Mencius, Morality and Martial Virtue

Master Po and Kwai Chang Caine

A Socratic Dialogue

Master Po: Grasshopper, soon you must leave the mountain. We shall now begin preparations for the day that you accept disciples of your own.

Kwai Chang Caine: Be not concerned, master. I have committed each of your Kung Fu fighting techniques to memory.

Po: Grasshopper, these techniques are trifles. It is most important to transmit wude, the moral principles of Kung Fu.

Caine: Yes master, I have also memorized the 377 rules of virtuous conduct, and I will require my students to do the same. Rule number one: “Don’t show up drunk.” Rule number two…

Po: Stop right there. It is not the teacher’s job to recite these rules; it is the teacher’s job to embody them. They are descriptive, not prescriptive. Wude is not something you do, it is something you are.

Caine: Master, I do not understand. On the day I arrived in the temple, I took an oath to follow these rules. Are they not important?

Po: Grasshopper, that stuff is just for the newbies. It is time for you to receive the inner gate teaching on martial morality. Continue reading Mencius, Morality and Martial Virtue

Reflections on Bruce Lee’s Water: Does Skill Actually Matter?

Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

Bruce Lee said it*—but did he actually do it? Did he flow like water? Judging by his performances in Enter the Dragon, Chinese Connection and Fists of Fury, I’d say: no, not at all.

Bruce Lee in The Chinese Connection

Maybe Bruce didn’t show his real kung fu skills on the silver screen. Continue reading Reflections on Bruce Lee’s Water: Does Skill Actually Matter?

Learn How to Meditate: A Simple Guide

Excerpted from Learn How to Meditate by William Bodri

Everyone is looking for a way to still their thoughts, shed their worries, and attain mental peace.  That is the purpose of meditation… 

There are all sorts of meditations in the world that can help you learn how to cultivate a peaceful mind… They work using different principles of mental pacification, but they all involve teaching you how to detach from the thoughts and impulses in your head (and in your body) that normally bother you, distract you and impel you…

Confucius was actually one of the people who taught the steps of this process in the most detail. He said the first thing to cultivate, when dealing with every facet of life–and not just spiritual or character development–was mental “awareness…” 

First you have awareness, then stopping, and then stillness which is almost, but not quite complete. If you keep cultivating this stillness through meditation, it will expand so that you achieve the fourth step of the path, which is a state of true peacefulness…

That’s a state that Eastern sages call “samadhi.” Continue reading Learn How to Meditate: A Simple Guide