gazes at the moon
Once, the Jade Emperor of heaven gave an assignment to
the Rhinoceros General:
Tell the people of the earthly realm to; 'Eat a
single meal per day and perform the rites three
The Jade Emperor's idea was that the
people on earth should respect
ceremony and etiquette and restrain themselves from over
eating sweet and rich foods. But, when the Rhinoceros
General arrived on the human world he was dazzled with
its myriad wonders and countless temptations and
suffered from a disturbed state of mind. By accident he
changed the Jade Emperor's message into:
A picture of
Rhinoceros Gazes at the Moon
'Three meals a day and perform the rites once.'
The Jade Emperor was furious and banished the rhinoceros
from the heavenly realm.
The rhino went to earth. While on earth the rhino longed
for his life in the heavenly palace. Each evening he would look up at
the moon and gaze for hours. This is the origin of 'Rhinoceros
gazes at the moon.'
A Ming dynasty mirror Rhinoceros
gazes at the moon.
Practicing at Confucius temple in Taiwan we would start
our class with eight stances which
included the posture of rhinoceros gazes at the moon.
When I trained in Tainan city -
Confucius Temple -
I'm on the left in the plaid
Thoughts Worthy of Heaven
The story of the fallen rhino general who was banished
from heaven was taken as a
tool to help students understand the theory of moving and
controlling the qi. It combines the theory of
Book of Changes with the theory of self cultivation
called Nei Dan to simplify concepts of meditation
and thought. It is a metaphor to explain concepts of
health and meditation.
When you begin performing this,
your gaze (mu guang
目光) should look
inwards. 'Let' the qi sink to the dan tian.
Don't force it, but 'let' it. Here, 'let' means to 'let' it happen
naturally. Hold this posture and focus your mind
at the dan tian point.
The location of the dan tian
can be seen here. From Liang Xuexiang's
The effect of this type of concentration is to transform
your kidney essence to yang qi, and the effect of
transforming kidney's essence to yang qi is a
type of healthy vitality with a vigorous of spirit, a strong love of life.
Yang qi is the energy that can help you perform
actions with deep awareness.
The strength of the Rhino symbolizes this type of
vitality. Our rhino general had momentarily lost his
spiritual focus due to being surprised by the sights of
earth. This sudden lapse ended up in him longing for the world of
enlightened beings. So this story acts as a metaphor
that we must not only develop our spirit, but have a
proper focus of mind to make the mind's thoughts more
subtle and hence more pure and worthy of residing in
When you have imaginative names that stick in the student's
mind people become excited about stretching, especially
children. When they first learn to visualize themselves as
a rhino looking at
the moon they feel the strength of the rhino. But first, they must
coil their legs and sit while keeping
their arms as unbending as the horns of a rhino and not
letting their body wobble.
The first move
coils the legs and squats
down with the hands extended. This move is called
Rhinoceros Gazes at the Moon (left).
at the Moon
Rhino gazes at the moon was written
by Heaven-Ascended Taoist (see
Immortal and the Black Whirlwind),
but there is also a version written by Liang Xuexiang
the famous master of Praying
Mantis kung fu. Liang Xuexiang's version is
an almost word for word duplicate, I have a page printed here.
gazes at the moon push and send both hands
(right)Sparrow-hawk turns its body pull the fists
to the cavity (left)
First round Rhinoceros gazes at the moon push and send
gazes at the moon push both hands
Turn your body twist your waist step in front of
Steal a step wrap and hook and lean against your
Pull in your elbows when entering and exiting
Turning requires the strength of both legs.
Raise your qi and collect the respiration in
The last line tells us to keep the mouth closed and let a pool of air collect
within the mouth.
Second Round Sparrow-hawk turns its body pull the fists
to the cavity
fists protrude your ribs and push them out in
front of your chest,
Coming and going is like the rushing wind.
Tai Mountain presses ding liang point
Seal the anus fill the chest with qi.
Passing through the bustle of the red-light district,
Control and stabilize the fire of the kidney by
keeping the heart unstartled.
When you turn your head you’ll know there is another
Emptiness is desire and desire is emptiness.
The title 'sparrow-hawk turns its body' means that we
our hands from one side to the other
like a hawk, rising up, pivoting on the feet and
twisting the body around as the fists are pulled up to
To move like the 'rushing wind' is to move from one side
to the other without pause, like the continuous push
of a 'rushing
'Tai mountain' pressing 'ding liang point (st-34)'
is the point where we
place our knee and rest our body weight. In modern acupuncture
ding liang is known as liang qiu, and can be seen as a red
dot on this acupuncture chart. Ding liang is a
rarely used alternate name.
When 'passing through the bustle of the red-light
district' can you 'keep the heart unstartled?' When we
purify our mind we remain unmoved by worldly desires.
Through the silent mind we can ponder and even arrive at
the 'other shore.'
Rhinoceros Gazes at the Moon in
Gazing at the moon represents longing for a more
enlightened life. This idea was also represented in
Ming Dynasty Mirror
Song-Jin jade carving
The strength of the Rhino symbolizes vitality, gazing at
the moon represents longing for a more enlightened life.
The rhino momentarily lost his spiritual focus due to
being surprised by the sights of earth. Something to
ponder when training the methods of the Luohan