specially meant to overcome illness.
However, not many students may understand the philosophy behind these arts. Hence, the best approach for them is to follow the three golden rules of practice, which are not to worry, not to intellectualize and to enjoy the training. They should train for only about 10 minutes a sessions, and two sessions a day, once in the morning and the other session in the evening or at night. Irrespective of whether they practice 18 Lohan Hands, or 18 Jewels, they will have good health and overcome their illness.
I am referring to students in our school, Shaolin Wahnam. I sound boastful and many people may be angry at us, but I just state the truth. Most other people who practice chi kung, merely use chi kung techniques to practice gentle physical exercise. Irrespective of whether they practice 18 Lohan Hands or 18 Jewels or any other chi kung exercise, they will not overcome their illness or maintain good health, simply because gentle physical exercise does not give these benefits.
Were there any experiences that led you to realize the different levels of meditation? For example, when did you understand about flowingly still?
— Sifu Mark Appleford, Chief Instructor of Shaolin Wahnam UK
There was no special experience that led me to realize the different levels of standing meditation. I started with standing still, which was similar to "flowingly still" but the significance was different. When I was standing still, I was just still, but in flowingly still I merged with the Cosmos.
Did your understanding of these levels come from you researching of the classics?
This understanding came from direct experience. Nevertheless, the classics gave the inspiration as well as the confirmation.
When I practiced my chi kung, I followed what I learned from my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam. I stood for a short while thinking of my dan tian, or abdominal energy field. Later I stood for a longer period because I found it pleasant. It gave me a direct experience of inner peace.
When I read chi kung classics, I found that standing meditation gave inner peace. This confirmed what I did was correct.
In other aspects the classics gave me inspiration. I read from a Taoist classic on "Opening of Five Flowers", that visualization or a gentle thought while in an intuitive mood was needed to generate a shower of energy from the head to the feet. I tried that out, and found it worked, not just once but many times. This gave the inspiration for the course, "Cosmic Shower".
I would also like to ask about how each level relates to where a person is in his cultivation.
At an early level when there is vigorous chi flow, a practitioner overcomes his illness. This is chi flow, or energy flow.
When the chi flow is harmonious, he has good health. This is flowing gently.
When the chi flow is building, he has internal force. This is flowingly still.
When he is flowingly still, he experiences transcendental reality and eventually merges with the Cosmos. This is standing still and expanding into the Cosmos.
If someone who is living what we would call a "normal" life such as going to work, would his level of flowing still be different from someone who has a highly cultivated spirit such as a master of Zen?
It does not matter whether his life is normal or he is a master of Zen. When he achieves a certain level of attainment, his experience will be determined by his level of attainment.
When he has vigorous chi flow, he overcomes his illness. When he is flowingly still, he has transcendental experiences.
If all other things were equal, a normal person will take a longer time to attain a level of what a Zen master can attain.
If there is a difference can someone has what we might call a low level of flowingly still at the physical level?
There is no difference in attainment though the time taken to attain the level may be different. If a person attains a high level of flowingly still, he may have transcendental experiences. If his level of flowingly still is of a low level, he attains inner peace.
If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at stating your name, country and e-mail address.
- The Wonderful Benefits of Chi Kung
- Two Categories and Two Approaches of Meditation
- 72 Arts of Shaolin
- 48-Pattern Taijiquan Set
- Arches in the Snow