Nicolae Tanase: Shifu YanTuo, what is the meaning of life?
Shifu Shi YanTuo: For me, the meaning of life is “To be True to oneself and Live in the Present Moment”.
I was born in a Kung Fu family in China, and grew up in the Shaolin Temple, Henan Province in Northern China. As a Kung Fu Monk, we had to train 6 hours a day, to start the day from 4:30am in the morning to end at 10:00pm at night, and adhere to very rigid temple’s schedule routine every day and every year. But we would study and train hard to be thankful for everyday life spent in the temple and everything we learned from the masters.
From our Kung Fu training, we have learned to cultivate morality, develop compassion, be liberated from suffering to happiness, understand the balance of Yin and Yang, the Qi of internal and external, the combination of spirit and power, also to control our desires in this secular and very material world. The highest Kung Fu skills are achieved by practicing one movement a thousand times and in doing so, becoming a good, simple, useful, honest, and true person.
As human beings, when life ends, we really have nothing remaining. You may have owned a thousand homes, but you can only sleep in one bed, your wealth may contain ten thousand treasures, but you can only eat three meals a day. When we are born, we arrive with no possessions, and when we die, we can’t bring anything with us, the world is a chaotic spiral. In the end, nothing is settled or resolved. So let it go, then we can be free and true.
If we see through it, we will no longer care about wealth, power, positions or fame. To me, this is the meaning of life itself.
~Shi YanTuo, 34th generation of Shaolin Monk.
Shifu of Shaolin Temple San Diego.
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