Billed as the major event of a three-day symposium, “The Three Pillars of Ancient Wisdom — Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism for the West”, was a very long title. How could someone boil down the essence of each in only two hours? I thought to myself, eagerly awaiting the talk.
The presenter was a lively, engaging calligrapher, Taiji master, philosopher and expert on China past and present, Chungliang Al Huang. His positive, lively Qi filled the room, with infectious energy as some would say.
Right off the bat he said that when we put “ism” on the end of a word, it boxes it in. It makes the content finite and we think too small. We need to open ourselves up to receive, to receive the teachings and have them come alive for ourselves, in how we live, how we relate with others. He added that these “pillars of wisdom” can add quality and openness to our both our thinking and how we treat and move our bodies.
Chungliang Al Huang didn’t spend much time on lecturing. He made the material come alive — by drawing characters through calligraphy of each teaching and then acting it out with with his body and sound movements. After awhile he had us up in the aisles, moving our bodies as we did our best to be “calligraphy in motion”. It was fun, engaging and energizing.
Looking around the room, I saw lots of smiling faces. People were moving with such positive Qi, and yes, it was infectious. The concept of being open to receive with readiness of body and mind had spread throughout the room. Our teacher that afternoon, was a catalyst who helped everybody let go and just be ready to receive the energy that was all around us. And that was his point for living well and fully.