What is the difference between spiritual cultivation and morality, and between spiritual cultivation and religious education?
— Abram, New Zealand
Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
Spiritual cultivation is cultivating the spirit. Morality is practicing high moral values. Religious education is being knowledgeable in religions matters.
They are all different, though related; just as an orange is different from an apple, and an apple is different from a pear, though they are all fruit. Many people, however, do not realise the difference between spiritual cultivation, morality and religious education, though they can tell the difference amongst an orange, an apple and a pear.
Some people may be highly cultivated in spirit, but lack morality and may not believe in a religion. Black magicians are examples of highly cultivated in spirit but lack morality, and even if they believe in a religion they do not practice it, as all religions teach people to do good. Asuaras, who are powerful supernatural beings, are highly cultivated in spirit but lacking in morality and do not practice the good teaching of religion.
Some people with high moral values, like they are compassionate and caring, but may not be spiritually cultivated. For example, they are afraid of ghosts, which show that their spirit is week. They are usually religions, from whose teaching they develop high morals, but some may not believe in any religion.
Some who know a lot about religion may not be spiritually cultivated. They are depressed, for example, which shows that their spirit is not high. Some may use religion to cause harm to society.
Nevertheless, highly spiritually cultivated persons usually have high morals. Not only they know much about religion, they celebrate with followers of other religions.
If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at email@example.com stating your name, country and e-mail address.
The beautiful smile of our Shaolin Wahnam Secretary reflects the joy with which our Shaolin Wahnam Family members look at the world today, and the hope we have for the world in the future
This question is a broad one and may not be responded to if it is considered superfluous. My question is simply what does Master Wong Kiew Kit see for the future of this entire planet and how does he think that his life and life for people in the future will be.
— Yaroslav, Canada
Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
Your questions are interesting and important for the future of humanity.
Our training has made me and those in our school very optimistic. Not only we wholesomely enjoy the present, we forgive the wrongs that others may have done to us in the past and look towards the future with hopes and aspirations. If we feel we have wronged ourselves, we forgive ourselves
It is not that we are irresponsible with our past, licentious with our present or uncaring with our future. In fact we hold high moral values, as guided by our Ten Shaolin Laws, and cultivate spiritually every time we train, and we train conscientiously every day.
The wonderful benefits that we get are not just extrinsic, due to verbal or written teaching. More significantly they are intrinsic, due to our dedicated training that results in a purification of our body, intellect and soul. It is pertinent to mention that these are no empty words. These words accurately describe the benefits our students are getting.
Many schools also say that their training purifies the body, intellect and soul. Even some schools teaching the most brutal form of martial art where students seem to take pride in causing hurt to their opponents or sparring partners also say that their training is spiritual. But an intelligent observation of the students’ results will tell whether the claims of the schools are true.
If the students become more unhealthy as a result of their training, then it is obviously not true that their training purifies the body. If the students do not even realize that they are not getting the benefits their arts are purported to give despite having trained for a long time, it is obvious their training does not purify their intellect.
If the students become more dull and depressed, it is obvious their training does not purify their soul. These conclusions are obvious, yet it is shocking that thousands of students all over the world are getting unhealthier and depressed as a result of their training, and are unaware of it.
How do we justify our claim that our training purifies the body, the intellect and the soul. After practicing for some time our students overcome their pain and illness and attain good health. This justifies our claim that our training purifies our body, as a pure body is naturally healthy. When the body is chocked with impurities, like toxic waste, viruses and locked emotions, it fails in its natural functions and become sick or in pain.
After practicing for some time our students have much mental clarity. They are clear about the aims and objectives of their training, and how well their training helps them to attain their aims and objectives. If you examine how and what they write in our Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum, their mental clarity is quite obvious. This justifies our claim that our training purifies the intellect, as a purified intellect results in mental clarity.
The writings of our students in our Discussion Forum also show that they are happy and peaceful with themselves and with other people. In fact, many of our students often expressed how grateful they are for having practiced our arts which make them find life and the world so beautiful. This shows that their practice has purified their soul, for a purified soul will find beauty in life and the world.
What has this explanation of purifying the body, intellect and soul to do with your question. It has everything to do with the question. Firstly, it explains how members of our Shaolin Wahnam Family and I look at the world now and in the future. We are grateful for the many good things in our world now. And we are confident that the world in future will be even better.
We are living in a golden age. Many people may be surprised at this statement. They think the golden age was a few hundred years ago. No, a few hundred years ago you didn’t even have electricity or tap water, things that we take for granted now but forget how important they are in making life comfortable. A few hundred years ago most people did not have a chance to go to school. Now you can assess amazing information via the internet at the tips of your fingers!
More significantly the above explanation will affect how you and many other people see our world in future — whether you will see it as a beautiful home or a doomed place where resources run out. This will become clear as I answer your other questions.
Despite over 60, Grandmaster Wong and Dr Riccardo Salvetore examplify good health, mental clarity and spirtual joy as a result of purifying body, intellect and soul
Many problems or misunderstanding arise because of confusion between facts and opinions. Logically, if you can differentiate between facts and opinions, you will be able to avoid or overcome many of these problems and misunderstanding.
What is even more important is that often opinion, or perception, is more influential than fact, or reality, in shaping our future. This does not mean we can ignore facts, but we must realize that a person’s perception of reality rather than the reality itself is more potent in determining the outcome of an event. Failure to appreciate this often results in problems and misunderstandings which can be avoided or overcome if we have clear perception.
Let us start with a story. A sifu asked a student to practice “One-Finger Shooting Zen”. A week passed, a month passed, two years passed, and the student was still practicing “One-Finger Shooting Zen” daily, while his sifu hardly taught him anything else.
This was a real story, the story of my sifu, Ho Fatt Nam, when he learned from my sigung, Yeong Fatt Khun. The daily practice of “One-Finger Shooting Zen” enabled my sifu to develop tremendous force not only for Dim Mak (an advanced kungfu art of dotting vital points) but also to heal people.
My sifu had a good perception. He promised himself that if he met a great master, he would do exactly what the master taught. Most other students would drop out. They had different perceptions. They probably thought that the master was fooling them. The reality was the same, a sifu asking his student to practice “One-Finger Shooting Zen” and hardly teaching him anything else, but due to different perceptions the results could be vastly different.
You can see the same principle operating in daily life though many people may not realize it. You are given a difficult job by your boss. Because you are a Shaolin Wahnam student and view everything the Shaolin Wahnam way (instead of the negative way), you perceive your difficult job as an interesting challenge and do your best. As a result you later gain a promotion – by your boss or by yourself becoming your own boss after having gone through challenging training.
Most other people in the same situation would have different perceptions. Some would try to pass the job to someone else, like you, knowing that they would still get the same pay. Others might do the job grudgingly and produce mediocre or poor result. The reality is the same – a difficult job to be done – but due to different perceptions of the same reality, the outcome can be very different.
Can the perception be always positive? Can there be any events, persons or beliefs that are so negative that you can’t have any positive perception of them?
One-Finger Shooting Zen is a treasure of Shaolin Wahnam
Yes, perception can always be positive if you choose to. It is your choice.
No, there are no events, persons or beliefs which are by themselves so negative that you can’t have a positive perception of. We are talking about perception, not the reality itself. In reality the event, person or belief can be negative, but you still can have a positive perception of it.
Suppose you have lost a lot of money in a bad investment. This is reality. No matter how you perceive it, you cannot change the fact that you have lost a lot of money. But your perception of this negative event will certainly and strongly affect what and how your future will enfold.
We may broadly generalize your possible perceptions into three categories: negative, neutral and positive.
You may perceive yourself as stupid, and you become depressed. You may perceive that the fault actually lies with your wife, who nags you, and you become angry. These are negative perceptions. And it is not difficult to see how miserable these negative perceptions will make you.
You may perceive it as a way of life, sometimes you lose, sometimes you gain. Or you may perceive that losing money is a price everyone pays to learn about investment. These are neutral perceptions. You may be down for awhile, but eventually you can get over it.
You may perceive it philosophically, regarding it a blessing in disguise. It is a wake-up call: you lose money in investment, not in drugs or gambling, which may make you addicted and is far worse. Or you may perceive it as a drastic learning opportunity. You promise yourself that eventually you will make back many times that money in an honest, wholesome way. These are positive perceptions that will lead to eventual success. Indeed, many people owe their success, spiritual or financial, to some initial setbacks.
If we just think of good things, are we just dreaming? No, we are not just dreaming. We dare to dream, but we are ready and capable of putting in effort to make our dreams come true. Our Shaolin Wahnam training gives us mental clarity that enables us to have noble perceptions, and tremendous energy that enables us to put in the necessary effort.
Thoughts create reality. This is a great cosmic truth taught by ancient masters and confirmed by modern scientists. An electron is a particle or a wave depending on how the investigating scientist thinks about it. The Buddha teaches that karma, which means cause and effect, is the result of thoughts, speech and deeds in that order of importance.
So, whatever events, persons, beliefs, problems or difficulties you interact with, always have positive perceptions of them. Try it out for a month, and examine the result yourself. If you find it beneficial use this New Year gift for this year and every year.