There is an old Japanese story about the Zen tea master Sen no Rikyu…
One day, a Sakai tea man invited Rikyu to a tea ceremony in the hope of impressing him with an antique tea jar from China. But despite being served from the jar, Rikyu didn’t seem to notice it, commenting instead on the simple scenery outside the tea hut. When Rikyu left, the trader smashed the precious jar to pieces and withdrew in anger. Luckily, all was not lost. One of the other guests gathered the pieces and glued them together with golden lacquer. When he came next, Rikyu recognized the mended jar. ‘Ah’ he said, ‘now it is magnificent!’
Qigong, literally translated means energy (qi) work (gong). Qigong consists of sets of exercises that couple movement with deep breathing and focused mental concentration.
Practices of Qigong play a significant role in Daoist practice, but also Chinese Buddhist practice. While Chinese Buddhism is best known for meditation and Shaolin-style Kung Fu rather than Qigong and it’s the emphasis on internal energy work, Chan Buddhism has a rich history of Qigong.
Bodhidharma is credited with initiating Chan with it’s blending of Indian (Theravadan) Buddhism with Daoism and Chinese culture. Bodhidharma is said to have introduced a number of Qigong sets into Chan, and Chan continues to emphasize these Qi-based exercises as part of it’s authentic lineage and practice.
It is only by changing the way we treat others that we can hope to change the world and make it a kinder, more peaceful, compassionate, and hopeful place. We can help others by touching them with gentleness, kindness, and forgiveness. But before we can do that, first we must touch ourselves in this way. We need to begin our own inner transformation.
Taoism refers to either a school of philosophical thought or to a religion, both of which share ideas and concepts of Chinese origin and emphasize living in harmony with the Tao or ‘Way’. The Tao is generally defined as the source of everything and the ultimate principle underlying reality.