Tag Archives: Spirituality

Meditation on the Tragedy of Confirmity

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With the U.S election upon us this entry seems somewhat appropriate given the respective track records of the two main candidates.

Ultimately the beauty of teaching and preparing lessons brings with it the opportunity for the teacher to evolve and deepen his or her own learning. Reading an article in High Existence I noticed the opportunity to adapt Nietzsche’s lesson on the tragedy of conformity into a positive affirmation I can use during my own meditation class.

This lesson and the affirmation compliments the visualisations I am using with my middle and high school students in order to make them feel more secure grounded and confident, therefore less reactive and more in control throughout the day.

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A traveller asked the wise man. “What attributes are found in every man?” The wise man replied ‘The propensity for laziness and fearfulness.’ They hide themselves behind customs and opinions.’

In your heart you know that you will be in this world only once, there is no second chance. Will you let laziness and fear control your being?

Will you spend your life in fear of your neighbor, in fear of someone who demands conformity and cloaks himself with it?

I am fearless, I am neither lazy nor timid, I do not fear inconveniences and my dealings with my friends display unconditional honesty and unburdened kindness.

Through my actions I reveal my true self. My strength my confidence. I am a unique miracle. I dare to show myself as I am. I will show my uniqueness with every last movement of my muscles, consistent in my uniqueness I am beautiful, and worth regard.

When the great thinker despises mankind, he despises its laziness: for it is laziness that makes men seem like factory products, things of no consequence and unworthy to be associated with or taught.

A man or woman who does not wish to belong to the masses needs only to cease taking him or herself easily; I will follow my conscience, which flows with strength and shines with confidence.

Adapted from Friedrich Nietzsche Lesson on the tragedy of confirmity

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Taiji Fajin, Hermetics & Metaphysics

The following modest wooden house is where I stayed in Chiang Mai, Thailand when I trained with Sifu Rasmus. Sifu Rasmus teaches Taji Fajin, Hermetics and Metaphysics in this idilic setting nestled at the foot of a mountain and within ear shot of a buddhist retreat.
Leaving the cold and smog of Beijing behind I headed to Chiang Mai for 1 month of intensive training.Sifu Rasmus courses run from 1 to 12 weeks or longer depending on the content. His students tend to be instructors or masters who are looking to add greater depth to their knowledge or a more internal flavour to their art.
During the training period Sifu Rasmus would from time to time hold his class in the grounds of some of Chiang Mai’s most spectacular temples. In this visual blog I share three of my favorite. Below you will see a picture of an impressive nagga (Nāga, a group of serpent deities in Hindu and Buddhist mythology).

Wat Umong

A place were I began training the air element, metaphysics and meditation.

Wat Umong was built in 1927 by King Manglai of the LAN dynasty underneath the stupa above there are caves and shrines, and in the grounds you can find a garden of broken sculptures and a fasting bodhisvista. A place of tranquility where resident monks provide willing students a meditation retreat.
“Where talking trees have words of wisdom”
The hidden jungle temple of Wat Palad below has a special energy and was overall my favorite temple in Chiang Mai.
“The monastery at the sloping rock, visited by the God of the Earth”

3 transformations at Wat Chedi Luang.

“Please, come to the monk chat”
The ancient temple of Wat Chedi Luang in the centre of Chiang Mai’s walled city is one of the most important temples in Chiang Mai. It houses the ashes of the 14th century King Saen Muang Ma’s father. The big stupa is guarded on each of its four sides by two mythical serpent naga’s at the base and further up by rows of elephants. Peaceful in the evening the stupa vibrates with energy. Monks and nuns chant sutras and welcome conversation with travelers.

Climbing to the top of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.

“Wat Phra That Doi Suthep’s Emerald Buddha overlooking Chiang Mai”
I visited this temple on the festival of Makhachkala Bucha. The festival honours the event when 1,250 of Buddha’s disciples congregated to hear an important sermon.Buddhists carry flowers, lightened candles and joss sticks while walking around the stupa three times on the day and night of the full moon in February.
Although this visual bog focuses on the temples I visited while training in Chiang Mai. It would be a miss of me not to say something of my training time with Sifu Rasmus. So I’ll keep it short and simply say that training with Sifu Rasmus was an excellent decision that helped demystify some of the secrets of Taichi fajin, as well as principles and themes explored in hermetics and metaphysics. Overall the course has been a great help for my own practice and I’d like to say a big personal thank you for Sifu Rasmus, guidance, welcome, coffee and of course friendship. Sifu Rasmus’s YouTube Channel – http://www.youtube.com/user/SifuMarkRasmus

The Path of Mindfulness

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The oldest evidence for walking on two legs comes from one of the earliest humans known, Sahelanthropus. Walking upright may have helped this species survive in the diverse habitats near where it lived—including forests and grasslands. Today the habitat of the modern humans are urban areas and walking no-longer is matter of life and death but quality of life.

As a low impact exercise over 10,000 steps are recommend each day so its not an exercise that will help you loose pounds like running will. However, the benefits of walking can not simply be measured in weight loss or even fitness gains. Walking is much more than that. Walking is about the maintenance of overall physical and mental health. A evolutionary leap that is one of the most natural parts of our lives.

As a child our first steps are greeted with joy and as an adult our last with sadness. Walking is central to our being whether as a means of movement, a health exercise, a de-stresser, a way to clear your mind, think or connect to your own body or nature. As a result it’s a natural choice for an active meditative exercise that everyone can do.

Here’s a simple set of instructions for one form of walking meditation that focuses on connecting you to your own body and your surroundings.

1. Be aware of your posture, reduce your speed, relax and regulate your breathing with long slow deep breaths .

2. Using your five senses, listen to your surroundings and take a moment to become aware of them. Turn your attention to smells and touch, smile and explore your surroundings with wonder.

3. Become aware of your body, its movements its sway and connect to the sensation of walking. Observe how your body feels during the process of walking and enjoy these sensations for short periods of relaxed mindfulness.

So if you’re in Beijing here are my top three parks in Beijing for mindful walking:

1. The Temple of Heaven

2. Beihai Park

3. The Temple of Earth

Check out this app that is designed to help you integrate mindfulness into your daily routines. https://itunes.apple.com/hk/app/gps-for-the-soul/id586099254?mt=8 or alternatively. Leave your phone behind and get rid of all technological attachments for a mindful walk.

Check out www.StudyMartialArts.Org for martial arts adventure travel and training options in Beijing and World Wide.

Etiquette for visiting Buddhist Temples

When traveling to Buddhist temples why not prepare yourself and learn about Buddhist temple etiquette?

While traveling its important to be respectful of other cultures and traditions. Being, humble and modest were travel is part of the journey to greater levels of awareness. We hope this information will be helpful to any www.StudyMartialArts.Org students wishing to pay their respects at the Shaolin Temple or any other Buddhist Temple they may visit on there journey.

Below are some top tips.

Buddhist temples

  • Take off your shoes and hats before entering. There will almost always be a sign outside of the temple pointing visitors to the designated area for shoes and hats. The many pairs of visitors’ shoes clumped together will tip you off.
  • Cover your shoulders. Since it gets very hot in Asian countries during the summer, many tourists forget to cover their shoulders and legs before entering places of worship. One way to plan ahead is to dress in layers and bring a scarf or shawl along, no matter where you go. When visiting temples, capri pants and long skirts are preferable to shorts, although men can sometimes get away with wearing long shorts.
  • Stand when monks or nuns enter. Just as you would stand to greet someone in any formal setting, try to remember to stand up when a monk or nun enters the room.
  • Ask permission before taking pictures. Make sure it’s okay to use your camera, especially when taking photographs inside a temple with statues. If you do take pictures, it’s always nice to leave a donation.
  • Use your right hand. When handing a donation (or anything else) to a person, use your right hand.
  • Don’t point. Instead, if you wish to point something out to a fellow traveller, use your right hand, open, with the palm facing the ceiling.
  • Don’t touch Buddha statues. Remind your kids before entering not to touch or climb on top of the Buddha statues.
  • Don’t touch Buddhist monks, especially if you are female. Women are not supposed to hand items to monks, either. Men who need to hand something to a monk, or take something from a monk, should try to use their right hands.
  • Don’t turn your back to Buddha statues. You may notice people walking backward away from the Buddha. Follow their lead, turning around only when you are a few feet away from the statue.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE http://www.bbc.com/travel/blog/20110616-travelwise-religious-tourism-etiquette