Martial Arts versus Cultivation Practice

Yi Dou

PureInsight | June 6, 2005

[] The following story is from a famous classical Chinese novel titled, Liao Zhai Zhi Yi.

There was a Chinese man called Li Chao. He was from China's Zixi region. He had a straightforward and generous personality. One day a Buddhist monk knocked on his door to solicit alms. Li Chao treated him with a hearty meal, for which the monk was very grateful. He said to Li Chao, "I came from Shaolin Monastery on Mount Song. I am good at martial arts, which I will be glad to teach you." Li Chao was delighted to have the opportunity to learn martial arts. He invited the monk to stay in his home and treated the monk as his guest of honor. From then on, Li started to study martial arts from the monk day and night.

Three months later, Li Chao became an excellent Kongfu master. The monk asked him, "Do you think you have learned everything I have taught you?" Li Chao replied, "I do." The monk smiled at Li Chao and asked him to demonstrate what he had learned. Li Chao removed his long robe and started performing the martial arts routine for his master. When he completed the demonstration, he put his hands on his hip and looked very pleased with himself. The monk smiled at him again. "Okay," he said. "Since you have learned everything, now try to fight me." Li Chao was very eager to show his master how much he had learned. During the fight, he spotted what he thought was his master's loopholes and tried to exploit upon them. All of sudden, the monk kicked Li Chao. Li Chao flew out three feet away. The monk dusted his palms and said, "You have a long way to go to master everything I have taught you." Li Chao was very humbled by the experience, and asked to continue the lesson. However, the monk left a few days later.

Over the time Li Chao established a reputation as a Kongfu master. He traveled northern and southern China to fight other Kongfu masters, but he rarely met anyone who matched his skill level. One day he traveled to Jinan, Shandong Province and saw a young nun performing martial arts to solicit alms in the market. Her performance attracted a large crowd. The nun said to the audience, "It is getting boring to be the only person performing martial arts here. I now invite the audience to come up and fight me. It will be more entertaining to the audience." She repeated her invitation twice, but the audience just looked at each other. No one would step up. Li Chao became anxious to show up his martial arts skills, so he volunteered to fight the nun. The nun smiled at him and held her fists in front of her chest, a proper way for a martial arts competitor to salute his/her opponent. As soon as they started fighting, the nun asked time out. She asked Li Chao, "You must have studied under a martial art master from Shaolin Monastery. May I ask who your master is?" Li Chao did not answer at first, but the nun insisted on knowing the name of his master. Finally, he told the nun the name of his master. The nun held her fists in front of her chest again and said, "The Innocent Monk is your master? In that case, we need not to fight any longer. You may claim the victory." Li Chao repeatedly asked the nun to continue the fight, but she graciously declined. Finally she agreed to the fight due to the overwhelming pressure from the crowd. However, she said to Li Chao, "Since you are the Innocent Monk's disciple, we may fight as a practice. There will be no blood shed." Li Chao agreed. Li Chao didn't think much of the nun because she looked very tiny and fragile. He was very eager to win the fight to improve his reputation.

When the fight was just getting exciting, the nun once again withdrew from the fight. Li Chao asked her why she stopped fighting. The nun didn't say anything. She only smiled in return. Li Chao thought it was because she was afraid to lose the fight, so he became more eager to finish the fight. After he repeatedly asked her to finish the fight, the nun finally agreed. In a short while, Li Chao kicked his leg towards the nun, and she chopped down on his shin with the side of her hand. Li Chao felt as if she had chopped down his lower leg with a butcher's knife or an axe. He felt down right away and was unable to get up.

The nun apologized to him and said, "It was unintentional. I hope you will not be offended!" After Li Chao returned home, he nursed the injury for more than a month before he completely recovered. A year later, the monk visited him again. After he heard Li Chao telling him about his fight with the nun, he was shocked. "You were too full of yourself! Why did you insist on fighting her? Fortunately you have told her my name before the fight; otherwise, your leg would have been broken!"

A fellow Falun Gong practitioner once told me a story about her father:

"My father started practicing Tao school qigong in 1949. He was known as a famous martial arts master in our area, but he had never boasted about himself. On the contrary, he was always very humble and told people that he was a disgrace to his master. Nevertheless, people from near and far kept on coming to our home and asked to fight my father. Some people had even traveled from a few hundred miles away to fight him. Usually when a man came to challenge my father, my father would be very polite to the man and asked him to come sit in our living room. Then they started chatting. After they finished chatting, the two of them would have known who won the fight. It was not at all like what the Chinese martial art movies have portrayed. After the guest left, my father would never tell anyone who won the "fight." Later my father heard about Falun Gong and got a copy of Zhuan Falun. As soon as he finished reading "Genuinely Guiding People Toward High Levels" in Lecture One of Zhuan Falun, he decided to practice Falun Gong. He told me, Falun Gong is the ultimate Kongfu. If he is not the real thing, no one would dare to write that he is genuinely guiding people toward high levels. Since my father started practicing Falun Gong, he has been very diligent in his cultivation practice. He has never even once given up practicing Falun Gong since Jiang Zemin started to openly persecute Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, not even when the persecution was at its most severe in 2002."

Genuine cultivators aspire to achieve high realms of cultivation practice. They are not at all interested in the superficial, conventional victory that ordinary Kongfu masters aspire to in order to show off.

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