Meditation

29 11 2009

We’ve all seen it…the image of Buddha sitting legs crossed meditating. We even jokingly emulate this posture in conversation to suggest peace of mind or the notion of Zen. But what are we really witnessing when we see someone in a crossed legged sitting posture? That sitting position is one of the most traditional meditating poses in all of Buddhism and Taoism as passed down by generations of practitioners starting in India way back when.

The day of enlightenment. December 8, 596 BC Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. Image shows enlightened Gautama Buddha sitting under the Bodhi tree.

The deeper one gets into practicing meditation, more positions are revealed and the practitioner  begins to build a repertoire for meditating. Something to think about while building this list is that, people already have a short list to choose from to meditate. These are things that we do everyday. It could be something as simple as making coffee, mowing the lawn, jogging, listening to music, or riding a bike. There are a number of activities that can put our mind into the initiation process towards meditating. The point of meditating is to think about nothing, clear the mind of all thoughts.

In the world we live in, especially in the Western side of things, its very difficult to eliminate thoughts. So to begin the delete these thoughts, what better way to begin by doing something that requires you to focus on one thing…eventually that one thing becomes so second nature you don’t need to think about doing it.

Through muscle memory we are now just doing. Then the mind is free to erase. 3 thoughts become 2, 2 becomes 1, 1 becomes no thought at all. In time of course.

Here’s a little something from the Buddha himself to help redirect our pre-conceived ideas about meditating…or whatever you can apply it to:

“Do not accept anything on (mere) hearsay — (i.e., thinking that thus have we heard it for a long time). Do not accept anything by mere tradition — (i.e., thinking that it has thus been handed down through many generations). Do not accept anything on account of mere rumors — (i.e., by believing what others say without any investigation). Do not accept anything just because it accords with your scriptures. Do not accept anything by mere suppositions. Do not accept anything by mere inference. Do not accept anything by merely considering the reasons. Do not accept anything merely because it agrees with your pre-conceived notions. Do not accept anything merely because it seems acceptable — (i.e., thinking that as the speaker seems to be a good person his words should be accepted). Do not accept anything thinking that the ascetic is respected by us (therefore it is right to accept his word).

Big Buddha in Hong Kong

For anyone interested in starting a meditation regiment or just the occasional break from our noisy world, I would definitely suggest learning the basics first. Then apply those basics to your world. For the traditional martial artist, I think its important to understand that traditions are good but not absolute, especially in the world we live in today. Rethink old ways, new ideas.

-MR





Enter The Dragon

25 11 2009

…My mission for this blog is to “re” -educate, introduce, focus, evaluate, do, think, the Way of the traditional martial artist. By this I mean, changing the overall attitude and perspective of new students, practitioners, and teachers…Bruce Lee once mentioned, and I paraphrase this loosely, that studying a form or a kata will pose restrictions to the practitioner in concern to physical movement. I believe he was referring to the mind of the practitioner as well.

Of course, this is not to say throw out everything that one has learned or ignore the fact that one must learn the basic building blocks for any martial art. My goal here is to expose as much martial arts knowledge and culture to as many interested people as possible. Because at the end of the day, the overall big picture of traditional martial arts culture – from obscure martial arts, weaponry, clothing, and everything in between, is dying.

The popularity of non-traditional martial arts has grown due to MMA type combat…but culturally speaking this is only one aspect of the arts that is being payed any attention to. This is why There are over 600 martial arts schools in Las Vegas, NV. and only 8-10% of those schools are traditional. The rest are MMA style schools. Whatever your opinion about MMA and other styles of martial arts, know that there is an unbalanced anomaly for what is being passed down to future generations of martial artists.

We’re living in a world now where learning traditional martial arts has dropped to the bottom of the list for “things to do”. With the economy blah blah blah…expendable incomes are vanishing.

And when the money is there… the question is, what does the prospective student want to learn? Here in the U.S. there are a number of attributes that help answer this question.  In a research paper written by Joseph P. McNamara – The Effects of Modern Marketing on Martial Arts and Traditional Martial Arts, he claims,

“Martial arts marketing tends to focus upon the physical aspects of the
practice, reflecting society’s sensationalization of violence. As
a result, the philosophical components of early martial arts disciplines
have been largely forgotten. As Zhang put it, “Everybody wants to
learn to fight. Nobody wants to learn real gongfu3.”
(2006). This is especially true of the multitude of martial arts sites
which focus upon drawing in as many students as possible to sustain a
strong business model.”

Read entire paper here.

Martial Arts is a business… This is where I step into the picture..When has learning an ancient art form passed down from generation to generation ever been a business??

Welcome to my blog. Enter The Dragon.

-MR