PureInsight | August 21, 2001
Due to the different understandings of the human body and health, there are great differences between Western physical exercises, Chinese traditional medicine, and the ancient Chinese ways to keep fit. Physical exercise gives people bodies that are healthy on the surface, though its benefits do not reach a deeper level. Moreover, it cannot prevent people from acquiring illnesses.
From the perspective of Chinese medicine, illnesses are caused by internal reasons like deficiencies in internal organs such as the liver and kidneys. Of course, physical exercises can transfer some energy from inside the body to the surface, but it does not really increase the internal energy of the body. For a strong person, physical exercises are actually a type of consumption and release of physical strength. For a weak person, the effects of physical exercises are very limited. In fact, too much exercise can gravely increase the burden on the body and internal organs, resulting in more loss than gain for the person's health.
The condition of each person's body depends on his own karma, which is acquired as a result of committing wrong deeds. How can physical exercises touch karma, which exists in another dimension? Furthermore, health does not mean only the sturdiness of body and the full function of internal organs, but also the peacefulness and good qualities of one's mind. The Chinese ancients understood this principle, so there was not an emphasis on physical exercises at that time. Master said, "Ancients are honest and benevolent, minds are calm, fortune and longevity are both present (unofficial translation of Teachers poem, "Giving Up Attachments").' Health does not depend on physical exercises, but on the cultivation of body and nature. Therefore, the perception that "life depends on exercises" is wrong.
In fact, the ancients had enough physical exercise in the course of their daily lives, such as walking, riding, hunting, farming, and practicing martial arts. Thus, it was not necessary for them to do special exercises. Various modern facilities with high levels of automation free people from heavy labor, but people still need to do physical exercises after work. It may seem that the intense lifestyle now seen in modern society, driven by the love for ease and avoidance of work has truly increased efficiency. However, this has not had good effects on health. In fact, it has been observed that the modern lifestyle has brought harm to people's mental and physical well-being. Extra physical exercises cannot overcome and remedy this tendency.
Although the levels achieved in modern athletic competitions have become higher and higher, the general quality of health is declining due to the accumulation of karma. This manifests itself most clearly in the prevalence of sick children. Archaeologists have discovered extremely heavy suits of armor from ancient times. Modern people can hardly bear their weight, let alone to wear them and fight battles in them.
More specifically, some young athletes in developing countries who are in their twenties suffer many injuries over years of hard training. The education they receive is quite limited since it is not emphasized, so they have no other means to make a living. As soon as they retire from athletic competition, they have problems in finding another job. Physical exercises that purely emphasize success in sports are a kind of abnormal development. How can physical exercises become an occupation?
During intense competition and training, modern physical exercises often result in injuries, disabilities, and even death. Moreover, many immoral activities go on unchecked such as cheating or taking performance-enhancing substances. Furthermore, some athletic competitions are very offensive, harsh, and cruel in nature.
Modern athletics originates from ancient Greece. On the surface, it advertises that participation is important, but most athletes want to finish first and carry a strong competitive consciousness. This competitive consciousness is very unhealthy. It is mixed in with other bad mentalities, such as desires for fame and monetary gain, desires to hurt one's competitors, and gambling, which are actually all evil things. It influences everyone who follows the games closely. This results in many degenerate social phenomena, such as fighting among fans or sports lotteries. The organizers of athletic competitions even scheme and cooperate with huge commercial firms to maximize profit and reputations. These endeavors are not intended for improving health at all.
One famous American basketball star always felt he was invincible. After he was infected with the HIV virus through sexual indulgence, his dreams and plans for life were shattered. He then understood some principles of life and appealed to American youths to restrain their behavior. Because of strong attachments to pursuits of sporting achievements, fame, and material gain, some athletes try to achieve their goals through any means necessary, even inviting animal spirits to possess their bodies.
Under the agitation of modern media, many athletic events have become social hotspots and forms of entertainment. This encourages the human mentalities of competitiveness in order to satisfy modern people's vain hearts. People are influenced by the evil nature emitted from those games. Physical exercises become a means of spiritual anesthesia and even social control, a part of modern society that is blinded by fame and fortune. People have lost themselves in it.
The human body is quite complex. A person can cleanse his heart by valuing De and harboring less desire. Then, the upgraded Xinxing (mind-nature) can bring people many supernormal capabilities in addition to keeping up the health of their bodies. If a person pays too much attention to his physical body while ignoring and even indulging his mind, things will just turn out opposite to what one hopes. Deterioration and degeneration will ensue.
In modern society, the increasing popularization of sporting events, the decrease in the human constitution, the prosperity of the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the emergence of strange and serious illnesses are social phenomena that go hand in hand. The intrinsic reason is the degeneration of morality, which stands silently behind these phenomena, a fact that has yet to be recognized by people. The basic spirit of modern physical exercise is a centralized reflection of modern human spiritual conditions: fanatically pursuing fame and material gain, excessive competition, and neglecting morality and spirituality. Technology and physical exercises can strengthen a person's body, while human hearts become empty and dirty. The fundamental things have deteriorated, and things are turning from bad to worse.
I think new human beings in the future will focus more on cultivation. Therefore, keeping themselves fit and free from illness will not be a problem. Thus, these deviated phenomena stemming from athletic competition will no longer be present.