In order to continue our mission of popularizing and demystifying Qigong, here is our latest addition in the form of a Qigong blog. And since Qigong is one of the modalities of Chinese medicine some articles will be about Chinese medicine generally. We hope you enjoy it. And feel free to comment :)
Whatever Happened To Master Tian Ruisheng?
Master Tian Ruisheng was no doubt one of the most famous living masters of Qigong in modern China.
After his public appearance on the Qigong scene in the late eighties, and for the next seven years, his impact was so great that it remains unrivaled by any of his predecessors. Nor were there any that came even close since.
Here are some highlights of Master Tian’s accomplishments with Fragrant Qigong:
And then, at the peak of his fame, in 1995 he suddenly vanished! According to his closest friends, family members and associates, he announced it several times and then, one day, simply went into seclusion, indefinitely!
This is nothing unusual. Throughout China’s long history many great Qigong masters did the same. They would come out, perform their miracles (sometimes even in front of emperors) and then retreat. In some cases to reappear again many years later but, as a rule, always to vanish again. As a matter of fact, Master Tian Ruisheng was one of the rare ones who stayed that long.
But why is this the case? Well, before we go any further, let’s first explain a few things about true masters of Qigong for which, in China they normally use the term dashi (grand masters) as opposed to shifu or sifu which generally refers to average-level masters (even though dashi is sometimes loosely used in today’s China).
The term dashi, properly used, should really only refer to those masters who have reached the highest level achievable i.e. became enlightened thus earning themselves a title of the ‘living Buddha’, ‘saint’ and similar.
In other words, those masters who have become fully awakened from the ‘dream of material existence’ and have reached the spiritual reality. Traditionally, in the majority of cases, they would not linger around for too long after getting there.
They would “turn 5 hearts toward heaven and depart” i.e. leave the world of illusions behind by siting in a lotus position (the ‘5 hearts' referring to the top of the head, palms and soles) and meditate until they free the spirit entirely from the physical body.
This has been going on for centuries. Every now and then, even up to this day, in many far-east-Asian countries they are still finding the bodies (fairly intact) in the remote areas and caves of China, India, Tibet, Mongolia… of people who ‘freed their spirits’ some 200, 300, 500 years or more ago and embraced reality. To them, there was nothing that had any appeal in this world of dreams and suffering (known as Samsara in Buddhism) so they simply left!
But some did stay. Not because they still had any desires to fulfill here but because of other people who were so impressed by their amazing transformation that they wished the same for themselves and asked them to stay.
Of course, among those people, some were merely impressed by their sudden ability to miraculously cure people, foresee the future and perform all sorts of miracles and wanted their ‘services’ e.g. to cure their illnesses or help them in some other aspects of their lives.
Here it becomes fairly obvious why would these masters, sooner or later, still choose to leave the world, either entirely or temporarily such as by going into seclusions. Say if master Tian did not leave, what would have most likely happened to him? Obviously, he would never be able to have peace and live a ‘normal life’.
At all times there would be hundreds, if not thousands, of people outside his door waiting and begging him to treat their illnesses or help fix their problems. Regardless of the fact that he was on numerous occasions stressing that we all can develop the same abilities if we diligently practice his style of Qigong and adopt his lifestyle.
Yet, most people would rather go on with their erroneous living and, when needed (and due to it), to rely on some magic healer in the form of a Qigong master so that they can keep on doing what they always did.
But, in today’s world, it seems, no-one’s own life is their own business any longer. After his unceremonial withdrawal from public life, and especially after months, then years, of his complete disappearance from the public eye, all sorts of theories started to emerge.
Among them one that went most viral is that he died from liver cancer and that he was buried in his backyard by his family. And, because they kept receiving his retirement pension ‘as if he was still alive’, his son was imprisoned for several years.
Who would ever thought that even for going into seclusion that you need to obtain permission from bureaucrats? And forget about all that money given to charities that made his humble, well deserved, retirement benefits pale in comparison.
Never mind that there was no proof that he ever suffered from any illness nor that they never found the body. Once it was in the media (well, especially when in social media), it becomes a fact!
But what about the fact that he cured so many people from all kinds of cancer, including liver? Who was there to stop him from curing himself as well? And why would anyone, needlessly, risk so much to hide his death, especially in a country like China?
Let alone the fact that 4 out of his 6 children are all high-level masters of Fragrant Qigong and that they all performed mass-healing sessions, often together with their father for combined power, and that they too gave lots of money to charities.
As seen from our perspective i.e. having close contact with master Tian’s family and associates as well as knowing full-well how things work in China, this situation is no-one’s fault. It just so happened that the old master decided to go to seclusion, his family said “so long, keep well”, and the local government’s official was simply doing his job and implementing current policies.
But, let’s for the argument’s sake, even entertain the idea that he really died. What is death? To a mere mortal, an average person on the street, it is the end of life and either oblivion or, to the more religious ones, a final journey to Heaven or Hell.
Yet to a high level Qigong masters like master Tian it is simply a return to reality which they never left. Death is an illusion to start with. The soul was never born and can never die. When smelling fragrances during the practice of Fragrant Qigong it is a sign that one’s energy (a part of their spirit) has been connected to the masters of Fragrant Qigong, all of them - past and present.
But how is it possible when all past masters are already dead and, most of them, long ago. When masters of Qigong reach enlightenment and leave their bodies behind, they do not do it to die. They leave the part that was never alive (the body) in order to fully embrace life (spirit, reality). Most people have no idea that our natural state is without the body and that we use the body only to express in form the formless.
Our time with the body is short, regardless how long we live. Even 120 years is just a blink compared to eternity. Leaving the body behind is just like leaving any other tool behind. The writer is not dead nor are his writing skills lost just because he abandoned his pen. Nor were the musician’s skills lost when he threw away his guitar (like Jimmy Hendrix did on so many occasions).
In the end, it does not really matter whether master Tian’s body is still around or not. What this world perceives as precious has nothing to do with reality and the true values. And that is the way things should be in the end. We all have our choices and, while some people first check out what outcomes each one of them offers, the majority simply assume they already know and chose what looks most appealing to the eye i.e. the forms and shapes of the dream world.
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