A tribute to a great meditation master.

On the sixth of October at 3:35 in the morning, my first root lama ( teacher) entered into Nirvana. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche Master of the Karma Kagyu guided me into the Buddhist practice with these words “even in the the deepest mud pit, gold can be found”. This teaching referred to the transformation of consciousness available through the practice of meditation.

The Venerable Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche was born in easten Tibet. Born in the second month of 1924, he was born to Buddhist parents. After many years of diligent meditative practice,teaching the dharma, and bodhisattva activities, Rinpoche became the Abbot of the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Monastery in Woodstock, New York. It was here that Rinpoche presided over my entrance into the Buddhist path in 1978.

It was also at this location that I was fortunate to take part in the Black Crown Ceremony under the auspices of the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje.

I recall vividly the tireless efforts of Rinpoche to provide Dharma teachings to the various communities. On one occasion at my request, Rinpoche traveled three hours and 216 miles round trip to give a teaching at a seminar that I organized, which included late African Dance Master Chuck Davis, and the late internal arts Master, Professor Huo Chi Kwang.

I remain thankful for such teachers, and their contributions to my quest for transformation.

The three modes of the warrior.

These teaching were first presented by the Mahasayaji Dr. U Maung Gyi. They have been “adjusted” by Sayaji Maasi for the purposes of this blog.


The most common image the average person has of martial arts is of someone aggressively punching and kicking an adversary into submission. In such applications of martial arts techniques, methods of open hand striking, clawing, kicking and elbowing are used to cause breaking of bones, cutting of skin, bruising of organs and a loss of consciousness, or possibly death to one or more opponents. The practitioner of this form of defense/offense is often motivated by anger and aggression. Conversely, many of the higher internal systems will employ methods which cause temporary pain and injury avoiding permanent injury or death.


The healing principle addresses the issue of cultivating the healthy growth of the body-mind. The objective is to reduce the probability of disorders and disruptions to the positive flow of energy (ngolo) within the body-mind construct. Ancient African and Asian healers knew that disease(s) begin with thoughts and activities that disrupt equilibrium and cause disharmony in the psychological and physiological processes. They taught that body and mind are one, and any disorder affecting one, can and will impact the other.


Harmonizing refers to practices, which lead to spiritual enlightenment and the realization of oneness with the universe. Life is an opportunity to realize divinity within, and to experience the power of human awakening.

Meditation is used as a method of self discipline, by developing concentration on the inflow and outflow of breath, and the mindfulness of thoughts and behaviors.

In summation:

  • Hurting refers to the pain, confusion and misery experienced through the thoughts, words and actions of human beings.
  • Healing symbolizes practices of internal martial methods that transform energy.
  • Harmonizing addresses the blossoming of human consciousness, the legacy of the human family.

Transforming mind through Martial Discipline.

Martial discipline enhances awareness, and initiates the process of ascending to full consciousness. The principle of ” sharpening the sword”, is a metaphor for the realization of a mind free of affliction.

The cultivation of physical skills are triggers for attaining the state of consciousness that is free of the fears, needs, and obsessive desires, that limit one’s ability to respond to life’s challenges with spontaneous clarity. The path begins with observing the breath while developing the nine attributes of the Physical body:

  1. Flexibility.
  2. Balance.
  3. Strength.
  4. Speed.
  5. Coordination.
  6. Rhythm.
  7. Endurance.
  8. Agility.
  9. Form(structure).

These physical principles are fundamental to the development of effective combat skills and the sharpening of the mind-sword. Though some practitioners will be more proficient in some skills than others, all must be assiduously practiced.

The next layer in the body-mind continuum is the emotional body that binds us in conflict within self and with others.

Having practiced the disciplining of the physical body, we see the role that the things that we fear, need and desire ravage our lives and limit growth,thus seeing the psycho-physiological prison that retards the refining of mind.

The instinctual body is next, in which we observe the impact of the fight, flight, freeze syndrome. We recognize our instinctual, antagonistic relationship with the world and other inhabitants.

Next we encounter the challenges of the mental body…one looks at the mind and observes it’s deceptions about life as has been presented by the deceivers with their fairy-tales about life.

In the spiritual body we watch the watcher…seeing the flower without being distracted by inner chatter about the flower. Knowing the force without false ideas about it’s source.

In the cosmic body one melts into the universe. The work in the physical body, triggers the energy of the centers that open the portals to unlimited power.

Finally one realizes the Mbungi state…..NIRVANA!

A monk once asked an ancient man of wisdom, “What is the way?” The man answered, “The way of the free mind.”

The gongo as a meditative device.

Though no longer considered to be a major tool in modern combat systems, the long stick continues to be an effective device in meditative and ritual practices.

Gongo practice is a major method of meditation in the School Of Heaven And Earth. Known as ” Dancing Between Two Worlds”…Fu Kiau Bunseki, the movements symbolize the constant flow of creation-preservation-destruction which governs the worlds of self-human association-universe. Seeking a balance (kinenga) between Kala and Luvemba (yin/yang), the practitioner maintains the didi (center of vitality) while executing defensive and counter-offensive motions. According to Kongo tradition, the didi is the seat (altar) of bio-genetic energy inherited from parents. This bio-genetic energy determines the health of the body-mind. In the embryo, this energy provides the basis for the formation of veins and nerves which conduct electrical impulses and nourishment to the body-mind, providing strength and power for healthy living.

It is a proven fact in holistic circles, that the more one intensifies the the body-mind, the more one connects it the space around the body and the Universe itself.

Meditation and the Energy-Body:

  1. The energy body also known as the etheric or vital body transforms focused mind into force.
  2. The energy body surrounds the physical body and is the first in a series of layers of the energy field.
  3. The energy body is the invisible double of the human body.
  4. The energy body also known as Chi or Pranic body in the Chinese and Indian systems, is the Moyo (spirit body) in Afrikan energy work.
  5. The Moyo-body links the Muntu (human) to the external force field, while the Ngolo (bio-genetic force) is an internal phenomenon inherited from one’s parents (lineage).
  6. Linking the Moyo and Ngolo provides access to Universal forces.

Disease enters the human body through the energy body. Internal practices influence the Ngolo therefore offsetting diseases:

  1. Meditation frees the mind of conflicting thoughts (mind chatter, incessant debating, arguing, etc.
  2. Meditation integrates Moyo and Ngolo…moyo flowing around the body, ngolo flowing within the body.
  3. Moving in moyo ( swimming in the energy field) energizes the body-mind.
  4. Sooth the central nervous system via the Vagus Nerve and Chakras.

Soon to come…Ulimwengu, the posture of Universal Balance.

Principles of Movement:

The body of the gongo practitioner must be flexible and strong, in order to master the many and ever changing lines and angles. The foot work must be fast, deceptive and explosive. The body-mind of the gongo practitioner must bend and sway with the speed and power of a cyclone.

  1. Small and rapid steps are used for advancing and withdrawing. Circular stepping is used to trap, side-stepping is used to exploit angles, and extended stepping is used to cover distances.
  2. Balance is firm and body-movements agile.
  3. Power is generated by the whip-lash action of the body.
  4. Strikes are delivered with total mind intent.
  5. The stick is both weapon and shield.
  6. The fighter must be highly skilled in the use of timing and distance.
  7. One must be proficient in the art of zoning (proper placement of the body in relation to the actions of the opponent).
  8. The first element of defense is the ‘Aura’.
  9. Counter striking is delivered with crushing power.

The four strikes:

  1. Air strike…deceptive and explosive striking.
  2. Fire strike…rapid intense striking.
  3. Water striking…enveloping, overpowering striking.
  4. Earth striking…solid and powerful striking.

Stick patterns:

  1. S pattern.
  2. C pattern.
  3. J pattern.
  4. 8 pattern.
  5. O pattern.

“The artist’s role is to raise the consciousness of the people. To make them understand life, the world and themselves more completely. That’s how I see it. Otherwise, I don’t know why you do it”…..Amiri Baraka

Gongo(long stick)practice part 3.

In the history of human beings, sticks have been indispensable instruments for the preservation of life. The usage of the stick improved the chance for survival in an environment inhabited by animals with fangs, claws and greater bodily strength. The use of the stick increased the capability of early humans to cope with their environment, as weapons and as a means of providing food and fire.

African hunter-gatherers realized that the stick extended their range of power in attack and defense applications, and in time the simple stick would evolve into spears and arrows, the fore-runners of the modern day long range missiles.

In particular, African warriors have made ample use of the stick within the scope of combat systems, and utilized various lengths of stick in the following tasks:

  1. Digging.
  2. Fire sticks(transporting fire to various locations).
  3. Fighting sticks.
  4. Hammers.
  5. Axes.
  6. Paddles.
  7. Poles for transporting possessions.
  8. Spears.
  9. Harpoons.
  10. Bows and arrows.
  11. Blow guns.
  12. Axle for wheels (providing mobility for logistics).

Sticks proved to be highly efficient in close quarter combat, when used to to deliver blows that stunned and incapacitated opponents. Fighting sticks range in a variety of lengths, materials, and degrees of density.

The length of the gongo ranges from six to twelve feet, made of rattan (a strong and flexible wood) grown in Africa and Asia. Blows delivered with the gongo are whip-like in contrast to rigid wood such as oak. Blows delivered with the gongo are designed to neutralize the assailant in the following ways:

  1. Bruise
  2. Cut.
  3. Dislocate.
  4. Sprain.
  5. Break bones.
  6. Damage internal organs.
  7. Disruption of nervous system.
  8. Render the assailant unconscious.
  9. Cause death.

Blows are delivered in the following manner:

  1. Jabbing (thrusting to strike vital points).
  2. Striking horizontally.
  3. Striking vertically.
  4. Striking obliquely.
  5. Smashing (butt stroke).
  6. Slashing (circular striking).
  7. Crushing (power striking).
  8. Whipping (snapping blows).

The entire body is vulnerable to the blows of the stick, however the major targets are :

  1. Crown of the head.
  2. Eyes.
  3. Temple.
  4. Throat.
  5. Neck.
  6. Torso.
  7. Groin.
  8. Thighs.
  9. Arms, legs, hands, feet.

Many of the stick fighting skills were developed by African herdsman to protect their herds from scavenging animals and marauders.

Part 4 principles of movement coming soon.

The imprint part 2

Nourish the body with calmness

Nourish the heart with giving to others

If you keep negativity in your mind, calamities are sure to come

If you keep your mind open and receptive, it can absorb knowledge very quickly

Know that everything is in constant motion and change, nothing is static

Be thorough in your actions, keep the mind free of obstructions

With an uncluttered mind, one can attain clarity in actions

When the mind abandons its pristine clarity, it becomes like a monkey jumping from here to there

It is possible to become a thief of one’s own mental balance

These guiding principles will help as reference points during practice of monitoring the thoughts and actions during daily activities. There is a popular yet false belief that meditation only takes place during sessions of sitting in yoga postures.

Though beneficial, relaxation is the most that can be realized from such practices. If one is seeking to de-stress, lower blood pressure, etc., such methods as counting breaths while looking at relaxing scenery and listening to soothing music will provide relief from the tensions of daily responsibilities. However, transforming the mind (the root of life’s problems), requires much more.

Sitting comfortably is preparation for entering the concentration phase, which is misunderstood as meditation by many. After living in the midst of distractions for many years, it is not possible to enter the mindful state in six easy on an app. Such methods only provide temporary relief, for as soon as one returns to “normal life”, the state of unawareness returns.

Unless the nature of one’s mind is realized and the “imprint” removed, the subconscious distractions will continue to dictate thoughts and actions. The mind referred to has no material substance, no shape, nor color, nor gender, no nationality nor geographical location. It is a subtle energy that reflects phenomenal experience.

Living for centuries under political, economic, and religious dominance, and the residual effects of social construct designed to perpetuate disunity, an imprint has been vibrating in the subconscious of Black people World-Wide.

We have spent centuries in conflict with each other through numerous platforms:

  1. National
  2. Tribal
  3. Political
  4. Gender
  5. Intellectual
  6. Religious

Our ongoing struggle with each other has been a distraction that has perpetuated our decline in the world of human association. Effective social organization is not possible for those who labor under the self-defeating influences of an imprinted mind!

Watching the thoughts that arise in mind,

Watching the body in action,

Watching when emotion(s) arise in mind,

Watching all types of desires and images that float in mind,

When all of this has been realized, then watch the watcher,

All of this can be practiced as one goes about one’s daily business,

This is the path to freedom!

“An individual’s self healing power makes up the collective healing power of nations in all domains: in politics, economy, education, technology, or development……Kibwandende Fu Kiau Bunseki, Self Healing Power and Therapy Old Teachings From Africa, pg. 28

The Imprint:

Until there is a complete understanding of the mind (consciousness), there can be no psychological liberation. Mind (incessant internal chatter) is the root cause of psychological problems. The internal conflicts and arguments impede the awareness needed to free mind from unawareness. What are known as problems, are merely the branches of what can be called the tree of confusion. We run in circles, grasping for information in hopes of attaining the keys to empowerment. We have used quips, quotes and phrases for the purpose of freeing ourselves from this mental and spiritual quagmire that we call life. In an attempt to gain leverage over the forces that hold us captive in fifth class citizenship, we have employed hair styles, shaven heads, African clothing, amulets, a variety of languages and traditions; and yet we remain essentially shattered and scattered as a people.

I do not suggest nor imply that we should abandon the cultural practices of the African Diaspora, but without mindful practices (unbroken monitoring of thoughts and actions), those methods will not provide the results sought after. Our current condition in 2019 provides the basis for this reasoning.

The psychological theory of ‘imprinting’ provides an element to be considered. Imprinting has been described as a condition in which a being absorbs the characteristics of stimuli which is therefore imprinted on the brain (chief organ of the mind). Limbic imprinting refers to prenatal and postnatal experiences that become stored at the subconscious level. Imprinting affects the emotions, beliefs and values that dictate and disrupt behavior. The effects of the ‘Maafa’ (disruption of the cultures of African people and their enslavement) have left impressions in the minds of Africans throughout the Diaspora seen in the dysfunctional conduct of many of our brothers and sisters.

However, there are methods that provide the means for erasing these imprints. These methods are necessary for attaining the state beyond compromised mind.

There have been many attempts to utilize methods such as Yoga, Martial Arts, etc. These endeavors however, have seldom exceeded the fad level of practice, resulting only in moments of euphoria , soon to be devoured by the effects of the imprint.

Below are teachings found in the I Ching, understood to be a book of transforming wisdom, central to Internal practices.

Cultivating the mind:

Keep the mind clear, it is ground of knowledge.

Inquire into the properties of things and penetrate into their essences.

Do not be excessive in anything, not even joy.

When joy is overabundant, it must turn to its opposite, and sorrow will overcome you.

When pleasure is carried through to its height, it will bring sadness.

Part 2 coming soon.

The School Of Heaven And Earth:

The School Of Heaven And Earth{SOHA} was established in 1985 by Shaha Mfundishi Maasi and Nganga Mfundishi Yakabu Tali Tolonaa.

The sole Purpose of SOHA is to provide relief and recovery from fatigue, traumatic stress, depression, disorientation due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, through Internal Martial Discipline, Meditation and various Holistic Methods.