KungFused #1 – The Shaolin Story

We start our journey by exploring the history of martial arts in China, the creation of the Shaolin Temple, and the role played by the Indian monk Bodhidharma in introducing Chan Buddhism, kung fu and tea to China.


Kungfused #1

[00:00:00] Cameron: Okay, are you ready? I’m ready.

[00:00:07] Cameron: KungFused. That’s what we are

[00:00:12] Chrissy: almost all the time.

[00:00:14] Cameron: KungFused about? Yes. Kung fu. Uh, my name’s Cameron.

[00:00:19] Chrissy: My name’s Chrissy

[00:00:21] Cameron: and our son is called Fox and he actually came up with that word. I dunno, some, something like sometime in the last year, um, all three of us are kung fu practitioners, wing Chung, kung Fu, and we were driving home Fox’s nine, um, might have been eight at this point, I can’t remember.

[00:00:43] Cameron: But we were driving home from Kung fu one day and he said, I wasn’t sure about something he was doing, and he said, I’m so KungFused. And we just thought that was hilarious. So we thought that was a good name for the podcast. So, uh, let’s talk about what this podcast series is going to be about, uh, or what it’s not gonna be about.

[00:01:06] Cameron: Let’s start with that. Okay. It’s not gonna be about Kung Fu techniques. Nope. Uh, because we dunno shit.

[00:01:21] Chrissy: The more we learn, the more we learn that we don’t know, so the less we

[00:01:25] Cameron: know. Yeah, yeah. Um, so Chrissy and I are very passionate students of Kung Fu, so is Fox. Uh, but we are not masters. We’re not even really good students.

[00:01:41] Chrissy: We try, we, we try, our best. People around us seem to think we’re a little bit crazed.

[00:01:47] Chrissy: Crazed.

[00:01:48] Cameron: Yeah. Yes. We are

[00:01:50] Chrissy: crazy people around us in our lives, but, um, yeah, I

[00:01:53] Cameron: mean, we’re obsessed with Kung. Fu. Yeah. We’ve been doing it, you and I, about coming up to three years. Fox, uh, coming up to two years. I, I did karate, Shotokan karate, uh, as a teenager for quite a few years and loved it. Reached a fairly high level, uh, then took a break only because I sort of moved interstate and never got around to getting back into it.

[00:02:21] Cameron: Did do some Wing Chung when I lived in Melbourne about 20 years ago, 18, 19 years ago for a while, but then I moved and didn’t get back into it. Always wanted to always loved martial arts since my dad took me to see Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris movies at the Drive-in growing up. Um, always been a, always been fascinated with, with martial arts and always wanted to get back into it.

[00:02:49] Cameron: And it was only a couple of years ago that we finally stumbled into doing martial arts together as a family. Um, but what I have been doing for nearly 20 years as history podcasts on all sorts of topics, ancient history, contemporary, 20th century history, um, I did podcasts on investing and I don’t know other things.

[00:03:12] Cameron: ai. So doing a podcast about the history of kung fu seems like a natural thing for me to do because I wanna know about the history. I know the high level stuff that we all know. We all know something, something Shaolin, but that’s about it. And I wanna know more about. How Kung Fu developed at Shaolin, why it developed at Shaolin and all the different styles and lineages that came out of it, and why, and when and where, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:03:46] Cameron: What about you?

[00:03:48] Chrissy: Why? Why did I, why am I doing Kung Fu? Why are you

[00:03:53] Cameron: doing a podcast about Kung Fu? Well, by the way, I should point out that I’ve been doing podcasts for nearly 20 years. You and I have been together for nearly 15 years. This is the first time that we’ve ever tried to do a podcast together.

[00:04:08] Cameron: Yeah.

[00:04:08] Chrissy: Well, yeah. Yeah.

[00:04:10] Cameron: And normally when I try and talk about anything history related. You can focus for about 10 seconds, and then you try and stab me in the throat. Um, and your eyes roll up in the back of your head. You start frothing at the mouth and sh and shaking like you’ve been, you either having an epileptic fit or you’ve been possessed by Beelzebub or something.

[00:04:30] Cameron: Is that what’s happening to me? Could be. Yeah. Or you think I’m possessed by Beelzebub and you need to exercise the demon by stabbing me. I

[00:04:39] Chrissy: think those thought, yeah. It was along the, that thought line maybe in the first year we were together.

[00:04:47] Chrissy: No. Um,

[00:04:52] Chrissy: yeah. I I mean we talk about kung fu so much already. Yeah. Um, and I think that we’re at the point in our training where we, I, I we’re, we’re kind of at a point in our training where at a bit of a ceiling, wouldn’t you say a Feeling? Yeah. And God, I hope

[00:05:15] Cameron: not. If this is as good as I’m ever gonna get. No,

[00:05:20] Chrissy: no, no, no, no.

[00:05:21] Chrissy: It’s like this is a skyscraper. Oh. We’re like,

[00:05:25] Cameron: we’re on the fir, we’re on the ceiling of the first floor. Yeah. And there’s a hundred stories. Yeah, I see what you mean. Yeah.

[00:05:31] Chrissy: Um, just for our path that have been set out for us by our seafoods and just like, I feel it, um, uh, and I just feel like we’re already talking about it so much.

[00:05:45] Chrissy: I’m very curious about it. Um, why not do a podcast and you and I, Yeah. We, I mean, we could honestly record some of our conversations and it would be entertaining. Well, that’s pretty much what, just about Kung Fu and why not learn and kind of, I feel like learning more about it and further deepening our knowledge about it.

[00:06:12] Chrissy: Might help us with our training and might help us with our mindset and might help us. Um, it might help me focus more, as you already like, explained. I don’t choose what I focus, what my brain

[00:06:30] Cameron: focuses on. Well, and I think part of it for me is I like going deep in stuff. Um, which is why I started podcasting in the first place.

[00:06:38] Cameron: ’cause I was reading books on stuff and I thought, well, I might as well talk about it. But you and I have already talked about the fact we’re gonna, we’re gonna do kung fu for the rest of our lives if our bodies allow us to. Yeah. You know, and for, for all of the health benefits that we get from it, not just.

[00:06:57] Cameron: Physical, but, uh, emotional, psychological, uh, the community, the friendships. Mm. Um, everything. It’s just been many levels of positive and, and for Fox as well. Mm-Hmm. And, and all of the benefits that he gets out of it in those areas as well. So it’s something we’re gonna do for decades. Mm-Hmm. We might as well learn as much as we can about it and the history of it and the philosophy of it and, Mm-Hmm.

[00:07:27] Cameron: And as I’ve already learned through preparing for this week’s episode, there’s a lot of overlaps between the philosophy of, uh, from where Kung Fu came from and our personal philosophies anyway, that we’ve been living by for, in my case, 30 odd years. Your case since you met me, uh, you know, 15 years ago.

[00:07:47] Cameron: Mm-Hmm. Um, yeah.

[00:07:50] Chrissy: I was gonna ask though, were you asking also why I wanna do Kung Fu? Well, or why am I into it? Is that

[00:07:57] Cameron: that’s coming up? Yes. Okay. Okay. Um, I was just gonna say that one of the things that I’ve learnt in preparing for this episode, I read, um, a couple of books on the history of Shaolin Temple.

[00:08:11] Cameron: Everyone of course associates, Kung Fu with Shaolin Temple. Neither of us have been to Shaolin Temple, but my mother was there a couple of months ago. Yeah. She was weirdly zero interest in Kung Fu, but happened to be on a tour of China with a friend of hers and spend a day at Shaolin and now just

[00:08:27] Chrissy: sends us random reels on Facebook and

[00:08:33] Cameron: Yeah.

[00:08:34] Cameron: Um, but hopefully, uh, as we progress with the series, we’ll get experts on different styles and the history and philosophy to come on, but. I’ve talked about my history with martial arts. It’s been something I’ve been obsessed with since I was a kid in one way, shape or form. Either practicing it or watching martial arts movies.

[00:08:57] Cameron: Um, what about your relationship with martial arts? Where did that start?

[00:09:04] Chrissy: Well, well it started in 1980 with Karate Kid,

[00:09:10] Cameron: 1984, but Okay.

[00:09:11] Chrissy: 1984. Yeah. In the eighties. 1980s.

[00:09:13] Cameron: How old were you in, is what I meant? How old were you in 1984? I was five.

[00:09:21] Chrissy: Right. Um, yeah, like I saw it and, you know, I grew up in small town Utah.

[00:09:28] Chrissy: Um, and there was, I’d never seen anything like it, of course, but it was just like, whoa. And it was the coolest thing too. And I was, you know, I was into it and I kind of like dreamt of. Um, doing something like that, like allowed myself to have a daydream about it, I guess. Um, but I think in general I really enjoy physicality and I really enjoy kind of powerful sort of dynamic physicality.

[00:10:01] Chrissy: Um, so I always was doing gymnastics. Um, like I think maybe just a bit of lessons, but mainly just teaching myself, my sister and I, and doing lots of stuff like that with my body. Um,

[00:10:23] Chrissy: did lots of mountain climbing and stuff. Here. I don’t have the opportunity to do that kind of stuff, so I don’t know. It, it’s when you, when we when you said, I want to do Wing, Chun, Kung, Fu, and I was do, I was like. Yeah, I’ll try. I’ll try it. Yeah, for sure. Like, I don’t know, it was just a thing and then suddenly I realized that yeah, this is what I’m meant to be doing.

[00:10:48] Chrissy: It’s the exact way. It’s all the things about it is what I love. Yeah. You know, I just love moving my body. I love the flexibility. I love the powerful dynamic. I love, I love it all. And, and the soft dynamic and all of it.

[00:11:04] Cameron: You’ve always been sort of into running and the gym and, but never, you’ve never done any martial arts before?

[00:11:10] Cameron: We started Kung fu a couple of years ago. No, but

[00:11:13] Chrissy: I’ve been active my whole adult life. Yeah. Like doing lots of different stuff. Just, um, not a martial art. And I lived in Seattle for nine years. Like I should have become more curious about Bruce Lee while I was there. And I just, it, and Jimmy, it wasn’t really on my radar.

[00:11:33] Chrissy: Yeah. I was like in Bill Gates, I was in the Jeff Bezos School of Music Building and yeah,

[00:11:40] Cameron: UDub, just like you went to the same university as Bruce Lee, which we’ll talk about. So we go forward. Yeah, that’s true. So, um, yeah, martial arts is relatively new for you as a thing to do, but you became quickly obsessed with it.

[00:11:54] Chrissy: Yeah, even though I didn’t know how to, um, make a fist when I first went in for, for a while, I was still making a fist with my thumb on the

[00:12:04] Cameron: side. And we should say that I, I’m 53. You, you just turned 45 Mm-Hmm. So you were in your early forties when we started. I’d just turned 50 I think, when we started, um, or was about to turn 51 or the other.

[00:12:16] Cameron: Can’t remember. But, um, so we, we are like late in life. Students. Yeah. We’re not in our twenties. This is something that we are starting middle-aged. Mm-Hmm. And, um, it’s hard to start anything in middle-aged, let alone something that is as hard as learning Kung Fu is. Mm. But um, as I said at the beginning, we are totally obsessed with it and we love it.

[00:12:42] Cameron: We go, we train four or five times a week, sometimes for a couple of hours. Uh, we go to the Quune for a couple of hours. We are walking around the house, practicing our balancing and our stretching and our kicking and our everything. We’re just Yeah. Totally hooked and obsessed.

[00:13:00] Chrissy: You say it’s hard and it, yeah, it’s true.

[00:13:03] Chrissy: But like, what else are we gonna be doing with

[00:13:06] Cameron: our lives? Well, that’s, yeah, that’s right. Getting old and stiff

[00:13:10] Chrissy: and, well, I want to be doing something hard. Yes. I want to have a challenge That’s. Part of the allure for me, like it is challenging and that lights me up, you know?

[00:13:20] Cameron: And it’s not just physically challenging, it’s mentally challenging.

[00:13:24] Cameron: Yes. And you’re forced to think really hard about what you’re doing. And there’s a huge learning curve constantly. Mm-Hmm. A huge learning curve. And it’s just like, I’ve never really liked exercise. I’ve done it on and off. Never really liked it, did it because I knew I had to do

[00:13:40] Chrissy: something. You’ve always looked at it as like this huge chore.

[00:13:46] Chrissy: There was a never been joy No. In it for you ever. And I never

[00:13:49] Cameron: understood that you would, you know, people would talk about getting an endorphin hit when they went for a run or went to the gym. I never got that as an adult. I probably did when I did karate as a, as a kid. And I was

[00:14:00] Chrissy: doing, I was lifting weights and doing gym classes all throughout my pregnancy even.

[00:14:05] Chrissy: Yeah. Up until the day before Fox was born,

[00:14:08] Cameron: I think. But. I totally get it now. Yeah. Like I come out of every Kung Fu class, sore, tired, but ill and feeling terrific. Yeah. Elated, you know? Yes. Elated. Like, yes. Uh, you know, even if I felt like I sucked and I couldn’t do anything. Right. And, and, you know, I couldn’t process anything the Sifu was saying.

[00:14:33] Cameron: I still come out of it going, that was the greatest. Like, it’s just a huge bump if it’s early in the, sometimes we go to morning classes, sometimes it’s night classes, but either way we come out of it. Just pumped. That’s true. Exhausted but pumped. So anyway, um, I was gonna say, it could easily

[00:14:50] Chrissy: turn into an hour of us talk, talking just about this, and look

[00:14:53] Cameron: over the course of, uh, the course of the show.

[00:14:55] Cameron: We will probably talk about lots of different things about us and our lives and other things that we’re passionate about. But let’s start with Kung. Fu and see where it goes.

[00:15:05] Chrissy: Raven. Yeah.

[00:15:07] Cameron: So the history. Of Kung. Fu obviously needs to be a history of the Shaolin Temple, even though as I’ve learned Kung Fu or Wushu, or there’s a lot of different names for, it didn’t start in Shaolin.

[00:15:24] Cameron: It was quite common throughout China being studied in monasteries and other places for thousand years, 1500 years maybe before the Shaolin Temple was ever built. And one of the questions I had is, well, when we associate, when we think about martial arts today, we tend to think about Kung Fu or derivatives of Kung Fu.

[00:15:52] Cameron: Karate, judo, you know, jiu-jitsu, TaeKwonDo, et cetera. Eagle Fang. Eagle Fang. Yeah. Um, sorry. Yes, we’re huge Cobra Kai fans obviously. Um, I, I, you know, you were six when Karate Kid came out. I was 14 and doing, had been doing karate for four years and was kind of a little bit pissed A, that I wasn’t the kid doing karate, that I wasn’t the karate kid and B, that it was very obvious that the kid who was playing Daniel San.

[00:16:31] Cameron: Had no idea what he was doing. Like I’d been, you know, PR training for four years and he was just getting up there and waving his hands around. And, uh, that kind of, and not only him but Pat Merida, Mr. Miyagi had no idea what he was doing either. Uh, it was kind of annoying. Johnny Lawrence did though.

[00:16:51] Cameron: Johnny Lawrence had trained, I believe. Cool. Whatever the actor’s name is. I can’t remember. Anyway, enough about my ego blows as a teenager.

[00:17:01] Chrissy: Um, also it is one other, um, piece of evidence that we’re in my simulation. Yes. You were the karate kid. Yes. At that. Like, I was like, yes,

[00:17:13] Cameron: Chrissy saw Crocodile Dundee and ended up marrying an Australian and moving to Australia.

[00:17:17] Chrissy: No, but obsessed with that movie. Obsessed with Karate Kid is now doing Man from Snowy River. Yeah. Like what? Okay.

[00:17:25] Cameron: And what was the other one? Um, PeeWee’s. Big Adventure. Yeah. We, our son is a bit peewee.

[00:17:32] Chrissy: Yes, we did give birth to a peewee

[00:17:34] Cameron: adjacent. You, you’re basically child. We’re convinced. I’m living in Chrissy’s simulation.

[00:17:39] Cameron: Um, so the history of Chinese martial arts I read up on, um, as I said predates Shaolin by many, many centuries. There’s a document called the Shi Ji, or the records of the grand historian, written by a guy called Shma Qian who lived from 1 45 to 90 BCE. And he wrote a history of basically China going back thousands or more years.

[00:18:12] Cameron: His, he came from a, a family of imperial historians, like his father, his grandfather were imperial historians. So they had access to all of these imperial records. And he, he traveled around and met people and interviewed people to pull together these stories. And he’s considered quite, uh, a skeptical, uh, scientific kind of historian, which didn’t exist in the west really for another 1500 years after him.

[00:18:40] Cameron: But he talked about in the records of the grand historian, the presence of martial arts back some like a thousand BCE in China in different forms. So it had been around, uh, a very long time, something that Chinese had been practicing since, you know, the foundation of China pretty much. Um, and this book that he wrote, the records is astounding.

[00:19:08] Cameron: It’s, uh, four times longer than the history of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides and longer than the Old Testament. So it’s an incredible book, which I’d never even heard of before. Right. As I, I’ve been doing a lot of shows about China recently for some of my other podcasts, and getting a increasing appreciation for how old China is and how much China had done while the Greeks were still, you know, throwing rocks at each other.

[00:19:39] Cameron: Mm-Hmm. China had built, you know, ma mammoth empires and had thought about a lot of stuff. We, writing

[00:19:45] Chrissy: stuff, we don’t learn lot about that and we don’t learn a lot about, like you were saying the other day. Um. You know, things happening in Islamic

[00:19:55] Cameron: countries and Yeah. Yeah. One of my series we’re doing, uh, the Islamic Golden Age and, you know, the 800 CE, the stuff that these Islamic scholars were coming up with was astounding.

[00:20:06] Cameron: Yeah. And Leonardo da Vinci, guys like that, that lived 800 years later, seven, 800 years later, were building on the work that these Islamic scholars had done. Anyway, people

[00:20:16] Chrissy: learning about it are history

[00:20:17] Cameron: nerds like you Yeah. Just nerds. Mm-Hmm. Um, and look, and talking about martial arts, like boxing was around an ancient Greece.

[00:20:27] Cameron: Uh, the, the, the classic Indian Sanskrit epics, like the Mahabharata talk about fighting styles, hand-to-hand fighting styles that existed in India. Um, the ancient Parthians, the, the, the, the predecessor to the Persians had a, a style of grappling known as Kosh Tea, which people are still practicing apparently in Iran.

[00:20:51] Cameron: Hmm. But when, as I said before, when we think martial arts today, I think most of us in the West think Asian martial arts. And I wonder how much of that has to do with Bruce Lee.

[00:21:03] Chrissy: Oh yeah. I think everything has to do with Bruce Lee.

[00:21:07] Cameron: It all goes back. I mean, there were Kung Fu movies before Bruce. Uh, but you know, I think Bruce just had such a huge impact.

[00:21:18] Cameron: Mm-Hmm. On cinema and television in the West and our association with martial arts, it’s pretty much all goes back to his influence. Um, that’s my working hypothesis anyway, why we think martial arts equals, um, Asian martial arts and not these others. And, and you know, the proliferation of martial arts in the west.

[00:21:44] Cameron: Obviously because of Bruce and Jackie Chan and, and people like that who came after ’cause of

[00:21:50] Chrissy: Hollywood. It’s the first time I saw anything like that. Yeah. As this kid who grew up in, you know, white rural Utah

[00:21:58] Cameron: was Karate kid. Yeah. Before you saw a Bruce Lee movie.

[00:22:02] Chrissy: I think that my brothers had, they watched like Kung Fu, I

[00:22:07] Cameron: think David Carradine the

[00:22:10] Chrissy: TV show.

[00:22:10] Chrissy: Yeah. Yeah. I was really little though, and I don’t think that I was really paying attention when that was happening, but Yeah.

[00:22:18] Cameron: Well, and that was ripped off of Bruce Lee too. Bruce, um, pitched a TV show like that to the networks in the US and they said they weren’t interested and then came out with the exact same story.

[00:22:34] Cameron: But with David Carradine a white man in the role instead of Bruce. Before Bruce was famous. I think he, that, that happened probably around about the time he was doing the green Hornet. Anyway, so let’s talk about the Shaolin Monastery for a bit. Um, built in 4 95 ce, it’s a long time ago. Um, you know, at the same time Rome had fallen, Rome was sort of, uh, not in a good place.

[00:23:09] Cameron: Um, there wasn’t much going on in Europe in 4 95 ce. It was the, the beginning of the dark ages, but. Shaolin was built near a city which still exists today, called Luoyang in China, which at the time was one of the biggest cities in the world. Had about half a million people living in it, around four ninety-five, which would’ve been more, I think that was in Rome at that stage.

[00:23:34] Cameron: ’cause Rome had had collapsed and the, the, um, emperor had moved the primary residence down to Constantinople. And, you know, the, the Western Roman Empire was sort of in chaos. Shaolin Temple was built at the foot of a mountain called Songshan, which is in Dongfeng County, Henan Province, Northern China, along the Southern Bank of the Yellow River.

[00:24:02] Cameron: And, uh, it was, it, it was sort of, had been famous for a long time in China. It’s known as the Central Mountain of the five great mountains of China. And as far back as the first millennium BCE. Chinese, uh, mythology had positioned it as the center of heaven and earth, bit like, uh, it’s probably Missouri for Mormons.

[00:24:29] Cameron: Yeah. Yes. Or um, it’s where probably monkey was born. Oh, okay. Um, and so this Buddhist temple was built in 4 95, 4 96 ce and it was named for the peak that was next to it, Mount Shaoxi. So it was called Shaolin, which I believe is the forest of Shao Mountain is where it was built. So like in the bottom of the mountain.

[00:24:58] Cameron: Luoyang, by the way, had, was built around, uh, 700 BCE. There were earlier cities there, but the, what became the city of Luoyang had been around for, uh, know, 1200 years when Shaolin Temple was bought. Just, uh, built just outside of it. But then we have to talk about the history of Buddha and Buddhism. How much do you know about the history of Buddhism White girl from Utah?

[00:25:25] Chrissy: Yeah. That, not like as much as you would think.

[00:25:30] Cameron: Do you wanna take a guess When Buddha lived? No. Wow. Following in the tradition of my co-hosts,

[00:25:42] Chrissy: you told me I didn’t

[00:25:43] Cameron: have to prepare. No, I said, you just need to giggle a lot. So, Buddha Siddhartha, Gautama traditionally is said to have lived between the sixth and fifth centuries.

[00:25:56] Cameron: B.C.E born in Nepal, so basically India at the time. Um, and most scholars think he lived probably between five-sixty-three B.C.E, and 4 63, 4 83 BCE, you know, as you would expect, not a lot of real historical evidence for Buddha, but that’s, you know, the, what the, the basic assumption is. So he’d been dead for a thousand years before the Shaolin temple was built.

[00:26:30] Cameron: Buddhism had been around for a thousand years, but Buddhism was an Indian thing. How did it end up in China? Well. It started to trickle across. So the, the Silk Road, which was sort of the, you know much about the Silk Road. Yeah. The Trading Highway. Basically. Trading highway. Exactly. So there’s a lot of idea sharing that was going on, uh, between India and China during sort of the first century CE.

[00:27:02] Cameron: And it believed they, they believe that Buddhism sort of made its way from India to China. Around about, then there’s some early translations of Buddhist texts into Chinese around about the second century CE. And it, it sort of started to make its way into China. Slowly, China’s traditional religions were Confucianism and Taoism.

[00:27:26] Cameron: Buddhism slowly started to build up a following in there, and I. By around about the two hundreds CE, it started to develop a bit of a presence, but it was really sort of in the five hundreds and six hundreds that it really became quite strong and started to get a lot of imperial recognition. But it was, um, there, there’s this thing in 5 47, a history of the temples around Loy was written by a guy called Yang, and he mentions that the golden wind chimes that hung along one part, particular temple’s, eaves could be heard for three miles, and the spire of the temple’s pagoda could be seen over 30 miles away.

[00:28:12] Cameron: And then he says that there was a monk from the west named Bodhidharma, who called it the most imposing structure he’d ever seen. And I think that’s the earliest record that we have of Bodhidharma. Now, uh, I mentioned Bodhidharma to a couple of people in the last week, and they thought Bodhidharma was the Buddha different guy lived a thousand years after the Buddha.

[00:28:37] Cameron: You ever heard of Bodhidharma?

[00:28:40] Chrissy: Yes. Today when we were talking about the podcast,

[00:28:44] Cameron: before that, had you ever heard of Bodhidharma? No. I’ve known about so, and this blew my mind this week because like I’ve known about Bodhidharma since I started getting interested in Zen when I was like 12 or 13. Uh, because he’s traditionally considered the founder of Chan Buddhism, which when it went to Japan became known as Zen Buddhism.

[00:29:10] Cameron: But I never knew that he was connected to Shaolin Temple until the last couple of weeks when I started reading about the history of Shaolin, which just kind of blew my mind. So these two topics that I’ve been fascinated with my entire life. Zen Buddhism and Kung Fu, all connected Bodhidharma and the Shaolin temple.

[00:29:34] Cameron: Um, which is kind of mind-boggling, although if he actually existed, which seems to be there some evidence that he did from this history. The role that he played in either of those is really unknown. It’s mostly mythology, you know, there’s not a lot of evidence for him or what he did as you would expect.

[00:29:56] Cameron: Um, but he is known as the founder of Chan Buddhism, he’s called Bodhidharma, was his Indian name. He’s known as Dhammo in Chinese and Daruma in Japan. They think he traveled to China in around about the four seventies to seek enlightenment and to teach Buddhism. I. And eventually, you know, sort of sailed around The Indian coast got ended up in China in the four seventies, traveled around China for like 20 years and ended up at Shaolin not long after it was built.

[00:30:35] Cameron: He wasn’t the first Abbot. The first Abbot was a guy called Batuo who was, uh, teaching traditional Buddhism, um, studying the scriptures, all of that kind of stuff. And there’s a, there’s a, there’s actually a tradition that Ba was fascinated with Chinese martial arts and was picking his students based on their level of interest in martial arts.

[00:30:59] Cameron: So even the tr the, there’s like multiple traditions about how Shaolin became associated with martial arts. And one of them is that the first abbot was in martial arts. Another is that Bodhidharma introduced them to martial arts when he got there. Um, but. Bodhidharma arrives and he, he’s practicing this early form of Chan Buddhism according to tradition, which is kind of based around a Buddhist Sutra called the Lankavatara Sutra, which is all about the direct experience of enlightenment.

[00:31:39] Cameron: Now this brings us to the second topic that we’re interested in, which is Enlightenment. Yeah. Eastern Philosophy and Enlightenment. Um, I’ve been involved in that. As I said, like I, I started, I got into trouble at my high school when I was 12 or 13 ’cause we had to fill out a form for religious education and we had to write what religion we were.

[00:32:07] Cameron: And I wrote Zen Buddhist on the top of mine. This was like 1983. And did you know what that meant? I did. I’d been reading books outta the school library on Zen. Buddhism. I dunno why I think I saw a book on it and thought, oh, I’ve heard of that. I wonder what it is. Is that

[00:32:23] Chrissy: what mon like

[00:32:25] Cameron: monkey Monkey? Yeah.

[00:32:26] Cameron: Probably. It was probably because of monkey, which was huge in Australia in the early

[00:32:32] Chrissy: eighties. That was probably just that seed. Yes. Actually deep into that subconscious when you were a kid, you know?

[00:32:39] Cameron: And my entire life has been based on monkey as a result. Yeah. But anyway, so, um, your introduction to Eastern philosophy was really when you met me, I guess.

[00:32:52] Cameron: Mm-Hmm. 15 years ago. Well,

[00:32:55] Chrissy: that’s not exactly true. I mean, I, I’m not illiterate about, uh, Buddhism. I have read things throughout the years in. Knew the main tenets of, um, I think Zen Buddhism, I was familiar with that. Um, I can’t remember what it was that I read, but I read and listen to stuff all the time and Yeah.

[00:33:20] Chrissy: But I think really diving in and, um, studying, considering stretching my brain around it Yeah. Was with you.

[00:33:31] Cameron: Mm. And it’s had a big impact on both of our lives, you know? Definitely sort of, I, sort of, my introduction to it seriously was a few years, like, um, when I was, I dunno, 18 or 19, I was trying to get sober.

[00:33:49] Cameron: I’d, I’d been trying to kill myself with alcohol when I was 17, 18 ’cause I was miserable. And, uh, met a guy I. Um, Bob who’s still around, and he got me interested in philosophy. Not, didn’t call it Zen, called it sort of non-duality or Advaita, but Advaita is basically the Zen of Hinduism. Um, it’s called Chan in, in in China, Zen in Japan, and Advaita in India.

[00:34:27] Cameron: It’s got a different tradition, but you know, it’s the same sort of teaching Advaita translates as non-duality. And, and you know, pretty much, you know, I’m convinced that his intro, he’s introducing me to that at that age probably saved my life. I, I probably would’ve, uh, not lasted many years where my head was at, um, at that age.

[00:34:52] Cameron: So it’s, it’s played a huge role in my life. And

[00:34:56] Chrissy: that’s why I always say that you saved my life too because I came, I started really seriously, um, becoming curious and almost hungry for it when I was getting sober. ’cause I’ve been sober now. How many years has it

[00:35:16] Cameron: been coming up? 13 this year, I think 12 or 13.

[00:35:24] Cameron: 2012. So it’d be 12 years this year. Right?

[00:35:28] Chrissy: Yeah. Um, yeah. So that’s been part of my sober journey, I guess. Yeah. Is diving into that and it really, I think, fulfilled that spirituality. Part of the, I don’t know, the healing process that has to happen I think sometimes.

[00:35:54] Cameron: Yeah. The investigation into, I mean, asking the big questions, I guess.

[00:36:02] Cameron: Who, who am I, What am I, Why am I here? What am I supposed to do? How do I live my life? Mm-Hmm.

[00:36:10] Chrissy: Uh, you and I both should we, we can just say we’re part of AA, right? Is that something we can say?

[00:36:19] Cameron: I’m not sure I could say I am anymore. I haven’t been to a meeting 30 years, but I was, that’s how I got sober. Yeah.

[00:36:26] Cameron: Yeah. Well,

[00:36:27] Chrissy: I’m saying we were in that program.

[00:36:29] Cameron: We got sober through

[00:36:29] Chrissy: aa. Yeah. Yeah. So even getting over step one, Advaita came in to help me figure that out. Yeah. Because I am def, I was definitely not going to pretend that I believed in Christianity. Yeah. Or a God. Yeah. So, yeah, that helped me through that.

[00:36:51] Chrissy: Yeah.

[00:36:51] Cameron: Anyway. So, um, and we, I wanna talk about this in some detail because this is central to the story of Shaolin Temple. So well before it became known as the center of Kung Fu, which really didn’t happen until the 15 hundreds. For a thousand years. It was the major center, particularly in Northern China of Chan Buddhism.

[00:37:20] Cameron: And tradition says that that was introduced by Bodhidharma. So, I mean, for people that aren’t familiar with Zen or non-duality, teachings of any sort, hold on. Chrissie’s. Just gonna pour a more tea. Being Chinese Night, we have to drink tea even though it’s Indian. But Bodhidharma introduced tea to China.

[00:37:45] Cameron: We’ll get to that according to tradition later. Um. The Lanka Vatara. Sutra is really about using, uh, a direct concept of, of emptiness. Um, just using your mind to perceive the real nature of things as opposed to other forms of Buddhism, which taught certain practices or studying the scriptures living a good life, you know, the rightful path and all of that kind of stuff.

[00:38:29] Cameron: Chan, Buddhism, Zen, Buddhism and Advaita teach just a, a direct path to becoming aware of the illusory nature of things, and that is, you know what Bama. Uh, called into tradition, introduced into not just China, but into the world because he’s, I mean, he, he was basing it on the Lankavatara Sutra, but he became the, sort of the founder of the School of Buddhism, known as Chan.

[00:39:03] Cameron: Whether or not he was probably not, but that’s, you know, the, the what tradition ascribes to him. And I guess, uh, you know what, what all of these non-duality philosophies are teaching is that there’s just one thing. Not many things in my terminology, thanks. It’s just the universe. There is only one thing.

[00:39:26] Cameron: It is the universe and I, you, we are, that there’s no separation. Separation is illusion. I wrote a book about it some years ago. Um, and it’s fascinating to me that Kung Fu. It came out of Shaolin Temple, which was, had been for a thousand years, the main place, particularly in Northern China that was teaching this philosophy and what the connection is between non-duality philosophy and Kung Fu.

[00:40:06] Cameron: Like how does one influence the other and how do they work together? How does that philosophical understanding improve your practition, your practitioner, your practice? Mm-Hmm. Of Kung Fu. Right. Is what one of the things I wanna explore.

[00:40:25] Chrissy: Yeah. It’s a really interesting question. Um, go on.

[00:40:35] Cameron: Well, before I do that, talk about how non-duality has helped you in the last 10 years.

[00:40:47] Chrissy: I, I honestly feel like there could be an episode on that

[00:40:51] Cameron: and there will be probably over time, but high level. Well, like practically, how has it helped you

[00:41:00] Chrissy: practically except accepting that everything has to happen Exactly how it happens. I’m just along for the ride. Um, there’s, there’s just What does that do for you?

[00:41:17] Chrissy: It, it allows me to release the illusion of control in my life. Um, it allows me to accept reality for what it is. Um, it allows me in times that are bad to know you. Yeah, this is exactly what’s meant to be happening right now. I don’t know why it’s happening, but it’s ex, it’s supposed to be happening right now.

[00:41:51] Chrissy: I don’t know. There’s, um, it, I, I would say it just trickles into my whole mindset really. I’m less reactive usually. Um, my view of myself doesn’t have so much identity there, you know, anymore. It’s just, it, yeah, it’s all about this experience that I get to experience. So, I don’t know. I, I could talk a lot more, but, um, I guess I wasn’t prepared for sort of a nutshell answer to that.

[00:42:34] Chrissy: But yeah, I, I, I guess it helps me. With that pure, pure acceptance. And I feel like with pure acceptance, there is happiness and weirdly, a lot of freedom, which I think a lot of people don’t, are afraid of non-duality because then they think, well then I’m just trapped Mm. In this narrative and I don’t want to be in it.

[00:42:59] Chrissy: And really the opposite has been true in my experience. There’s such, such freedom you let go of so much that is just, um, bullshit. Yeah. That’s not helpful. Yeah, yeah.

[00:43:16] Cameron: Yeah. I mean, in my 30 odd years of being involved in non-duality philosophy, I believe it’s not only saved my life, but has enabled me to live.

[00:43:31] Cameron: I. With, uh, without anxiety, without fear, without guilt, without resentment, without anger, because none of those emotions really make sense. In a non-dualistic philosophy, there’s no, there’s no room for them. You don’t have to try and talk yourself out of them. There’s just no basis for them. When you accept that there is only one thing, and it’s just functioning as it has to function, and you are witnessing that as it unfolds, you can’t be angry at.

[00:44:06] Cameron: A cloud for blowing through the sky. It’s just what the cloud has to do based on what’s happening to, its, its atoms at that particular point in time. I mean, you might be angry, but you don’t get

[00:44:18] Chrissy: angry at Mother Nature No. For dumping

[00:44:21] Cameron: rain. Some people do, but it’s not a very productive exercise. Yeah. Like why?

[00:44:27] Cameron: Yeah. And when you realize that free will is an illusion and doesn’t exist and science is pretty much unified in its confirmation of that neuroscientists, etc. That when you, when you accept that free will has never existed, can’t possibly exist, uh, ’cause it sort of would break the laws of physics that actions are based on decisions.

[00:44:53] Cameron: There’s decisions of thoughts, thoughts of properties of the brain. The brain operates according to the laws of chemistry, and so every action is the result of just the laws of chemistry playing out. When you let go of the idea of free will, which I did 30 years ago, you can’t really be angry at other people for doing things because you know that they don’t have any control over what they do.

[00:45:13] Cameron: It’s just the laws of chemistry. It’s the state of their brain playing out as it is in the moment. You can’t be angry at yourself because you realize that things that you have done, uh, is exactly what had to happen, what you had to do based on the chemical state of your brain at the time. Mm-Hmm. Which you have no control over.

[00:45:30] Cameron: Mm-Hmm. Um, so guilt, anger, resentment against things that your parents have done or other people have done just disappears because it has no, it has no logical framework to reside in. It doesn’t make sense. Right. Like you said, being angry at the weather, uh, or being angry at a toddler, or being angry at a.

[00:45:54] Cameron: Cat a kitten for

[00:45:56] Chrissy: being cute. Being so cute,

[00:46:00] Cameron: you know? Yeah. Exploding my brain with cuteness,

[00:46:07] Cameron: being angry at TikTok videos of cute kittens, and you just needing to show them to me and just giggling while you do it. Oh dear. Yes. That makes no sense. Not to say that, you know, I don’t have moments of anger or anxiety, but they don’t last long because they don’t make any sense.

[00:46:28] Chrissy: Well, that’s just it.

[00:46:29] Chrissy: Like we’re still, um, we still appear to be humans living an emotional experience, actually. Um,

[00:46:41] Cameron: to varying degrees. Yeah. I still cry during Dr. Who episodes, you still

[00:46:45] Chrissy: cry like. Okay.

[00:46:50] Cameron: Bollywood films. Yes. You,

[00:46:53] Chrissy: you cry if you’re talking about anything. A little bit heroic.

[00:46:58] Cameron: Yes. That gets me, there’s a hero complex thing or a mother thing like Vincent Van Gogh dying before his art was truly appreciated.

[00:47:09] Cameron: Yeah, yeah. Gets me, yeah. Gets me in the feels. It does. And I dunno why. And you think it’s hilarious?

[00:47:19] Chrissy: It is. Because it’s a game for me now. Yes. And the game is, you can tell, I’ll be washing the dishes and you’re just talking to me and telling me a story. My brain already knows the quality of this story fits into that category of like heroic or like I know the quality of whatever.

[00:47:38] Chrissy: It could be a song. Yeah. It could. Like I just know this and then. There’s like this little tiny change in your voice. Yeah. That only I would detect. Yes. But I know it. And Fox now, and I’m like, are you

[00:47:49] Cameron: crying? Fox picks it up now too. Are you crying, dad? Yeah. Yes. No, shut up. Shut up. You’re crying. Yeah.

[00:48:01] Cameron: I’m not crying. You are

[00:48:01] Chrissy: crying. But that, that’s, you know, your philosophy spiel basically. Yes. Um, the way you understand it, the, what I’m sort of wanting to get into is what, what Chen Buddhism, how, how it’s kind of articulated, how it was understood. Hmm. Um, and how, yeah. I’m interested in the Y kung fu Mm-Hmm.

[00:48:34] Chrissy: Entwined with this philosophy. Or how the cultural aspect of that kind of seeped into it. Does

[00:48:46] Cameron: that make sense? Yeah. And, and I don’t know the answer to that yet. That’s one of the things I wanna explore by doing the research on it. And even if there is one, I mean, martial arts were being practiced right across China, as I said, from, you know, well before Bodhidharma arrived with Chan Buddhism and at various points in time with warring kingdoms going on, and, and, you know, warring, you know, um, factions, it was necessary for people to defend themselves.

[00:49:20] Cameron: And there were periods when weapons were outlawed by various emperors. Um, so they had to use hand-to-hand combat if they were going to. Protect their monastery from, you know, warring tribes or Raiders or whatever it was. And Shaolin got destroyed a couple of times, uh, uh, in different conflagrations that they were caught in the middle of.

[00:49:44] Cameron: So maybe it had nothing to do with Chan Buddhism and it was just about, um, uh, you know, the need to defend themselves. And they just happened to become really good at it. Although, you know, uh, Bruce Lee went to University of Washington to study philosophy primarily Chan and Taoism, which talk I, I’ve got some quotes from Bruce coming up.

[00:50:10] Cameron: Um, so even if the development of Kung Fu at Shaolin had nothing to do with Chan Buddhism, and that was just a coincidence. The question then is, does, uh, an understanding of non-duality help a pro, a practitioner of Kung Fu. Bruce, certainly thought so. I

[00:50:32] Chrissy: think so.

[00:50:35] Cameron: Bodhidharma, there’s a, there’s a number of traditions around Kung, Fu, and Bodhidharma.

[00:50:42] Cameron: One is the, there, there’s a 17th century story found in a manual called the Yi Jin Jing, which is a series of exercises, um, breathing exercises, stretching exercises, strengthening exercises that, um, according to tradition, Bodhidharma either introduced into Shaolin or left behind when he left Shaolin, or when he died.

[00:51:15] Cameron: There’s various versions of the story. One popular version is that when he went to Shaolin, he did, he found the monks were all sort of weak and unhealthy. So he introduced all of these strengthening exercises to them, and that became the foundation of Kung Fu. Another tradition is that he died and they found this book of stretching exercises, breathing, strengthening in his grave or amongst his uh, things.

[00:51:49] Cameron: Or another one is that he left and he left it behind and they found it in his room. And according to those traditions, it was written in Sanskrit, which none of the monks understood. And there is a story that one monk took. The book and traveled around China looking for someone to translate it. He eventually found a monk at another monastery who could translate the Sanskrit, but he said, it’s, it’s too complicated to just translate.

[00:52:20] Cameron: You need to stay here in the monastery and we will work through it together. And the monk did. And after 100 days of practicing, he became quite strong. In the next 100 days, his entire body had received the full benefit. And the third 100 days, his constitution became as hard as steel. And he felt he could be a Buddha.

[00:52:42] Cameron: He was ripped. He was, he was Shah, Rukh, Khan ripping his shirt off. Yeah. Arms stretched out. Yeah. Yeah. Um, but historians tend to doubt, uh, the story. Most modern historians seem to think that this Xi Jinping was. Composed by a Taoist priest called Xi Ning in the early 16 hundreds. Um, which is kinda surprising because it’s associated with a Buddhist monastery.

[00:53:12] Cameron: And he was a Taoist and he wrote one of the prefaces, I think, to one of the earliest known publications of this. And, and they think that even though he was attributing it to Bodhidharma that he may have actually written the whole thing himself. Um, there’s a, there was, uh, a Japanese martial arts scholar called Ryushu Matsuda who said that the earliest surviving edition of the Yixing Jing was 1827.

[00:53:41] Cameron: And in the course of his research, he couldn’t find any mention of it or of Bodhidharma before the 19th century. Bodhidharma’s association with it before the 19th century. So it seems like it may be mythology, but on the flip side, Bodhidharma came from India and these monks were not the healthiest. It’s possible that he introduced them to some form of yoga practice, stretching and breathing may have had nothing to do with, um, you know, martial arts as such, but the basis in yoga, which then suggests that maybe, you know, martial arts, as we think of it, kung fu comes from yoga practices originally.

[00:54:30] Chrissy: Don’t you remember though, we looked up yoga and what we know about yoga is like, it’s kind of new. Yeah, that’s true. Yeah, yeah. Out of like California or something. Didn’t you read that? Yeah. So like, what is that, what, what is the historical basis of that? Yeah, it’s kind, I think it’s, it’s probably pretty shaky.

[00:54:48] Chrissy: Yeah. But, um, I think that. We have to look, we have to do a fact

[00:54:53] Cameron: check on that. Yeah. The history of, okay. I’ll make that a note for the next one. What’s the history of yoga? That’ll be another series. Yoga fused, not yogurt fused. Oh, but I’m Ching because you make your own yogurt every night pretty much. I do.

[00:55:10] Cameron: And you’re not confused about that. You do a bloody good job. Thanks. Bruce Lee was a student of China, as I said, and he studied at your old university, UW, university of Washington, a little bit before you got there. Um, I was reading earlier today an edition of Black Belt Magazine from November, 1967 when they were asking the question, this guy who plays Kato in the Green Hornet TV show.

[00:55:41] Cameron: Can he really do kung-fu or is he just faking it? Uh, because no one knew who Bruce Lee was in 1967, he was on this TV show, but that was it. And so they, they, they did, uh, two editions, I think October and November. They were, did some big sort of, a lot of coverage on Bruce and they were like, oh no, he’s the real deal.

[00:56:01] Cameron: And they went and watched him train and they talked about his Jeet Kune Do schools that he was running. And, uh, they talked about Yip man and Wing Chung and all this kind of stuff. But there’s a quote from Bruce in this In-six-si-seven magazine. He said, the best illustration is something I borrowed from Chan or Zen Before I studied the art, a punch to me was just like a punch, a kick, just like a kick.

[00:56:27] Cameron: After I learned the art, a punch is no longer a punch. A kick is no longer a kick. Now that I’ve understood the art, a punch is just like a punch. A kick is just like a kick.

[00:56:40] Chrissy: How do you, what do you make out of that?

[00:56:44] Cameron: Well, um, a couple of things. So this is, uh, uh, sort of a reframing of an old Zen, uh, saying, which is before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water after enlightenment, chop wood carry water.

[00:57:01] Cameron: Mm-Hmm. And the way I’ve always understood that is, you know, when you know, okay, before enlightenment, before you study philosophy, you don’t think about it. You chop wood, you carry water. When you start. Studying philosophy, you start pulling concepts apart and constructs apart. And you start thinking, okay, well if it’s all the oneness, what is the wood and what is the water and how am I separate from the wood and the water?

[00:57:29] Cameron: And you start to sort of,

[00:57:32] Chrissy: you, you, you totally deconstruct it all.

[00:57:35] Cameron: Exactly. You have to. Yeah. That’s what, you know, the process of Zen is, or, or non-duality is all about. It’s about deconstructing the constructs, the mental constructs you have about the nature of identity and your place in the world and, and deeply thinking it through and trying to dispel yourself of the illusions that you’ve probably had since you were a child.

[00:57:58] Cameron: And then once you’ve been through that process. You’re just accepting the, the, the nature of the, the perception of reality as being the perception of reality. And so you just go back to chop wood, carry water. You’re in the moment, you’re doing what needs to be done. Mm-Hmm. You don’t have to analyze it anymore.

[00:58:19] Cameron: You don’t have to think about it. Like there’s, there’s this old zen, you know, heard of a koan, K-O-A-N.

[00:58:26] Chrissy: Yes. Because you’ve told me about it. Yeah. There’s, I was about to say there’s a word for that. Right, right. A minute ago.

[00:58:32] Cameron: Yeah. Well, it’s probably not a koan. Koans were, I think primarily a, a Japanese, um, riddle invention.

[00:58:42] Cameron: Yeah. Riddles designed to kind of break your brain and, uh, in different ways that might help lead to, uh, an enlightenment experience, break narratives. Yeah. So there was, I think one of the ones that comes to mind is there was, um. Uh, you know, two monks that were being interviewed by the Zen Master and in he said there was a, a flag waving in the wind.

[00:59:09] Cameron: He said, is that flag, uh, waving or not waving? And one, um, monk said, it’s not waving. There is no flag. There is no wind. It’s all the oneness. And the monk hit him on the head with a stick, and the other one said, uh, the flag is waving. It is in the wind. It’s all real. And he hit him on the head with a stick.

[00:59:29] Cameron: That’s the story.

[00:59:31] Chrissy: And you have to try to make sense of it somehow when it

[00:59:35] Cameron: Yeah. Yeah. And you know, my interpretation of that would be they’re both stuck in the concepts like in a classic Zen koan. The one who would get away with it would be the one that would just walk up and kick over the water bowl and walk a bowl of water and walk out the room.

[00:59:51] Cameron: Mm-Hmm. Refuses to engage in conceptual constructs. The famous story of the Buddha, um. Who he passed his, uh, um, mantle onto. He was sitting around before he died with a bunch of his disciples, and they’re asking questions. He was asking them questions about the nature of reality, and they were, they were all giving him different sort of answers.

[01:00:12] Cameron: And he gets to one disciple who just picks up a flower. And he was the guy that the Buddha passed his, um, mantle onto when he died, or the, the cloak of invisibility or whatever it was that he had Favorite student award. Yeah. Student of the month, yeah. Award. Yeah. Because he just, he cut through the bullshit.

[01:00:33] Cameron: He cut through the concepts and, you know, demonstrated that he wasn’t buying into any conceptual constructs by just picking up a flower

[01:00:41] Chrissy: and probably regurgitating language. Yes. You know, regurgitating language and Yeah.

[01:00:47] Cameron: And then in the Dao of Jeet Kune Do, which is a book I read a little while ago that.

[01:00:54] Cameron: Uh, came out after Bruce died, but it was sort of, um, based on all of his notes and his notebooks and things that he was compiling to write a book. He never got around to it before he died. He actually quotes, uh, the Xin Xin Ming, which has been a favorite of mine since Bob introduced me to it when I was 19 or 20, written by Xiong Shan, who was the third patriarch of Chan.

[01:01:22] Cameron: So Bodhidharma passed it on to Hui Ke and Hui Ke passed it on to Xiong Shan, and it’s this great sort of long. Um, prose poem about non-duality, but Bruce in the Dao of Jikendo quotes, the opening of it the perfect way is only difficult for those who pick and choose. Do not like, do not dislike. All then will be clear, make a hairbreadth difference, and heaven and earth are set apart.

[01:01:54] Cameron: If you want the truth to stand clear before you never be for or against the struggle between, for and against is the mind’s worst disease.

[01:02:05] Chrissy: Mm-Hmm. So I should say that, um, I was introduced to a lot of these ideas weirdly before, way before I started Kung Fu, probably like in, I don’t know, 2000. 13 or maybe when Fox was born.

[01:02:27] Chrissy: 14. Um, but I was listening to, um, Shannon Lee’s podcast. Bruce’s daughter. Yes. What was that podcast

[01:02:35] Cameron: called? Be Like Water? No, I don’t know. I can’t remember.

[01:02:43] Chrissy: I think it was just called the Bruce Lee Podcast. Maybe could have been.

[01:02:46] Cameron: Yeah. Um, it’s like 10 years ago, 11 years ago. But I listened to

[01:02:49] Chrissy: the whole thing because I had this natural in interest in this philosophy.

[01:02:57] Chrissy: Mm-Hmm. And I loved it. And you know, I was early years sobriety at that time, just eating it up. Really curious. But, um, yeah, it’s really interesting that that little tidbit is interesting to me. Yeah. I’d boned up a little bit on this philosophy years ago before I ever even thought, huh, I should do that.

[01:03:19] Cameron: Yeah. Yeah. And when I suggested we would do Wing Chung, um, you didn’t even know about the connection between Bruce and Wing. Chung and Yip Man or any of that

[01:03:30] Chrissy: kind of stuff. Yeah. Because I don’t catalogue little facts

[01:03:35] Cameron: like you do. No, you’re not a nerd about that kind of stuff. Yeah. If it was violin, classical music, yeah.

[01:03:43] Chrissy: I can, I know my stuff. That’s

[01:03:45] Cameron: my, Chris is a violin teacher, has been her whole life. Have

[01:03:49] Chrissy: I have you, you think My whole life has been the years I’ve been with you.

[01:03:56] Cameron: You were a violin teacher before you met me. Habit. Oh yeah. Yeah. Just joking. Yes. Well, I’m in your sim you’re not in mine, so That’s right. Yeah.

[01:04:06] Cameron: It is my sim I already know about evidence about in real life, what you tell me. So Bodhidharma is the subject of many legends as well, um, along with Zen and Kung Fu. He supposedly brought tea to China. So this is a great story. This is like

[01:04:23] Chrissy: a Bollywood film. It is. He he, he, he did it all. It’s like Triple R, like come on.

[01:04:27] Chrissy: Yeah. Yeah. He started kung-fu He invented

[01:04:31] Cameron: tea. Yeah. But the story is great. So he, um, when he got to Shaolin, no one was interested in his teachings of Chan Buddhism. ’cause they, they were traditional Mahayana, Buddhism, you know, studying the scriptures, that kind of stuff. He was like, you don’t need all, you don’t need all that.

[01:04:52] Cameron: You know, you just need to get straight to the truth. So he went and found a cave nearby where he decided to sit and meditate, searching for enlightenment himself. And the, the, the story is that he sat in this cave all day, every day for years. I. And then, uh, at one point during the summer, he started to get tired and he felt his eyes drooping.

[01:05:17] Cameron: So he took a knife and cut his eyelids off so he wouldn’t sleep as you do as you do. And he threw his eyelids on the ground and where they fell, tea trees grew from them. And the monks who drank the tea from the tea trees discovered that it kept them awake when they were meditating. So that’s where, that’s how tea came to China is the story.

[01:05:44] Chrissy: That would’ve been the coolest drug

[01:05:46] Cameron: since. Yeah. What were they on? They were super high. Um, but, uh, there’s this other great story about his, uh, which is by the way, sorry. So all of the depictions you see of Bodhidharma, he’s always got big bulging eyes, partly because he was from India. Um, and partly because he didn’t have any eyelids ’cause he cut them off according to tradition.

[01:06:12] Cameron: I’m just thinking of

[01:06:13] Chrissy: Kenan Thompson right now.

[01:06:17] Cameron: Kenan Thompson eyes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh. Uh, that’d be, it’d be funny if they made a film about Bodhi Dharma and they cast Kenan Thompson. Oh, he would be so good. Yeah. Yeah. He just does the eyes. Yeah. And they’re like, that guy has no eyelids. He must have cut them off.

[01:06:35] Cameron: Passed me another cup of tea. So this other great story, uh, one that I remember reading about when I was very young is eventually, um, a young guy approached Bodhi Dharma in his cave and said he wanted to be his student. His disciple, Bodhi Dharma taught him to go away. Um, apparently this kid had a background in either traditional Buddhism or Taoism and Bodhi Dharma didn’t think he was serious enough.

[01:07:00] Cameron: So, um, according to one tradition, Bodhi Dharma said he would only take him. When the heavens turned, the snow red and so the guy cut his arm off and the blood turned the snow red. So Bodhidharma figured he was serious and took him in. Um, and then when he was bandaging up his arm said, let’s not be so fucking dramatic next time.

[01:07:31] Cameron: I see. Like

[01:07:32] Chrissy: you actually, it, it really helps to have two arms. Yeah. When you do this kung

[01:07:38] Cameron: fu, you could have just like. Sliced your palm open or something. Yeah. He goes, dude, you cut your eyelids off. Like, who are you to talk? He goes, yeah, fair point, fair point. You got me here. All right. Let’s just say from now on, no one cuts anything off.

[01:07:52] Cameron: Yeah. Can we just agree on that? No more

[01:07:54] Chrissy: cutting. But we got tea from my eyelids. So what do you have? Yeah,

[01:07:57] Cameron: what do you bring to the table? Let’s just bury the knives. That’s what I’m saying. Let’s get rid of the knives. Yeah. I don’t think we can be trusted around sharp. No sharp objects. Sharp

[01:08:06] Chrissy: implements.

[01:08:07] Chrissy: That is why it’s hand-to-hand.

[01:08:10] Cameron: Hand to hand combat. Yeah, yeah, yeah. They couldn’t be trusted around sharp objects. Um, the other story about this young guy is he said to Bodhidharma, my mind is not at peace. Please pacify it for me. Bring your mind here and I’ll pacify it for you said Bodhidharma. I’ve searched for my mind.

[01:08:30] Cameron: The kid said, but I cannot find it anywhere. I have now completely pacified your mind for you said Bodhidharma. Perfect. Perfect. Yeah, that’s, that’s a good con non duality teaching in one hit, right? Mm-Hmm. If you can’t find the mind, ignore it. Yeah. You’ve, yeah. See through it or you’re crazy, or that you’ve lost your mind.

[01:08:55] Cameron: So this student, when Bodhidharma died in, um, 5 28, according to some sources, he was poisoned by a jealous monk. Uh, he passed, uh, his, his mantle as the Patriarch of Chan Buddhism onto this one armed monk, um, who became the second Patriarch of Chan Buddhism. He probably was a guy that just had one arm and somebody said to him one day, why do you only have one arm?

[01:09:29] Cameron: And he told him this story. Shit-faced drunk at the time.

[01:09:33] Chrissy: Yeah. Or like just total

[01:09:35] Cameron: bullshitting. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like, Hey, watch this. He said to this young guy. Yeah. So I cut my arm off and, you know, yeah. A thousand years later, people still believe the story. Yep. Um, there is, in, at Shaolin, there’s a stele, like a stone tablet thing with an inscription dated 7 28.

[01:10:00] Cameron: So about 200 years after Bodhidharma supposedly died. And it talks about Bodhidharma having lived at on the mountain. And there’s another dated 7 98 that has Huy Khe chopping his arm off. So two to 250 years after these things apparently happened, they’re being, uh, recorded at Shaolin. That’s the earliest evidence that we have of these stories.

[01:10:32] Cameron: Hmm. That’s a long time. 200, 250 years. Oh, yeah. Um, but the suggestion that these stories were at least around that Shaolin couple hundred years later, those stories are really old stories. One final story, legend has it, that after Bodhidharma’s death, uh, Chinese monk is travelling somewhere in, in middle Asia, and he meets Bodhidharma walking down the road with carrying a sandal in his hand.

[01:11:09] Cameron: No sandal on, no sandals on his feet. He’s carrying one sandal in his hand. The guy asks him where he’s going, and he says he’s returning to India. The guy rushes to Shaolin, they dig up Bodhidharma’s grave, and it’s empty except for one sandal.

[01:11:28] Chrissy: What

[01:11:37] Chrissy: I mean,

[01:11:37] Cameron: the relevance of that, I’m not quite sure. It

[01:11:42] Chrissy: really sounds like some weird Christian story that I would’ve heard growing up. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it

[01:11:50] Cameron: does. It just has all that. Well, it’s a good reason for that. The stories are stories. Humans make up stories and why that story? Maybe somebody robbed his body out of the grave and that was the story they came up with to explain it.

[01:12:02] Cameron: Mm-Hmm. Wouldn’t be the first example of grave robbery in history. Him and Jesus both disappeared from their graves. Yeah. People had to make up stories to explain it. Um, but I just wanna finish by saying that some scholars think that Chan Buddhism actually was a, an example of syncretism syncretism. Is what they call it when two cultures with two religions meet and sort of start swapping spit.

[01:12:33] Cameron: Mm-Hmm. French kissing Religions or philosophies. Yeah. Yeah.

[01:12:38] Chrissy: Um, Intertwining

[01:12:40] Cameron: ideas. Yes. Um, DT Suzuki very famous, uh, Japanese, uh, Scholar of Zen Buddhism said the Chan was a natural evolution of Buddhism under Taoist conditions. ’cause it has a lot of similarities with Taoism. The other examples, uh, uh, of syncretism that I always think about is stoicism.

[01:13:06] Cameron: And Epicureanism emerged in Athens in, you know, around about 300 CE after Alexander the Great had taken his armies to India. And then they went back to Greece and sort of took a little bit of Indian philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and merged it with Greek philosophy. And then they had Stoicism and Epicureanism and vice versa.

[01:13:32] Cameron: Cross-pollination. Cross-pollination. Yeah. Or swapping. Spit. I like better, but sure. If you wanna be dry and boring about it, you can call it that. You’re

[01:13:40] Chrissy: like French kissing. Yeah. With the tongues.

[01:13:44] Cameron: Tongues or tongs instead of Chinese reference. Yeah. Um, Bruce Lee, at the end of this 19 sixty-seven article said seven 700 million Chinese can’t all be Wong.

[01:13:56] Cameron: No, we’re talking about Kung Fu. He did not. He did. Wow. Yeah. He made a Chinese joke. Would’ve got cancelled if he did that today. Anyway, um, the, uh. Where was I going with that? Oh, cross-pollination on the, on the other side of it, before Alexander went to China, uh, sorry. Before he went to India, they never had physical depictions of Buddha, you know, little fat man, uh, Buddha statues.

[01:14:25] Cameron: They didn’t do that. Buddha was only depicted as like footprints on the sand. There was no human character of Buddha in India before the Greeks. But then the Greeks came with all their statues of Apollo and Zeus, et cetera, et cetera. And, um, the Indians went, oh yeah, right? Statues, you can book, you can do statues.

[01:14:50] Cameron: Shit. How do we not figure that out for the last 2000 years? Let’s do that. Um, and of course, uh, Christianity, uh, I think is a syncretism between, um, agricultural mystery religions, uh, that, you know, sort of came out of ancient Greece and out of Egypt. And Judaism. This is this, I think, very strong evidence that, uh, the, the, the Eucharist tradition eat this bread.

[01:15:19] Cameron: It is my body drink this wine, it is my blood. Mm-Hmm. Which according to the writings of St. Paul is a tradition that he was given. So it goes back, makes no sense from the perspective of Judaism. Makes perfect sense from the perspective of agrarian mystery cults that were very popular in the Roman Empire around about the first century CE.

[01:15:42] Cameron: ’cause when you, the cults of Dionysus of Isis and Osiris, the gods of the grain, the gods of the grape, when you eat bread, you are literally eating the body of the grain. God, uh, Isis or Osiris. When you drink wine, you are literally drinking the body of the grape God Dionysus.

[01:16:03] Chrissy: Yeah. That thread is in there.

[01:16:05] Cameron: Yeah. It seems really obvious. From an agrarian mystery, cult perspective, and it just sort of syncretized Paul or somebody before Paul Syncretized it into this Judaic, uh, thing that he was doing. And, um, boom. Shaka like a boom. Christianity. You got it. Mm-Hmm. Let’s go with a little bit of a shake. The Yi Yeah.

[01:16:28] Cameron: Cup. Yes. Double sixes. Let’s go. Yeah. All right. That is the first episode of Confused. When we come back next time, we’re gonna be more confused. Well think we even more if you weren’t confused at the start of this.

[01:16:44] Chrissy: Yeah. We

[01:16:45] Cameron: were all over the place. No, we were. There was a lovely, logical progression there.

[01:16:50] Cameron: Okay. Don’t tell me how to Oh, I came up with a term from I’m a podcast story. Oh,

[01:16:57] Chrissy: that is good.

[01:16:58] Cameron: A Pod. I think I just invented that. Cool. I’m a podcast story. What am I? The wife of a pod Castorian. Oh wow. But after we finish this series, you can, you can put that on your business card as well. Podcast story.

[01:17:14] Cameron: It’s

[01:17:14] Chrissy: so bonkers to me that A, I do can food. Oh, it’s like, who? Who’s this? What? Yeah. And then b, that I’m doing a history podcast. What?

[01:17:28] Cameron: You’ve corrupted me by getting me to put chili on everything.

[01:17:32] Chrissy: Yeah. There there’s been a cross pollination with

[01:17:34] Cameron: us too. Yeah. And a lot of spit swapping. True Speaking of

[01:17:38] Chrissy: which, it’s almost 11

[01:17:41] Cameron: P.M.

[01:17:41] Cameron: Yeah. Thanks for listening. Bye.