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  • original intent

    I wrotee the following post on another thread when I realized my mind was just kind of picking at me to start this new one.

    Anyhoo, here's the post. It had to do with a certain kind of mindset in martial arts and a very small, simple explanation of what is behind it.

    I think I know what mbokohutu is talking about, and i know what he means when he says that someone needs to be patient and willing in order to understand. The reason why many (if not the vast, overwhelming majority) of martial artists never understand this higher learning is because their minds are too linear. Too much sensory reliance in a system that is meant to develop your intuition.

    One of my favorite songs, Lateralus, describes the whole thing rather beautifully.

    In another thread I mentioned that the fact that the Shaolin were out in the middle of nowhere to begin with was part of the explanation as to how their martial art unravelled.

    I won't go into too long of a discussion, as it tends to be one that is better done in person, but I will say that a lot of it has to do with a vibrational force that pervades the universe and expresses itself to those things and beings who choose to tune into it.

    A group of buddhist monks out there in China picked up on this and, aided by a mysterious indian man (if he wass human at all), gained a fantastic understanding of how this all works (remember, damo basically taught these guys how to breathe and posture correctly as they do rather regular, obvious things).

    What these guys were able to do (as were other peoples in various places of the world including Africa, South America, places in Europe and other places...) were come in touch with a guiding principle that taught them much of the rest of what they needed.

    From that point on, geared with the understanding they had to begin with, these monks probably started to shift their aim in the direction that fate had inevitably set them towards.

    It is also no co-incidence that the place is surrounded by mountains. Mountains tend to carry this vibration in polar extremities, making them excellent training tools (ever wonder why some people just refuse to train indoors?). The mountains themselves are, in fact, a physical manifestation on the ground of the polar energies that exist within them.

    Anyway, before I digress... The surface of the planet of a grid of energy channels (much like a human being, it has it's own meridians, acupuncture points, living vibration and in fact, a consciousness of it's own. It has Chakras and a kundhulini spiral just like a human being does (as does, in fact, every single entity which exists in the universe but that is another story).

    On the surface of this grid exist metaphisical continuations of this energy, the result of an intent (a thing called "yi" in chinese) which manifests itself as a physical, sensory oriented existance, the form ("Xing", if you will) which is both the resuly of one intention and the root of another. We call these things people, animals, rocks, mountains, rivers, leaves, piles of concrete shaped as squares called buildings (feng shui, anyone?).....whatever they are, we've at this point pretty much assigned a dichotomy to all of them.

    Every single thing that exists, exists on the face (grid) of another thing. The reason for this is that everything in the universe is continuous. This Idea partially falls in line with the membrane idea within string theory; the idea that everything is a membrane that exists on or within another membrane. In qigong, this dichotomy is referred to as microcosm/macrocosm qi circulation.

    As beings that exist on another membrane, we are subject to transactions that occur between the two. Vibrational energies flow within and without (beatles reference) these entities. As this occurs, there are two things a consciousness can do: comply or resist.

    One way of resisting is to ignore the energy. It, like all methods of resistance, fails. Western as well as much of eastern society is a very good example of this, in that we choose to rely entirely on sensory input and output without allowing ourselves or anyone else to open to ideas that are too "esoteric" or "inpractical". We further hinder ourselves by calling this state an "advanced" society.

    But we are not. I would put it to you guys that in ancient times, man was, on an instinctual basis, able to "jack in" to this grid and use it for things most people cannot comprehend. Everything. Longevity, self-healing, excercize, massage and many things that our primitive and counter-developed societies would call "magic".

    The shaolin are an order of monks, in my opinion, who practiced this energy transferrance using meditations, breathing and postures, and other things that are not only at the core of their gongfu but are available to any human being without prior knowlege of this pehnomonon if they only open their true ears and true eyes to it.

    Unfortunately, a lot of things have changed since then and from what I understand, you are not likely to really find people who understand this anymore. In fact, this very notion tends to be greeted with nothing short of outright hostility by people who insist on clutching onto the infinitesmal-presented-as-all-encompassing aspects of what they are led to believe a martial art should be.

    I believe that a theist looking at the old mindset would liken what these monks did to something that the artist Alex Grey has been saying for a long time now. That the artist is a vessel through which the hand of god expresses itself, and reveals itself to the artist.

    You could say that the Tao manifests itself through and enlightens those who allow it to. Most people out there are, in my opinion, strongly opposed to allowing this to happen.

    As for how to judge whether a teacher has grasped and applied a "true meaning" to anything....remember; there are no simple answers. only a simple-minded interpretation.

  • #2
    in regards to shaolin, the training concepts vary, but the goals have been the same for atleast the last 1000 years. i say this because it was around the last 1000 years that shaolin really came into its own.

    or so it seems, regardless...the cultivation of the 5 essences and the methods used to achieve them vary and for good reason, people are different, styles are used for different purposes and why not preserve different art forms and knowledge ingeneral.

    i dont think the way in wich we cultivate the 5 essences matters so much as the fact that we are actively doing it.

    but then you have the fact that shaolin is like most chinese martial arts... complicated lolo. if its not the nei jia and taoism its usually a shaolin style or derivitive and buddhism respectfully. confucianism is also of note but doesnt exactly play the same role in the martial arts because it has more to do with society, so i dont really include it because from my knowledge none of the founders of any style or style of note for that matter really emphasised confucianism or integrated it formally into a martial system.

    anyway shaolin and its concepts are i think very much linked to mysticism and chinese culture in that every essence is obviously represented by its animal counterpart. which is what i really love about shaolin styles, because usally in the nei jia the animals represent methods of doing something moreso then actually becoming the representation of the animal. not that im knocking the internal its they use the pakwa and other taoist principles etc to convey concepts into training but the animals in shaolin are sacred for that reason.

    for that reason when u play lung or fu you are dragon or tiger respectively, the same goes for the 5 elements but that is universal in both the shaolin and neijia. the point being is if your tiger your tiger and your using tigers principles and your cultivating tigers attributes etc the flipside is if your tiger your aggressive and explosive and thats about it lolo. but maybe thats to sterotypical i dunno

    the animals and their relationship in cultivation with the 5 essences is what im obviously getting at, its a distinct flavor of chinese martial arts that is usually most beloved even by outsiders who dont understand them lolo. so in this regard i really dont think the training concepts matter as much as the spirit of the training is preserved..which it is and has been, which is also why i talked about the relationship to chinese culture ingeneral then buddhism itself because there are so many different schools of buddhistm even within chan, but chinese culture even though there are various races etc living in china all through its history, china is still china lolo

    with all that being said i obviously advocate that the knowledge and understanding is still there, espcially in this day and age
    "did you ask me to consider dick with you??" blooming tianshi lotus


    • #3
      OK. You guys completely lost me.

      No problem.
      Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

      "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

      (more comments in my User Profile)


      • #4
        i just addressed aspects of his post, basically disagreeing with him lolo

        imho the original training concepts of shaolin are intact and i used the 5 essences as the basis of my arguement. if you dont know what the 5 essences are..basically they are what a shaolin practitioner strives to attain out of practice, basic or advanced

        strength, speed, chi, poise, spirit are the 5 essences represented by the tiger, panther, snake, crane and dragon respectively. this is also why i talked about chinese culture in relation to shaolin gung fu and not just its buddhist roots.

        really i could go deeper into it, i mean to me its interesting really. there was one thing he said which was about damo being indian and how he taught the monks the yogic exercises. its interesting to note the similarities between chinese martial arts not neccesarily before damo but outside of shaolins influence are much different. when i talked about the nei jia its not that they are neccesarily outside of shaolins influence but moreso they are just so different...

        i mean, from what we know bagua was created by dong hai chuan a shaolin master..ok but he learned the circle walking from a taoist recluse..

        and tai chi is all about taoist principles, bagua is aswell imo and xing yi even though it was accredited to yue fei who learned from shaolin and u could say the same for zhang san feng and shaolin aswell but xing yi is still practiced in the same manner of soft to hard like all the other internal..i dunno if that was how it evolved or what but..its just whatever i guess up for debate

        but back to the original point of damo and his influence, personally i like how damos apparent teaching was passed down because even though it could have been changed i think the monks at shaolin taught the way they did for a reason.

        u know, in shaolin we always train the hard first, then the soft skills come later and more emphasis is placed on the mind and chi but not to say its neglected in the begining just not as much as the internal who obviously start soft

        in the end u find the duality is kind of pointless but then u realise its not pointless which is what im getting at. cause if u think about it, atleast for me and i think alot of other people who are more practical, using damos method or a more external method in the begining is better because no matter how much u know, if the body doesnt have the ability who cares what you know or how powerful your skill is. not just in regards to fighting either

        just simply fighting off disease, or infection etc i think its better to work on what matters the most espcially in youth or any age really then to move on as you progress for yourself, because no matter what atleast u have that conditioning

        anyway just some thoughts about "training concepts"

        and he lost me aswell about the chakras and all that crazy shit i dunno if he works for wong kiew kit now or something but i was kind of surprised to see that because ive never come across that or had any teacher mention those things to me
        "did you ask me to consider dick with you??" blooming tianshi lotus


        • #5
          I dont think he understood what I meant.

          Big pictures are difficult to see sometimes when your head is, well, going caving.


          • #6
            the original intent of shaolin is veri easi to sai and veri difficult to realize: stop the suffering of everi sentient being

            in mi meditation i more and more focus on understanding the suffering of other beings. i think it is a great link, even mistical. but hard to realize, we dont understand our suffering and the one of our beloved, so what about other suffering?

            i guess if u fulli understand the suffering of other, in a fight or in a conflictual situation, u ll be more able to have this sense of anticipation of the movements of the other and react in a loving and non violent wai

            Om mani pedme hung


            • #7
              I would agree with that as a general premise of what a Buddhist mind sets out to do. But something special went on there, and there was more to it than just a chinese version of hippies in the forest.


              • #8
                I would agree on part of what u say about the connection with Qi in shaolin practice. That makes shaolin unique.

                Yet the mahayana influence of Bodhidhamma is also special. The use of Lankavatara sutta as a base of a teaching has unique characteristics, for instance linked to vegetarianism. Compared with Batuo's hinayana approach, it is said to emphasize universal compassion for the suffering of every living being.

                Yet this distinction bodhidhamma/batuo might be rethorical/symbolic and far from what the real shaolin was. Though I have seen it emphasized by chinese shifus on


                • #9
                  I would agree on part of what u say about the connection with Qi in shaolin practice. That makes shaolin unique.
                  why? when was the idea of qi first born? in the huangdi neijing (traced back to 100bc), writings of confucious (before 476bc), or earlier, perhaps even in the yijing? how is it different from the concept of qi in daoist thought, that of prana in ayurveda yoga ...and the like?

                  it would apear that the concept existed far before the estabishment of the shaolin arts and can be found in many other systems as well. so i don't see it being unique at all to shaolin.


                  • #10
                    yeh, qi cultivation isnt unique to shaolin, unless ur talking to wong kiew kit.

                    i think what is unique to shaolin how they practice buddhism. i think damo introduced a more practical method of cultivation which focuses on body mind and spirit, instead of just mind.

                    look at lius arm for example, it looks like a tooth pick, bodhidarma would frown on this lolo
                    "did you ask me to consider dick with you??" blooming tianshi lotus


                    • #11
                      Yea, thats what i meant is that the practice of buddhism with Qi is quite unique to Shaolin.

                      Though in tibetan buddhism u also practice with energy: winds, drops, chakras. I guess u can also find it in Shingon which is also tantrayana. And to a certain extent the concept of Qi is present in every school of buddhism but it is less focused than in Shaolin.

                      Yet dont forget the goal to cultivating Qi/ understanding the suffering and making an end of it.


                      • #12
                        The tibetan system is very interesting. To be honest, I would put those guys on par with the really old school shaolin in terms of what they did with buddhism and tantra.

                        In fact, if you think about where the gongfu of Shaolin came from originally (allegedly, India) it makes a great deal of sense to incorporate hindu body "metaphysics" to the practice of the actual martial arts.

                        My original post on this thread implies that all these practices, be it Tibetan Tantra (the intricacies of which i am absolutely dumbfounded by), Hindu Yoga (real yoga, not the shit you learn from a model in spandex at gold's gym), Buddhist gongfu, Taoist's all interconnected. In my opinion one is missing out tremendously if they do not eventually try to unify all these ideas in their practice.

                        In all honesty, I find it difficult to believe that the disciples of Boddhidarma did not practice a more tantric form of buddhism, Chakras, pranah and all. I think the monks figured out that the chakras can, in fact, be moved and that posture can be augmented to fit the practice as far as certain concepts remain.

                        The good news is, again, you don't need a human teacher for much of this. What you need is an understanding of the primordial concepts that brought these practices all about, and the more you keep your heart open the more likely a general understanding is to follow.


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