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In Cultivation, One Must First Practice Taiji, Training the Body and Mind

Spoken by the Venerable Master Hua during a matching couplets class at Wonderful Words Hall, The Citv of 10.000 Buddhas. on Auaust 28. 1993
比丘尼恆音 英譯 English translation by Bhikshuni Heng Yin






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Today's topic is, "In cultivation, one must first practice Taiji, training the body and mind." We must train until we are accomplished in this, and our bodies are as soft as cotton, yet as hard as steel. When we have real skill, then neither knives nor spears can hurt us, and water and fire cannot harm us either. At that point we will have considerable samadhi, and if we know how to use it, then we can attain wisdom. Thus, this is a required course. No matter how busy you are, you should practice. Keep practicing until you mas­ter the skill and it becomes natural and easy.

The Taiqi exercises improve our blood and energy circulation and regulate the body and mind. With improved blood and energy circulation, sicknesses seldom occur. If you are always getting sick, it's because you don't regularly practice some sort of gongfu. If you know how to practice gongfu, your body will become stronger and healthier and will not get sick.

After Morning Recitation, don't go back to your room to rest or sleep. You should practice Taiji for an hour and then sit in meditation. You will certainly find it very easy to enter samadhi and develop concentration. If after Morning Recitation all you do is sleep, the more you sleep the more stupid and the more sick you become.

Why do you get sick? Because you don't know how to train your body and mind. You neglect your body until sicknesses come and afflictions arise, and then when you deal with people you're always rude and harsh. That shows you don't know how to cultivate. If you knew how to cultivate, you would be kind with everyone and wouldn't glare at people.

In dealing with people we always have to be humane and respectful. We shouldn't treat people as if they were our enemies, or as if they were ghosts. Otherwise, we'll never have a happy moment in our lives. In cultivation, we're not trying to go to hell. If we think that cultivation means having a huge temper and also eating a huge amount, that's totally wrong.

The left-home people at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas have a reputation outside that they don't pay attention to anyone that comes to the City, and they don't know how to treat people decently. This is not the way to support the monastery. This is the way to keep people from bringing forth the Bodhi mind.

In Sacramento I told them that after Morning Recitation they should practice whatever kind of gongfu or exercise they like for an hour. They should go outside to breathe the fresh air and let out the defiled air. If they practice like that every day, they will certainly accomplish their skill.

Our teacher, Mr. Pan, has practiced Taijiquan throughout his life, and so now his body is as hard as iron. If you all miss this opportunity right before you, then you are not cultivators, nor are you Buddhists or those who have left the home life. No matter how busy you are, you should take an hour out to practice Taijiquan. If you miss such an excellent opportunity as this, you are really being fools.


Hurry up and turn in your work.

From today onwards, no matter how busy you are, you have to learn Taijiquan. Don't be like Heng Sheng, who is quite young. She was living at Snow Mountain Monastery, and she became partially paralyzed and had to take Chinese medicine and go see the doctor. Also, you all know Heng Yin. Even though she's young, because she was always working and not exercising, her arm also got paralyzed. This is all because they didn't practice gongfu of any kind.

If you know how to practice gongfu, you won't have any sickness. It's much better than taking medicine. It can make your body and mind healthy, and it's much more effective than getting hooked up to the IV drip. Don't overlook this precious opportunity. At his advanced age, Professor Pan still comes to teach you every day. If you don't learn from him, you are really missing your chance. Practicing gongfu is also part of cultivation.

Why was Shaolin Temple so renowned for its gongfu? The monks trained their bodies and minds every day. They weren't allowed to go to their rooms and sleep all the time. They had to practice gongfu. Their skill came from training. Recently a group from Shaolin Temple has been on tour performing martial arts. The most extraordinary member of the group is a four-year-old who knows how to box, kick, and leap high in the air—his skill is pretty incredible. He started train­ing when he was two, so he's learned a lot by age four. All of you adults should hurry up and start practicing. You can't be lazy or say that you're too busy. This is a necessary part of cultivation for everyone—learning Taiji.

You should study on one hand, and learn Taiji on the other, putting equal emphasis on scholarly and martial skills. It shouldn't be that you cultivate and end up like a sick duck that can neither run, fly, nor swim. Everyone should pay special attention to this. You should have some common sense. Everyone can practice it. Don't be so lazy. You can practice outside in the open by the large Buddha statue, because no matter how many people there are, there will be enough room for everyone to stand. Do you all hear? [The fourfold assembly: Yes.]

Don't be so lazy. If you continue to be lazy, I'll have to start bowing to you again.

Has Chancellor Ho arrived? Chancellor Ho should practice Taijiquan, so he won't have high blood pressure.

Please turn in your work. You certainly have great skill in sleeping. You can all lie there and fall asleep. But when it comes to turning in your work, you take your time.


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