small universe

The Cosmos Stance


I have been practicing the Small and Big Universe for several years now.

Right at the moment I practice the Small Universe in the Wuji Stance just because it feels nice. The Big Universe though I practice rather in the Cosmos stance, again just because it feels good.

Could you please give your opinion about this development as it‘s a spontaneous happening rather than an intuitive one?

Another question came to my mind concerning the Big Universe. The Big Universe is also been activated with the 12 Sinew Metamorphosis exercises. Though it seems I feel a difference when I activate the Big Universe with the orthodox traditional way in the Cosmos stance, than using one of the 12 Sinew Metamorphosis exercises. The former even though standing in the Cosmos stance feels more flowing than using for instance Flicking Fingers which is performed in the Wuji stance.

Could please elaborate on that further?

Sifu Roland Mastel


The Small Universe and the Big Universe are very advanced, wonderful exercises. They can be practiced separately, or together.

If they are practiced together, it is usual to practice the Small Universe first, then the Big Universe. But there is no harm if the order is reverse. Or, I believe many of our Shaolin Wahnam members may do this, the Small Universe and the Big Universe can be practiced in any way practitioners like, such as a small part of the Big Universe, then a small part of the Small Universe, another part of the Small Universe, and then a part or whole of the Big Universe.

What you have been doing, i.e. practicing the Small Universe in the Wuji Stance and the Big Universe in the Cosmos Stance because it feels good, is excellent. This in fact is what masters normally do – because it feels nice, not because they understand the underlying philosophy.

I would say that your use of the Wuji Stance for the Small Universe and the Cosmos Stance for the Big Universe because it feels nice, is an intuitive action. You do so intuitively, without thinking about the reasons. Hence, I would modify your question as my opinion about this development in your intuitive (and also spontaneous) happening rather than an intellectualized one.

I would also take this opportunity to say that intellectualization is not necessarily bad. Our three golden rules of practice are not to worry, not to intellectualize, and to enjoy our practice. It is bad only during practice because it brings us out of a chi kung state of mind.

At other times, intellectualization can be good. If we want to prevent or overcome over-training, we purposely intellectualize. Here, intellectualization is good. When students ask me questions, I have to intellectualize. Again, here intellectualization is good.

That is how things happen in Eastern culture – not just in the Small Universe and the Big Universe, but in all things. We use the False Leg Stance when threading an opponent’s attack with “Golden Dragon Plays with Water”, or raise our stance instead of lifting our hands when we lift a heavy weight, because it feels nice.

These actions, and other similar actions, happen intuitively and spontaneously. Later, masters may think about the actions and come out with relevant philosophies. Using another stance to thread would have missed avoiding an opponent’s force. Not raising the stance when lifting a heavy weight, would be less effective. Of course, the actors must have learnt the proper methods first, otherwise they would not know the methods.

In Eastern culture, and kungfu and chi kung originated from the East, experience comes before philosophy. This is different from modern Western culture where philosophy comes before experience. For example, a research scientist first comes out with a philosophy, then he looks for justification in experience. Here, philosophy refers to a philosophy of a hypothesis, often mistaken to be a theory.

In our school, we differentiate between Medical Big Universe which is also called Phenomenal Big Universe, and Spiritual Big Universe, which is also called Transcendental Big Universe. It is pertinent to mention that the terms “Phenomenal Big Universe” and “Transcendental Big Universe” were coined by Piti, and “Medical Big Universe” and “Spiritual Big Universe” were coined by me.

In traditional Chinese medicine, when chi, or vital energy, flows continuously in all the 16 primary meridians, a practitioner attains the Big Universe, as compared to the Small Universe where chi flows continuously in the Ren Meridian and the Du Meridian. In spiritual cultivation, especially in Taoism, when the personal chi of a practitioner merges with Cosmic chi, he attains the Big Universe. He emerges from his physical body as an immortal, or he merges with the Tao, which is everything there is.

When a practitioner attains the Medical Big Universe, he is still in the phenomenal realm. He is different from the floor he is standing on, and different from all other entities on earth. When a practitioner attains the Spiritual Big Universe and becomes an immortal, he is in the transcendental realm. He may not see various entities on earth, though he can if he wants to. When he merges with the Tao, he is totally transcendental. There is nothing else, but only Universal Consciousness.

The Big Universe -- whether it is the Medical or the Spiritual Big Universe, or the Phenomenal or the Transcendental Big Universe – needs a lot of chi. The Sinew Metamorphosis exercises, especially as they are practiced in our school, produce a lot of chi.

You have been practicing the Big Universe regularly. So when you have a lot of chi, the chi automatically flows along all your 16 primary meridians to accomplish the Medical Big Universe, or merges your personal chi with Universal Chi to accomplish the Spiritual Big Universe. Other people who have not attended our Small and Big Universe Course will not have this wonderful effect and benefits.

Because of the method you used in generating a lot of chi, you feel more consolidated than flowing, which is a characteristic of Sinew Metamorphosis. Although you feel more consolidated, your chi is still flowing, or else the chi will stagnate and you developed big muscles instead.

If you use the Cosmos Stance to accomplish the Big Universe, your chi will be more flowing. Although your chi if flowing, you can consolidate it whenever you want because you have learnt the methods. Whether your chi if flowing or consolidated, or both, you will feel and actually are very powerful. More significantly, you are healthy, full of vitality, have longevity, mental clarity and spiritual joys.

The questions and answers are reproduced from the thread 10 Questions on Small and Big Universe in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.