he Buddhists consider life to be in flux, a
vortex of karmic vibrations that blow us
around like leaves in the wind. This describes
the state of our mind - forever moving, never
stopping even in sleep. We are driven by
what we perceive, for indeed our perceptions
are our reality. This is how we see and
judge reality. However, this is not true
reality, but our perceptions of reality.
Because this condition exists and because we have an extremely
hard time dealing with the force of life, our problems persist.
Furthermore, if we fail to get control of these forces, life will
continue to consume us in the abyss of 'eternal seeking/never
How do we overcome this state of flux? How do we gain the
controls needed to find peace? This question has been asked since
humans first appeared in the world. Only a few of the so-called
enlightened beings seem to have found the answer. So few among
so many have found the answers to this madness we call life. This
fact alone should tell you something about the difficulty of finding
inner peace. Or do you think you are among those special people
who have found life's answers?
I say this with a smile on my face,
because I used to think I was one of the enlightened ones until I discovered
otherwise. We all like to think we are in control of our lives, our
health, our relationships, etc. In truth this is not bad, because
without this belief you would wind up in your local physiotherapists
office. As long as you wish to play the fool's game it's better to
think you are doing fine, than driving yourself crazy.
on thinking you are in control. this is what the majority of people
do, why should you be any different? As long as you continue to
justify your actions by this false reality, you will
continue playing the game with yourself. This is a fool's game at
best, for there is no winning, there is no peace, there is no end to
On the other hand, you can end the game, you can make
the effort to break free of the illusion. The choice always has been
up to you. The first step is to slow down a second and take a hard
look at the source of your problems. The source is closer than you
think. It is you.
The first step toward self mastery is the hard one. Sit back, close
your eyes and relax. Now comes the hard part: you must decide to
be totally honest with yourself. Your first inclination when you read
this is to say, you are always honest with yourself. In reality the
opposite is true, you lie to yourself countless times each day. And
further more, you believe all your lies to be truth, fact, all of which
justify your actions. This is the trap of the mind. As long as you
believe this false truth the game will continue.
Make up your mind
that you won't settle for the self-lies anymore. You must decide to
face the inner truth and come to terms with what you discover about
yourself. Sit back, and examine your life, your desires, your
dreams, your relationships. Ask yourself if you are truly happy with
your life. You will find that your feelings are deeply repressed within
you. If you don't make extreme efforts to probe yourself, the truth
will elude you. Even now, with all my pleas and rationale, you will not
seek the answers. Your great self-lie will predominate and truth
will be lost. In the Lankavatara Sutra it states:
It is like seeing one's own image in a mirror and in water...as a
man clings to his own false assumptions, he erroneously
discriminates between truth and falsehood, and on account of this
false discrimination he fails to go beyond the dualism of opposites,
indeed he cherishes falsity and cannot attain tranquillity.
You may ask, what will happen if you don't undertake this self
examination and discover your real feelings and fears? The answer
is: absolutely nothing. Your life will continue in the same way as it is
now. The real questions are: Do you really desire change in your
life? Do you see the need for self truth? Do you realize you are
floundering like a fish out of water? Most people
are so used to lying to themselves that the truth appears to them as lies.
You are so programmed by the society you live in that truth has little
chance of being observed. You are caught in a money world, a
power world, a status world, a world of physical pleasures, always
seeking but never finding. You have been drugged. You are now
immune to truth. The only ones who have a chance to make the
breakthrough are those who have had enough of the fool's game.
And they are usually the people who have hit the bottom of the barrel in life. They
have been beaten down so many times they become open for
change in any form. Only when life is about to end do you realize all
your shortcomings. Of course then it is too late. Those who see the
need for change are those who understand their impermanence in
this world. Those who see the need for change see their deep
rooted fears and doubts. Those that see the need for change see it
because they are now ready to see it.
Are you ready? Only by
trying will you find out. Give yourself a chance to find out by
making some effort to improve your life condition. There is no
task more worthwhile, for once you enter the deepest recesses of
your mind, you will exist as a totally different person and you will emerge
as the enlightened one, the Buddha.
If you are honest with yourself, you are among the minority, as
most can not be brutally honest with themselves. The majority will
perpetuate the great lie and continue their lives unchanged right up
to the grave. However, once you realize your true state of being -
fearful, unhappy, and bewildered of the meaning of it all - you are
then ready to transform. The journey now begins. The next step is to
obtain the tools you need to manifest the necessary changes in your
Rule one is to be patient. There will be many falls and bruises
on the climb upward. There will be many detours that will lead you
astray from the path you have chosen. Go slowly and study deeply,
for it is easy to become sidetracked and fall back into the abyss of
self lies. The fight for change can drain you quickly. Just when you
think all is going smoothly, the bottom drops out again. However, if
you are determined to find some relevance of peace in your life,
you will make it. With perseverence all can succeed in finding inner
Our methods are the tools we use to effect our escape to freedom.
We cling to them but we are not attached to them. The methods are
like a mountain climber's rope. They are the tools to get him to the top
of the mountain safely. Therefore, he should take care of his rope
and safeguard it, as his life will depend on it. But the rope is not his
goal, rather it is the top of the mountain he wishes to conquer. The rope is
but the means to do this.
Tai Chi Ch'uan, Shao-lin Kung Fu, Chan
Meditation: these are our ropes. They hold us steady as we make our
ascent to the top of the mountain. Our methods are something to
hold on to, something to withstand the powerful winds of life that
upset our equilibrium and blow us off the face of the
mountain. Our methods anchor us to the face of the mountain.
The methods safeguard us when the winds of change start
The term Kung Fu literally means to strive, to put forth great
effort, to overcome. These are the ingredients for obtaining skill at
something. The methods sharpen our skills to we reach the level
of a Master. A master can be defined as one who has mastered
the self, one who has freed the self from the great
illusion. All this is possible with a method.
One method we study to release our true mind is called Tai Chi
Chi has its therapeutic end. By focusing on the mind
the skilled player can see the mind in action and how it deceives us.
Tai Chi is a tool which we use to examine the moment in which we are living.
Tai Chi demands our close attention to detailed structure when
learning the Tai Chi Solo Form. This is the physical aspect of
developing awareness of the physical body.
Tai Chi also advocates
watching your mind. Without mind awareness we can never come to
full understanding of everything that is happening around us. Tai
Chi students will spend years just trying to hold their full attention
to the quality of their form and the calmness of their mind. In this
way the student starts to become more aware of both the internal
and external forces that drive us with each passing moment.
of Tai Chi focuses on one main principle, that of the interplay of Yin
and Yang. The general idea of Tai Chi is to restore the individual to
a natural equilibrium. This balance is an aid to maintaining the
health of body and mind.
The determined Tai Chi practitioner
stretches towards a cosmic consciousness. This consciousness we
speak of enables us to see the reality of the moment. Most fail to
understand the underlying reason why people study Tai Chi Ch'uan.
It has been said: "One who wishes to live in a martial arts world,
rather then just to practice it on a physical level, must so train the
consciousness to attain a self-discipline until, at last, the conscious
mind will merge into an identity with the very principles of life itself.
In the martial arts we call this, Wu-Shin and in Japanese it is called
This is defined as the state of No Mind. By no-mind we
mean the perfect state of clarity of the moment. This type of mind
moves from a different source of knowledge. A clear mind is not
feathered by extraneous thoughts and feelings. It acts out of the
moment you are living in NOW. Its source of clarity is not based on
the past, or the future, but the present. It is not disturbed by feelings of
love, hate, anger, fear, for they cannot exist in the clear mind.
Tai Chi Ch'uan is an internal (nei-chia) system which functions from
our inner being. The martial arts have many anchors to hold us fast
in the sea of life. The methods vary from internal to external
(wai-Chia) such as Shao-lin Kung Fu which deals with the perfection
of the physical body, while recognizing its limitations.
Then there is
Chan, better known as Zen, which deals directly with the higher
realms of the human mind. It is here that the student starts to come to
know the real self. If you look deeply enough into the human mind
there comes a point where the soul itself is revealed to you. We
come to better understand the very concept of God or Tao.
Truly the martial arts journey is a deep and extensive one that
covers every aspect of living and dying. The martial arts
examine all forms of philosophical heights - not just Eastern
thought or Western thought, but thought in general. Of course many
equate the martial arts with just fighting, but in reality our fighting
skills are just one of our methods to gain control
of our physical body. The true idea of Shao-lin is to stop fighting
with everyone and everything around us and to live in harmony
with nature and all its creations.
Our methods are our anchors in life. These are the tools by which a
martial artist attains self-transformation. Now more then ever
the Shao-lin methods are being revealed to the American
people. People are searching out Tai Chi schools, Shao-lin schools
and Meditation centers all over the country. People are discovering
that martial arts methods do in fact work, and they are seeking to learn them.
With these methods we become strong. With these methods change
becomes possible. With these methods peace is possible in this life.
The study of the martial arts has something for everyone.
young to the old, from the strong to the weak, from the intelligent to
the un-intelligent, all can learn and benefit. It's not how you come
to the martial arts that we look at, it is how you emerge that
counts. The core of the martial arts is expressed in the relationship
of good heath in body, a mind that is flexible and calm, a spirit that
is illuminated. A body that is weak and sickly is of little use. A mind
that is scattered sees nothing, and a spirit that is un-illuminated will
never see God. Pick your method, find your teacher and start your