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Thread: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

  1. #1

    Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    I recently read a book, The Complete Book of Zen, in which the author stresses the fact that practicing kungfu and chi kung is essential to cultivating your Zen experience and eventually realizing your cosmic reality. While I could see the benefits, I have not heard this before, and have to wonder is there actual merit to this claim, or is it simply a skewed viewpoint, given that he is in fact a grandmaster of both Shaolin Kungfu and Chi Kung.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2

    Re: Zenm kungfu, and chi kung

    since "kung fu" can be translated to "hard work", I'd say kung fu is absolutely essential to practice.

  3. #3

    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    From the description on amazon:

    Allow inspiring glimpses of cosmic reality


    Yeah, ok. What does that even mean? :roll:

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Rev R wrote:
    since "kung fu" can be translated to "hard work", I'd say kung fu is absolutely essential to practice.
    Good one!

  5. #5

    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Hmmm... well I think you (Josh) are right in the sense that since he is a master in kung fu then he believes kung fu to be zen like or zen enhancing experience. I believe anytime you do any activity in which you do the activity.. without preoccupation, distraction or mental wondering.. that is meditation. Just like Brad Warner in his Sit Down Shut Up book (or perhaps the first book Hardcore Zen) refers to playing the guitar or bass as meditation or zen like because there is no Brad, no thought of playing a bass and I need to hit this note and then that note.. instead there is just the playing of the notes. The same with kung fu.. IMHO... if you are thinking - do this, do that then do this... then it is contrived and awkward and distracted.. when you just do then it is...

    That said, there's only one zazen.. but all things being meditation.. if you just do then what isn't a cultivation of zen or zen itself? Similarly, what's cosmic reality or not reality? If we are deluded then that delusion is part of reality until such time as its not.. : P so while I know plenty about delusion as I continue to suffer from a plethora of them, I can't attest to cosmic reality but to reality...

    _/_ Nate

  6. #6

    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Rev R wrote:
    since "kung fu" can be translated to "hard work", I'd say kung fu is absolutely essential to practice.
    Good one!
    You may enjoy this even more.

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/20 ... losophers/

  7. #7
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Rev R wrote:
    since "kung fu" can be translated to "hard work", I'd say kung fu is absolutely essential to practice.
    Good one!
    You may enjoy this even more.

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/20 ... losophers/
    Thanks, that was very interesting article!

    Gassho,
    John

  8. #8

    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Quote Originally Posted by joshbrown
    I recently read a book, The Complete Book of Zen, in which the author stresses the fact that practicing kungfu and chi kung is essential to cultivating your Zen experience and eventually realizing your cosmic reality.
    Well, it is certainly true.** It is also true about washing dishes or mowing the lawn. All constantly really realize our "cosmic reality" ... whether we realize it or not. 8)

    Of course, Kung fu folks wish to realize the special connection of Kung fu to Chan/Zen practice. Why not? Master Bodhidharma ... who brought Zen to China and sat in a cave at Shaolin temple for 9 years ... is said to be the same "Bodhidharma" who brought Kung Fu to Shaolin temple. IT'S TRUE! (I mean, it's true that folks say that ... cause actually little is known about the historical Bodhidharma, and most of the stories and legends about him in the Zen world too are later inventions!) Here is a Bodhidharma Kung Fu action figure that's around ...



    But the legend of a Bodhidharma/Kung Fu connection only developed many hundreds of years after Bodhidharma had lived. As Andy Ferguson writes in "Zen's Chinese Heritage" ...

    "[S]tories linking Bodhidharma to Chinese martial arts, or gongfu, have no historical basis. No evidence exists of any relationship between Bodhidharma and Chinese Martial arts beyond their common connection with Shaolin Temple. A millenium separates the time of Bodhidharm's residence a that temple with the first mention of his supposed link to the martial arts. Thus, the story of this relationship must be seen as a relatively modern invention"

    But as I said, that does not mean that martial arts ... like tea or flute playing, diaper changing or cooking soup ... cannot be intimately practiced together as Zen practice, all reality realized really!

    Gassho, J

    ** (it may also be a good claim to make if selling books about Kung Fu!)

    PPS - Here is more historical information on the origins of the Bodhidharma-Kung Fu connection ... or lack thereof:

    http://www.historum.com/blogs/ghoste...dhidharma.html
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-16-2012 at 12:54 AM.

  9. #9

    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    The article was really good, thanks.

    When it comes to the idea that Kung Fu and Chi Kung are necessary to Zen I would have to disagree. The only necessity to Zen ... a question I can't answer. An example though:

    I practice Tai Chi, and at one point in my life was able to go to Tai Chi classes. After about 4 months I experienced what I can only describe as a "high". I won't say I was enlightend or any other rubbish, but I felt really damn good, accepting, blissful, joyous, etc.

    The class was in the morning and in the afternoon 1 day I had a doctor's appointment. The Doctor's receptionist is really nice and means well: But bitches and complains near endlessly. Her complaining started to affect my "high" which I was in no mood to loose (shocking So I started to chant to myself "I accept, I accept, I accept" to seemingly keep the "high" going.

    The "high" remained for awhile but did start to fade and I let it. Because I remembered some of the stories I read about The Buddha years ago when I had started reading about Buddhism. The story that stuck out was of Siddhartha's early exploration of spirituality and had become quite adept at certain skills and techniques that would make him "other worldly" for lack of better words. But Siddhartha walked away from this because it was not the goal of his quest. His goal was to find out where suffering comes from. As is my understanding.

    That's why I let the "high" go. That wasn't living, that was me, going to try to stay "feeling really damn good" all the time. That is not life.

    And that is why I don't think Kung Fu or Chi Kung is necessary to Zen. I can't do Kung Fu with a broken leg, and I can't do Chi Kung sick, laying on my couch watch the Bourne series. (Which always helps me feel better

    I can have a broken leg and want to do Kung Fu. And I can be sick and want to not feel sick and do Chi Kung. That sounds more like Zen to me: Accepting what is and living with it.

    Thanks for posting your question, made me think. Thanks.

  10. #10

    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Quote Originally Posted by 6yx
    I practice Tai Chi, and at one point in my life was able to go to Tai Chi classes. After about 4 months I experienced what I can only describe as a "high". I won't say I was enlightend or any other rubbish, but I felt really damn good, accepting, blissful, joyous, etc.

    The class was in the morning and in the afternoon 1 day I had a doctor's appointment. The Doctor's receptionist is really nice and means well: But bitches and complains near endlessly. Her complaining started to affect my "high" which I was in no mood to loose (shocking So I started to chant to myself "I accept, I accept, I accept" to seemingly keep the "high" going.

    The "high" remained for awhile but did start to fade and I let it. Because I remembered some of the stories I read about The Buddha years ago when I had started reading about Buddhism. The story that stuck out was of Siddhartha's early exploration of spirituality and had become quite adept at certain skills and techniques that would make him "other worldly" for lack of better words. But Siddhartha walked away from this because it was not the goal of his quest. His goal was to find out where suffering comes from. As is my understanding.

    That's why I let the "high" go. That wasn't living, that was me, going to try to stay "feeling really damn good" all the time. That is not life.
    Wise.

    Hard to practice Zen or Kung Fu, I imagine, if preoccupied with clinging to some fixed state.

    Gassho, J

  11. #11

    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Thanks, that was very interesting article!
    Quote Originally Posted by 6yx
    The article was really good, thanks.
    glad you fellas liked it.

    When it comes to the idea that Kung Fu and Chi Kung are necessary to Zen I would have to disagree.
    I don't really find there is a disagreement. What I see is a real world case of simultaneously true perspectives (which I'm surprised Master Jundo didn't jump on this). You state that kung fu is not necessary, and I think it is. Both are correct from a certain point of view.

    If we look at kung fu under the definition of Chinese martial arts (arguably the definition the author of Josh's book takes), you are right. It is not necessary to practice kung fu alongside Zen. If we look at kung fu under the definition offered by Peimin Ni or defined as "hard work" it is also true. Under the latter, Zen practice is kung fu but it is not necessary to call it such.


    Rod

  12. #12
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Practicing Aikido I can vouche for the fact that you indeed get into what sports guys call "The Zone".

    It's that place in your mind you reach after 1 or 2 hours of training and that you simply forget your body and suddenly you are on this dimension where everything flows. You no longer feel tired or pain and you just keep on moving, practicing until Sensei calls yame!

    I never tried Kung Fu in such a way, but I reckon it must work the same way.

    When sitting I can reach the same place I reach while training. So I guess that's what the author means that it's necessary to train Kung Fu.

    At any rate, I also think that everything in life is Zen.

  13. #13

    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Hello Morelos,

    Quote Originally Posted by chocobuda
    When sitting I can reach the same place I reach while training. So I guess that's what the author means that it's necessary to train Kung Fu.
    Perhaps it's just me, but characterizing Zen practice as hinging on Gongfu (at least as it is synonymous with Wushu rather than "skill cultivated through hard work," though that seems to miss it a bit too) seems to sell it short, and indulge in the stereotypical exoticism that plagues all things "Eastern" (I've heard, as an aside, that if you go far enough west, you'll make it to China ). To be sure, when one is training the body and mind, there are states that can be entered sometimes, but the "state" that we non-try to attain in (this branch) of Zen is...whatever is, no? Still, I remember from my racing days that place, where all there is is...this. No road, no bicycle, no pain, no sweat. No headwind, no victory, no defeat, no rider. Cyclists call it the "pain cave." And it is Zen, but then again...

    Quote Originally Posted by chocobuda
    everything in life is Zen.
    Including Wushu if you do it, and whatever one's own Gongfu happens to be (sewing, sitting, cycling, etc.), and even the things that one isn't skilled in (I never did well racing)!

    Just my thoughts, and not very good ones at that.

    Metta and Gassho,

    Saijun

  14. #14

    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Hello,

    just my two opinionated and to-be-taken-with-a-pinch-of-salt novice cents here.

    Once we say everything is Zen, it follows that the term is completely devoid of any specific meaning. "Zen" has had a distinct meaning as a particular Buddhist school for almost a thousand years and has only begun to be properly divorced from Zen-Buddhism in a major way since the early years of the twentieth century. Japanese scholars, plagued by inferiority complexes brought about by the "forced" opening to a modern west, bent over backwards to de-mystify the religious aspects of their own tradition and to find ways to align it with young disciplines like psychology in many cases. Add to that mix a handful of books like Eugen Herrigel's Zen in the Art of Archery (which is a great book but has next to zero to do with Zen Buddhism...written by a man who spoke almost no Japanese).... and fast forward first to the dharma bums and then to the hippie period where we David Carradine and Alan Watts, who IMHO was a wonderful and inspiring writer but was not in any way representative of traditional Zen.

    Anything definitive and even mildly authoritarian was anathema to the highly hedonistic and individualist hippie culture, which embraced and helped spread a view of Zen that mirrored exactly what they (and the public at large) wanted it to be.

    Fact is that non-violence was a key feature of almost every single Buddhist school across the board, and it is another fact as Jundo pointed out that the whole Bodhidharma and Kung-Fu connection is historically speaking baloney. The "extreme compassion" stories of the Jatakas make it pretty clear that normal ideas of self defense in combination with martial arts were never at the center of the hisotrical Buddha's teachings.

    Yes, we can make this free-for-all-term Zen into whatever we want it to be, but Martial Arts occupy a slightly problematic position in the overall historical scheme of Buddhist things and are definitely not more closely related to the practice of Zen Buddhism than any other daily activity like chopping wood and carrying water.

    Gassho,

    Hans

  15. #15

    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Hello Hans,

    I agree with most of what you say, but monks have always been allowed to defend themselves.

    74. Should any bhikkhu, angered and displeased, give a blow to (another) bhikkhu, it is to be confessed.

    The factors for the full offense here are three.

    * 1) Object: another bhikkhu.
    * 2) Effort: One gives him a blow
    * 3) Intention: out of anger.

    Object. A bhikkhu is grounds for the full offense here; anyone unordained, grounds for a dukka?a. According to the Commentary, anyone unordained includes animals as well as human beings.

    As under Pc 42, perception as to whether the person receiving the blow is ordained is irrelevant to the offense.

    Effort. This factor is fulfilled whether one gives a blow

    * with one's own body (hitting with a fist, jabbing with an elbow, kicking with a foot);
    * with something attached to the body (e.g., a stick, a knife); or
    * with something that can be "thrown" (this includes such things as throwing a rock, shooting an arrow, or firing a gun). According to the Vibha?ga, this last category includes throwing "even a lotus leaf," which shows that the blow need not be painful in order to fulfill this factor.

    Such actions as twisting the other person's arm behind his back or wringing his neck are not mentioned under this rule, but the act of grabbing his arm prior to twisting it or grabbing his neck prior to wringing it would fulfil the factor of effort here.

    Intention. If one gives a blow for reasons other than anger, the action does not fall under this rule. Thus, for instance, if one thumps a fellow bhikkhu on the back to help dislodge something caught in his throat, there is no offense. And as the Commentary notes, if impelled by lust one gives a blow to a woman, one incurs the full penalty under Sg 2.

    For some reason, the Commentary says that if one cuts off the nose or ear of a fellow bhikkhu in order to disfigure him, one incurs only a dukka?a. As the Vinaya-mukha points out, though, there is no basis in the Vibha?ga or in reason for this statement. It is hard to imagine anyone doing this unless impelled by anger, and the act of cutting another person would come under the factor of giving a blow with something connected with the body.

    "Result" is not a factor here. Whether the other person is hurt or how badly he/she is hurt does not affect the offense. If one intends simply to hurt the other person, but he/she happens to die from one's blow, the case is treated under this rule, rather than under Pr 3. In other words, the penalty is a p?cittiya if the victim is a bhikkhu, and a dukka?a if not.

    Non-offenses. According to the Vibha?ga, there is no offense for a bhikkhu who, trapped in a difficult situation, gives a blow "desiring freedom." The Commentary's discussion of this point shows that it includes what we at present would call self-defense; and the K/Commentary's analysis of the factors of the offense here shows that even if anger or displeasure arises in one's mind in cases like this, there is no penalty.

    Summary: Giving a blow to another bhikkhu when impelled by anger except in self-defense is a p?cittiya offense.


    "Buddhist Monastic Code I: Chapter 8.8", by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 8 July 2011, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... h08-8.html.
    Also,
    21. On Violence and Vengefulness
    A disciple of the Buddha must not return anger for anger, blow for blow. He should not seek revenge, even if his father, mother, siblings, or close relatives are killed -- nor should he do so if the ruler or king of his country is murdered. To take the life of one being in order to avenge the killing of another is contrary to filial piety [as we are all related through the eons of birth and rebirth].
    Furthermore, he should not keep others in servitude, much less beat or abuse them, creating evil karma of mind, speech and body day after day -- particularly the offenses of speech. How much less should he deliberately commit the Seven Cardinal Sins. Therefore, if a Bodhisattva-monk lacks compassion and deliberately seeks revenge, even for an injustice done to his close relatives, he commits a secondary offense.
    "Bhrama Net Sutra," translated by TBTTS, 8 July 2011, http://www.purifymind.com/BrahmaNetSutra.htm
    So even in the Bhrama-net Sutra, it deals specifically with vengeance (which would, I believe, necessitate anger), and is silent on the issue of defending oneself.

    That having been said, it may be that training in a martial art is suspect when looking into the spirit of the rule.

    Just what I was able to find, and I'm certain there is more that would disprove this point. My apologies for any missed citations or incorrect interpretations.

    Metta and Gassho,

    Saijun

    Edited to increase the size of the citations

  16. #16

    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    I recently read a book, The Complete Book of Zen, in which the author stresses the fact that practicing kungfu and chi kung is essential to cultivating your Zen experience and eventually realizing your cosmic reality. While I could see the benefits, I have not heard this before, and have to wonder is there actual merit to this claim, or is it simply a skewed viewpoint, given that he is in fact a grandmaster of both Shaolin Kungfu and Chi Kung.

    Any thoughts?
    All,

    Zen in itself has cultivated the martial arts for centuries; They are two sides of the same coin. The author has a point that practicing martial arts cultivates your Zen, but your Zen also improves your art. There have been hundreds of books written on the subject, one of which is Suzuki's "Zen and Japanese Culture", a wonderful read if someone hasn't had the opportunity.

    It is well known about the relationship between the famed swordsman, Musashi Miyamoto and the Zen priest Takuan. Takuan was Musashi's "spiritual adviser" and helped him in many ways. Still, Menkyo Kaiden (all passed) transmission scrolls of famous martial art schools were issued to disciples with nothing written on them signifying the true secret of swordsmanship and Zen. There was another famous book written by Takuan (a Rinzai priest) about his correspondences with Yagyu Munenori titled "The unfettered Mind" translated from Japanese as The Mysterious Records of Immovable Wisdom. You see these relationships with more traditional arts (kendo, kyudo, aikido, koryu arts, etc) Less with more mainstream "Americanized" arts. It mentioned that if one's mind stopped on the sword, one would be cut down. It is only when one's mind is not fixed and is free, one can "survive". These are all things we practice as Zen practitioners in general, albeit in different forms. My martial arts teacher is a Zen Buddhist and I can see the HUGE influence Zen has on the arts and the spirituality of the arts (hence the reason I got interested in Zen to begin with). I think this is universal for everything though. Just my 2 cents....

    Gassho,

    Matt

  17. #17
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    If you are at the right school with great instructors who have a positive attitude, martial arts can support any Buddhist practice. You learn and practice many of the same virtues taught in Buddhism such as mindfulness, focus, attention, patience, respect, compassion, courtesy, humility, integrity & morality, self-control, perseverance, energy & effort and commitment. All of these things are necessary for the martial artist well as the Buddhist.

    I have found that when I am in the DoJang, it is like a mirror into my true self. I see the connection between how well or poorly I am executing a technique to what is going on inside of me. I can see this as long as I am aware of it. Being fully in the present moment and letting go of any expectations or self-judgements allows the techniques to flow and move effectively. Just like in other areas of life. The more present I am with my experience by letting go and allowing things be as they are, the easier it is to go with the flow of life.

    There are plenty of other hobbies/interests/skills other than martial arts that can support Buddhism. Whether it is gardening or playing guitar, finding a venture that is right for yourself and will challenge you can help you experience and understand the Buddhist teachings more fully.

    Thanks,
    Jodi

  18. #18
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Jodi wrote:
    You learn and practice many of the same virtues taught in Buddhism such as mindfulness, focus, attention, patience, respect, compassion, courtesy, humility, integrity & morality, self-control, perseverance, energy & effort and commitment.
    Just to add another idea to the list above. Something our Karate teacher mentioned in a recent talk about kumite(sparring) went something like this:

    When you get hit don't let your thoughts dwell on it. Let it go because if your mind gets stuck on it you will miss what is happening in the here and now. Don't forget that another strike will soon follow the first!
    He is not a Buddhist, but when he said this I thought it sounded like a similar idea.

    Gassho,
    John

  19. #19

    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Quote Originally Posted by chocobuda
    Practicing Aikido I can vouche for the fact that you indeed get into what sports guys call "The Zone".

    It's that place in your mind you reach after 1 or 2 hours of training and that you simply forget your body and suddenly you are on this dimension where everything flows. You no longer feel tired or pain and you just keep on moving, practicing until Sensei calls yame!
    Well, being in "the Zone" is Zazen. Also, being 100 miles out of "the Zone" is Zazen. Zazen, in fact, is the "ZONE OF NO ZONE".

    The mental balance for which we aim is not necessarily a feeling of "mental balance". It is, rather, being balanced with the fact that sometimes we have balance, sometimes life knocks us off balance and we fall down. We sit at the pivot point of all that, no way to "lost are balance" and "no place to fall" ... even as we stumble and fall.

    Of course, in all martial arts, one does not learn only how to stay ever on ones feet. One learns how to fall well.

    I would also say that I see no problem with connecting Zen practice with Martial Arts if pacifism is emphasized, self-defense (even though there is no "self" to defend) and fundamental non-violence. Likewise, Zen practice can go with any work or art ... kung fu, bowling, flower arranging, wedding arranging, the way of tea, the way of coffee ...

    However, it is also my feeling that the historical connection between the Samurai, militarism and Zen Buddhism in Japan was a political happenstance and rather unfortunate. The fact of the matter is that, for hundreds of years, the warriors were the government, almost all donors and temple sponsors were warriors, and thus Zen practice found common ground with the warrior philosophy and culture of the day because they needed their permissions to build temples, their money, their support. Also, of course, to "move ahead" in the monks world, one had to hang out with the elite ... the warriors ... and, anyway, these were people from the same social circles. However, it is not necessarily the best thing that happened ... with Zen masters thus advising swordsman and soldiers on the best way to slaughter others and die themselves.

    More on that in a very imperfect (because the author exaggerated, horribly misquoted and played fast and lose with the facts sometimes) but nonetheless worthwhile book ... Zen at War ... (among others, the nationalist D.T. Suzuki and "Zen and Japanese Culture" gets taken to task a bit for his agenda).

    http://www.amazon.com/Zen-at-War-Daizen ... 0834804050

    Gassho, Jundo ++

    ++ (husband of Mina, 2nd Dan Black Belt in Aikido, 1st Dan in Karate ... and I can attest that Ai-ki-do, although not connected to Buddhism particularly as the founder was more a Shintoist, is nonetheless a form of "moving Zen". But, really, so is so much of what my wife does.)

  20. #20
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Later in life, Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido also studied and was greatly influenced spiritually by the Omoto-Kyo(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oomoto) religion of Onisaburo Deguchi.

    Upon hearing of his father's serious illness, Ueshiba sold off most of his property and left the dojo to Takeda . He would not to return to Hokkaido. On his journey home, he impulsively stopped in Ayabe, headquarters for the new Omoto-kyo religion. Here he met the master of the new religion, Deguchi Onisaburo. After being enthralled with Ayabe and Deguchi, he stayed three additional days and upon returning home, found that he had stayed away too long. His father had passed away. Ueshiba took his father's death very hard. He decided to sell off all his ancestral land and move to Ayabe to study Omoto-kyo. For the next eight years, Ueshiba studied with Deguchi Onisaburo, taught Budo, and headed up the local fire brigade.
    A pacifist, Deguchi was an advocate of non-violent resistance and universal disarmament. He was noted to have said, "Armament and war are the means by which the landlords and capitalists make their profit, while the poor suffer." It is intriguing that a man of this nature could become so close to a martial artist such as Ueshiba. However, it did not take long for Deguchi to realize that Ueshiba's purpose on earth was " to teach the real meaning of Budo: an end to all fighting and contention. "
    The study of Omoto-kyo and his association with Onisaburo profoundly affected Ueshiba's life. He once stated that while Sokaku Takeda opened his eyes to the essence of Budo, his enlightenment came from his Omoto-kyo experiences. During his early 40s (around 1925), Ueshiba had several spiritual experiences which so impressed him that his life and his training were forever changed. He realized the true purpose of Budo was love that cherishes and nourishes all beings.
    Gassho,
    John

  21. #21
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Just this past week I started classes again in Tai Chi. I found this thread very timely because I have been looking for some "body practice" as Daido Roshi calls it. It has been a toss up between this and Aikido. I still plan on trying Aikido as my wife has taken it in the past and would like to again. I am not interested in belt systems nor anything aggressive. For me I hoped for meditation in motion. Having taken Tai Chi in the past I feel comfortable here. And, with the added sword and Bo forms this teacher includes I think it'll be a nice fit.

    Gassho,

    Shawn

  22. #22
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    I practice aikido, tai chi and qigong. I started aikido after reading Daido Roshi's book suggesting a body practice ( as you are Shawn) and I was needing it at the time! As far as a meditation in motion aikido is simply a defensive martial art where one has to find harmony through calmness within a range of attacking modes...plenty of stuffout there on that. Anyway it is difficult to practise alone so I also learn tai chi, short and long forms with staff. However although these are practised in slow controlled movements the applications are quite vicious and to the point! What a contradiction!
    I also practice qigong - 5 animal play and shibashi 18 form. Now these I find are really health promoting and invigorating but are about producing quietitude and as with all precise movement activities - mindfulness.
    Despite all these 'practices' I am finding that zazen is something more inclusive -well now at least - a place to be all these in and more! Thanks to the guidance and insights here at Treeleaf.
    Good luck in finding your body practice!

  23. #23
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Shawn wrote:
    I still plan on trying Aikido as my wife has taken it in the past and would like to again. I am not interested in belt systems nor anything aggressive. For me I hoped for meditation in motion. Having taken Tai Chi in the past I feel comfortable here.
    Hi Shawn,
    I like the idea of doing it together! Is your wife interested in Tai Chi also? Maybe you can do that with eachother as well?
    Here is another point to consider. I'm not sure about the class structure of Tai Chi but I found Aikido to be very family friendly. From having family classes to just allowing the kids to entertain themselves at tables off the mat. As a parent of 2, I know it can be nearly impossible to take any kind of classes together with a spouse. Typically one has to watch the kid/kids. So it usually ends up being done less together and more as a trade off. Unless you have a babysitter easily lined up it's going to take a little brainstorming! What have you come up with on the matter so far?

    Gassho,
    John

  24. #24

    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    My personal practice is highly influenced by Suzuki Shosan's methods (or rather how I interpret them a few hundred years later). What I see is not appropriating Zen to create a better killer, but the appropriation of the warrior's mind to create a stronger Zen practice. What is the warrior's mind? Fierce determination, the duty to serve, acceptance of impermanence.

    I think that it is important to also mention that while martial practice offers a connection to the way of the warrior it is not the historical warrior that is ...for lack of a better word, idolized. Much the same holds true for the Holy Men we look up to. History shows us that the noble warrior was not always so noble and the holy man is not always so holy. It is the archetype of the warrior or the holy man we bring into ourselves, but it's not a goal that we strive toward and kick ourselves when we don't live up to it. It is a constant reminder of what we can be and what we can inspire in others.

    At least that is how it appears to this one.

    Rod

  25. #25
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    (husband of Mina, 2nd Dan Black Belt in Aikido, 1st Dan in Karate ... and I can attest that Ai-ki-do, although not connected to Buddhism particularly as the founder was more a Shintoist, is nonetheless a form of "moving Zen". But, really, so is so much of what my wife does.)
    Jundo,

    How come you don't take Aikido with Mina? Does your son take Aikido too? Just curious.

    I agree that Aikido "is nonetheless a form of "moving Zen".

    Thanks,
    Jodi

  26. #26

    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Quote Originally Posted by jodi_h

    Jundo,

    How come you don't take Aikido with Mina? Does your son take Aikido too? Just curious.
    Hah! I'd love too ... and it would keep me from looking like Hotei Maitreya!



    But, anyway, she watches our son during our Zazenkai's here at Treeleaf ... and I watch him during her Aikido.

    The Aikido, by the way, is very good for our marriage. You see, my 90 pound wife goes to the class filled with the other students, including some 200 pound Bulgarians and Germans. Mina throws those guys around for a couple of hours like sacks of potatoes (no kidding), taking out all her stress of being married to me ... comes home ready to live with me for another week.

    Here she is, by the way...



    Gassho, J

  27. #27
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Jundo wrote:
    taking out all her stress of being married to me ... comes home ready to live with me for another week.
    Hmmmm maybe I should get my wife into Akikdo too!!!! :lol:
    Thanks for sharing this pic of Mina. She looks like she means business!

    Gassho,
    John

  28. #28
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Jundo,

    Mina looks lovely and tough too! Sounds like you are very proud of her. My husband is not in the martial arts with me either. He is an ATV rider. So I stay with our son while he rides his 4-wheeler and he watches Hunter when I am in martial arts class. It definitely keeps the peace in the house.

    Thanks,
    Jodi

  29. #29
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Mina throws those guys around for a couple of hours like sacks of potatoes (no kidding), taking out all her stress of being married to me ... comes home ready to live with me for another week.
    LOL

    Yep, she looks pretty elegant.

    My sensei, Tauchi-san once told me that if she was the queen of the Earth, she would make people take Aikido lessons daily.

    I somehow agree. :mrgreen:

  30. #30

    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Shawn wrote:
    I still plan on trying Aikido as my wife has taken it in the past and would like to again. I am not interested in belt systems nor anything aggressive. For me I hoped for meditation in motion. Having taken Tai Chi in the past I feel comfortable here.
    Hi Shawn,
    I like the idea of doing it together! Is your wife interested in Tai Chi also? Maybe you can do that with eachother as well?
    Here is another point to consider. I'm not sure about the class structure of Tai Chi but I found Aikido to be very family friendly. From having family classes to just allowing the kids to entertain themselves at tables off the mat. As a parent of 2, I know it can be nearly impossible to take any kind of classes together with a spouse. Typically one has to watch the kid/kids. So it usually ends up being done less together and more as a trade off. Unless you have a babysitter easily lined up it's going to take a little brainstorming! What have you come up with on the matter so far?

    Gassho,
    John
    Are you in the twin cities area? If so, where do you practice Aikido? I am very interested in becoming involved in a martial art that is 'family freindly.'

  31. #31
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Zen, kungfu, and chi kung

    Josh wrote:
    Are you in the twin cities area? If so, where do you practice Aikido? I am very interested in becoming involved in a martial art that is 'family freindly.
    Hi Josh,
    When I lived in Saint Paul I studied at 2 different Aikido schools. Aikido of Minnesota and Twincities Aikido Center
    Actually Aikido of Minnesota branched out from the Twincities Aikido Center(which at 34 years, is the oldest Aikido Dojo in the state!).
    If you really want to go family friendly I would go with Twincities Aikido Center, which is also closer to Minneapolis(A few blocks from Highway 280). They have much larger children's classes which meet more often. As a Dojo they are larger with more members. More members means more families who study there together. Each are non-profit organizations so the dues are CHEAP! If you were studying without family, either Dojo would be a superb chioce, as they both have much to offer!

    Gassho,
    John

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