Buddhist Qigong - Buddhist Philosophy and Training Concepts
By Grandmaster Shou-Yu Liang and Master Wen-Ching Wu
Buddhism is not just a religion, but also a major part of the Chinese culture. Like Daoism, Buddhism can also be generalized into religious and nonreligious parts. The nonreligious part of Buddhism consists of the customs and culture that are inherent in Chinese society. Many Chinese follow the philosophy of Buddhism as a part of their culture and way of life, not necessarily as a religion. Buddhist Qigong is a part of the culture that has been widely practiced by the Chinese people. For many religious Buddhist, Buddhist Qigong assists them in their pursuit of buddhahood (enlightenment or realization). For others, it is a means of attaining better health, higher self-awareness, and developing the higher potentials of the mind and body.
Buddhism originated in ancient India, from the teachings of the first Buddha, Sakyamuni. He was born in 620 B.C.and left this physical plane in 543 B.C. There are many different sects of Buddhism. They can be generalized under two main systems, Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism. Under Mahayana Buddhism the attainment of buddhahood is presented within the framework of two vehicles, Sutrayana and Tantrayana. Under each of the two vehicles are different sects and under these sects are different traditions. The Qigong in Book Three will focus on the Tantrayana cultivation of Mahayana Buddhism (Tantrum Bhuddhism).
Tantric Buddhism includes: Tibetan, Dongmi, and Taimi. Tibetan Buddhism covers many areas including, Tibet, Nepal, the Plateau of Tibet, Mongolia, Northeastern India, and Northeastern China. Within Tibetan Buddhism are four major traditions: the Red (Nyingma), the Yellow (Gelug), the White (Kagyu), and the Flower (Sakya). Dongmi Buddhism and Taimi Buddhism are subdivisions within Japanese Tantric Buddhism (Chart 3-1).
Tantric Buddhist cultivation involves the cultivation of the Esoteric Abilities of the Body, Speech, and Mind, to reach nirvana. Because their practices are very profound, this sect of Buddhism gradually became known as Mizong in China. Mizong literally means the Secret Doctrine. The implication, however, is not due to the secretive nature of the practice, but due to the extensive and profound nature of the practice.