Dharma Realm Buddhist University in Talmage, northern California, is offering a Tai Chi (Chinese shadowboxing) class this fall semester on Tuesday and Friday evenings, taught by Mr. Rou-Shr Pan, a seventy-two-year-old man from Taiwan, who won the championship in the section for elders of International Martial Arts, by performing Tai Chi together with other fast- and slow-moving arts. Because he knows Tai-chi to its essence, he can apply his skill to subtly overcome the strong with the gentle, to subdue the quick with the slow.
Mr. Pan began practicing Tai Chi at the age of thirty-nine, when he was suffering from poor health. He is extremely diligent in all he does, and has been dedicated to Tai Chi for over forty years now. He feels that Tai Chi is one of life's ultimate truths, because it allows the mind to reach such an ultimate tranquility. Before he practiced Tai Chi, he would easily get angry, but now he has no temper at all.
Tai Chi gives him a sense of well-being, as if every cell in his body were pumped full of oxygen. He says that Tai-chi is the free panacea for all diseases, and believes it can prevent the spread of cancer.
In his fortieth year, Mr. Pan did a most difficult yet worthwhile deed--he cut off his desires, and thus has been able to contain his spirit, energy, and essence. His natural constitution has become full and energetic. After practicing Tai Chi for a year, he discovered that if he didn't cut off desires, he would not be able to stand firmly. He also found that smoking and drinking easily disturb the spirit and mind. Thus, he made up his mind to cut them all off at one time. His fortieth year could be considered a pivotal year in Mr. Pan's life, for he put down smoking, drinking and sexual desire. With the full support and cooperation of his wife, he was able to use his leisure time to deepen his Tai Chi practice, experiencing the transformation of essence into energy, of energy into spirit, and of spirit into emptiness.
body close up, and the body seems to be covered by a layer of iron. In such a state, one not only has no fear of coldness, but also feels that germs cannot infect one. Since then, he has never caught cold.
It is hard for ordinary people to cut off desire voluntarily; how could Mr. Pan accomplish this task? He says, "It's just like the Venerable Master says, 'See all men as my own father, and all women as my own mother.' If we are filial and respectful to our parents, then sexual desire will not arise." Mr. Pan said that when he went to study in Japan at age fifteen, he heard his teacher say that "real filiality" means not worrying or afflicting your parents. He was so struck by this revelation that it stayed on his mind for several days. Finally, he figured out a way to not worry his parents. He started writing to his parents everyday; telling them about his daily life, his studies, and even his daily expenses; he hid nothing from them. He maintained the habit of writing letters back home for ten years, until he went back to Taiwan. It is with such perseverance and fortitude that he strives to give his best in all he does.
Mr. Pan is working on a translation of Ven. Master Hua's lectures into Japanese. Having spent ten years studying in Japan, he speaks and writes Japanese fluently. Currently, he also teaches a new course at Dharma Realm Buddhist University in elementary Japanese. He will be leaving for Taiwan after the Fall semester ends, but plans to return next year to see his students' progress.