Hi Mike, and Bill too,

I think the problem you and Bill are having is in thinking of chi as something in particular rather than of the very stuff or substance of everything which is what it is in the sense I (and at least to some extent JM) are using it. Chi is not something that martial artists 'generate' and that other people don't have. Everything is composed of chi. It is the only substance of the universe. There is nothing else except the particular forms that arise within it which have no substance of their own. In this view the universe consists only of chi and the empty forms chi takes on which have no reality substance of their own. I generally use the term OE (ontological energy) for chi. It is what gives otherwise empty forms actual real being in the present moment.

So Mike and Bill's emptiness is simply chi that isn't moving, that is devoid of form. Calling chi chi is just terminology. One could call it Mu, Tao, OE, emptiness or anything else just so long as we know what we are talking about. It is the definition we are using that counts. Don't go by some huff and puffing guy who thinks only he has chi. All of us ARE chi, simply forms in the sea of chi, forms in the universal sea of OE.

So in the stillness of Zen meditation perhaps chi is hardly moving, but in daily life chi moves constantly, and Zen is being in tune with that movement. That's the same as saying what MIke and Bill are saying since chi is intrinsically empty, Mu, void, Tao. It is only the forms within chi that really move.


On Sep 11, 2008, at 4:28 AM, mike brown wrote:

Hi Edgar,
Thanks for the reply and insight. I'm just finding it really hard to intergrate my understanding and experience of Zen with the importance some people here are placing on chi. I can appreciate that chi exists and may even be the source of form and emptiness, but at the end of the day I just don't believe it is essential to know or experience chi in order to live a Zen life. With due respect, I think JMJM's Chan is just a highly developed technique which allows a person to feel chi and so feel somewhat spiritualised and 'connected'. I've felt something very similar in my Vipassana meditation (Vipassana uses a technique which generates a lot of chi and this is then used to 'scan' the body to feel the most minute, subtle sensations within and on the surface of the body), however it is still a technique. I'm not saying techniques are a bad thing - after all zazen meditation is a technique . What I am saying tho' is that ultimately ALL techniques are just rafts which need to be discarded after reaching the other shore (the shore we're already on, of course). Zen is just simply living life fully in the moment and doesn't require anything extra in the way of 'energy currents', God, or listening to our 'inner-dolphin'. Mike.

----- Original Message ----
From: Edgar Owen <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, 11 September, 2008 7:41:41
Subject: Re: [Zen] JUDO

Hi Mike,

An excellent post from someone who obviously has direct experience of what he's talking about.

The huffing and puffing type of concentration of chi is primarily useful in demonstrations of force in set conditions such as breaking bricks. Bricks don't avoid punches or strike back! In such cases one can concentrate on concentrating one's chi against the unchanging chi of the bricks and take one's time. However in interactive situations with a live opponent things are much different and concentrating on one's own chi in this way is not usually the best tactic.

Against a live opponent the key is emptiness, or as you say mushin. If you are full of concentrating on your own chi your focus and your energy will be in that concentration of chi, not on the total interactive situation with the opponent. The emptier of such concentration one is the faster and more appropriately one can act. The idea is to be empty of self so that you are maximally aware and tuned to the flow of the total situation and are able to respond instantly and naturally to any change the opponent makes in the unity of the whole situation. This too is actually chi, but not a huff and puff concentration of chi in one's own hara, but a maximal awareness and response to the total chi of the entire situation that exists between you and your opponent. If you erect no chi barrier to your opponent you are able to sense instantly any change he makes to the chi flow you share with him and respond optimally - assuming you have the training to do so of course.

This all goes to a very important point. What to do with realization, what to do with Zen? As Bill noted, he spends 99% of his life out of zazen. No matter how enlightened we exist in the world of maya where causality holds sway. With Zen we can realize that is illusion, but we still must exist within it. The big question is how to bring Zen into that world in our daily lives 24/7.

Al points to the way here. The key is to be empty. That doesn't mean to be empty of chi, but to be empty of any hinderances to the flow of chi. When we are empty of such blockages we are continually being filled with the chi of the present here now which flows through us unobstructed, and out of this flow our own action originates naturally and spontaneously. Most people's action originates from their hinderances to the free flow of chi, those internal forms in which they try to trap chi, that is the internal forms in which most people try to structure and hold chi according to their particular desires, and thoughts, those forms which they call their self. But true Zen action arises directly from the free unhindered flow of the chi of the present moment through one's center. We see that brilliantly in the finest martial artists such as the aikido of Ueshiba Morihei, but it also works in every aspect of daily life if we just empty ourselves and tune to the chi of the moment, and let that originate our actions without hinderance.


On Sep 10, 2008, at 7:44 AM, mike brown wrote:

Hi Al,
I'm a Kyokushin karate practioner and have represented Australia (actually I'm Welsh, but it's a long story..) at the international level. I have found Zen to be indispensable when fighting in competitions. If you start worrying negatively about the outcome of the fight, or regret not training hard enough then by the time you get on the mat you'll have expended too much nervous energy and/or react too slow to your opponents strikes and kicks. In training the same Zen principles applies - the kick or punch you throw NOW is the most important kick or punch you will ever throw in your life so put 100% into it.

The outcome of this training is the development of mushin (or 'no mind') where the fear of losing and injury doesn't exist. The Japanese call this spirit 'Budo'. Any focus on 'Chi' is minimal or non-existent although that's not to say it doesn't exist. It's just that focusing on the mind/ego thru zazen is much more important and crucial to this development. I've often seen kung fu players performing intricate chi-type exercises before a competion and then come out and get their arses kicked by fighters who wouldn't know their chi if it jumped and bit them on their [EMAIL PROTECTED] Mike.

----- Original Message ----
From: Fitness63 <[EMAIL PROTECTED] .net>
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September, 2008 12:26:56
Subject: [Zen] JUDO

By the way, I learned a lot from that old Judo instructor. He is a very nice guy and now he is in his 80s.

I think that he felt that Judo and Zen were intertwined and that zen helped him focus his CHI to be better at Judo.

I think that is why the samurai also were devoted to zen. It was not because they were atheists who believed in nothing. I would like to hear from those who have experience in Judo or other martial arts and whether or not you are aware of CHI and if it has any relationship to zazen in your experience.

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