by Wee Kee-Jin
Master Huang Sheng-Shyan once suggested that a student should be prepared to look over the mountain for a good teacher, and a teacher should be willing to travel the oceans for a good student”. Both efforts reflect a good attitude.
Empty Your Cup
The first requirement to learning something new is to let go of what you already know. Only when your cup is empty is there space to add something further. Fully absorb the purpose and function behind the new lessons, before relating them back to the classics. If it fits with your understanding of the principles then incorporate it into your ongoing practise, otherwise let it go. It might be contrary to your present direction, or it might only have some relevance later, on your Taiji journey.
Students seldom give a teacher the chance to teach, by not practising what was previously taught you don’t have the foundation to be taught the next things. Just attending classes or workshops does not mean that you will become good at Taiji, results come from practise.
Accept the Keys
When someone teaches you they are imparting a method of training, or offering you a key to the door. To open the door and enter the room, you need to practise to develop a foundation of what was taught. During the next stage of training the teacher’s guidance can present you with another key. However if the you haven’t walked through the first door, this new key will be of no use.
Enjoy your Training
Initially it is necessary to establish a regular daily training routine to develop self discipline. However you must soon find enjoyment in your practise and therefore develop the want to train, otherwise you will build up mental resistance that will prevent the subtler depths of Taiji being apparent.
Become your own Teacher
The Taiji journey begins with a teacher being required to build the foundation, or as the classics put it “to come through the door, you need oral transmission”. But once the foundation is solid, and a clear direction is set you can still progress even without your teacher. Then when a certain level is reached, a new dimension of understanding will open up, and begin a process of exploration and discovery that can be continued for the rest of your life.
Always remain a Student
As a teacher it does not mean that you have stopped practising. “Teacher” is only a form of address, we are all just students, always learning and practising.