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The Mystery of the Void

The Mystery of the Void

 

“Having reached the extremity of the void, firmly anchored in quiet while ten thousand beings burst forth as one, I myself contemplate the return. People prosper at every opportunity, but they always return to their roots. To return to one’s roots is quiet.” Lao-tzu

 

In this modern world where material possessions dominate our lives and schedules and deadlines control our very existence it is a far flung luxury to bask in the sound of silence. It is enough of a challenge to find the time for our tennis session or the trip to the gym regardless of the fact both activities hold the potential of keeping our good health on track.  Indeed some of us only stop when forced to through ill health and even then feel guilty for spending a couple of  days in bed.

 

It was the very illusive nature of the sound of silence and the stillness of the mountains compared to the opposite end of the spectrum and the intense volume of the sound of 10,000 stampeding horses and indeed everything in between these two extremes that sums up the experience of the 46 pilgrims who gathered together in Hunan Province, China, with Grand Master Chan in search of their roots.

 

I think it is fair to say that initially the mountains were a little unsure of us and slightly reluctant to trust us enough to share their true beauty and indeed their secrets. Our first day was spent in the classroom due to bad weather and the safety conditions on the mountain. In truth we were treading where few Westerners have stepped before and the mountains had to decide how sincere we were in our noisy curiosity. This was a huge adventure for all of us and to say that on occasions we were like a group of children in a sweet shop is an understatement. Our excitement knew no bounds and wherever we went we caused a stir.  Children would stop and ask to be photographed with us, older generations would just stand and stare, on more than one occasion our Master had to reprimand us – to him our safety and well being was paramount.

 

Autograph for school children in Changsha park

 

As we have so often been taught in the classroom it was a question of adjusting to the local chi or as we say in the west “when in Rome do as the Roman’s do” and we had to do this PDQ (pretty dam quick!) No longer was this lesson text book stuff, no longer was this another story from the archives, no this situation was for real and we needed to be both responsible and adult about it. The air of political tension could be cut with a knife due to the Tibetan situation and the Beijing Olympics, we were also travelling through areas known to be bandit territory. On top of this Chairman Mao had banned Feng Shui Masters and the use of its principles 25 years ago so care was needed at every turn.

 

In fact there was no cause for concern for the students as our backs had been covered in many ways, Grand Master Chan and Mrs Chan had been out to China in 2007 to prepare the path for us.  There was an amazing team of Chinese people in place to tend to our every need. Their commitment to us and generosity knew no bounds. The group was headed by a lady known affectionately as Grand Master Chan’s ‘little sister’, her name Dr Ming Chan.  In China the words that signify life are “ shan ming.”  Shan means everything that contains life, Ming means everything that has a soul. To say that this lady is full of life and had thought of everything and given all she could to the depths of her soul to ensure our well being would only just touch the surface in describing the level of dedication she gave to us. The quality of accommodation, the wonderful food we ate, the immense hospitality we received everywhere we went was fit for royalty.  Dr Ming’s brother, Chen Zhi Yong, who is a TV executive in Zhangjaijie and his partner, Baoshan Cui (known as GM), with their team of employees worked alongside us throughout the duration of the trip ensuring our guidance and safety. The guides and bus drivers were amazing. Never once did we take a wrong turn, never once could we have to search for a venue, everything was planned and implemented to the last letter right down to having our own doctor, Malcolm, travelling with us.

 

Dr Ming & Apple the guide

 

The Chinese are beautiful people and it felt an immense privilege to be able to share a small part of their lives in this way. Indeed there are few who could not benefit from learning from their example. Their warmth and fortitude was overwhelming, their simplicity touching. Everyone seemed to find a way to earn their living taking immense pride in everything they do. The waste on this cycle was bought from local shop keepers then sold on at 50% profit later in the day.

 

Fresh Local Chi Fish Supper Recycle

 

Fresh local produce is also a major priority in the lives of the Chinese people and seeing home owners tending their vegetable garden was normal. There is such pride in their work and undoubtedly the love these people give to their crops is reflected in the quality of the vegetables they grow. Water wheels using the local river water for irrigation are just a natural course of action, nothing is wasted.

 

Ghost Mountain

 

In fact it didn’t take the mountains too long to warm to us and realise our level of dedication to their cause and the well being of Mother Nature. Even when shrouded in mist there was still an air of splendour when amongst these magnificent beings. Without a doubt we were welcome, without a doubt we were loved as everywhere we went love was literally in the air. Sometimes the mountains were a little less bashful and allowed us to see them in their full glory and at other times they remained coy with their air of mystery tempting us to plan to come back to their wonderful presence again some day to discover more.

 

Our first stop was at the Yellow Dragon Cave Zhangjaijie where the stalagmites and stalactites met together as one. The second picture shows a line of Heaven’s water in the blue light coming through from the roof of the cave.

 

Yellow Dragon Cave

 

The Yellow Dragon Cave picture comes courtesy of Matteo Huber

 

In Helong Park we climbed to a natural bridge between two mountains. This bridge was formed by the course of nature without man’s intervention. The tradition here was for the lovers from far and wide to show the same commitment these two mountains showed to each other by placing a padlock on the railings of the bridge to express their love.

 

Lovers' Locks

 

There were many highlights on our trip and I think most would be hard pressed to define a favourite experience. The days were long and our stamina needed to be high, this trip was certainly not for the faint hearted or the unfit. Our visit to the Heaven’s Gate on Tianmen Mountain on our very first day out in the mountains was to be the yardstick for the rest of the trip. The journey was long to this gate. We used cable cars, buses with 99 bends to navigate on the mountain pass, a long walk along a high altitude gallery and finally 999 steps to climb before arriving at the Heaven’s Gate. It was not surprising to hear the cries of joy around the place when we conquered this marathon task and arrived at this destination. It was sheer Bliss. The added bonus to this experience was the fact that it was almost dusk when we arrived so most visitors were leaving and so it was the Foundation members who did make it to the summit had the place to themselves.  This was such a Blessing.

 

Heaven's Gate Tianmen mountains with Heaven's Gate

 

Heaven's Gate picture courtesy of Matteo Huber

 

We travelled many miles along highways and byways and even experienced traffic congestion when we came across a fatal road accident.  It transpired that the local villagers had formed a human road block to express their discontent over the traffic situation that has taken two of their community. The fact was, we were a group on a mission and so it was GM, our head of security, made one telephone call and within minutes the police were there to take control of the situation and guide us on our way. We truly were very blessed throughout the whole trip and even when one coach had a puncture whilst travelling through bandit territory Kajal simply looked up from her commentary on the local scenery as we went along, asked what the bang was, and then proceeded with her tuition.  No one and nothing was to get in our way.

 

Every experience was unique, every destination held its own quality and its own indefinable chi.
The City of Phoenix, or Fenghuang in Chinese, was certainly no exception to this. The river side properties made Venice look like a contemporary city.  Here we enjoyed a river cruise, a traditional tea ceremony and found a really powerful lair where the Palace stood. The Feng Shui was amazing with 10,000 horses guarding the property in the form of a magnificent water fall that made the sound of horses’ hooves at a gallop.

 

10,000 Horses The Lair

 

The Feng Shui was amazing with 10,000 horses guarding the property in the form of a magnificent water fall that made the sound of horses’ hooves at a gallop.

 

Fenghuang Fenghuang by night

 

Fenghuang Illuminated at Night picture courtesy of Matteo Huber

 

Every experience was unique, every destination held its own quality and its own indefinable chi. The City of Phoenix, or Fenghuang in Chinese, was certainly no exception to this. The river side properties made Venice look like a contemporary city.  Here we enjoyed a river cruise, a traditional tea ceremony and found a really powerful lair where the Palace stood.

 

I think the smiling faces in this picture say it all. To each of us the trip was a special experience in many different ways. We came, we found and we conquered.  On one of our latter descents from the mountains the mist on either side of the cable car was shaped like a Dragon’s head which accompanied us to the foot of the mountain. The Dragon was ensuring our safe return.  The Chue Foundation was well and truly accepted and welcomed into China and more especially encouraged to return.

 

Group shot

 

Group shot courtesy of Matteo Huber

 

On behalf of the members of the China trip I would like to extend our most grateful thanks to Grand Master Chan for his extreme care and dedication to us throughout the trip. It was an extremely demanding experience for Grand Master Chan to hold our energy over such a prolonged period of time. Thanks also go to Mrs Chan who not only acted as interpreter for us on many occasions but also was constantly mindful of our well being. To GMC’s teaching assistant for the trip, Kajal, who also gave over her time and energy in her usual thorough and efficient style and to Pamela for getting us all there and back safely, even though it almost meant pushing one member of the group out of her room naked after oversleeping on the morning of departure and almost missing her flight home.

 

Move

 

I have only touched the tip of the iceberg in these pages and so am pleased to inform you we have a two hour presentation on the China trip planned for the AGM in Rome so I hope to see you all then

 

With best wishes for 2009,

 

Master Kay Tom

 

From Nothing Comes Everything

© Master Kay Tom

+44 (0)7970 202 332| kay@theenergyspecialist.co.uk

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