Category Archives: kungfuworkout

Create The Life You Want: 4 Easy Steps From The Shaolin Temple Of Zen

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I’ve just come back from teaching the Shaolin Summer Camp in China. My sisters were there to help with the cooking, my three year old daughter and my wife were there, and my students – for that time – were also part of my family.By creating a safe family environment, it took away all feeling of competition. This is really important. Especially if you want to win. The great basketball coach, John Wooden, never talked about winning. he talked about his players being the best they could be, both off and on the pitch.

P1010899Once my students were there, they had no choice. Too much choice makes us unhappy. It’s been proven by scientists. This is why Buddhist disciples and monks take precepts. Having too much choice makes the mind busy and then it doesn’t focus on the things that are important.

We started every day with a run up the mountain. Some students said they couldn’t do it but I told them they could. By the end of 4 weeks, no one questioned running up the mountain. They ran and their stamina had increased dramatically.

We trained in traditional Shaolin forms, Qigong, fighting, and stamina. No one can be good at all of these exercises but when the body is training three times a day, it’s good to vary the workouts. But the real training was the training of the mind. I hope that what everyone brought home with them was the greatest Shaolin teaching of all.

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If you really want to do something you can. You can create the life you want. 

It just takes 4 easy steps:

1) Give yourself the right environment – that doesn’t mean you have to move your body but move your mind so it’s in the right place.

2) Give yourself no choice – you’ve made your choice, stick to it.

3) Compete Only Against Yourself – Don’t compare yourself to others. Focus on challenging yourself.

4) Don’t think about winning – think about being the best you can be.

With this focus, whatever the outcome, you’ve already won!

 

Shifu Yan Lei teaches a graded Shaolin path ro kung fu and Qigong. Click here to find out more about his books, DVD and downloads.

 

Your Pathway To Zen


IMG_0815It’s not possible to take Zen out of Shaolin martial arts because Shaolin martial arts were born from Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen. Shaolin Martial Arts is a pathway to Zen. How is this possible? Because the movements cut through the thinking mind. This thinking mind is not the mind that experiences Zen. We have another mind. A mind that cannot be approached from a thinking perspective. A mind that is untouched by our thinking or anything we have done or anything that has been done to us. Zen Buddhists call it our Pure Light Mind. You can think of it as basic goodness that exists in all of us. We all have it. It’s our potential to become a Buddha. Buddha simply means awakened one. Someone who has woken up to see the world as it really is.

If we throw some red dye into the sea, it will not turn the sea red, as the sea is so vast and expansive. Our minds have the capacity to be vast and expansive too yet if someone shouts at us or insults us, we tend to get angry, this is a measure of how expansive our mind is and how much work we need to do.

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I have a lot of experience of anger. When I was 15 years old, I was always getting into fights. My Master – who is now the Shaolin Abbot – was fed up of coming to the police station to get me out of jail so he sent me to a very well known Zen master.

In the Cultural Revolution when Mao was destroying all the temples, this master risked his life to stay in the temple. For many years he lived in this destroyed temple and when Buddhism was allowed to flourish again he started to re-build the temple. Every morning he would sit in meditation and chant and I would train. He asked me to sit with him but I had no patience to sit. After a few weeks of trying to get me to sit he told me to make training my meditation.

That sentence has resonated with me all my life. When I came back to the Shaolin Temple, my training was no longer a series of exercises or a way of being able to learn new fighting techniques so that I could conquer other people but it became my meditation.

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To train in Shaolin doesn’t mean we need to become Buddhists or believe in the Buddha. I don’t see myself as a Buddhist even though I come from a Buddhist Temple. I see myself a martial artist with a wish to understand life. A wish to not get pulled in by my unhelpful emotions and a wish to increase my helpful emotions. I see the Buddha as a wonderful psychologist who had a great understanding about how our minds work.

So whenever you train, and whatever you train in, use your training as your refuge and your meditation. This will install peace and strength in you. This will mean, however difficult your life is, you always have something to come back to, something you can rely on.

Willpower is like petrol, it runs out. This is why Shaolin Monks cultivate daily habits so it becomes a part of our life. If you are coming on my Shaolin Summer Camp this year then you will live in this way so you can take home some of those habits that you’ve cultivated.

For more information on Shifu Yan Lei’s books, DVDs, downloads and martial art’s training equipment click here