Practicing Zen


Zen in Shaolin Wahnam
Friday, 01 October 2010 18:00

chi-kung-practicing-4Zen teaching in Shaolin Wahnam is different from kungfu and chi kung. We do not maintain a separate Zen syllabus, or for the time being teach Zen beginners courses like in the other Shaolin arts.

This does not mean that we neglect Zen training, or that Zen is not taught in our school. Because Zen is one of the "Three Treasures of Shaolin", it is our duty and privilege to practice it, and to teach it to deserving students like it has been taught in genuine Shaolin tradition.

For this purpose, we use Shaolin Chi Kung and Shaolin Kungfu. Both offer beginners as well as advanced practitioners ideal vehicles for Zen training. Starting from the first class, our teaching includes practical methods for practicing Zen, which familiarizes the student with Zen in all its three meanings - especially as meditation and a method for spiritual cultivation. Our teaching is spiritual but non-religious, but a religiously oriented person can effectively apply these methods also for Zen-buddhist (or other religious) cultivation.

If this approach seems unorthodox, we can remind ourselves that this is the way Zen was practiced in the Shaolin monasteries over a thousand years ago: Shaolin Zen, Chi Kung and Kungfu were - and can still be - included in the same training, varying only in approaches.


Last Updated on Friday, 16 December 2011 16:22
Zen and Shaolin Chi Kung
Monday, 11 October 2010 12:38

bodhidharmaFrom the early beginnings of the Shaolin tradition, chi kung has been an integral part of Zen training. It was first taught in the Shaolin monastery by Bodhidharma, a great spiritual teacher from India, who employed chi kung as an effective method for cultivation towards enlightenment. He noticed the monks in Shaolin monastery were physically weak and easily tired, so he introduced chi kung to help them cultivate holistically - physically and mentally as well as spiritually.

Bodhidharma reputedly taught the monks two sets of chi kung exercises, namely "Eighteen Lohan Hands" (Shi Ba Luo Han Shou) and "12 Exercises of Sinew Metamorphosis" (Yi Jin Jing), and also an art called "Marrow Cleansing" (Xi Sui Jing). Since these early times chi kung blossomed in the Shaolin monastery. It was influenced by numerous Chinese and Taoist arts, becoming a tradition rich in scope, vast in depth, and exceedingly effective in application.

In the genuine, complete tradition, Zen was never separated from chi kung. Shaolin Chi Kung was used, and is still used, as an invaluable tool for holistic development. In genuine Shaolin training chi kung practice is imbued with Zen - in application, results as well as its ultimate goal.


Last Updated on Friday, 16 December 2011 16:21
Zen and Shaolin Kungfu
Monday, 11 October 2010 12:41

shaolin-kungfu-sparring-2Originally Shaolin Kungfu was designed for spiritual cultivation. Most of todays kungfu- or Shaolin-practitioners may not be aware of this fact. However, it is easy to understand once we remind ourselves that in the past, the monks of Shaolin monastery were there for one single purpose: Spiritual cultivation aiming for enlightenment.

The origins of Shaolin Kungfu are in chi kung. In the early history of Shaolin, many famous military generals retreated to the monastery to cultivate spiritually. While there, they adapted the "Eighteen Lohan Hands" chi kung-exercises to better serve their purpose. Over time these exercises developed into a kungfu set called "Eighteen Lohan Fist", which the monks used to strenghten themselves physically and mentally, improving their chances at achieving enlightenment.

For many, the idea of a fighting art being used to achieve the highest spiritual fulfillment may seem strange, even impossible. From Zen-perspective, this is not the case: Classical Shaolin Kungfu is simply a tool that is aiming directly and clearly to achieve a simple goal. 

The original aim of Shaolin Kungfu can still be realized for today's practitioners, as long as the art is genuine. Over the centuries this martial art has grown from its roots to a vast, branching tree of different arts and training methods, which can excellently fulfill a multitude of different aims. In Shaolin Wahnam Institute, Shaolin Kungfu also includes its original Zen-training.


Last Updated on Friday, 16 December 2011 16:22