Temple Disciples lead Chan Seminar in Mexico
by Shi Heng Zhi and Shi Heng Xian
It is Shifu Shi Yan Ming's dream to share and spread Shaolin philosophy. Since 2004 the Mexico Temple has been sharing the teachings of Shaolin thanks to Shi Heng Yi. Ever vigilant and devoted to spreading knowledge, Yi has created a welcoming place for all those seeking to sharpen their bodies and minds. With the help of two of Yi’s brothers from the USA Shaolin Temple in New York, he was able to offer a seminar specifically on Chan Philosophy.
Upon Zhi and Xian's arrival, the Mexican temple students put on a display of Shaolin martial arts - Kung Fu and Tai Chi. What struck the visitors from New York the most was how they were listening to another language, in another country, at another temple spawned by Shifu's idea, watching students who may have only met Shifu in a seminar, and still train the same way as the students in New York. Heng Yi had done a wonderful job of teaching his students the Shaolin way of "mind to mind, heart to heart." The Shaolin traditions Shifu has brought to the west are being strongly passed on to others by the next generation: "Heng" (to carry on or continue), exemplified by Heng Zhi and Heng Xian's recent visit.
While at first, the two New Yorkers were apprehensive about the seminar, not knowing how to begin talking about a philosophy that prides itself on unspoken understanding. But Heng Zhi quickly put the fears to rest by starting the seminar with a favorite ritual - a lotus flower in a bowl of water. After asking the students what they saw in the bowl, Zhi explained how the flower is a compass. Whenever you get lost in life, you always have the compass of beauty and wisdom inside you to return to the right path.
Once the atmosphere was thus set, it was beautiful. The students listened intently, bright eyed and alert. Some carefully listened to Yi's translation into Spanish, while others allowed themselves to forego language and understand Zhi directly. Mind to mind, heart to heart.
After a brief lunch, the second half of the first day continued with Heng Xian taking over to demonstrate action meditation and lead the students in the Yijin Jing, the Muscle & Tendon Changing Sutra, one of the original qigong forms created by Bodhidharma. The students were focused and determined as they trained, feeling the distinct effects of the movements, and the synthesis between the wisdom of the spoken word in the morning combined with the movement of the afternoon.
On the second day of the seminar, Zhi and Xian agreed that the best way for the students to experience Chan philosophy was to start with more action meditation. After a brief introduction and warm up, the students split up into groups and began to train harder! With concentrated determinatiion and fiery chi, the Mexico students pushed through learning more movements and stretches.
Zhi took over for the second part to continue speaking more philosophy. That day, the students opened up and participated even more, feeling the lesson that we are born with all the wisdom necessary already inside of us. As the students caught on to this idea they began to lead themselves in the learning of Chan by sharing amazingly beautiful stories about their lives. In the end, they understood that martial arts is philosophy and philosophy is martial arts, that they were born with wisdom, all they need to do is strive to have the heart of a Buddha, use the mirrors surrounding them, understand themselves and understand others, and most importantly, enjoy, delight, and appreciate.
The Mexican students and the visitors from New York all grew quite close in a short amount of time. The students showed exceptional kindness with handmade gifts for Zhi and Xian, which touched them very dearly. With many pictures and savored hugs the brothers left the Temple glowing. The Mexico Temple would always be a place of great joy for them. And with that they bid the Temple and Mexico adios and Amituofo until next time.
Shi Heng Yi has done a magnificent job of spreading Chan by running this Temple on his own while maintaining a strong connection to Shifu by tirelessly working to host these seminars. He even pays respect to Shifu and the dream of building our temple upstate by making donations to the New York Temple out of the proceeds of these seminars. The perfect circle of love and respect, we are indebted to Yi for his kindness and wisdom in organizing this seminar in Chan.