Before any of the existing religions appeared, people used to know techniques that allowed them to contact spirits and the Beyond for their personal development and to help their kinsfolk. Now, shamanism is considered to be some kind of progenitor religion.
Each nation used to have similar phenomenon in its culture. It was found in Europeans and civilizations of the East, throughout Asia and Africa, in Australoids, Amerinds and Cholos.
Now it seems to be difficult to trace the history of shamanism. But it obviously was the basis of various practices. It was the root of diverse religions.
More than 7000 years ago, long before Buddhism, Christianity and Taoism emerged, ancient folks lived in the territory of Zhong Yuan Valley in China. Different tribes populated the valley and each tribe had its shaman or group of masters practicing their own shamanist style. Slightly different from one another, yet they had much in common.
These styles gradually integrated, complemented one another and excluded redundant elements; gradually crystallizing into a certain practice. Later it was enriched by Tao techniques and Prince Bodhidharma once he arrived from India from China.
Bodhidharma (or Da Mo in Chinese), came to China to teach and to be taught. He was the 28th Patriarch of Buddhism and was to transmit the tradition directly from Gautama Buddha to China, for in India, tough times for the teaching had come!
Bodhidharma was not interested in the position of emperor’s mentor and directed his steps far inland into China, reaching the Middle Valley called Zhong Yuan.
According to legend, he crossed the Yangtze River on a thin reed and once on the other bank he got to know the local people and their strange practice.
There were no official names for techniques at that time. Each family and tribe had been practicing their own system; different from the other styles only in some aspects, so people did not need some special term. They used to say “Ang mo” which roughly translates ‘breathing exercise’, or they would say, “Dao Yin”. These, at the same time, are and are not appellations. In most of cases, people who practiced it were called shamans, and their practice - shamanism. The Chinese term is "Wu".
Bodhidharma studied and practiced local styles. Later, he achieved outstanding results there and founded the legendary Shaolin monastery, found enlightenment, and gave to the world the new great teaching - Chán Buddhism...
Today Bodhidharma is considered to be one of the Wu Chan Zhong System Teachers and the Chief Hoo Fa (Guardian) of the School. Yet, WCZ Qigong is not the same as Chán Buddhism that has been developed within the Shaolin Monastery. No doubt, Bodhidharma made a great contribution to the style, but still Wu Chan Zhong Qigong is an independent system. It had gained no proper appellation but had been developing itself and contributed to the development of other styles and schools.
WCZ Qigong was practiced by Taoists and Chán monks. Now it is being practiced in many countries of the world be they atheists or followers of other diverse religious confessions. The reason is that WCZ Qigong, while not being a religious system, at the same time allows adepts to find a deeper comprehension of their religion, and have a direct communication with their saints and prophets to follow their Way and to realize their place in Universe.
During the Great Cultural Revolution in China, many practitioners were repressed by the Chinese authorities. Many schools were closed; many Masters arrested, and the majority of Systems declared beyond the law. Even now the situation with spiritual techniques in China is far from perfect.
In 70s there were taken attempts to restore the lost arts. The Ministry of Defense got interested in the super abilities of the practitioners. Military institutions and scientific research laboratories were set up to study the phenomena of Masters and their students. Gradual reestablishment of ancient styles into the lives of people started. But it is so hard to collect and restore lost knowledge and skills.
Hollywood promotion and a keen interest in Shaolin in Western Europe created the possibility to earn from teaching and sharing skills with the West. This was done by many masters.
When many systems became open and the need for some signs and advertising arose, along with the proper brand and the name of the new product; different names and appellations emerged. Among various newly appeared terms, the word Qigong became the most widespread. It translates as, “mastering Qi” or “the art of managing Qi”.
So, Qigong as a concept, - and rather a new word, - started to gain popularity since the end of the previous century.
The words ‘Qigong’, and ‘Meditation’ are, perhaps, not the most accurate terms. They have become excessively misquoted, and many people give them quite a different meaning.
Often people fancy that Qigong is some kind of a physical exercise or a martial art, breathing exercise or, as its high rate, it means the notorious “iron robe” complex.
Yoga is also referred to as a collection of Asanas … but lots of these are more than that.
In the beginning of the 1990-'s Mingtang Xu, a computer programmer from China and long -term experienced founded practitioner, founded The Association of Zhong Yuan Qigong. His school was based on the method of ancient "Wu" system.
The School of Wu Chan Zhong Qigong (WCZ Qigong) branched out on it's own from the School of Zhong Yuan Qigong in 2009. Since then, the full methodology has been developed, along with video seminars, possibility of distance training and annual intense retreat practices, should students be interested in those.
The name of school consists of four words, and each has special meaning.
"Wu" - tells about the heritage of an ancient shamanic practice, based on method of transformation of one's consciousness and perception. Like other higher level systems, "Wu" regards the world to be just a continuation of our Mind and depends on our perception and sharpness of our Consciousness. if we want to change our body and our world we first of all need to change our own inner potential and personal level. Then, if you are a true master, - the world becomes the way you want it to be. The magical ability to influence matter with your own mind was well known to ancient "Wu" masters. Their powers were used by their tribe and their kin - to change the weather, to help in hunting, in battle or peaceful times.
Now science talks about the fact that a thought ca influence matter. Since the times of Einstein and Bohr, it's been discussed that an experimenter 's mind influences the behaviour of quantum systems during an experiment. This all happens for real. But to be able to influence the events and processes in the world with your own mind, you first need to transform your abilities; to jump to a different level of thinking. A different level of mental power. You have to perform spiritual transmutation. Practices for this kind of development were used by "Wu" masers for millenia and were progressively developed further and fine-tuned. Now we use them in our school for our development to help us learn to manage at least our selves; our life.
"Chan" tells about the heritage of our Chan Teachers. Chan is observing, realization, meditation. These words are synonyms. We think with our mind, but we observe - with our consciousness. Whatever you train - develops; therefore meditation is the training of your consciousness. The discussion about meditation and consciousness is too big of a topic, so we'll talk about it in more detail in further articles. For now let's just say that "Wu" is transformation; it's work with the inner causes of world events. "Wu" is the changes with help of the power of your spirit. it's playing with billions of possibilities of manifested existence. "Chan " is acceptance; non-participating in emotional and mental roller coasters. It's enlightenment, it's passage from the world of manifested phenomena - to the world beyond samsar; to DAO; to Buddha nature; where enlightened consciousness is able to realize the entire completeness of Absolute.
Every principle and exercise of our school contains both "Wu" and "Chan" aspects. Right in the middle lies Zhong.
"Zhong " can be translated as :Golden Middle"; a principle of wisdom and absence of extremes. This word is also the heritage from Zhong Yuan Qigong School, and homage to Mingtang Xu, who helped us learn about this practice. As well, Zhong is a gentle reminder of the 3 main meditation exercises of our school, where we'll be practicing the so called Three Middles. These are Microcosmic Orbit, Lin Qi (transcedental energy also known as Kundalini) and Zhong Mai Channel, through which our soul leaves the body, according to "Wu" shamans.
As far as practicing encompassed the "accumulation" and "transformation" of Qi energy, name of our school also contains the word "Qigong". "Gong" (to be correctly pronounced gung) means skills and work, that is to say – ‘mastering work’ with Qi energy.
WCZ Qigong System is not just an exercise complex or martial arts, and of course not an ‘Iron Robe’ complex. It is a spiritual practice, developing a human adept into something much farther then a Human Being. This is a system encouraging the way along the self-development Path to Enlightenment and further.
WCZ Qigong System belongs to Qigong Systems of Higher Levels.
This School is really ancient. As great as Taoism, Buddhism or Christianity. What is spiritual development? What does the Higher Level Practice mean?
WCZ Qigong philosophy considers Human Beings to be a complex of elements. At first, our existence includes our Human Body. At second, this encompasses Qi energy or our energetic body. And at third, we have Spirit or ‘informational body,’ our higher level.
According to Qigong concept, these three components are in constant interaction.
For example, if a person commits some serious misdeed, by this action he enacts karma. The informational body changes (Spiritual), which, in its turn, affects the energetic body and the energy circulation deteriorates. Disturbed energy flow affects the body, and some disorder or disease develops. In this case, this disease is said to be ‘spiritual’ or ‘karmic.’ There are also diseases caused by initial changes in energy and physical components of our being. Generally, WCZ Qigong classifies 27 types of diseases (by the number of combinations that can be formed by the three elements of human nature according to their inner links.) The whole variety of these logical combinations is studied in detail during the workshops within the medical module of WCZ Qigong.
There is a back reaction. By practicing energy, we may improve the state of our physical component and through this – ‘quality’ of our Spirit.
Spirit is a particular substance of energy and information, in which its state and quality can be changed. In the course of time, it is able to develop new potential and abilities.
The Spirit’s dynamics are called spiritual development.
Many people think that eastern methods (for instance, Chinese and Japanese martial practice or exhausting Indian Yogi asanas) or western self-restriction methods such as vow of silence, keeping the fast, and praying are spiritual practice because they develop courage and spirit, which are traditionally understood as will-power; but here it should be perceived as a special way to develop the Spirit itself as a unique energy and information structure that can be independent from the Body and is an immortal quintessence of our genuine whole.
Making our Spirit progress maintains our energy power at a high standard. Using inner Qigong practices, one provides constant conditions for maintaining good Health.
Communication and the signal interconnection is promoted by the following: a healthy spirit governs the body by means of purified strong energy power. That is why the major fundamental mission of all high level practices is spiritual development, and any other goal will be achieved. Similar ideas to these are promoted by many teachers; not only Chinese Qigong followers. This is a basis of real Hindu Yoga, Christian Hesychast, Moslem Sufism, and Judaist Hasidism. Situations when a hypnotized person performs miracles with his body, - heal the scars and scolds, does the splits or lifts enormous weight are well known to public. This evidence drives us to a conclusion about something within us and that this something deserves being studied and developed. We must use our own phenomenal abilities.
Of course, if you desire to have correct practice, you should study fundamentals and have the basis. Good basis means good physical form and health. Not every person is ready for inner practice. At first, all the exacerbations and inflammations should be cured, good physical condition reestablished, and only then one may move further. How can deep meditation achieved if, for example, the knee ache or you suffocate with coughing?
That is why the starter course of Wu Chan Zhong Qigong System is directed to restore good health.
Besides all these, WCZ Qigong does not base its practice upon some faith. Qigong is not a religion... Before you go on an inner spiritual practice, it is not enough to become a really healthy person and have much energy, you should enrich you mind to expand your perception working up ancient and inner brain zones.
So we have so-called Wu Chan Zhong Qigong Developing Module, which is now being taught as a seminar workshop course. Gradually mastering exercises from the Developing Module, people can obtain a chance to solve their health problems, becoming calm and balanced, easy-going and productive.
Optimization of “all the auxiliary departments” of our organism generates our ability to work better and get less tired, increase productivity of our actions, make up more distinct plans and organize our lives better. As a rule, a Qigong practitioner is better-tempered, starts to earn more, gets more challenging jobs and gets on with the associates better.
Some people are quite satisfied with this result, but some go further.
Wu Chan Zhong Qigong appeals both to practitioners who strive to keep in good shape and health, as to those longing for self-knowledge who want to widen their views of the surrounding world through this ancient self-development practice.
And more about qigong and meditation: http://en.dzendo.org