Language English. The Tao Of Wu by RZA and Chris Norris. Identifier TheTaoOfWuByRZAAndChrisNorris. Identifier-ark ark://t78s9j As soon as I got down to North Carolina, Hollis started le. 13 Id THE TAO OF WU THE RZA *9 Because in that parking lot, I heard the love of my life 14 . That means that I'm free to smack you in your face, but justice applies: There will be a . The RZA, founder of the Wu-Tang Clan, imparts the lessons he's learned on The Tao of Wu is a spiritual memoir the world has never seen before, and will DOWNLOAD PDF If any eBook links are not working leave a message in the .. Frantz Fanon · Frederick Douglass · Free Women · freemasonry.
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From the founder of the Wu-Tang Clan—celebrating their 25th anniversary this year—an inspirational book for The Tao of Wu by The RZA Buy the Ebook. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. This hodgepodge of memoir, spiritual advice and Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like Advanced Search · Kindle Store · Kindle eBooks · Arts & Photography $ Read with Our Free App; Hardcover from $ bvifacts.info: The Tao of Wu (): The RZA: Books. FREE Shipping. Get free . Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.
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Highly recommended to all - this is an important hip-hop historical document. Like any religious or spiritual text, I will be reading this again and again. Aug 06, Melissa French rated it really liked it Shelves: This book is totally bonkers in the best way.
It was fun to hear about the origins of the Wu-Tang Clan, and about the circumstances and influences that were central to its creation. That RZA is a mad musical genius is not up for debate, but the depths of that madness in the best possible sense are delved into with kung fu movie-style abandon and it definitely leaves you feeling crazier than before you star This book is totally bonkers in the best way. That RZA is a mad musical genius is not up for debate, but the depths of that madness in the best possible sense are delved into with kung fu movie-style abandon and it definitely leaves you feeling crazier than before you started reading.
Again, not in a bad way. Jan 04, Carey rated it really liked it. This book was a page turner! It was fun to read and I learned a lot.
I love anything that gives me a chance to look at something from another perspective - it did that. In one way, it gave me a new perspective on a personal life event.
I found it meaningful and beautiful. I suggest it for anyone who is looking for a positive in a world of negative; RZA knows how to do that. Feb 08, Jesus Hills rated it it was amazing Shelves: I don't know if I will read a better book this year. I had to actively slow myself down while reading to think about what was being said.
I didn't understand or agree with everything that RZA believes, but he has some salient points to make, and his story is absolutely gripping and moving. It was both completely foreign and yet relatable in some way. Not only that it made me appreciate Wu Tang's music a little bit more. He definitely got me thinking about this book and I would not be surprised if I pick this up within the year to read again. Super engaging, interesting, and powerful.
An absolute must read! The most interesting passages, imo, are the ones in which he discusses his life and the life of Wu-Tang Clan. The spiritual aspect of the book is lovely to read about, as it's obviously the mainline of Rza's being. The writing just feels disparate and scattered, which made it tough for me to follow. Glad I stuck it out though! Jan 08, Robert rated it liked it Shelves: Overall, I thought the writing was decent. Growing up in the Hip-Hop Age myself, it was a pleasure to read a rapper's memoir and see his perspective of life.
We're living in a society where we're getting increasingly closed-minded to points of view we don't agree with and we're becoming increasingly isolated to the cultures we don't live in. At the same time, I get a sense of hypocrisy from RZA when he talks about his spirituality and being part of a group called the "Five Percenters," where onl Overall, I thought the writing was decent. At the same time, I get a sense of hypocrisy from RZA when he talks about his spirituality and being part of a group called the "Five Percenters," where only five percent of the population of the planet have some kind of unique wisdom or knowledge that the rest of the world isn't privy to.
To me, having wisdom isn't something one can brag about because it's not something we obtain on our own. I also got confused at his constant mingling of Islam, Buddhism and Christianity.
I don't know too much about Buddhism or Islam, but whenever he attempted to quote from the Bible, he did so to try and verify his philosophy about life, which is how people come to be misled.
A lot of people do that anyway. However, the life experiences he shared were interesting, and I hope that he comes to understand what true wisdom and understanding is. Sep 09, Amber Nofetari rated it liked it.
I went through a hell of a lot this summer and needed a dose of wisdom, so I picked up this book. I wanted to read it for some time, but I finally picked it up from the library last month.
Firstly, let me say that RZA is a truly intelligent and spiritual man. I had no idea that he was vegetarian, studied different religious teachings, and believed in the supernatural. He is also very much a geek which surprised me as well.
I shouldn't be, since he has mentioned his love for Kung-Fu films on nume I went through a hell of a lot this summer and needed a dose of wisdom, so I picked up this book. I shouldn't be, since he has mentioned his love for Kung-Fu films on numerous occasions hence the name Wu-tang Clan but I digress, The Tao of Wu is a cool read for those who need some inspiration.
From Stapleton Projects in Staten Island to Hollywood he talks about his long tumultous journey to the top and shares many gems on life, struggle, inner demons, love, and success.
The Tao of Wu
There are many grammatical errors for RZA speaks in his native tongue rather than standard English which gets irritating at times but if you can get past that in his words "it's all gravy". Nice read, I truly needed it. Apr 02, Byron rated it liked it. Essentially, this is a half-assed memoir, pieced together from the transcripts of a few interviews, interspersed with spiritual insights that sound like the ramblings of your one uncle who did time in the '80s and '90s and now he doesn't eat pork but he still gets high.
Parts of it are almost unreadable. Committed Wu stan that I am, I can't give this any more than three stars, and that's being generous, but this might still be worth having a look if you're interested in the subject matter. There Essentially, this is a half-assed memoir, pieced together from the transcripts of a few interviews, interspersed with spiritual insights that sound like the ramblings of your one uncle who did time in the '80s and '90s and now he doesn't eat pork but he still gets high.
There's more biographical info on the RZA than you can find in the wiki or in any number of BS articles from when there used to be rap magazines, and while the philosophical mumbo jumbo is not to be taken seriously, this might be quite literally the only thing there is to read about the NGE other than that BS article they used to run in Vibe magazine every five years or so about how many of your favorite rappers from the s are five percenters; I'd have to check Google.
Oct 02, Sham Al-Ghazali rated it did not like it. I'll be completely honest. This may be just my opinion, but I won't idly sit by and pretend that one of my favourite rappers isn't an actual Many of us come from broken homes and try to better ourselves from it, but to become better we must remove our egos. However, learning the history of Wu tang was pretty dope, but it doesn't even come close to balancing the other pages of bullshit.
Dec 15, Kevin rated it really liked it. Very entertaining Most compelling were the parts describing the way his philosophy developed out of his time in jail and in the projects around Staten Island and Brooklyn, the best bits being descriptions of the turkey burgers and video game tourneys that would constitute their time spent in the bunker underneath their Staten Island apartment, from which sessions came the 3 Very entertaining Most compelling were the parts describing the way his philosophy developed out of his time in jail and in the projects around Staten Island and Brooklyn, the best bits being descriptions of the turkey burgers and video game tourneys that would constitute their time spent in the bunker underneath their Staten Island apartment, from which sessions came the 36 Chambers.
Recommended reading for anyone interested in kungfu and killer bees. Nov 26, Noah rated it really liked it. An autobiography disguised as spiritual guide or perhaps vice-versa. RZA's history and philosophy intertwine in this engaging little gem of a book. Recommended for not just Wu-Tang fans, but anyone who wants to be inspired by how the power of the mind can be greater than the power of the sword.
Jun 09, Rianna Jade rated it really liked it. I finished this in one day. Worth it. Oct 10, Michael Cavanagh rated it liked it. This was a book of using great religious fate to accomplish all goals in life. RZA starts out in the hood where he is already accustomed to girls, drugs, gangs, gangbangers, and all that fun stuff.
From here RZA finds his true passion. He wants to produce and make music while being faithful. By reading this book I look at RZA as one word, and that This was a book of using great religious fate to accomplish all goals in life.
By reading this book I look at RZA as one word, and that word is a prophet. The whole group has been taught by RZA under their Islamic faith. These are not those guys. They legitimately lived, breathed, and spoke what they learned from Islam, well at least RZA.
He was the most dedicated out of all of them. He promised to his group that within five years they will rise to the top of the Hip Hop game, and they did.
RZA was more motivated than anyone else. He did what he had to do. He meditated, he created, he produced, he provided shelters and studios, but most of all he was a brother to his group. He came through with another self realization, but this time he was enlightened. He says that he was completely set free one day while in a Nightclub with some girl.
He continued his faith and producing ever since. May 09, David Turko rated it really liked it. Its really nice how each chapter is at the most ten pages. And in-between the chapters are some thoughts on life lessons or meditations. However these short stories are misplaced.
Then he throws out goofy stuff like, he is God but Allah is greater. Or how he was reborn but still dead. The way he talks about subjects such as spiritual gifts feels like adhd he goes to different topics. Now do I hate this? No, in fact even with these flaws I was still entertained by his ideas. Even through the wackiness of this book I still found tidbits of knowledge.
The book overall is a clumsy mess but a wonderful mess. RZA is unquestionably talented. It appears infinite; I do not know from what it proceeds. It even appears to be antecedent to the Lord. They regard all things as insignificant, as though they were playthings made of straw.
The wise man is also impartial. To him all men are alike and unimportant. The space between heaven and earth is like a bellows, it is empty but does not collapse; it moves and more and more issues. A gossip is soon empty, it is doubtful if he can be impartial.
The Mysterious One is typical of the source of heaven and earth. It is continually and endlessly issuing and without effort. The reason why heaven and earth are eternal and lasting is because they do not live for themselves; that is the reason they will ever endure. Therefore the wise man will keep his personality out of sight and because of so doing he will become notable. He subordinates his personality and therefore it is preserved.
Is it not because he is disinterested, that his own interests are conserved? Like water it ever seeks the lowest place, the place that all others avoid. It is closely kin to the Tao. For a dwelling it chooses the quiet meadow; for a heart the circling eddy. In generosity it is kind; in speech it is sincere; in authority it is order; in affairs it is ability; in movement it is rhythm. Inasmuch as it is always peaceable it is never rebuked. Continuing to grind an axe after it is sharp will soon wear it away.
Who can protect a public hall crowded with gold and jewels? The pride of wealth and position brings about their own misfortune. We al- ways used to call him by his government name, Gary, his nickname, Buck, or his rapper name, Gangsta G.
He told me about Mathematics and Knowledge of Self and God. The newer school was founded in , by a Harlem student minister known as Clarence 13X, who we now call the Father. After we finished talking, Allah Justice gave me that first page of Lessons to read on my own.
At this point, I was miles from Uncle Hollis and his books. No one else I respected was telling me to get an education, but GZA did. He told me to educate myself, to seek knowledge on my own. We talked for a bit more, then I headed home in a kind of trance. In the streets, spiritual messages come in pamphlets. As I went by this church, a dude out front handed me one. It said The Bread of Life. When I got home I memorized that sheet of Mathe- matics quickly, but I was still hungry for Knowledge.
That night, I started reading the Bible. And kept reading until I finished it. The personal charac- teristics of great messengers are usually irrelevant. For instance, they say that Martin Luther King Jr. Does it matter? Do you believe in the messenger or his message? I believe in the message. Eastern thought, Chris- tianity, comic books, kung fu: They all have truths, and each truth has a season — either in history or in your own life. And in the spring season of , 1 was blessed with the truth of Divine Mathematics, through my cousin and enlightener, GZA.
The next day, after I stayed up all night reading the Bible, I went back to him and started quoting back to him what I learned from the pamphlet and that first set of Lessons. He was impressed with that, and he gave me the next set. It was time for me to find Knowledge, but that meant that first I had to find Knowledge of Self. I did it when I was eleven. Then I had to choose a name.
The Five Percent had a reputation as a gang, as vicious, terrifying criminals. Even when I first heard GZA talking about the Five Percent, my first thought was, Hold on, ain't those the guys that beat up my uncle lastyear? Turns out, neither had I. I started studying the Lessons with my brother, Uni- versal King. I loved the shit out of King, but he was a bully big brother. Today I realize that he made us all into war- riors, but he did so much violence to us growing up that I didn t like him.
So it was good to have something to build love between us, but it only went so far. At a certain point, my frustration with him came between me and righteous- ness. I figured that was the only way to hurt him. When I did that, I stopped reading the Lessons. I stopped believing out of anger. He was a heroin addict and clearly fucked up: In a way, this doped-up, nappy-headed junkie was like an angel. That night got me back into it.
The point is, sometimes you have to be called more than once. Then the angel said: My first call came from Daddy-O telling me about the Twelve Jewels. The second came from GZA, who enlightened me, started me on the path, but I drifted out of anger. His call was the same as the other ones, but he was a living example of what hap- pens when you stray. After that, I dove back into the lessons, mastered them in seven months.
I fasted by myself. I studied only in the bathroom. And when I finally got up to the l-to, the level my brother was at, a level good enough to be a man with it and really understand it, I told him. We were brothers again — but in a deeper way than before. The third call was my final call. I was convinced. And once I mastered these lessons, I was able to under- stand every step of my life. The Lessons begin with the I learned the faster than anyone else in my neighborhood and had them down by the time I was twelve years old.
But it was only later that I realized just how deep they really were, how the wisdom of Mathe- matics connected to the jewels of Eastern, Western, sci- entific, and religious thought— and to the knowledge I already had in my heart. And the only way to get to God is to find him within yourself.
But in Mathematics, the method of instruction has a power of its own. When the Father brought these lessons to lost and confused young black men like me, he was promising a transformation that the lessons actually pro- vide.
That fact is, if you get through the rigors of study with the Gods, you truly are a different person. The breaks down to questions and answers.
After the l-to comes the 1 -to — which are thirty-six phrases. My uncle was brought over here by a trader three hundred and seventy-nine years ago. After mastering these, you move on to the l-to, which are more intense. By this time, the answers are pages long. The main lesson people tend to get stuck on is the Fourth, or Culture, Degree, from the l-to The question reads: What is the meaning of E.
How long ago was it? What did the Devil bring with him? What kind of life did the Devil live then? How long was it before Musa came to teach the Devil their forgotten trick knowledge? Now just imagine how long the answer is. The Born Degree, which comes after, is even longer. To a lot of guys in the ghetto, this was their education.
I knew brothers who only graduated fifth grade yet were scientists because of the Lessons. They learned geology, geometry, astronomy, physics, history — all of it came through the Lessons. What is the circumference of the Earth? The weight of the planet.
The speed of light, the speed of sound. You learned more than you would in school. The Lessons are a map to realization — they lead you to it in steps. The first step, or degree, is Knowledge. The act of inter- nalizing these Lessons transforms you; it strengthens your mind. A few years ago, some British researchers did a study on cab drivers in London.
They scanned their brains and found that the ones who had the most time on the streets had the largest hippocampi — which is the part of the brain that handles memory. By mastering the streets in that city, they actually increased the size and changed the structure of their brains.
In order to get qualified, each cab driver had to go through a training period in which they mastered all the geography in the city. What do they call this? Doing the knowledge. See, I believe the Lessons provide something that everyone, of any race, needs: The Earth has only 57,, square miles of land on it.
And out of that, only 29 million is useful. This kind of information grounds you, shrinks your prob- lems and expands your horizons at the same time. Mathematics contains universal truths, but no one needed its wisdom more than poor black men at the end of the last century.
So many of us were so lost — deprived of knowledge of self, of others, of the world we lived in. Even in the Islamic world, commentaries on Muslim books were teaching that the black man comes from the grandson of Noah, who was Ham — a man who was cursed, made to be despised, a servant, a slave.
If you were poor and black, Mathematics attacked the idea that you were meant to be ignorant, uneducated, blind to the world around you. It exposed the lies that helped people treat your forefathers as animals. I never would have imagined that a poor black motherfucker like me would grow up to respect the world, his fellow man, or himself. He heard I he call and from every day on he was alive. They gave me guidance, understanding, and freedom.
But freedom from yourself? I was afraid of everything. But at some point, I realized something. If there were nobody on Earth, would a ghost still have a chance to spook somebody? You manifest ghosts through fear. The words of Marcus Garvey resonated with me. Men should not fear. The only thing man should fear is God.
To fear anything other than God is to offend God. Enlightened men do not fear. A perfect example is Night of the Living Dead. That movie and its sequels teach you about life. For one thing, Night of the Living Dead predicted the dawn of crack. The zombies were Americans, just walking through the mall, lost, trying to find excitement outside of themselves. All those movies were really showing us ourselves. The dead were alive, but they were blind, deaf, and dumb.
So to me, they were symbolic of black men in America. Life comes when you have knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, when you can see for real, touch and feel for real, know for real. Then you are truly living. Finally, all the Of the Dead films work as metaphors for the Five Percent. The survivors are holdouts living among the mentally dead.
And interestingly, they tend to be led by black men. At the same time, though, after the black man survives — he fights off destruction through the whole movie — a white man kills him. Chess became a source of wisdom that has been with me my whole life. The game began centuries ago in India. Sixty-four is also the number of creation.
When the sperm meets the egg and they have meiosis, it splits into sixty-four separate cells — two to four, four to eight, then eight to sixty-four: Chess is also a martial art. I know that happens with me. Years after he was the world chess champion for his age group, he went on to become a martial arts champ, and he says that chess revealed the learning abil- ity that would allow him to dominate Tai Chi Chuan.
Ihess will do that. Even the simplest game teaches you something. If white moves first and goes to F4, black leaves his queen free with a move like E6 — just moving his pawn once.
His queen is then free to go to H5. If you win with this strategy, you played yourself. But that works two ways. I ask people what piece they are on the chessboard. I take the position of God. You could call it a Zen approach to chess. And it also works in life.
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They found out years later by using computers to analyze his games that he should have lost some of the games he won, but he was determined not to lose. Every time they had him in a so-called losing position, his will and determination would make him win. It was something besides pure mathematical insight, statistics, probability, and strategy.
There was some spark in Fischer, his obses- sion to win, that helped him triumph.
The Tao of Wu by RZA on Apple Books
I think most of my approach to life has been like that, to find order in chaos, to be in the middle of a bunch of things happening at the same time, but find focus. I strive to be like the sun sitting in the middle of the solar system with all the planets spinning around it — millions of things going on.
I think man should look at himself that way. Bobby Fischer lost when he became the pieces. And some people 1 1 link that it drove him crazy. I think he was eccentric. But I think he lost a crucial part 1 1! In the end, the best strategy, the best tactic you can li. Never give up. Never let them count you out. You should play it that way, like you should live your life, as a gome with mortal stakes. A game you play right down to the last move.
Knowing yourself is Enlightenment. I in years, it was the same way with kung-fu flicks. But the truth of those stories didn t hit me for a few years. Then, one day in , when I was almost fourteen, I was watching TV. It was like something from the Old Testament or a Greek epic.
It changed my life, for real, because its wisdom brought my own story alive. The Shaw Brothers made the movie in , but its about a man in the eighteenth century who becomes a Shaolin monk. The man, San Te, starts out as a college student learning ethics.
When he hears about the revolu- tion against the Manchus, who are oppressing the native people, he joins the revolution and becomes a messenger.
He gets wounded in a Manchu attack and seeks refuge from the monks of the Shaolin temple. He begins training him in martial arts. San Te starts out the film knowing nothing. He completes all thirty-five chambers of Shaolin training faster than any other student finishing them in seven years. Then he wants to start a thirty-sixth chamber to teach the wisdom of Shaolin to the world.
I was fourteen years old when I saw that film. I had Knowl- edge of Self, had mastered the faster than anyone my age, and was teaching Mathematics to others.
The Tao Of Wu By RZA And Chris Norris
The story is about oppression and transformation. The Manchus are oppressors; the students are the oppressed. The second part of the movie is about the kung-fu training San Te goes through, and that really inspired me — started me doing push-ups, punching walls, going to Chinatown to buy kung-fu books.
But it also con- firmed the path I was already on. It was like an echo of the Lessons from another world, a reflection that made my situation clear. As we say, Wisdom is a reflection of Knowledge. And when I was a kid, the only knowledge the media showed about black history was about either slaves or pimps Roots, The Mack, and that was basically it. So in a way, films like The Thirty-sixth Chamber reflected our experi- ence and solidified it, drew people like me into the truth of our own history.
And after that, martial arts films be- came serious to me. I studied them like lessons. I still do. I look for signals in my own life, to see how they activate those responses. These films still work that way for me: Take even a cai'toon like Dragon Ball Z. Its hero, Son Goku, starts out as a kid, begins martial arts training like San Te, and goes off on a quest for seven balls that unleash dragons that can grant wishes.
That voyage represents a journey to enlightenment. But to me, Dragon Ball Z also represents the journey of the black man in America. You see it more clearly as the story goes on. You learn that Son Goku is part of an ancient race called the Saiyans, who come from a distant planet and were known as the fiercest warriors in the galaxy.
Then one day, he gets stressed beyond his limits and Hulks out into his alter ego, Super Saiyan — a nigga with dreadlocks.
Get it? This kind of story comes up in world literature, even in the Bible: And when my hair is in an Afro? Word up: By the time I was seventeen, I was going to kung-fu flicks all the time — skipping school, staying out late, hit- ting the twenty-four-hour movie spots on Forty-second Street, where they showed only porno and kung fu. But then, in , 1 saw another film that hit me almost as hard as Thirty-sixth Chamber.
And this one would change many more lives than just my own. It was a cold night, and Dirty and I were doing like we always did — running around, getting drunk, starting fights, chasing girls.
Then finally, around four a. We wound up at this funky little porno theater on Forty-second Street and Seventh Avenue, one with a back chamber the size of a classroom, where they showed kung-fu flicks and bums came to sleep. It ended, another movie started, and I 56 waited up all through that second feature to see the first one again from the beginning.
The sword fighting alone was from another planet. Then there was the attitude of the Wu- Tang themselves. The Wu-Tang were defectors from the Shaolin temple, warriors who had trained at Shaolin then developed a sword style that was invincible.
And at one point in Shaolin and Wu-Tang, this one Wu-Tang dude defeats thirty Shaolin monks and gets expelled from the temple. Before he goes through, he says: Wu- Tang! That kind of attitude catches on fast in the hood, and pretty soon a lot of Stapleton niggas were onto the Wu- Tang. Then the word was popping up in slang. The first person to use it was Ghost. So before it was a rap group or even a hip-hop crew, Wu-Tang was just a bunch of hustlers living in the hood, guys who loved MCing and hip-hop and connected at iny house to make music.
A lot of us were in street busi- ness to survive, some of us were even enemies. But a love of both hip-hop and the world of knowledge brought us together, and before long we became a brotherhood. To me, that last part came into focus with one final kung-fu film I showed them in , a film that solidified the common love between us. I had actually seen it years before, with my family.
The movie is Eight-Diagram Pole Fighter, and it tells a story of a large family that gets betrayed by a general, goes to war, and loses nearly every member to violence. There are eight brothers and three sisters in the film, and I have eight brothers and three sisters in my family. So, in my crib, we all used to watch that together — saw it over and over and over.
But a few years later, when I showed it to my friends, it took on a wider, deeper meaning. By , everyone at the projects was into kung-fu films, and a lot of us had VCRs. So one day, when a bunch of dudes came over to my crib to get high and watch licks, I pulled out a tape of Eight- Diagram. Before we were an hour into it, something strange happened in that crib. A general betrays a family, A father gets killed. All his sons are killed except for two.
One goes crazy. The other shaves his head, becomes a monk. You see this kind of thing happening in the hood every day. We were living in a place torn apart by wars — neighborhood against neighborhood, dealer against dealer — a place where you see people get killed or go crazy every week, a place where the bonds you make are almost stronger than blood.
I know that Ghostface, Dirty, and GZA all understood the deeper implication these movies had for our lives, and I know everyone in the Clan does now. From Thirty-sixth Chamber you get discipline and struggle. From Shaolin and Wu-Tang you get the warrior technique — plus the idea bad guys are sometimes the illest. Then, from Eight- Diagram Pole Fighter, you get the brotherhood, the soul. You get the idea that. This guy right here? Maybe he can take it a little further than I can.
Let me throw my power behind him so we all rise up. He was the abbot of his school, I was the abbot of mine — he felt like a peer. But I also wanted to learn from him.
So I did. This tech- nique breaks nature down into five basic forces: Most martial arts teach you to be as fluid as water, but earth absorbs water — so you counter water tech- niques with earth techniques, which absorb blows. Then if someone comes at you with earth techniques, you counter with wood styles, which drive forward.
Then you counter wood with metal styles, which chop like an axe, and metal with fire styles, which are more explosive, and, finally, you fight fire with water.
These principles are both external and internal. Inter- nally, it applies to your five major organs. Earth is the spleen, metal is the lungs, water is the kidneys, wood is the liver, fire is the heart. At the same time, if you have a problem with your 60 lungs, since fire melts metal you think of the energy from your heart pouring into your lungs.
If your heart is ach- ing emotionally, you think of the water from your kidney coming to quench your heart. Studying with Sifu, I learned that kung fu was less a fighting style and more about the cultivation of the spirit. What made a Shaolin monk so tough was his mastery of chi — the fact he could make contact with the Earth and draw the energy from it through him. A lot of people in our culture see life in terms of op- posites — like, good versus evil, me versus you, valuable versus worthless, black versus white.
Taoists believe you have to see beyond these to find their essential union. In a way, Wu-Tang pointed me to a wisdom that unified Mathematics and Taoism, that showed me their essential harmony. Islam is not a religion.
The only differences between Taoism and Islam are the more esoteric ideas and traditions that developed around them. And the basic principle is really the same for Taoism, Buddhism, and Mathematics — to be one with the universe, one with God.
They are all the Way. So when Jesus says, through me you can find the kingdom of heaven, to me, that means he was in tune with God. We all have natural things in us that prevent us and that help us. We all have evil nature in us — lying, stealing, killing — and we fight against it. And for a lot of people, this takes work. Look at it this way. In kung-fu training, chambers are the stages of learning you must pass through. But as Mathematicians, we conceive of each chamber as having ten degrees — like the ten degrees in the Lessons.
So within each chamber, you go from 1, which represents Knowledge, to 9, which represents Born, like the nine months it takes to bear a child. An enlightened man sees that there actually are no numbers. On a number line, the numbers left of zero head off to negative infinity and the ones right of zero head off to positive infinity. But it s infinity either way. The number line goes in both direc- tions, endlessly, all within that one cycle or chamber.
Today, some brothers get mad at me saying things like this. And I bear wit- ness that Allah is one, the Father of the black man, who must take his proper place as God of himself.
But over the years, I came to believe the basic lesson of Mathemat- ics is the same as that of Taoism, Buddhism, and every great spiritual path. Even Son Goku eventually learns how to develop chi on his own, to become Super Saiyan at will.
If you reach the thirty-sixth chamber, you have com- pleted your learning. You have multiplied one chamber by 36 and gotten degrees — a completed circle. If you add 3 to 6 you get 9 — which represents Born — but then you must add one more to 9, and Born becomes Knowl- edge again. And this puts you right back into the circle, back at 1.
From Knowledge to Born, then Born, back to Knowledge — it always returns to the beginning, to 1. And right there, that maybe the most important lesson you can get. But in this world, that kind of thing can take decades to see clearly. Not everyone has that much time, or those opportunities. A tiger is busy, thus it dies young. If he got beat down, he came back up: He got a lot of heart. But another way of putting that is to say that his soul is large. This relates to the Heart Sutra, one of the shortest but most important sutras in all Buddhist writings.
Mostly the Heart Sutra is about being able to see real- ity as it truly is, unclouded by the things human beings project onto it. It s a lesson that I learned many years ago, when I was a kid in Staten Island. When I was thirteen, the toughest guy in my age bracket was a guy they called June-June.
June-June matured early— physically he was a man by the eighth grade— and he was also a knockout artist, a bad dude no one wanted to fuck with. Unfortunately for me, one of the few dudes that did fight him was my older brother Divine, who beat him. So when I met June-June a year later in junior high, we had an automatic beef-a sins-of-the-fathers situation. June-June wanted to try me.
In seventh grade, I was one of those dudes who was always going to go for it. So we had a fight, and I have to say he beat me. Put it this way. When you gotta bite a nigga to get up?
That means you lost. I wound up moving to Brooklyn for a year or two and then moved back to Staten Island for high school. And in my first week back in the school, who do I run into? Remember him? And if a man truly knows himself, he also knows 66 his enemy. He knows that even if his enemy is a giant, that giant still has the same weaknesses within him.
The dot in your opposite — in this case the bully — is his weak spot. The more knowledge of self you have, the better chance you have of finding that little dot within him. Because that dot is the you in him. On some level, I perceived that within Infinite. Nobody wins a fight like that. Even though we were only in ninth grade, this was a real fight between two men. It ended with him having two rocks in his hands — not a fair fight, if it ever was — and me still not backing down.
The fight was over when neither of us could move. In this case, you would say that we both had heart. I showed heart. And in this case, I showed enough heart that June-June wound up becoming my student. Soon after this, he found Mathematics, took the name Infinite, and began to study with me. I like to think that my heart wanted his respect so I could teach him. That part of heart ended up defeating Infinite. In a year or two, Infinite became known throughout Staten Island as a tough dude and an egomaniac.
Infinite was from New Brighton, and a lot of neighborhood wars were started by him and his brother. Mathematics had calmed him down a bit, but he was still knocking niggas out left and right.
You had to say that Infinite had too much of the wrong kind of heart. It got to the point that he was con- fronted with a life-and-death situation, and ego de- stroyed him just like it can destroy all of us. His style was simply to be invincible. No type of attack, not even blades or spears, could defeat him. He was like Golden Arms: But eventually he was defeated by a lesser man.
This was a man with one of the biggest hearts in all of Staten Island, but one day he challenged this young nigga with the heart of a coward. He dared this kid to shoot him, and he did.
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