IS THE WAY to WISDOM a Beach Ball On a Mountain Stream???
"Three days away from study make for plain conversation"
"The wisdom that does not increase by the day diminishes the
In the world of martial
communities each art is said to have its own position and significance
and there is much debate. Most agree that TRUE Kung Fu (skills and
enlightenment) are more than difficult to attain. Perhaps some people
can be funneled into believing the path to mastery can easily be
attained by some trick and some constancy of application but please
lets go broader than that position.(However a short list
of classic spiritual tricks to accomplish True Kung Fu easily is
provided in the footnotes!!.)
Technical knowledge or
extensive drill training is unlikely to familiarise us with the
oriental spirit of kung fu. Neither will a choosing
of some historically relevant cultural perspective necessarily guarantee
any depth of insight into the nitty gritty of spiritual enquiry
but it cant hurt either. You could try the big search through
the extensive archives of martial magazine history or buy a instant
guide to the martial arts book cartoon style, however such introductions
are often shallow and repetitive in content for each art. No, I
would suggest that for a clear exposition of martial spirit one
has to struggle to refer to the cultural perspectives within martial
biographies and the hotch potch of historic texts. Again
one must be careful as although mythology is fascinating its relevance
So what are you likely
to find if you do this research? Within the current myths associated
with the internal martial arts and the external
martial arts you find a range of often very strange and esoteric
motivations being extolled. If you are thinking of becoming a newbie
member of a martial school bear this in mind. Particularly be wary
of combat initiation ceremonies and militaristic training schedules.
Its of no value to raise your bravery to machismo levels only to
find that the full contact results in a loss of valuable sense functions
such as hearing or vision. Unfortuately some schools have a modern
fetish for power skills, street fighting confidence tricks and esoteric
technical jargon. Martial magazines do indeed try to give the aspirant
in depth explanations of the martial style and technical content
but few are successful at even scratching the surface -such descriptions
are generally designed to sell the reader carrot-like satisfactions...
Know of the power, get the power feel, be successful. I am not saying the new
jargon is not without benefit but it is limited, frequently misleading
and rarely at the essence of martial practise. Equally one has to
be conversant with the way of New Age traditional cosmological
magazines that portray martial arts as a philosophic holiday picture
book of naturalism and dualistic understanding. Do not buy into
the magazine themes to quickly. Its easy to believe in the modern
vision of natural soft Chinese exercise whereby with regular physical
and mental exercise we developing some esoteric will and deeper
purpose together with a bit of realistic street cred. (Yes, I know
we all have oodles of that anyway, but pray let me continue.) Its
nice to imagine oneself as a colourful warrior or warrior-ess character
dedicating oneself to specialised training as a path to sage like
capabilities and powers. I find that by sitting on specially divined
Kelloggs Cornflakes packet, small size, AND YET I I too have achieved
Walking up walls is a
cinch by developing the light two step power, and I would never
miss out on the single finger power strike cos it makes me feel
safe on the streets. But to be humourous (yes I am trying) for real
pop crap I would go for the (are they popular ?) martial rag video
techniques which quickly allow you mesmerise your opponent with
the strength of a white snake, but only with the power of invisibility
set on Chi power number five can you pass on an unnoticed strike
to the vital points of your next door neighbour. And just in passing
(cos I want to keep in harmony with popular name dropping ) wasnt
Bruce the best!!? Amusingly for the Zennist student to be "naturally"
the best is to be certain in truth of ones own development
as metaphysical and religious non entity!
be praised! All change is constantly lost??!
or did someone forget to be Zen?
just that the mirrors dirty again!
Equally strange is how
the quality martial art publications have a habit of re-depicting
the "historic founders" of various schools with prodigious
abilities and significant heroic conflicts under their belts. Quick
revelation history makes for good reading, but why should we care
whether the early symbolism of the "internal"
school of boxing is correctly represented by the hero Zhang Sanfeng
which in some context or other is relevant to the major "external
schools.It is an odd historic debate that has worn thin. I should
not care whether the "internal" schools are correctly
represented by Zhang Sanfeng or whether the martial practise of
the internal schools developed from the early Taoism of China. Time
has told such a confusing picture! Simliarly, that the Shaolin external
arts are based on Bodhidharmas transmission of animal health
exercises for ailing Shaolin monks sat too long in Buddhist meditation
seems highly unlikely. The convenience of simple myths is simply
a bit of writers a-priorism. Yes, I enjoy these re-runs of the martial
history just like I enjoy the Water Margin Stories tales of old
spiritual heroes who are good at doing bad acts, perfect for entertainment.
So how much study is required of the written word to find the True
Spirit of martial arts,. In truth many boxing masters were illiterate
consequently most teaching information was reduced to rhyme or memorised,
-later to be passed on by word of mouth with all the semantic confusion
that can bring. I am afraid that even the most colourful characters
of philosophy and art are somewhat jaded by the onslaught of modern
street savvy which now appears to be so accessible. If your a newbie to
the martial world be advised that most martial magazines treat everyday
violence with a sensualistic and pragmatic glee. There are compulsory
repetitious insights into fighting attitudes. Another interview
with the master - so seriously powerful. But hey, what is all this
glam gladiator stuff doing in "real" martial arts? You
sure you got to check yourself out against your peers by fighting
? How much selfless art is there in that? I hesitate (I am kidding)
to put my neck on the line, but surely the proof of any traditional
genuine martial approach to the development of kung fu is within
the struggle to develop a clear martial spirit. The ability to meet
the martial spirit is the moral difficulty of being both personally
generous and eclecticly open, especially with tolerance. But acceptance
of the diverse values of each school is valuable only if appropriate.
Otherwise dont buy into it. OK, go for the costumes and the
martial purism, but please reject this glam mystery veneration hype
stuff most typically seen in the tabloid martial arts publications.
Equally, the spirit of martial arts is still in the big search mode
for popular heroes righteously battling in competition is a serious
over investment in the development martial combat skills. Neither
is it much to do with martial spirit but martial sport combat culture.
At the heart sport combat is duplicitous and misleading. So much
chat has passed of late about technical conundrums and declarative
technical twaddle that the general impression to the lay person
is that martial arts have rapidly developed into either high insurance
bracket of contact sports or they're simply a harmonious way to
holiday retreat into a new esoteric lifestyle. Yes I am arguing
that in the main newbie-onecanobie is unlikely to trip over the
real underlying spirit of martial arts easily in the
current media forms.
a problem.So OK you
might say is the Spirit of martial arts really relevant and where
would I find it. Sorry but I am going to recommend a few isms
and self reduction as an outcome. Because we are social beings I
would like to kick off with The Confucian perspective which in its
various guises encourages moral development through family agreement
on civic rights. A child is a child and an adult has a responsibility
to generate the correct values. Members of the martial or any community
have the ability to influence choice. The significant Confucian
power is to be in relationships that bring social harmony,
by considered middle roading it. The Confucian vision of the human
spirit relies on the self being at peace and living through tolerance.
The good aspirant the superior man / woman must watch
for the nature of self deception and use guilt as a guide. The book
of "Genuine Living" (Chung Yung) calls us to reject the
attitude of mind that thinks it can get away with anything
(apply this to trying to force physical technique and kerplunk!)
individual guards against his own intentions, even when alone, Confucian
maxims advises us to love what is good and discard what is evil
- this is a good way to regain balance. Both Confucian and Buddhist
methods view self development as conditional on maintaining the
right overall disposition which can lead towards spiritual attitude.
Buddhist thought suggests that the content of life is not filled
with things simply to be talked about, but life is to be practised
with free-hearted commitment. It is not important whether one commits
and fails! There is no sin here. Traditional philosophical values
are invaluable reminders to kick the habits generated by the spiritually
wearing forces of a both a materialistic and trying world culture
forms. Trekky like we can but try to boldly go where only our Human
spirits can go! Which is a long way towards maintaining in Buddhist
terms a well nurtured conviction in "the good in life".
The spiritual will to do good for life can be just simple suchness.
(sorry about the Zen)Like a
Leaf in the Fall. Buddhist
right thinking stresses that spirituality will grow significantly
as one seeks to avoid the trap of self importance, the searching
for happiness; suffering; or wisdom to nonsensical levels. Be certain
that the simple enduring of ones whims in anger, fear, sorrow,
grief, or love is unlikely to "preserve" a balanced view.
The spirit is nurtured by breathing slowly when the mind is at ease.
The spirit of the martial arts is the encouragement given to the
mind to see the essential Zen of conscious appreciation from within
a tranquil mind. Almost as a reason for being here! Spiritually,
Zen is crazy starting point. However, as we are all subject to emotional
self attacks from within a Zennist sense of being falls neatly into
development of a self art of True Kung Fu.
is anti -Taoist. Harmony is certainty. Be certain for your
self that when the mind is inattentive we look without seeing,
listen without hearing and eat without tasting, therefore
we lose the Tao (Way - middle path), that which is best,
truth is too often merely a belief that supports a ragbag
of assumed meanings, which are of value only in their immediate
convience for some party or other. Monsters are where we
find them. We turn suffering into many forms of persuasion
and blackmail. We fear existence because we are going against
a situation that we should accept and in this way fail to
recognise the power of our self interest. It is immense
in capability to distort what is and we grasp at a relative
hell to tell us what to do and be. We pay the price of failing
to confront ourselves. The monsters of acceptance, recognition
and appreciation gain points day by day. The self comes
to believe it not only "exists" but that it is an object
of "possession". It is in this way that violence is done
to the development of human nature and virtue. (JEN ,I)
ordinary mind is the slayer of the real and we are its victims.
Thinking is not a means to gain knowledge.
followers of Zen fail to go beyond the world of their senses
and thoughts, all their doings and movements are of no significance,
but when the senses and thoughts are annihilated, all the
passages becomes possible the original mind is to be recognized
along with the working of the senses and thoughts - only
it does not belong to them, nor yet is it independant of
not build up your views upon your senses and thoughts; but
at the same time do not seek the Mind away from your senses
and thoughts. When you are enjoy your perfect unobstructed
freedom, then you have your found seat of enlightenment.
HUANG - PO.