Nguyen Van Minh
(Next: Because of the amount and nature following questions, I will answer these rather briefly and as
they come up.)
1. Question: Does your kind of realization break selfishness and fear?
2. Question: Is the "I" purely memory?
PR: No. The self certainly is identified relative to what is historical and so memory is a big part, but I don't think it is accurate to say that "I" is memory. At least one other ingredient is necessary, which is the
conception that "I am." This is then followed by "I am this or that" based on identifying something that I am, which is a function of memory.
3. I can't stand firmly. What is exactly "rooting"?
PR: Attaching to the earth. There are various methods to achieve this, but the name, being a metaphor, suggests some sense of being connected into the earth. Feeling the whole body and relaxing the whole thing so that it falls down into the feet will help you stand more firmly. Concentrating on a feeling sense of being located or attached under the ground will help you root.
4. About relaxation: Does it require that one find out and annihilate every anguish, including existential anguish? I mean anguish about one's destiny, life, death, and so on. I feel them in doing relaxation in bed, before sleeping. What kind or state of mind allows this kind of realization?
PR: Your view is an extreme one. Deep relaxation may well result in running into emotional tension produced by such things as anxiety, and it is true that fear or anxiety does not fit in an extremely relaxed body. But worrying about it doesn't help. The principle behind relaxing is letting go. If you can let go of all anxiety, something very deep is sure to relax. But don't get caught up in "biting off more than you can chew." Instead of trying to accomplish everything at once, it might be more reasonable to do what you can and then work your way toward deeper levels of relaxation when it feels natural to do so.
5. In fighting situation, does one use a minimum amount of strength when relaxed? If yes, what is this minimum?
PR: Yes. The least amount you can use to get the job done (and usually less than what you think).
6. About chi: I never understood it. How to train simply to develop it? When you push someone far away in T'ui Shou, do you use chi? Do you use a minimum amount of strength?
PR: Chi is best thought of as "feeling-attention." This applies primarily to feeling, listening, outreaching, directing movement, and whatnot, yet it is intrinsic strength, not chi, that is the main component to not using strength.
7. Did you manage to make somebody else to break the ego? I mean: is your realization "transmissible"?
PR: Yes and no. First of all if you mean by "breaking the ego" a realization of being that is not a self, then this might be called an enlightenment experience which others have had, yet neither I nor anyone elsecan "make" that happen. Others can experience whatever I have experienced (or anyone else for that matter), but they must always experience this for themselves, it cannot be handed to anyone without their responsibility. With work and commitment on the part of a student, I can facilitate such things.
8. Do you have any students who have the luck to live by you so to have the opportunity to get close teaching (your own personality is part of the teaching)?
PR: Not really. Some students live close enough that we see each other on occasion. Of course personal contact with someone who has an experience of what it is you want to know is the best way to learn (but I doubt anyone would want to learn my personality).