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Can a Caterpillar Be Perfect

Can a Caterpillar Be Perfect

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Published by innocentperception
All Supawan's literary works - books, articles and correspondence - are her gift to humankind and therefore are available to be downloaded from her website: www.supawangreen.in.th However, should you choose to purchase one of her books, your contribution will help Supawan to continue to spread ‘the good news' to a wider audience through traveling, conducting retreats, writing and publishing additional guide books.

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All Supawan's literary works - books, articles and correspondence - are her gift to humankind and therefore are available to be downloaded from her website: www.supawangreen.in.th However, should you choose to purchase one of her books, your contribution will help Supawan to continue to spread ‘the good news' to a wider audience through traveling, conducting retreats, writing and publishing additional guide books.

buy books

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Published by: innocentperception on Sep 01, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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It is the Buddhist tradition to show high respect and gratitude to all our teachers.There are no adequate words to express my thanks and gratitude to the very first teacherof all sentient beings, the sublime Buddha andall his faithful followers who passed on
the Buddha’s teaching until it reached me.
My thanks and gratitude also go to the late Ven. Buddhadasa Bhikkhu of SuanMokkh, Chaiya, Surajthanee province who made me truly understand the essence of Buddhism and the late Laung Por Tien who taught me the meditation technique. I owemy life to these two great teachers.The teacher who is most responsible for my spiritual growth is my dearest teacher,Ajarn Kowit which is the name I call him personally. Ajarn means teacher. To the world,he is known as Khemananda.As far as Buddhism is concerned, Ajarn Khemananda is the most knowledgeableperson I have come across. Being an intellectual with a degree in Art, his teaching is fullof depth, analytical and always hits the core practice of Buddhism. He continually comesup with new metaphors which enable me to understand more about the Buddhist practice.He is the teacher who is compatible to my spiritual needs and interest. And this hasallowed me to grow spiritually into what I am today; to be able to share my knowledgeand experience with my students. This book could not be possible without the steppingstone of his thoughts.I would like to thank my late parents whogave me this very precious life. Mymom especially brought me up in her temple environment and inspired me to search for
the better things in life. Without them, I wouldn’t have had the golden opportunity to
know the dhamma.My thanksand gratitude also go to all the elders who taught me Tai chi at
Lumbhini park. I don’t know their names. Without them, I wouldn’t have had the ability
to create a combination of Tai chi and meditation as I am doing today.My thanks also go to Owen Davies, my Tai chi student, who assisted me withmy English and with the intellectual point of view. Though he had little time to spare dueto his own work for his Ph.D, he always had time to edit my work.I would like to thank all my former students who try their best to understandme and support me with their encouraging letters and visits.
This book is purely the result of my teaching Tai chi at the University of Birmingham during the autumn term of 1997 and the spring term of 1998. This is thetime when my heart is most inspired and my brain is most active, trying to find just theright words and logical explanations for my students to understandtheir inner-self. Thisresults in the use of new words, new approaches, and new metaphors, which I did not usebefore in my first book,
 Dear Colin: What is the meaningof life?
Terms like innocentperception, mental holodeck, Tom and Jerry and so on all happened during the teachinginthese terms.I am sure many people who came to my class have been wondering whatexactly I am teaching, Tai chi or Buddhism or meditation or what. It is quite obvious thatthis book cannot possibly be about Tai chi. It can be rather confusing and even frustratingfor some people who come to my classexpecting
to learn “the Tai chi they knew” and
found me doing somethingtotally different. I suppose the answer isthatI am teaching allthe above.Ever since my student yearswhen I knew the real Buddhism and engaged in theBuddhist meditation ofsamadha-vipassana bhavana, I realised that this is the kind of knowledge that people must know. Since then, I have beencompelled to tell peopleabout itbysimply passing ondhamma books to family and friends until a lot of my
friends didn’t want to come near me. Nevertheless, I
startedmore activities such as:setting up a dhamma book stall in my department, having dhamma talksand arrangingretreats for students, and so on. Among those activities, my friends and I also set up anagony aunt service when I received hundreds of letters from people who had problems. Iended up answeringall those letters by myself and sent them dhamma books. I havetalked briefly about all these activitiesin my previous book.When I moved tothe UK,I thought that I could never have a chance to dothatkind of work again. Even when I started teaching Tai chi at the University in April1988, I never thought that I could link Tai chi directly to Buddhism and the Buddhistpracticeofsamadha-vipassana bhavana. I simply thought that I would domy best toteach the Yang style Tai chiI learnt from my Tai chi teacher at the Lumbhini Park in thecentral of Bangkok. However, I did not stick to my original intentionsvery long. Mypassionforsharingthe good news to others has always been
overwhelming. It wasn’t
long before I found myself talking to my students about how to lead a meaningful life andmeditation practice slowly creptinto my Tai chi class. At that time, I felt like I wasstealing my working time teaching something else to my students, so I spent a bit moretime after the class talkingto anyone who wasinterested in what I had to say. Therewas a day when I turned up five minutes late for class and I found three studentsquietlyand serenely doing their walking meditation in the Dojo while waiting for me. That co-incidence gave meconfidence andthe ideatomake walking meditation apart of my Taichi teaching. My first trick in steering my students into meditation practice was about totake place.It mighthavebeenin the following Tai chi session when I lined my studentsup across the Dojo and let them doten minutes walking meditation before doing Tai chi.
When the beginner class began in the following term, Ihad prepared anintroductory speech which toldmy students that before we could execute the uniquemovement of Tai chi which is slow and serene, we must slow our minds down first bydoing walking meditation. Basically, I made that up. There is no book or no teachertelling me to do so. I
don’t know whether there was any Tai chi class in the world do
ingthat. Since then,I made a lot more up while I wentalong. I took no noticeofthe westernway of Tai chi teaching. Then, I created all the practicesthat I thoughtmy studentsshould know and must know tohelpthem to understand life and moreimportantly thepurpose of life,
(that’s why the title of my first book was originally named “What is thepurpose of life ?” but the publisher toned it down to What is the meaning of life?
instead.).From then on, walking meditationbecame part of my Tai chi class for manymore years.Through teaching others, I amconstantly teaching myself and the dhamma Isee has become clearer as time moves on. My introductory speech as well as the way of teaching has gradually changed. The more I understand the dhamma, the more I can link everything together and the simpler I can put it across to my class. A life map is just likea map of any big city. Once one can see the wholemap, one will know how to get to aplace as quickly as possible, maybe through a short cut or using a ring road or whatever.
The Buddha’s teaching is about offering us a life map, which gives us a direct route so
that we can get to our final destination or Nibbana as quickly as possible. In trying to findthe simplest and shortest way for my students to understand life, it can mean only onething and that is to go straight into the practice especially the vipassana-bhavana.Even though I can understand the core practice of Buddhism and want so muchto shareitwith people, I cannot deny the fact that I am not a Buddhist monk, besides Iam a lay person, a woman and standing in front of all these extreme intellectuals who paytheir money tolearnTai chi.Why would they want to learn Buddhism from this Chinese
woman who can’t even articulate her English ? The university has a whole department
where students can learn any religion
in the world. They don’t need to come to me to
learn Buddhism. This is the beginning of my strategy in trying to lure students to engagein the core practice of Buddhism. Initially it also means that I cannot tell my studentsabout my true intention and that my introductory speech cannot be too religious, moreprecisely tooBuddhist. When I lookedat the literal meaning of Tai chi along with itshistory, with my Chinese and Buddhist background, I could see a way to combine the twotogether-Tai chi and the samadha-vipassana bhavana. Consequently, I found a way of teachingcombining the physical, mental and spiritual health together. I simply tell theclass that I would focus more onthemental health aspect, which allowsme to lead thestudents into the samadha-vipassana bhavana right away without having to talk muchabout the theory. Consequently, it has beenten years of trying to perfect this new Taichi concept as well as trying to materialise the abstract thoughts into the practice that mystudents can easily understand and identify with. I am still perpetually finding differentnew techniques for my students to see their inner self. My literary workis the back up
for the student’s better understanding. They are the words that I want to put across to my
students but
don’t have enough time
in the class. It isn’t
until the students begin toread my books,thatthey understand my real intention as well as knowing fully that theyhave actually taken part in Buddhist practice. So, this is how my Tai chi class has beendevelopingover the years.

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