Sit All Day

Yantou Quanhou and Xuefeng Yicun were two main disciples of Deshan Xuanjian whom I mentioned in this post. Despite being younger Yantou mastered Zen earlier than Xuefeng.

Once they were both caught in a blizzard and sought refuge in an inn where they stayed for a few days. Xuefeng meditated whilst Yantou slept. Seeing Yantou asleep Xuefeng shook him awake and insisted that he too mediate saying “It’s said that when monks are on pilgrimage, they must make profound knowledge their companion and be ever vigilant. And yet you spend all day sleeping.

Yantou replied that sitting like a clay statue all day won’t help Xuefeng to be enlightened. Instead he should try to follow the advice of Zen Master Linji Yixuan who famously said “Eat when hungry; sleep when tired.” otherwise he (Yantou) would just frighten the simple-minded by sitting still all day.

I would rephrase the above advice as “Follow principles when practicing Tai Chi” otherwise the efforts spent on zhanzhuang, practicing forms and push hands whichever your choice of poison would avail to nought and though you may fare better than someone who has learned little Tai Chi you are still basically on the path of trying to be stronger to beat someone strong. In this case learning Tai Chi is a waste of time.

To Master Tai Chi Today you should reexamine and rethink your learning strategy of standing still like a clay statue, play form by waving the hands and push hands like two buffaloes. Remember to “Eat when hungry; sleep when tired.

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