EN AND THE
Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun
Part 2: Origins: A synthesis of cultures
Of all the oriental martial arts, Chinese Gong (Kung) Fu, which means "masterful", is the oldest. All of the other schools - Korean, Japanese, and other Chinese varieties, grew out of it.But Gong Fu did not originate in China. It was an Indian import which, legendsnotwithstanding, had no doubt entered China long before Bodhidharma contemplated Shao Lin Ji's walls.By the time the founder of Zen arrived, the imported "art" had already been refined, expanded,and in many ways perfected by Daoism's genius for elegant simplicity.But neither could the "masterful" martial art be said to originate in India; for it actually arrivedthere by way of the Aryan invasions which had begun as far back as l500 B.C. The Aryans were an east-european people who loved to fight and, judging from the spread of their language - a sure sign of conquest - did it rather well. Sweeping around the world fromIreland to India, variants of their proto-indo-european idiom such as Gaelic, German, Latin,Greek, Persian, and Sanskrit testify that life to these happy warriors was one long and satisfying Blitzkrieg. As victors are wont to do, they thought of themselves as superior persons. Erin,Iran, and Aryan as well as the English cognate aristocrat all mean "noble". True aficionados of destruction, they extended the work of conquest into leisurely pursuits, theirfascination for warlike games and sport being mirrored in the Olympic contests of their Greek cousins, contests in which martial discipline was emphasized... throwing discus, hammer andjavelin, boxing, wrestling, and especially an event called the Pancratium, a sport which combinedboxing and wrestling and a peculiar ability to turn the force of an attacker's thrust back againsthim. In this event, no weapons or protective clothing was permitted. Hands and feet sufficed asinstruments of engagement. With no military force able to halt their advance, the Aryans swept eastward across Afghanistanand Pakistan, joyously demolishing every civilization in their path. But in India their irresistibleforce finally met an immovable object. In India they encountered that stolid monument toSpirituality, those amazing yogis, those peaceful men who were indomitable mental warriors. The Aryans were awed. Without the slightest hint of condescension, yogis demonstrated their imperviousness to pain. They could walk on fire or withstand bitter cold. They could stay awake for as along as they wanted or sleep standing up. They could go without food for days and, using only the power of their minds, they could even staunch the bleeding of their wounds. Aryan generals rubbed theireyes and thought that they had entered Heaven's War Room. This kind of power was worth agood, long look. The Blitzkrieg ended. The blonde bullies settled down. The yogis werecertainly a different breed of heroes. They desired little and lacked nothing. Through the simpleexpedient of becoming emotionally unattached to the people, places, and things of this world,they conquered and reigned, independent and invincible.Practicing Raja (royal) Yoga, the kingdom over which a yogi so imperiously ruled consisted of only himself. But what a powerful state it was.