Radiant Spirit

Essence of love fills the heart

Whispers of Oneness


(Inspired by Master Li Junfeng)

Blog by Paul Rischard

Narbeth, Pennsylvania, May 2008

Apple blossoms in the park outside drifted to the ground on a fresh spring day. At the weekend workshop, Master Li Junfeng walked to the center of his assembled students. Moments before, someone had asked if he would demonstrate how he practices the form we were learning that weekend when he is by himself.

The moving meditation we beheld represented the soulful, fluid dance of a man whose remarkable life was right there before us. No one spoke. No words, even these here, can describe the beauty we experienced.

Many teachers will tell you that instruction in a particular form begins with learning specific movements as part of a greater process. “Opening the Heart” is introduced and practiced followed by “Love Descends on Me” in one of the Sheng Zhen forms. The transitions between movements are repeated and polished. It is through dedicated practice over time that the form is inculcated so that the essence of the person can be seen in the enactment. This is what we experienced in that Narbeth workshop long ago. Master Li and the form were one.

I wonder if an example of this process might be how folks used to learn cursive handwriting. My many Michigan cousins and I all used the same handbook back in the 1950s and 60s. All our letters were corrected by our teachers so that they approximated the images in the text. Nevertheless, today when we write each other in cursive, each one of us has a distinct form. Some are smooth and rounded and others are more staccato. Graphologists insist that human personality can be distinguished by the analysis of penmanship. Does our essential nature manifest in our pursuit of the Internal Arts?

“Practice makes perfect” is the old saying. Another axiom has it that “perfection” is doing something precisely as it is modeled. “Perfect,” on the other hand, is doing something from the heart with the soul fully engaged.

That day in Narbeth, years ago, we witnessed the whispers of Unconditional Love in the ear of a master.

Paul Rischard