The Great Accomplishment Lineage I
The practice of cultivating human energy has been passed from master to student in a lineage that stretches over some 27 centuries.
The Chinese Philosopher Guan Tse perceived the fundamental nature of energy and saw it as the precondition for all else in the universe. In his writings on the "Natural Way of Life", which he referred to as Tao, he brought together the natural sciences, agriculture, geography, economics, law and astrology.
He stressed the fundamental importance of vital power (jing) as the precondition for all human activity. He wrote: "In order to do anything in this life, we must first have energy."
The great sage Lao Tse (whose name means literally Old Master) is said to have been the author of the
Tao Teh Ching, one of the most widely read and influential books in the course of human civilization.
It says: "By standing alone and unchanging, you will find that everything comes to you and the energy of the cosmos will never be exhausted."
"Standing alone and unchanging" was his way of describing the practice through which we come to understand the full power of the universe.
The world's most influential medical text The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine
(Huang Ti Nei Ching) appeared some 2,400 years ago. It is filled with references to the essential spirit
of this tradition.
The court physician tells the Emperor: "The sages were tranquilly content with nothingness and the true vital force accompanied them always. Their vital spirit was preserved within..."
In the works of the great Taoist philosopher Chuang Tse there is a chapter on 'The Great and Most Honoured Master', which expresses many of the essential qualities inherent in the practice of Zhan Zhuang.
Chuang Tse tells us that the sages of old were "still and unmoved". "Their breathing came deep and silent." Their "minds were free from all disturbance", "forgetting everything". They were "open to everything and forgot all fear of death".
A disciple tells his master, "I am making progress". "What do you mean?", asks the master. "I sit and
forget everything...becoming one with the great void in which there is no obstruction."
In the first century CE, exercises for the cultivation of internal energy (Chi) were developed as part of Taoism and included the practice of remaining completely still in fixed positions.
Emphasis was then placed on using the mind to control the movement of internal energy within the body and then to project it outwards.
Buddhist thought and practice also had an influence on the development of the tradition.
When the Buddhist practice of "one-pointedness" of mind (the ability to focus the mind clearly) was incorporated into Chi Kung training, mental concentration could be used to help cultivate Chi energy throughout the body and direct its movement.
From the 12th Century CE onwards this understanding of energy and the intimate body/mind relationship was employed in the progressive deepening of the internal martial arts.
The Great Accomplishment Lineage, part 2