Monday, February 19, 2018

New Winter Experiences

I lived in the East Los Angeles metropolitan area from 1946-1998, and in Red Bluff, California, from 1998-2017.   We rarely saw snow fall and it melted quickly in these areas.  We always had to drive up into the mountains, e.g., the San Gabriel or San Gorgonio Mountains in the LA area, or  Mt. Shasta in Red Bluff if we wanted to play in and enjoy the snow. 

Here in Vancouver, Washington, where we live now, snowing is a more common occurrence.

Last night, about three inches fell as temperatures dropped and the cold front rolled into the Northeast Pacific Coast region.

We live about 500 miles north of Red Bluff, and 300 miles south from Vancouver, Canada.

Taijiquan 24 Form

"At this period of wushu, the Nanking Central Kuoshu Institute in 1956 tasked the choreography of a Taijiquan routine what would be more suitable for popular dissemination among the masses, in keeping with the government's egalitarian agenda.  The traditional forms were just too long and time consuming to practice, and the traditional methods too arcane and demanding for mass propagation.  The challenge was to reduce the one hundred-odd movements of the traditional Yang Style Taijiquan, prevalent then, to its core, by removing the many repetitive movements as well as the less essential ones.  Thus, the 24-Form Taijiquan set was created.  Instrumental in this simplification effort was Li Tianji (1913-1996) who had been appointed a wushu research fellow at the Institute.  Under official auspices, the 24-Form Taijiquan quickly became the standard form, taught throughout China as part of physical education curriculum in schools and colleges.  It is perhaps the best know Taijiquan form in the world today.  As widespread as it is, the 24-Form is at best an abridged version of the traditional Yang form, a synopsis of the art."
-  C. P. Ong, Taijiquan: Cultivating Inner Strength, 2013, p. 7.  

I practice this Taijiquan form twice every day.  It takes from 5 to 7 minutes to perform.

You can do this indoors by adjusting to the space available, or outdoors.  When done slowly and gently you don't need to do any warmup exercises unless your knees are problematic.  A lovely Taijiquan form!  Good for persons of all ages.  This form is a cornerstone of my personal T'ai Chi Ch'uan practices. 

The first Taijiquan form I learned in 1986 was the Standard 24 Movement T'ai Chi Ch'uan Form in the Yang Style of T'ai Chi Ch'uan.  At that time there were no books or instructional videotapes on this popular form.  Since that time, nearly 31 years have past.  Now there are dozens of books and instructional DVDs and webpages on the subject of the 24 Form. 

My webpage on the Standard 24 Taijiquan Form has been the most popular webpage on the Cloud Hands Website for many years. In the sidebar of this blog, you will find a quick index to this webpage.

Standard Simplified Taijiquan 24 Form.  Research by Michael P. Garofalo, M.S. This webpage includes a detailed bibliography of books, media, links, online videos, articles, and resources.  It provides a list of the 24 movement names in English, Chinese, French, German and Spanish, with citations for sources of the movement names.  It provides detailed descriptions of each movement with black and white line illustrations and  photographs.  It includes relevant quotations, notes, performance times, section breakdowns, basic Tai Chi principles, and strategies for learning the form.  The Peking (Bejing) Chinese National orthodox standard simplified 24 movement T'ai Chi Ch'uan form, created in 1956, is the most popular form practiced all around the world.  This form uses the Yang Style of Taijiquan.  Published by Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Taijiquan, Red Bluff, California:  Webpage URL:  

This webpage provides many good suggestions for a person learning this form on their own if there is no Tai Chi class in their area. 

The best book that I have seen on the subject is:

The Yang Taiji 24 Step Short Form: A Step by Step Guide for All Levels
By James Drewe
London, Singing Dragon Press, 2011.
382 pages, black and white photographs, charts, detailed descriptions, training tips.

I give information on many other fine books by other good authors on the 24 Form in my webpage: Cheng Zhao, Foen Tjoeng Lie, Eric Chaline, Le Deyin, etc.. 

My students tell me that their favorite instructional DVD on the 24 Form is:

Tai Chi - The 24 Forms
By Dr. Paul Lam

I have taught this lovely Tai Chi form to hundreds of people since 2000.  Everyone tells me how much they enjoy learning and practicing this gentle form.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 16

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Chapter 16

"Reach the pole of emptiness (hsü-chi),
Abide in genuine quietude (ching).
Ten thousand beings flourish together,
I am to contemplate (kuan) their return (fu).
Now things grow profusely,
Each again returns (kuei) to its root.
To return to the root is to attain quietude (ching),
It is called to recover life (ming).
To recover life is to attain the Everlasting (ch'ang),
To know the Everlasting (ch'ang) is to be illumined (ming).
Not knowing (chih) the Everlasting (ch'ang),
One commits evils wantonly.
Knowing the Everlasting one becomes all containing (yung).
To be all containing is to be public (kung).
To be public is to be kingly (wang).
To be kingly is to be like heaven.
To be like heaven is to be like Tao.
To be like Tao is to last long.
This is to lose the body without becoming exhausted (pu tai)."
-  Translated by Ellen M. Chen, 1989, Chapter 16 

Commentary by Ellen M. Chen on Chapter 16:

Tao Te Ching: A New Translation and Commentary.  By Ellen M. Chen.  Paragon House, 1989.  Detailed glossary, index, bibliography, notes, 274 pages.  ISBN: 978-1557780836.  One of my favorites.  VSCL.  "Ellen M. Chen received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Fordham University.  She taught philosophy at St. John's University, retiring in 1996." 

In Praise of Nothing: An Exploration of Daoist Fundamental Ontology.  By Ellen M. Chen.  Xlibris, Corp., 2010.  250 pages.  ISBN: 978-1456826093.  VSCL.  "Ellen M. Chen received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Fordham University.  She taught philosophy at St. John's University, retiring in 1996. This volume, In Praise of Nothing, will be followed by a volume on Daoist Cosmology: On the Harmony of Opposites."

Other translations, interpolations, and interpretations of Chapter 16:

"Attain to the goal of absolute vacuity;
 Keep to the state of perfect peace.
 All things come into existence,
 And thence we see them return.
 Look at the things that have been flourishing;
 Each goes back to its origin.
 Going back to the origin is called peace;
 It means reversion to destiny.
 Reversion to destiny is called eternity.
 He who knows eternity is called enlightened.
 He who does not know eternity is rushing blindly into miseries.
 Knowing eternity he is all-embracing.
 Being all-embracing he can attain magnanimity.
 Being magnanimous he can attain omnipresence.
 Being omnipresent he can attain supremacy.
 Being supreme he can attain Tao.
 He who attains Tao is everlasting.
 Though his body may decay he never perishes."
 -  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 16

"Be utterly humble
And you shall hold to the foundation of peace.
Be at one with all these living things which, having arisen and flourished,
Return to the quiet whence they came,
Like a healthy growth of vegetation
Falling back upon the root.
Acceptance of this return to the root has been called 'quietism,'
Acceptance of quietism has been condemned as 'fatalism.'
But fatalism is acceptance of destiny
And to accept destiny is to face life with open eyes,
Whereas not to accept destiny is to face death blindfold.
He who is open-eyed is open-minded-
He who is open-minded is open-hearted,
He who is open-hearted is kingly,
He who is kingly is godly,
He who is godly is useful,
He who is useful is infinite,
He who is infinite is immune,
He who is immune is immortal."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 16 

"Attaining perfect emptiness
 Remain patient and sincere
 The myriad beings arise as one
 Through this we observe the return
 Of beings in numberless multitudes
 Each coming home to its root
 Return to the root means serenity
 It may be called a return to a higher order
 Return to higher order speaks of the enduring
 To comprehend the enduring speaks of clarity
 To not comprehend the enduring
 Is to recklessly create suffering
 To comprehend the enduring (is) tolerance
 Tolerance becomes justice
 Justice becomes sovereignty
 Sovereignty becomes celestial
 The celestial becomes the path
 The path is then continuous
 The death of self is nothing to fear"
 -  Translated by Bradford Hatcher, 2005, Chapter 16

"Bring about emptiness to the extreme.
Guard true stillness.
The ten-thousand things rise together.
I therefore observe their return:
Those ten-thousand plants—each plant—returns
Going back to its root.
Going back to the root is said to be stillness.
This is called returning to life.
Returning to life is called the Constant.
Understanding the Constant is called clarity.
Not understanding the Constant:
Reckless actions—misfortune.
Understanding the Constant, forgive.
Forgive, then be unbiased.
Be unbiased, then be whole.
Be whole, then be Heaven.
Be Heaven, then be Tao.
Be Tao, then be eternal.
Not having a body, there is no danger."
-  Translated by Aalar Fex, 2006, Chapter 16  

"Empty the self completely; Embrace perfect peace.
 Realize that all beings alike go through their processes of activity and life,
 and then they return to the original source.
 Returning to the source brings peacefulness and stillness.
 This stillness is the flow of nature, and signifies that the beings have lived their allotted span of life.
 Accepting this brings enlightenment and tranquility,
 ignoring this brings confusion and sorrow
 If one can accept this flow of nature; one can cherish all things.
 Being all-cherishing you become impartial;
 Being impartial you become magnanimous;
 Being magnanimous you become natural;
 Being natural you become one with The Way;
 Being one with The Way you become immortal:
 Though the body will decay, the Way will not."
 -  Translated by John Discus, 2002, Chapter 16   

夫物芸芸, 各復歸其根.
不知常, 妄作凶知常容.
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 16

zhi xu ji.
shou jing du.
wan wu bing zuo.
wu yi guan fu.
fu wu yun yun, ge fu gui qi gen.  
gui gen yue jing.
shi yue fu ming.
fu ming yue chang.
zhi chang yue ming.
bu zhi chang, wang zuo xiong zhi chang rong.
rong nai gong.
gong nai quan.
quan nai tian.
tian nai dao.
dao nai jiu.
mo shen bu dai.
-  Pinyin translation, Daodejing, Chapter 16 
"Effect emptiness to the extreme.
 Keep stillness whole.
 Myriad things act in concert.
 I therefore watch their return.
 All things flourish and each returns to its root.
 Returning to the root is called quietude.
 Quietude is called returning to life.
 Return to life is called constant.
 Knowing this constant is called illumination.
 Acting arbitrarily without knowing the constant is harmful.
 Knowing the constant is receptivity, which is impartial.
 Impartiality is kingship.
 Kingship is Heaven.
 Heaven is Tao
 Tao is eternal.
 Though you lose the body, you do not die."
 -  Translated by Charles Muller, 1891, Chapter 16

"Vacía tu Ego completamente;
Abraza la paz perfecta.
El Mundo se mueve y gira;
Observale regresar a la quietud.
Todas las cosas que florecen
Regresarán a su origen.

Este regreso es pacífico;
Es el camino de la Naturaleza,
Eternamente decayendo y renovandose.
Comprender ésto trae la iluminación,
Ignorar esto lleva a la miseria.

Aquel que comprende el camino de la Naturaleza llega a apreciarlo todo;
Apreciandolo todo, se convierte en imparcial;
Siendo imparcial, se convierte en magnánimo;
Siendo magnánimo, se convierte en parte de la Naturaleza;
Siendo parte de la Naturaleza, se hace uno con el Tao;
Siendo uno con el Tao, se alcanza la inmortalidad:
Piensa que el cuerpo perecerá, el Tao no."
-  Translated by Antonio Rivas Gonzálvez, 1998, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 16

"To arrive at ultimate quietness
Steadfastly maintain repose.
All creatures together have form;
I see them return again to their root.
The Master creatures come to perfect form,
Continuously they return to their root.
Continuous return to the root is called repose,
Repose is called the law of return,
The law of return is called eternity.
To know eternity is called illumination.
To ignore eternity is to draw misfortune on oneself,
To know eternity is to be great of Soul,
To be great of soul is to be a ruler,
To be a ruler is to be greater than all,
To be greater than all is to be conscious of Life,
To be conscious of Life is to endure.
The body shall disappear but not decay."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 16  

Audio Recordings (Podcasts) in English by Mike Garofalo

Here is an audio recording of selected translations from Chapter 16 of the Tao Te Ching. This reading includes translations by Isabella Mears 1916, Charles Muller 1891, John Discus 2002, Bradford Hatcher 2005, Stephen Addis 1993.  Reading and recording by Michael P. Garofalo at the Valley Spirit Center in Red Bluff, California.  Recorded on December 5, 2016. MP3 format.  12.7 MB.    

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses, Sections) of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes 25 different English language translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 5 Spanish language translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin transliterations (Romanization) of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter, and 2 German and 1 French translation of that Chapter.  Each webpage for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching includes extensive indexing by key words, phrases, and terms for that Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization.  Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, a Google Translate drop down menu, and other resources for that Chapter.   

Chapter 16, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

English Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Spanish Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ongoing Home Improvements

Our garage in July of 2017.

Our garage in February of 2018.

Vertical shelving installed, everything organized into plastic storage bins and fully inventoried on a spreadsheet, new washer and dryer installed, workbench area set up on west side of garage, room on east side to park a car where I am standing or use the same cleared space for an exercise area.  

Moving keeps you quite busy.
Having fun may be habit forming.

Our fireplace corner in June of 2017.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 15

Daodejing, Laozi

Chapter 15

"The Tao masters of antiquity
Subtle wonders through mystery
Depths that cannot be discerned
Because one cannot discern them
Therefore one is forced to describe the appearance

Hesitant, like crossing a wintry river
Cautious, like fearing four neighbors
Solemn, like a guest
Loose, like ice about to melt
Genuine, like plain wood
Open, like a valley
Opaque, like muddy water

Who can be muddled yet desist
In stillness gradually become clear?
Who can be serene yet persist
In motion gradually come alive?

One who holds this Tao does not wish to be overfilled
Because one is not overfilled
Therefore one can preserve and not create anew."
Translated by Derek Lin, 2006, Chapter 14, Tao Te Ching

Commentary on Chapter 15 of the Tao Te Ching by Derek Lin, 2006:

"The concept of emulation is central to the Tao.  The ancient masters recognized that they did not understand the Tao completely but that they could learn from it by emulating nature.  We can learn from them in the same way.  The ancient masters were not given to frivolous or reckless acts.  They handled responsibilities with serious regard; they resolved issues by carefully considering all sides, without jumping to conclusions.  The masters were careful, but not uptight.  They went about their activities with a certain looseness, which took nothing away from their concern for others and for doing a good job.  They could be relaxed without being lax, and thus achieve excellence effortlessly; they could be unattached without being uncaring, and thus focus on the process instead of the result.  "Plain wood" is a reference to simplicity.  By keeping everything simple, the ancient masters experienced the profound happiness of the uncomplicated present.  The ancient sages were known for their openness.  They gladly considered new ideas without dismissing anything out of hand.  They treated everyone, even difficult people, with infinite patience.  Being opaque means these masters never put themselves on display, despite their spiritual refinements.  They had no interest in showing off their brilliance.  The image of muddy water becoming clear refers to the gradual revelation of a master's inner qualities.  The masters had tremendous depth, so it would take time for people to really know them.  The serenity of a sage can be mistaken for passivity or apathy.  It may be difficult for people to understand how anyone can embody tranquility and dynamism simultaneously.  The ancient masters were therefore never full of themselves.  Like them, we can cultivate quietly, preserving a sense of calmness without drawing attention to ourselves or creating a disturbance."

Tao Te Ching: Annotated and Explained.  Translation and Annotation by Derek Lin.  Foreword by Lama Surya Das.  "An inspiring, precise translation of the ancient Chinese wisdom classic─ with facing-page commentary that brings the text to life for you."  Woodstock, Vermont, 2006.  167 pages.  


Other Translations, Interpretations or Interpolations of Chapter 15:

 "The skillful masters of the Dao in old times, with a subtle and exquisite penetration, Comprehended its mysteries, and were deep also so as to elude men's knowledge.
As they were thus beyond men's knowledge,
I will make an effort to describe of what sort they appeared to be.
Shrinking looked they like those who wade through a stream in winter;
Irresolute like those who are afraid of all around them;
Grave like a guest in awe of his host;
Evanescent like ice that is melting away;
Unpretentious like wood that has not been fashioned into anything;
Vacant like a valley, and dull like muddy water.
Who can make the muddy water clear?
Let it be still, and it will gradually become clear.
Who can secure the condition of rest?
Let movement go on, and the condition of rest will gradually arise.
They who preserve this method of the Dao do not wish to be full of themselves.
It is through their not being full of themselves that they can afford to seem worn and not appear new and complete."
-  Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 15  

"The Sages of old were profound
and knew the ways of subtlety and discernment.
Their wisdom is beyond our comprehension.
Because their knowledge was so far superior
I can only give a poor description.
They were careful
as someone crossing a frozen stream in winter.
Alert as if surrounded on all sides by the enemy.
Courteous as a guest.
Fluid as melting ice.
Whole as an uncarved block of wood.
Receptive as a valley.
Turbid as muddied water.
Who can be still
until their mud settles
and the water is cleared by itself?
Can you remain tranquil until right action occurs by itself?
The Master doesn't seek fulfillment.
For only those who are not full are able to be used
which brings the feeling of completeness."
-  Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 15 

"Of old, those who were leaders in good actions examined mysteries with deep penetration; searching deeply, they did not understand; even Masters did not understand; therefore their actions were void of strength.
They were timid, as those who cross a torrent in winter; irresolute, as those who fear their neighbors; grave, as strangers before their host; they effaced themselves as ice that melts; they were rough as undressed wood, empty as a valley, confused as troubled water.
Who is able by quietness to make pure the troubled heart?
Who is able by repose to become conscious of Inner Life?
He who safely maintains his consciousness of Life will find it to be inexhaustible.
Therefore he will be able, though not faultless, to renew perfectness."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 15 

"Profound indeed were the most excellent among the ancients, penetrating, fathomless;
inasmuch as they were fathomless it becomes necessary to employ far fetched symbols when speaking of them.
Irresolute? as if fording a stream in winter.
Timid? as though fearful of their neighbors.
Grave? as if they were guests.
Elusive? like ice about to melt.
Simple? like raw material.
Expansive? like the space between hills.
Turbid? like muddy water.
Who can still the turbid and make it gradually clear;
or quiet the active so that by degrees it shall become productive?
Only he who keeps this Tao, without desiring fullness.
If one is not full it is possible to be antiquated and not newly fashioned."
-  Translated by C. Supurgeon Medhurst, 1905, Chapter 15  

古之善為士者, 微妙玄通, 深不可識.
-  Chinese Characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 15 

ku chih shan wei shih chê, wei miao hsüan t'ung, shên pu k'o shih.
fu wei pu k'o shih.
ku ch'iang wei chih jung.
yü yen jo tung shê ch'uan.
yu hsi jo wei ssu lin.
yen hsi ch'i jo jung.
huan hsi jo ping chih chiang shih.
tun hsi ch'i jo p'u.
k'uang hsi ch'i jo ku.
hun hsi ch'i jo cho.
shu nêng cho yi ching chih hsü ch'ing.
shu nêng an yi chiu tung chih hsü shêng.
pao tz'u tao chê pu yü ying.
fu wei pu ying.
ku nêng pi pu hsin ch'êng.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 15 

"The Tao of those eminent for wisdom in the olden times was subtle, mysterious, recondite, and penetrating.
Its depths were unrecognizable by others.
The non-adepts, being unable to learn it, strove by main force, therefore, to act it out in practice.
They endured the hardships of their search as those who ford streams in the winter.
Cautious were they, as those who dread the ridicule of their neighbors.
Reverent were they, as those who entertain a visitor.
Expansive were they, as ice on the point of melting.
Simple and unpolished were they, as unhewn wood.
Vacant were they, as a ravine.
Undiscerning were they, as turbid water.
Who is able to make turbid water grow gradually clear by reducing it to quiescence?
Who is able to impart unending life to that which is at rest by setting it in perpetual motion?
Those who preserve this Tao desire no fullness; wherefore, having no fullness,
they are able to guard it in their hearts for ever and it never requires to be renewed."
-  Translated by Frederic Henry Balfour, 1884, Chapter 15  

"Los sabios perfectos de la antigüedad
eran tan sutiles, agudos y profundos
que no podían ser conocidos.
Puesto que no podían ser conocidos,
sólo se puede intentar describirlos:
Eran prudentes, como quien cruza un arroyo en invierno;
cautos, como quien teme a sus vecinos por todos lados;
reservados, como un huésped;
inconstantes, como el hielo que se funde;
compactos, como un tronco de madera;
amplios, como un valle;
confusos, como el agua turbia.
¿Quién puede, en la quietud, pasar lentamente de lo
turbio a la claridad?
¿Quién puede, en el movimiento, pasar lentamente
de la calma a la acción?
Quien sigue este Tao
no anhela la abundancia.
Por no estar colmado
puede ser humilde,
eludir lo vulgar
y alcanzar la plenitud."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 15

"Those of yore who have succeeded in becoming masters are subtle, spiritual, profound, and penetrating.
On account of their profundity they cannot be understood.
Because they can not be understood, therefore I endeavor to make them intelligible.
How cautious they are!
Like men in winter crossing a river.
How reluctant! Like men fearing in the four quarters their neighbors.
How reserved! They behave like guests.
How elusive! They resemble ice when melting.
How simple! They resemble rough wood.
How empty! They resemble the valley.
How obscure! They resemble troubled waters.
Who by quieting can gradually render muddy waters clear?
Who by stirring can gradually quicken the still?
He who cherishes this Reason is not anxious to be filled.
Since he is not filled, therefore he may grow old;
Without renewal he is complete."
-  Translated by D. T. Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 15

"Those good at practicing Dao in antiquity
were subtle and wonderful, mysterious and penetrating.
They are too deep for us to know.
And precisely because they cannot be known,
so I am forced to figure them out.
Cautious, oh,
as if crossing a river in winter!
Hesitant, oh,
as if afraid of the surrounding neighbors!
Dignified, oh,
they were like guests!
Yielding, oh,
they were like ice about to melt!
Simple, oh,
they were like a piece of natural wood!
they were like valleys!
Vast, oh
confused, oh,
they were like turbid water!
When left still, the turbid
slowly turns clear.
When roused, the quiet
gently comes to life
To keep this Dao
is not to desire to be filled.
And precisely because they do not desire to be filled,
they can, therefore, remain hidden
and stay unfinished."
-  Translated by Joseph Hsu, 2008, Chapter 15  

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses, Sections) of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes 25 different English language translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 5 Spanish language translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin transliterations (Romanization) of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter, and 2 German and 1 French translation of that Chapter.  Each webpage for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching includes extensive indexing by key words, phrases, and terms for that Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization.  Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, and other resources for that Chapter.  Each webpage includes a Google Translate drop down menu at the top that enables you to read the webpage in over 100 languages.

Chapter 15, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

English Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Spanish Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

February Gardening Tips and Ideas

Location:  Vancouver, Washington   USDA Zone 8a

February Gardening Tips and Ideas

From Michael P. Garofalo

February Gardening Tips from Tsugawa Nursery

Here are my gardening chores for February:

Rake up fallen sticks and fir cones
Rake up all deciduous leaves
Fertilize plants and lawns
Add topsoil as needed
Add pea gravel and regular gravel as needed

Lower the level of the walking by east side of house
Scoop up all dogshit in walking areas
Keep work areas and supplies neat, covered, and out of sight
Make sure all garden pots drain properly
Water permanent indoor plants and over-wintering potted plants
Water any outdoor plants that need water

Browse seed racks in stores and catalogs
Plant shrubs when available
Look at outdoor furniture on display
Read gardening books
Add artistic touches to the garden
Repair and improve fencing
Secure the fence edge so my dog can't dig under and escape
Add level bricks and pavers for walkway paths in the garden

Here is where I shop in the Vancouver, Washington, area: 

Tsugawa Nursery, Woodland, Washington

Yard'n Garden Land, Salmon Creek, Highway 99 and 102nd Street, Vancouver, Washington

Shorty's Garden Center, Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver, Washington

Lowes, 76 Street and 117th Ave (Lewisville Highway 503), N.E. Vancouver, Washington

Home Depot, Andresen and Paden Parkway, N.E. Vancouver, Washington

February Gardening Chores
Red Bluff, North Sacramento Valley, California, USA
USDA Zone 9

Typical Seasonal Weather for Our Area, USDA Zone 9 Normally, in February, we have high daytime temperatures of 59ºF, low nighttime temperatures of 40ºF, and get 3.4 inches of rain.

Red Bluff Gardening Notebooks of Karen and Mike Garofalo

Cloud Hands Blog Follow the seasons in the Northern California garden of Karen and Mike with their notes, links, resources, quotes, poems, and photos.

February Garden Activities and Chores in Red Bluff
USDA Zone 9

February: Quotes, Sayings, Poems.  Compiled by Mike Garofalo.  

February Gardening Chores

Browsing and ordering from seed and garden catalogs.
Pruning leafless trees and shrubs.
Weeding and tending the winter vegetable garden.
Relax and read books.  
The soil is usually too wet and cold for much digging.
Keeping cold sensitive potted plants in protected areas or indoors.
Make sure that the cuttings in protected areas do not dry out.
Repair fences.
Put straw mulch over fertilized vegetable garden areas not planted.
Distribute fertilizer and minerals.
Weed the sunny vegetable garden.  

Prune and mulch dormant perennials.
Planting bare root trees and shrubs.  

Remove dead trees, shrubs, branches, and twigs.
Enjoy the bulbs and rosemary in bloom.
Repair and sharpen tools.
Construct gardening boxes and flats.
Write a poem. Keep a gardening journal.
Fertilize with 20-9-9 or 15-15-15.
Trees without leaves need little or no watering.
Take a walk in your garden.
Sit and observe.
Turn the compost pile.  

Burn piles of gardening cuttings saved since last February.

Here are some photographs of our yard and gardens in February:

Friday, February 02, 2018

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 14

Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu

Chapter 14

"Look for It, you won't see It: It is called 'fleeting'.
Listen for It, you won't hear It: It is called 'thin'. 
Grasp at It, You can't get It: It is called 'subtle'.

These three lines
       are about something that evades scrutiny.
Yes, in it everything blends and becomes one.

Its top is not bright
Its underside is not dim.
Always unnameable, It turns back to nothingness. 
This is the shape of something shapeless
The form of a nothing
this is elusive and evasive.

Encountering It, you won't see the front
Following It, you won't see Its back.

Keep to the Tao of the ancients
And so manage things happening today.

The ability to know the ancient sources,
this is the main thread of Tao."
-  Translated by Michael LaFargue, 1992, Chapter 14 

"When you're sitting, trying to get in touch with the Softness, the One important thing, it evades your grasp─like a spirit that appears here, then there, then is gone.  You think you see it, then it recedes into nothing.  This is the only way to describe the presence that is formless.  But in this practice we achieve a oneness.  And we come in contact with the deep sources of all things, the ancient sources that enable us to handle whatever comes to us today."  ...  "I take "know the ancient sources" of things to mean gaining an intuitive understanding of the deep truth about affairs.  (As often, "ancient" serves to express what we more commonly express by images of "depth" or "Origin."  (Note that here Tao is not the name of the ancient source that one knows, but of the practice by which one comes to know it.)  It seems very unlikely that "these three" refers to the three different things mentioned [i.e., seeing, listening, grasping] which "become one."  It makes more sense to suppose that "these three" refers to the three line saying, which is about a presence or mental quality incapable of being grasped through close mental scrutiny.  in this mental space everything is Merged, "blends and becomes one."  This observation is a partial basis for my solution to the puzzle about the meaning of Chapter 1, reading literally "these two, merged."  That is, it refers to the previous two-line saying in Chapter 1, which is (partly) about the state of "not desiring," which identifies with a mentally Still state called t'ung/"The Merging.""
-  Michael LaFargue  

The Tao of the Tao Te Ching.  A Translation and Commentary by Michael LaFargue.  State University of New York Press, 1992.  Detailed glossary, extensive bibliography, 270 pages. This translation is based on the oldest version ( 168 BCE) of the Tao Te Ching found in King Ma's tomb - the famous Magwandali manscript.  81 Chapters arranged in a topical order by the author.  Chapter 14, pp. 80-81. 

The Tao and Method: A Reasoned Approach to the Tao Te Ching.  A translation and commentary by Professor Michael LaFargue.  New York, SUNY Press, 1994.  640 pages.  Detailed index, bibliography, notes, and tables.  An essential research tool. 

"What you don't see when you look
is called the unobtrusive.
What you don hear when you listen
is called the rarefied.
What you don't get when you grasp
is called the subtle.
These three cannot be completely fathomed,
so they merge into one:
above is not bright, below is not dark.
Continuous, unnameable, it returns again to
This is called the stateless state,
the image of no thing;
this is called mental abstraction.
When you face it you do not see its head,
when you follow it you do not see its back.
Hold the ancient Way
so as to direct present existence:
only when you can know the ancient
can this be called the basic cycle of the Way."
-  Translated by Thomas Cleary, 1991, Chapter 14

"Looked at, but cannot be seen -
That is called the Invisible (yi).
Listened to, but cannot be heard -
That is called the Inaudible (hsi).
Grasped at, but cannot be touched -
That is called the Intangible (wei).
These three elude our inquiries
And hence blend and become One.

Not by its rising, is there light,
Nor by its sinking, is there darkness.
Unceasing, continuous,
It cannot be defined,
And reverts again to the realm of nothingness.

That is why it is called the Form of the Formless,
The Image of Nothingness.
That is why it is called the Elusive:
Meet it and you do not see its face;
Follow it and you do not see its back."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 14  

-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 14

shih chih pu chien ming yüeh yi.
t'ing chih pu wên ming yüeh hsi.
po chih pu tê ming yüeh wei.
tz'u san chê pu k'o chih chieh.
ku hun erh wei yi.
ch'i shang pu chiao ch'i hsia pu mei.
shêng shêng pu k'o ming.
fu kuei yü wu wu.
shih wei wu chuang chih chuang.
wu wu chih hsiang.
shih wei hu huang.
ying chih pu chien ch'i shou.
sui chih pu chien ch'i hou.
chih ku chih tao.
yi yü chin chih yu.
nêng chih ku shih.
shih wei tao chi.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 14

"We look for it but do not see it:
    we name it "subtle."
We listen for it but do not hear it;
    we name it "rare."
We grope for it but do not grasp it;
    we name it "serene."
These three cannot be fully fathomed,
They are bound together to make unity.
Of unity,
its top is not distant,
its bottom is not blurred.
Infinitely extended
and unnameable,
It returns to non-entity.
This is called
"the form of the formless,"
"the image of nonentity."
This is called "the amorphous."
Following behind it,
    you cannot see its back;
Approaching it from the front,
    you cannot see its head.
Hold to the Way of today
    to manage the actualities of today
    thereby understanding the primeval beginning.
This is called "the thread of the Way.""
-  Translated by Victor H. Mair, 1990, Chapter 14 

"When you look, it isn't there
 Listen and you cannot hear it
 It seems to be beyond your reach
 Because you are so near it
 This single source of everything
 Appears to be an empty image
 Though it cannot be understood
 You can see its naked visage
 Follow it to nothingness
 Approach it where you have no face
 From nowhere to infinity
 This vacant image leaves no trace
 From never to eternity
 This naked face is what you are
 An empty, vacant, open door
 Forevermore ajar"
 -  Translated by Jim Clatfelder, 2000, Chapter 14   

"Se le llama invisible porque mirándole no se le ve.
Se le llama inaudible porque escuchándole no se le oye.
Se le llama impalpable porque tocándole no se le siente.
Estos tres estados son inescrutables y se confunden en uno solo.
En lo alto no es luminoso, en lo bajo no es oscuro.
Es eterno y no puede ser nombrado, retorna al no-ser de las cosas.
Es la forma sin forma y la imagen sin imagen.
Es lo confuso e inasible.
De frente no ves su rostro, por detrás no ves su espalda.
Quien es fiel al Tao antiguo domina la existencia actual.
Quien conoce el primitivo origen posee la esencia del Tao."   

-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 14

"Look at it: nothing to see.
Call it colorless.
Listen to it: nothing to hear.
Call it soundless.
Reach for it: nothing to hold.
Call it intangible.
Triply undifferentiated,
it merges into oneness,
not bright above,
not dark below.
Never, oh! never
can it be named.
It reverts, it returns
to unbeing.
Call it the form of the unformed,
the image of no image.
Call it the unthinkable thought.
Face it: no face.
Follow it: no end.
Hold fast to the old Way,
we can live in the present.
Mindful of the ancient beginnings,
we hold the thread of the Tao."
-  Translated by Ursula K. Le Guin, 1997, Chapter 14 

"Look, it cannot be seen,
So it is called invisible.
Listen, it cannot be heard,
So it is called soundless.
Touch, it cannot be caught,
So it is called elusive.
These three cannot be examined,
So they unite into one.  
Above it there is no light,  
Below it there is no darkness.
Endlessness beyond description.
It returns to non-existence.
It is called the shapeless shape,
The substance without form.
It is called obscurely evasive.
Meet it and you do not see its beginning,
Follow it and you do not see its end.
Hold on to the ancient Way to master the present,
And to learn the distant beginning.
This is called the unbroken strand of the Way."
-  Translated by Stefan Stenudd, Chapter 14

"Looking for it, it cannot be seen -
Being formless, it is called Yi, the invisible.
Listening to it, it cannot be heard -
Being soundless, it is called Hsi, the inaudible.
Grasping at it, it cannot be reached -
Being subtle, it is called Wei, the intangible.
These three; imperceptible, indescribable -
Mystically united and elusively perceived
as an undefinable oneness.

As the oneness ascends - no light appears.
As the oneness descends - no darkness is perceived.
Unceasingly, continually, form eluding definition,
Evasively reverting to spirit - to nothingness.
The form of formlessness.
The image of imagelessness.
The oneness remains nameless.
Meeting it, it has no part which is front.
Following it, it has no behind.

Encompassing the ancient Tao,
Present affairs are mastered.
Knowing the primal nature of mankind
and the universe,
Is to know the essence of Tao."
-  Translated by Alan B. Taplow, 1982, Chapter 14 

 "Plainness is that which cannot be seen by looking at it.
 Stillness is that which cannot be heard by listening to it.
 Rareness is that which cannot be felt by handling it.
 These, being indiscernible, may be regarded as a Unity of the Tao.
 It is not bright above nor dark beneath.
 Infinite in operation, it is yet without name.
 Issuing forth it enters into Itself.
 This is the appearance of the Non-Apparent, the form of the Non-Existent.
 This is the unfathomable mystery.
 Going before, its face is not seen; following after, its back is not observed.
 Yet to regulate one's life by the ancient knowledge of Tao is to have found the path."
 -  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 14

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses, Sections) of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes over 25 different English language translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 5 Spanish language translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin transliterations (Romanization) of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter, and 2 German and 1 French translation of that Chapter.  Each webpage for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching includes extensive indexing by key words, phrases, and terms for that Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization.  Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, a Google Translate drop down menu, and other resources for that Chapter.   

Chapter 14, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

English Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Spanish Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: A Selected Reading List