Recognizing the Neutral Point of Direct:
The Path of Wisdom
GM Sam F.S. Chin Viewpoint Talks
Transcript 2019 MABA RETREAT
Mid-America Buddhist Association (MABA)
Augusta, Missouri (July 27-Aug.3, 2019)
Friday morning, August 2nd
For me, the most important message is that we talk about wisdom. What is wisdom? It comes down to having people get the right understanding. People will ask, what do you mean by right understanding? Where right understanding comes to is what kind of reference do you use? So we try to teach the reference of nature, from what is happening. Then, your understanding comes from where? It should come from the moment of recognizing through what is happening—through harmonizing, through balancing—that kind of understanding. You can have that to see things, then what you see and know will help you to make the right move. It all comes down to having the right move. How do you make a right move? Yes, it’s about coordination, timing, spacing—based on what?
“That’s why present is only FLOW—the balance point. Follow is not correct; follow is one step behind. ~GM Sam Chin”
What is nature? It all comes down to what is knowing and how you know—knowing is the most important point. From knowing you have everything. Depends on what you want. (If you want to get rich, if I want to be peace of mind—then you know what to do—because of knowing. Right? The problem is—what is right knowing? Where is the right information and what do you mean by right information? This is where the skill is.
This is what is nature—what is happening in this world: with ALL things happening. Why do things happen that way? You can ask this question to everyone. Everyone will say their own perspective: ‘oh this is how I approach’, this is my viewpoint.
What quality and conditions are needed to get access to the right viewpoint? THIS is what I’m trying to teach. What is the approach, what is the condition, what references do you use to answer this? The problem is—how many people even know how to ask this question? (Next time it will be part of what students need to write. At student level 9, students will need to write the answers to these questions.)
Everything is based on what is your reference or what philosophy do you use—and what is the reference of that. What other conditions do you need? How do you apply your philosophy into your practice? Other martial arts may not understand the conditions; what conditions you need. What kind of qualities do you need to approach? They may say ‘you need to do something directly’, but they don’t talk about how or teach about it.
CONNECTING AT THE POINT OF CONTACT – CONDITIONS, FUNCTIONS, APPROACH
That’s why I talk about contact-ing: the moment of Point of Contact. If they aren’t taught about it, they don’t even know how to connect at point of contact—and how I’m going to connect that. That’s why yesterday’s talk emphasized about Point of Contact, the moment of contact and how to recognize it. If you don’t even connect, then how can you be in the present moment? You cannot? You can’t even have some requirements to be in the moment. How can you be in the moment if you can’t even connect? The subject is not there for you to study. There are requirements and conditions to be in the moment. Now this morning Jiru talked about things in this way, too.
(Comment: what’s so obviously different about the way you teach is everything comes down to real feedback, no hypothetical. You talk about the structure…)
Sifu: Because I talk about conditions, functions, approach—the concrete observables. What kind of concept do you need? Some other martial arts do have similar philosophies, but when it comes to action, the philosophy and action doesn’t connect. Why don’t the philosophy and action not connect? When you come to training the words have to connect to the philosophy. The words of instruction. Nature itself is like this: you must merge…All these kinds of references typically are not being shown or taught. Even open and close. I’m closing but you don’t know when to start to close. You can see in the teacher: if they learn from books yes they learn something, but how to put it into USE often is not there.
Me and Ven. Jiru are slightly different. We are practitioners: we want to see how it works, how it functions—then it comes down to there’s no more words. How can we get that across? When action/re-action, you must have the right information first: the right information to understand what is the present condition. What are the tools to get the right information? If you don’t have the tools to get this, then you don’t know how to start, how to approach the situation. If you can’t understand the situation, how will you start to get the right information? What tools.
BE IN THE PRESENT WITH THAT MOMENT
That’s why it comes down to being present in the moment. Be in the present with that moment. It’s so tough, they don’t even know what that means. What kind of moment is that? What we try to understand is this first. The moment of things; anything by itself is called its nature.
Tao talks about change is the characteristic of nature—that as a base: change. So no matter what you say, you know you must be changing along with it. “Change with the change’ to know the truth. If you cannot do this. This means you must flow not follow. Flow means TO BE WITH. To flow that means the balance point. That’s how it starts, you see? Here is the right information that I can get. But to get that information what kind of quality do you need to be there order to flow? Only knowing, you cannot. That’s why the mind must be sharp. That’s why we need to learn Samadhi concentration. Or else you see you touch, and in one split second, you touch—and you’re gone already. You don’t have the penetration power—that means you don’t have the ability to access the information from directly. You’d touch it and if you relate it to past memory to feel, this is the steps that 99% of people do and call it the ‘present.’ But in Tao and Zen this is not the present.
Q: So the reference of yin and yang is just to observe the change?
Sifu: Well, yin and yang is just one thing. When Buddhism talks about cause and effect and yin and yang it’s 2 different things. Yin and yang is not cause and effect. But this yin and yang is the complementary—it’s the function. HOW WE WORK WITH THAT to balance that function; to harmonize the moment with that yin yang—it’s a balance. How the 2 things function in order to be in harmony and in balance. So if you can work with harmony and function and yin and yang and CAUSE, then the cause will be good. You will know what’s happening because of cause and effect: if you can balance things on a cause, then it’s a good cause: so you are doing the right (appropriate) thing only.
So everyone has a different way—this is a lot of the missing part of others’ philosophy when they come to training. (Some say, ‘oh yes, I’ve learned Tao philosophy—but when it comes to training, it’s a different thing). If the instructions and their concepts aren’t connecting, they can’t understand the conditions and quality of the approach and what you need in order to give the right instruction. If the instruction is wrong, you’re pointing your student’s mind in a different direction. That’s why I’m very careful with the words to tell students how to work on things. I don’t tell them to ‘think’ or to ‘imagine’; I tell them very directly. So in order to have things work, you see, to be with the moment—you must be THERE first. Simple to see if you’re not there: imagining is not “there’, thinking is not ‘there. You can understand some of the effort of the action—but if you’re thinking you aren’t there—so how are you going to work with this moment if you’re not there?
What is the condition, quality, characteristic of “BEING WITH” first? That’s why tai chi talks about we can’t resist, we can’t back off. If you resist it means you aren’t there. You only feel this, but you have an idea that comes in to block it out already—or you run away. That’s why present is only FLOW—the balance point. Follow is not correct: follow is one step behind.
RIGHT UNDERSTANDING IS THE VIEWPOINT
Just now we were talking about the message of how we would approach an article to explain our approach, that kind of thing—you see—and what is the most important thing to get across, to share with people with ZXD—and what’s unique about how we do it. To me, what’s important to get across is the Right Understanding. Right Understanding is the viewpoint. What do I mean by that—when everyone has their own understanding.
Q: You can say it, but need to feel it. I understand what you’re saying, except when I try to do it.
Sifu; what kind of philosophy do you use for the right understanding. Everyone uses a different philosophy for something. When WE train we use the philosophy of Tao and Zen, and even Confucius. Right, to get the right understanding from there—based on the nature itself. To get this right understanding from there. Just understand the way things are. That’s one part. Then how can you access… that’s why we are teaching this. OK, I want to get this right understanding—HOW?
This information—receive this information. First, to receive the information you must be THERE. TO be there you must be able to connect [student: I feel pre-kindergarten—if someone doesn’t have a body tied up…they’ll never get it]. No, first of all, some of this information you MUST understand theoretically first. And consider: do you accept this one first? If you’re not accepting, then how are you going to approach this. We say ‘you must be convinced’ first. Then, if you’re convinced then you can go on to ask HOW …But first, does it make sense to you or note?
Based on the philosophy of Zen and Tao the characteristic is based on change—the nature is always changing. And Zen is the same: impermanent. Do you agree or not? If not, your mindset doesn’t change. Then you have to explain…what is change. Everything changes—sometimes it changes too slowly that we can’t see, because it’s so solid…do you understand how solid it is—it’s still not one. There’s not ONE solid entity. Do you agree or not, you see? Because under Buddhism and the 3 characteristics of Existence: of Impermanent, Suffering, and No self—the most important thing first.1 No one solid entity. No ONE thing: They all come and go—it’s all by conditions that form; it’s the condition that must be there. If the condition isn’t there, it won’t combine—it will separate. You need certain conditions (to separate or absorb) and Tao talks about the way borns one, one that borns two, two that borns three—and everything from there (the tai chi symbol that separates: it’s two). But this kind of philosophy, first you have to see: do we agree or not? If you don’t agree, then you can’t go further anymore. Only if you want to see if it works this way or not (consider the computer world: 1 or 0—like yin yang: the hardware separation is only 1 or 0). So, okay, science can prove that yin yang can do so many things…