Taiji Routine and Taiji

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Long time ago, there was an illiterate Buddhist monk who was highly regarded by his peers. One day, a Buddhist nun asked him to explain to her a particular mantra, and because the monk was an illiterate, he asked her to read to him the particular paragraph. The nun was puzzled as to whether he could understand and explain to her the mantra when he could not even read. The monk pointed to the moon, and told her that while the finger could point to the moon, the finger was not the moon. To see the moon, you do not necessarily need to use the finger.

一天,无尽藏尼拿着一本《涅经》来找六祖惠能。

    “我有一个地方不明白,您给我讲一讲吧。”

     “我不认识字,你给我念一遍,我或许可以给你解释一下。”六祖慧能对她说道

     “您不识字,怎么能给我解释呢?”无尽藏尼很疑惑。

      六祖惠能微微一笑“文字就好比是手指,手指可以指出月亮的所在。但是手指不是月亮,看月亮也不一定通过手指。”

I hope I did a passable job in translating this.

When we are practicing our Taiji routine, we have to bear in mind that the forms and postures themselves are not Taiji. They merely offer us an exercise to practice and an avenue to understand the Taiji wisdoms. Just like being able to sing your national anthem doesn’t necessarily make you a patriot.

Thus we should treat the routines as tools, rather than truths. We use the routine to hone our skills and deepen our understanding. As a practitioner, we begin to realize why the way we perform the Taiji routine changes every now and then, as our understanding deepens with each phase of our Taiji journey.

The routine itself is not Taiji; it is fueled by the principles of Taiji.

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