氣運武攻命之所安 The Fate of the Art of Kungfu


   After practicing Kungfu for many years, haven't seen much progress in my skills; still experiencing a lot of tension and easily to be affected by my surroundings. How to adjust Kungfu practice and approach daily life in a new way?

Master Chung: Chinese Kungfu unites Chi with martial arts skills to enter the Dao at every level, as Confucius explained, benevolence, righteousness, etiquette, wisdom, in addition to the Daoist principles of void, emptiness, and space, and the Zen Buddhists principles of continual development of intuition and correct behavior are all incorporated. Kungfu manifests as layers if a pagoda realizing stability, calm, peace and emptiness through the process of refinement. So called stability, peace, emptiness and refinement, actually these are a precise and complete training set of Chikung, basic, intermediate and Taichi. The basic Kungfu method allows a person's body to return to a stable condition, after many years of practice, then able to have true Chi emerge and never subside. I [Master Chung] come from wanting everyone's true Chi to develop, so that it easily arises and its difficult for it to subside. Building a strong base of basic Kungfu practice, the foundational study can only be achieved through the effort of practice, no imaginative or intellectual reasoning; this helps to develop a real understanding through the experience of practice. It is necessary to assimilate the basic level before entering the next level of intermediate Chikung and Taichi, then looking back at the basics, it will become clear. In the intermediate level practice the hand movement is very quick, in order to enter into condition of emptiness, not relying on physical strength to hit the small bag is the correct way. Shadowboxing should have consistent firmness when hitting the bag, but this is only a small part of the practice. Much more important in the intermediate level is that the movement can help students reach a more relaxed and empty condition, where thoughts gradually subside, the whole body calms down, then the body's Chi operates at a new level. Simply put, the basic level is to practice receptivity (坤) as mirrored by the earth; in the intermediate level and Taichi classes the practice is to develop and unite basic energy (乾) as seen in the heavens. Without the practice of intermediate Chikung and Taichi, the results of only the basic level training will be limited. 'Kungfu' is considered to be China's precious gem, regarded as highly as the Six Arts and the Six Classics. China is not only for the Han majority, the culture and society of Kungfu has been imparted and inherited through the cycles of great changes and suffering during 5000 years of shared history. However, because of the dangers of Kungfu, our forefathers underwent difficulty and hardship, unyielding and still make another break through; as in ancient China’s civil society (江湖), through hardship they smile and embrace it without showing the strain.  


定慧雙修Cultivating Yin and Yang

   Cultivating Yin and Yang Taichi and Chikung are divided into fundamental and advance levels. The method to enter the fundamental level of Taichi is in two parts ‘stability in silence' and ‘silence in action’, Zen in motion. In the process of unceasing movement, maintaining a stable balanced body and mind, then gradually stability, peace, and calm will emerge at different levels, and can be considered an effective result at this level of practice. In the advanced level of Taichi stability, peace, calm, and emptiness can emerge at the same time. Although, this can be a bit difficult; on average out of ten advanced students, three of four lack enough sincerity to be able to concentrate and uncover their deeper power. They may encounter some conditions that cause them to abandon the practice. Early on if advanced Taichi students do not practice fundamental, intermediate Chikung and fundamental Taichi enough to gain an adequate understanding before advancing they will not be successful in advanced Taichi. The advanced level is a realm of immense energy and the frequency is spurred on within your body. As in music, some music generates a feeling, a perception arises, reaching a cathartic effect, some other types of music do not spur a feeling, therefore it lets people return to a basic balance in their lives; with the precondition of having true stability, peace, calm and emptiness of Kungfu. To enter advanced Taichi students need to have mastered and grasped the fundamental Chikung, intermediate Chikung and fundamental Taichi as well as continuing to practice each level; then the advanced level Taichi practice allows a student to gradually return to one's true nature and balance. As Confucius said, finding balance and controlling oneself are imperative for progress; Kungfu, practiced diligently over a long period of time penetrates body, mind and spirit, the energy simultaneously developing yin and yang, tranquility and wisdom. At this point a practitioner is able to deal with all types of internal and external conditions, going completely into the practice while life takes its course.  



  To perform well in Kungfu you must practice countless times, every week you need to practice seeing the mountain as the mountain, seeing the mountain is not a mountain and returning again to seeing the mountain as the mountain; each as a kind of stage, which actually is not a good practice, going through the process can feel like daily life is very distant from the Kungfu practice, that as a practitioner you may not reach the Tao. The practice of Kungfu must connect the body, mind and lifestyle completely; sincerity is the primary basis to practice well, not just the physical practice. Chinese Kungfu is the basis of perfecting ourselves throughout our lives to endure any situation that arises, never giving up but persevering, accepting and tolerating with balance and respect for others, opposed to the emphasis on individual freedom, equality and fraternity that the West embraces. When you're able to practice and unify balance, emptiness, peace and stability in the Kungfu practice on different levels; then cultivating oneself in daily life, putting one’s house in order, running the country well and letting peace prevail on earth is already completed. Then one can return to Confucius' virtues of benevolence, righteousness, etiquette, and wisdom being used to understand through experience of Laozi's nothingness and Zhuangzi's emptiness and space, at which point one is able to see some different dimensions, Zen Buddhists emptiness and deep contemplation will also be easy to grasp.


功夫生活Integrating Kungfu and Daily Life

  In life many problems arise, most are derived from within the body and mind. Many students and monks who have been practicing a long time still have difficult conditions arise, why is this? As stated earlier the Tao everywhere, it's not at a distance from ourselves. To realize this, our daily life and Kungfu should be integrated, not two parallel lives. Going through the practice of seeing the mountain as the mountain; yet remaining unchanged, habits untransformed, persistent and ever-increasing, what needs to change doesn't change, what needs to improve doesn't, when issues arise we are unable to find a solution. Then the reaction has reached the body, even minor situations can make us entirely exhausted; in Kungfu we see no progress, then bigger situations of what has been pent up is brought back into focus. If these problems are not dealt with at the right time it will continuously grow stronger. If the process of refining at deeper levels is not reaching deep enough, there will be a feeling similar to achieving a result, but it doesn't truly reach to the point of changing the conditions. Then why after practicing for many years is it still not enough to change? Without a harmonious merging of Kungfu and daily life you will still find you're unable to solve problems or adjust your lifestyle to be open and clear as we see when practicing Kungfu.   


氣運武攻The Fate of the Art of Kungfu

  The original form of Kungfu practice unites Chi and strength, practicing only Chi without having any strength will not be enough to improve oneself, and having Chi without strength would cause insufficient focus. On the opposite side, if you only do physical strength training and do not develop your Chi, the strength you have will lack dexterity and the coordination to move efficiently. Practicing Chikung is nourishing, if your work is not too much your Chi can develop, however if your work is extremely busy, your Chi will not be sufficient or able to nourish and replenish.

     Kungfu and Chikung practice must be physical in order for strength to slowly develop over a long period, when doing exercises; weight lifting doesn't require much weight to be added; doing a couple pushups, pull ups, squats and frog jumps, just for a minute, even if it is only two, three, five or ten in a minute it is enough. Doing them a couple times in a day, thirty-five in a day would be plenty. The Shaolin Temple training system is much more rigorous, for example to train the leg muscles they must carry buckets of water up and down stone steps or frog jumps up and down the stone steps to develop the musculature they rely on. In our system you don't need to train till you exhaust your muscles, as with too much muscle bulk quickness can not develop.

    The aim of Shaolin Temple’s Chikung is to strongly develop vital Chi for their martial arts (Chi must be very strong before strength will transfer to the limbs). At the time of the second Tang Emperor, Li Shimin, Shaolin monks Chikung and Kungfu skills were so exceptional that only 13 Shaolin monks were able to defeat tens of thousands of the opposing Qin Kingdoms' troops and mounted horses, capturing the Qin King’s nephew ending the battle and sparing numerous lives. The Tang Emperor built a monument in tribute to their exceptional skill and performance in 630CE. Within this system of initially developing vital Chi, then applying it to outer marital arts these feats are possible.

  Ordinary fighting relies on strength, during a fight the first 2-3 minutes could be a wonderful performance but after that strength and speed diminishes, soreness sets in until the fighter become too exhausted to continue. However, within the practice to unite inner and outer Chi as an organic whole (as master's do) kinetic energy is produced and extended without causing any exhaustion, due to the effect of Chi based strength. To practice this form of uniting the inner and outer Chi and strength, is difficult and without sufficient predestined conditions, one maybe unable to progress or succeed mastering this art. 

   After Emperor Li Shimin in the Tang Dynasty, the following 300 years to the Song Dynasty Kungfu was not valued, 400 years later in the Ming Dynasty it was valued even less. During the Ming Dynasty, 400 years ago masters Yu Dayou and Qi Jiguang carried on and taught the tradition which included Chi practices. Then, following the Ming Dynasty, in the Qing Dynasty some parts of Kungfu were practiced again/revived?(恢復), however thanks to the connections {to/of} the Heaven and Earth Association {Not clear why 天地會的關係 wanted to burn the temple}, the Red Lotus (Shaolin) Temple was burnt down six times. After the People's Republic of China, came to power in 1949, the legacy of the Cultural Revolution destroying any found connections to traditional aspects lasted too long, the practice of Chikung and Kungfu again came to a standstill until in 1978, Deng Xiaoping's reforms began and more formal Kungfu sets began to reappear. At which point up until now, Chi practices could be practiced but not understood.


春秋戰國Spring and Autumn& the Warring States Period (722-221BCE)

  Confucius has been well known in history for his mastery wielding any number of weapons, when the mood would strike he would even offer exceptional feats of archery to entertain cheering crowds. However, his cultivation of chi and his mastery of kungfu are never discussed, yet in his generation these practices were the ultimate universal skills. In contrast, Mencius came around 100 years after Confucius, and in nine out of ten of Mencius’ articles chi was a central topic.

  Living at the end of the Spring and Autumn period, all of Confucius’s students were equally adept scholars and practitioners of chi and kungfu, as they were still able to learn from some of the chikung and kungfu masters from the earlier Chou Dynasty. While Mencius’ articles discussed chi, his students were also required to master kungfu skills.

  After the Warring States period (220BCE), out of demand some martial arts soldiers emerged with combative skills, but the nature of the battles continued to employ more advanced techniques and upgrading which left the heritage of Confucius’ kungfu insufficient in wars of annihilation among the valiant special forces, the art of swordsmanship was quickly reduced and glossed over. Even towards the end of the Warring States period, in Mencius’ time swordsmanship had already become less about protection and more of a dance. Therefore Mencius focused much more on the concept of 浩然正氣 (vigor of [heavenly] chi with enlightened righteousness), a form of cultivated etiquette, which is absolute correctness, emptiness, benevolence, it can defend 正氣 (vigor of [heavenly] chi), also considered to be one of the highest forms of etiquette, heavenly chi trained by masters and laymen alike, to see expansively, act with purity without bias in any situation faced. The development of浩然正氣 allows us to provide for our elders and parents well, settle into a career and life with sufficient chi, always accommodating to find a sincere way to solve any challenge we face and ultimately to further cultivate one's own etiquette, manage our household and family well, keeping the environment and country safe and peaceful.  


日用不息Continuous Efforts

  Our approach to developing chi is to not effective if only making efforts in class, my students never see my [teacher’s] personal practice. Anytime I have a few minutes free, just 5 or 10 minutes is enough if we use them wisely throughout the day, like drops in filling a bucket the efforts will accumulate to develop a wonderful quality and strength, later on absorbing and condensing each piece seeing it rise and work in harmony with other efforts. The initial six levels have been discussed previously, these include: the materialistic level including feelings and physical experiences, sensational or perceptual desires, rationalizing or logical aspect, self-awareness, capacity for epiphany or enlightenment, and lastly our truth, root, first concept or soul. These are all interconnected and must be assimilated with six senses. With accumulation of chi and in incorporating these level all together the light and fire in the body will naturally arise and proliferate. Only if each person can let go their clinging, attachments, fatigue, etc, they can find a point at which they can transform to reach their highest good, movement becoming fluid and smooth, stillness being true peace in the heart throughout challenges, eating and sleeping with ease, everything becoming unobstructed.

     However, there are some necessary conditions each person must create to undergo proper training to reach these points. Namely, having sufficient time to practice, positivity to persevere in the practice and develop a more kind heart and attitude towards the world, letting each aspect melt together into larger and greater aspects of embodying heavenly sincerity (holistically sincere in body, mind and spirit), positivity to nurture heavenly sincerity and enlightened righteousness, a benevolent and righteous heart, condensing to the essence of all of these in order to see the quality of sameness in all internal and external phenomena. For beginners as well as those who have practiced chi for longer periods of time, these conditions should always be considered to help aid development, as the practice of chi is a daily undertaking, it will allow the positive capacity and greater quality to traverse all of lives challenges with greater stability, calmness, peace and agility which can all be realized with the proper guiding strength of sincere intentions in the heart. Allowing the practice and real life to completely merge, elevating a practitioners entire life.


偶遇之難Difficult to Encounter

  Work is so busy, consuming all our thoughts and energy as the body grows weaker. In order regain strength and chi, the body and mind must be stable, refining the body systems and employing both mental and physical motivation, chi and perseverance. In this way we can develop holistically, refining slowly through consistent training efforts to strengthen the body and mind giving rise to positive results through refinement up to the level of entering kungfu practice. However, if only focusing the development of chi without any physical strengthening the chi will never be enough to endure in daily life, work and the challenges that arise. Without the capacity to endure and be selfless we are bound to seek out what is in our own self-interest. Is it not bittersweet that free-will that is self-serving, entirely lacks true freedom?

   Not only selflessness and tolerance are required, but it is necessary to integrate each with stability, strengthening chi, refining the physical and mental aspects through great efforts over a long period of time to give rise to some promotion of the body and mind to a higher level. Ensuring each is carefully checked and clearly combined with the others, even then how much positive karma and hard work would be needed for it to all come together?

     As the great Chinese poet Eileen Chang (1920-1995) wrote: “How to encounter you? Within a hundred thousand years and among millions of people, one step to early or too late and we will surely miss the chance. If somehow by coincidence we meet, all that is possible utter, ‘ah, you’re here too?

   The same can be said for truly entering into the kungfu system. Without the hard work of preparations developing each aspect and being able to successfully integrate them; a step to early or too late you will miss the encounter. This is not a simple system to enter into without the proper training and sincerity, the ultimate goal of developing chi, will just look like an unrealistic happy-ending in a novel, but with proper efforts applied over time the chance may present itself.


執中為工Seeking Balance to Go Further

 The manner of approach is essential, good intentions and positive efforts are still subject to complexly intertwined causes and consequences. When results are hastily sought after, lacking a sincere and enduring positive approach, it will cause more damage in the end, then trying to fleeing from wounds caused or reopened. Recognizing that everything is interconnected and what occurs before and after should all merge, applying etiquette to guard against emitting emotions; being able to adjust one's body and mind at any time to the Golden Means (中庸) . In essence at any time being able to give or not give, take or not take. If one is able to do this, when they are confronted with a challenge, of which will inevitably emerge large or small, at that time they will be balanced and able to to see the way through. Overall, people not following their cleverness and reasoning, not even taking notice is better; keep in mind, everything desired will be separated from. The Book of Changes (I Ching) is full of examples, each of the 64 trigrams depicts something different. Each trigram is lacking a part and ready to add a part, transforming space and time, putting into a forward and backward motion. Such as in a science fiction novel, experiencing the depth of the course of a hundred thousand years until now everything is different. To really reach the level of understanding a basic shift must occur in the foundation of the heart.


深信含生Deepest Conviction Gives New Birth to Develop

  One must remain undaunted to encounter the truth, able to confront all of the different interrelationships that depend on fate and transformation. Some people are still stupidly saying they are still not sure, whatever they are doing before they leave this Earth? There are many examples of exceptional selfless heroism in the East and West; remember Sisyphus, the Greek God whose is punished to forever roll the rock up the hill? Or Prometheus who was left to hang forever from a cliff with an eagle pecking at his emotions (metaphoric of his liver) for having offered humanity fire; why on earth would he sacrifice himself for mankind? Even when having superhuman strength and power, Heracles repeatedly and diligently made efforts to selflessly gain The Golden Fleece for the benefit of mankind. Again, Jesus came to save all human beings through his sacrifice of his own blood and flesh, to show how to live a life of honor. Yet, today’s Christian faith is less and less - people just follow a few parts and fail to return to the basic good heart he exemplified. Mary Magdalene dedicated her life attempting to ignite goodness and honor, to show how to live in this life. In Chinese mythology a god named Kua Fu also tried chasing the sun, which represents his passion and longing for the light, the truth, and ultimate significance of life. Though it was beyond his own ability to reach, his chase for the unreachable sun shows the unyielding spirit for mankind, in searching for all the positive possibilities in the solar system. After dying his body became the forests, mountains and valleys of the Earth. His pursuit was not for himself but for all humans, after death, is there any benefit to having been selfish? YueFei, a celebrated hero, skill martial artist and military general from the Southern Sung Dynasty (1103-1142AD) in China was continuously helping different emperors and kings to defend their lands through combating the root of the problem while vastly outnumbered by enemy forces, he continued to overcome themand ready to defeat the invading enemy, he was ordered 12 times by the traitor minister and selfish emperor to retreat from his victory. On the verge of his wrongful execution he sighed, “It is difficult to restore the [Northern Sung] orthodox spirit of the country, the world is in upheaval and won’t be able to be recovered to the right position of the basic Chien [heaven] and Kun [earth] trigrams parallel with each other as the pillars for the government; alters for the gods of the Earth and Universe, therefore they are not in a position to reply.”「社稷江山,難以中興,乾坤世界,無由再復」 In other words, he did the same practice like Confucians .


為己之煉Refining Oneself

  If the Greek Gods had feared hardship, they never would have been able to complete a single task. Kua Fu’s pursuit of the sun and and giving his body becoming (part of)the Earth is self-sacrifice to ensure benevolence and righteousness for mankind at any cost.

    YueFei’s efforts to secure victory and peace for people ready to defeat the invading force(Ch’in)was distorted and wronged by the imperial graced minister. Even going against the repeated orders of the emperor, wanting the victory to be according to his own design, to retreat.

As YueFei had already retrieved and restored strength for half of the nation for the emperor with his small band of warriors; overcoming, challenging and fighting to restore peace throughout the once lost and warring surrounding territories. In doing so YueFei was resolute through hardship of righteousness, knowing he was the only general to defy the emperor’s orders and accepted the consequences. YueFei’s commitment to benevolence and righteousness for the benefit for (for people being suffered and tortured there) all mankind was primary to his own well-being and he was able to bear injustice as no others could. He was a successful hero and saint of battle. He embodies self sacrifice and completion of self-perfection. Self sacrifice is not striving to suit social norms or etiquette; rather tremendous effort to always be attentive amid countless changes, always ensuring one’s focus is to return to the basic heart of a great hero as well as a man.


碟仙迷城Lost City

  In Are You Here, a Hong Kong ghost story film, four young Chinese tech entrepreneurs living in modern day Hong Kong named A-Fen, A-Qiang, A-Long, and A-Min together launched a startup to design and distribute internet apps. However, their business had not taken off and after a year they were preparing to shut down and disband the business.

   Flashing back a year earlier, while driving home together after celebrating the founding their new company they hit a young school girl. Themselves being terrified and confused, as they had been drinking during their celebration, when they hit the schoolgirl, who immediately began begging for their help after being hit, they all locked the doors and hastily left the scene of the accident, except A-Fen who had fallen asleep in the car and had not woken up. The next morning on the news they saw a photo of the same school girl, reporting that she had been raped and murdered near where they had hit her. Through this connection the spirit of the schoolgirl became intertwined in the fate of these four young entrepreneurs.

   In a effort to release themselves from the connection with the schoolgirl’s spirit and her harrowing death they sought counsel from a famous master who was known for her ability to intervene in such matters. Meeting with the famous master, she refused. Saying it was not that she did not want to help, but that she was not able to. However, they had misunderstood the famous master’s meaning, it was not that she was refusing them but telling them ‘spirits cause fear in peoples heart’s and lives not because they are real but because we must suffer the consequences of what we we have done.’

    The ghost of the school girl came back to the invoke the consequences of leaving her to suffer her unnecessarily gruesome death. She came back in the form of Mrs. Huang, a grieving mother. Arriving at the business as they were preparing to close down, Mrs. Huang offered the four a great deal of money to finish the oujia board app her son had been working on before his untimely death. A-Fen had been hesitant to take up work but because she failed to persuade the others, thus she fell into a similar fate after accepting the money to complete the app, the lives of the four were set into orbit and a deathtrap with the spirit of the slain schoolgirl.


關鍵選擇Critical Choice

  A-Min had a problem with looking to the famous master for a way to help, A-Min and her boyfriend, A-Long, went to A-Min’s aunt who was well practiced in these arts. Her aunt had told A-Min it is better not to engage with spirits who died unjustly. If she really wanted to they needed someone with great power who could simultaneously draw out the spirit while those connected to the wrongful death of the spirit and hid from the spirits sight in a protected circle.

    Her aunt had instructed A-Min and A-Long to pretend to hang themselves one at a time, set a timer and the other person would cut the rope just in time, in order to enact reincarnation and no longer be connected to the death of the girl in this life.

    A-Min’s aunt used her skills and power to draw out the spirit, but her power was not sufficient to stand against the vengeful spirit of the slain school girl and for drawing her out A-Min’s aunt succumbed to the girl's spirit and died. After watching this A-Min quickly did as her aunt had instructed her to do and imitate hanging herself to death. A-Long cut the rope just in time and A-Min fell to the ground still alive and reincarnated in regards to the connection of the spirit.

Quickly A-Long took his place to hang himself in the same manner, when the time came to cut the rope to save his life A-Min suddenly recalled all of the mistreatment she had received from A-Long and considered if he truly would be a good father, husband and person in the future. In the end she did not cut the rope and let A-Long die.

    Soon after at A-Min’s prenatal visit as they looked at the ultrasound of her healthy baby the doctor suddenly noted for the first time she was carrying more than one fetus - was it A-Long reincarnating in karmic response to A-Min abandoning him at the critical moment to save his life? With evidence of the Buddhist concept of Samsara (cycle of cause and effect), it is best to carry oneself with iron self-discipline. Reciprocation of good and evil deeds is all around.


五毒之世Emotional Poisons

  This movie is so ordinary, yet they go through the Dao and heavens to tell people the underlying and invisible nooks of heaven to teach its form and how it works; without seeing how to give, to teaching the people. Heaven works in different ways – how to tell us without using words and language, the greatest things taught are not shouted but whispered.

   Today’s younger generation considers the value of reading, developing or practicing other skills to be limited in value to only managing work, love, life, and professional affairs problems. Whereas these skills and practice are not exclusively for scholars or high level practitioners, they can be applied to develop reasoning, logic, understand the natural laws of life, accumulating wisdom, respect for life and managing skills of when to advance and when to withdraw. Young people choose to focus fervently on how to make the greatest fortune without awareness of the true value of life.

    Right now in a network of culture and materialism, young people enter into professions with full interest and engagement. Especially those who want to be the boss, out of 100 who want to be only a couple can be successful reaching there. If they go into set professions, the trade skills can quickly be learned and move through the ascendinglevels. However for those who enter untraditional industries or want to found their own business it requires full investment of enthusiasm and devotion to their work over an extremely long time for it to grow to maturity and learn how to control the changing situations at hand, massive problems can arise and the chance of total failure is present.

       Young people today lack the patience to embrace such an undertaking, the hard work to develop to the extent necessary they find incompatible with their desire for enjoyment. Resenting that they have too much of their own work to complete, just seeking out the greatest profit, unwilling to take care to properly manage their own career, thinking that money comes from the heavens and fortune is always at their side, they lack the wisdom from the ancient ones, becoming arrogant and unwilling to use kungfu methods.

     Modern youth are coming from the same model and from the same connection of dimensions, they won’t be able to understand the different levels or frequencies. Some of them are going abroad; mostly they have gone to show off – not to go to understand something greater. Creating consequences like the projecting a lamp, going through to the other side. If we are able to condense our mind with all our potential it will fit with our potential it will be the first light that comes through – helps us go through different types of karma going through the different karma and stages.

天地不仁Heaven’s Helping Hand

  In the movie Law Lan (羅蘭) played the role of the famous wise teacher. When A-Min and A-Long came to ask her advice, she told them it was not a matter of the ghost but of what lies heavily inside their hearts. At the end of the film she also explained to the audience she did not understand the way to deal with supernatural beings, the TV show was just according to the company’s and show’s ratings, she didn’t know how to perform the magic necessary, so she said there was no ghost, the evil spirit of the young student who died was not real. Maybe the movie doesn’t fit into the ghost genre after all?

             When Law Lan spoke of what lies with in the heart, she was referring to each person having different causes and consequences. Also, that the heavens support and nourish all creatures on Earth, not choosing which creatures to help and disregard the suffering of others like a stray dog. Upholding the law of causes and consequences, the heavens help each succeed according to their circumstances created by their cycle of actions and results. Within this context, consider then when you see your elder kungfu classmates, making a breakthrough in their kungfu can be quite difficult. What is necessary to succeed? If we had stared a business in our youth and we weren’t successful we would have given up – as we grow older have we understood something more from the ancient teachings? The Three Character Classic《三字經》begins with “At birth people’s character is naturally good. Their natures’ are much the same; their habits will differentiate them greatly as they mature.” Are people who continue to follow the morals and values of the ancient teaching so far off track?

四端之心Enriching Virtues

  In the movie, if the young people were able to react according to the basic virtues (benevolence, righteousness, etiquette, and wisdom), they would have responded with compassion when they encountered the young female student in distress after their celebration dinner. The report of her gruesome rape and murder would not have developed ‘her ghost’ in their karma, as with no cause, the consequence of feeling the presence of her ghost would not have manifested. This is an issue of the original or basic heart, as with a newborn baby and in young children before they are influenced, their hearts are pure they give whatever is needed in a situation without any calculation or consideration what they may get in return. As adults we have ideas to try to get the most for ourselves out of any interaction, but we have forgotten the light and purity of giving without restraint or calculation as through a child’s eyes. When we give and when others win, everyone wins.To return to this basic heart, of sincerity to give without calculation or concern of return, is why chikung and kungfu is practiced, to return to the state of purity and goodness of the heart of a newborn baby who can compel and refine their chi, letting their essence in at any time, for practitioners through strenuous efforts over years, they can return their basic hearts and slowly enter the Dao.   

  Although practicing the basic virtues and studying the original heart, giving without having any expectation of the outcome, it still may not come into view or action. If the original heart is not applied through our interactions in daily life, it will be easy for us to believe in the ghosts that were never there. If the ghost lives in our hearts for a long time, as explained in the PrajnaParamita of the famous Buddhist Heart Sutra, we must find a way to practice without fear or worry in our heart or mind. The basic kungfu practice of receptivity(坎) is of greatest difficulty in order to return to the basic heart, although it may still not appear. If fear and worry continue to fill our mind, the ghost of the young student will always be there, even for those who have a sincere mind; they still cannot work from basis of the original good heart unless it is returned to. The critical point is that sincerity of the basic heart of a new born child is the source of our internal and external interactions, without this we can be daunted by our demons at every turn.

行所當行Knowing and Acting

  The goodness and kind action in people’s hearts cannot be experienced or brought forth to benefit others when fear or worry blocks the original heart. As the famous spirit medium, clearly indicated, once fear or worry has entered the heart (mind), the pure intention in the heart has already been divided and the ghost will appear. In the ancient Book of History states, “the mind is the source of many problems, the mind of Dao can balance them; concentrating continuous efforts (including virtue, essence, kungfu practices in order to perfect oneself) as a whole, always keep to balance and self-perfection as the core.” Refining of the basic heart through kungfu is not completed through not seeking or questioning but through ongoing tireless, often bitter, efforts. Often devoted practitioners may find there still has not been a change until the efforts have solidified, no longer seeking or questioning one can find they’ve already returned to the Dao, and their basic heart. Considering the modern youth today how few hold to these aspirations and virtues?   

  In the film A-Min and A-Long were only seeking advice from the medium on a superficial level, so when she spoke to them they did not understand her subtle message that she was not a Dharma master who was in a position to deal with spirits, but more importantly, that the blockage was within themselves. Since they could not grasp the reality of the principle of the Dao, without the original heart they could not understand what she had communicated to recognize the issue was in their basic heart and outlook. A-Min’s aunt whom she sought advice from had already spent her life in this pursuit of self-perfection and was able to deal with this situation and kill her own demons. Although she could not see the demons in the young ones hearts. Since her aunt had returned to her original heart through her life-long efforts she was able to summon the ghost, in the end she offered her life without regret because she was using her pure intention to save others. Through this there was sufficient evidence the ghost did exist, also she provided evidence that the basic heart of Daoist practice, achieving a high level to reach the basic heart is very difficult and rare! If her aunt did not recognize her capacity to observe through her basic heart, not taking her promise lightly that she would not give up, not reconsider, applying righteousness without any regret, she would rather die than retreat; this is the only way you can rely on.

功夫之難Kungfu Misconstrued

  People nowadays arrogantly consider chikung and kungfu as a new age fashionable practice, either as a reasoning of intellectual ego psycho-analysis or on the other hand popularizing it as a method of combat in televised mixed martial arts (MMA) competitions. Crossover fighters’ performances are highly sensationalized to entertain viewers and keep them coming back for more; however these competitions rely on large numbers of amateur contenders, most who lack extensive experience resulting in few victories and a multitude of defeats. On the contrary, chikung as a martial art holds an abnormal place in the Daoist arts, as a key component of the Six Arts traditionally practiced by ancient Chinese scholars, officials and Daoist adepts, requiring extensive preparations to find the right conditions to practice, it is used to develop an understanding of oneself and one’s opponent.  

  On the one side, the physical aspect of kungfu is being used in MMA as a method of assault, on the other side getting trapped by these intellectual data and do not see the things behind. When in reality, the mental practice of chikung and kungfu cannot be disassociated with the physical practices. Working with the mind is a crucial aspect to develop inner strength, coordinating with creating conditions and managing predestined relationships. This also aligns with ancient local customary beliefs of spiritual interpreters (in a royal palace) or mediums whose unique constitutions are exceptionally sensitive, enabling them to connect with negative frequencies and spirits. However, if people try to connect with these energies without having refined and transformed their internal chi into a much stronger and more stable essence, such as the Buddhist concept of cultivating ones’ body energies into a treasure bottle; then these yin energies can easily connect at a deep subconscious level to the emotional hooks we are continuously subjected to through the constant noise of social media and mass media broadcasts, drawing us further into a negative emotional direction, referred to in Buddhism at the Five Aggregates and the Five Poisonous Emotions (a state that will continuously nurture insecurities and seemingly insurmountable emotional barriers in our mental habits, disconnecting our body and mind from our spirit and surroundings).

Referring back to the film, while the spiritual medium lacked the ‘power’ to work with the spirits directly, she did attract attention to another door to walk through that would temporarily relieve confusion of the issue. It is certain that it may not help directly, but she still aided by pointing out the long term root issue that afflicts all people, that the karma each person is responsible for must be faced, if not these conditions will reappear in different forms lasting a lifespan.


Chi Kung Culture Society of TAIPEI