Scholar-Warrior: A Modern Daoist Lifestyle ApproachA short essay on living one's life to the fullest
by Koujiryuu © 2013 Not to be reposted without permission.a. Introductionb. The Scholar-Warriorc. Practices of the Scholar-Warriord. Conclusiona. Introduction
Welcome. This is a short essay dedicated to a method of living one's life to the fullest. It heavily incorporates Daoist philosophical aspects, in an attempt to tie Eastern philosophy to the hectic, modern day world. However, the information and methods contained inside are relevant to any time period, creed, gender, nationality, religion, paradigm, or belief system.
This is less of an essay and more of a structured method of living one's life in harmony with nature. While there will be some background on the Scholar-Warrior, and Daoism, I will also present some simple regimens of activities to be practiced to keep one disciplined.
This essay is also concerned with morality. How must we best live our lives to find happiness? This answer, of course, will be different for everyone. One thing that is somewhat lacking in philosophical Daoism is morality. At least, it is not clear, and it is even overtly stated that "The Dao cares not what you do." Thus, we had a renaissance in the form of Confucianism in Ancient China, which concerned itself primarily with morality and filial piety, as opposed to Daoism's "go with the flow" approach. Ultimately, though, morality is present in Daoism if you know where to look. So, part of the essay will be to expose this morality, question it, and accept it as a way of living your life that benefits others. This gives us some form of purpose in life, and leads to us bettering ourselves and those around us through our actions. This method is applicable to anyone
, regardless of whether they practice Psi, Qigong or Magick.
Finally, this is somewhat a chronicle of my personal philosophy and personal way. This is the unique thing about Daoism, and probably any religion or spiritual tradition: everyone practices differently. For me, my Qigong, Martial Art and energetic practice is heavily tied to Daoist philosophy and the lifestyle of the Scholar-Warrior. This does include some basic morality, rules to follow, and some routines that promote good health. However, my way is not exclusively Daoist- I'm inspired by all religious and spiritual paths to some degree. Nor is my way exclusively the only way- there are many other similar approaches to what I propose here. The key is to find what works for you and stick with it, and integrate it with your existing religious beliefs and practices.
"Take what is useful, discard the rest.
" -Bruce Leeb. The Scholar-WarriorWhat is the Scholar-Warrior?
"What is the Scholar-Warrior?"
A better way to ask this question would be:
Put simply, the Scholar-Warrior is many things, with skill in all of them. Similar to a renaissance man, the Scholar-Warrior is classically trained in many different activities, for the purpose of expressing and knowing himself.
Traditionally, in Ancient China, the common example of a Scholar-Warrior was the Lord's Son (Junzi 君子 in Confucianism). From a very young age, the Junzi was trained in martial arts, Qigong, music, language, calligraphy, art, poetry, statesmanship, diplomacy, philosophy, the Classics, archery, horsemanship, the tea ceremony, medicine, herbology, writing, arithmetic, economics, and many other things. There was nothing the Lord's Son did not do, to try and achieve extreme excellence in each, for the purpose of becoming the best leader and person they could be. This was not limited to males, as females of the noble class received the same training, and oftentimes even surpassed their male counterparts in things like martial arts and calligraphy.
"The junzi (Chinese: 君子, p jūnzǐ, lit. "lord's son") is a Chinese philosophical term often translated as "gentleman" or "superior person" and employed by both the Duke of Wen in the I-ching and Confucius in his works to describe the ideal man.
In Confucianism, Sage is the ideal personality. However, it is very hard to become the sage. So, Confucius created the junzi, gentleman, which can be achieved by an individual. Later, (the Confucian scholar) Zhuxi defined junzi as second only to the sage. There are many characteristics about junzi. For example, junzi can live with poverty. Secondly, junzi does more and speaks less. Junzi is loyal, obedient and knowledgeable. Junzi disciplines himself. Among these, Ren (respect) is the core of becoming the junzi. " Wikipedia
Obviously, this is a great many things to become skilled at, and a lifetime undertaking. Naturally, some people would become better at certain things than others. So, one who excels in martial arts might not be so good at philosophy, and vice versa, and so on. However, they still strived to become skilled in all manner of things, and would focus more on their weak points than their strong ones, to become well-rounded individuals.
Another example of the Scholar-Warrior would be to look at the two original Warrior-Monk sects of China- the Shaolin and the Wudang. The Shaolin monks were Buddhist, and the Wudang monks were Daoist. It is unknown whether or not the Wudang had a temple historically, but the martial art Taijiquan was said to have been created on Wudang mountain, and it was a popular destination for those wishing to learn the martial arts. In modern times, there is a Daoist monastery there. Both of them spent all their days practicing the martial arts, studying scripture and philosophy, and practicing the arts (calligraphy/poetry/etc.). This continues to this day.
Above and beyond the greatest example of a Scholar-Warrior is the classical Daoist Sage or Master referenced in the Tao Teh C'hing (Daodejing). This was a man whom had achieved supreme excellence in all things, and in doing so had transcended them all, knowing only the Dao, and unlearning. This is epitomized by the ancient Masters such as Laozi, Zhuangzi and Liezi. The examples given in the Daodejing present guiding principles, but becoming the Sage ultimately takes a lifetime of commitment, work, and good Karma. This can be likened to the Buddhist idea of Enlightenment- where it is said you can only become the Buddha after many lifetimes of conquering Karma.
The principle of the Scholar-Warrior, Junzi and Sage are not limited to China alone. In fact, there are parallels in Buddhism and Hinduism. However, one parallel that is particularly important is that of the Japanese Samurai, and the code of Bushido. In much the same way, the Samurai sought to be trained and skilled in all things, to conquer the enemy within. There are some serious differences between the Chinese approach to the Scholar-Warrior and the Japanese approach; namely, that the Japanese Samurai had a much more rigid sense of honor, with no exceptions, and practiced ritual suicide to preserve the honor of the clan. However, there are many more similarities than differences.Morality of the Scholar-Warrior
The Bushido code follows.
Rectitude (義 gi?)
Courage (勇氣 yūki?)
Benevolence (仁 j in?)
Respect (禮 r ei?)
Honesty (誠 makoto?)
Honor (名誉 meiyo?)
Loyalty (忠義 chūgi?)
All of these virtues are naturally also virtues of the Scholar-Warrior.
Naturally, the morality in the Daodejing stresses patience, compassion, acceptance, restraint, love, and respect.
We will now look at a few passages from the Daodejing, as an example of the morality the Scholar-Warrior would try to uphold:
Weapons are the tools of violence;
all decent men detest them.
Weapons are the tools of fear;
a decent man will avoid them
except in the direst necessity
and, if compelled, will use them
only with the utmost restraint.
Peace is his highest value.
If the peace has been shattered,
how can he be content?
His enemies are not demons,
but human beings like himself.
He doesn't wish them personal harm.
Nor does he rejoice in victory.
How could he rejoice in victory
and delight in the slaughter of men?
He enters a battle gravely,
with sorrow and with great compassion,
as if he were attending a funeral.
(S. Mitchell translation)
It is made clear in this passage that concerning martial arts and military power, the utmost restraint must be used. The Scholar-Warrior, and Daoism, is essentially pacifist. At the same time, there is also an overwhelming respect for human life and peace. Though we train in the martial arts, we must not delight in harming other people. We only use our martial arts when absolutely necessary to defend ourselves or others from being harmed, and only then, with the utmost restraint.
The Master has no mind of her own.
She works with the mind of the people.
She is good to people who are good.
She is also good to people who aren't good.
This is true goodness.
She trusts people who are trustworthy.
She also trusts people who aren't trustworthy.
This is true trust.
The Master's mind is like space.
People don't understand her.
They look to her and wait.
She treats them like her own children.
(S. Mitchell translation)
This passage is about love and acceptance. When you unconditionally love everyone and hold no judgment against them, you truly love them as themselves and as an expression of Dao, regardless of their shortcomings. Again, this comprises the ideal of respect, but it is different than normal respect. It is the highest expression of respect to treat someone in this way, and they will reciprocate that to you in turn. This allows you to be in harmony not only with your natural environment but also with those around you. Of course, this is something that takes much practice!
The other aspect of morality that is present in Daoism is that of the Three Treasures. No, I'm not talking about the Three Treasures San Bao, or Jing - Qi- Shen. I'm talking about the three moral treasures: Compassion, Frugality, and Humility.
Those who follow the natural way are different from others in three respects.
They have great mercy and economy, and the courage not to compete.
From mercy there comes courage; from economy, generosity; and from humility, willingness to lead from behind.
It is the way of sickness to shun the merciful, and to acclaim only heroic deeds, to abandon economy, and to be selfish.
They are sick, who are not humble, but try always to be first.
Only he who is compassionate can show true bravery, and in defending, show great strength.
Compassion is the means by which mankind may be guarded and saved, for heaven arms with compassion, those whom it would not see destroyed.
(Stan Rosenthal translation)
Compassion means loving those around you, loving your neighbors, loving your friends, and loving your enemies. It is the understanding of the human condition, that no one is perfect, and acceptance of other people and ourselves. This requires letting go and not being attached to things, and to people. It is a way of being gentle and loving. We can do this in the modern day by being patient with others, gentle, and loving. We can also do it by practicing forgiveness and letting go of hatred.
Frugality, or moderation, means not being attached to the ways of the world, selfish desires, illusions of the mind, or delusion. It also means it's literal sense; mindfulness of what is going on around us, and not wasting natural resources. This can be applied in the modern day by things like taking mass transit instead of driving, riding a bike, using only as much water as we need, and other ways of reducing our carbon footprint. It can also be applied by practicing self-mastery and not giving in to sensual desires.
Humility means being humble, not striving against others, not competing against others, and not putting ourselves out there in the world, or drawing undue attention to ourselves. This is a Daoist longevity secret; when you are famous, and everyone knows who you are and where you are, you naturally become a target of envy. By striving against others, you make enemies. A bad example of this is really any big-time music star, or Hollywood actor. Back in Laozi's time, perhaps it was common for a great General to be renown throughout all of China. China is pretty big, but it pales in comparison to the modern day, where celebrities are known the world over.
Further, humility means not seeking acclaim for what you do, and what you have accomplished. It means letting go of your work, and remaining humble. The best way to express humility, in my opinion, is to treat everybody as your equal, or even treat them as being better than you. You must not be pretentious, self-absorbed, overconfident, and boastful about what you can do.
To read more about the Three Treasures, check Wikipedia
Further, we can look to the virtues of Buddhism and its interpretation of Enlightenment for guiding precepts in how to live our lives:
The Ten Perfections - Ten Qualities Leading to Buddhahood:
1. Generosity (dana)
This can be characterized by unattached and unconditional generosity, giving and letting go. Giving leads to being reborn in happy states and material wealth. Alternatively, lack of giving leads to unhappy states and poverty. The exquisite paradox in Buddhism is that the more we give - and the more we give without seeking something in return - the wealthier (in the broadest sense of the word) we will become. By giving we destroy those acquisitive impulses that ultimately lead to further suffering.
2. Morality (sila)-virtue, integrity
It is an action that is an intentional effort. It refers to moral purity of thought, word, and deed. The four conditions of sila are chastity, calmness, quiet, and extinguishment, i.e. no longer being susceptible to perturbation by the passions like greed and selfishness, which are common in the world today. Sila refers to overall (principles of) ethical behaviour.
3. Renunciation (nekkhamma)
Nekkhamma is a Pali word generally translated as "renunciation" while also conveying more specifically "giving up the world and leading a holy life" or "freedom from lust, craving and desires." In Buddhism's Noble Eightfold Path, nekkhamma is the first practice associated with "Right Intention." In the Theravada list of ten perfections, nekkhamma is the third practice of "perfection."
4. Wisdom (pañña)
Prajña (Sanskrit) or pañña (Pali) has been translated as "wisdom," "understanding," "discernment," "cognitive acuity," or "know-how." In some sects of Buddhism, it especially refers to the wisdom that is based on the direct realization of the Four Noble Truths, impermanence, interdependent origination, non-self, emptiness, etc. Prajña is the wisdom that is able to extinguish afflictions and bring about enlightenment.
5. Energy/Strength (viriya)- effort
It stands for strenuous and sustained effort to overcome unskillful ways, such as indulging in sensuality, ill will and harmfulness. It stands for the right endeavour to attain dhyana. Virya does not stand for physical strength. It signifies strength of character and the persistent effort for the well-being of others. In the absence of sustained efforts in practicing meditation, craving creeps in and the meditator comes under its influence. Right effort known as viryabala is, thus, required to overcome unskillful mental factors and deviation from dhyana.
6. Patience (khanti)
Khanti (Pali) has been translated as patience, forbearance and forgiveness. It is the practice of exercising patience toward behavior or situations that might not necessarily deserve it. It is seen as a conscious choice to actively give patience as if a gift, rather than being in a state of oppression in which one feels obligated to act in such a way.
7. Truthfulness (sacca)
Sacca is a Pali word meaning "real" or "true." In early Buddhist literature, sacca is often found in the context of the "Four Noble Truths," a crystallization of Buddhist wisdom. In addition, sacca is one of the ten paramis or perfections that a bodhisatta must develop in order to become a Buddha.
8. Resolution - determination (adhitthana)
Adhitthana (Pali; from adhi meaning "higher" or "best" plus stha meaning "standing") has been translated as "decision," "resolution," "self-determination," "will" and "resolute determination." In the late canonical literature of Theravada Buddhism, adhitthana is one of the ten "perfections" (dasa paramiyo), exemplified by the bodhisatta's resolve to become fully awakened.
9. Lovingkindness (metta)
Metta (Pali) or maitri (Sanskrit) has been translated as "loving-kindness," "friendliness," "benevolence," "amity," "friendship," "good will," "kindness," "love," "sympathy," and "active interest in others." It is one of the ten paramitas of the Theravada school of Buddhism, and the first of the four Brahmaviharas. The metta bhavana ("cultivation of metta") is a popular form of meditation in Buddhism.
The object of metta meditation is loving kindness (love without attachment). Traditionally, the practice begins with the meditator cultivating loving kindness towards themselves,then their loved ones, friends, teachers, strangers, enemies, and finally towards all sentient beings. Commonly, it can be used as a greeting or closing to a letter or note.
Buddhists believe that those who cultivate metta will be at ease because they see no need to harbour ill will or hostility. Buddhist teachers may even recommend meditation on metta as an antidote to insomnia and nightmares. It is generally felt that those around a metta-ful person will feel more comfortable and happy too. Radiating metta is thought to contribute to a world of love, peace and happiness.
Metta meditation is considered a good way to calm down a distraught mind by people who consider it to be an antidote to anger. According to them, someone who has cultivated metta will not be easily angered and can quickly subdue anger that arises, being more caring, more loving, and more likely to love unconditionally.
10. Equanimity (upekkha)
American Buddhist monk Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:
"The real meaning of upekkha is equanimity, not indifference in the sense of unconcern for others. As a spiritual virtue, upekkha means equanimity in the face of the fluctuations of worldly fortune. It is evenness of mind, unshakeable freedom of mind, a state of inner equipoise that cannot be upset by gain and loss, honor and dishonor, praise and blame, pleasure and pain. Upekkha is freedom from all points of self-reference; it is indifference only to the demands of the ego-self with its craving for pleasure and position, not to the well-being of one's fellow human beings. True equanimity is the pinnacle of the four social attitudes that the Buddhist texts call the 'divine abodes': boundless loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity. The last does not override and negate the preceding three, but perfects and consummates them."
- Borrowed from this site
Thus, we see Buddhism as containing noble virtues that are equally as applicable in our pursuit of Daoism. Omitofu!
Additionally, if one wishes, you can also honor and uphold the Ten Shaolin Laws:
1. Required to respect the master, honour the Moral Way and love fellow disciples as brothers and sisters.
2. Required to train the Shaolin arts diligently, and as a pre-requisite, to be physically and mentally healthy.
3. Required to be filial to parents, be respectful to the elderly, and protective of the young.
4. Required to uphold righteousness, and to be both wise and courageous.
5. Forbidden to be ungrateful and unscrupulous, ignoring the Laws of man and heaven.
6. Forbidden to rape, molest, do evil, steal, rob, abduct or cheat.
7. Forbidden to associate with wicked people; forbidden to do any sorts of wickedness.
8. Forbidden to abuse power, be it official or physical; forbidden to oppress the good and bully the kind.
9. Obliged to be humane, compassionate and spread love, and to realize everlasting peace and happiness for all people.
10. Obliged to be chivalrous and generous, to nurture talents and pass on the Shaolin arts to deserving disciples.Courtesy Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit of Shaolin Wahnam Kungfu.Becoming the Scholar-Warrior
So, we know many things about the Scholar-Warrior, but what is left is putting it into practice.
How can one be so skillful at all things, yet possess such a strong sense of morality and unending generosity to give of oneself?
The answer is simple. Wei Wu Wei.
Doing Non-Doing, Action without Action.
Wu may be translated as not have or without; Wei may be translated as do, act, serve as, govern or effort. The literal meaning of wu wei is "without action", "without effort", or "without control", and is often included in the paradox wei wu wei: "action without action" or "effortless doing". The practice of wu wei and the efficacy of wei wu wei are fundamental tenets in Chinese thought and have been mostly emphasized by the Taoist school. One cannot actively pursue wu wei. It is more a mere observation of one's behavior after they have accepted themselves for who they are and release conscious control over their lives to the infinite Tao. Wikipedia
The Scholar-Warrior is rooted in Wuwei, or non-action. This term is also called "Mushin" in Japanese (Void Mind). This action without action is the highest acme of skill. It is particularly important in martial arts, where at a certain level of skill you find yourself reacting to attacks and counterattacking perfectly with a form, or an attack, without even having to think about it. The mind goes blank, and you just DO as you have been trained.
Of course, this takes time to develop, but it is equally present in any other art or activity which takes skill to do. This implies the Daoist idea of "unlearning"- first, you learn to do something and learn the basics. After some time, you keep practicing and get better and become more skillful. You continue to practice and become even more skillful. Finally, you arrive at Wuwei, and none of it matters. You just do what you have trained yourself to do, without thinking, and in the process you BECOME whatever you are doing. At this point, all of your training falls away, and you just happen to find yourself doing the activity skillfully, yet don't remember getting there through training. At this point, you begin to "unlearn" what you have been taught and attain true mastery of the skill itself, and the ability to improvise.
...Therefore the Master takes action
by letting things take their course.
He remains as calm
at the end as at the beginning.
He has nothing,
thus has nothing to lose.
What he desires is non-desire;
what he learns is to unlearn.
He simply reminds people
of who they have always been.
He cares about nothing but the Tao.
Thus he can care for all things.
(S. Mitchell translation)
To further elaborate on Wuwei, I will provide some brief accompanying material on the subject from an old website.
"Mu-Shin, or Wu-Shen: The Eastern Doctrine of No-Mind by The Mad Daoist"
“Let your eyes see what they want to see. Let you ears hear what they want to hear.” ~Alan Watts
"Among Chinese Chan followers and Japanese Zen-okka, there exists a concept known as Wu Shen, (Chinese) or Mushin. I will deal with Alan Watts” insights into wu-shen, and anything else I think up on the way."
"Alan Watts describes wu-shen as “The Watercourse Way”. It is to do what’s natural, while avoiding the highly refined ego. It’s to, in a way, go beyond emotions, simple human greed, and enter into a refined, almost meditative state. The Samurai sought it, because they believed it would refine their battle skills. Their quest to attain Mushin developed into Kendo, the art of the sword. A person who is in a state of Mushin does not fear death, and his reaction time becomes amazing. He doesn’t feel fear, or pain, or anger. Only a profound calm."
"What place does logic have in a state of Mushin? One could argue that it has none. In a state of Mushin a human being is reduced to his simplest, (yet most profound) state- reaction. His mind becomes like a mirror, it does not accept, it does not reject, it just IS. It doesn’t even try to make sense of things, a Koan to a Mushin being makes perfect sense. Why? Because it does. One might say, though, that Mushin is useless. What good is it to have no-mind? This argument is based on the mistake of most human beings- they think they have a mind to start with. They don’t. They just have ego, which becomes incredibly addicting after a while. Mushin is a state without ego. In a way, it is Immortality in itself. After all, how can one kill an egoless being? You can’t. You can only stop its body, and try to tell yourself its dead."
"But I digress. Wushin, in reality, has a multitude of uses. You see, the true human mind, (the Mushin) has a multitude of skills. In fact, it has all skills. Music, combat, poetry, painting, writing…. It does it all! And even as I say this, I am reminded of my older brother. (yes, my entire family is composed of mystics!) I remember once some toy laser gun had been left astray. It made a horribly loud buzzing noise. He picked it up, and put his hand over the speaker. He practiced pulling the trigger a few times and testing to see what sounds it would make, depending on how much he squelched the sound coming from the speaker."
"In a few minutes, he had a nice song! It had a nice ring to it, as well. It sounded sort of synthesized, but still excellent. He has never taken a music class in his life. The Mushin is quite strong with my brother, you see. He has a very good knowledge of instinctive human skills. He excels at combat, and drawing, as well."
"Alan Watts” guide to unlocking the Mushin is this- Let your eyes see what they want to see. Let your ears hear what they wish to hear. Let your mind think what it wants to think, without the interference of the ego or emotions. After you can do this, you will have Mushin. Simple, eh? But of course, this is the nature of Mushin. Simplicity. To paraphrase the Dao De Jing, “In pursuit of learning, you will pick up something every day. In pursuit of Mushin, you shall drop something every day.” This is the nature is wisdom- not to feign complexity, but to accept simplicity. But, you must realize, this goes against every single western child has been taught from childhood to adulthood- everything around you is real. Your thoughts are real, your mind is real. Naturally, this is quite incorrect. Why? Because it is."
"Why does this simple phrase of Alan Watts” unlock a most profound sensation of Mushin? Because as he describes, Mushin is like this: “A state of wholeness in which the mind functions freely and easily, without the sensation of a mind or ego standing over it with a club.” You see, the normal human mind (ego) could also be described as “A Mind of Conditioning.” This is the principle factor for people believing they have a mind to begin with. Reality is quite seductive, you see, the longer you remain in it, the more real it becomes to you. Only meditation allows you to go beyond this universe of Xing. (form) Only then does you mind begin to loosen, free itself, and move out of the way. Then you comprehend Mushin, the mind that lies beyond conditioning. Your original nature, arguably a Mind very close to the Dao. (or God)"
"Of course this all ties into what I’ve already said about “Mad Daoism”. In fact, Mushin is the true nature of Mad Daoism. It is its very essence. Remember- No-mind is the true Mind, the rest is a big fluffy ego."
So, here we have another point: Wuwei is directly opposed to the personal ego. You must let go of your worldly ego and attachment to reach this state of being.
The Becoming of Meditation
As you progress more and more in your meditative life, you may notice that you unintentionally drift in and out of a ‘wuwei’ state during daily life. Your actions and mannerisms become more refined and skillful; you may experience a refining of the personality in a positive manner; or you may notice other people flocking to you and trying hard to get to know you. This all has its roots in the meditative states you cultivate.
As the individual progresses in meditation, it quickly becomes apparent that meditation is more than ‘simply sitting’- it’s a way of life. You become a walking contradiction, a living expression of the eternal. Regardless of race, creed or gender, correct meditation benefits not only you but those around you!
It is in this vein that we lose our own egoistic thoughts and become part of the unknowable. An expression of the unparalleled greatness from which we all came- it’s truly a blessing to feel this way at all times. Through our practices, the highest goal is to ‘become meditation’- wherein you are in a state of meditation whilst asleep or awake, at all times, in all places.
This is obviously a lofty goal to have, however a practical one. It may take months or years to cultivate, and of course may not be for everyone, especially those egoistic souls who feel content only to manipulate everything around them to their liking- most of them call themselves ‘magicians’. To them, being in a state like this at all times is not final liberation, but final imprisonment, as the personal will is to an extent lost beyond recovery.
What these folk fail to understand, however, is that ‘becoming meditation’ is not the eradication of the personal ego- rather, it is a refinement of the ego, a cleaning of the dirty mirror to a mirror of unparalleled polished brilliance. Simply put, the ego, and thusly personal choice, remains. However, the negative aspects of the persona fall away, while the positive aspects are amplified.
Meditation removes the veils of ignorant delusion from our eyes by its very nature; prejudices disappear, preconceptions are reformed, and hatred’s dark candle is extinguished by a single, simple dewdrop of the divine. Concepts such as racism and divisiveness are eliminated outright, as a realization that everyone is fundamentally the same on the deepest level takes place. In a world where everyone cultivated wuwei, there would be no wars, strife, or hunger, as these former things would fall away.
Taken from an old article of mine on meditation. Thus, we see that Wuwei's root is in meditation, and the "Void" state of mind cultivated by it.
When you truly possess Wuwei, you are in a constant state of meditation. The difficult becomes easy. We can have excellence in skill because our ego does not interfere. We can use this to become better people, and live up to the idea of the Scholar-Warrior. We do this not to compete with anyone else, or impress anyone else, but rather to defeat the enemy within.c. Practices of the Scholar-Warrior
So, we come to the section about the practices of the Scholar-Warrior.
- Practice martial arts. Enroll in a martial arts class, or if you have taken one previously, practice the martial arts you know. Explore new martial arts if you can, even if it's only through books.
- Practice Qigong and Neidan (Internal Work).
- Drink tea and take supplements for physical health.
- Practice some kind of physical activity if you don't practice martial arts. Aim to keep the body, mind and spirit healthy.
- Meditate daily. This doesn't have to be anything very involved or serious, it can just be simple Wuwei (Void) meditation.
- Practice Psionics, Qigong, Yoga or Magick. If you have experience with one of them already, research and try the basic techniques of other paths. Personally, I practice all of them to an extent. At some level, they blur together and become the same thing.
- Do good things for other people. Give of yourself. Volunteer. Do nice things for your family or friends.
- Learn to draw, write, paint, sculpt, or anything else artistic that interests you. This can even be something like photography or filmmaking. Be creative.
- Educate yourself even if you're not in school.
- Read the Classics of Eastern philosophy. Read the Classics of Western philosophy.
- Find skillful hobbies that interest you and pursue them.Qigong and Exercise Regimen
So, here is a short section detailing my current Qigong and Exercise regimen. It is also somewhat modified to present alternatives you can do. This is very simple, but keeping this routine up will discipline you.
Even days: Tibetan Five Rites Yoga or Hatha Yoga. Martial arts practice (I practice all my punches and kicks on a heavy bag). Weight training. Meditation.
Odd days: Qigong, Meditation and Cardio. Qigong can be Baduanjin, San Ti Shi, Wudang Five Animals Qigong, or any other Qigong set you practice.
It's really that simple. Alternate your weight training and Yoga practice to give your body time to heal on the off days.
Former students of my Qigong study group should be practicing Baduanjin Qigong, Dantian Meditation, and the Microcosmic Orbit on the "Qigong" days. This should take about an hour to an hour and a half to do.Supplements
Here is a list of supplements you can take to aid your physical activity.
1. Fish Oil
Good for the brain, the CNS, and the respiratory and circulatory system, I highly recommend all Qigong stylists take this one, it works great for me.
Fish oil is oil derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), precursors of certain eicosanoids that are known to reduce inflammation throughout the body, and have other health benefits.
Fish do not actually produce omega-3 fatty acids, but instead accumulate them by consuming either microalgae or prey fish that have accumulated omega-3 fatty acids, together with a high quantity of antioxidants such as iodide and selenium, from microalgae, where these antioxidants are able to protect the fragile polyunsaturated lipids from peroxidation.  Fatty predatory fish like sharks, swordfish, tilefish, and albacore tuna may be high in omega-3 fatty acids, but due to their position at the top of the food chain, these species can also accumulate toxic substances through biomagnification. For this reason, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends limiting consumption of certain (predatory) fish species (e.g. albacore tuna, shark, king mackerel, tilefish and swordfish) due to high levels of toxic contaminants such as mercury, dioxin, PCBs and chlordane. Fish oil is used as a component in aquaculture feed. More than 50 percent of the world's fish oil used in aquaculture feed is fed to farmed salmon.
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are thought to be beneficial in treating hypertriglyceridemia, and possibly beneficial in preventing heart disease. Fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids have been studied in a wide variety of other conditions, such as clinical depression, anxiety, cancer, and macular degeneration, although benefit in these conditions remains to be proven.
This is standard, all people should take one of these.
A multivitamin is a preparation intended to be a dietary supplement with vitamins, dietary minerals, and other nutritional elements. Such preparations are available in the form of tablets, capsules, pastilles, powders, liquids, and injectable formulations. Other than injectable formulations, which are only available and administered under medical supervision, multivitamins are recognized by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (the United Nations' authority on food standards) as a category of food.
Multivitamin supplements are commonly provided in combination with dietary minerals. A multivitamin/mineral supplement is defined in the United States as a supplement containing 3 or more vitamins and minerals that does not include herbs, hormones, or drugs, where each vitamin and mineral is included at a dose below the tolerable upper level, as determined by the Food and Drug Board, and does not present a risk of adverse health effects. The terms multivitamin and multimineral are often used interchangeably. There is no scientific definition for either.
In otherwise healthy people, scientific evidence indicates that multivitamin supplements do not prevent cancer, heart disease, or other ailments. However, there may be specific groups of people who may benefit from multivitamin supplements (for example, people with poor nutrition or at high risk of macular degeneration).
Increases levels of serotonin in the brain leading to easier positive thinking. Said by some to influence things such as dreams, or even successful psychokinesis and out-of-body experiences. I noticed since I started taking this that my dreams are more vivid and easy to remember, whereas before taking it I never remembered my dreams. Also, helps with depression, and is a more natural solution than psychotropic medication.
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), also known as oxitriptan (INN), is a naturally occurring amino acid and chemical precursor as well as a metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin from tryptophan.
5-HTP is sold over-the-counter in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada as a dietary supplement for use as an antidepressant, appetite suppressant, and sleep aid, and is also marketed in many European countries for the indication of major depression under trade names like Cincofarm, Levothym, Levotonine, Oxyfan, Telesol, Tript-OH, and Triptum. Several double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of 5-HTP in the treatment of depression, though a lack of high quality studies has been noted. More and larger studies are needed to determine if 5-HTP is truly effective in treating depression.
4. DIM (Diindolylmethane)
A naturally occurring compound from the digestion of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. DIM improves absorption of good estrogen and blocks absorption of bad estrogen. It has been shown effective in treating breast cancer. It helps keep the body from metabolizing fat, and is good for bodybuilding. Because it affects the bodies hormones, it can also be used to treat acne.
DIM™ is a naturally occurring phytonutrient that is found in cruciferous vegetables. Though discovered over ten years ago, the connection between plant-derived dietary ingredients and estrogen metabolism are just now beginning to be understood. Research has shown that DIM has the ability to act as an estrogen balancer (sometimes referred to as an estrogen blocker) in both women and men. It can be used by those addressing estrogen dominance problems and seeking to reduce conditions such as uterine fibroid tumors, fibrocystic breasts, and other women's fibrosis related conditions.
A slow metabolism of estrogen can result in too much active estrogen known as estradiol in the body; this can be problematic for both sexes. In women, elevated estradiol levels have been shown to cause weight gain (waist, thighs, hips), moodiness, and breast pain. Men tend to suffer from weight gain, loss of sex drive, prostate enlargement, and male patterned baldness, to name a few.
-From this site
5. Creatine Monohydrate
Used by bodybuilders to gain muscle mass and reduce downtime between lifting sessions. The downside is that you *MUST* drink a lot of water while using it (creatine adds water to the muscles).This
is the brand of creatine I use, it contains creatines other than monohydrate, as well as amino acids such as Taurine.
Creatine supplements are used by athletes, bodybuilders, wrestlers, sprinters, and others who wish to gain muscle mass, typically consuming 2 to 3 times the amount that could be obtained from a very-high-protein diet. A survey of long-term use gives the creatine content of several foods. The Mayo Clinic states that creatine has been associated with asthmatic symptoms and warns against consumption by persons with known allergies to creatine.
There was once some concern that creatine supplementation could affect hydration status and heat tolerance and lead to muscle cramping and diarrhea, but recent studies have shown these concerns to be unfounded.
There are reports of kidney damage with creatine use, such as interstitial nephritis; patients with kidney disease should avoid use of this supplement. In similar manner, liver function may be altered, and caution is advised in those with underlying liver disease, although studies have shown little or no adverse impact on kidney or liver function from oral creatine supplementation. In 2004 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a record which stated that oral long-term intake of 3g pure creatine per day is risk-free. The reports of damage to the kidneys by creatine supplementation have been scientifically refuted.
Long-term administration of large quantities of creatine is reported to increase the production of formaldehyde, which has the potential to cause serious unwanted side-effects. However, this risk is largely theoretical because urinary excretion of formaldehyde, even under heavy creatine supplementation, does not exceed normal limits.
Extensive research over the last decade[date missing] has shown that oral creatine supplementation at a rate of 5 to 20 grams per day appears to be very safe and largely devoid of adverse side-effects, while at the same time effectively improving the physiological response to resistance exercise, increasing the maximal force production of muscles in both men and women.
6. Whey Protein
Protein is used for rebuilding the muscles.... nuff said.
Personally I use this brand
of protein because it has no additives, no sugars, no vitamins, etc. It may be hard to find outside of the Midwest. Since I'm already getting a lot of vitamins and amino acids from the multivitamin and the creatine, I don't feel safe taking a similar brand of protein (Body Fortress etc) because I would be doubling up on the things they put in both. I seem to recall seeing a Body Fortress Creatine/Whey Protein combination, with amino acids, that would probably be the cheapest way to get both..
The effects of whey protein supplementation on muscle growth in response to resistance training are debatable. One study demonstrated some increase in lean body mass and strength in men supplementing whey protein vs. no supplementation, while another study found greater increases in strength in a group supplementing whey compared to another group supplementing casein, which could be evidence of whey protein's superior amino acid profile. However, other research exists that show little to no benefit of whey protein supplementation. The authors of one study concluded that "young adults who supplement with protein during a structured resistance training program experience minimal beneficial effects in lean tissue mass and strength,", although it did not control for other sources of protein in the participant's diets. The timing of protein supplement ingestion may not have any significant effects on strength, power, or body-composition. A study of elderly men found supplementation with whey protein after exercise improved muscle protein synthesis.
Astralagus is a Chinese herb that has been taken for thousands of years for its effects on Qi, and particularly Jing. It improves blood circulation and strengthens the immune system. It is notable because it is said to be particularly good for people in their youth.
Astragalus root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries as a restorative tonic; it is considered a sweet, warming herb with effects on many organs. It is used either alone or with other herbs to help with aging, improve energy, and stimulate the immune system during conditions such as the common cold, blood disorders, cancer and HIV/AIDS. It is also used as an adaptogen, which is meant to increase general resistance to stress and disease, and normalize disturbances in your body’s ability to balance itself.
The biotechnology firms Geron Corporation and TA Therapeutics of Hong Kong have been working on deriving a telomerase activator from it. The chemical constituent cycloastragenol (also called TAT2) is being studied to help combat HIV, as well as infections associated with chronic diseases or aging. However, the National Institutes of Health states: "The evidence for using astragalus for any health condition is limited. High-quality clinical trials (studies in people) are generally lacking. There is some preliminary evidence to suggest that astragalus, either alone or in combination with other herbs, may have potential benefits for the immune system, heart, and liver, and as an adjunctive therapy for cancer". Wikipedia
In a study published in the 15 November 2008 Journal of Immunology, researchers shed light on the antiviral and antiaging benefits of Astragalus. In their paper, a team of researchers from the UCLA AIDS Institute described how their work with cycloastragenol reduces the aging process of immune cells, and enhances how these cells respond to viral infections. The compound works by boosting production of telomerase, an enzyme that allows for the replacement of short bits of DNA, known as telomeres, that play a key role in cell replication, cancer and human aging.
Ginseng is a root that has been thought to be good for Jing in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The root is most often available in dried form, either whole or sliced. Ginseng leaf, although not as highly prized, is sometimes also used; as with the root, it is most often available in dried form. Folk medicine attributes various benefits to oral use of American ginseng and Asian ginseng (P. ginseng) roots, including roles as an aphrodisiac, stimulant, type II diabetes treatment, or cure for sexual dysfunction in men. Wikipedia
Ginseng may be included in small doses in energy drinks or tisanes, such as ginseng coffee. It may be found in hair tonics and cosmetic preparations, as well, but those uses have not been shown to be clinically effective.
Ginsenosides, unique compounds of the Panax species, are under basic and clinical research to reveal their potential properties in humans.
Ginseng remains under preliminary research for its potential properties or therapeutic effects, such as for respiratory illnesses, quality of life, influenza or fatigue in cancer patients. P. ginseng may affect cancer in animal models but this effect remains unclear.
One study in laboratory animals showed possible effects of ginseng or its ginsenoside components on the central nervous system and gonadal tissues and another on penile erection.
Ginseng is known to contain phytoestrogens and may affect the pituitary gland to increase the secretion of gonadotropins. Other mice studies found effects on sperm production and the estrous cycle.
Haritaki is an Ayurvedic (Indian) herb that promotes digestive health and is used to cure or reduce Wind disorders in the Ayurvedic paradigm.
Haritaki is a rejuvenative, laxative (unripe), astringent (ripe), anthelmintic, nervine, expectorant, tonic, carminative, and appetite stimulant. It is used in people who have leprosy (including skin disorders), anemia, narcosis, piles, chronic, intermittent fever, heart disease, diarrhea, anorexia, cough and excessive secretion of mucus, and a range of other complaints and symptoms. According to the Bhavaprakasha, Haritaki was derived from a drop of nectar from Indra’s cup. Haritaki is used to mitigate Vata and eliminate ama (toxins), indicated by constipation, a thick greyish tongue coating, abdominal pain and distension, foul feces and breath, flatulence, weakness, and a slow pulse. The fresh fruit is dipana and the powdered dried fruit made into a paste and taken with jaggery is malashodhana, removing impurities and wastes from the body. Haritaki is an effective purgative when taken as a powder, but when the whole dried fruit is boiled the resulting decoction is grahi, useful in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery. The fresh or reconstituted fruit taken before meals stimulates digestion, whereas if taken with meals it increases intelligence, nourishes the senses and purifies the digestive and genitourinary tract. Taken after meals Haritaki treats diseases caused by the aggravation of Vayu, Pitta and Kapha as a result of unwholesome food and drinks. Haritaki is a rasayana to Vata, increasing awareness, and has a nourishing, restorative effect on the central nervous system. Haritaki improves digestion, promotes the absorption of nutrients, and regulates colon function. Wikipedia
White tea, Green tea, Oolong tea, Black tea, and Pu Erh tea are the main types of tea. Of these, White and Green tea are the most beneficial because they contain ECGC. However, there are benefits to drinking the other kinds, so it is best to drink them all. Black tea and Pu Erh tea are highly processed and fermented, and you get antioxidants from them that you don't get from White and Green tea.
I have a longer section about tea and herbalism but I'm omitting it for brevity's sake. If you want to see it in its entirety, check this thread
"Firstly, I'll talk about tea. Tea is a great drink for cleaning out the system and ensuring proper qi flow; certain types of qi work on different meridians, clearing out and cleaning the subtle bodies' inner workings."
"Green Tea contains a chemical called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that binds to the enzyme urokinase, preventing it from stimulating tumor growth. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute has published articles on the cancer-preventive effects of green tea."
"Researchers believe that tea lowers cholesterol because EGCG combines with bile salts and cholesterol to form an insoluble precipitate."
"There are more chapters on tea in the Chinese Herbal Material Medica (Ben Cao) than on any other herb, including ginseng."
"A cup of drip coffee contains approximately 100 mg caffeine, black tea: 50 mg caffeine, green tea: 20 mg caffeine, bancha tea 0 mg caffeine. (Nevertheless, if you have cardiac arrhythmia, are taking MAO inhibitor drugs, or have any medical condition for which caffeine is forbidden, you must, sadly, avoid even green tea.)"
"Taoist and Buddhist Monks drink tea because it clears and refreshes the mind. If you are anxious or stressed, drink some tea and contemplate the beauty of nature, Drinking tea is meditation."
"Green tea, by far, is the most beneficial tea to drink. It has many, many health benefits, and works on the lung, spleen, and stomach meridians (Oriental Medicine - 12 meridian system). It can also be purchased just about anywhere quite cheaply. However, there are many more teas that are equally beneficial, some of which are available for purchase. A big part of becoming a tea drinker lies in drinking tea that you like- once you find one that you enjoy, stock up on it." - Mad Daoist
This concludes the section on supplements.Recommended Reading
Here is a section on recommended reading, so one may educate oneself and become a Scholar-Warrior.
It should be noted that most of these texts should probably be read differently than one would read a normal book. It is best to read these texts slowly, read one passage, then put the book down and contemplate what you just read. Ask yourself questions about it, and try and answer them. Strive to uncover the meaning behind what you are reading. After you have done this, absorb it into you and forget it.
Qigong Books:The Root of Chinese Qigong by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming.Qigong, The Secret of Youth by Dr. Yang, Jwing-MingScholar-Warrior: An Introduction to the Tao in Everyday Life by Ming-Dao Deng
Daoism and the Way:
Daodejing (Rosenthal translation) (Tao T'eh C'hing): http://www.mediafire.com/?j4wfzokkw3jq6lj
Daodejing (S. Mitchell translation): http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/core9/phalsall/texts/taote-v3.html
*Highly RecommendedLaozi's classic on the Dao
Zhuangzi (C'huang Tzu): http://www.mediafire.com/?dazr5c8udjnz4v1The poetic parables of a Chinese mystic and voidwalker
Liezi (Lieh Tzu): http://www.mediafire.com/?sz2m98ljxpseataThe Dao as taught by Liezi
(The above three texts are the "Big Three" classics of Daoism and constitute the philosophical base of Daoism)
Yijing (I C'hing) part one: http://www.mediafire.com/?1kqti4abuh081ol
Yijing part two: http://www.mediafire.com/?p4z8ux5dq15xebfThe Book of Changes, a Daoist divination manual used in conjunction with throwing coins called Bagua
The Art of War: http://www.mediafire.com/?whpjhz7pu24u6axSunzi's treatise on war, politics, deception, and commanding a military
Siji Tzu: Siji TzuOther Religions and Philosophies
Hinduism: Bhagavad-Gita, Rg Veda, Upanishads, Kundalini Yoga Upanishad
Confucianism (related to Daoism): Analects of Confucius, The Mencius, The Doctrine of the Mean, The Great Learning
Buddhism: Buddhist Sutras
Zen: Zen Koans
Book of Five Rings: http://www.mediafire.com/?r24w6fml67gr5zfMiyamoto Musashi's classic on swordsmanship and the void (Japanese)
U.G. Krishnamurti and Enlightenment: http://www.ugkrishnamurti.net/d. Conclusion
So, that concludes the essay on the Scholar-Warrior and living a Daoist lifestyle.
Through these methods, which are applicable to anybody, we can learn to live our life to the fullest. The Scholar-Warrior embodies the ultimate unity between Body, Mind and Spirit, and the ultimate unity between Compassion, Frugality and Humility.
If you agree with the philosophy and aim to be a Scholar-Warrior, know that reading this is just the first step in a lifelong undertaking to become the best person you can be. An old Chinese proverb says:
"A journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step.
- The Mad Daoist, though he's no longer around, he inspired me many years ago to begin walking this path
Good Health and Training,