Taoist Formulas used to Quiet the Senses During Meditation
If there is one feature of martial arts training that exemplifies its divine qualities it’s the practice of meditation. Although it is best known for its prominent role in asceticism, mysticism and Eastern religion, the timeless practice also has a well-established relationship with the fighting arts. The importance of Zen meditation in Japanese martial arts and its Chinese counterpart Micro-cosmic orbit meditation, which serves a similar function in the art of Kung Fu, are both familiar examples of the introspective practice’s important role in most of the traditional styles of Asian martial arts. According to ancient teaching, it’s through introspection, meditation, and prayer, that knowledge concerning the soul’s immortality is transmitted. Acquiring insights into the journey of the soul and a desire to become spiritually “enlightened,” is the primary motivation for a majority of people who engage in the timeless practice. There are also we should add although far fewer in number, those who aren’t the least bit interested in spiritual illumination, and meditate strictly for the psychological and physical benefits that the ancient introspective practice is known to provide.
Perhaps nothing underscores the powerful influence spiritualism and Eastern religion has had on the martial arts more than the fact that throughout the history of Asian martial arts the creators of some of Karate and Kung Fu’s most recognizable styles have been Shinto priests, Buddhist monks, Taoist sages and spiritual adepts. In spite of this, in recent years religious influences and the practice of meditation have taken on a more minor role. Although meditation’s role has significantly declined, the ancient practice’s ability to calm the spirit and counteract the stress that is created by the perilous nature of combat is probably the main reason that it will always be a part of the martial life-style. Additional reasons for the timeless practice’s continued role are its ability to enhance martial skills by improving focal abilities and over-all concentration as well as developing one’s ability to subjugate the senses which can increase our perception of the vital energy Chi in our self as well as in others. This enhanced ability to feel the flow of Chi which is a residual benefit of meditation, has long been reported by practitioners of Chinese internal martial arts.
Although the rewards afforded those who regularly meditate are numerous, chief among them is the age-old practice’s antidotal effect in counteracting fear. And while many traditionalist will argue that the primary purpose of meditation, is the spiritual development that is considered by Shaolin monks and Buddhist priests, who were some of the earliest practitioners of Chinese martial arts, to be the highest expression of Kung Fu. One would be hard pressed to dispute their claim that all too often the aforementioned benefits are forfeited due to the disproportionate amount of training time that the vast majority of martial artists devote to perfecting combat techniques compared to the amount of time spent meditating.
A notable exception is the Japanese art of Ninjutsu, which unlike many other external styles, places great emphasis on developing meditative techniques. Practitioners of the ancient Japanese art will tell you that it’s their ability to remain in a meditative state that is most instrumental in creating the stillness that is critical to maintaining their invisibility. Whether one practices for religious or for practical reasons, the three components that are a common feature of all of the different styles of meditation, as well as the five postures that are used in its performance, are fundamentally the same. If you'd like to read more on the subject, use this link: http://seaofchi.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=3776&search=meditation+and+the+martial+arts&description=true
To the skeptics who may have doubts about its benefits, marginalize its importance and question its value. A point worth considering is that although developing the ability to defend oneself against violence has its own rewards, even though it is grossly under appreciated the value of meditation lies in its proven ability to nurture the spirit, contribute to over-all health and the quality of one’s life, as well as advancing their martial abilities. According to Chinese historical texts, the following formulas, which can be traced back to Shaolin Buddhist Monks, were used in connection with religious ceremonies for calming the mind, abating restlessness, and creating a deeper state of relaxation, thus intensifying meditation.
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