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B.D.C.C.I. Martial Qigong / Gongfu Newsletter
Qi Gongfu Newsletter II

The Black Dragon Clandestine Combatives Institute Of Martial Studies Independent Studies Initiative, Present:


Summer 2011 Membership Newsletter ( June / October )

Comment Of The Day / [Cheng Hsin T'ui Shou ][ p. 58]


{'The Nature Of Ability’}!


The Principles and Possibilities of Interaction Are Open and Infinite’.


Principles from which ones’ interactions arise, and are disgested experimentally empower ones’ creative effectiveness! 

These are as follows;


1. ” Alignment with the principles thathat found this event of being a living entity allows spontaneous creativity to arise as possibilities in action”!

2. “ Openness or Not-Knowing is, or indicates aprinciple in which possibility and creativity can occur”!

3. “ Action Commensurate With Experience indicates a principle in which ‘Life’, or living interaction can take place”!

4. “ Action Appropriately Commensurate With What Is Occuring indicates a principle in which Mastery or Effortless Power’ can occur” [Peter Ralston]!






(Mindfulness of In-&-Out Breathing)

"Now how is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing developed & pursued so as to bring the four frames of reference to their culmination?

"There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore. Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns that he is breathing in long; or breathing out long, he discerns that he is breathing out long. [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns that he is breathing in short; or breathing out short, he discerns that he is breathing out short. [3] He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to the entire body, and to breathe out sensitive to the entire body. [4] He trains himself to breathe in calming the bodily processes, and to breathe out calming the bodily processes.

"[5] He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to rapture, and to breathe out sensitive to rapture. [6] He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to pleasure, and to breathe out sensitive to pleasure. [7] He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to mental processes, and to breathe out sensitive to mental processes. [8] He trains himself to breathe in calming mental processes, and to breathe out calming mental processes.

"[9] He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to the mind, and to breathe out sensitive to the mind. [10] He trains himself to breathe in satisfying the mind, and to breathe out satisfying the mind. [11] He trains himself to breathe in steadying the mind, and to breathe out steadying the mind. [12] He trains himself to breathe in releasing the mind, and to breathe out releasing the mind.

"[13] He trains himself to breathe in focusing on inconstancy, and to breathe out focusing on inconstancy. [14] He trains himself to breathe in focusing on dispassion [literally, fading], and to breathe out focusing on dispassion. [15] He trains himself to breathe in focusing on cessation, and to breathe out focusing on cessation. [16] He trains himself to breathe in focusing on relinquishment, and to breathe out focusing on relinquishment.












                     Butokutsuru Ryu Kenpojutsu


Orange Belt Defenses


Black Cobra Strikes Back



  1. Defense Against A Frontal & Side Eye Poke; 
  2. Defense Against An Arm Grab, and Attack From The Rear;
  3. Defense Against A Crescent Kick:


   In this street combat analogy of the Butokutsuu Ryu Kenpojutsu system; let us consider the defense against a Frontal Eye Poke. The defender’s feeling attention should be high, yet always maintaining a calm and relaxed natural presence!

Let us consider the practitioner walking to his/ her automobile in a lighted parking lot at the local mall. The night is just beginning to fall upon the parking area and mall security will not make another round through the lot for the next 10 minutes. As the defender walks toward his/her car an attacker briskly charges from the front side of the mini-van parked beside your vehicle as you approach from his right side. He suddenly lunges at you with a right-hand (palm-down) closed first and index finger strike to your right eye.

Note: [This strike is usually attempted as a surprise element by a gamed or seasoned attacker for obtaining immediate control of his/her victim. The victim’s sight is blurred and assailant visual indentification is greatly diminished, or virtually impossible.]

Consider the following:


  1. Execute a tightly flowing right circular outside blocking parry. Blocking the attempted eye strike with the back of your rising open palm while turning your right wrist clockwise palm-out onto trapping the attacker’s right wrist on the inside using the crane’s beak pull.
  2. Stepping across you right leg, deliver a left palm heel strike to the attacker’s right elbow as your crane’s beak simultaneously executes a violent pull inward at the trapped wrist to break the attacker’s elbow.
  3. As your left palm returns to buddha and checks; trap the attacker’s right wrist with your right hand pulling him/her forward, shifting the attacker’s weight concentration on the lead leg while guiding your quick pull with your checking hand. This will cancel any attempted left hand counter.
  4. Execute a left hand damaging leopard’s fist strike to the right side of the attacker’s neck, slipping the left palm across the attacker’s face.
  5. Deliver a right palm-up thrusting snake-fist strike to the attacker’s throat.
  6. Rotating you right hand counter-clockwise, deliver a right palm down snake-fist strike to the attacker’s throat.
  7. Execute a vicious right rising (counter-clockwise) palm down snake-fist thumb gouging rake to the attacker’s right eye at the nose.
  8. Finish with a right clockwise flipping palm, palm-up knife-hand strike to the attacker’s throat; as you left hand delivers a snake-fist (palm out) thumbing eye gouge to the left eye. Thus, providing your escape route!
















Grandmaster Reginald Hoover

10th Dan Kenpo-Jujutsu

 All Rights Reserved 2006-2012, By B.D.C.C.I. Independent Studies Initiative Of Dragon Kenpo Karate Consortium International





The circular inside block reveals to the practitioner a wealth of valuable information about understanding his/her counter-striking motion, angles of execution to target points to be used, specific vital striking points on the attacker’s body, opportunities of breaking balance (kuzushi), and circular striking body positioning of the dragon kenpoka in the application of the inside block. The circular inside block also reveals a world of knowledge about the attacker’s possibilities of success in his/her initial assault attempt.

First let us consider counter-striking motion. Since the circular inside block when executed with various stepping motions becomes a parry left or right, gives us some specific counter striking motion.


( Motion #1.) is the actual block as a parry:


Therefore the parry acts as a catapult to release the counter-striking motion; as the stepping within this method application of the inside circular block as a parry reveal the angles of execution in counter the violent attack!


(Motion #2.):


Considers this article content examining the opposite foot stepping slightly away to the same side of the attack. This stepping gives the kenpoka an advantage of moving away from the initial assault while moving forward also! This body positioning provides the practitioner with the conceptuality of the circular counter-strike. The Kenpoka is looking in from the attacker’s outside while vital targets on the assailant. As the opposite foots steps away and toward the attacker producing and curved stepping motion; the parry is executed with the opposite upper extremity natural weapon (arm/hand inward motion), as the attacker strikes.This body positioning may be a little awkward for some and very comfortable for other dragon kenpo stylists. The idea within this type of parry is to let your attacker give up his/her vital points along a specific side of the body without the attacker understanding what he/she has done. So, your attacker is committing him/herself without knowing! This parrying counter motion reveals specific concepts of linear and circular flowing upper extremity combinations of brutal devastation.


 One particular combination (among many others), is the straight  hammerfist counter-strike to the upper left ribcage and right looping elbow strike to the attacker’s temple transforming into a right reverse elbow strike to the attacker’s throat.


(This transformation could consist of a number conceptual possibilities, such as, right temple/ knife hand palm down strike to the throat; right single spear-hand strike to the throat;  right single spear hand collapsing into a leopard’s fist / paw strike to the throat; right single spear-hand / right thumb strike to the attacker’s left eye socket; etc,)!


When the stylist’s lead leg is extended or positioned behind the lead leg of the attacker; while the stylist is stepping forward in a circular motion with the opposite parrying hand trapping or/and deflecting (example, left leg stepping/ right arm/hand inside blocking parry); the kenpo stylist’s waist should be whipped in the same direction as the vicious reverse elbow strike to the assailant’s throat!

So, this counter-striking combination conceptualizes into yet another transformation of a finishing striking throw across your, ( the defenders) extended positioned lead or opposite leg!  Therefore, this brutal counter can transform finally into a right /or left jumping knee lift to the base of the falling attacker’s skull at the spinal cranium connection to paralyze or seriously damage the attacker’s neck at the spine-skull juncture.                                                                            

In conclusion; the inside circular block as a parry provides the dragon kenpo practitioner with an unlimited array of linear and circular counter-striking motion combinations. These combinations are used by the dragon kenpo stylist to “work” or (strike) a specific side of the attacker’s body; as they force the assailant to expose his/her center without the kenpoka giving up their centerline. Thus, the brutal counter-striking motions of the dragon kenpo circular inside block as a parry reveal the attacker’s center , through working the attacker’s side for the execution of the devastating finishing motions of escape.

Sabba papassa akaranam / Avoid all evil! 



Karatejutsu Excerpts:

'The term Karate-ryu (family) or Karatejutsu is the original term used to explain the blend of Okinawan "Te" (a type of throwing art) and "Kara" (empty) which came from the influx of Chinese Kempo into the Okinawan culture. The art of Te originated in Okinawa, but the Kempo arts were derived from the Shaolin Fist arts from mainland China. Prior to 1879, Martial Arts were reserved, on Okinawa, exclusively for members of the upper class, and even then few were willing to practice them'.



Styles Based in Shorin / Shaolin Arts:

  • Matsumura Orthodox Shorin-ryu
  • Tomari-te
  • Shorinji-ryu
  • Matsubayashi-ryu
  • Chubu Shorin-ryu
  • Isshin-ryu
  • Shorin (Shaolin) ryu
  • Ryukyu Shorinryu
  • Kobayashi Shorinryu
  • Shitoryu
  • Okinawan Kempo



             Welcome To Qi Gong Fu!

   For The Dragon Kenpo Practitioner;


               Reginald Hoover

    A  B.D.C.C.I. Independent Studies Initiative:

          Copyright 2006, D.K.K.C.I. 

Here we will examine how to transform various Moving Hard & Soft Qi Gong Motion techniques into Effective Street Combat Defenses for the Kenpo practitioner. Let us begin!

I: Tie Bi Gong:

This issue will examine the 'Forward Pushing' exercise of Iron Arm Gong or (Tie Bi Gong). The exercise start as follows:

1. Hold fists tightly waist high / palms-up from the riding horse stance while inhaling deeply.

2. Exhale and extend arms forward in a upward circular pushing motion with palms facing outward & pushing forward, (Left wrist turns counter-clockwise / Right wrist turns clockwise). The chest draws in as your back arches to complete you forward pushing extension. Continue your extension until the arms are bent slightly with all fingers pointing upward. Hold your extended position  for 5 seconds.

3. Inhale deeply  while relaxing your torso and arms. Transform your extended palms into closed fists as you rotate them ( left clockwise & right counter-clockwise ) at the wrist with closed fist's palms facing downward or slightly angled outward.

4. Exhale and extend to repeat 10 times.

II: Street Combative Analogies:


1.      In the street combat defense a two-hand choke from the front the fists are closed tightly as in [1], yet they are then propelled upward between the attacker’s arms as the defender inhales deeply.

2.      The extension is then stopped by the defender’s elbows resting on the attacker’s inner arms on the inside of his / her elbows.

3.       Exhaling as the defender rotates his / her left arm [with closed fist] clockwise and right arm [with closed fist] counter-clockwise. The attacker’s choke hold is broken by the defender’s elbows pushing outward against the attacker’s inner left & right choking arms.

3a. So, as the defender arm rotation nears  completion the attacker’s choking handsare pulled apart.

Thus providing left and right upper arm blocking checks.

4.      Let’s not forget the small female defender countering against a large male attacker.

4a. In this case as the defender’s arms are thrusting upward either as a double handed Prayer transforming closed fist rotation or two-fisted rotation. She must

5.      Deliver a rising front-toe-kick using either leg to the attacker’s groin as she then delivers a crushing right / left side stomping kick to the inside of the attackers left or right knee, breaking it!

6.      Thus, the Iron Arm Gong health & fitness exercise transforms into a excellent counter-attacker blocking tool against the two-handed frontal choking assault.

7.      This, in turn opens a variety of offensive counter attacking motion for the street

combat kenpo defender. Several of these counter-attacking motions are;

7a. Right hammer-fist to attacker’s left temple / left thumbing eye-gouge:

  b. Left hammer-fist to attacker’s left clavicle / right hammer-fist to left temple:

  c. Right middle knuckle-fist to attacker’s left ear-jawbone juncture / left half-fist to the attacker’s right side of neck.

  d. Left raking knuckle hammer-fist crushing left elbow transformation to right side of attackers face.

  e. Right thumbing left eye gouge transforming into right clawing facial pull right / left half-fist strike to attacker’s throat.

f.        For the female in street combat; deliver a left single or crossed-finger spearing 

Eye gouge to the attacker’s right eye as she delivers a right snaking leopard’s fist strike to the attacker’s throat. Covering –out!

Thus, breaking the surface into the mysteries of street combative physical expressive counter-blocking and striking motions within the health & fitness exercises of stationary or moving hard and soft qigong forms. Therefore, transforming health & fitness qigong  tools into devastating martial qigong expressions.

Any questions regarding Qigong Fu contact;






"Emitting hands without seeing hands. Emitting hands like a steel file. Withdrawing like a hooking stick. Kicking legs without seeing legs. When kicking, it is like you are walking on muddy ground. [Those who can] kick during walking are high [t`lents]. The foot strikes in the technique of walking. [When the] knee strikes, the shape cannot be seen. The stomach is to strike the upper body and the thighs strike in closed body".


The Wu Dang Analogy As It Applies To Dragon Kenpo:


1.     Emitting hands without seeing hands refers to hand-speed as a function of counter-striking possibilities. Thd hands should counter in defensive blocking strikes and striking blocks simultaneously. By this same understanding; all blocks will set-up strikes, strikes will set-up blocking strike devastation and strhkes setting-up damaging strikes! Thus, emitting within the most effective economy of motion applications.


    2.  What does this really mean?


a.)    All blocking motion is perceived as an extension of the strike’s “return to yin state” in the fist. This analogy not only refers to single arm blocking and striking. It refdrs to multiple hand blocking and striking as well!

b.)    The trapping-pull, trapping wrist-lock, trapping wrist,twist,

blocking single-hand press, blocking double hand trapping press, single and double hand pressing strikes are basic examples of this. 



Source: B.D.C.C.I. Library; Dragon Walking Baguazhang,

page 109,


Double Arms Circular Embracing:

['Shuang Bi Huan Bao']


Starting from the riding horse stance:


1. Place both arms palms-up at your waist while arching your back with knees bent.

2. Inhale deeply, straighten up while relaxing you torso bringing both hands toward your waist while beginning to form a circle.

3.Exhale while arching your back, extending your arching circular motion forward into the arms until your fingertips of both hands( palms-down) are almost touching each other.


A. Inhale while relaxing. Straighten you torso bringing both hand back to your waist. Repeat the above exercise ( 1-3) 6 times!


Street Combat Analysis:


Let us first examine this technique at it's street combat skill level of  combative footwork.

1. The basic street combat footwork should be the flowing sabaki.

1.a. This technique works well for the on-rushing attack and the attacker which will over extend him / herslf in the execution of a punch, strike or kick.

1.b. The defender arms and hands can then develop simulteaneous or individual counter striking strategy!

1.c. Example: When defending against the over extended right punch. Use a flowing sabaki right as you inhale. The right leg should be flowing to the left rear corner of the box as the punch is extended. The defender then high steps forward with his / her left leg in closing the distance as the defender exhales. He /she then extend both arms outward in a simuteaneous circular (palms-down) striking motion.

Note: (If the attacker's right extended arm start's to change direction toward the defender! The palm down right circular motion of the defender's had becomes the checking buddha hand.)

This checking hand becomes a push hand and thus, catapults of the push into a devestating strike!

Now, the left hand forms the open flowing strike palm-heel to the attacker's right temple  as the right pushing downward palm catapults off of the attacker over his / her extended right arm into a flowing right single finger snaking fist strike to the attacker's right eye; as the right trail leg finishes with an inverted looping front thrusting stomp kick to the attacker's right knee, breaking it. Covering out! Thus, providing the defender route of escape.



II. Skillful Means

The two aspects of our being are mind and body. We have to pay attention to both of them, even though meditation is a mind exercise, not a body exercise.

Some of the most common questions are: "How am I going to learn to sit?" "How am I not going to have any pain?" That is only possible through continued application, doing it again and again. In the beginning, the body just doesn't like sitting cross-legged on the floor.

We can use this situation as skillful means. When discomfort arises in the body, we learn to pay attention to the mind's reaction, and do not move automatically. Everybody in the world is trying to get out of any kind of discomfort with an instinctive, immediate reaction. It's not that we're not going to get out of discomfort, but in order to make meditation pay off, we have to learn to get out of instinctive, immediate reactions. It's those that land us in dukkha over and over again.

When there is an uncomfortable feeling, it is essential to realize what is happening within. We notice that there is a sense contact, in this case "touch!" The body is making contact; the knees with the pillow, the legs with each other, several contacts are happening. From all sense contacts, feelings arise. There is no way out of that, this is how human beings are made. The Buddha taught cause and effect, that dependent upon any sense contact, feeling results. There are three kinds of feelings, pleasant, unpleasant and neutral. We can forget about the neutral ones, because we are hardly ever aware of them. Neutral is actually considered pleasant, because at least it doesn't hurt. From this particular touch contact that is being made through the sitting posture, there arises, after a while, an unpleasant feeling. The immediate reaction is to move. Don't! Investigate! By getting to know our own mind, we get to know the world and the universe. All minds contain the seed of enlightenment. Unless we know our own mind, we cannot develop and cultivate that seed. here the mind has been contacted with an unpleasant feeling, our perception says: "this is painful." Our next step are the mental formations, which are also kamma formations, because we make kamma through our thought processes.

First came the sense contact, secondly feeling arose. Then perception, naming it, followed by dislike. At the moment of dislike, there is the running away through changing our position. That is the kamma making aspect. This is minor negative kamma, yet it's negative, because the mind is in a state of ill-will by saying "I don't like it."

The mind may start all kinds of rationalizations: "I wish I'd brought my own little chair"; "I can't sit"; "At my age I shouldn't do things like this"; "Meditation is too difficult." None of these explanations have any intrinsic validity, they are only a mind reacting to an unpleasant feeling. Unless we become acquainted with our mind's reactions, we're not using meditation in the most beneficial manner.

Knowing the unpleasant feeling, we can now try to acquaint ourselves with its true nature. Our whole life is lived according to our feelings. Unless we become aware of our reactions to feelings, we remain half asleep. There is a beautiful little book called The Miracle of Being Awake. This miracle is nothing but mindfulness, knowing what's going on within. When we have realized we want to get rid of the unpleasant feeling, then we can try to disown it for a moment. Only the Arahant is fully capable of complete detachment, but we can do so for a short time. The unpleasant feeling has arisen without our asking for it and we don't have to believe it to be ours. We can let it be just a feeling.

If we do that for a moment, we can get back to the meditation subject, and have won a victory over our own negative reactions. Otherwise we are letting our unpleasant feelings rule us in whatever way they want. The whole of humanity runs after pleasant feelings, and away from unpleasant ones. Unless we at least know that, we have no reference point for inner change. It may not be possible to reverse that reaction yet, but at least we know it is happening.

After we have become aware of our mind's intention, we're free to move and change our sitting position. There is nothing wrong with changing one's posture but there's something wrong with instinctive, impetuous habits. Meditation means total awareness. Being awake is not the opposite of being asleep; it is the opposite of being dull and foggy. Such mind states are mostly due to an unwillingness to look at our own dukkha. We'd rather hide in a fog. In meditation that won't do. The Buddha said that this body is a cancer; the body as a whole is a disease, and we can experience that when just sitting still, it becomes uncomfortable.

Meditation means samatha and vipassana, calm and insight. Unless we know the limitations of each and also their possibilities, we won't be able to make good use of the practice. We are generally applying both of them in every session, but we must be able to distinguish between them. If there is no understanding of what's happening in the mind, the fog settles down in it.

Everybody would like bliss, peace and happiness. That is a natural wish. They are available in meditation, with a lot of practice, and some good kamma. However they are not the goal of meditation. The goal of meditation is insight. Yet skillful means for gaining insight are needed and are found in tranquillity meditation.

Making use of a meditation subject, the mind, after some training, will be able to stay on it for a while. Presuming that the mind is able to focus on the breath for even a short time, we realize afterwards that some peace arose, because the mind was not thinking. The thinking process in everybody's mind is hardly ever profound. It's just thinking. Just as the body breathes, so the mind keeps churning. And it keeps churning out mostly irrelevant, unsubstantial and unimportant details, without which we would be much happier.

The mind in its original form is pure. It's clear and lucid, luminous, pliable and expandable. Our thinking is the impurity and the blockage. There's hardly a person who doesn't think all day long, probably without even being aware of it. But when we start meditating, we do become aware of our inner restlessness. We realize we can't keep the mind on the meditation subject, because we are thinking instead of meditating. The moment we experience our thinking habit (even that takes time to realize) we accomplish two things. We become aware of our mind's activity and also the content of our thoughts. We will realize immediately that our thinking is irrelevant and makes little or no sense. Because of that, we can let go of it fairly easily and return to the meditation subject. We have to be able to stand back and watch the thinking process and not get involved in it. Otherwise we'll just keep on thinking instead of meditating.

The mind is the greatest and most delicate tool existing in the universe. All of us have it, but few look after it properly. Practically everybody is interested in looking after their bodies. Eating, sleeping, washing, exercising, seeing the doctor when the body is sick, cutting hair, nails, filling teeth, doing everything that's necessary to keep the body functioning well. In reality, the body is the servant and the mind is the master. So we are looking after the servant and forgetting the master. If we do that in our homes, we create chaos. That's one of the reasons why the world looks as chaotic as it does. People kill each other, steal from each other, are unfaithful, lie, gossip and slander. Most have absolutely no ideas that the mind is our most precious asset. It gives us wealth beyond compare and yet we don't know how to look after it.

We have to do exactly the same thing for the mind as we do for the body. We need to give it a rest. Imagine if we didn't go to sleep for three or four days, how would we feel? Without energy, without strength, pretty terrible. The body needs a rest, but the mind does too. During the day it thinks, at night it dreams. It's always busy. The only real rest it can ever get, which energizes and gives the needed boost to become clear and lucid, is to stay on the meditation subject.

The mind needs a clean-up, which means purification. This happens when all thinking is stopped for a while, because of one-pointed concentration. One moment of concentration is one moment of purification. At that time the mind cannot contain ill-will or sensual desire, or any other negativity. When the concentration ceases, the mind reverts to its usual behavior again. In meditation we can experience that a purified mind gives us happiness, and quite naturally we will try to keep that purification process going also in daily living.

The mind needs the kind of exercise that is not geared towards winning or achieving anything, but just to obey. When we ask the mind to stay on the meditation subject, yet it runs away from it, we know immediately that we are not the master of our mind, but that the mind does what it pleases. When we have realized that, we will be less likely to believe our own views and opinions, particularly when they are unwholesome, because we understand that the mind is simply thinking habitually. Only through the meditation process can we become aware of that.

The mind also requires the right kind of food. Because in meditation we can reach states of higher consciousness, we are thereby able to nourish the mind in a way which cannot happen in the ordinary thinking process. Tranquillity meditation leads the mind into realms which are totally unavailable to us otherwise. Happiness and peacefulness arise without dependence on outer conditions, which give us a new freedom.

The mind of every human being contains the seed of Nibbana. We need training in order to realize what is obscuring our vision. Then the seed can be cultivated and nurtured to full growth. Because our minds contain such a potential, they also contain the peace and happiness which everybody wants. Most people try to find fulfillment through acquiring material objects, seeing or touching, eating or knowing them. Particularly having more and keeping it all safe.

This dependency is a guarantee for dukkha. As long as we depend on outer conditions, whether people, experiences, countries, religions, wealth or fame, we are in constant fear of losing our footing, because everything changes and vanishes. The only way we can have real peace and happiness, is by being independent of all around us. That means gaining access to the purity of our mind without thinking, which involves staying on our meditation subject long enough for our consciousness to change. The thinking consciousness is the consciousness we all know. It contains constant ups and downs, either liking or disliking, wanting something in the future or regretting something about the past, hoping for better days or remembering worse ones. It is always anxious and cannot be expected to be totally peaceful.

We are familiar with a different consciousness also, for instance when we love someone very much. That emotion changes our consciousness to where we are only giving from the heart. We know a different consciousness when we are involved with religious activities, with faith and confidence aroused. We are giving ourselves to an ideal. None of that lasts through, and all depends upon outer conditions.

Through meditation we can change our consciousness to an awareness of purity within, which all of us have, only obscured through thinking. At that time we realize that such an independent peace and happiness are only possible when the "me" and "mine" are forgotten for a moment, when "I want to be happy" is eliminated. It is impossible to have peace when thinking about "self." This will be our first inkling of what the Buddha meant, when he said non-self (anatta) is the way out of dukkha.

Because it is difficult for the mind to stay on the meditation subject, we have to use everything that arises for insight. Eventually the mind becomes clear and sharp and is no longer bothered by the outer manifestations that touch upon it, such as sound and thought, which are the most common ones. Finally a depth of concentration is reached.

When unpleasant feelings arise let us use them for insight. We didn't ask for the feelings, why are they ours? They are certainly changeable, they get worse or better, they move their position, and they give us a very good indication that the body is dukkha.

The body isn't doing anything except sitting, and yet we have dukkha, for the simple reason of not liking the feeling as it is. When we use the unpleasant feeling to actually realize the first and second noble truths, we've come nearer to the Dhamma in our hearts. The first noble truth being the noble truth of dukkha, the second being the reason for dukkha, namely craving. In this case, we're craving to get rid of the unpleasant feelings. If we were totally accepting of the feeling, not making any value judgments, there would be no dukkha.

We can try letting go of this craving for a moment; anyone with some strength of mind can do that. Just accepting the feeling as it is, not disliking it. Then there's no dukkha, for just that moment. That will be a profound insight experience, because it will show without the shadow of a doubt, that if we drop our desires, dukkha disappears. Naturally when the body feels uncomfortable, it's difficult to drop the craving to get rid of that discomfort. But anybody can do it for just one moment, and it's an essential and in-depth experience of the Dhamma.

When we are able to step back to observe our thought processes we realize that the mind is continually thinking. It may take from 5-10 minutes to become aware of that, for someone who hasn't practiced meditation previously. For an experienced meditator it may only take a second or two. Next we can see what kind of thinking we are indulging in and the more often we see it, the less enraptured we'll be with it. We become aware of the fact that this is the way the human mind acts, not just ours, but everybody's and we'll know the truth about the mind. There is nothing else to be seen except that. When we observe that the thinking goes on and that it is insignificant, it will be so much easier to let go. We also see how very fleeting thoughts are, how they come and go all the time. We'll know from experience then, that no real happiness is to be found in something so short-lived, yet the whole world is trying to achieve happiness that way. We can't even remember what we thought a moment ago, how can that bring happiness? Such insights make it possible to drop the distractions and get back to the meditation subject.

We are using the two approaches of calm and insight in conjunction with each other. When calm is firmly established, insight arises spontaneously. It's important to realize that calm meditation is essential. If isn't as if some people like it and others don't.

If the ocean has high waves and we want to look beneath the surface to see what can be found there, we can't recognize anything at all while the waves are rising. There is too much movement, all is stirred up and nothing is to be seen. When the waves subside and the ocean surface becomes calm and transparent, then we can look underneath the surface of the water and see sand, coral and multi-colored fish. It's the same in the mind. When the mind has all the waves and motions of thinking, that churning in the mind makes it impossible to see absolute reality. On the contrary, the mind refuses to look beyond ordinary knowing. But when the mind becomes totally calm, then there is no value judgment, and we can see easily what lies underneath the surface.

In order to understand the Buddha's teaching, we have to get below the surface, otherwise our insights will be superficial. The calm mind is the means for delving below relative reality. While we are trying to become calm, at the same time we're objectively examining all that arises, so that there is more and more support for letting go of the thinking. The less we believe in our thoughts, the less we expect of them and the happier we will be to let them go. Then we get an inkling of what inner peace and happiness mean.

These inner feelings are most pronounced in meditation, but can be carried into daily living in a milder form, primarily because the mind knows it can always return to peace and happiness in meditation, without having to depend on any situation or any person. Worldly affairs no longer have the former sting in them; they are just happening, that's all, the same as thinking and feeling are arising and ceasing, without an owner or a maker.

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