For millenia, people have tried to reach a spiritual promised land by fasting. Jesus did it. The Buddha did it. Monks and saints and new age gurus have done it. And now, on the radio, This American Life contributor David Rakoff tries it. He does a 20-day fast, to find out if it brings him any form of enlightenment.
That was the official summary for this week’s episode of This American Life. Here is my unofficial summary:
David Rakoff does a twenty-day detox juice fast*, hoping for a quick glimpse of enlightenment. Other than his special diet and enema regimen, David does not follow any other guidelines that might define fasting as a spiritual practice, as prescribed by real spiritual experts. Instead, he reads the New York Times, rides the subway, and otherwise continues to lead his normal everyday life–to the extent possible, between his extended time on the toilet, and chopping and boiling vegetables for the fast.
Mi-mno, mi-bsam, mi-dpyad-ching,
Question from a student:
I understand that Kungfu, a multifaceted system, is a system of combat, and hence dominant and superior combat power is its highest priority. Is that true?
Answer from Wong Kiew Kit:
It is a matter of perspective. I would view kungfu in this way. Kungfu as a mutifaceted martial art, has three levels of attainment. The lowest level is combat efficiency. This is also the most fundamental level, without which it ceases to be kungfu and degenerates into a demonstrative form.
Su Dongpo occupied a government post on the northern shore of the Yangtze River. Across the river at Jinshan Temple lived the Chan master Foyin.
One day, Su Dongpo, feeling proud of his accomplishments in meditative practice, wrote a poem and dispatched it to Foyin for approval:
I bow my head to the heaven within heaven
Whose light illuminates the universe
The eight winds cannot move me
Sitting still upon the golden purple lotus
When Foyin received the poem, he read it, wrote a single word in reply, and sent it back.