Not so long ago I had the honor and privilege to train at the Chan Wu Center in Guangzhou-China. At the Chan Wu trainingcamp master Shi Xing Hong would every now and then give a lecture. These lectures where more to stimulate us to dwell deaper into certain things. They would be in Chinese and a lot of what he said was unfortunately lost in translation. We had someone translating but the master would talk for 10 minutes and what he said would be translated in one sentence....My Chinese is not that good but I think I had an idea what he was talking about. So when he said that we had to write a report on what he said, I basically panicked. He would collect what we had put in writing and rate it from 1 to 5, with 5 being the best score. Since these lectures were an important part of the camp I decided to share them with you. Please bear in mind that these are only my humble thoughts on the topic and you might have a different opinion altogether.
So here is the first assignment.
Chuan Fa – Gong Fu – Wushu and Peace (of mind)
Today we had a lecture on Gong Fu, or better the questions were:
1. What is Gong Fu?
2. What is Wushu?
Instead of the word Gongfu I personally prefer to use Chuan Fa. Why this is so, I will try to clarify below. According to master Shi Xing Hong in Chinese tradition there was no Wushu only Gongfu. The way the character for Gongfu is composed hints to a deeper meaning than just "art". In short Gongfu means teamwork. This was explained during the lecture and I will not go further into this. Wushu also is composed of two characters and means STOP FIGHTING. Many in the audience gave their view on the meaning of the words and it ended with the master posing the question:
What is the relationship between "he" (和-peace) – Chuan Fa and Wushu.
Because my answer is colored from a Buddhist point of view I prefer to use the word Chuan Fa.
The character “he” is also composed of two. One being “rice” and the other “kou” (mouth). In the old days there was peace when people had enough to eat. As straightforward as that. People tend to get violent when they are hungry hence WAR. So to stop war (wushu) make sure everyone has enough to eat.
Today is it not mainly hunger that drives people to war but GREED. That however is another topic.
These are different times so how can we connect He, Chuan Fa and Wushu?
In Buddhism we seek enlightenment, being a state of mind where one is at peace with himself and with nature. It was realized long time ago that the Martial Arts- Chuan Fa were a great tool to help achieve this goal. Just as in Buddhism people are being taught by their capability, meaning that depending on the level of understanding one gets to study a different Sutra, so in Chuan Fa a different training is used for every individual. It seemed that there is a close relationship between the body and the mind and changing the body would eventually also change the mind. Eventually you will find the style or the form that suits you the best and if you train long enough you might come to understand the way (the Tao). This understanding will help us to transform ourselves and bring ourselves to a higher level than animals, who will fight and kill for food when hungry. As with everything there are many stages, the highest in my opinion being that you will not be driven by instinct but by a Bodisattva mind. A warrior yes, but a peaceful warrior!