STQI Downtown Toronto School
Your Journey to a Strong Mind and Body
Shaolin Meditation classes and workshops are ALWAYS free.
Quarterly Zen Workshops are open to the public (for everyone), and is held at our downtown Toronto school. People from all over the world can also join us through Zoom. Be sure to check out the Events section for the latest news and to register.
Weekly meditation classes will be coming in 2024. They will be available to students who enroll in any of the Shaolin classes (kung fu, tai chi, and qigong).
Shaolin Meditation is a discipline that stems from a philosophy called Chán 禪 (pronounced 'Ch - ah - n' in Mandarin Chinese with a rising tone). It’s well over 1,500 years old and was initially conceived by an Indian prince named Bodhidharma who first established Chán at the Shaolin Temple in Central North China around 500 AD. Since then, the ideas of Zen have evolved a little differently all over the world.
The word Chán 禪 is more commonly known as Zen and is derived from the word 'dhyāna' in Hinduism and Buddhism. A quick linguistics investigation reveals the word comes from the Sanskrit root word 'dhyai', which means 'to contemplate or meditate'.
Thus you could say the word Chán 禪 is a philosophy that requires the practice of meditation. That is, it's not Chán or Zen without meditation practice.
But when asked what Chán 禪 means, a Chán 禪 Master, would more than likely skirt around a precise definition. That's because its meaning to an individual evolves with time and practice.
That’s also why some Zen Masters may tell you that Chán 禪 means wisdom.
The vision of the Shaolin Meditation Discipline is to teach Self-Wisdom, and this is what Chan-Dao is all about. Self-Wisdom is about you understanding yourself, the reality and environment you are in, and your interactions.
There are three main parts of Self-Wisdom:
1) The Principles of Chan-Dao Self-Wisdom - helps people to understand themselves better by reflecting upon 4 different and interrelated ideas,
2) Shaolin Virtues - provides philosophical guidance that is easy to understand and test,
3) Meditation Techniques - helps students with techniques to practice stillness and introspection.
The Principles of Chan-Dao Self-Wisdom has 4 key ideas: 1) Ego-Self, 2) Perceptions, 3) Emotions, and 4) Subconscious.
The Shaolin Virtues is a system of guidance to help people make better decisions for themselves. They include the Shaolin Virtues of Focus, Perseverance, Strive, Respect, Compassion, and Leadership. Wisdom is already built-in to these virtues, so people can follow them and use them to easily learn wisdom for themselves. A link will be provided here when we have more articles about the Shaolin Virtues.
There are many Meditation Techniques that can be used to help students quiet their mind and find peace and stillness. The most obvious one is what I call Silent Sitting Meditation; however, it’s actually not the best place to start for most people. It’s at least worth trying to give you more perspective and experience.