Teaching Notes

When I teach children I concentrate on establishing a relationship between aesthetic valuing, living well, and broader moral principles and values.   I teach aesthetic valuing in may different ways but the main way is through the movement training of Northern Shaolin.  Hopefully students learn about living well and pick up moral values simply by being around me, not by any real effort on my part.  Students form "Character" through forging a perfected body and infusing it with values.  (Obviously it helps if schools, peers, and  parents are demonstrating consistent moral values.)

When I teach adults I try to emphasis the biggest possible picture, the broadest possible view of practice and fruition.  I try to relate the minutiae of what we are learning at any one point to a cosmology of living.  I trust adult students to do the practice I'm suggesting, exactly the way I'm suggesting to do it, but to keep in mind that the individual method leads somewhere.  That the method should be dropped as soon as the fruition is irreversible.

Of course, some fruition may not be irreversible.  In other words, in some cases a practice itself becomes an indispensable aspect of ones life.   Standing meditation is one of those practices which seems at the beginning to be a method, but as the fruition becomes irreversible the student drops the idea of ever quiting.

I was talking about this briefly with a student this morning.  This particular student did a year long meditation retreat at 15 and has been studying and practicing ever since.  He pointed out that there is a trend in the US of people dallying and fishing around in Buddhism and Hinduism and Shamanism, having many teachers, while trying to grasp or internalize great transcendent universals.  Often times, after years, they finally start doing a practice.

He then asked why I think the practice of Standing Meditation has been so geographically limited.  Why didn't it travel to Japan or India for instance?  It is an interesting question I don't have the answer to.  But it suggests to me that one of many reasons Chinese teachers have usually been so secretive is that they haven't trusted their students to be resolute about doing the practice.

There is more than one way to skin a rabbit.