The Splendor Enlightens Personal Cultivation: Tai Chi Master and Designer Chou Hung-Ju Talks about Divine Performing Arts (Photo) (Part II)
(Continued from Part I: http://clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2008/2/16/94416.html )
On the evening of February 9, 2008, the Divine Performing Arts Company held their last performance of the Chinese New Year Splendor at Radio City Music Hall in New York. In its 15-show run, the Chinese New Year Splendor attracted many artists who gave the show high praise and commendation.
Mr. Hung-Ju Chou, a senior interior designer in New York, is one of them.
Mr. Chou is also a Tai Chi master, who learned from "First Sword on Earth" Mr. Lui Kwok-chuen. In Part I of this two-parted interview, Mr. Chou shared his impressions about the Splendor from the point of view of the arts and popular culture. In this installment, he discusses his observations based on his understanding of martial arts and personal cultivation.
Divine Performing Arts Brings Enlightenment to Personal Cultivation
Mr. Chou studied various martial arts styles when he lived in Taiwan. He met sword master Lui Kwok-chuen in the United States, and studied under him for many years, until Mr. Lui passed away. Many actors in martial art movies produced by Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers Studio were among Mr. Lui's students, including Lee Ching, Chen Kua-tai, and Jackie Chan. Mr. Chou explained, "Mr. Lui taught me many traditional Chinese concepts, and in addition, my early education in Taiwan was very traditional and relatively complete. I benefited from these teachings, and found that the higher the level one reaches in cultivation, the more will spiritual elements be predominant."
Mr. Chou feels that Divine Performing Arts' New Year Splendor enlightened him in terms of his personal cultivation. Watching the show, he had the sense that he had seen those heavenly realms and the hand gestures of the Gods and Buddhas before. That sense of familiarity gave him a marvelous feeling. He said, "I have a friend who is a scholar of Buddhist hand gestures, and therefore I know that the Buddha's hand gestures are very rich, like a language." Today, when Mr. Chou witnessed such hand gestures, he said that his soul was moved and he had the feeling that he was listening to profound heavenly truths.
Surprised to See Young Performers so Well Cultivated and with Such Inner Strength
Mr. Chou felt that the dances were very, very fine. "Because I practice Tai Chi, I can see that the young female dancers' technique is exquisite, from their entire body's movements, to facial expressions, to hand gestures. Not just one or two dancers, but they all are consummate, from the details from their whole bodies to the tips of their fingers. You can tell that their training as a whole and inner cultivation is very, very meticulous. I am so surprised to see that these performers are very young, and I can only imagine how long it must have taken them to reach such a fine level."
He also found the male performers of the Divine Performing Arts company to be excellent and accomplished, saying that it is hard to describe their balance of strength and exquisite technique and self-discipline.
Mr. Chou said, "One cannot reach that level simply by practicing physical technique alone. One must also develop very good inner strength and mind cultivation. A common dancer may not be able to discern that, because he hasn't reached such a high degree of exquisiteness."
Divine Performing Arts Enriched Everyone's Heart
When asked the reason why he brought his two children to watch the show despite his busy life, Mr. Chou said, "I think that Divine Performing Arts can enrich everyone's heart, including mine. People's minds are not rich enough. It is never enough to teach people merely with theories or the world's religious doctrines."
He continued, "Then what is the other subject that people must be taught? I cannot explain it clearly. But we know that Divine Performing Arts will directly deliver a very rich culture into people's hearts through beautiful music, dance, and images, which can provide nutrients for their future needs. Culture is something very fine; it cannot be measured by any system of weights and measures, yet its essence is what one fundamentally needs. If one doesn't have it, one's future will not be balanced and one's life will not be in harmony. Bringing children to watch the Divine Performing Arts is to lay a solid foundation for them!"
Finally, Mr. Chou said that he was very moved by the many people who selflessly contributed to the Divine Performing Arts shows. He expressed his gratitude to all who have been working hard on spreading the message of Divine Performing Arts.