TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Famed martial artist and action movie star Jet Li (李連杰) is in Taiwan to promote his new book and share how his practice of Buddhism has helped him deal with serious health issues.
On Thursday (Nov. 16) morning Li appeared on a Da Ai Television program recorded at the station's Jing Si Hall to speak about his new book, "Beyond Life and Death: Jet Li looking for Jet Li," (超越生死：李連杰尋找李連杰). There have been rumors on Weibo that he was dead, but Li immediately addressed these by saying, "Hello everyone, I'm not dead yet," reported NOWnews.
Li then explained, "It has been rumored in mainland China that I have been for 10 years, and there are still more than 10 million people following the news. Some people are saying that I have not died despite so many reports of my death."
He added that there were rumors that he had disappeared, was seriously ill, and was about to die. However, Li said that for the past 20 years, he has diligently focused on self-cultivation, and "as long as I am prepared from all 360 degrees, nothing will surprise me."
Li said that over the past three years, the COVID-19 pandemic and technological development have caused psychological distress, stress, and tension to many people around the world. Encouraged by his mentor, Li decided to share how he navigated these years and conceived of writing a book, reported CNA.
At the age of 60, Li said that this serves as a personal account, intending to enable others to benefit from it. "Take what is useful and enjoyable for you, and if you find it boring, just throw it away," said Li.
Li said that he had been inexplicably "sentenced to death" by rumors, but having embraced Buddhism, he has long been able to turn his thoughts away from worldly disturbances by applying the concept of "transforming vexations into enlightenment."
He admitted that he had mistakenly believed he had developed cancer, but the diagnosis turned out to be hyperthyroidism, which he takes daily medication for.
He then discussed incorporating Buddhist principles into his life: 'If you view it negatively, it's negative; if you view it positively, it's positive. Come on and cure it. Even if it cannot be cured, it's still a blessing. This is what Buddhism reminds me of — turning every negative into a positive."
Li also shared with the audience what happiness is. He gave an example, making US$10 million when making a movie can make one very happy, watching another person earn US$20 million makes you a little jealous. However, Li said the happiness that everyone pursues with external labels and material wealth is short-lived, " We are actually slaves to language and material possessions.”
Jet Li said everyone has been taught since childhood that they must pursue "fame, power, and profit" in order to feel safe and gain happiness. He has thought about this problem for 20 years.
When he came into contact with Buddhism, he realized that although Sakyamuni Buddha was a prince, he was still unhappy because he could not control birth, aging, illness, and death. This made him rethink what happiness is, and the answer is "to be truly free is to transcend life and death."
From then on, Li says he immersed himself into this mindset, converted to Buddhism in Taiwan, and earnestly engaged in charitable activities.
The action star said that he encountered many life-and-death difficulties in his career, including the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, falling while filming "Fearless," and severe altitude sickness while filming in high mountains. "Understanding theoretical teachings and personal experiences are two different concepts. What you experience personally becomes your own," said Li.