A Unity of Wushu & Chan

发布日期:2017-03-29   字体大小:   

*Ven.Abbot Shi Yongxin

To be frank, I have always been opposed to some people’s advocacy of the term of “Shaolin wushu” when referring to “the martial arts of the Shaolin school” which, I think, should be rightly called “Shaolin gong-fu”. The reason I have often referred to the martial arts of the Shaolin school as “wushu imbued with Chan” is exactly for highlighting the significance of the term of “Shaolin gong-fu”. The term “gong-fu” (功夫) is originally an expression coined and used exclusively in the Buddhist Chan Order, and the meaning of the expression is “the specific fruition which a practitioner’s self-cultivation has come by in a given time”. For example, on seeing a practitioner engage himself in doing a stint of seated meditation or in attending a “koan” session, a Buddhist of the Chan Order tends to say that the practitioner is applying himself to “mastering gong-fu”. The aim of a practitioner who strives to master gong-fu is twofold. On the one hand he wants to master the martial arts. On the other, mastery of the martial arts is one of the prerequisites for his ultimate enlightenment which can turn him into a sagacious human being whose psyche is completely different from a lay person. Shaolin Monastery is the place of origination of the Buddhist Chan Order. It is obligatory for its monkhood to practice Shaolin gong-fu, because practicing Shaolin going-fu is a component part of his self-cultivation program. In this sense his Shaolin gong-fu practice should be duly referred to as “wushu imbued with Chan” or as “a unity of wushu and Chan”. Of course all those who practice Shaolin gong-fu are not applying themselves to carrying on a self-cultivation program or to “mastering gong-fu”. And there maybe even such a case as a Buddhist monk living in Shaolin Monastery, who, though regularly practicing Shaolin gong-fu, is not necessarily addressing himself to carrying on his self-cultivation program. The crux of the matter lies in whether he really intends to attain enlightenment. No abbot is in a position to compel all practitioners of Shaolin gong-fu to simultaneously practice a self-cultivation program. Nor can an abbot give the order to the monks living in his monastery that the attitude taken by each of them to practicing Shaolin gong-fu must be completely the same as that taken by him to practicing self-cultivation. However one point I would like to make clear here is this: The attitude taken by an individual to practicing Shaolin gong-fu can dramatically inform the result of his gong-fu training. In the final analysis, the attitude an individual takes to his Shaolin gong-fu training is closely associated with his own morality. A gong-fu master must be a virtuous man or woman. Else he or she might take advantage of his or her gong-fu and physical strength to bully the weak.From My Heart My Buddha


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