The Wisdom of Beautiful Whiskers
by Bataan Faigao
41 THE HALL OF HAPPINESS (*13)
1- Recovering ch'i : When you feel tired (mouth is dry) push area in the mouth between the gums and the upper lip (right underneath the nose) with the tip of your tongue. This produces saliva. Swallow this saliva as it is full of ch'i .
2. I am not going to be with you too long. I am an old man and soon I will die. Soon, very soon, I will be gone. Time is very precious. I only come down here four hours or so a week. So, all the things I say to you are the things which are of great value. Things which I like to tell you. I have no reason to give you false words. Time is precious, so I say to you precious things. You have to come up to my level. Soon, I will die, and if any of you gets beaten up, you who have been my students, I will turn over in my grave. You will have to defend my teachings. You can do this by believing what I say as true. Remember this: It is not in the power. It is more in the knowledge. This knowledge will enable you to overcome those who are bigger and stronger and more powerful. You must believe this knowledge, which is t'ai-chi ch'uan. I have no reason to fool you with false words.
3. For 53 years I have not rested. I have moved like the stars in the heavens. Like a clock or a wheel.
4. All these minute and detailed corrections and adjustments are absolutely necessary. You will understand them as you get better. They are very necessary for the flow of ch'i .
5. What you are looking for is the space between relaxation and tension.
6. I speak to you of one of your brothers who was very good at t'ai-chi ch'uan. A very talented fellow who after six months got very good. Nobody could touch his shadow. But he quit. Even when I went back to Taiwan he would not come to see me. He went into the textile import business and all he could see was the dollar sign. I also speak to you of another brother, who spent most of his time studying Chinese literature and t'ai-chi ch'uan. He would seek wise old men, no matter how far and remote they were.
7. One person who makes it will carry the other. We should support those who are slowly making it. We should support each other.
8. What is happiness? I speak not of fleeting, transitory pleasures-- good food, liquor, comaraderie, love, and a fair maiden. I am an old man and my friends have become old men. Life all happens in a flash. In a moment all is gone. I can move. I can think. My heart and head work together. Then I grow old. I can neither see nor hear. The potential heaven gave me is gone. Do not let the potential that heaven has given you degenerate quickly. Let it spread throughout your life in slow decline. The happiness that I speak of is given to us by heaven. If you spread it throughout your life, you will see and hear even in your old age. I speak of a long, everlasting happiness. This long-lived happiness we must develop and persevere. When we become ill, this happiness will help us get well. When we are down, this happiness will help us up. This happiness will rejuvenate us when we are tired. This state of long happiness is health. This happiness will keep us from sickness, pain, and disease. Health is the source of constant happiness.
We must have truth and sincerity between each other. We must have true feeling and sentiment. Whenever somebody tells us we are wrong, we must listen and correct ourselves immediately. We must have equality and openness. By so doing we kindle the principles of health.
Activating health is like activating a dragon coiled in the clouds.
With great work, everyday, we can become strong and self reliant.
Be like a fish in the water: He is constantly swimming, so happy, and never passing away.
In the Tai mountains, Confucius ran into a 90 year old man. The old man was playing a zither and was very happy. Confucius asked, "Why are you so happy?" The old man laughed. "Oh, I have many reasons to be happy. There are many animals and living things on earth, but no living thing is as valuable as a human being. That makes me happy. I am a man. Isn't that a source of happiness? Some people never see the sun or the stars in heaven. Some people die when they are sucklings at their mother's breast. But me, I am 90 years old. Why shouldn't I be happy?" Confucius laughed.
9. Last word: So, when you have to go, do not resist.
*13 This is a spontaneous translation of Professor Cheng's talk. A more formal and edited version is available.