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“The True Meaning of Wu (武) is to Stop Fighting”

“The True Meaning of Wu (武) is to Stop Fighting”
“The True Meaning of Wu (武) is to Stop Fighting”
----Valuable Teaching? or Just an Excuse for Lack of Skills?
----Wushu (the skill) ?or Wu Dao(the value/moral)?

The modern world finally senses the urgent need for ‘life education’! Yet, the word life remains undefined, and ideas about with what attitude, strategy, methods we should hold towards it are still a mess! Contrarily, the traditional Chinese culture, the hundred schools of thoughts, especially the Daoist, are so clear to us that (even viewed from modern psychosomatic medicine, holistic medicine, life sciences, life education, holistic education), they possess a comprehensive life education, the wisdom of life. They are not simply theories and knowledge presented in forums, but a true way to life and survival that combines sepecific cultivation and practice, which is applicable in all circumstances.

Chinese people, mostly influenced by the traditional culture, all seems pursue peace and tranquility! This is even revealed in the Chinese policy, when our state leaders stress repeatedly that China is becoming prosperous but is not to dominate. It seems that domination is really a taboo in the Chinese culture, but why, in the world of martial arts (Wushu), the desire to dominate is everywhere? Is that the fate of martial arts (wushu)?

Very often, people desire to be powerful, to be hero, to win, to fight, to dominate. From time to time, we can feel the negative impacts in fictions and films. Hatred, anger, jealousy, insecurity, confusion, sorrow, malice, greed, and even love expressed in a wrong way, which the film “Star Wars” described as “the power of the dark side”, can turn good people into bad ones, and give bad ones greater power than the good ones. If that is true, and can be proven academically, then, how should we understand “Wushu”, the invaluable inheritance of our traditional Chinese culture of humanity and Daoist medicine? To what direction should it be going in the future?

As Chapter 31 of the Tao De Ching goes, ‘Weapons are tools of violence, Not of the Junzi He uses them only when there is no choice, And then calmly, and with tact, for he finds no beauty in them.’ We should remember the teaching of history: Neglect to competitions causes danger; interest in wars pushes one to death. As disciples and students of the Daoist Quenzhen Longmen stream, what do we inherit from our ancestors?

In the Jin, Song and Yuan Dynasty, the founder of the Daoist Quenzhen Longmen stream, Daoist Chang Chun Zi(邱處機), was very pretigious. Why would he risk his life, reaching far west to meet the Genghis Khan, who engaged in wars and slaughter everyday? Lets see a poem which Master Yau wrote to his friend, ‘Ten years of fire saddens thousands men, millions of people not even one left. Last year was invited with luck, this Spring must meet with journey in the cold. Never mind to ride three thousand miles from the north, only think of the two hundred provinces in the east. Stop killing, save life and relieve the pain.’Nature prizes those who strive to survive, but the Daoist does not honor the detachment from reality of Buddism as the destination of cultivation, instead we honor ‘refine body to jing, refine jing to qi, refine qi to shen, turn shen into emptiness, turn xue into Dao(煉形化精,煉精化氣,煉氣化神,化神還虛,化虛合道)’as our golden survival rule with ‘Dao follows Nature’, ‘unification with the world’,‘live in harmony with all beings’as our final destination of life. Obviously, Master Yau risked his life to free the people from slaughter, so that all the people could live in peace and hormony with the world.

The Laws in most societies accept counterattack for self-defense, but never assault of any other reason. In fact, even if we hurt others for our families, we are considered doing this for selfish reasons. We have to face sanction.

In reality, we may not easily sense threats, especially indirect ones, we surely do not know to defense. For example, we hunt and eat for survival, but under limited resources, when we hunt and occupy food more than enough, we are already posing threats to others. Interestingly, or should be dreadfully, among organisms, only human beings would hunt and store more than enough for survival, the virtual concept of “money” we human created and the use of it directly encourage our unlimited wants. We usually perceive this “desire for more than enough” as “to repair the house before it rains”, giving it a positive comment.By only eating vegetables, vegetarians probably realize the disasters that human greed and pride bring. Of course, some vegetarians still “repair the house before it rains”, which is the characteristic of human beings, the original sin. This is because we possess consciousness of virtual thinking.

In “Yi-jing”, the image of “Chien” (the Creative) is “the movement of heaven is full of power, thus the superior man makes himself strong and untiring”; the image of “Kun”(the Receptive) is “the earth’s condition is receptive devotion, thus the superior man who has breadth of character carries the outer world”. In traditional Chinese culture, lots of doctrines and records are about “Junzi”( the superior man) and “Xiao ren”(the small man), good and evil, right and wrong. Yet, what junzi and xiao ren, good and evil, right and wrong are remains controversial. To cultivate the true meaning of the traditional Chinese Wushu culture, which may only means adding to the endless controversy, I hereby present my opinion from the viewpoint of Integrated Life Sciences such as traditional Chinese humanity, Daoist medicine, Behavioral Ecology and Socio-biology, etc.

“The superior man makes himself strong and untiring”, what most important is that he does this by “himself”, not how strong he has become. “The superior man who has breadth of character carries the outer world”, this is not only characteristic of the earth (the ground), but also that of water -- “the best of all is like water’!The superior man stands in the middle between Yi-jing patterns Chien (the Creative) and Kun (the receptive), this emphasizes the unification of man and the world in Daoist thoughts, just as in the Dao De Jing “Man follows Di, Di follows Tian, Tian follows Dao, Dao follows the nature.”
Not only does the superior man “has breadth of character that carries the outer world” as the earth does, he also synchronizes with the outer world, embraces and thus become great as water does. The superior man would only strive to be strong by upgrading himself, just like plants naturally do. He never hunts, kills, occupies and stores more than enough for survival. Oppositely, small man would hurt others for his own survival. He would even unscrupulously kill, occupy, store for more than they need out of his unlimited wants. They are not even qualified as animal in this sense.The difference between superior and small man becomes so obvious now. The basis for value judgment of good and evil, right and wrong lies on relevant concepts of such difference.

If Wushu becomes a means to attack, to occupy and to gain authority, it will not be difficult to understand why there are endless disputes and wars.And if Wushu is a kind of cultivation to “synchronizes with the outer world”, “embraces and thus become great as water does”, “has breadth of character that carries the outer world”, “makes himself strong and untiring”, there will definitely be more harmony, consensus, unity and security. After all, any victory and defeat, gain and loss because of the ambition to attack, to occupy and to gain authority can directly raise emotions like hatred, anger, jealousy, insecurity, confusion, sorrow, malice, greed, and even love in a wrong direction. This can trigger the impulse to repel and hurt other lives (bad emotions can also hurt oneself). Definitely, this is the origin of “the power of the dark side”.

All Wushu can fight, because it is a kind of fighting skill. Yet, if it can also sublime our fighting spirit, suppress our desire for superiority, our negative emotions, activate our drive to survive, it is a cultivation that perfects our personality and accomplish the great self. It is then called the “Wu Dao”(the value/ moral of Wushu), which is the way Daoists spread the Dao through Wushu.Of course, if someone would just like to satisfy his desire to be physically strong, to win, to achieve superiority, to be the chief, he can still practise his favorite Wushu to strengthen the physical body, and make his body the weapon, (Because that is just his jnatural instinct!)If only he does not hurt themselves, nor their parents, family, and even the society!

However, to prevent and stop wars does not only mean to retrieve weapons of others, but to retrieve our own weapons and, more importantly, the fighting spirit. superior man want to attain peace without wars, disputes, disorders; but If someone wants to retrieve others’ weapons, there will definitely be endless wars and disputes. Therefore, small man competes with superior man. In short term, superior man may be at disadvantage because he does not fight nor compete, but remains easy of mind. Small man, on the opposite, is always full of anxiety. Because small man himself knows clearly, that there are full of small men like him! They would only build up their happiness on others’ agony; harm people’s health and even life in exchange with their already excessive, expanded desires.

As Chapter 8 of the Tao De Ching goes, ‘The best of man is like water, which benefits all things, and does not contend with them, which flows in places that others disdain, where it is in harmony with the Way.’ Our ancestors already incorporated the precious quality of water--- unselfish, peaceful and norishing--- into our wushu. Now, how can we the disciples and students let the public benefit from such invaluable traditional culture, how to ‘save oneself and save others’ ? In fact it’s the senerio in famous poem “Ti Xi Lin Bi” 《題西林壁》written by Mr. Su Shi蘇軾: ‘Mountain range becomes rigde viewed lateral, all with difference: near and far, high and low; the true face of Mount Lu, inside it I could never know.’

Same words from our predecessors, same set pattern of quan and sword.... the effect to our life, depends very much on our own attitude, effort and nature, and destiny!

‘Scholars of the lowest class, when they have heard about the Dao, laugh greatly at it. If it were not (thus) laughed at, it would not be fit to be the Dao.’ (from Dao Te Ching Chapter 41) In the society, needless to say, there are always many who only repeat what others’say; who say one thing and do another, who bluff and bluster, who use public office for private interest, who are shameless, who are rebellious, who murder for money....but true water is odorless! Is the the Dao really boundless, or are we predestined to reach and understand it? Indeed, who follows it with diligence is the great man!

“The movement of heaven is full of power, thus the superior man makes himself strong and untiring”!

I hereby share my views with all disciples and students, let us follow the Dao together!

Li Xing Zong (Lee Po Nang), 30th Generation Disciple, Representative of Hong Kong
Niigata University, National, Japan, Behavioural Sciences, Rotary Yoneyama Scholarship, B.A.
Niigata University, National, Japan, Behavioural Sciences, Monbusho Scholarship, Mphil.
Total Health Counselling Centre, Establisher, providing temperament based “Oriental
Life Counselling” ®
Dao Academy International, Establisher, providing structured courses for Taoist Total Medicine

Written in Spring 2011

Contributed by Lee Po Nang 

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