THE WAY OF ZEN
I AM YOU, YOU ARE ME WE ARE HERE TOGETHER. I ASK THE MASTER WHAT IS TIME? HE SAID TIME IS YOU, AND YOU ARE ALL THAT IS IN TIME AND TIME IS ALL THAT IS IN YOU, SO LOOK ONLY IN THE TICKING OF YOUR HEART AND YOU WILL KNOW NOT ONLY WHAT TIME IT IS BUT THE SECRETS OF THE HEART. YOU ARE THE BEGINNING AND THE END, BEFORE YOU THERE WAS NOTHING, AND AFTER YOU THERE WILL ONLY BE !
IT IS POSSIBLE TO HIDE BEHIND BEAUTY, STATUS, RACE, WEALTH, CULTURE, TRADITION, IDEOLOGY, GOOD OR EVIL, BUT NOT TIME. TOO OFTEN WE CONSCIOUSLY OR UNCONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE TO IGNORE LIFE’S OFFERINGS BASED ON THE JUDGMENT OF PERCEIVED LABELS ALONE. CONSEQUENTLY, WE BLIND AND LIMIT OURSELVES FROM IDENTIFYING THE TRUE MEASURE OF THE VALUES THAT SHAPE OUR REALITY, THROUGH WHICH WE COULD IMPROVE AND BEAUTIFY OUR COLLECTIVE STATE.
KNOW THE ESSENCE IN ORDER NOT TO BE LIMITED BY MERE LABELS AND APPEARANCES . THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT EXISTS WITHIN THE AMBIT OF TIME, AND WITH THE PASSING OF TIME FASTER THAN THUNDER AND LIGHTENING FROM THE WORLD OF BEING BACK TO US FUNDAMENTAL ESSENCE. HUMANBEINGS TOO ARE PART OF THIS PROCESS, BUT ARE JOURNEYING ON THROUGH ETERNITY TO A FINAL JUDGMENT IN TIME.
FOR INDEED, BY THE PASSING OF TIME HUMANITY IS IN A STATE OF LOSS, EXCEPT THOSE WHO ALIGN WITH AND IMPLEMENT THE UNIVERSAL VALUES OF GOODNESS, THE LEARNING AND TEACHING OF LOVE, TRUTH, JUSTICE, PATIENCE AND ALL THE VIRTUES IN THEIR DAILY LIVES. ANNOUNCE YOUR HIGHER SELF BY DENOUNCING YOUR LOWER SELF. WRITTEN BY GRANDMASTER JERRY BELL
The history of the dark skinned brothers of the Chinese Shaolin monks have been conspicuously excluded all together from the history of the martial arts. Owing to the "impropa-ganda" and stereotyping of African people during and after slavery, various cultures are not quick to embrace the African, and is even less inclined to teach the African what many believe he or she should already know. Rather than engage in speculation as to who these dark skinned people are, or weave elusive stories about "bronzed monks", we need only look to the impartial sciences of anthropology and genetics for the facts. In 1998 the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science concluded a study by the Chinese Human Genome Diversity Project and made public their findings which stated that "Most of the population of modern China - one fifth of all the people living today - owes its genetic origins to Africa...". The study was the result of a consortium of several leading research groups in the People's Republic of China in combination with the Human Genetics Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Texas. The research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China. In addition to genetic evidence linking China to Africa, archeological evidence has recorded close to 100 "pyramids" that are located in a 100km area around the city Xi'an in central China. This site is also well known as the location of the famous life-size terracotta warriors. Further study of the history and art of the Shang and Chou dynasties in China will reveal even more African influences. All of this is not to say, however, that Chinese culture is African. It is not and should never be misinterpreted to be. Instead, this information and evidence points to a clear interaction and anthropological connection that must be acknowledged if the complete story is to be told in its entirety.
As it relates to the murals mentioned earlier, the sciences of genetics and anthropology provides further insight into the accounts of the martial arts in China specifically pertaining to the master of the famous Buddhist priest from India, Bodhiharma. Known as "Ta Mo" (Great Black) in China, and "Daramu" in Japan, Bodhiharma was a 28th generation disciple of Siddhartha Guatama, otherwise known as the Buddha. Bodhiharma traveled to China where he taught his brand of exercises which became the foundation for Quan fa, or "Chuan fa", which means "the way of the fist". In Japan it corresponds to their word "Kenpo" which means "the law of the fist", or "fist law". The history of Bodhiharma and his influence in China has become legendary, but the more profound story of his master, Siddhartha Guatama, and the philosophy of Buddhism is rarely, if ever discussed when explaining the history of the martial arts. It is vital to our understanding of Kenpo and the martial arts that we look closer at India, the times in which Buddha lived, and who the Buddha was. This will help us to clarify Mas Oyama's references to Africa in his words and pictures, as well as provide the full story for the Black Buddhist monks who appear on the murals at the Shaolin Temple in China today.
As a matter of record, the true history of the Buddha from India has been known to most serious scholars for many generations. For example, one of the most brilliant and exhaustive studies to look at languages, and histories of nations are the books titled Anacalypsis, An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil of The Saitic Isis; or An Inquiry into the Origin of Languages, Nations, and Religions, Vol 1 and 2. They were written after years of research by English historian and linguist Godfrey Higgins, Esq. He published this massive two volume work in 1833 in which he gives many references to the Buddha such as, "...he is continually described as a Negro, not only with a black complexion, in which he agrees with Cristna ("Krishna" - a name that means "the Black One" -ed.), but with woolly hair and flat face." Higgins further states that, "In the most ancient temples scattered throughout Asia, where his worship is yet continued, he is found black as jet, with the flat face, thick lips, and curly hair of the Negro." These references by Higgins accurately describe the earliest depictions of the Buddha.
It is only centuries later, when Buddhism gets introduced outside of India that the Buddha takes on the Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other Asian features that we associate with him at present. However, for the record, let it be known that Buddha, the first and original Buddha, was a Black man (Figure 4). A study of the history of India will reveal that at one time, all of India was occupied by two distinct negroid types, one having a very dark complexion, with a flat nose and curly hair, often described as "nappy", or "pepper-corn" hair, while the other was also very dark complexioned but with an somewhat aquiline nose, and straight hair. These Black people were architects of the glorious Indus Valley civilization and its culture called Harappan, which was named after one of the two great cities, Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, built around 3,000 B.C. in southern India. Those cities were the culmination of smaller towns which date back to 6,000 B.C. Around 1,500 B.C. a wave of invaders from the northern hemisphere flooded into India. These invaders adopted the word "Aryan", which is an ancient Sanskrit term meaning "noble one". This is the term that Adolph Hitler, the German dictator from World War II, used in the 20th century as part of his misguided "master race" ideology. Aryan, or "aryan brotherhood" is also a term used by quite a few white supremists today. In ancient India, these invaders began a slow, methodical, and systematic destruction of the Indus Valley civilization. Their strategy was to first assimilate the local religions and deities of the native people. Next, they gradually instituted a multi-level, color based, caste system they called Brahminism.
This system placed the invading Caucasian minority on the top (they called themselves "brahmin", or "priestly ruling class"), and the majority of darker people whom they conquered, on the bottom (the "sudrahs", or "working class"). Records of the Aryan invasions into India are aptly preserved in Indian literature such as the Rig Veda. More recently, a scientific article, appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, on May, 26, 1999, confirming this history through the use of genetics. Researchers from the University of Utah and Andhra Pradesh University in India confirmed through a study of DNA and the Y male chromosomes of the Indian population, that there were a group of males with European affinities who were largely responsible for this invasion 3 or 4,000 years ago. Although this strategy for enslavement is very similar to most patterns of racism seen around the world, the slavery and color based separation into castes that the Aryans introduced into India is unique. This ideology was skillfully blended with indigenous beliefs to form a religion and a way of life that eventually became known as Hinduism. Its Brahmin priesthood were successful in keeping the caste structure in place, and even today, the once intricate and liberating African philosophy of karma and rebirth that are now a part of Hinduism have been strategically reworked and used to suggest to millions of people that if they were born into slavery, it is their karma or fate.
This was the world that the dark skinned Siddhartha Guatama was born into. He searched in earnest for a way to bring light to his people and end this suffering. Out of his own enlightenment, a philosophy was born that became known as Buddhism. This revolutionary philosophy offered a path towards liberation from mental and psychological slavery for millions of Black and Brown people. Buddhism offered a path of salvation, and the end of the concept of being born, and re-born into slavery. Godfrey Higgins wrote in 1833 that, "Between the Brahmans and the Buddhists there exists the greatest conceivable enmity. They (the Brahmans) will hold no communication with them, believing themselves to be made unclean, and to require purification, should they step within even the shadow of a Buddhist." Today, at this very hour, an underclass called "Untouchables", still exists in India after hundreds of years. They are poor Blacks who are on the lowest rung of the caste ladder system. An Untouchable is subject "by law", to having their tongue cut if they dare read any sacred scriptures. They can be beaten or even killed if their shadow is allowed to fall on a Brahmin.
They may be required to wear a broom tied to their backs so as to sweep away their footsteps as they walk. They must look down, and never make eye contact with a Brahmin. Their women are frequently raped, and their men murdered at the whim of a Brahmin, often without any legal consequence. All of this "today", is sanctioned by law. Many Untouchables who are conscious of the history of their country turn to Buddhism as a way to escape the caste ideology as countless generations before them have done. To these early rebels, Siddhartha Guatama, the Black, curly haired Buddha was their liberator.
Eventually the Brahman succeeded in overcoming the Buddhists in India, and used the same strategy to lay claim to the Buddhist religion while at the same time destroying their temples, and pushing the original adherents out of India. It was around 260 B.C. that many Buddhists were forced to flee to Thailand, Vietnam, China, Tibet and neighboring countries throughout Asia. The history of these Black holy men throughout Asia explains the affinity experienced by the 20th century African American soldier who fought in South East Asia during the Vietnam War. The point here is that generations who struggled under physical, mental and spiritual slavery in India is the reason why images of the Black freedom fighter Buddha, as well as Black Buddhist monks show up all throughout Asia and China, where Buddha's disciple Bodhiharma was to visit many years later. This then, is the untold history of Buddha, his times and his path towards liberation known as Zen or Ch'an Buddhism. This is the history of the philosophy that has so profoundly influenced the practice and development of the martial arts in Asia and around the world.