There is a story told of The Monk who can be cut into 10 Pieces.
During the 1950’s the Chinese invaded Tibet. All the monks had to flee to the hills before the armies stormed the monasteries. The army went to one monastery, however, and discovered one monk still there, meditating in front of the Buddha. The soldiers were scared of him so went back to their general to report what had happened. The General decided to see for himself what was happening. Upon arriving, the General said, “I can cut you up into ten pieces why do you sit there and do nothing?” The monk shouted, “because I am the man you can cut up into ten pieces”. The general realised he could not kill him spiritually and bowed to the monk with respect.
This story seems especially interesting at the moment, when we, as a Fire Phoenix community have been physically cut into many pieces, and yet we are finding ways to still come together and practice, get stronger and connect with each other.
This story is all about standing strong in the face of changing circumstances. Most of the monks in this story responded in the way you would expect, they fled from the attackers to keep themselves safe.
One monk though, stood out for not giving in to panic, instead the monk calmly continued with what was important to him, no matter what challenges faced him. No matter what soldiers challenged him, the monk continued in his meditation. This was a demonstration of true strength, not the strength that can perform physical skills, but rather the mental and physical strength we need to keep true to who we are and what we value in the face of changing circumstances. This is the most important strength of all.
It has been very heartening to see how many of our students have adapted with the times and embraced the new way offered to them to train in the Martial Arts. To be sure there are some challenges, but everyone who has joined our online programme has risen to them admirably.
While we cannot be together physically, we can be together in the online world. While we cannot practice in a purpose designed Martial Arts Dojo, we can take our training out into the world, and do our training in our back yards, our lounge rooms or our verandahs. We have adapted, and this has demonstrated that strength that we will need to get through this time, and to rebuild after the challenges has passed.
By isolating ourselves we are following the tenets of the Martial Arts which tell us to look out for those who are more vulnerable than us. We can keep people safe by keeping our distance right now, as while we are likely to be able to fight off infection easily if we should become sick, this may not be the case for other people in our lives. If we can follow the rules now, however uncomfortable they may be, we are doing our part to keep everyone in our community safe.
Keep up with your training in this time so as to keep yourself physically strong, but also keep up your connections with other people, such as your Martial Arts community to keep mentally strong. By keeping on, and not letting circumstances stop us doing things we love, we are acting as true Martial Artists and leaders, and will keep our spirits strong.
See you in a video class soon!