The History of Kung Fu:
Legend has it that Bodhidharma invented kung fu during his time at the Shaolin Temple. He felt that the monks there had grown weak and unhealthy from long hours of meditation and devised a series of movements meant to increase blood flow, strengthen muscle, and improve longevity. During their travels the monks discovered they could use these movements to defend themselves against bandits and kung fu was born. Although it is merely a legend, it is historically accurate that kung fu has been practiced at the Shaolin Temple throughout it's long history.
Shaolin Temple Main Gate
"Shaolin Kungfu refers to the traditional cultural system that
has formed in the particular Buddhist cultural environment in Shaolin Temple of
Songshan Mountain over long history."
The Practice of Kung Fu:
Shaolin kung fu combines Buddhist beliefs, Chan wisdom, and martial arts to form a complex system that achieves the best form of movement for the human body. The ancient Chinese believed that people should be one with nature. As a result, only movements that aligned with the natural structure of the human body were used in Shaolin kung fu. It's series of movements were based on the medical knowledge available to the ancient Chinese and the concept of balance; soft and hard, yin and yang. They were arranged to give full play to the range of movement of the human body and to combine both movement and stillness, hardness and softness. Throughout the years Shaolin kung fu has updated and evolved, continuing to change and reform itself while still retaining the essence of Chan Buddhism at its core.
Master Shi Yanqing
"The combination of Chan Buddhism with a unique system of martial
arts has become the chief characteristic of Shaolin Kungfu and as such the
adoption and practice of this strict belief system is what especially marks the
monks of the temple as "Shaolin" monks who regard their personal perfection in
this system as their ideal and lifelong goal."
Shaolin Kung Fu Today:
The tradition of Shaolin kung fu is passed down from master to disciple through oral instruction and personal example. Guidebooks handed down within the Shaolin Temple itself depict several hundred series of skills. There are only several dozen well known and widely practiced today. There are also a myriad of special bodies and techniques including Qi
Gong, grappling, targeting vital points, etc.
Shaolin Temple AZ
"Shaolin Kungfu encompasses complete technical and theoretical
system, with martial arts and techniques as its major form of expression,
and Buddhism belief and Chan wisdom as the cultural connotation."
What is Meditation:
Meditation is the general term for a variety of techniques intended to cultivate one's mind, enhance calm, and to release it from the worries of everyday life. It is a means of attaining enlightenment and the end of all suffering. By calming the mind one can cultivate equanimity, thus preventing yourself from reacting to situations based on emotion rather than thoughtfullness. It will also allow you to achieve proper perspective.The nature of meditation is threefold: to develop awareness, deepen concentration, and develop insight.
- Developing Awareness:
Mindful awareness is a patient and diligent attention paid to various aspects of being. In developing mindful awareness you must concentrate on awareness of the body (such as breathing), awareness of sensations (physical sensations as well as your inner feelings), awareness of the mind (such as your thoughts), and finally awareness of the dharma (which can eventually lead to enlightenment).
- Deepening Concentration:
Concentration naturally deepens as you become more aware of yourself and your surroundings. Focused concentration will allow your mind to delve deeper into the subject of interest to gain more meaningful insight. Without this insight, enlightenment is not possible.
- Developing Insight:
Insight, or wisdom, lies at the heart of Buddhist philosophy. The ultimate doal is to achieve a life-changing insight into human nature. An epiphany, if you will. In order to develop this insight one must develop the wisdoms gained from listening, reflection, and meditation.
*Although there are a variety of accepted methods, tt is not to be confused with more modern trends that focus on stress-reduction and psychoanalysis.*
Enhancing your calm
What are the Benefits:
Aside from achieving enlightenment, there are other benefits to meditation. Through cultivating equanimity you can reprogram your brain to react with patience, wisdom, and kindness to situations that previously would cause anxiety or discomfort. Then you will be able to deal with difficult situations in a peaceful and more understanding manner. Meditation can and will lower stress levels (which in turn lowers your risk of heart disease), increase general feelings of happiness, and even increase your creativity. Those who practice the art of meditation tend to be more compassionate and caring. Studies have shown that meditation, when done in the proper Buddhist sense, can alter pathways in the brain that are linked to empathy.