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Kungfu, Qigong, and Religion

Stone Buddha statue in grove of leaves
'Are the Shaolin Arts religious?' Is one of people's most frequently asked questions.

Probably one of the most commonly asked questions surrounding Qigong is whether or not it is religious. Because both kungfu and qigong fall under the umbrella of Shaolin training, which is Buddhist in origin, this question can be applied to both arts. This question is an important one to answer, as it touches upon people’s deepest-held beliefs and can cause them to bristle at the idea of training, lest they should get involved with something that they think, at least, they don’t agree with.

But in order to answer the above question of this blog post, it’s important to first have a simple, yet fundamental understanding of Buddhism. In a religion as we know it, like for example Christianity or Islam, a creator god is worshipped. This concept however, does not exist within Buddhism. Though Buddhism is often practiced by some as a religion, offering up prayers and physical items to Bodhisattvas, or enlightened spiritual beings who have returned to the phenomenal realm to help mortals who have yet to experience enlightenment, at its core, it is fundamentally merely a philosophy. The philosophy of Buddhism centers around spiritual growth through meditation to develop such traits as calm, compassion, and kindness. Through this, enlightenment, or the state of undifferentiated being occurs, breaking the constant cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

Because Buddhism is not a religion in and of itself, there are no rules forbidding students who are practicing it (or Qigong, for that matter) from practicing a religion alongside it. Attend any of Grandmaster Wong’s kungfu or qigong courses and you’ll see a wide diaspora of religions: Muslim, Jew, Christian, not only all benefitting from the training, but talking and laughing freely together; something which our world today so desperately needs.

Indeed, many students in Shaolin Wahnam will tell you (as I will) that their practice of Buddhism only strengthened their concurrent religious practice and made them more of a believer, which brought about more spiritual fulfillment. This is the beauty of Zen. Whether you are training kungfu, qigong, or Taijiquan, you will benefit immensely from your training irrespective of your religious beliefs. If you are interested in learning more about deepening your own spiritual foundations, the following links will tell you all about our qigong and kungfu classes starting in early 2020. Start a new decade with your growth in mind.

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