Friday, August 19, 2011

Stirring a bit of life back into this blog...a summary....

                                                       Buddha from Longmen Grottos, Henan Province

It's not for lack of material; largely it's been for lack of time. As my family is in China for the summer, I've had less time for blogging than usual, especially given the fact that I started taking Wing Chun from a teacher some 25 or so miles from where I live. And today I have to go to Greece - I'm looking forward to the weather (it's been a rather cold summer here in the Pacific NW). But I get this feeling I'm going to be witnessing something close to the collapse of a government/social disorder/etc. But for want of a few blog posts here and there, here's a few points for those who might still follow this blog from time to time: 

  • Barbara's recent posts on Tibet - especially her latest -  are remarkably free of perspective at how disingenuous the Tibetan exile organization sounds to the Chinese. I mean really.
  • I had been meaning to put a comment on her site that she might be being indirectly subsidized by the Chinese government; China Daily accepts branded content from the NY Times every now and then, and is owned by the NY Times. 
  • Having actually, really, taken a martial arts class from a teacher in one of the world's most renowned lineages of the art (hence the 25 mile drive each way twice/week), I think I can begin to write about martial arts and Zen Buddhism.  And the martial arts themselves.  But instead I should be practicing both Zen and Wing Chun.  
  • One post would be how a martial arts practice informs a Zen practice from  a purely physical point of view.  
  • One post would be - I have done yoga  as part of my pre-zazen practice, and I have taken a few classes in other martial arts, but really practicing a martial art such as Wing Chun (and there are others, I'm sure) results in a deep re-assessment of one's self that yoga, I'm afraid, can't really provide.  It's true.
  • I could write 3 or 4 posts on Wing Chun itself. It is a system that whoever invented  it - some say Ng Mui - whoever invented it was a smack down absolute freakin' genius.
    • One thing that is amazing about it is how little you need to learn to actually begin to replicate what you see in the movies.  Ah, but to perfect those moves takes a hell of a lot of practice, because...
    • Another thing that is amazing about it is how profoundly counter-intuitive aspects of it are, relative to some arts such as Tae Kwon Do and various schools of karate.
  • Regarding martial arts - as in Zen - I'd say the specific school is nowhere near as important as finding a good teacher.
  • And yet another post would be a re-assessment of the "yoga & zen" thing.
  • I'm also meaning to post on "Buddhism and the Internet of Things," mostly because as a guy who actually researches the "Internet of things" and studies Buddhism the "topic" comes across to me as "Buddhism and Consumer Product  R&D," or something like that - it's an almost absurd juxtaposition of terms.
  • I'd also been meaning to post on the recent economy of late.
  • And how to get back into practice.

That's all for now.  That should stir up some stuff...


Blondeau said...

Love to see your take on martial arts and yoga. As a experiment I did a yoga teacher certification a few years back and came away unimpressed. I have studied tai chi and aikido. Both seem to fit with zen practice better than yoga.

Mumon said...

In brief, the fact that martial arts can be used to kill people brings a deep obligation to practice equanimity that is lacking in yoga.

It's not that yoga can't bring equanimity - of course it can.

But it doesn't feel mandatory to practice this equanimity when you don't feel like it.

I'm really not qualified to go very further into this other than to say that I get why "kungfu" is more about personal development than it is about the fighting aspects of it for that very reason.

Except for one other point: even just knowing you can achieve a level of skill that means that you can walk away from a street brawl better than the other guy - if you aren't the type of person that was a street brawler from long ago- means that your view of yourself changes...and hence the demand for equanimity.

Nathan said...

I have been practicing Zen and yoga for over a decade now. Being in the middle of a yoga teacher training and seeing how others view "the practice," I am soundly convinced that the lack of depth in understanding around yoga contributes greatly to it's dismissal amongst Buddhists and others.

Much of what is called "yoga" these days is superficial exercise, perhaps with a bit of chanting or snippets of yoga philosophy tossed in. And the teacher training programs either reinforce this or, like the one I am in, struggle to integrate the depth and the more superficial elements that seem to attract so many.

Furthermore, there are yogic traditions within Buddhism - most notably the various Tantric schools. So, I actually think that doing Zen and yoga is quite compatible. Which, of course, doesn't negate pairing Tai Chi, aikido, or other practices with Zen.

Mumon said...

I don't dispute your points. I'll say more later about it. But Blogger just ate my last 2 attempts at longer replies

Mumon said...

OK, here's my expanded comment:

I don't want to take anything away from Yoga, either or its practitioners.

It's just that this lethality issue is quite a significant difference for martial arts.